Vertical Cannabis Cultivation
Want to make the best use of your space when you cultivate cannabis? Vertical farming should help you increase your yield with less space and more efficiency. Our guide to stacking your plants and preparing them just right should get you on the way to a satisfying harvest.
Cultivating cannabis plants, especially in confined or discreet places, can be tricky. The more plants you want to grow, the more power you’ll need for lighting. In traditional horizontal setups, the plants will grow one next to the other. Most of the light coming from the source will not reach the plant. More space is taken up and energy is used less efficiently. Stadium growing is where plants rise on tiered shelves around a central light source. This solves part of the problem by increasing the amount of light reaching the plants. However, there’s an even more efficient way to grow plants in tight spaces.
Vertical growing has been known to more than double the amount of space available for cultivation compared to horizontal growing. Multiple shelves can be stacked in a square or hexagon around a central light source. Plants can produce impressive yields when arranged properly in these conditions. They can be stacked on shelves or arranged with trellises and strings. These setups take up less space for growing, allowing you to potentially grow more plants. It also reduces your energy bill along with the environmental impact of indoor growing. We have tips on how to set up this growing method and the right equipment ready to browse and order from our website.
The central light source will need to be kept cool. This will be easiest to manage with energy-efficient LED lights. A cooling fan under the central light source should dissipate heat upward. Wherever you’re doing this, good ventilation is a given. As your plants grow, be sure to trim unproductive parts. You can also use the string grids of screen setups to shape the growth of plants further. Keep in mind, sativa strains tend to grow tall. You want a nice even shape to your plant. Be sure to rotate your crops so that each side gets an equal amount of time facing the central light source.
DIFFERENT HYDROPONIC SYSTEMS
You should see hefty yields from resilient strains at any time of year with this setup. You just need one more thing – a steady water supply for cultivation. Maximising the efficiency of your watering schedule requires a resourceful hydroponics system. There are number of ways to set up the distribution of hydration and nutrition effectively. The arrangement of the plants makes a difference, such as whether they are inside a tent or a larger space, or if they can be mechanically rotated around a light source. It is also possible for the vertical light source to come from the perimeter and not the centre of the plants.
Once you have the materials assembled, they will impact what kind of hydroponic system you can run. For example, using corrugated piping to spiral around your light source makes watering easy with hosing setups. It is also possible for nutrient film to drip water and nutrients onto your plants gradually. This can be done to the roots of plants, or continuously above with well-positioned drippers. Hopefully, a low-maintenance solution can be found by browsing the equipment available through our online store.
If you take cannabis cultivation seriously, it’s time to start being economical with your time, energy, and space. Vertical cultivation could be the solution you need to get more bang for your buck.
QUICK TIPS FOR VERTICAL GROWING
Finally, we want to give you some quick tips for vertical growing to help you get started:
• Choose the right strain
Since you want to maximise your space and grow as many plants as possible with a preferably even canopy, the first important consideration is the type of strain you want to grow. As with SOG setups, indica-dominant or hybrid strains are suited better for this growing style than tall sativas. You want short-growing, non-stretchy plants that don’t overgrow their given space. Also, the flowering phase should be initiated as soon as possible to keep their height manageable. Furthermore, it is a good idea to opt for strains that are resistant to diseases because they pose a common threat in vertical grows.
• Plan your grow room accordingly
By this, we mean leave enough space around the racks for plumbing, air movement, and worker access. Of course, you want to maximise your yield and pack as many plants into a room as possible, but you should not forget that the room needs to be functional for you as a grower as well. That means the grow trays must be removed regularly for cleaning and replacing purposes. If you don’t leave enough space for these kinds of grower tasks, your vertical grow can become frustrating very quickly.
• Choose the right light
You want a light that can penetrate your whole canopy evenly and at a close distance. While there exist several options for said lights, the best are definitely LED lights due to the very low amount of heat they emit. LEDs have the best light spectrum options (oftentimes adjustable) for the different growing phases of cannabis, and are just as powerful as other light sources. Sure, the initial cost is usually higher compared to HPS or MH lights, but LEDs are much more cost-effective in the long-run, saving you a pretty penny on your energy bill.
• Keep your watering system clean
As with all automated watering systems, reservoirs and pipes should always be kept clean to avoid the risk of salt buildup and the formation of bacteria. Moreover, you should replace all the plumbing between the reservoir and spigots every few cycles to ensure a clean delivery of nutrients. Additionally, you should plan how to manage your wastewater. Most of the time, floor drains will suffice to collect any runoff, but sometimes your setup may require pumps and holding tanks for the runoff. This point is often overlooked because it can be quite costly, but if you are unsure what watering system you should implement, get help from an experienced plumber that you trust.
• Start simple
If you’ve never done a vertical grow before, it is best to start slow and simple; you can always extend your operation later. Using two tiers in the beginning should be enough to keep you busy. Usually, if you use more than two tiers, the grow will become much more difficult in terms of design and functionality. Three or more tiers will complicate your vertical grow and require much more advanced—and therefore costly—cooling and ventilation equipment. Moreover, keeping it simple at first will ensure a much safer growing and working environment so that you can get the most out of your operation.
