How To Plant Weed Seeds Uk

EXCLUSIVE: As police tighten the screw on cannabis farms during COVID lockdowns, a new breed of more elusive growers is on the rise. As part of our 500th-issue celebration, we’re answering the single most-asked question from our growers’ mailbag. Here is the question: Can you please If you've ever thought of growing cannabis outdoors, then this comprehensive guide is for you. We discuss climate, soil, nutrients, watering, and more.

Meet the Gangster-Free Weed Growers Who Hide in Plain Sight

EXCLUSIVE: As police tighten the screw on cannabis farms during COVID lockdowns, a new breed of more elusive growers is on the rise.

Damo and Neil both have day jobs. Damo works in an office and Neil is a mechanic. But for the last eight years they’ve been cultivating large amounts of cannabis, hidden in plain sight, next to some of the busiest motorways in England.

The pair use Google Maps and a 4K camera drone to seek out ideal sites, usually in lightly forested “no man’s land” zones between motorway junctions, where most people have no reason to ever step foot in.

They are part of a rising online community of “guerrilla growers” cultivating cannabis on thousands of secret, open-air sites across the UK. For many it’s a more appealing alternative to growing indoors under artificial lights, or buying weed from a black market tainted by organised crime and exploitation.

Damo and Neil, who are using pseudonyms for fear of being identified, are willing to live with the risk of going to jail for cultivating a Class B drug because they think the country’s ban on the plant is backward, and they don’t like buying weed from dealers.

“There is a sense of adventure involved in doing this,” Damo says. “But the main motivation is a big fuck you to prohibition: to those who uphold it, and those who benefit from it.

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Neil agrees. “The best thing for us is to be able to ditch the dealer and grow our own supply. Doing it ourselves we keep fit, we know where our weed comes from and what was used in growing it.”

They first got involved via the online guerrilla growing scene, where members share tips, grow diaries and “my plant’s bigger than your plant” photos of their crops. Damo says there are between 1,000 and 3,000 active guerrilla growers in Britain.

Damo and Neil grow around 100 plants, distributed among five sites around England’s south east, harvesting around 40 ounces of organic, gangster-free weed a year. What they don’t vacuum-seal to use over the next 12 months themselves – both men are big tokers – they give out to friends for free and use to make bubble hash and oil.

But these plants aren’t the battery chicken style tiddlers found growing under indoor lights for quick profits. They are tall, bushy plants averaging 9ft, and sometimes 15ft high, grown using cannabis seeds designed specifically for an English climate that, due to global warming, is growing less English every year. This Spring was the sunniest on record and they had to make weekly forays out to their plots with hundreds of litres of water to stop them drying out.

Harvesting the plants in September and October is the riskiest part, because that is when they end up driving around with transit vans stuffed with bundles of freshly cropped weed. Most of their grows are near motorways, so they reap their harvest under cover of being road maintenance workers, with high-vis jackets and an official looking white van, usually at night.

“Hi-vis is the new stealth,” says Neil. “People do not bat an eyelid. They just see a bloke walking down the hard shoulder of a motorway with a hard hat. Both vans we use are kitted out with flashing lights and fitted with highway maintenance signs. When we are doing our shit, police don’t even look twice.”

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The process takes around eight months from start to finish, from finding grow sites in February, planting in April, feeding the plants nutrients such as “fish blood and bone, super manure and chicken shit pellets”, to harvesting in September or October.

“The most important things for us are security, sun, soil, and a bonus is a local water source,” says Damo. “You need to find somewhere that no person has any reason to go to, or would want to go to, or would find it extremely difficult to get to. Strangely enough, there are plenty of places just like that to be found, even in 2020 in the UK.”

They’ve had grow sites near motorway verges and major junctions, near railway lines, quarries, ley-lines between large countryside fields and openings in vast areas of woodland. “The plot needs to give the plants at least six hours of direct sun per day, preferably more. So south facing with a big open sky is ideal. You have to balance being open to let in sun but being hidden enough not to be seen”, says Damo.

