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Most Efficient Commercial Grow Methods

Discussion in 'Grow Room Design & Setup' started by BiteSizeFreak, Dec 10, 2010.


    BiteSizeFreak Active Member

    So in High Times and such I always see these amazing grow ops where there are people running up to and above 100 plants but rarely do they go into the specifics of the operation.

    My question is what methods of growing are the indoor commercial standards? I realize you could take any type whether DWC, Ebb and Gro/Flow, Aeroponics, even soil and scale it up but what are really the most efficient operations?

    Please keep the "if you don't know you shouldn't be asking" comments and such to yourself. I'm one of those forward thinking and planning type people so I appreciate the info. Thanks! :mrgreen:

    teddiekgb123 Active Member

    My friend who I got my cheese from has a warehouse grow and he uses the ebb n' gro system. I'm by no means anywhere close to an expert but I'll still give ya my thoughts as I am also one of those forward thinking people and have given this question some thought already.

    For one, the question can only be answered in very general terms. There's so many little specifics that are unique to each location, especially in a large commercial setup, that it would be pointless to give specific details and say "this is how you do it" unless you are building everything from the ground up.

    Hydro is definitely more efficient both in speed and production. If it's a medical grow where numbers count I would go with an ebb n' gro. Ebb n' gro's are great systems that allow the buckets to be directly on the ground so you can grow them big. They are a little quirky...sometime the pump doesn't shut off and floods your room. Sentinel also makes one that's digital, has a water sensor and alarm, and better buckets. Personally I'm a little partial to scrog right now so I would do that on a large scale. If you're a guerrilla grower you may consider a large aeroponics array and grow shorter plants in a sea of green. I think one of the keys for efficiency is to do a setup with the fewest amount of reservoirs as possible. DWC won't be the best method I think and normal ebb n' flow is a nasty green mess.
    For environmental controls, pretty much everything is just bigger. You use co2 burners instead of tanks and you may have several small rooms or a couple big rooms, sealed environment or vented, cold climate or hot......all of which completely change your setup. two cents please

    BiteSizeFreak Active Member

    Thanks for the info. Just so happens I'm already running a CAP Ebb and Gro so that works great. Been interested in checking out the Sentinel version also, I hear its a bit more refined.

    How much of a difference does C02 really make? Especially in such a large environment? Could a person expect a 5% increase in yield? 10%? I really don't know much about it. Spent all my efforts on learning to control temp and humidity. Figured the basics were the most important before getting fancy with the C02.

    ElectricPineapple Well-Known Member

    expect, if used right at constant 1500 ppm's in a sealed room, a 15-20% increase or maybe more if your good. but you have to raise you daytime temps to 82-85.
    Nice Ol Bud

    Nice Ol Bud Well-Known Member

    I love weed dude,
    no idea what your talking about lol.


    BiteSizeFreak Active Member

    And its still practical in a warehouse/commercial setting? Damn that would be insane. So lets say it increases your yield 20% now subtract the ammount you spent on propane I wonder how far ahead you really come out vs. all the extra work.

    ElectricPineapple Well-Known Member

    propane is real cheap, compared to ganj. think about it, if you were going to get 10 pounds, with CO2, you would get 12. if you are getting 3000 an elbow, tht an increase in profit of by 6000. you wont use 3000 gallons of propane in 7-8 weeks in a commercial grow. even running 4-5 burners. but you would probably getting a yield somewhere around atleast 40-50 pounds, which would an increase in profit by, 24,000-30,000. id say its worth it.

    BiteSizeFreak Active Member

    Gotcha! I don't think I've ever bought propane before plus not knowing the consumption rate of the burners had me wondering. Thanks!

    ElectricPineapple Well-Known Member

    ya, where im at, propane is heavily used, and isnt that cheap. but im paying about 2 bucks a gallon.

    marijuananation Well-Known Member

    There is not one set way of growing standards for the commercial cultivation of marijuana (indoor/outdoor/greenhouse) or a set number of plants.

    However The most effective commercial scale gardening methods have been proven time and time again using soil or a soilless mix.
    Fully sealed rooms that have no in or out vents..
    You would cool these rooms with air conditioning units or chillers.
    You would bring C02 into the atmosphere (grow rooms).
    Dehumidifiers are brought into the rooms to lower the humidity and Humidifiers to increase the humidity of the rooms.

    You should also note that most of the grows in high times are from growers that supply the smoke shops in the netherlands (amsterdam and surrounding cities).

