Tips to use when planning a winter garden

WINTER GARDEN PRE-PLANNING

The outdoor season has always been a popular time to grow cannabis, but there’s no need to limit yourself- try growing year-round! Winter cannabis grows can be set up either indoors or in a greenhouse/hoop house structure. For this blog, we will focus on indoor winter grows.

When planning on setting up a winter garden there are a few things to keep in mind before setting plans in motion. It is crucial to select strains that do well in the environment and weather conditions that surround the garden using certain criteria to make the best choices. It is also important to plan ahead for temperature swings by having the necessary equipment in place to protect the plants.

 

WINTER CANNABIS STRAIN SELECTION

When it comes to selecting the best cannabis strain(s) for a winter garden selections should be based on three criteria: strain type, flowering time and estimated height. Strains categorized as “purples” have been known to do exceptionally well in winter season grows because the colder temperatures bring out more purple coloring in the flowers. They also remain fairly short in height and do not require a long flowering cycle. Some examples of these “purple” strains include Grape Ape, Purple Cadillac, Ken’s Granddaddy Purple and Purple Kush.

Photo Credit: AgRI Fiore

Flowering time is an important criterion for winter indoor grows because it can be costly to maintain an effective indoor environment for the plants as lights, heaters, fans, pumps, etc. all run on electricity. Also, with strains that have shorter flowering times growers can fit more grow cycles in a year than plants with longer flowering times. The ideal flowering time for winter strains is 7-9 weeks. Strains, other than the purples previously mentioned, that have short flower times include Chocolate Hashberry, Dream Queen, The White, Sherbet, Pre98 Bubba Kush, and Sour Patch Kids.

Most indoor grows tend to be somewhat spatially confined and therefore it is important to pick strains that do not stretch a ton during the vegetative or flowering cycle. This means growers want to choose strains that are inherently short in height, meaning they are most likely Indica dominant. As mentioned before, The White, Chocolate Hashberry, Grape Ape, and Ken’s Granddaddy Purple all meet this criterion as well. Some additional strains include Strawberry Banana, Romulan Grapefruit, and 3xCrazy.

 

WINTER GARDEN TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND

When dealing with winter weather there are a few things to keep in mind for the winter grow. The first thing is the equipment or type of set up chosen.  

A summer grow tends to call for more air conditioning, but winter grows often require heaters. Proper lighting selection should be another consideration. LED lights are probably not the best choice, as they put off little to no heat. Instead HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lights give off significant amounts of heat requiring less heating from other sources. 

Having a dialed in pest management system, although important for all growing styles and conditions, is especially important during the winter months as pests tend to move indoors when the weather outside is cold. There are three preventative measures that need to be taken in order to maintain a proper pest management system; physical controls, biological exclusion, and biological controls. Biological controls consist of barriers created to protect pests from entering the garden such as foot baths, clean clothing used only while in the garden (full suits if necessary), and sticky traps to allow for pest threshold monitoring. Pest threshold monitoring simply means monitoring the number of pests present in the garden and keeping it below a level (threshold) that causes a threat to the crop.

 

MOLD, THE WINTER ENEMY

There is another major threat to the garden other than pests and that is mold. Mold thrives in areas that have little air circulation and high moisture content in the immediate environment. It is important to make sure that grow rooms are well equipped with dehumidifiers and fans circulating the air to prevent an increase in humidity in the grow room.

Mold spores can be detected using the naked eye but it is also wise to scout the plants often using a magnifying glass and/or a black-light. Mold most commonly appears as black spots/spores, white/black web-like material, or white/grey/yellow/brown fuzzy looking material. If any of these are present it is important that the infected buds or stocks are removed immediately as mold can spread rapidly.

 

These basic guidelines should certainly help with winter garden planning, but it is also safe to do additional research since every grow set up has unique needs. Thank you for allowing us to help you GROW!

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