In the latest issue of Hemp Grower, Robert Eddy, a consultant and former Purdue University greenhouse manager, provided 40 tips for improving greenhouse efficiency. For example: Integrate as much equipment as you can—not just heating and cooling, but also boilers, humidifiers, circulation fans, lighting and shading.
But Eddy also warned against certain red flags in the greenhouse environment. Hemp growers should watch out for these mistakes and take care to implement a careful cultivation plan in their particular greenhouse setting.
With that in mind, here are five more tips either garnered from personal experience or recommended by seasoned colleagues about what not to do when performing routine maintenance for your cannabis facility.
- Don’t use metal pipes to carry reverse osmosis water. This “aggressive” water will decay the metal by removing ions from it.
- Don’t leave plastic pipes uninsulated. The small amount of UV light in a greenhouse is enough to make them brittle and cause them to crack. Some contractors will leave the joints and unions uncovered. This is where these pipes will blow out.
- Don’t allow water hammering in irrigation pipes. If you install solenoid valves in your irrigation lines, plumb in an air bladder tank to reduce water hammering when the solenoid closes. Otherwise, your pipes may shake violently.
- Don’t keep temperatures up for too long. Using high temperatures to help disinfect a greenhouse is effective, but sustained temps of more than 105oF can: cause schedule 40 PVC to bow; damage electronics and the seals inside components; and shorten the life of plastic shade or light-deprivation curtains.
- Don’t use sulfur pots in polyethylene (plastic film) greenhouses. Sulfur reacts with the UV light-stabilizing agents in greenhouse films, reducing the life of the plastic by as much as 50 percent.