    Peace and happy Growing !!

    BiteSizeFreak Active Member

    So that answers all my "how" questions so I suppose. Thanks!

    At this point of an operation quality would already be locked down (and always my main concern) so my next tweaking would consist of quantity. What I've always wondered about is the actual yield difference between doing a SOG and putting clones directly to 12/12 or taking an extra 2-4 weeks as veg time. I'm talking about after they've rooted of course. Thanks!

    marijuananation Well-Known Member


    The difference is the GROWER !!

    The yields could be comparable in either method.. (Per square meter is how marijuana is measured by finished product weight)

    bigger plants = bigger/more buds, but if you have a large ammount of smaller plants taking up the same ammount of space you can get the same if not a greater yield (in less time)...

    but for the commercial cultivation of marijuana almost all of them are running a SOG method and placing clones directly into flower.

    they are in the business to produce alot of product in the shortest ammount of time possible.

    BiteSizeFreak likes this.

    theGREENmonster333 Member

    Yield is not expressed in relation to the number of plants that you have but the amount of lighting (lumens) that you have. The last poster who talked about the perfect room is pretty right on but there is so much else that goes into something like this i assume this is a long ways off for you. I grow sog but IMO if I were going to do something like this I would have one or two huge flower rooms with tons of vented 1000w's and I would use Hydro Bucket Systems. I don't like huge plants I think it takes a little away from quality IMO but for efficiency gains you want to have as few plants as possible. There's so much more I could say but you can find all that out your self. goodluckk.

    theGREENmonster333 Member

    sog is way to much work for an operation this size. sog commercial growers are not growing 30 lbs a month. There are commercial growers out there using every method you could imagine.

    theGREENmonster333 Member

    and the difference is definately the grower

    Canibitual Well-Known Member

    Commercial Productions in Hydroponic systems, tend to use the Ebb and FLow system on flood tables. they generally use alot of rockwool, placeing the rockwool directly on the table, and growing many short plants aprox 15" tall in 4x4 squares

    an example would be a 4x8 flowering table with three 600w bulbs and 160 plants at 15" with no topping... growing aprox 3lbs ($3500x3=$10,500) per table... scaled up around 20+ tables = $210,000k a month, 2.5million a year... easily managed by around 4-6 people.... this is still one of the easyiest to maintain, and easyiest to cleanup... and pretty much the best way to grow without much work involved.

    other systems tend to be very expensive to implement, very messy to clean, they clog up the equipement, and are generally a pain in the rear (I know, I've used most of them)

    commercial growers also use twice the flowering space as the Veg to keep them cycleing every month... and have many mothers to keep them fully stocked with fresh new clones to keep that large op going. afterall, we are talking about 1000's of plants...

    proper ventalation, Temps, Humidity, Co2, are all things that are generally regulated very well...

    Canibitual Well-Known Member


    BiteSizeFreak Active Member

    Gotcha, makes sense. So I always see yields quoted in grams per square meter but what does that really mean to me? How is that really calculated? I've got good common sense but I'm not the brightest bulb in the drawer. :)

    BiteSizeFreak Active Member


    marijuananation Well-Known Member

    Please do not listen to Canibutal or the greenmonster333
    with advice like this
    Clearly they do not have a clue what the heck they are talking about my friend.

    For one yield has nothing to do with the ammount of lumens you have it all depends on your growing methods, experience and nutrients.

    The more mature the plant is before you flower it the better the quality of the product will be, it has nothing to do with size".

    He must be joking when he says that commercial SOG growers are not growing 30 lbs a month

    Commercial growers are clearing well over 30 lbs a month my friend in SOG..

    Actually the easiest most forgiving garden method to maintain is soil or a soilless mix so he is definately way off in that aspect.

    Hydroponics has to be constantly maintained (alot of work) if one thing is off your crop is ruined.

