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Outdoor Growing Cannabis Guide: What You Need to Know

In this blog post, we will be discussing the pros and cons of outdoor growing along with some helpful tips you as a beginner to successfully growing weed outdoors at your home.

One of the best things about outdoor growing is the costs saving aspect of it. If done right and grown in the proper soil you can sit back and let mother nature do most of the work. There are however a few more things such as pests animals and sometimes soil issues to contend with. These can sometimes be a bit harder to control weed growing outdoors, but below we will discuss some solutions to deal with them later on.

Pros and Cons of growing weed outside

First, one of the main pros of growing weed outdoors is that your plants will not require the use of artificial light, nor will you need to provide ventilation or worry about air flow. In saying that you will not be able to control the sun so the time of year will be important to remember when planting weed outdoors.

Sunny Blue sky growing weed outdoors

When growing outdoor weed nature provides mostly everything necessary, and it is entirely free. In contrast to indoor cultivation, there is no real space restriction for outdoor growing so that you can grow almost any weed variety, even relatively large and wide-growing sativa plants. You will be amazed by the yields you can achieve on a single Sativa marijuana plant per square meter.

Where in the World to Grow Cannabis Outdoors

Another vital tip to remember is what part of the world you are growing your plants. In Canada, for example, it is essential to know your plant properties like for example we always try to use auto-flowering varieties since we can grow one outdoor crop per year. This is the one main downfall between growing indoors vs outdoors. Indoor growing you can produce multiple harvests throughout the year whereas growing weed outdoors you are very limited by the season. We always want to make sure that we time our vegetative and flowering stage so that we finish the vegetative stage around July so that naturally the Cannabis will be forced into flowering when it is at its largest as a plant. If you can manage the timing with nature you can enjoy very large yields outdoors.

The care of outdoor plants is much less than the care of indoor weed plants. The disadvantage of outdoor growing is the great danger of losing crop due to pests, bad weather or even by simple theft of third parties. Hail, strong wind and rain can destroy your crop in the long term and too heavy rain can make your beautiful flowers moldy or even break the branches. The branches of the weed plant in the last crucial weeks before the long-awaited harvest can get very heavy so a heavy rainfall can be detrimental. Even wild animals such as deer and wild boar are more often suspected of having trampled hemp plantations in the wild. If you are in town then you should not have to worry about animals much they will keep their distance.

Outdoor Growing – an Overview and things to keep in mind

1) What is the perfect place in nature for your weed plants?
2) What you should prepare at your location?
3) The best seeds for outdoor growing
4) How to germinate
5) The little seedlings outside
6) Common disease and pests
8) Is the weed plant missing something, does it need fertilizer?
9) The harvest of outdoor marijuana

1) The perfect place in nature for your weed plants outside

The search for a suitable place for outdoor growing starts best one year prior. This is important to determine what it’s going to be like for your plants in this area.

Things to consider; how much sun does the area get? You want to make sure that there is maximal sunlight in the space you are considering. What is the wind like? When growing weed outdoors you just want to stay away from areas that are too windy. As previously stated there will be a point where the weight of the bud can break off the branch it is on if you have chosen an area with high winds this may lead to problems.

Outside Sun feeds the weed plant

Is it a highly visible area? If possible you may want to visit this area preferably in late summer as that will be the end of your vegetative stage and beginning of the flowering stage.

What is the soil like in the area? Be sure to dig up some soil where you are planning to grow. If you are planning on planting directly into the ground this will be important. Note if you find that the soils is not ideal perhaps with too much clay for example then you can also just consider using pots instead of growing directly in the ground. Then at least you will be able to control the contents of your soil a little more consistently. Also, a helpful hint is that if you are planting in a coniferous forest that soil may be highly acidic due to the vegetation in the forest which is not ideal for your plants. Also, try to refrain from choosing an area that could be too waterlogged your roots of the plant will rot very easily with too much water.

Growing outside on your deck

If you are considering growing on your property you should still ask yourself these questions. Be sure to observe nature at whichever location you are choosing. Also, there will be a time where your plants are very aromatic during the flowering phase. This may be an important consideration if you are trying to keep your plants hidden. Steer clear of places that are close to sidewalks or crowded populated areas. Some compromises may have to be made to remain inconspicuous.

Helpful Hint!
A general rule of thumb is that increased growth of stinging nettles in any area is a clear indicator of good soil quality. The best soil is naturally dark, just a loose humus soil and brown soil is still very suitable. However, if you hit greyish clay, that is not the best soil to grow your plants in.

2) What you should prepare at your outdoor location

First of all, you will want to make sure that you have adequate space for the number of plants you are growing. Generally speaking, you can safely grow 4 plants per square meter outdoors depending on the variety. With some larger sativa varieties, they will require a bit more space so it is better to have only 2 plants per square meter. This will allow for enough space between your plants and allow for adequate air flow.

To do this you can mark the ground in square meters (square 1mx1m) and insert the cuttings at the corner points. This is the point that you will have to decide how many you are planting at each location. If a site is really blessed with good soil and wonderful lighting conditions, then it can be worth it to grow more than just one weed plant but always be sure that you aren’t going to be crowding an area.

If the soil is unsuitable but you have found an ideal location you can always transport good soil to that spot. This can get costly however so my advice here is to just grow them in 5-10 gallon plastic containers.

Helpful hint!
When digging your holes for your plants, or if you are adding soil to your location, remember that Cannabis plants grow very deep roots so it will be necessary to consider this when planting.

