How to Automate Your Cannabis Cultivation?

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Added 28 April 2023

Nowadays, technology is automating everything. Even cars these days can drive hundreds of miles on their own without any human input. That’s how far technologies like machine learning and AI have come. 

But do these technological advancements translate into your cannabis garden?

The answer is a resounding YES! Technology is changing the way we cultivate cannabis, and it is making it easier than ever before. These days, you can get various devices or software that can automate so many aspects of your cannabis cultivation. 

How does this automation work, what are the benefits, and how do you implement it to cultivate cannabis — here’s your guide on automating cannabis cultivation. 

Automate Your Cannabis Cultivation

Automate Your Cannabis Cultivation

In current times, automating cannabis cultivation is not just for the mega-rich commercial farmers; even small-time hobby growers can successfully automate their grow rooms by adding certain hardware or software to their grow rooms. 

Generally, these devices or systems manage various grow equipment like light panels, exhaust fans, climate control, and irrigation systems. And if you want, you can even go a step further and automate other aspects of your grow room, like monitoring your plant’s health or other processes. 

You’ll have to invest in sensors and controls that respond to environmental changes and tweak the environment to suit your plant’s preferences. For example, these automation devices can control the light cycle and switch to a 12/12 light cycle when your plant is ready. 

Similarly, you can also automate the entire climate control. Automated climate control can not only monitor the temperature and humidity but also tweak the same based on your plant’s growth stage. Plus, with sensors, it can alert you of any discrepancies in the environment. 

Benefits of an Automated Grow Room

Benefits of an Automated Grow Room

Automating your cannabis cultivation can bring many benefits, such as the following:

1. Skyrocket Your Efficiency

Imagine having the power to grow cannabis without lifting a finger! Well, not really, but you know what we mean. Automating the growing process can help you achieve this dream by saving you hours of manual labor. 

You'll be able to sit back and relax as your automated system takes care of everything from watering to environmental adjustments. Plus, since you’ll be operating 24/7, you'll be able to increase productivity and save on labor costs.

2. Boost Your Yields and Quality

Don't settle for mediocre cannabis when you can have a premium, high-quality product! Automated systems can optimize growing conditions, allowing your plants to reach their full potential. 

Also, with precise lighting cycles, optimal nutrient dosing, and perfect environmental conditions, you'll see higher crop yields and better-quality products. Your customers will thank you for it! Or, if you want to enjoy the rewards yourself, then that’s fine too, as you’ll have loads of the best cannabis you’ve ever grown. 

Moreover, automation reduces mundane tasks for you. For example, you don’t have to switch on or switch off the lights any more manually. AI monitors and tracks your plant’s growth and environment for you, so you’ll be able to grow buds that are consistent each time. 

3. Consistency is Key

In the cannabis industry, consistency is everything. You want your product to be reliable and consistent every time. Automating the growing process can help ensure uniformity across all plants, resulting in a more reliable product. With proper lighting, watering, and nutrient dosing, you'll see more consistent cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Therefore, your customers will know exactly what they're getting every time they purchase from you.

4. Stay Compliant

Staying compliant with regulations is a must for any cannabis grower. Automating your growing process can help you do just that. With automated tracking and reporting, you can monitor every plant from seed to harvest, ensuring compliance with local regulations. Plus, automated labeling and tagging will help you stay on top of traceability requirements.

5. Ensures safety

Keeping your plants healthy and safe is a top priority as you may have invested a lot of money in it. Automating the growing process can help reduce the risk of human error, ensuring your plants are healthy and safe for consumption. With automated environmental monitoring and alert systems, you'll be able to catch potential issues before they become serious problems. Your plants will thank you for it!

6. Save money

Growing cannabis can be expensive, especially when it comes to energy costs. Automating your growing process can reduce these costs significantly. With programmed lighting systems and optimized HVAC systems, you can reduce energy waste and lower your electricity bills. This means more money in your pocket and less stress on your wallet.

7. Scale Your Operations

As your business grows, you need to be able to keep up with market demand. Automating your growing process can help you do just that. With scalable, automated systems, you'll be able to adjust your production as needed, reducing waste and increasing profitability. In other words, you can take your business to the next level and compete more effectively in the legal cannabis market.

Since automation helps in many ways, from boosting efficiency and yields to ensuring compliance and safety, it’s safe to say that automation is the way of the future for cannabis growers.

Essentially, automating your grow room can create an optimal environment for your cannabis plant without requiring much time or effort. Simply set it up and let it do its thing for you.

