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.
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.
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.
Seeds vs. clones.
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.
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.
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.
Even if it is legal to grow cannabis outdoors where you live, you should still take some precautions to hide the plants from public view. And it’s often required by law. You can grow your cannabis plants among other plants in your garden to hide them in plain sight. Cannabis can easily grow taller than your average fence, though. Training techniques can help keep your plants shorter. The fewer people who know you are growing cannabis, the better. The ideal situation is to have your grow tucked away on a piece of land where your plants can truly flourish away from prying eyes and nosy neighbors.
Deciding whether to start with seeds or clones will change the timing and manner by which your plants are introduced to the 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.
Using Mother Nature to cultivate cannabis.
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.
Cannabis is a hardy plant that has adapted to climates all over the world. From the cool and arid mountains of Afghanistan to the humid regions of Colombia, over time the plant has been forced to adapt its defenses against a host of problems. But cannabis is still susceptible to extreme weather conditions. Whether it is heavy winds breaking branches or excessive rain causing mold, the great outdoors presents challenges to growers that can be mitigated with sufficient planning.
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.
Greenhouses can be a great middle ground between the complexities of an indoor setup and the uncertainty of growing outdoors. They provide ample protection from the elements and use far fewer resources than an indoor grow. Greenhouses can be more costly than an outdoor garden and require more planning, but they also allow you to extend the growing season considerably.
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.
Choosing the best site for outdoor cannabis.
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.
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.
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.
To grow cannabis outdoors, the bare minimum required is basic gardening tools, soil, water, and a spot in your backyard that receives ample sunlight.
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.
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.
Heavy clay soils drain slowly and don’t hold oxygen well, so they will need to be heavily amended. A few weeks before you plant, dig large holes where you’ll be placing your weed plants and mix in big amounts of compost, manure, worm castings, or other decomposed organic matter. This will provide aeration and drainage, as well as nutrients for the plants.
Here are some important considerations before starting an outdoor marijuana grow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 also want to consider privacy and security. A lot of people want to conceal their gardens from judgmental neighbors and potential thieves. Tall fences and large shrubs or trees are your best bet, unless you live in a secluded area. Also, most state laws require that you keep cannabis plants concealed from the street.
It’s fun and relaxing.
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.
In hot climates, sandy soil should be mulched to help with water retention and to keep roots from getting too hot.
Once you have an understanding of the climate in your area, you’ll need to consider a few things before planting your weed.
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.
There are also commercially available soil blends that already contain the proper mix of these types of ingredients.
Climate in your area.
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.
Typically, outdoor growers will add amendments to soil when weed plants are transplanted outside. Outdoor amendments usually come in powder form that you mix in with soil.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What size pot do I need?
Soil, at a basic level, is defined as the topmost layer of earth in which plants grow—it’s a mixture of organic remains, clay, and rock particles. Cannabis plants thrive in soil rich with organic matter, and they need good drainage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Plants grown from seed offer larger yields and are more robust in the face of inclement weather conditions. You can plant these seeds in the garden in the spring, even if it is still cold and wet outside. Another option is to begin the growing process indoors, but they have to be hardened off eventually before they are transplanted.
Some Potential Grow Sites for Outdoor Growers.
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:
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’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 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 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.
Having the ability to choose the right marijuana strain, the ideal location, and the best possible soil is one thing. Possessing the patience to see the entire project through is quite another.
Is There a Precise Time to Harvest?
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.
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.
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.
Typically, seeds only begin to germinate when exposed to constant temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts suggest keeping your plants indoors for up to four weeks before bringing them outside when the weather is more suitable.
Cannabis Seeds vs. Clones – Choosing the Best Seeds on the Market.
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.
When harvesting outdoors, make sure you have the requisite tools. When it’s time, bring sealable bags. We recommend carrying a holdall if you use Ziploc bags for added security. Cut the marijuana plants into lengths that make them easy to transport. In other words, make sure they fit in your bags!
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.
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.
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.