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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Drug War | Environment & Forest Defense
Benefits of Organic Outdoor Grown Cannabis
Organic Outdoor Grown cannabis produces more volume, stronger potency and is earth friendly.
With the proliferation of hydroponics shops urging people to set up their own indoor grow rooms, and local authorities implementing regulations regarding cannabis gardens, it is time to take a closer look at the benefits of Organic Outdoor Grown (OOG) cannabis.
1. Energy - 1/2 ton coal = 8 ounces bud
The key driver of photosynthesis is light, so no matter how perfect the fertilizer mix, grow medium, and environment, growth is still limited to the amount of light available. How much electricity is required in the attempt to simulate the sun with electric lights? Let's look at the fossil fuel required to power a single 1000-watt grow light. Using a typical 10-week indoor cycle of 2 weeks vegetative at 18 hrs per day, then 8 weeks flowering at 12 hours per day, power consumption will be as follows:
Vegetative: 1kw x 18 hrs = 18 kwh x 14 days= 252 kwh (kilowatt hour)
Flowering: 1kw x 12 hrs = 12 kwh x 56 days = 672 kwh
Total = 924 kwh for a single 1000 watt light, add ventilation to round up to 1 mw per light, per cycle.
Pile of CoalOne kilogram of coal makes about 2 kwh of electricty, so this single light will require 500 kilograms, or about a half-ton of coal (or 400 pounds of natural gas) to power one grow light for one cycle.
While some claim up to a half-gram or more of usable bud per watt, yield from a short 10-week cycle is more likely to produce about 4 ounces. Let's compromise and say we will get 8 ounces of usable bud. Is burning a half-ton of coal (or 400 lbs of natural gas) a good way to get less than one pound of bud? Can these few ounces of buds be truly called “organic” when the light used to grow them consumed a half-ton of coal (or 400 pounds of natural gas) to generate the electricity?
Indoor cannabis produces less volume and lower potency despite the vast amount of electricity required to bring in a crop because the actual lumens the plants get is only a fraction of that available from natural sunlight.
If indoor plants are grown in soil there will almost certainly be an aphid/mite problem. Chemicals will probably be used that may include systemics like Abamectin that are nuero toxins, pyrethroid (the synthetic version of natural pyrethrum), and Carbaryl under various brand names and concoctions. These synthetic insecticides have been linked to harmful health effects in humans, but perhaps more importantly threaten the food chain itself because they are extremely toxic to bees and aquatic life, both of which are key to the food chain and our existence on earth.
If the plants are grown using hydroponics (including rock wool and coir), it is important to note that most fertilizer solutions used in hydroponics are urea based. Urea is derived from petroleum and natural gas. Read the label, if you see the word, or a derivative of it, ask yourself, can this be used to grow organic bud?
Healthy plants resist pests and disease. While pests are present in an outdoors garden, natural predators are abundant and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques very effective. Healthy soil has the full package of nutrients and trace minerals required for healthy plant growth. Exotic hydro solutions that are urea based anyway go to great lengths attempting to provide thousands of minerals and nutrients that occur naturally in healthy soil.
The powder mold challenge is second only to aphids/mites for indoor cannabis crops. Even well ventilated rooms cannot replicate the sanitizing value of dry air and bright sunshine. Left unchecked, powder mold can ruin a crop and it loves a poorly ventilated room with high humidity and stressed plants.
Building mold also loves a moist, warm, poorly ventilated environment; such as an indoor grow room. This mold causes property damage that costs money to clean up and can lead to health problems.
High wattage lights, ventilation, pumps, fans and other electrical devices all need adequate electrical wiring beyond that normally found in homes. Most 110-volt residential circuits are rated at 15 Amps and are quickly overloaded with more than one grow light per circuit. Often substandard wiring and extension cords are used to overcome tripping breakers creating a very real fire and electrical shock hazard. Large tanks full of fertilizer solution are heavy and may leak or spill over, causing floor damage and increasing the electrical shock hazard.
In residential areas neighbors of grow houses are rightly concerned about attracting criminals intent on breaking in and stealing the crop. What if they break in to the wrong house? What if there is gunfire, will a stray bullet catch their sleeping child? Please note, the backyard of a residential house may not be a suitable place to grow cannabis either, and if not done in a very secure structure with excellent odor control could actually attract thieves with the pungent odors emitted during flowering.
Property values are affected by the diminishing value due to damages and neglect, and as mentioned before, the crop is a prime target for thieves. The short indoor cycle’s low yield and potency leads to high plant counts, which can be used to increase a sentence in the unfortunate event of a bust. Remember, even baby clones count in court.
Everyone knows outdoor produces more volume, but how much more? Granting the often cited 1/2 gram per watt, the best indoor grower will produce about a pound per light. Each light will cover 32 square feet, so one pound per 32 square feet. Keep in mind, most growers only get about half that, 8 ounces, as discussed above under Energy. Outdoor plants, in the ground, will routinely produce 3 to 4 times that amount in the same amount of space with fewer plants.
An outdoor cycle starts in the Spring and harvest is early Fall, about 6 months, which allows about 4 months from when flowering begins to finished buds with fully ripened trichomes. The longer cycle explains the increase in volume, but what about potency? Using a 60x lighted microscope buds are examined to monitor the expression of thc trichomes. They start out clear and grow in size over time. As the plant matures the trichomes continue to grow and change from clear to cloudy. When ready for harvest they begin to turn amber and collapse or fall over. Maturity and maximum production are not reached until a full 90 days or more after the onset of flowering. Therefore, indoor crops with less than 90 days flowering time will produce less volume, the trichomes will be smaller, and more (if not all) will be clear. It is commonly held belief that the effect of cannabis with mostly clear trichomes will be more cerebral and "up" while the effect of cannabis with a greater percentage of cloudy to amber trichomes will be stronger and have more of a "body stone" with increased appetite, "munchies", and induces sleep. In other words, if the goal is just to get high perhaps indoor is a good choice, but if you are looking for that couch lock dreamland of pain relief, a mature organic outdoor grown choice will better serve your needs. In any case, a longer outdoor cycle will increase the density and volume of trichomes, thereby increasing potency.
Indoor grown cannabis seems unsuitable for conversion to concentrates intended for human consumption due to the high risk of ingesting toxins from fertilizers, pesticides and molds common to most indoor cannabis gardens. Currently, there is no regulatory body or organization to certify organic cannabis growers or methods while there is a myriad of toxic products marketed to cannabis growers by promising increased yield and potency. Desperate growers give in and use the product they can get that kills the pest, and some self-proclaimed experts even openly recommend products like Avid™ and Sevin™ to control aphids and mites.
Outdoor cannabis grown using organic practices is the kind safest for conversion to Outdoor Grown Cannabis Plantconcentrates intended for human consumption in food.
Lights, fans, timers, tanks, pumps, containers, grow media, special nutrients, property damage, and energy all cost money. It can take several crops to recover the investment, and one mistake or accident can result in a total loss or even worse, may include costly property damage. With Organic, Outdoor Grown Cannabis the only cost is fertilizer, seed, water and Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
Nothing can replicate the shear joy of growing and harvesting a plant from seed to a towering monster with pounds of buds. The cannabis plant is a vigorous annual that wants plenty of room, good soil, sunshine and 6 moons to fully mature and deliver the entire non toxic earth friendly gift it has to offer.
Fuel needed to run a 100W light bulb for a year (876 kWh)
* 400 kg (876 lb) of coal
* 230 kg (508 lb) of oil
* 170 kg (377 lb), 255 m³, of natural gas
* .006 kg (.014 lb) of uranium
* .0000075 kg (.000016 lb) of the Sun