You may have heard the term “light deps” thrown around, especially in the spring or summer. The term is short for“light deprivation,” which is a method of growing cannabis where you limit the plant’s exposure to sunlight, thereby controlling when the plants begin to flower.
Growing with light deprivation lets you harness the benefits of both indoor and outdoor growing, making it an ideal method for cultivating cannabis. Understanding the different light deprivation setups and the benefits that come with each is the first step to implementing this method in your cannabis garden.
High-end light deprivation setups can be costly, but low budget options are available as well. When deciding which route is right for you, it’s helpful to understand the cost-to-benefit ratio of each price point.
Backyard Light Deprivation Greenhouses
A backyard light deprivation setup generally involves building hoop houses. With this setup, the garden is covered with clear plastic to help insulate the plants like a greenhouse, which will allow for longer seasons.
The cheapest way to create hoop houses is by using rebar, PVC, and 2x4s. The rebar anchors the PVC that is then used to build a hoop house over the desired garden space, while the 2x4s help stabilize the structure.
To control the light exposure in your hoop house, cover it using a light deprivation tarp. This tarp blocks sunlight, thereby controlling the light cycles for your plants. You can also moderate humidity and airflow in the hoop houses by including intake and outtake fans at either end of the hoop.
Low-budget systems such as this work well, but they do require more manual labor and are prone to malfunction. You need to pull the tarps on and off at the right time every day to keep the plants happy. High winds can also snap the PVC, which can then puncture your light deprivation tarps.
Professional Light Deprivation Greenhouses
A step above backyard setups like hoop houses, a mid-range system will include a permanent greenhouse structure. This solid-standing greenhouse will withstand winds and allow for a light deprivation tarp to be operated on a pulley system or mechanical arm, which helps alleviate manual effort.
A greenhouse in this price bracket will have fans at either side that can pull fresh air into the space, and they can be set to run automatically to help control humidity. They may also include dehumidifiers and heaters to create longer seasons.
Commerical Light Deprivation Greenhouses
Commerical systems combine the best aspects of both indoor and outdoor farming. Climate control is entirely automated by computers that increase or decrease temperature and humidity according to the plants’ needs. Reliable and sturdy shutters can run on timers and block light in place of tarps.
What’s more, high-end setups can also include grow lights. By having the ability to use both natural light and grow lights, cannabis can be produced year-round by using the sun when available and then relying on grow lights to supplement. Using natural light when available makes these systems highly profitable if you can afford the initial investment.