Cannabis growing is a fun and rewarding experience when done freely and outdoors. A small outdoor garden can yield plenty of quality weed with investing too much money. If you have a place in your home where plants can have access to sunlight, like a yard or even a terrace, balcony or rooftop, you can definitely grow weed successfully.
If you are lucky enough to live in a country or state where outdoor cannabis growing is legal, then this article is for you. This guide to outdoor growing will walk you through every step of the way.
I. Consider the climate which you are going to grow your weed
Climate is very important when growing weed and it is necessary to have a good understanding of the climate in your area. Although cannabis is a strong plant where it can adapt to several conditions, however it is susceptible to extreme weather.
The primary concern is the amount of available sunlight in the area. Marijuana plant needs ample amount of sunlight to grow healthy. A temperature higher than 30°C can prevent the growth of your cannabis plant while temperature lower than 13°C could kill them to death. Heavy winds and heavy rains can also damage your plants physically and reduce yields.
It is advised to look for experienced gardeners in your area to get some knowledge and ideas about growing flowers and vegetables particular to the climate in your area, and apply them to growing your cannabis plants.
II. Pick the best possible location for your garden
Definitely, you would want a private area for you cannabis plants. You can install tall fences or you can just set it up behind large shrubs or trees. This will ensure you that the plants are secured.
You can also set it up in your balcony or roof terrace, covered from view. Some build heavy gauge-wires to protect the plants from thieves and animals. Consider also the height that a cannabis plant can grow which is at 15 ft tall or more.
Most importantly, make sure the space has access to sunlight, has easy access to water and a gentle breeze.
III. Decide on the type of strain to grow
Once you gained knowledge and understanding on your climate and have chosen a comfortable space for your pants, it is now time to select the right strain to grow particular to your climate and location. You are lucky if you already have neighbors who grow cannabis because there is a good chance that many strains will successfully grow there.
You can either buy seeds or clones to start with your garden. Choose well your seeds or clones because the best genes yields the best weed.
Seeds are much more recommended to outdoor growing as you can directly plant them into the garden in early spring, or even in cool, wet climates. Plants grown from seed offer larger yields and are tougher in times of unsparing weather conditions.
It is also best recommended to germinate your seed indoors. We have a thorough guide to germinating seeds here.
IV. Buy high quality soil for you plant
Note that a good soil is made up primarily of clay, silt and sand. Weed plants need slightly acidic soil with organic matter which have been adequately drained.
You can buy pre-made organic soil from a few suppliers and put them in the pots where you want to plant your weed. It is also more recommended to use self-made soil, as it is does not contain artificial extended fertilizer. You can combine bat guano, worm castings or other components with a good soil, and let it sit for a few weeks.
If you plan to plant directly to the ground, thoroughly check the contents of the soil. Remember that a soil with heavy clay don’t hold oxygen well and drains slowly, so it needs to be heavily amended. A month before you plant, dig large holes on the ground and mix in big amounts of manure, compost, worm castings, or other decomposed organic matter. This will allow the soil to provide your plants aeration, drainage and nutrients.
Sandy soil don’t hold nutrients well, especially during rainy days. So you will also have to amend it by digging holes and add peat moss, compost, or coco coir to hold the soil together.
Silty soil mostly don’t need amending, especially and they are the ideal growing medium. It holds moisture and warms quickly. It is easy to work and drains water well.
There is also a way to have your soil tested, which is easy and relatively inexpensive. You can go to a local soil testing service which will tell you the makeup and pH content of your soil. They will also tell you if your soil has contaminants and will recommend materials and fertilizers to amend it.
V. Get some fertilizers for your plants
Over the life cycle of the cannabis plant, they need large amounts of nutrients. These are mainly in the form of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Organic fertilization is mostly recommended than buying nutrient solutions in store, as they don’t contain synthetic mineral salts.
Organic fertilizers takes full advantage of microbial life in soil. There are various organic/natural fertilizers available at local garden stores such as bat guano, blood meal, fish meal, kelp meal and bone meal.
Composting is mostly recommended as they are inexpensive and relatively easy to do. You can just combine all sorts of organic matter from animal manure and fruit clippings. Meat or animal fat attracts pests, so avoid using them. You can search in the internet on how to properly compost.
VI. Choose containers for your plants
If you don’t have a vast amount of soil in your space then you’d probably need to put your plants in containers. This is also an option if you don’t want to get the hassle of digging and amending soil.
You can either choose to put them in pots, buckets or barrels. The size of the pot will determine the size of the plant when it is fully grown. Unlike planting in the ground, containers restrict the growth of the plant. A five gallon pot or bucket is the recommended size for small to medium sized plants and ten gallon pots or larger for big plants.
VII. Water your plants in a proper way
Outdoor growing gets the benefit of rain and/or groundwater, however you still have to frequently water the plants especially during hot summer season. Giant cannabis plant can take up to 10 gallons of water per day in a warm weather. It is advised to water you plants deeply in the morning to give your plants adequate supply all throughout the day.
During rainy season, you may need to improve the drainage around your plants in order for roots to not acquire fungal diseases. To do this, plant in raised beds or mounds, dig ditches that will lead water to away from your plants, and add gravel, perlite, or clay pebbles to the soil.
Windy climates and high temperatures force your plant to transpire quickly, so they would need to be watered more frequently. The trick to not over-water the plant is to water deeply, then wait until an inch or two of the top soil is completely dry before the next watering.
Give them some protection
Indoor growing gives you the capability to control the environment of your plants. Outdoor growing don’t. However, you can protect them from storms and other weather conditions that can be damaging or can cause death to your plants. To protect them from low temperatures, try using a greenhouse or any protective enclosure.
Strong winds can break the branches of your plants and can overly stress them. To protect them from high winds, you can simply attach plastic sheeting to garden stakes around the plants.
Rain can also be damaging to your plants especially at their flowering stage. It can cause molds and mildew which can be severely damaging. A DIY greenhouse or just plastic sheeting and stakes to build a temporary shelter will work.
Pests are can quite challenging in growing outdoors. To keep the plants from large animals like deer or your pet dog, you can build a fence around your plants. Insects, whether crawling or flying are the most challenging to deal with. The best thing to do is to keep your plants healthy as a natural way for your plants to resist pests and minor infestations. You can use organic pesticides designed specifically for cannabis plants to get rid of insects whenever you find them.