INTRO TO LIGHT DEPRIVATION GREENHOUSE GROWING
by Adrian White
20 December, 2021 by
INTRO TO LIGHT DEPRIVATION GREENHOUSE GROWING
Lucija Johum

Light deprivation greenhouses are taking the world of specialized growing by storm.

Different from the functions of your average greenhouse, these structures (also called auto blackout systems) are designed for one sole purpose: producing the very best flowers possible from your crop.

While some models are streamlined only for light deprivation, there are hybrids available on the market too. These hybrids include auto blackout systems, though they also keep the standard greenhouse’s functions: cold and wind protection, sun magnification, and temperature control.

What do these systems actually accomplish if they have a completely different function from typical greenhouses? How are they different, and how do they work?

More importantly: how are their functions better compared to other flower-optimizing methods? Let’s explore.

THE SCIENCE

It all starts with a little biology.

For plants, summer is the season for expansion. They use this time of ample sun to focus on growing more foliage, which beefs up energy stores. Meanwhile, root systems are also built up to store this energy through winter.

When summer winds to a close and daytime shortens however, plants begin to switch gears. 

Energy shifts towards flower development instead, especially for plants that reproduce in fall. With colder times on the way, it’s crunch time to ensure that seeds are formed, and the next generation of future plants is secured.

Is it a mystery how plants know this? Not really. The biggest factor that triggers this change is seasonal daylength.

As daylight starts to shorten after the summer solstice – the longest day of the year – this signals the official onset of winter, and flower development is thus encouraged. 

For most flowering crops, fall is the peak time of harvest. Most growers must scramble and shape their seasons around this fact. 

With a light deprivation greenhouse, however, growers shape their own seasons – and especially since these systems are built to encourage these conditions any time of the year, boosting harvests, quality, and profit all in one.

HOW IT WORKS

Light deprivation greenhouses differ in one major function from typical greenhouses: they are designed to block out light.

How do they do this? With a lightweight, lightproof blackout fabric integrated into the standard greenhouse system. 

When this is pulled over the top of a typical greenhouse structure, it covers and decreases the amount of sun plants receive at certain times, naturally mimicking the same light conditions as winter.

This is what truly sets these greenhouses apart from others. These systems are built to promote complete darkness at some times, while permitting light at others – and all under the control of the grower or greenhouse operator.

Even in the middle of summer, a light dep system naturally and sustainably encourages plants to enter optimal flowering mode. It recreates the darkness of autumn, which in turn signals to plants: “Winter is coming. Time to flower!”

Important and lucrative flowering crops, such as hops, cannabis, perennial flowers, and more will truly flourish under these systems, anytime you like – allowing you a year-round, exceptional setup to expand the availability and production of your crop whenever you desire.

THE MATERIALS

What materials and accessories go into the light deprivation greenhouse?

The main contender is a lightweight, completely light-proof fabric to cover and block out all the sun’s rays at certain times of day: an incredibly simple technology.

Though one could ask, why invest in a sophisticated system that accomplishes a simple technology? Why take the leap and make the investment?

It’s true that anyone with a greenhouse or other structure could simply throw a tarp or other solid cover over it. For busy farmers and growers, however, this adds extra time (and perhaps labor costs) to achieve manually. 

Additionally, any error or lapse in covering may lead to a flawed and lower-quality product. 

Complete light deprivation systems, on the other hand, have one large advantage: automation. No more checking your watch or requiring your presence at your operation twice per day. 

Instead, blackout fabric is attached to electric rollers, which are set to cover and uncover by timer only at certain times of day. When investing in a top-quality greenhouse, blackout fabric is also designed to be as lightweight and breathable as possible, while still thick enough to block out large amounts of sun.

The best options for blackout fabric also ensure that the sun is reflected outside and away from the greenhouse. This reduces excess heat and temperature change, while still guaranteeing complete blackout inside the structure.

Put it all together, and you have a hassle-free, flower-optimizing system that produces amazing quality yields any time of year – all while saving you money and minimizing your impact on the environment in the long run.

WHY IS IT BETTER?

The true perks to light deprivation greenhouses are many:

You save money. While investing first off in your structure will be your highest cost, from there on out your system saves you the labor costs of covering and uncovering – practically paying itself off over time.

You save time. And in the growing business (as we all know so well), time is money!

Yield bigger, higher-quality flowering crops. These structures naturally nurture a quality product, especially at the peak of summer. The stellar combination of short blackout daylength with summer’s sun intensity promotes the growth of larger flowers than those triggered by natural autumn daylight.

Expand your window. Instead of limiting yourself to nature’s parameters, you can produce beautiful flowering yields at any time of year and make them more available to your markets – and all under your control.

Yield more. Expanding your window and naturally improving quality gives you no choice but to produce more and better than ever before.

Increase profits. It’s just as simple as the technology itself: you make more money. With higher quality crops, increased availability, and less costs to produce them, combine them all and you ultimately boost your business’s earnings.

Promote sustainability. While light deprivation allows you to transcend the limits of nature, you can still grow amazing plants without harming it. 

Blackout systems require less power to function compared to other approaches while creating practically no environmental impact, giving you the promise of an exceptionally sustainable and profitable system all in one.

INTRO TO LIGHT DEPRIVATION GREENHOUSE GROWING
Lucija Johum 20 December, 2021
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