What Are Light Deprivation Techniques?

Light deprivation has been used in various forms of agriculture for centuries. However, over the last decade the use of light deprivation in greenhouses has increased throughout the US.

Light deprivation (or “light dep” for short) is a method of reducing the light cycle of flowering plants. The greenhouse is actually covered to block light, thereby depriving gardens of a prolonged photoperiod (the period of time each day during which an organism receives illumination).

For many different types of plant cultivation, this process is integral to ensuring that plants stay in the flowering stage – a growth phase that requires 12 hours (or less) of light. Once the photoperiod begins to exceed 12 hours, flowering plants are in danger of reverting back to their vegetative stage of growth. This makes light deprivation techniques crucial for farmers who rely on timely crops.

One added benefit of using light-dep techniques lies in the ability to squeeze in an extra harvest during the summer months, when the Sun naturally provides a prolonged light cycle. By covering the greenhouse and limiting the daylight that plants receive to 12 hours, greenhouse growers can force a crop to flower earlier in the summer and get an extra harvest in before the traditional fall harvest.