Indoor Yield-O-Rama


A Perspective On Indoor Productivity & Light

Regardless of the legal, social and cultural issues surrounding cannabis, interest in its production indoors can vary widely. While grower's on Internet cannabis messaging boards seem to show great interest in productivity, the Canadian Report of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs published this finding in September 2002....

It is not uncommon to find indoor grow operations involving over 3,000 plants. Those figures vary considerably from one province to another, overall less than 10 percent of all marihuana seized in Canada was grown using hydroponics (a method of growing plants with the roots in nutrient mineral solutions rather than in soil). Indoor grow operations still rely mostly on soil-based organic cultivation but hydroponics is gaining in popularity. Despite the availability of highly sophisticated technologies designed to increase the yield even more, most growers do not bother to go to such lengths, preferring simpler and proven methods.

With those findings being derived from seizures, it's reasonable to assume that many of the growers accepted the risks of growing commercially for personal gain, rather than growing inconspicuously for personal use from a closet, cabinet or sectioned-off area within a spare bedroom or basement. A 3,000 plant grow operation needs a lot of space, and few would argue that commercial operations use more space than one used for personal use. Personal use growers growing in their homes must give up some living or storage space but often find concealable growing space to be at a premium, and because the scale at which they grow is much smaller than commercial operations they are more likely to seek out methods for putting their limited space to better use, making it more productive. A sophisticated technology such as hydroponics not only increases productivity, but due to its cleanliness, efficiency and automation is more user and home-friendly.

Producing is important, but it seems producing more is not important enough for most (commercial) growers to seek out sophisticated technologies designed to increase yield. In a legitimate marketplace, manufacturers seek out ways to increase productivity to give them a competitive edge, passing some of the savings on to consumers to increases sales, everybody wins. The black market has no such checks and balances, the price of cannabis ($200-$400/ounce) is whatever the market will bear regardless of what it costs to produce. Given that it literally costs pennies (appx $4/ounce in energy costs) to produce cannabis indoors once the initial outlay for equipment is made, it's no wonder why those for whom space is of little concern do not bother to go to such lengths to increase yield while those for whom limited space stands in their way of an uninterrupted supply do.

The irony in all this is that personal use growers who place a premium on indoor space will gladly avail themselves of sophisticated technology to be freed from the high cost of cannabis produced by commercial growers, as well as the risks, inconsistent supply and quality issues typical of black market dealings. It takes just as long to grow a productive garden as it does to grow an unproductive one, nevertheless, and despite who takes advantage of highly sophisticated technologies to increase yield,for those with limited space the simplest and most widely proven method to increase yield is to provide more light.



Available Light, Sweet Spot, Footprint


Sub-canopy Light Penetration


Effects on Growth


Diminishing Returns


Perspective on Productivity & Light



Energy Cost Calculators


Lumen-based Coverage Area Table


Lumen-based Watts Per Square Foot Table


Lumens Per Watt for common lamps


Available Initial Lumens for common lamps




If you haven't done so, you may want to read
the Indoor Cannabis Production resources.


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