They use drones for plot hunting and mid-season plot check-ups. It means they don’t have to hike into the plot and get scratched up by thorns and brambles and avoid leaving a trail. “The drones give us such good detail we can check the health of plants, even spot mould or the onset of flowering, from our eye in the sky,” says Damo.

He says the drones also act as a good cover as to why they’re out and about in the first place. “Flying our machines over our beautiful ganja plots and getting stunning footage back, while standing a mile away smoking a spliff and drinking coffee. We love it.” Cannabis seeds are legal to possess in the UK and are easily bought. They use online stores such as the Real Gorilla Seed Company, which specialises in seeds for outdoor grows.

As with indoor grows, some get found by the authorities. This year one of their plots was found by railway security near the Eurostar train track and destroyed by British Transport Police.

Outdoor grows are harder for police to find because they are not situated in built up areas and are less prone to attracting attention. So far this year the only reported police discoveries of guerrilla grows include 750 plants found in woodland near Mansfield in September and 50 plants found in a small woodland clearing near Lowestoft in May.

But it’s not just the police or random members of the public they need to take into account, it’s also “rippers” – professional cannabis plant snatchers who often use drones and Google Maps themselves to hunt down the rising number of illegal outdoor grows popping up across the British countryside.

“Rippers will steal your harvest,” says Damo. “They will wait for buds to be ready and harvest them before you have a chance to. They know all about guerrilla growing, and are actively out there looking for plots in order to rip them.” Damo and Neil usually lose one or two sites to rippers or police each year.

From Seed to Smoke: 10 Basic Tips for Growing Your Own at Home

As part of our 500th-issue celebration, we’re answering the single most-asked question from our growers’ mailbag.

Here is the question: Can you please list all of the necessary steps I need to know from seed to harvest? (Asked, in one form or another, more than 680 times since the start of 2017.) Well, the answer usually requires at least a book (or several, depending on how far you want to take it), but we’re going to attempt it here in 10 easy-to-follow steps.

Good luck, everyone… Who knows, maybe you’ll be our next Cannabis Cup champion!

Clones offer uniformity and easy access from local dispensaries. (Photo by Nico Escondido)

Step 1: Get Some Seeds (or Clones)

We start off by answering the second-most-asked question: “Where do I get seeds?” Indeed, in today’s world of feminized seeds and sinsemilla (Spanish for “without seeds”) bud, it’s more difficult than ever to find a few beans in your eighth of weed.

The solution, if you live in a medical or recreational state, is to find a local dispensary that sells clones, check them closely for mites and mold, and away you go. Of course, for more than half of the United States, and in many other narrow-minded countries across the globe, this is simply not a reality. Instead, these folks need to rely on some good old-fashioned rebels, mainly the offshore seeds banks shrewdly located in places where seeds aren’t illegal to possess or sell. Some of these seed banks will ship worldwide—at the buyer’s risk. Still, quite a few of them do manage to get their seed packs through customs to your door with a bit of ingenious packaging. But, as always, the first rule is never to have your seeds shipped to the same address where your garden will be! And the second rule is to read the fine print on these companies’ websites, as many claim that they’ll ship “worldwide,” but then list the countries that they won’t ship to (including the US)—so once you send that money order, you can kiss your allowance goodbye.

Seeds can be more vigorous in growth, but harder to find—unless they’re in your buds! (Automatic Haze Seed photo courtesy of Dinafem Seeds)

This is definitely one of the harder obstacles to overcome when it comes to growing your own head stash, but you’d be surprised how word of mouth and simply asking around can get you a few gems to sprout at home. However, if you’re feeling bold and want to undertake a seed-bank adventure, you might check out the following sites: bcbuddepot.com; dinafem.org; bigbuddhaseeds.com; and cannabis-seeds-bank.co.uk.

Step 2: Choose Your Space and Your Light

Whether you’re planning to grow indoors or out, finding a smart and secure space is critical to the success of your garden. The most important aspects to consider are its dimensions (especially height), security and, of course, light.

