how to grow marijuana outside

Environmentally friendly.

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.

The best way to identify loamy soil is by touching it. How does it feel? Sandy soil should be difficult to compact while clay should compact into a tight ball that won’t crumble. When squeezed, loamy soils should form a loose ball that will hold its structure momentarily before breaking apart in large chunks.

Climate in your area.

In general, 5-gallon pots are a good size for small-to-medium outdoor plants, and 10-gallon pots or larger are recommended for big plants. Regardless of size, you’ll want to protect the roots of your plants from overheating during warm weather, as pots can quickly get hot in direct sunlight. This will severely limit the growth of your plants, so be sure to shade your containers when the sun is high in the sky.

Once you have an understanding of the climate in your area, you’ll need to consider a few things before planting your weed.

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.

Low costs.

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.

Silty soil is the ideal growing medium. It’s easy to work, warms quickly, holds moisture, has good drainage, and contains a lot of nutrients. The best silty soil is dark, crumbly loam—it’s fertile and probably won’t need any amending.

Sunlight.

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.

We also advise against using nutrients designed for indoor weed growing—they are generally composed of synthetic mineral salts and can damage soil bacteria.

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.

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.

Clay soils.

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.

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.

Garden plot: Probably the most common outdoor growing spot, many will plant cannabis alongside other growing veggies.

Cannabis plants require a large amount of nutrients over their life cycle, mainly in the form of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. How much you need to add to your plants will depend on the composition of your soil.

Growing marijuana outdoors is great because you won’t need to spend a ton of money on it and you can rely on the power of the sun. If you have access to a sunny spot in a private yard or even a balcony, terrace, or rooftop, you can grow weed outside. You will be tied to the sun and the seasons and local weather, but you won’t have to spend a bunch of money on equipment and utilities like indoor growers.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Step #7: Protect your Cannabis Plants from Pets and Inclement Weather.

If you decide to use the soil in the earth, make sure you have its pH tested. Otherwise, purchase the soil from a garden store. Please remember that even store-bought soil could use added nutrients from compost. Your options include:

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.

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.

When choosing the ideal location for your outdoor grow, look for the following features:

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.

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.

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 must root the clones indoors before they are ‘hardened off.’ This is the process of moving a plant outdoors for a few hours a day. This method gradually exposes them to air, cold nights, and sunlight.

Make sure you layer the compost heap and ensure it has proper airflow. Turn the heap every few weeks and test the pH regularly to ensure it is balanced. These days, consumers are turning to super-soil to help fertilize their plants. This is organic pre-fertilized soil, which contains all the nutrients your marijuana needs.

Three Ways to Boost Drainage.

Although rainwater helps your plants grow, too much of it results in mold and mildew. This problem is at its worst during the flowering stage.

Incidentally, Colorado residential properties are allowed to grow a maximum of 12 plants, while medicinal marijuana growers are permitted up to 24.

Most cannabis strains are ready for harvest between the end of September and the first week or two of October. Although, this does depend on the strain and climate conditions. Monitor pistil and trichome formation to gain a better idea of when your plants are ready for harvesting.

Also, when using natural soil, you have to dig holes and amend the soil regularly. For people with debilitating medical conditions, this level of manual labor will prove difficult.

We are offering this guide with the assumption that it is legal to grow marijuana plants in your state. First and foremost, it is imperative that you have the right climate for optimum growth.

Indoor growers tend to grow their marijuana from clones, while outdoor growers prefer to grow from seed. You can get quality buds using either method, and they both have their advantages and drawbacks.

Is There a Precise Time to Harvest?

Even if it is legal to grow outdoors in your location, there will always be judgmental individuals and possible thieves. Try and plant your marijuana so that it is hidden behind tall fences or shrubs.

Threats like moles, who push up from the soil beneath your plants, require extra planning. An excellent way to prevent them from causing damage is by building a fence around 2-3 feet beneath the soil. You can also use deterrents such as urine from predators like coyotes, to ward off rabbits, gophers, and raccoons. Household items such as garlic and castor oil are pretty effective deterrents, too.

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.

If you live in a warm climate, be wary of excessive heat damaging the roots. It is normal for container-grown pots of soil to exceed 90 degrees on a hot day. Always water the plants generously in the morning to ensure they don’t dry out during sweltering afternoons.

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.

Outdoor cannabis plants love basking in the sun. Therefore, find a plot that offers at least five hours of sunshine a day. Once again, residents of certain towns and cities will find it easier than most. For example, those who live in San Diego will experience 14 hours of sunlight during the Summer Solstice (June 21).

You must be careful not to wait too long to harvest because marijuana plants suffer a decline in health once they have completed the flowering phase.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Nutrients.

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.

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.

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.

To grow cannabis outdoors, the bare minimum required is basic gardening tools, soil, water, and a spot in your backyard that receives ample sunlight.

Quality soil is crucial to the success of your crop and one of the few factors that you have control over when growing outdoors.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

Greenhouse structures range from inexpensive polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubes, often called “hoop houses,” to highly engineered, fully automated, and purpose-built steel greenhouses. Due to their efficiency, greenhouses are quickly becoming the preferred growing method for many large-scale cultivators.

The amount of water a plant needs largely depends on its size, the size of its container, the soil type, and general environmental conditions such as the weather and the intensity of the sun. Larger plants in warmer environments tend to use more water than smaller plants in cooler weather. The amount of water needed will change throughout a plant’s life cycle.

Greenhouses also offer growers the ability to harvest more than once per year, if they are equipped with a light deprivation system. These systems allow growers to control the hours of sunlight their plants receive, much like turning lights on and off in an indoor garden, by covering the greenhouse with a black tarp that deprives the plants of sunlight.

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.

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.

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.

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Planting directly into the ground or a raised bed requires a bit more preparation but has its benefits as well. Without a container to restrict growth, roots can grow deep and thick to support a strong plant. The added surface area also allows the plant to access a greater quantity of nutrients and water in the soil, compared with a container garden. The major downside is that the plants cannot be moved and could require additional structures to protect them in the case of extreme weather.

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.

While cultivars may vary, here are some general rules that will be useful no matter which one you choose.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Determining the optimum location is another important factor that can affect the yield and quality of your plants. Cultivators in the Northern Hemisphere should attempt to place their plants in an area with southern exposure to ensure their plants are getting the most available sunlight. The opposite is true for the Southern Hemisphere.