Outdoor Soil

3) The best seeds for growing weed outdoor :

Always choose auto-flowering varieties when growing weed outdoors. Especially since it is wise to also have feminized seeds the auto-flowering varieties will like their name describes will flower on their own and will not need to be pollenized by a male plant.

4) How to Germinate Outdoor Seeds:

For the most in depth discussion about germinating your Cannabis seeds see our other blog post called Germination. Here you will find multiple methods to choose from and will find other helpful hints to use along the way.

Prepare for outdoor growing

5) The little seedlings outside:

Depending on your growing location it may be wise to consider growing your seedlings indoors to start. You can grow your seedlings in a so-called small pre-breeding box with a few energy-saving lamps or fluorescent tubes. Also a small greenhouse or on a window sill can help your plants get the best possible start and this will protect the fragile seedlings from animals that may consider your tender seedlings as a tasty treat.

If you choose to grow them inside just find a sunny place to put the seedlings and grow them until they are approximately 10cm in height. Better yet you may be able to grow them to a height of 20-30cm depending on the location, the bigger the seedlings are the more resistant they will be outdoors. Be sure to plant your seedlings no later than mid-June at this time you must bring the plants outdoors.

Another preferred option if possible is to on a balcony, a sunny window, greenhouse or conservatory. It is important that the small seedlings get protection against the frequent nocturnal drop in temperature. Nighttime temps that drop to below 10 ° C you should be considering bringing them indoors during the night. Bring the tender cuttings at night rather and store them in a light-protected place such as a cupboard or cellar.

outdoor security measures

You must also be careful not to leave the delicate seedlings, usually just under 5cm tall, alone in the blazing midday sun. It can happen very quickly that the delicate scion dry up and can kill your seedling. Also, important to remember that an area with medium wind is always good and will help strengthens the stalk.

Helpful Hint!
When watering the small sprouts, make sure that the tender leaves do not get too wet, because the sun or the artificial light source in conjunction with the water is much stronger and causes the plant leaves to burn. This is not so bad for large plants, but the small ones can burn easily.

Important to rememeber with seedlings. If you are planning on bringing them outside before mid-May, there is a risk that the ground frost overnight and will destroy the seedlings.
For about one to two days, a weed plant can survive even light frost, but who would like to take such a risk? For smaller plants, you can make a small greenhouse from a sliced bottle. Drill small holes into it for sufficient air circulation and you’re done. So you bypass the risk of being surprised by the frost and also the boundless appetite of snails! Be sure to use slug pellets and possibly smaller wild fences to protect against hungry animals.

6) Diseases and pests

We have to make sure to consider all animals, insects, and even certain disease common to Cannabis plants in order to ensure the survival of the plant. Sometimes if you have not already used a location they may be hard to predict. But consistent observation of your plants at least every couple of days it may be possible to save your plant once an invader has started its take over.

Insects, mites, and mold can cause real problems for your plants. To combat the so-called powdery mildew you can dissolve some baking soda in water and simply spray the plants. Depending on what stage of development of the buds it could be too late so early detection in these cases is key.
The white mold is an all too common enemy that is hard to fight because we can not influence the weather. Thus, by waterlogging in the root area mold can kill the whole plant, but also in the last weeks and days before the harvest, rain can make the buds mold completely.

Caution Crawler!
Snails do not cause problems to the larger plants, they may even be useful against aphids, but they can decimate small seedlings which can be eaten by snails overnight.

Pests issues outside

Note: Depending on the location you have chosen for your plants further research may be needed to identify specific pests or different diseases. It will be helpful to research once the problem once you have diagnosed what it is. There are far too many to include in this post but there are many forums where you can post specific pictures to help diagnose your problem.

7) Is the weed plant missing something, does it need fertilizer?

Fertilizing the Cannabis plants is a science in itself. The best way to prepare the soil in nature in the weeks before the actual exposure of the plants is with fertilizer. With time it can be more optimally distributed throughout the earth. The selection of fertilizers is almost limitless. You can use flower fertilizers, flowering fertilizers, sawdust, artificial fertilizers and other fruit or vegetable fertilizers. In nature, it is often not necessary, but only if the plant has deficiency symptoms you should resort to suitable fertilizer. We have friends that year after year use nothing at all and come out with incredible yields by growing weed outdoors. It depends on what kind of experimentation you want to play with but remember that you can definitely affect the taste of your bud if not done correctly.

Always use fertilizers with caution, in this situation less is more. Because it is possible to use too much fertilizer which then enters your plant this is less common when planting in the ground and usually is more of an indoor problem.

8) The harvest of outdoor marijuana

There is no set time for the perfect harvest, depending on the variety and the weather the range can be large. Normally the crop is harvested between the end of September and the beginning of November.

Most varieties are mature when the flower threads are about 2/3 brownish coloured. However, this can only be determined by the turbidity of the resin crystals (trichomes). Visibly if they are amber in colour, the weed is ripe for harvesting. This is the time you have been waiting for and a time of great excitement. If you have made it this far, congratulations you will soon be able to enjoy the fruits or buds of your labour.

In areas of heavier rainfall, you may want to consider harvesting a bit earlier. As discussed earlier the rain can often make your bud mould too soon and destroy your crop. Also, the weight of the water on the buds can sometimes break the branches off at the stalk. Of growers will keep some leaves from the buds to use for hash or to be used in baked goods.

Don’t forget that it is important to leave the site as you found it. This is especially important if you want to come back to use the site again. If it is obviously been used as a grow site then it may attract visitors then next go round.

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