Pros and Cons of Growing Indoors in the Virgin Islands
This growing guide is intended for US Virgin Islands legal medical marijuana patients, caregivers and cultivators.
Before going further, please review the USVI medical marijuana law and guide to starting a cannabis grow business in the Virgin Islands.
Cannabis patients and caregivers can grow their own marijuana in the USVI. Cultivation of 12 plants is allowed for medical patients. Before starting to grow, deciding if you’d rather grow indoors or outdoors is an important choice. Both has it’s pro’s and con’s.
Medical Marijuana cardholders in the territory are allowed to sell excess, privately grown, marijuana to growers, manufacturers and dispensaries.
Why grow indoors when the USVI has some of the best climate to grow marijuana?
While the tropics and the overall Caribbean does have a near perfect environment for cannabis cultivation. There are drawbacks to growing outdoors that you can read about in our Outdoor Growing Guide.
Indoor growing is pure control. Control over your environment, light cycles, strains you can grow, and even when/how you feed and water your plants.
Looking to produce the best buds and the highest THC percentages? Looking to maximize yield to offset that 12 plant minimum and sell back to dispensaries? Only indoors will do.
Growing indoors in the Virgin Islands has it’s advantages, but it also has some serious challenges. Let’s take at the biggest problem facing indoor growing.
The monster that can send the strongest human into a state of panic. The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority, locally known as “F%!$ing WAPA”.
Once you get past the constant black-outs that happen at random, and the brown-outs that destroy electronics. They also charge you one of the highest prices in the world for the honor.
The current price for WAPA power is $.4477/kWh for businesses and .38/kWh for home owners. So running a 5’x5′ grow room with a 1000w HPS grow light, with a 12 hour cycle will cost you about $2000/month. That’s just the light, no climate control, fans, blowers, or water.
LED lighting and some advanced growing techniques can reduce the monthly expense’s of your grow, but there will be a higher startup cost.
Cons of Growing Weed Indoors in the US Virgin Islands
Already covering the #1 con, WAPA, pun intended. There are a couple of disadvantages to growing indoors. Cost: Startup costs for an indoor grow op are high! Everything needs to be purchased before you even get started. Lights, timers, tents, room conversions, A/C, etc. While prices can be negotiated, bargains found, you can’t cut corners.
There are no quick fixes, no alternatives to what you NEED. Buying a dehumidifier after fungus appears on your plants is not an option. Your crop is ruined. Time and wasted power expenses is gone, you have to start over from scratch, the right way.
Since you won’t be using the sun for it’s amazing growing abilities, everything is going to have to be artificial. While whole articles can be written on lighting setups, and there pro’s and con’s, we will stick to the basics.
Cannabis can be grown with any artificial lighting. The intensity and the spectrum, the light’s color, are what matter most.
CFL’s, LED’s and T5’s all available from Home Depot can get your crop growing and producing buds. Just don’t expect a huge yield. These light’s all produce a low intensity, which gives the plant’s less energy to photosynthesize. These are still great options if you are extremely tight on space, and don’t need much medication.
HPS and the new COB LED’s are the best of the best when it comes to indoor lighting. But the power consumption and heat of HPS and high startup of COB LED’s, you begin to see why indoor lighting becomes a con.
Not everyone has space in their home or apartment to grow marijuana. Closets, rooms, garages, are all great places for grow rooms. But if you don’t have the square footage to spare, you need to start thinking outdoors.
You are going to need to control your environment. Lighting generates heat, and pot plants produce odor. Both need to be controlled.
Air Conditioning and de humidification are necessary to protect your plants from stress and disease. The more lighting you have, the more heat is generated.
Odor control is necessary if you’d like to keep your growing private. Filtering the air as it leaves your grow room is key to keeping your small grow op secure.
Growing indoors is extremely complex and goes against the K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple Stupid) method of growing marijuana. While a K.I.S.S. method exists within indoor growing, indoor growing in itself is not simple. There are a ton of moving parts and systems. Light’s, timers, schedules, temperature and humidity controls all need to be optimal for indoor growing to be beneficial.
Pros to Growing Cannabis Indoors in the USVI
Now that we have the con’s out of the way, the benefits of growing will cover some of the same areas, but for different reasons. But first comes the first big advantage.
You will have complete and total control over your grow environment. There are no cloudy, rainy days while growing indoors. The temperature is always perfect, and your “sunrise” & “sunsets” are perfectly timed.
Switching from Vegetative to Flowering state let’s you decide exactly when your crop will be ready.
With thousands of strains and hybrids to choose from, your choices are endless. Growing indoors allows you to tailor the environment exactly for the strain you want. This is also extremely important for the next Pro.
Heavy Indica Strains
Indoor grows allow you to grow more cold weather and heavy cola bud indica strains. These strains would be impossible to grow outdoors in the Virgin Islands.
High THC indica strains require cool nights to really develop some of there supercharged medical effects. Growing them in an outdoor environment will turn a 25% THC strain into a low teens strain, decreasing its value and effectiveness.
Big bud strains, or cash croppers will flourish indoors. Colas that are 4+ inches around will continue to swell in a properly controlled environment. But outdoors, the same big bud becomes extremely susceptible to fungus and bud rot in our high humidity climate.
Advanced Growing Techniques
Growing indoors allows you to use more advanced growing techniques. Bigger yields, more efficient use of space, and feeding schedules can be optimized for the greatest performance.
Optimize space and increase yields with advanced techniques like Sea of Green (SOG) or Screen of Green (SCRoG) instead of letting your plant grow naturally.
Advanced watering and feeding like aquaponics, developed right here in the Virgin Islands, and hydroponics supercharge plants growth and yield potential.,
One of the biggest Pro’s. Security for your crop and your own well being is extremely important.
Watching your cannabis start to bud and begins to swell to big beautiful buds is very exciting. Just as you’re ready to harvest, someone jumps your fence and snatches your outdoor plants. It’s heartbreaking when you rely on these plants for medication.
Growing indoors allows you to keep your small grow operation a secret and out of view from neighbors and passer-bys.
It’s all up to you to make a decision of what is best for you. Growing your medicine indoors has it’s pro’s and con’s. While it can be more expensive with upfront costs, in the long run, indoor grows do pay off.