The sky’s the limit with outdoor plants—you can let them get as big and tall as you want, as long as they’re manageable. One plant can potentially yield between a half-pound and full-pound of dried weed! Growing a handful of hands for yourself is more than enough. With an indoor grow, your space is a lot more restricted.
While some plants thrive in their native soils, which are usually one of the compositions listed above, cannabis plants are best grown in soil that includes a combination of the three consistencies above—this mixture is known as loam.
There are also commercially available soil blends that already contain the proper mix of these types of ingredients.
How to set up your outdoor marijuana grow.
We recommend these organic fertilizers:
Indoor grows can be wasteful, using a ton of electricity to power all those lights, fans, and other equipment. The sun and the wind are free!
Soil has three basic consistencies, in various ratios:
For most first-time gardeners, we recommend buying a quality potting soil that will provide your plants with enough nutrients to get them through most of their growth cycle without having to add many amendments. This pre-fertilized soil—often referred to as “super-soil”—that can grow cannabis plants from start to finish without any added nutrients if used correctly.
These are just some examples of amendments commonly used in different types of soils. Heavily amended soils will have long lists that break down all organic nutrients they contain. Some companies create soils that offer a great structure with base nutrients, but allow you to fill in the gaps as you desire.
Start off with fertilizers that are inexpensive and readily available. Some release nutrients quickly and are easily used by the plant, while others take weeks or months to release usable nutrients. If done correctly, you can mix in a few of these products with your soil amendments to provide enough nutrients for the entire life of your plants. Most of these items can be purchased cheaply at your local nursery.
Once you have an understanding of the climate in your area, you’ll need to consider a few things before planting your weed.
For first-time growers, we recommend avoiding commercial fertilizers like long-release granular fertilizers. These can be used, but you need to have a good understanding of how they work and what your plants need.
It’s fun and relaxing.
Most potting soils used in gardening are loam soils. If you’ve ever worked with potting soil, you’ll know that its composition is rich and diverse, and it looks dark and hearty. Beyond texture and color, the soil should smell rich and alive.
What size pot do I need?
You may need to put all of your plants in containers if you don’t have great soil. Also, if you’re unable to perform the heavy labor needed to dig holes and amend soil, containers may be the only way for you to grow your own cannabis outdoors.
While shopping for soil, you might be overwhelmed by the options available at your local garden store. The soil type is the basic structure of your soil. From there, look at nutrients, microorganisms, and other amendments that improve the soil. Your choices will be flooded with words like:
Heavy rains and high winds can cause physical damage to plants and reduce yields, and excessive moisture can lead to mold and powdery mildew, especially during the flowering stage.
Relying on the power of the sun, you won’t need to spend a ton of money on an outdoor grow. You’ll need some soil, fertilizer, seeds or clones, and maybe a small greenhouse to get them started. You won’t need to pay for electricity for lights, AC units, or dehumidifiers, and you can even collect rainwater.
It’s crucial to have a good understanding of the climate in the area you’re going to grow. Cannabis is highly adaptable to various conditions, but it is susceptible in extreme weather.
When possible, use natural structures and formations in your garden as windbreaks to prevent excessive stress on your plants that could lead to branches breaking.
Wilting plants and dry soil are a direct sign that plants need water. Droopy leaves along with wet soil are a sign of overwatering. Both are common mistakes and can be avoided with some practice.
The three primary nutrients required for cultivating marijuana are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Choosing the best site for outdoor cannabis.
Avoid clay pots as they can be costly, heavy, and retain heat that could dry out the plant’s soil and roots. Fabric pots are the least expensive and most effective solution, as they allow for ample drainage and plenty of oxygen to get to the roots. Plastic containers are also light and inexpensive but tend to retain more heat than fabric pots. Flowering plants need a container that is at least 5 gallons (18.9 liters) to prevent them from outgrowing their containers and becoming rootbound.
While cultivars may vary, here are some general rules that will be useful no matter which one you choose.
Avoid all-in-one fertilizers as they can be too high in nitrogen for the flowering cycle and damage any beneficial microorganisms that may be present in the soil. Instead, choose a line of nutrients created specifically for cannabis, and use its suggested feeding charts to avoid over- or under-feeding. Organic sources of nutrients are best, as they are a great source of beneficial microbes, but they may take longer to break down and become available to the plant. Both types of nutrients can be found in dry, pre-blended powders or liquid emulsions, but can also be made from scratch with the right ingredients. Organic compost tea, which includes nutrient-rich ingredients, like molasses and earthworm casting compost, is a popular homemade brew for cannabis farmers.
