Automating your marijuana grow can be an excellent way to get the most out of your plants while minimizing the time and effort required on your part. Before you dive right into building a fully automated grow, it is important to consider a few key factors first.
How much money do you have available for automation maintenance and upkeep? How much free time do you have to dedicate toward programming and monitoring? Are you growing one plant or several plants at once? Where are you growing – outdoors, indoors, or hydroponically? All of these questions will help you narrow down the best automation system for meeting your needs.
Once you have identified what would be best suited for you, there are several components worth considering when looking into automating your cannabis grow.
Automated light intensity sensors allow lights to adjust their intensity based on temperature and current energy consumption, soil moisture probes can measure how wet the soil is for proper watering scheduling, environmental thermostats aid with managing temperature systems such as fan speeds and exhausts, nutrients injectors help ensure that nutrients are properly mixed with pH-balanced water solutions, and CO2 controllers enable optimal environment control for photosynthesis stimulation.
How Much Does It Cost to Automate a Cannabis Grow Room?
Automating a cannabis grow room can range in cost depending on the complexity of the equipment and techniques employed. For smaller, simpler grow tents, what is needed to fully automate the process is relatively straightforward and inexpensive. Setting up an automated light system can be done with a timer, costing just €10 or less. Additionally, introducing a simple drip irrigation system using cheap materials will make caring for your plants a breeze.
What Are the Benefits of Automation?
Automation brings many benefits to a grow space, most immediately in terms of time and labor saved. In growing crops, hands-on labor is often required to adjust various environmental factors such as light intensity, humidity, CO2 levels, and other critical elements. Automation systems can vastly reduce the amount of effort needed to produce these conditions by making adjustments more efficiently.
With automation, mistakes, and oversights that could potentially damage a crop yield can be almost completely eliminated due to the precision with which tasks can be handled. Automation also opens up new opportunities for those creating their own grow spaces as they are able to increase the number of plants they can support due to the additional control capabilities automated systems provide.
Lastly, automation takes the stress out of remembering all aspects of a grow space since it simplifies day-to-day monitoring tasks and helps ensure seeds remain in ideal conditions for germination.
How to Automate Your Cannabis Grow Tent
Many home cannabis cultivators operate on a small scale and utilize cannabis grow tents to cultivate their crops. To streamline this type of growing operation, we will outline the steps to automate the small but effective growing space.
One of the simplest and most effective methods of automating your growth operation is through the use of timers. These devices can be used to manage various aspects of the cannabis growing process, such as lighting, watering, air exchange, temperature, and more.
For budget-friendly options, analog timers are available, while those seeking a more modern solution can opt for digital timers that can be remotely controlled through a smartphone. By combining timers with environmental sensors, you have the ability to monitor and regulate your growth from anywhere.
Utilizing lighting control is an effective way for cannabis growers to simplify their workflow and make sure plants are receiving the optimal lighting conditions. Automating lighting saves time and money that can be spent in other areas of the growing process. In particular, even basic timers can be incredibly useful when it comes to controlling lighting, as plant light needs are predictable and constant compared to air exchange or temperature.
When in their vegetative stage, cannabis plants typically receive 18 hours of light with 6 hours of darkness—a schedule that’s often kept all throughout the growing process until it’s time to switch over to the flowering stage. After this point, experienced growers may shift their daily light period accordingly in order to achieve the desired results.
However, aside from this single adjustment, having a clear understanding of how much light a plant receives at any given time maintains uniformity while reducing stress on everyone involved—from the grower all the way down to its plants!
Humidity control is a very important aspect of running an optimal grow space for cannabis plants. Without controlling the humidity, growing can become difficult or even ruin the plants altogether. Though there are several ways to control humidity in a grow space, automation with a humidifier/dehumidifier and/or sensors can provide the best results.
Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are not necessarily cheap but they do offer some of the most reliable solutions. This type of equipment often comes with built-in sensors, which means that it will turn on and off as required depending on what the conditions dictate for optimal plant growth.
For those who cannot afford them, sensors in combination with misters can also be used to bring down or raise the relative humidity. The sensors monitor the environment and when they detect that there is too low or high humidity present, they signal to the misters to activate and bring it back to homeostasis relative quality again.
This ensures that your cannabis plants receive enough water while their root structure remains safe from overwater exposure at all times.
In cannabis cultivation, airflow control is an important aspect to consider. To ensure the optimum growth environment, stale air must be removed from the space with an exhaust fan, and fresh air with high levels of CO₂ must be brought in using a pump.
An adjustable timer can be used to control when these devices should turn on for intervals throughout the day. This will regulate and maintain the condition of the grow, allowing plants to breathe properly and reach their potential.
Controlling airflow is not just necessary for optimal yield; controlling temperatures and humidity also helps increase photosynthesis and nutrient uptake. Without adequate levels of CO₂ to access these resources, plant growth can become stunted in size and weight.
Automating Your Cannabis Growing Space
For larger grow rooms with multiple plants, automation becomes increasingly important. In these larger operations, there may be additional elements that would benefit from automation, which would not be necessary in smaller setups.
Automated irrigation is an important part of modern gardening and agricultural cultivation operations. Drip irrigation is a form of automation that utilizes a very simple method to provide constant hydration for plants.
This involves piercing small holes into the water hose, with the placement of these holes set over the root network for each marijuana plant in the system. The water then slowly drips into each plant’s root zone, allowing them to receive equal and consistent hydration.
This type of automated system can be fairly cheap to implement, though it may not be as accurate as more expensive options out there. Professional operations often invest in large automatic watering systems which provide reliable quantities of water over specific timeframes.
While these are more costly than hand-operated methods, they offer convenient and accurate results sure to help any garden or farm site thrive.
Total Climate Control
Having total climate control over large-scale grow can be incredibly useful, and it allows for optimal results. By managing every single aspect of the environment on one centralized system, from lighting to CO₂ levels, commercial growers can gain more precise control over the conditions that their crops are growing in.
Depending on the size and complexity of your system, you may even be able to program multiple settings so that the environment changes automatically depending on the stage of growth your plants are at. However, this level of automation can prove very costly to set up and may not be worth it if you’re a small-scale grower or don’t have extensive prior knowledge and experience in cultivation.
That being said, these systems offer incredible convenience and flexibility in terms of monitoring and controlling everything within your grow room, as long as you have access to the right resources.
Is Automating Your Cannabis Grow Worth It?
When it comes to automating a cannabis grow, some form of automation is worth considering for any size setup. For instance, setting up lights and air pumps on timers can make the job easier if you have to leave on vacation or if it’s difficult to get someone else to take care of your individual plants while away. Automating mundane and repetitive tasks can be done relatively cheaply and will save you time over several months when tending to the grow cycle.
However, as with all automation decisions, whether it’s suitable in your particular case usually depends upon the scale of your grow operation. If you are only working with a few plants in a small space then there may not be much need for automation, but if you have multiple grows going at once or have a particularly large one then investing in automated processes such as hydroponics systems or climate control technologies could certainly pay off.