There is a long-standing debate throughout the cannabis community of whether indoor
production is superior to greenhouse growing. While some people swear by a certain method
of production, the truth is that there are pros and cons to each one. From our perspective
at Virox®, we want to help you get a better understanding of the differences between these
methods when it comes to cleaning and disinfection.
Growing plants in a greenhouse takes advantage of natural sunlight, using light
deprivation to accelerate the flowering process. The most obvious advantage of this
production method is the cost savings – while indoor growing requires significant
energy expenditure in the form of artificial lighting and fans, greenhouse production
uses the sun’s light to support the growth of healthy plants.
This being said, these benefits come with a major downside: it’s difficult to control
all aspects of the environment in a greenhouse setting. Factors like climate,
temperature, and air circulation can fluctuate, making it more difficult to maintain a
consistent quality to your final product.
Unlike greenhouse production facilities, which are vulnerable to changes in the
environment, indoor production facilities allow you to control every aspect of the
growing process. Installing lights and fans ensures that lighting and air circulation
will be tightly controlled, and the temperature and humidity of the growing room will
be maintained at a constant level. This makes it significantly easier to ensure that a
consistent quality is maintained throughout the year.
As mentioned previously, the major drawback of this method is that it is substantially
more costly and resource-intensive when compared to greenhouse or outdoor production.
Generally speaking, more controlled environments are easier from a pest management
standpoint. This holds true for cannabis production facilities as well: greenhouses
are designed to let outside air inside, which comes with a risk of pathogen
introduction from the environment. Also, maintaining proper air circulation is an
important factor in preventing the spread of certain infections such as powdery
mildew, which is easier to achieve in a sealed indoor environment.
In terms of the actual process of cleaning and disinfecting, this really comes down to
the types of surfaces that are present in a facility. Disinfectants are designed for
use on hard, non-porous surfaces, such as stainless steel, most plastics, and rubbers.
On the other hand, soft, porous surfaces are much more difficult to properly
disinfect, and should be avoided where possible throughout your production areas.
When addressing the key differences in disinfection practice between the two growing
environments, it is also important to consider a perpetual harvest approach vs. a
complete room harvest. While employing a perpetual harvest, as a majority of
greenhouses do, you cannot spray or foam a disinfectant as plants will still be in the
room. In contrast, most indoor facilities will harvest the entire room, which allows
them to use spray or foam applications and reduce the total time spent cleaning.
Another thing to consider is surface coverage – ideally, it should be easy for your
disinfectant to achieve full coverage of the surfaces throughout your facility.
Greenhouses tend to have more cracks and small spaces where pathogens can hide, making
it more difficult to ensure that the entire area is being adequately covered.
Although both surface type and surface coverage are important general considerations
in building a disinfection program, every facility is unique. It’s critical to the
health of your plants and your team to develop a disinfection program that is the
right fit for your facility, including compliance with local regulations and ease of
implementation. In future posts, we’ll take a deep dive into the various factors that
will help make your disinfection program successful, protecting the health of your
yield throughout the entire production process.

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