Light depping at its simplest is mimicking light conditions to force your plants to flower. It is also known as light deprivation or “depping.” Most commonly, light depping is used to mimic Fall light conditions, which will force cannabis plants to flower earlier in the season.
Understanding Light Deprivation
When it comes to light depping, all you are really doing is tricking the plant into thinking it is the Fall season. Once the plant thinks that Winter is coming, it begins to produce a large amount of flower. It does this to prepare to produce seeds that would drop to the top soil and keep the plant alive for next year. However, you won’t end up with seeds at the end of your light dep run. Instead, you will end up with sweet and delicious cannabis to use as you wish.
To trick the plant, you simply need a light protective tarp to put over your greenhouse. This will allow you to manipulate the hours your plants see light and do not, which is exactly what we’re aiming for.
Why light dep in the first place?
There are number of reasons people choose to light dep. For starters, it means you could potentially get a few extra harvests in each year. With the ability to start early, you can be pulling down a light dep harvest right before Summer planting should begin.
Additionally, when you grow within a more controlled environment, you are able to more easily control pests. Therefore, your ability to grow stronger and healthier plants increases. And, who doesn’t love strong and healthy cannabis plants? We know we sure do!
Lastly, the reason we light dep, to avoid male pollinators in the air. Unfortunately, where we are located, we have a lot of hemp farms surrounding us. Since many of the hemp farms nearby are not sexing their crops, there would have been male pollinators in the air. Because of this, if we had planted for the normal outdoor growing season, we would have likely ended up with plants chock full of seeds. And, no one would have been a happy camper.
Instead, we opted to plant early, pull the tarp and still reap the benefits of the harvest via light depping.
Setting Up A Light Dep Environment
In order to mimic the light conditions, you will need a few supplies first. These include the following:
- A greenhouse or hoop house
- Light proof plastic
- Proper ventilation setup
There are a number of ways you can choose to set this up as well. Whether you want to build raised beds, use 30 gallon or larger pots or plant directly into your soil, the choice is yours.
Our Light Dep Setup
Personally, we built two raised beds that fit three plants each in them. Once the beds were built, filled, amended and baked for a few weeks, we went back out and built a hoop house out of cattle fencing over the two raised beds. By bending the cattle fencing and bolting it to some two-by-fours, we were able to create a simple, yet effective hoop house. With a walkway in the middle, so we could easily access all of the plants.
Plus, since the cattle fencing has large openings, we could easily inspect the harder to reach spots from the outside. After that, we simply purchased a large tarp to throw over the hoop house, which was weighed down on the ends, so no light seeped in.
Ready, set, let’s grow!Now that you’re all set up and ready to go, there are just a few more things you should be aware of on your journey to successfully light depping.
Make a ScheduleFirst, you will want to make a schedule and stick to it. Think about it, the sun doesn’t get to sleep in, does it? Nope, so neither do you! If you decide that pulling the tarp at 5 AM is what’s needed, be prepared to wake up that early for the next two months. To decide on the times you should have the greenhouse covered, you’ll want to look at:
- the sun’s position in relation to your plot,
- when the plants will be shaded,
- and your schedule.