Growing cannabis outdoors is not as simple as just tossing the seeds into the soil and then waiting on the forces of nature to grant you a bumper harvest after a few weeks. A lot of research and preparation is needed to ensure you get it right when it comes to the soil condition requirements, site preparation, pest control and proper care and maintenance of these specialized plants. If you intend to venture into outdoor cannabis growing, then here are some tips you will find valuable:
One of the biggest debates among outdoor cannabis cultivators is whether to use containers or to plant directly in the ground. For those fortunate enough to have a secure place to use the in-ground method, it is likely the easiest way to start a cannabis garden. However, there are advantages to both options that should be considered before a decision is made.
One aspect to consider when thinking about the location for growing your Kali Mist or Panama strain outdoors is the exposure to sunlight. For good yields, the plant must have maximum exposure to sunlight and mostly, a southern exposure is recommended. This implies that the chosen site should not be an area with tall buildings, hills and trees which will block sunlight from accessing the plant. Additionally, it would be a good idea if the area is sheltered and well irrigated in addition to having very good drainage.
Containers are an excellent solution for growers who don’t have enough room for an in-ground garden. They are compact and can be limited in size and number based on the grower’s available space.
Container gardening gives growers extreme flexibility when it comes to moving plants around. In the event of a security breach or severe weather, the plants can be transferred to safety quickly. Plants can also be moved throughout the day to wherever they receive the most light.
Growing cannabis in containers prevents contamination from pests or diseases that are present in the surrounding environment’s soil. Additionally, growers can use soil that is specially formulated3 for container growing, eliminating the need for soil testing.
Finally, container gardening allows complete control over how large and how fast the plants grow. Cannabis earned the nickname “weed,” as it can explode in size at a rate that would impress even the most experienced horticulturist. A cannabis plant’s staggering growth rate can be modified by limiting the size of the pot in which it’s grown.
For those who can do it, growing cannabis in the ground is usually the preferred method. That is because plants grown in the ground have unlimited access to moisture and nutrients from the surrounding environment. When plants are grown in containers, the moisture evaporates quickly, and the nutrient content often leeches out.
Another significant benefit to in-ground growing is that plants have an unlimited amount of space for root development. With unrestricted root development, cannabis plants can reach their maximum height and yield. Additionally, in-ground soil temperature remains relatively steady throughout the season, which is not the case for plants grown in containers.
Regardless of if you plant in containers or directly in the ground, Your success with growing cannabis outdoors will depend on the choice of soil or the particular medium upon which the plant will grow. The soil should have the correct pH, it should be well drained, and it should also the correct amount of nutrients. A good soil should not be very expensive, and you should find very good options from reputable landscape supply companies that deals with selling soils in bulk.
When cannabis plants are grown is equally important to where they are grown. To choose the best time to plant, growers must be aware of their climate zone and the accompanying changes in light and temperature. Many growers will be restricted to one grow per season, whereas growers closer to the equator may be able to fit in two full grow cycles.
One of the key factors in determining the best time to grow outdoors is understanding seasonal temperatures for the region. Cannabis cannot survive freezing temperatures, so hybrid seed growers who live in areas prone to freezing will have to know when the first and last frost dates are for their region. Some strains of cannabis can handle significant dips in temperature later in the season, but most young plants like our Grapefruit strain are too sensitive to handle much below 50 degrees when they are first getting established.
Temperature is not the only climate restriction that must be considered. Cannabis is a photoperiodic plant, which means its growth stages are determined by the number of light hours it receives. Cannabis’ flowering stage is triggered when it gets less than twelve hours of light in a day.
What this means for growers is that their plants can be planted outside only after the Spring equinox. If they try to plant outside too early, there may be too few hours of daylight to sustain vegetative growth. This will trigger an early flowering stage, which is nearly impossible to correct.
For many regions, the fall equinox coincides with a drop in temperature that can be dangerous to some strains of cannabis. Growers in these areas must plan enough time for their plants to fully mature after flowering is triggered and before the frosty weather sets in for the winter.
Outdoor cannabis cultivation allows growers a bit of freedom as they do not have to control the environment as they would inside of a grow room. However, growing outdoors does not mean that the plants need less attention. Growers need to check their plants frequently for signs of nutrient deficiencies, insect infestations, and weeds.
Another reason to check on your plants frequently is to guarantee their safety and security. You should plan ahead in terms of security when considering the final location for growing the cannabis outdoors. It is highly recommended to keep them from the prying eyes of the public and they should also be safe from animals and birds. You may consider installing game cameras if you are curious about someone secretly finding your plants and also to let you know of the kinds of animals or creatures that normally visit the site.