Cannabis requires more nutrients than many of the other plants you may have in your garden. Quality soil contains enough organic nutrients to start the growth cycle, but as your cannabis plant grows and transitions into flowering, it may deplete the available nutrients and require additional fertilizers.
If you live in a climate with exceptionally hot and sunny days, use shade cloth to prevent your plants from overheating. In cold areas, natural enclosures and cement or brick walls can be used to help retain any available heat and keep your plants warm.
Pests come in many forms, from large deer and gophers to small slugs and spider mites. Larger animals and pets can be kept out of the garden with fencing, while gopher wire beneath your soil beds can keep rats and gophers from eating the plants’ roots. Weeds will not damage cannabis, but they will compete for the nutrients in the soil and reduce the quality and yield of your crops. A light layer of mulch on top of your soil can prevent weeds from sprouting in the middle of your plants’ cycle.
For a small garden, hand-watering is the easiest, cheapest way to go. It also allows you to get familiar with each cultivar’s needs, and gives each plant the exact amount of water it requires. Irrigation systems can be convenient for a large number of plants or for times when you cannot be in your garden.
Beneficial insects, fungi, and bacteria can also be used to protect your plants from their parasitic or predatory counterparts. Jumping spiders, ladybugs, and other native, beneficial predatory insects can clear your crop of insects such as aphids and whiteflies. When sourcing beneficial insects, fungi, or bacteria, it’s important to research those which are native to your region.
Depending on your location, you may need to plan for rain. In most regions, the rainy season is typically aligned with the end of the flowering stage and the start of the harvesting period, but this may not always be the case. Rain can be detrimental to an outdoor flowering crop so being prepared to cover or move plants can help ensure a successful harvest. If it does rain on your plants, make sure to immediately shake off any excess water, as lingering moisture can lead to the formation of mold and nobody likes moldy weed.
Cannabis has been cultivated outdoors for thousands of years, but before you go putting a seedling in the ground, it’s best to know how the process works and how to make the most of Mother Nature’s gifts. You should also have some idea of how to handle those unwanted gifts you’d rather return — pests and weeds.
Quality soil is crucial to the success of your crop and one of the few factors that you have control over when growing outdoors.
Whether using seeds or clones, many cultivators start growing their plants indoors to ensure they are not exposed to damaging weather conditions as they develop their initial root system. The plants can be transitioned outdoors when the weather and light conditions are ideal. Extending the indoor vegetative growth period can help increase yields and allow growers time to select the best plants to be moved outdoors.
During the vegetative phase, plants need more nitrogen in order to create the roots and leaves that serve as the base for flowering. During the start of the flowering cycle, the plants will require more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen. Towards the end of the flowering cycle, once the majority of the nitrogen has been depleted, the plants will focus their attention on using the remaining nutrients. The lack of nitrogen is largely responsible for the vibrant purple and orange hues that can be seen on large fan leaves and throughout the plants’ colas.
Becoming intimately familiar with your local climate and seasons is one of the most important steps in producing high-quality outdoor marijuana. Before you grow, you’ll need to know the ideal temperature your plants require in order to thrive, the best site, optimal timing of planting and harvesting, and the season’s photoperiod — the amount and intensity of light available through the duration of the growing season.
If you decide to use seeds, make sure you start them about a month before you would typically start clones to give them time to germinate and adequately develop their taproot.
You can use training tools such as screens and ties to ensure the plants grow in a specific shape. You need to prune your plants if you’re concerned about height control; an essential element of low-key growing!
Airflow is also critical, so be sure to invest in breathable containers. These enable air to penetrate the root zone quickly and ensure that oxygen gets to the roots. Once marijuana plants breathe in the CO2, the roots use the most with the highest consumption occurring at night.
One of the main advantages of container gardens is that you can place them anywhere. Therefore, you can grow your weed on a patio or even on a rooftop. Make sure you move the plants around to make the most of the available sunlight. You can also use store-bought nutrient-rich soil, which simplifies the fertilization process.
Pyrethrum is one of the most popular organic insecticide options. Homemade remedies include combining soap with water and misting your plants with it. Soap and water solution is effective against a mild outbreak.
Composting is the way forward because it is cheap and relatively simple. You can also add all sorts of organic matter from fruit clippings to animal manure. Avoid using meat or animal fat as it will attract pests.