Outdoor growers should make sure that the area they choose is a large, secluded clearing free of shrubs, brush and overhanging trees that can shade out a garden. Southern-facing clearings are usually the best option in North America, as they enjoy the most sunlight during daytime hours. It’s also important to keep in mind that while a plot may appear clear in the early spring, a host of weeds, shrubbery and tree branches may be present by midsummer. Thus, clearing the ground of all vegetative matter and trimming back nearby tree branches (or, even better, not having any trees nearby at all) is imperative.

Indoor growers will want to consider the overall height of their garden space, taking into account the fact that a lamp will likely hang approximately 2 feet below the ceiling and plants should only grow to within 18 inches of the light, thereby eliminating at least 3.5 feet from the overall height of the space. This is one of several reasons why attics often prove to be inadequate as grow spaces—not to mention that heat rises in homes, which usually makes an attic space too hot for an indoor garden.

Basements, empty garages and spare bedrooms often provide the best spaces for home grows. When you factor in the newest all-in-one solutions for indoor gardens, such as grow tents, grow cabinets, or plug-and-play hydroponic systems, the solution to the puzzle quickly takes shape. Indoor tents are probably the most popular option for home growers these days, as they usually come in package deals that also include garden pots, medium, nutrients, fans, filters and lighting, thereby offering beginner growers a turn-key operation right out of the box. More experienced growers can simply buy the grow tent in almost any size footprint they want and then build and customize the garden to their own specifications.

A simple basement grow tent with two HPS lamps makes for an easy home garden. (Photo by Nico Escondido)

The most important aspect of the indoor garden will be the lighting used; most failed attempts are the direct result of growers cutting corners on their lamps. While it’s understandable to want to eliminate heat emissions and high power draws, gardens that don’t deploy high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps will pay for it with low yields and low potency. Metal halide (MH) lights are the norm for plants in the vegetative stage, while high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights are recommended for flowering plants.

Although compact fluorescents and LEDs are excellent sources of supplemental lighting for HID lamps—especially under the canopy or along the sides of the garden—there are few of these on the market today that can be used as stand-alone grow lights to take a garden to harvest. LEDs that are intended as solo lamps need to provide full-spectrum white light, but these usually cost quite a bit more than traditional HID lights, while also consuming just as much electricity. For small indoor gardens, a 250- or 400-watt HID light will do the job nicely.

Step 3: Choose Your Medium and Containers

Whether you’re growing indoors or out, the next step is deciding the type of medium you’ll cultivate your plants in, especially since the root zone is extremely important to a plant’s growth and development. Containers can be just as important, since the containers and medium work together to hold water and oxygen for the roots—two essential components for a happy, healthy garden.

Outdoor growers have the luxury of using actual dirt or topsoil, in addition to compost and soil amendments, for their gardens. Most outdoor growers take advantage of these options, while indoor growers are limited to the more sterile and inert grow mediums. In fact, indoor growers don’t use soil at all these days; instead, they use “soilless” mediums, which look and feel very similar to traditional topsoil, but are really peat-, sphagnum- or coco-based substrates. These mediums act just as regular soils would, offering excellent buffering for root systems and holding plenty of moisture and air for roots to absorb during the day.

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This coco-based soilless mix looks and feels like regular dirt but is better suited for indoor grows. (Photo by Nico Escondido)

“Smart” pots (with holes around the sides and bottom), or fabric pots made with cloth material, are fast becoming some of the most popular containers among indoor cultivators. These pots are extremely breathable, allowing air to permeate the root zone, which is important because the roots breathe in oxygen at night (while the rest of the plant breathes in CO2 during the day). They also offer ample drainage so that excess water doesn’t build up, compress the medium, and become stagnant at the bottom of the containers, which can contribute to root rot.

Step 4: Nutrients

Selecting the proper nutrients is an important consideration for any grow. Plants need the minerals found in nutrients to aid in photosynthesis and sugar production. But it’s important to remember that the nutrients we “feed” our plants aren’t the actual food they use for energy, but rather are part of a process that allows the plants to create their own food in the form of glucose.

Start by looking at the N-P-K (nitrogen/phosphorous/potassium) ratio listed on the nutrient products. Typically, nutrient lines consist of two parts, a “Grow” formula and a “Bloom” formula. Grow formulas contain more nitrogen, while Bloom formulas have N-P-K ratios higher in phosphorous and potassium. These ratios correspond to the plants’ needs during their vegetative and flowering stages of growth.

