Having a constant breeze is good for your plants, and especially in hot climates. But if you live in an area with a lot of high winds, consider planting near a windbreak of some sort, like a wall, fence or large shrubbery.
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.
If you’re growing weed outdoors, it’s great to find a community of cannabis growers in your area to see how others are growing in your specific climate. Local climates vary, so it can be helpful to see what strains thrive where you are, and also when other growers are popping seeds, harvesting, and more. You can also join online forums or Social media groups, but a great place to start is your local grow shop.
Privacy and security.
We recommend these organic fertilizers:
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.
However, plants grown in pots, buckets, or barrels will likely be smaller than those planted in the ground because their root growth is restricted to the size of the container. In a broad sense, the size of the pot will determine the size of the plant, although it’s possible to grow large plants in small containers if proper techniques are used.
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 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.
We also advise against using nutrients designed for indoor weed growing—they are generally composed of synthetic mineral salts and can damage soil bacteria.
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.
How to set up your outdoor marijuana grow.
You can plant directly into the ground, using the preexisting soil, but you’ll need to understand your soil’s composition and amend it accordingly. If you go this route, we recommend getting your soil tested, which will minimize headaches, and it’s easy and relatively inexpensive. A soil test will tell you the makeup and pH of your soil, any contaminants present, and will recommend materials and fertilizers to amend your soil.
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.
Most outdoor weed growers will either dig a hole and add fresh soil for the plant, or grow their weed in pots. This will allow you to better control the growing medium and the amount of nutrients your plants receive.
It’s fun and relaxing.
Sustained temperatures above 85°F will cause your plants to stop growing, while continued temperatures below 55°F can cause damage and stunting to plants, even death.
Benefits of growing weed outdoors.
Sandy soil is easy to work, drains well, and warms quickly, but it doesn’t hold nutrients well, especially in rainy environments. You’ll want to dig large holes for your plants and add compost, peat moss, or coco coir, which will help bind the soil together.
Some growers plant in containers on balconies or rooftops that are shielded from view, while some build heavy-gauge wire cages to keep thieves and animals at bay. Whatever you decide, think about how big you want your final plant to be—outdoor cannabis plants can grow to 10 feet tall or even more, depending on how much you let them go.
Once you have an understanding of the climate in your area, you’ll need to consider a few things before planting your weed.
Don’t underestimate the therapeutic value of gardening. It’s relaxing to spend some time outside, roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty for a while. And there’s nothing better than smoking something you grew yourself.
While insects damage your plants over a few days or weeks, larger animals can destroy them in minutes. You must examine your cannabis plants daily.
Areas that are subject to high wind will need a wall or hedge to act as a windbreak. Then there is the small matter of privacy and security.
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.
Don’t just focus solely on bothersome insects. Larger animals such as rodents, dogs, cats, rabbits, deer, and raccoons can damage or eat your crop.
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.
Step #7: Protect your Cannabis Plants from Pets and Inclement Weather.
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.
It’s essential to first consider your climate because it will dictate the kind of marijuana strain you’re able to grow. If you live in an area with a history of cannabis growing, find out what strains people have grown. There is also a good possibility that there are strains available explicitly for that climate.
It isn’t easy to find the best location. Not only must it offer ideal growing conditions, but it must also be safe from discovery, even when planting legally. If you are adhering to the law, private property is best because you have full access and can control security. Otherwise, you have to risk public property, which increases the chances of discovery.
One other option for outdoor growing is auto-flowering seeds. As soon as they reach maturity, these plants begin to bloom irrespective of the length of the days. If you live in a temperate climate, you will benefit from two crops every year by using auto-flowering seeds. Simply plant one crop in late winter (or even early spring), and another at the beginning of summer.
Look for a plot that gets direct sunlight early in the day and filtered sun later in the afternoon. It is also ideal if you can find a place that offers a constant breeze. However, bear in mind that this increases water consumption.
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:
Experienced growers also recommend keeping an eye out for a change in color in the plant’s stigma. A good sign that the plant is ready for harvesting is when the stigma changes in color from white to orange. However, most growers agree that the most accurate method to determine when it is time to harvest is to wait until the trichomes have turned opaque white.
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!
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.
Some Potential Grow Sites for Outdoor Growers.
It is impossible to provide a ‘precise’ time to harvest. Most experts believe that you should harvest an indica strain eight weeks after flowering. Sativas usually require harvesting ten weeks after flowering. Strains that come from auto-flowering seeds should take ten weeks to grow from seedling to bud. These are just simple guides, however.
Congratulations! You have successfully grown a healthy and hearty batch of marijuana. We would love to tell you that it’s time to light up and celebrate. However, there are a few more key things you have to do first. Most pertinently, curing and drying the buds.
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.
When choosing the right soil, bear in mind that it is made up primarily of clay, sand, and silt. Your plants require slightly acidic soil with organic matter that has been adequately drained. Therefore, you have to test the soil if you intend to plant your cannabis directly in the earth.
Incidentally, Colorado residential properties are allowed to grow a maximum of 12 plants, while medicinal marijuana growers are permitted up to 24.
Just to be clear, growing cannabis is a time-consuming process. However, it is also an extremely rewarding one. This is a guide for a first-time grower who wants to grow quality cannabis without breaking the bank. If this is your first outdoor grow, and you miss a single step, then you may end up with a disappointing yield.
Picking the Right Marijuana Strains for Your Climate.
