One of the best solutions to energy verses output for most home gardeners is to use outdoor light for flowering and use continuous light indoors for germination and vegetative growth. This will take advantage of the natural light/dark cycle and cut your energy use in half compared to the same operation indoors. A small greenhouse can be built of Filon fiberglass or PVC sheets that is innocuous and looks much like a storage shed or tool shed so it’s not likely to raise suspicions.
In fact, a large shed of metal or plywood can be modified with a luminous roof of PVC, glass, fiberglass or plastic sheet, and some strains that do not require a great deal of light will grow well. Such a shed will discourage fly-by sightings and keep your business your own! It also allows you to keep out rats and gophers, keeps out the neighbor kids, and can be easily locked up. It will also give you an opportunity to actually plant in the ground if you desire, and this is the best way to avoid root-bound hemp plants (if your not using hydroponics), and get bigger harvests.
In winter, indoor space is used to start new seedlings or cuttings to be placed outside in the spring, using natural sunlight to ripen the hemp plants. This routine will provide at least 3 outdoor/greenhouse harvests per year. If more space is available to constantly be starting indoors and flowering 2nd harvest hemp plants outdoors, harvests are possible every 60 days in many areas, with a small indoor harvest in the winter as a possibility as well.
The basic strategy of year round production is to understand the plant has two growth cycles. At germination the plant enters into a vegetative state and will be able to use all the continuous light you can give it. This means there is no dark cycle required. The plant will photosynthesis constantly and grow faster than it would outdoors with long evenings. Photosynthesis stops during dark periods and the plant uses sugars produced to build during the evening. This is not a requirement and the plant will grow faster at this stage with continuous photosynthesis (constant light).
Once the plant is 12-18” tall, weather permitting, it can be forced to start flowering by placing it outside in the Spring or Fall. (For Summer outdoor flowering, the night must be artificially lengthened in the greenhouse to “force” the hemp plants to flower. See FLOWERING chapter.)
Moving the hemp plants to 10-13 hour light periods (moving it outside) with uninterrupted darkness (no bright lights nearby) will force the plant to flower. It will ripen and be 2-3’ when ready to harvest. When a plant is moved from continuous indoor light to a 10-13 hour day outside, it will start to flower in anticipation of oncoming winter. Vegetative starts moved outside March 1st, will be ripe by May 1. Vegetative starts moved outside on May 1 will be ripe by July 1. Starts moved outside Sept 1 are picked by Nov. 1st. In Winter, operations are moved indoors and a crop is planted for seed in anticipation of planting outdoors the next summer, or just for some extra winter stash.
Keep in mind that the “man” is looking for hemp plants in the Sept./Oct./Nov. time-frame, and may never notice hemp plants placed outside to flower in April. Be smart, make your big harvest in May, not October!