    Here is my decsription of SOG METHOD.

    you can use tables,or individual pots, hydroponics whatever you want.. the bottom line is for mass/commercial production you are doing a SOG method

    SOG Is the theory of harvesting lots of small plants, matured early to get the fastest production of buds available.​

    Instead of growing a few plants for a longer period of time, in the same space many smaller plants are grown that mature faster and in less time.
    Thus, less time is required between crops.​

    This is important to you when the electricity bill comes each month.
    One crop can be started while another is maturing, and a continuous harvest, year round can be maintained.​

    4 plants per square foot will be a good start for seedlings.
    1 plant per square foot will allow plenty of room for each plant to grow a large top cola, but will not allow for much bottom branching.​

    This is OK since indoors, these bottom branches are always shaded anyway, and will not grow very well unless given additional light and space.​

    The indoor grower quickly realizes that plants that are too tall do not produce enough at the bottom to make the extra growing time used worth while. An ​

    exception to this rule would be if it is intended the plants are to go outside at some point, and it is expected that the light/shading issue will not be a factor at that point.​

    The plants, if started at the same time, should create what is called a "green canopy" that traps most of the light at the top level of the plants.​

    Little light will penetrate below this level, since the plants are so close together.
    The gardener is attempting to concentrate on the top of the plant, and use the light and space to the best advantage, in as little time as possible. Use of nylon poultry fence or similar trellising laid out over the green canopy will support the plants as they start to droop under the weight of heavy fruiting tops.
    Stakes can be used too, but are not as easy to install for plants in the middle and back of the room, where reach is more difficult. ​

    It's easy to want big plants, since they will produce more yield per plant, but it's usually better with limited space to grow smaller plants that mature faster and pack into smaller spaces.
    Sea of Green was developed in Holland. Instead of fitting 4 large plants in that small room, fit 12 small ones on a shelf above 12 other small plants.
    These plants take only 3-4 months to mature from germination to ripe buds, and harvesting takes place constantly, since there is both a vegetative and flowering area devoted to each, with harvests every 45-60 days.​

    It's not the size of the plant, but the maturity and quality of the product that counts.
    Twice as many plants grown half as big will fill the grow space twice as fast, so harvests take place almost twice as often.
    Get good at picking early flowering plants, and propagate only those that are of the best quality.
    6" square containers will allow for 4 plants per square foot.
    You may also gauge by the size of your growing tray (for passive hydroponics)
    you can use kitty litter boxes. ($3 each at walmart) Planted 4 per square foot, (for vegetative seedlings) a 12 sq. ft. closet will hold 48 seedlings on one shelf.
    In any case, you can use 4" rockwool cubes that fit into kitty litter pans @ 12 cubes per pan.
    You can get 5 pans onto a 12 sq. ft. closet upper shelf, so that is 60 seedlings on one small shelf! ​

    For flowering indoors, 1 plant per sq. ft. is a good rule of thumb for SOG.​

    If less plants are grown in this size space, it will take them longer to fill the space, thus more electricity and time will be used to create the same amount of product.​

    If more than one plant p.s.f. is attempted, the grower will soon find that plants thus crowded tend to be more stem than bud, and the total harvest may be reduced, so be cautious. ​

    It's good to avoid "topping" your plants if you want them to grow as fast as possible.
    It's better just to grow 2 or 4 times more plants, since they will produce more, faster, in the same space.​

    Also, "training" plants with twist-ties is a great way to get them to bush out a bit. Just take any type of plastic or paper twist tie and wrap it around the top of the plant, then pull it over until the top is bent over 90-180 degrees and then attach this to the main stem lower on the plant.​

    Do this for one week and then release the plant from it's bond.
    The plant can be trained in this fashion to take less vertical space and to grow bushier, to fill the grow space and force lower limbs to grow upward and join the green canopy.​

    This technique takes advantage of the fact that if the top is pulled over, it creates a hormonal condition in the plant that makes it bush out at all lower internodes. ​

    Sea of Green entails growing to harvest the main cola (top) of the plant.​

    Bottom branches are trimmed to increase air flow under the "blanket" of growing tops. Use them for cuttings when you need more clones.​











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    I was using the sog method growing Hindu Kush and I Sucesfully Harvested over 50lbs of dry product for a whopping sale price of $150,000.

    I bought the truck below with some of the money and my friend wrote it off a year and a half later while driving without a license and in turn I received nothing back from the insurance company in form of compensation.

    I was not going to charge my friend, but I was not gonna tell them that I knew he had no license either.
    So I ate the cost of the truck ( over $60,000 Canadian).
    After all mother nature did provide it for me to enjoy it while I had it.
    It was my stupidity to let him drive my truck any way, we are still friends to this day, but I bust his balls about it all the time
    I can tell he still feels bad about it after over 3 years everytime I bring it up to him too.. lol

    My outdoor crops this year are going to the medical dispensaries around Vancouver BC



    :peace: PEACE AND HAPPY GROWING !! :peace:
    Jdcollins86, PJ Diaz, dopeyG and 2 others like this.

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