Drawbacks of an Automated Grow Room

Drawbacks of an Automated Grow Room

But not everything is sunny on this side — automating brings several drawbacks and risks worth knowing before you begin automating your cannabis cultivation. Here are some of the major drawbacks of an automated grow room:

1. Wallet Buster

Automating cannabis cultivation requires a big investment in equipment and technology, which can be a real pain in the pocketbook. It's like starting a new relationship with a super high-maintenance partner with big dreams! Be prepared to shell out some serious cash upfront!

2. Maintenance Mayhem

And, now that you’re in love, you have no other choice other than to comply to your partner’s wishes. Similarly, once you invest in automated systems, you’ll realize that it requires a lot of attention and care. If you're not ready to commit to frequent maintenance and repair, you might find yourself in a tough spot when things go wrong. And, since things can go wrong in every business at any point, you need to be prepared with a backup plan. 

3. Rigidity issues 

Automated systems are designed to perform specific tasks, which can make them pretty inflexible. If you're the type of grower who likes to experiment with new techniques or adapt to changing market demands, automation might not be the best fit for you. It's like having a stubborn old mule instead of a nimble racehorse.

4. Mind-Boggling Complexity

Are you one of those people that loves simplicity? Then automation might not be for you. If you're not a tech-savvy grower, automating your growing process can be like learning a foreign language. It can add a whole new level of complexity to your operation, which might require specialized knowledge and expertise to manage. 

5. Unpredictable at times

Let's face it — technology can be unpredictable at times. Automated systems rely heavily on technology, so they can be prone to malfunctions or failures, leading to drastic fluctuations in your grow room’s environment, some of which can be stressful for your plant. If you're not ready to deal with downtime and lost productivity when the system needs to be fixed, automation might not be for you.

6. Missing the Human Touch

Finally, automating your growing process can take away some of the personal connection many growers enjoy. It's akin to trading in your old toy for a shiny new one that doesn't have the same emotional connection. While automation can be more efficient, it might not provide the same level of satisfaction as a hands-on approach.

As you can see, automation does have its own issues, from high costs to maintenance. While these drawbacks may make you think twice about automating your growing process, it's up to each individual grower to weigh the pros and cons and decide what's best for their operation.

Of course, these risks can easily be avoided if you take the right approach to automating your cannabis cultivation, but you must keep them in mind nonetheless. 

Ways to Automate Your Cannabis Grow Room

Ways to Automate Your Cannabis Grow Room

If you are growing cannabis in a grow room, there are several ways you can automate your cannabis cultivation. Remember, there is no single way to automate cannabis cultivation — you can do it your way as long as it fulfills your cultivation preferences and goals.

Nonetheless, here are some tips on automating your cannabis grow room that can help you get started. 

1. Timers 

For most growers, the first step in automating their grow room is to invest in timers — the easiest and most effective devices that can automate several aspects of the grow room, as discussed in the following sections. 

These timers can be installed in tandem with almost every device in your grow room, and they can control when them. For example, timers can work with the irrigation system, air conditioner, ventilation, lighting, and much more. 

If you are a hobby grower, you can start with basic analog timers, but if you don’t mind spending a little more money, you should go with digital timers that can even be used remotely using your mobile phone. 

Once you have the timers in place, you can move on to tackle more complex automation in your grow room, which are as follows. 

2. Grow Lights

One of the most important components of a cannabis grow room is the grow lights, which are usually powerful, specialized light panels that mimic the natural sunlight. It is a source of life for your plant and needs to be maintained and controlled meticulously, especially if you are growing a photoperiod plant. 

In such cases, you can invest in lighting controllers and timers to remotely control, access, and schedule your grow lights. With these, you can largely automate how your grow lights function and their light cycle, too, whether you want them to run 18/6 or 12/12 light cycles. 

Similarly, light controllers or smart lights can also dim or change the color spectrum and intensity on their own to mimic the changing seasons. Of course, these types of grow lights are expensive and have somewhat of a learning curve, but once you get a hang of them, you can take your lighting system to the next level. 

And thanks to the LED and AI craze these days, grow lights are only getting smarter by the day. For instance, Argus’ DLI Control Program can deliver a standard daily light integral to your plant every day, regardless of the seasonal weather variations. This system runs on an algorithm that predicts the natural light outdoors, so your plant gets the exact lumens it needs to grow well. 

Similarly, light spectrum automation is a technology that uses AI to control the spectrum of light as per your plant’s growth cycle and stage. This can help your plant get the right spectrum of light at each of its growth stages for the best growth.