Adding these to the soil before planting means you won’t have to add as much fertilizer during the growing cycle. After planting your marijuana in premium quality soil, you don’t need to add anything else for a few weeks.
It is best to maintain the temperature between 55-86 degrees Fahrenheit for as much of the growing cycle as possible. Marijuana plants can survive outside this range for short periods.
Take note that growing the weed in containers will impact the size of the plant. Container-grown marijuana will be smaller because root growth is restricted. In other words, the size of the container determines the size of the plant.
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:
Don’t use a container smaller than five gallons. If you want large plants, try 15+ gallon containers. There are even 100-gallon container bags!
Outdoor cannabis growers face a significant disadvantage compared to their indoor growing counterparts; outdoor plants are vulnerable to inclement weather. Also, plants grown outdoors are susceptible to attack from pests and pets. Rapid changes in the weather can damage or even kill cannabis plants, while animals and aphids are a constant threat.
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.
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.
Plan to put plants in the ground based on the temperature, season, and light where you live so your cannabis plants have time to finish flowering before cold, rainy weather sets in.
Plants grown from seeds are typically heartier and more vigorous than clones, as they produce a sturdier taproot that clones are not able to replicate. The vigor that comes from deep roots can be an advantage when dealing with harsh environmental conditions and pest pressures. The disadvantages of growing seeds are the additional attention required to germinate the seeds, the necessity to eliminate any males before they pollinate the females, and the high variability in growth characteristics that results from their genes.
Daytime temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (23.9 to 25.4 degrees Celsius) are ideal for cannabis, while temperatures above 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31.1 degrees Celsius) or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius) can delay growth. Cannabis is considered heat-tolerant, but sustained highs and extreme lows will usually lead to complications that could eventually kill your plants.
Most cultivars will begin to flower once they receive fewer than 15 hours of sunlight per day. The latitude of your garden has a direct impact on how many hours a day your plants receive light.
Outdoor cultivators take what Mother Nature gives them and turn it into the best possible harvest. Many cannabis consumers prefer marijuana grown outdoors under the full spectrum of natural sunlight. That unique spectrum creates a greater variance of cannabinoids and terpenes than artificial lighting.
The three primary nutrients required for cultivating marijuana are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
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.
Organic sources of nutrients include alfalfa meal, bone meal, kelp meal, bat guano, fish emulsion, dolomite, and earthworm castings. Each contains different ratios of nutrients that can be used for different phases of the plants’ growth cycle.
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.
After the solstice, the available daylight hours decrease, allowing the plant to naturally transition into the flowering period. Cannabis is a short-day plant, meaning it will begin to flower as the nights get longer and the hours of sunlight decrease.
Some cannabis genetics have adapted to specific climates and are capable of growing more easily in certain conditions than others, so pay very close attention to the cultivars, or strains, that you choose. A little research will go a long way in ensuring you have a successful harvest.
In the Northern Hemisphere, cannabis can be planted in early to mid-spring and harvested in mid-fall, depending on the cultivar. In the Southern Hemisphere, the growing season will be reversed with planting in early to mid-fall and harvesting in the middle of spring.
Quality soil should be dark, rich in nutrients, and have a light and fluffy texture. The structure of your soil should be capable of retaining water but also allow for drainage of any excess. Organic potting soil blends from your local garden center will do just fine, but more advanced growers prefer to blend their own organic super soil from scratch. The soil itself should be slightly acidic with a pH of around 6. This can be tested with a soil pH meter or test kit.
During the vegetative stage, water your plants thoroughly, then not again until the top 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) of soil has dried out. This can be every day or every four days, depending on conditions, but the time between watering will become shorter as the plant grows its roots. Container gardens tend to dry out faster than soil beds, so they’ll need to be watered more frequently.
Plants grown from seeds are typically heartier and more vigorous than clones, as they produce a sturdier taproot that clones are not able to replicate. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps.
Container gardens can be convenient as they can be moved around the garden to maximize sunlight or protect them from harsh conditions Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps.
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.
Keep this info in mind as you embark on your cannabis-growing adventure. The smallest adjustments can make all the difference — planting a week earlier, a week later, watering less, watering more, etc.
To grow cannabis outdoors, the bare minimum required is basic gardening tools, soil, water, and a spot in your backyard that receives ample sunlight.
There are also many advantages and disadvantages of using clones. They can often be found at your local dispensary, are from a proven genetic lineage, and typically do well outdoors, making them the perfect choice for inexperienced growers. On the other hand, clones develop a fibrous root system, as opposed to the deep taproots that seeds develop. Fibrous root systems can reduce the plant’s ability to deal with environmental stress and predatory insects.
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.
Planning your garden.
Pests and wild plants are an inevitable occurrence when cultivating cannabis outdoors. Most issues can be avoided with proper planning. Clearing a buffer area around your plants can go a long way, but your first line of defense is a healthy plant that can defend itself naturally.
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.
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.
Container gardens can be convenient as plants can be moved around the garden to maximize sunlight or protect them from harsh conditions such as rain, heavy winds, or extreme temperatures.
While cultivars may vary, here are some general rules that will be useful no matter which one you choose.
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.
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.
Avoid spraying synthetic insecticides on your cannabis plants as further research is needed to determine the health effects of smoking plants treated with synthetic chemicals. Organic pesticide and insecticide solutions can be effective if used properly. If you can avoid it, it is always best to not spray anything on your plants while they are flowering.