New growers are often reminded to start slow and low when dosing their gardens with nutrients, because it’s far worse to overfeed your plants than it is to underfeed them. Read the labels carefully and then mix a milder nutrient solution at one-half to two-thirds of the recommended dose. After a week to 10 days, if you see signs of discoloration or general deficiencies, you can increase the dose to the recommended levels. But if your plants are looking strong and healthy, you will have saved some money on nutrients and also avoided one of the biggest mistakes encountered by first-time growers. Remember, overfeeding can lead to nutrient burn in the root zone or, even worse, a buildup of excess salts in the medium, which can cause nutrient lockup, blocking the roots from absorbing the necessary minerals for important biological processes like photosynthesis.

Another way to avoid excess salts is to use organic fertilizers, compost teas or veganic nutrients. Organic and veganic nutes may be a bit more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, but they’re not salt-based and are easier for your plants to break down and absorb at the root level. Data collected and analyzed over the past five years at the various High Times Cannabis Cups show that organic and veganic lines go further than synthetic nutes in unlocking the maximum genetic potential of cannabis strains in terms of their cannabinoid and terpene production.

Many outdoor growers choose not to feed their gardens directly, but rather use a composted medium that comes loaded with the minerals that plants need for development and growth. Other outdoor growers who can’t tend to their gardens on a daily basis utilize time-release nutrients in pellet form that dissolve slowly and seep into the medium for uptake by the plants.

Step 5: The Vegetative Stage

The vegetative stage is crucial to a plant’s final success, especially where yields are concerned. In general, the longer a plant is kept in veg, the more it will develop, producing a greater yield at harvest time. The vegetative stage of a plant’s lifecycle usually lasts anywhere from two weeks to two months, depending on the grower’s preference (or the time of year it was planted, if the garden is outdoors).

Vegging plants are topped early on to create bushy plants for both flowering and cloning. (Photo by Nico Escondido)

For plants to remain in the vegetative stage, they must receive more than 12 hours of light to keep them from flowering. Most indoor growers will keep plants under a minimum of 18 hours of light per day during the veg cycle. However, since the roots grow mostly during the dark cycle (or at night), allowing your plants some “down time” during veg is a good way to ensure vigorous development.

Growers utilize MH bulbs during the vegetative stage, since these lights are heavier in the blue wavelengths that help keep plants from stretching. This produces plants that are squatter and bushier, with shorter internodal lengths (the distance between branches on the main stem). This in turn helps save space indoors, but it also produces more budding sites, which typically occur at the nodes where the branches meet the stem, thereby helping to increase yields as well.

The vegetative stage is also important when it comes to training and pruning your plants. Smart pruning techniques, such as “topping” or “pinching off,” entail removing the top terminal shoot of the main stalk toward the end of the veg cycle. This causes the plant to release growth hormones that result in added shoots growing out from directly under the place where the terminal shoot was removed. These new shoots at the top of the plant can become large colas during the flowering stage.

Indoor and outdoor growers alike can use these techniques in conjunction with a trellis system, which opens up the garden to better light penetration and helps to induce longer branching with more nodal sites for flower production. A trellis system is also an excellent support structure for plants once they begin to produce heavy buds, but the trellis needs to be placed over the plants—and their growing shoots trained into its open spaces—early in the vegetative stage.

Step 6: The Flowering Stage

The flowering stage of cannabis plants occurs when the photoperiod (or light cycle) of the garden drops to 12 hours or less. In nature, outdoor gardens will begin to flower after the summer solstice, usually around July (depending on latitude), when the sunlight falls below this 12-hour threshold. Indoor growers set their lights on a timer using a 12-hours-on/12-hours-off cycle. Most cannabis strains flower after 56 to 65 days (eight to nine weeks). Sativas generally take longer than indicas, but since the majority of today’s cannabis varieties are hybrids, this can vary greatly from strain to strain.

