It isn’t hard for some people to break the bank when starting and maintaining an indoor cannabis grow. It starts at the hardware store, then your local hydroponics center, and then of course, your cannabis clone growers. Then you’ve got recurring expenses like the electrical bill, feed, water, and other inevitable costs that occur when the seasons change. Your final bill can get quickly out of control.
The easiest way to reduce costs is to incorporate sustainable growing practices. In almost every decision you make about your grow, you’ll be impacting your spending across time. From lighting to the medium you use, here are a few strategies that will help you save money and create a more sustainable grow.
Low Energy Bulbs
People maintaining a very small grow, something with less than 1000w, probably aren’t overly concerned about their electric bill. But even a basic understanding of your grow’s electrical system will give you an advantage that will lead to cost savings.
Standard circuits in the average home are 110v – except in heavy duty areas like the kitchen. Then it jumps to 220v. This is because most appliances run on 220v. If you run appliances at the 80% recommended capacity on a 110v circuit, you going to max out at 1800w of power. If you are on a 220v circuit you double that number.
A cannabis grow requires electricity. Fans, air conditioners, lights, dehumidifiers, heaters, and other energy suckers challenge your home electrical system. A simple solution is to switch to bulbs that need less wattage, like LED bulbs, ceramic metal halide, or light emitting ceramic (LEC). You will spend extra money up front, but you’ll save in the long run on your electric bill.
If you compare costs, dollar for dollar, LED is the money saving way to go. LEC’s come in second – a 300w system will provide the same results as a 600w HID system.
The most sustainable way to incorporate climate control solutions into your grow is to capitalize on natural solutions. If you’re able to create air flow pathways in and out of your grow, you can reduce temperatures to the point where an air conditioning unit isn’t needed.
You can also reverse the day and night cycles of your grow. Run your lights at night when temperatures are cooler. Spend time figuring out how to work with the space that you’ve got in order to reduce your energy bill.
Look for a sustainable grow medium when deciding what you want to use. No-till organic solutions are perfect for sustainability. If you’re using soil, the goal is to build and then maintain an active food web within it. This way, containers don’t need to be changed in between grows. All you need to do is remove the root ball for transplant.
Despite what you may think, organic mediums are less expensive because they are super soils. They need little or no nutrition because it’s already in the soil. You basically need to use a reverse osmosis water process and that’s all. Cross expensive plant nutrients off your list.
You can even build your organic medium. You’ll need some everyday household items (like kitchen scraps) and a full season to let it compost before you use it.
Technology is regularly advancing the way that we grow cannabis. It gets easier and easier to rely on the latest gadgets in the hopes of stronger plants and an increased yield. And yes, some products are unavoidable (especially with an indoor grow), but you don’t need to invest in everything under the sun in order to have a good season.
It starts with buying clones from a reputable seller with quality products. After that, try applying a little elbow grease to your grow. You’ve got the internet available to you as well as your creativity. Purchase smartly, plan carefully, and be willing to do-it-yourself in order to save money and build a sustainable and healthy grow.