Automated gardening systems are an extremely smart investment when it comes to cannabis grows. These systems are particularly beneficial for larger operations, but small automations can be added to home grows as well to ease the time and labor of the grower. Any cannabis garden requires constant attention when it comes to monitoring humidity and temperature, watering and nutrition schedules and lighting. This is easier done when you’re an individual growing four plants, than an industrial operation with several grow rooms, however any grower will benefit from adding automation to their grow.
Demands for automation are largely based on the environment of the cannabis grow. For instance, outdoor grows will require far less automation as the grower has nature’s assistance when it comes to lighting, fresh air and water. Although, drier climates would benefit from automated watering systems to ensure their plants are well hydrated.
Cannabis grown in greenhouses or indoor grows will benefit the most from automated system as they are being grown in an environment that is man-made versus natural. Automation can help ensure their needs are fully met at all times.
A few ways that growers can automate their grow in order to improve efficiency and reduce labor include:
One of the easiest and most affordable upgrades to your cannabis grow is the installation of automated timers. The implementation of timers can be beneficial for a multitude of environmental components within a cannabis grow, such as lighting and climate control.
Cannabis plants require 18-24 hours of light per day during the vegetative state and prefer a 12 hour on and 12 hour off lighting schedule during flowering. For most growers, this means visiting your garden daily to manage these light cycles, which can be troublesome if you are planning a vacation and need to leave your plants unattended, or even when you are sick. Implementing timers can ensure your plants get all the light (and darkness) they require to grow dense and potent buds.
Timers can also be rigged to automate fans, pumps and CO2 systems, in addition to lighting, to help reduce day-to-day labor and ensure your plants have everything they need, when they need it.
Climate control is a highly important factor when it comes to growing cannabis as these plants are very particular about the temperature and humidity levels required for successful grow cycles and producing quality buds.
Indoor grows and greenhouses require particular attention to these factors due to the nature of the garden. Various tools can be used to regulate environment, such as humidifiers and dehumidifiers and heating and air conditioning units. The installation of hygrometers are beneficial for monitoring these levels on a regular basis. When it comes to automating these systems, home growers can fairly easily integrate their humidity and temperature systems to sensors that can help control fluctuations in the desired levels.
When it comes to larger operations, these types of grows would benefit the most from automated environment controls that can monitor and control C02, temperature and humidity. Some of these controls even have the ability to store and log data on your garden, which can help you better understand the fluctuations in the environment.
There are also pH monitoring systems, which can help ensure that your grow medium remains at the proper pH level.
Automated Irrigation & Feeding
The last area in which cannabis grows can be automated is irrigation and feeding. However, this should be considered with a grain of salt as each cannabis plant is unique and may have different requirements for water and nutrition than others in the grow. Most of these systems are very complex and expensive, but there is an alternative which is known as “fertigation”.
Fertigation is the use of incorporating nutrient feeding into an automated irrigator. This process streamlines all aspects of feeding and watering by calculating and mixing nutrients directly into an irrigation system. These systems can be expensive, so are best suited for large-scale operations, however they have many advantages:
- Better nutrient efficiency and precision
- Reduced nutrient leaching
- Reduced water consumption
- Reduced labor
Home growers can set up a similar system using DIY solutions, such as by installing a tank with a distribution pump which is then attached to a system of pipes or lines to feed nutrients through drippers.
From single timers to entirely automated gardens, there are many options for growers looking to reduce labor and improve efficiency within their cannabis grows.
Are You Harvest Ready?
Consider adding a CenturionPro elite bud trimmer machine to your grow today to further improve efficiency and reduce labor when it comes to harvest season. Even smaller, home-grow operations can benefit from the CenturionPro Solutions TableTop model, which can trim your entire harvest in a matter of an hour or two! For larger scale operations, there are various other models including The Gladiator and the 3.0 Medical Grade trimmer, which can handle up to 250lbs of wet material!