3. Irrigation

Another crucial aspect of your cannabis cultivation is irrigation, and this is something many new growers struggle with. Each plant is different, and each one has a unique nutrient requirement. 

If you want to automate your cannabis irrigation, the best way to do it is with drip irrigation — simple but works wonders. 

For drip irrigation, you need to use a water hose and pierce some holes in it where they are closer to the roots. Then, let the water run through the hose — it will slowly keep dripping over the roots, ensuring a constant flow throughout the day. 

Of course, this is a rudimentary solution for new growers, but if you want something more sophisticated, you can always go for better-automated irrigation systems. Such an automatic watering system can supply an accurate amount of water at the right intervals for optimal hydration of your cannabis plant. 

But these systems are expensive and may not be the best option for hobby growers. Instead, they are more suited for professional growers or commercial setups that manage multiple plants in the same room. 

4. Climate Control

Temperature and humidity are two of the most important environmental factors you must control in your grow room — they influence how well your plant grows. And controlling both can be a bit difficult for many growers. Let’s take a look at how you can automate both of these aspects. 

  • Temperature

Typically, cannabis plants prefer temperatures under 85°F or 29°C, but some strains can handle warmer temperatures to some extent. However, beyond that point, they start experiencing heat stress, which is not good for their health. 

To automate temperature, you can invest in climate controllers that allow you to remotely monitor and tweak the temperature of your grow room as and when you want it. At the same time, you can invest in sensors and smart thermostats that can manage the temperature on their own. 

  • Humidity

Cannabis plants are particular about the surrounding humidity — they grow best in a relative humidity of 60% to 70%, depending on their growth stage. Controlling RH is a tedious process but can be automated easily. 

You can invest in smart humidifiers or dehumidifiers that can manage the moisture levels in your grow room automatically with the help of sensors. Some high-end smart humidifiers designed for cannabis can even tweak the humidity levels based on your plant’s growth stage. 

You may also need to install humidity sensors around your grow room to get an accurate reading of the relative humidity; when doing so, ensure you are strategic with the placement of the sensors so you can get an accurate reading. 

5. Ventilation 

Another aspect of your grow room that can be automated is the ventilation system. In an outdoor environment, the wind takes care of this by keeping the air fresh and your plant dry, but in an indoor environment, you need ventilation to maintain fresh air. 

For this, you can invest in smart fans, vents, and exhaust systems that work in tandem with climate control devices to keep the air fresh. An automated ventilation system can not only monitor the quality of air but also tweak it to ensure the air is always fresh in your grow room. 

6. Carbon Dioxide

If you want to optimize your plant’s development, you can supplement it with carbon dioxide. However, for best results, you need to carefully monitor the CO2 levels in your grow room and administer more of it in a controlled manner. 

To do so, you can invest in Co2 sensors that accurately read the CO2 levels in your grow room. You can then install CO2 controllers or generators that maintain the right CO2 levels in your grow room. 

These CO2 sensors and generators will work with the rest of the climate control devices, like the air conditioner, humidifiers, and ventilation, to ensure more CO2 does not affect other aspects of the grow room, like humidity or temperature. 

While these tips are for automating your grow room, they can work with your grow tent or greenhouse, too. You only need to scale them accordingly and get the right devices that serve the purpose. 

Design Your Grow Room Properly

Design Your Grow Room Properly

If you want to automate your cannabis grow room, you need to plan ahead — the process begins by designing your grow room as it can significantly affect how various systems will operate within the room. 

So, you need to design your grow room with automation in mind, i.e., ensure there are enough outlets and fixtures to support various devices, sensors, controllers, et al. Here are some more tips you should focus on:

  • Plan your methodology, i.e., how you plan to grow your cannabis (hydroponically or in soil)
  • Find the perfect location that can support your cannabis cultivation 
  • Fine-tune the space to ensure your setup can fit in the same with all the peripherals
  • Also, there should be enough room for scalability, modifications, and for you to move around. 
  • Set up good light coverage — some smart light panels are elaborate and relatively large, so they must be able to fit in your grow room. 
  • Ensure all the devices can be supported and worked on without you having to move things around — automation requires minute fine-tuning of everything, and you don’t want to have to move the entire plant just to get to one sensor. 
  • Make sure your grow room setup complies with local laws and regulations if it’s a commercial operation.  
  • Always test out everything before you start growing your plant; if possible, you should also test out some variations to find a formula that promises the best results. 