Vertical cannabis farming is a new method of growing that allows for a more optimised harvest compared to other hydroponic setups.
Fluence Bioengineering Illuminates MedMen Cannabis Vertical Farm in California; Increases Yield 157 Percent
14 Dec Fluence Bioengineering Illuminates MedMen Cannabis Vertical Farm in California; Increases Yield 157 Percent
MedMen deploys Fluence SPYDR and RAZR LED solutions for improved growth, development, potency and quality of flower at state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation facility
AUSTIN, TX – December 14, 2016 – Fluence Bioengineering today announced that its LED systems have been selected by MedMen, a leading cannabis firm, for its newly renovated cultivation facility in Los Angeles. The new, state-of-the-art vertical farm replaces a traditional single-tier cultivation facility, and enables MedMen to use fewer natural resources, increase overall revenue per square foot and reduce operating cost per pound.
“Being an industry leader, our goal is to stay out in front and push our company into the future,” said Damian Solomon, Director of Cultivation at MedMen. “With the Fluence LED systems, we see faster bloom cycles and a significant increase in potency, density and overall quality of flower compared to traditional HID lights. It’s clear Fluence is a perfect partner to deliver the tools and technology to help us achieve our goals.”
MedMen cannabis vertical farm with Fluence SPYDRx PLUS LED lighting systems
The new facility is optimized to increase revenue per square foot, with all phases of plant cultivation — from propagation to bloom — growing under Fluence LED lighting systems. By transforming the growing facility from a single-tier traditional indoor farm using high pressure sodium (HPS) lights into a multi-tier vertical farm with Fluence LED lights, MedMen has:
- Decreased cycle time on eight-week strains by up to 25 percent, reducing production time by 5 to 7 days for retail flower market and by 12 to 14 days for oil-extraction and derivatives markets
- Reduced the cost per pound of finished product by 75 percent
- Decreased energy consumption per light fixture by 40 percent, going from approximately 1,100 watts per light to 660 watts per light
- Reduced heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) load by approximately 35 percent per square foot of canopy
- More than doubled production per square foot; reduced land requirements by 50 percent
- Increased crop yield by 157 percent while reducing water and fertilizer usage
- Improved consistent, year-round flower quality and chemotype with denser trichrome development
“MedMen is a shining example of how the cannabis industry will evolve to embrace more ecologically friendly cultivation practices to better serve patients, consumers, the environment and financial stakeholders,” said Jerry Kieran, Chief Business Development Officer at Fluence. “We’re excited to partner with MedMen as they help pave the way for North America’s commercial cannabis-cultivation industry.”
About The SPYDR Series
The SPYDR Series delivers a broad spectrum with industry-leading photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) averaging up to 909 micromoles per meter square per second (mmol/m 2 /s) over a 4-by-4-foot canopy. In addition, the SPYDR Series is 69 percent more energy efficient than today’s leading high pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures 1 , and optimized for ultra-dense cannabis vertical farming with a 4.6-inch thin frame and close-proximity mounting height just six inches from top of canopy. Learn more: www.fluence.science/spydr
RAZRx is designed to replace fluorescent light fixtures in vertical farming applications for cannabis propagation and full-cycle microgreen, leafy green and herb production. RAZRx is 162 percent more energy efficient, while providing 350 percent more light, than comparable fluorescent lighting systems 2 . RAZRx is just 1.2 inches thin with a recommended mounting height just five inches from canopy for ultra-dense vertical farming. Learn more: www.fluence.science/technology/razr/
About Fluence Bioengineering
Fluence Bioengineering is a photobiology design company exploring physiological plant development under various levels of photosynthetically active radiation and custom spectra targeting photosynthetic and photomorphogenic responses. The company partners with leading research institutions to engineer the most powerful and efficient horticulture lighting solutions for both science and commercial applications. All Fluence systems are designed and built in Austin, TX. www.fluence.science
MedMen is a leading cannabis firm based in Los Angeles with operations and exposure across North America. The firm has two divisions; MedMen Management offers turnkey services to license holders in the areas of cultivation, extraction, production and retail operations, and MedMen Capital makes strategic investments in key markets across the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.medmen.com.
1 Fluence lighting systems have a typical photon efficiency between 2.1 and 2.2 mmol/J compared to the leading DE 1000-watt HPS fixtures at 1.7 mmol/J and leading SE 1,000-watt HPS fixtures at 1.3 mmol/J: Economic Analysis of Greenhouse Lighting: Light Emitting Diodes vs. High Intensity Discharge Fixtures
2 RAZR has a photon efficiency of 2.2 mmol/J and photon output of 200 mmol/s compared to florescent lighting at .84 mmol/J and 48 mmol/s. Economic Analysis of Greenhouse Lighting: Light Emitting Diodes vs. High Intensity Discharge Fixtures
MedMen's new, state-of-the-art cannabis vertical farm leading replaces a traditional single-tier cultivation facility and enables the growers to use fewer natural resources, increase overall revenue per square foot and reduce operating cost per pound.