These plants were just moved under HPS lights (12 hours on) to trigger the flowering phase. (Photo by Nico Escondido)

As a general rule, a cannabis plant will grow another 30 to 50 percent of its final size in the flowering stage. Growers typically use HPS bulbs during this period, as these lights emit a spectrum heavier in the red wavelengths to more closely mimic the autumn sun, helping to spur faster flowering (and finishing) times. However, these red wavelengths can also cause plants to stretch a bit. Thus, savvy indoor growers will use a mix of MH and HPS lighting to provide a broader spectrum for their flowering plants, with the MH bulbs helping to curb stretching as well as providing added light energy, in the form of photons, to the garden. (Note: The shorter wavelengths, such as blue light, carry higher concentrations of photons.)

Diligent pruning in the flowering stage is very helpful toward increasing yields and potency. Removing deficient or necrotic leaves, especially larger, older growth, can help redirect the plant’s energy to the bud sites. Many leaves will begin to turn yellow toward the end of the flowering stage, which is normal and an indication of the dwindling amounts of nitrogen in the medium and plants. Nearly every Bloom formula has a lower level of nitrogen in its N-P-K ratio, as the plants need less of this mineral during flowering and more of phosphorous (P) and potassium (K).

Step 7: Flushing

Flushing the plants and the medium is an essential and underrated aspect of any grow. Whether you’re eating vegetables or smoking cannabis, the final product should be devoid of any residual minerals that will make the product harsh and unhealthy. This is especially important in the age of concentrates, where residual mineral deposits, pesticides and solvents can pile up to toxic levels for human consumption.

These buds are 6.5 weeks into flowering with leaves starting to yellow due to flushing. (Photo by Nico Escondido)

Most advanced growers will do a minimum flush with fresh water only for the entire final week of the flowering stage. Some growers prefer longer flushes of up to two weeks. During the flushing period, leaves will become extremely yellow and discolored as nutrients are leached from the plant. This will make for a smoother smoke, with the cannabis burning to a clean, white ash rather than a black, tar-like ball.

Step 8: Cutting and Drying

You’ve finally made it: harvest time! The reward for all your hard work is close at hand—but don’t rush it now. There are many acceptable methods for cutting down cannabis plants and drying the flowers. In general, the basic rule of thumb dictates that growers cut down their plants at the end of the daily dark cycle, just as the lights are coming on or the sun is rising. This allows the plants to be harvested in a dormant state, before they begin physiological processes like photosynthesis, which will draw moisture and minerals back up into the plant from the root system.

These cut branches from outdoor plants are hung in a dark, dry(Photo by Nico Escondido

Rather than cutting a plant at its base, one popular technique is to remove the individual branches starting at the top of the plant. For this method, the branches are cut just before the first shoot on each branch, thereby creating a convenient “V” notch near the base from which it can be hung upside down on a line or hanger. Be sure to label each branch with the strain name and plant number so as to avoid any confusion further down the line (such as during the trimming or curing).

Once they’re cut, hang the branches upside down in a dark, dry place for five to seven days. Be sure that plenty of air is being circulated around the flowers using floor and wall fans. Use a hygrometer to check the room’s humidity, and deploy dehumidifiers if the humidity in the drying room rises above 50%. Remember that the flowers are 85% water, and you can expect the final dry weight of the buds to be about 15% of their wet weight when originally cut at harvest.

Step 9: Trimming and Curing

Perhaps the most overlooked step in terms of the quality of the final product is this one, particularly where curing is concerned. But before the curing starts, the buds must be trimmed and manicured. Large commercial operations sometimes deploy trim machines to aid in the workload; however, veteran growers know that the best method for manicuring flowers is to trim them by hand.

Buds curing in jars before being sold in a Colorado dispensary. (Photo by Nico Escondido)

There are competing opinions about whether it’s better to wet-trim or dry-trim. The latter occurs after drying, whereas the former occurs immediately following harvest, while the plant is still alive and “wet.” Some growers find it easier to dry-trim, when the leaves have less moisture and don’t stick to the buds as much. Conversely, other growers feel that trimming dry buds can knock off or damage the valuable trichomes. Either way, the buds need to be trimmed prior to the start of the curing process, and it might be more efficient for new growers to trim after drying so that the manicured flowers can go directly into the curing jars.

