In the 1960's, marijuana growers made a major breakthrough in potency, by forcing female plants to grow without exposure to any males. This new technique is a rediscovery of a technique that is actually centuries old,. Known as 'Sensimillia,' this method produces very potent marijuana, because when the female plant is not allowed to pollinate, it grows full of resin that was intended to make seeds.
Now cannabis cultivators have developed a new method, known as lIght deprivation, or suppression grows that has resulted in a similar quantum leap in potency. Unlike regular outdoor buds that must finish in less than ideal autumn temperatures and falling light, cannabis plants grown under light deprivation are tricked into finishing when the temperatures and light are still optimal. As a result of using this new method, buds from a properly run suppression grow are huge, dense, and heavily laden with sparkly dank resin.
World weed authority Ed Rosenthal, writing in his online blog, believes the switch to light dep growing is inevitable, “Only when the outdoor growers change to light deprivation techniques that shorten the season so that the plants flower in the high UVB light of the summer will they produce the higher quality pot that will keep them in business. Up to now, instead of trying to improve quality, they increase the quantity they produce. While they may think this solves their problem, the increased glut on the market results in even lower prices, so it is self-defeating. Growers who use light deprivation techniques will never have to worry about legalization.”
Light dep growing is simple. You grow in a greenhouse and pull a lightproof cover over the greenhouse at 7PM. Then you uncover the greenhouse at 7AM. Some growers have huge plants, that they have grown in the vegetative phase all winter. When they go into flowering in early Spring, some plants are up to 12 feet in height. Such a plant can produce 3-5 pounds or more of top quality buts, all harvested and sold before the middle of Summer. Unlike regular outdoor cannabis that now sells for as little as $800 a pound, light dep cannabis commands $3,500 and up, at a time of the year when pot supplies are at their lowest.
If covering and uncovering your greenhouse is too much work, then you'll want to get a fully automated light deprivation greenhouse, which are now available. However, for most growers, the manual system works fine.
David Bienenstock, in an article which appeared in the February 2008 issue of High Times Magazine, described one greenhouse, “covering more than 150 perky young pot plants, all of which have just been induced into early flowering by a light-deprivation technique. Cannabis starts budding when there's less than 12 hours of sunlight in the day, with those tiny flowers eventually developing into the fat buds stoners love to smoke.”
Bienenstock went on to write, “Sophisticated marijuana horticulturists know that by fully enclosing the greenhouse every night a couple of hours before sunset, the plant's natural 12/12 light cycle can be triggered early, tricking them into budding more than a month before Mother Nature makes the days short enough for the plants to flower on their own. Inciting such an early adolescence saves time, maintenance, expense and risk, and it also ensures a 'rolling' harvest, so all 400 plants don't have to come down at once.”
Suppression growing is revolutionizing cannabis cultivation Canada and Alaska as well, especially in Alaska's Mantanuska Valley, where the world's strongest pot is now grown. Meanwhile, in Mendocino county, growers are harvesting, then allowing their plants to veg in the mid summer sun, then flower again and provide another full harvest. Some growers are even squeezing three harvest from one plant in one season.
Matt Cohen, a Mendocino medical marijuana grower, who was featured in a recent Australian TV documentary on California's medical marijuana revolution, offered some advice on light dep growing, via email to the writer. “The upside of light deprivation is the early crop, the downside is more pest and mold issues, more work, it ties you to the property twice a day and there is more of an infrastructure cost.”
Cohen also wrote that he thinks that light dep technique is best used to ensure that “all of your strains finish no later than mid-October when the weather starts to go south.”Tweet
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