It is important to remember that cannabis plants start flowering as the days get shorter. This is why growing marijuana in northern latitudes is a problem. Your cannabis will flower. However, the process happens too late to get the most from the sun in late summer.
If you live in a wet climate, choose a mold-resistant marijuana strain, and support it with stakes or cages. Otherwise, the rain will collect on buds and leaves, and your plants will be weighed down. Alternatively, try and predict wet spells and be prepared by adding a makeshift shelter to your crop.
The plant’s trichomes should have turned an opaque white color at this stage, too. This is a good indication that they are fully mature and ready for harvesting.
You should be able to deal with animal threats by surrounding your plants with a high and sturdy wire fence. If you are concerned about birds, you can place netting over the plants.
However, all marijuana growing areas must be enclosed, locked, and they can’t be viewed from the outside. In other words, it is tricky to grow cannabis outside and meet all state laws.
Some people use a container garden instead of planting straight into the soil. If you opt for this, bear in mind that they dry out much faster than soil. Therefore, you may have to water your plants daily. Additional watering is also necessary for warm or windy conditions. To avoid overwatering, wait for the top inch of the soil to be dry before adding more. Invest in a soil moisture meter to make things easier.
It is also an outdoor growing guide designed for small-scale cultivation. It is crucial that you check your state’s laws before proceeding. For example, weed is legal for recreational use in Colorado. You can grow marijuana plants as long as you’re aged 21 or over.
It is a fact that some store-bought soils are too acidic at the beginning. This means you have to use organic fertilizers after a couple of weeks because the plants are lacking crucial nutrients.
If you use tap water, test it first. It could have a significant number of dissolved minerals that build up in the soil and impact the pH level. Alternatively, tap water could contain an excessive amount of chlorine, which is very bad for the soil. Therefore, we recommend filtering the water you use.
Those who live in wetter than average climates need to improve drainage. Marijuana that grows in waterlogged conditions is susceptible to root diseases. Here are three ways to improve the drainage of your soil:
Step #6: Select Carefully the Type of Container You Need.
Although it’s possible to purchase high-quality weed from a dispensary, there are few things more thrilling than growing cannabis outdoors.
Lastly, make sure female plants are not exposed to males. Otherwise, pollination could occur – a process that decreases the quality of the harvest. If your strain begins flowering during a wet season, excess moisture exposure could prove troublesome. In this instance, find shelter for the plants to prevent mold and mildew growth.
Another method of fighting pests is to grow companion plants. Companion plants are plants of a different species to cannabis that you plant near your crop. Clover, rosemary, basil, and marigold are good choices as they are capable of repelling pests.
For example, sustained temperatures of over 86 degrees Fahrenheit can prevent growth. On the other hand, temperatures below 55 degrees could kill your precious plants.
For outdoor growers, it is best if you skip commercial fertilizers and focus on organic fertilizers. You should add it to the soil before planting and throughout the growth cycle. Natural options include:
Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.
Climate is all-important when growing cannabis, with the primary concern being the amount of available sunlight. While this isn’t a problem in sun-kissed California, not every American state has the same luxury. However, don’t assume that glorious sunny weather is perfect for growing flowers.
Three Ways to Boost Drainage.
It is tempting to make your soil amendments with store-bought fertilizers, but remember, they are filled with chemicals. This can significantly impact the flavor and aroma of the finished product.
Incidentally, Colorado residential properties are allowed to grow a maximum of 12 plants, while medicinal marijuana growers are permitted up to 24.
There’s no doubt that growing marijuana outdoors comes with challenges (which we address later on), but it also has a list of cool benefits:
If you elect to clone, you need a mother plant. It’s possible to buy clones from your local dispensary. However, bear in mind, clones require at least 16 hours of light a day to ensure that they don’t flower.
Other signs that it is time to harvest include brown resin on the buds, a broader stem, and if the leaves of the plant begin to turn yellow and die back.
If you elect to purchase soil from a store, don’t assume that it has a balanced pH level. Also, don’t think that it will maintain this standard for the duration of the season, either. Ideally, your soil’s pH will be 7.0. However, it may change over the course of a couple of months and become too alkaline or acidic.
We are assuming that you intend to grow your cannabis plants from seed. In this case, you should germinate indoors during the early spring. In a warmer climate, seeds can start to sprout by early April. If you live in cold weather, this process probably won’t happen until May.
Whether you like it or not, certain strains don’t grow well in specific climates. No matter how much care and attention you give your crop, its yield will always be disappointing.