Indoor grows are the in-thing, but it comes with additional costs because you will have to replicate the outdoor conditions. If you don’t have access to some outdoor sunshine, then well, you have no choice. But should you have an outdoor garden, a sunny rooftop, or a balcony with access to some direct sunlight, then outdoor grows can save you some costs and hassle. It’s also exciting to watch plants grow under natural elements out of your control.
Grow Cannabis Outdoors- 7 Steps
This is a brief guide on what you will need and how to grow cannabis successfully outdoors. The guide will walk you through seven steps that culminate in a bountiful harvest if optimum conditions are met.
Step 1: You will need the right climate to grow cannabis outdoors
Most cannabis strains do well in the Mediterranean like climates. However, cannabis is highly adaptable to different climates, what you should not do is subjects the plants to extremes of weather. Temperatures above 86°F or below 55°F can be detrimental to the plants.
When buying cannabis strain, first find out the climate requirements and see if this tallies with your locality.
Step 2: If the climate is suitable, find the right spot in your garden
This step is pretty basic but will save you lots of frustrations in the future once you begin your grow. First, establish whether you will plant directly in the soil or if you will use containers. Containers will allow you to move the plants around when you need to shield them or expose them to certain weather conditions. At the end of the day, you want your plants to receive as much direct sunlight during the vegetative stage and less sunlight as they switch to the vegetative stage.
You should pick a spot that has regular breeze but not windy. In case you live in an area where high winds are common, find a spot that has a barrier from the wind such as a wall or fence.
You also need a place that is secure from thieves or stray animals that may feast on your buds before they mature. Some people also prefer this endeavor to be a private affair. In this case, pick a spot that is secluded and away from public view.
Step 3: Pick the right strain of weed
This will set you off on the right foot. First, the strain that you settle for should be adaptable to your local climatic conditions. Secondly, you want to pick the strain that will give you the highest yield, considering that you may be restricted on how many plants you can grow. You also want to pick the strain that gives the effects that you are looking for. If you are looking for a strong head buzz, settle for a strong Sativa strain. Of you want a strong body hit with possible a couch-lock then an indica will work better for you. If you are in for the psychoactive effects, try a high THC strain.
Step 4: Seeds vs. Clones
After selecting the strain, decide whether you will go for cannabis seeds or cannabis clones. Seeds will allow you to witness the plant grow from scratch, which is a very beautiful thing. They are also sturdier and easier to work with, growing clones requires some expertise. However, clones come in handy when you need your nugs ready in a short time. Since clones don’t grow from scratch, they will shorten your cycle by about a month.
Step 5: Make sure you have the right soil
You may need to consult a soil expert to assess whether you have the right soil and advise accordingly. Good thing is, soil can be modified to meet the required standards. At worst, you can opt to buy soil.
There are three kinds of soil: sand, clay, and loam soils. Loam soil is ideal for growing cannabis since it has good drainage, it can hold in moisture and nutrients and it is adequately aerated. Dark loam soils also help to maintain the right soil temperature.
Sandy soils have good drainage and good aeration. However, they do not hold nutrients as they let them slip away. Adding manure or coco coir can help to improve sandy soils.
Clay soils have poor drainage and aeration but they can hold nutrients. Adding perlite to clay soils can help to improve drainage.
You also need to confirm the pH of your soil. Cannabis does well in slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6-6.5.
Step 6: Boost the nutrients in the soil
You will need the help of a soil expert to determine the nutrient level in your soil. Cannabis needs different nutrients during the growth cycle. A deficiency in nutrients will result in a failure to thrive. Avoid commercial fertilizers especially if you intend to have you grow for a long time. Instead, go for nutrient solutions specifically designed for cannabis. Most local garden stores will stock organic fertilizers that are friendly to the soil. Fortunately, most of the locally available nutrients are inexpensive. Once you get your soil tested, you will know which nutrients that your soil specifically needs and this will save you money in the long run.
Step 7: Make sure your plants have an adequate supply of water
This starts with picking the right months for your outdoor grow. You will be lucky if you find a strain that is suited for local climatic conditions as this will allow you to make use of natural rainfall.
Cannabis plants consume lots of water, even up to 10 gallons a day in hot weather. You will need to assess the weather and know if your plants need to be irrigated. It is advisable to water your plants heavily in the morning to ensure that they have an adequate supply of water throughout the day. Make sure not to over-water your plants. Once the topsoil becomes wet, stop adding water until the topsoil dries out again. Investing in a soil moisture meter can also be a good idea.
In case you live in an area with heavy rainfall, you will need to improvise measures to improve drainage such as digging ditches around the plants or raising the beds.
To Wrap It Up
Growing cannabis outdoors is not easy, but with the right skills, you can achieve success. Some cannabis strains are susceptible to pests and you will need to prepare for this. This may mean using some natural remedies to deter pests such as not mixing your cannabis with other flowers that may harbor pests. If you get past your first grow, chances are that you will be on free fall in consecutive grows.
1. NCBI (2019): An Update on Plant Photobiology and Implications for Cannabis Production. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6455078/
2. West Word (2019): DEA Announces Plans to Increase Marijuana Growing Licenses for Research. Retrieved from https://www.westword.com/marijuana/dea-announces-plans-to-increase-marijuana-growing-licenses-for-research-11461841