Once you have everything in place, you can start automating and growing cannabis. 

Cost of Automating Your Grow Room

How much would it cost to automate your cannabis cultivation? This question is a bit difficult to answer because automation comes in an array of options. For example, simple automation of your lighting system requires an analog timer, which generally costs around $20. Even a drip irrigation system and some sensors or smart plugs are relatively cheap.

The cost of automating your cannabis cultivation depends entirely on the type of equipment you use. The more complex or high-tech a device is, the more expensive it will get. And while you can start automating your grow room for under a hundred dollars, a more elaborate, commercial setup can set you back by thousands of dollars if you choose the most advanced options.

Is it worth it?

Well, it depends entirely on what you want to achieve by automating your cannabis cultivation. If you’re a hobby grower and want to simply get some burden off your back, simple automation that costs less is totally worth it. But in this case, an elaborate setup may not be worth it.

However, if you are a novice grower, you should probably hold onto your thought. It is wise to manually grow your cannabis in the initial stages so you understand all aspects of cultivation. Then, once you have enough experience in growing cannabis, you can start automating the mundane tasks, so you can focus on other aspects of cultivation.

On the other hand, if you are a commercial grower, automation is almost always worth it. It saves you time and effort, and it makes your employees’ lives easier. Yes, commercial systems are expensive, but they are worthy investments that give terrific returns in a short time. 

So, whether it is worth it or not depends on what kind of cultivation you carry out. 

Get an Automated Grow Box for Cannabis

Automating your grow room may seem tedious if you are a hobby grower. It takes a lot of effort and tinkering around to get everything running right. And if you want to avoid that, fortunately, there is a way. 

You can invest in an automated grow box, which is a relatively small box that creates an isolated environment for your cannabis plant to grow in. The box ensures the plant growing within gets all the right environmental factors for optimal growth. 

High-end automated grow boxes consist of various smart devices that monitor, control, and track various processes like air exchange, lighting, fertilization, soil pH, climate control, etc. Many of these boxes also contain carbon scrubbers that even keep the smell to a minimum. 

Then there are some boxes that can even be connected to your smartphone and other flagship ones that can even dry your cannabis plants at the end of each cycle. 

The options are endless, but it all depends on how much you are willing to spend for an automated grow box. You can get some for as little as a few hundred dollars, but the rest, especially the flagship ones, can set you back by a couple of thousand dollars. 

DIY an Automated Grow Box

Automated grow boxes are terrific investments, but for many growers, they may offer little value or be too expensive. In that case, you can even create your own DIY automated airbox. 

DIY grow boxes are cheap, and the entire process can be an excellent learning experience for you. To begin with, you need a box or a bucket, which seems discreet, like a computer tower or a cabinet. 

Then, you need to install lighting, climate control, ventilation, and irrigation lines, as per your preferences, in the box or the container. Here, small-scale devices work best, so you can make do with a small aircon unit, computer fans, LED lights, an external reservoir, a small pump, etc. 

Once your box is set up, the next step is to automate everything with a series of timers, sensors, and controllers. Finally, you can rig everything up with automation software — it may be a bit complicated to start with, but it is worth it. 

That’s it. With these steps, you can create your own automated grow box at a fraction of the cost of a pre-built one or even a dedicated grow room. But it goes without saying, always do enough research beforehand and learn from other growers so you don’t waste time and energy climbing the wrong ladder.

Summary: How to Automate Your Cannabis Cultivation?

Automation is an excellent step in improving your cannabis cultivation. With it, you no longer have to spend time on mundane tasks — let your phone take care of it — so you can focus on other important aspects of your garden. 

But how far can you go with it? Automation is a broad term that encompasses everything from cheap sensors all the way up to expensive grow lights. It all depends on how far you want to take it. 

Most growers can get away with basic automation, but if you are a commercial grower and are serious about cannabis cultivation, you should consider investing in a more advanced automation system. 

Whichever automation route you take, make sure that your room can support the additional devices without causing any trouble. Lastly, remember to test everything multiple times before finally using it to grow cannabis.

Automation is helpful, but if you don’t manage it well, it can cause significant damage to your cannabis plant quickly. So, it is best to test first and use it later only when you know everything is running well. 

But automation is only one part of the elaborate puzzle that is growing cannabis. There’s a lot more to it that you can learn to become a better grower. What is that? Stay tuned to learn more about taking your cannabis cultivation to the next level.


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It's so much easier than you make it out to be. £40 will get you automated with the kit you already own.