Growing cannabis outdoors means the plants are much more susceptible to infestations of cannabis-loving insects. Thrips, aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites are just a handful of the many insects that gravitate towards cannabis when given the opportunity. Caterpillars are also known to feast on cannabis plants when they are in the flowering stage.
To aid in pest management, growers must thoroughly inspect their plants daily. They should check the entire plant from root to tip for signs of insect damage, including curling of new growth, yellow leaves, brown or yellow spots, wilting, rotten spots on buds, and holes chewed through leaves. Growers should get a jeweler’s loupe or other small magnifying glass to spot tiny insects that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye, such as spider mites.
One of the drawbacks to growing outdoors is the potential for an invasion of unwanted plant life. It does not take long for weeds to infiltrate an outdoor grow, so growers must be vigilant and frequently check their plants. This is true even if the cannabis plants are grown in containers, as birds, animals, and insects can carry seeds from unwanted plants.
Checking cannabis plants frequently allows growers to spot weeds before they start competing with the cannabis plant for space and nutrients. Growers must do this, as the amount of nutrients given to cannabis plants makes it easy for more invasive species to take route.
Cannabis plants need more than the sun, good soil, and water to be healthy and robust. These plants are heavy feeders and will require high-quality nutrients in varying N-P-K ratios, depending on the growth stage.
Before deciding on a nutrient schedule, growers must have the soil where they intend to grow tested for existing nutrient content and pH. This helps them understand what nutritional supplements their plants will need and gives them the best chance at avoiding nutrient burn or nutrient lockout.
During the vegetative stage, your sativa or indica cannabis plants require substantial amounts of nitrogen for leaf growth and potassium for root development. If growers add too much phosphorus during this stage, it may damage the plants significantly. That is because phosphorus is the primary nutrient needed for healthy bloom and bud formation, which the plants have no need for at this stage.
When the plants begin to transition between stages, the amount of nitrogen they need will be somewhat lower but still closer to the plants’ needs during the vegetative stage. During the flowering stage, nitrogen levels should be lowered significantly while phosphorus levels are increased so the plants can focus their energy on the production of flowers.
Additionally, plants in the flowering stage should receive about twice as much potassium as they are nitrogen. While phosphorus is responsible for flower formation, potassium is the nutrient that gives those flowers density and bulk.
Just like in indoor growing, you should consider starting off your marijuana with just one line of nutrients, and this should contain everything the plant needs to grow happy. Be careful not to add too much fertilizer than recommended as this may be detrimental to the life of the plants.
For growers that live in dry and hot climates, daily watering is the best course of action. However, growers that live in humid areas prone to rainy days should be careful about when they water and how much.
Certain molds and fungi thrive in cool, wet weather. Many of these can damage or kill cannabis plants, including powdery mildew. Additionally, several insect species, such as fungus gnats, are attracted to soil with excess moisture.
To prevent this, growers will need to create a watering schedule that considers the weather. They should always check the soil to see if the first inch or two is dry before adding any more water, as overwatering quickly leads to root rot and nutrient lockout.
Mold and mildew diseases can be prevented by pruning plants properly. Small leaves and branches in the center of the plant should be removed to create airflow. The bottom of the plant should be pruned several inches above the soil, and the surface of the soil should be clear of dead plant matter.
It goes without saying that you must choose the right outdoor marijuana strain if you want to get good yields. While choosing the strain, you should consider your location and climate as these will determine the outdoor conditions under which the plant will be required to grow. Choose the strains which have been specifically developed to thrive under those particular outdoor conditions dictated by your region and climate. Check out our featured page for the Top 5 outdoor seeds for sale right now.
Whenever possible, start by germinating your cannabis-seeds indoors and allowing them to grow under indoor conditions for about one or two weeks. It is especially important to follow our trusted germination guide to ensure the seeds have the right consistent environment to crack open and start thriving from the beginning.
Developing your young seedlings indoors will protect them from birds and insects which might feast on their tender leaves and stock. When it is time to take them out, start off by “conditioning” them so that they adapt gradually to the outdoor conditions. For instance, take them outside under a shelter for a few hours a day for about another week or two, before you finally expose them fully to the outdoor environment
Many growers have a notebook that they use as a log to track things such as nutrient and water schedules. In the event of a problem with the plants, the record helps them quickly identify the source of the issue. The exact same techniques may not work the same for you True OG plants as they did for your Critical 2.0 plants, but at least you will have a growing database of personalized information that you can always look back on.
Keeping a log also helps growers know if any changes should be made to their method. If they see that plant growth is slowing, they can check the nutrient schedule and decide if any changes are needed. A comprehensive history of what has been done to each plant helps growers make necessary adjustments along the way.
Growing cannabis outdoors can produce much higher yields per plant than growing indoors, but it is not without its challenges. By using the tips listed above, growers will be ready to get the best harvest possible from their home-grown cannabis plants.