I was joking about the trash barrels and 2 story greenhouse. But trash barrels for pots would
yield more than smaller buckets, and a greenhouse would yield more than an HID light. Plants can be grown to 12 feet. Perhaps more, I dunno.
Generally however, the bigger the plant the less THC you get in them. Twenty smaller plants will yield better quality bud than four 12 footers.
Both outdoors and indoors have their advantages.
Where I am, indoor would be better because the growing season is over by Sept 15. It doesn't go over 70 much after that, and it goes below freezing a lot, including hard freezes sometimes.
You can't put it out until June 1, or you risk the chance of possible frosts.
Plus the nightly dews all summer long wreak havoc with the mold. By Sept 1 the sun is at a lower angle, and that dew might linger all day in shady areas.
People do get away with putting it out in early May and leaving it until October, but they lose a lot to mold and frost.
And it's one of the cloudier places in the lower 48. The city of Caribou (Pop. 9000) makes the top 20 list for cloudiest US cities.
Slugs love this place, due to the wetness, and they preferentially love cannabis plants. Almost as much as they love moose shit.
Fences and frames stand out and bring attention to the plants, they're not an option until it's completely legal.
Medicinal patients aren't allowed to grow outdoors, afaik.
All that said nothing beats the natural sun for a light source, even in a cloudy place. And the air circulation.
I think a greenhouse would be the best of both worlds. If it were legal I'd try that first.
Most likely this would be your best bet.
I'm far enough out in the boondocls not to have to worry about my grow boxes being seen by strangers. I had six grow boxes, each five feet by twelve, with plastic pipe frames in the shape of a bow. They were made of 2 x 12s; the plastic pipe frames were set of a three foot center and were about four feet in height. I grew 50 plants in each box for a total of 300 plants, none of which ever grew to more than three feet in height, more or less.
Our season is such that I could plant seedlings (5 to 8 inches in height) during the second week of May, let them grow for about a month-and-a-half, and then adjust the photo period to 12 hours to induce them into budding. I'd leave them in bud mode until mid-September and then harvest. MJ plants will mature in 90-100 days.
That would yield about one OZ. of cured bud per plant, or 300 ounces, or about 18 pounds, although it varied between 15 and 20 pounds. At $2,500 a pound, this would being in about $45,000, more or less. My buyers came from prairie Canada. I'd meet them at a local cafe, deliver the goods and accept payment, always in cash. They never came to my home.
My fenced garden is quite large, about 100 feet by 250 feet. My grow boxes were located along one edge where the adjacent forest came right up to the fence. I planted Jerusalem Artichoke along the inner edge as camoflage; it grew to six feet or more very quickly and was too thick to see through, and very close in coloration to MJ plants.
I operated this set up for 20 years and it nearly always went as smooth as silk. In some years I did suffer issues with mold, although it was never extensive.
I think how one goes about this kind of thing depends on the situation and circumstances one faces and the lay of their land.
The biggest risk I faced was helicopter patrols, and though they comnonly flew over this valley, they always seemed to be more interested in the other side than my side. They never flew directly over my place, lucky me.
In the beginning I operated a 12 by 18 foot grow room within the confines of my shop building, which is 26 feet by 26 feet. This was a hydroponic set up using four 1,000 watt and two 500 watt lights. I operated this for about ten years before our rate for juice became too high and I changed up to growing out doors.
My growing days ended about three years ago when prices fell to below $2K a pound and were trending down. I decided I'd done enough growing in my life and dismantled my outdoor grow setup. Since then, all I've done is grow a few plants for my own consumption.
It was good while it lasted and I have absolutely no complaints.