Sometimes growers are so excited (or relieved) after the harvest that they forget just how integral the curing of the buds is to their final quality. In short, curing is just a much slower drying process, which can last anywhere from a week to a month or two depending on the grower’s preference. Some connoisseurs prefer a longer and deeper cure to draw out the ultimate essence of the flower. Of course, there is always a point of diminishing returns after a certain length of time.

One of the best methods of curing consists of using UV-protected glass jars. The buds are placed in these jars and then kept in a cool, dry place out of direct light, with the jars being “burped” once or twice daily to allow the slowly evaporating moisture to escape. Leaving the jars open for five to 10 minutes at a time will do the trick nicely. Some people like to use larger jars, or bins, for curing larger amounts of flower. However, be wary of using plastic containers or bins for curing, as plastic can often impart an unwanted smell to your buds.

These flowers were trimmed to perfection with only buds and sugar leaves remaining. (Photo by Nico Escondido)

After about a week to 10 days, the buds should be dried and cured to a nearly pristine point. Each time you open the jars, you will smell more and more of the buds’ aromatic bouquet as the more volatile compounds—known as the terpene profile—begin to present themselves. Finally, once you—the grower!—know that the time is right, you can proceed to the final step…

Step 10: Smoke That Herb!

Congratulations! There is nothing in the world quite like smoking your own homegrown cannabis… and, hopefully, the process itself was a fun and rewarding experience.

Thanks for reading and celebrating our 500th issue of High Times. And remember: Grow … and help the world grow, too!

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How to Grow Marijuana Outdoors: A Beginner’s Guide

Although it’s possible to purchase high-quality weed from a dispensary, there are few things more thrilling than growing cannabis outdoors.

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.

If you live in a state where an outdoor grow is permitted, then this article is for you. This step-by-step guide will go through everything you need to know and show you how to grow marijuana outdoors.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

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.

Growing Marijuana Outdoors: The Beginner’s Guide

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.

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.

However, all marijuana growing areas must be enclosed, locked, and they can’t be viewed from the outside. In other words, it is tricky to grow cannabis outside and meet all state laws.

Incidentally, Colorado residential properties are allowed to grow a maximum of 12 plants, while medicinal marijuana growers are permitted up to 24.

We are offering this guide with the assumption that it is legal to grow marijuana plants in your state. First and foremost, it is imperative that you have the right climate for optimum growth.

Benefits of Growing Marijuana Outdoors

There’s no doubt that growing marijuana outdoors comes with challenges (which we address later on), but it also has a list of cool benefits:

  • Eco-Friendly:Indoor growing uses a lot of electricity because it requires so much lighting, not to mention ventilation systems and other equipment. In California, it’s estimated that growing marijuana indoors uses the equivalent of 200 pounds of coal to grow just a single pound. Outdoor growing needs sun, air, water, and minimal equipment for your plants to survive.
  • Better Quality Buds: Marijuana that is grown outdoors carries a distinctive flavor and aroma. As long as you choose the right strain, you’ll enjoy every single smoke.
  • Low Cost: Assuming that you have selected the right location, outdoor growing offers unlimited sun, fresh air, carbon dioxide, and rainwater. Buy the best seeds, take good care of them, and when they sprout, they’ll need minimal maintenance. Once you learn how to handle pests and inclement weather, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to grow marijuana outdoors.
  • Larger Yields: It is common for outdoor marijuana plants to grow nearly six feet tall. Plants of this size offer 500 grams of dried bud. A harvest from just six plants is usually enough to provide you with a year’s supply of premium cannabis.

Step #1: Determine the Climate in Which You’re Going to Grow the Marijuana

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.

When growing cannabis outdoors, you have to realize that, while weed is reasonably adaptable to different weather conditions, it is still vulnerable to temperature extremes.

For example, sustained temperatures of over 86 degrees Fahrenheit can prevent growth. On the other hand, temperatures below 55 degrees could kill your precious plants.

Step #2: Choose the Best Possible Location

Outdoor cannabis plants love basking in the sun. Therefore, find a plot that offers at least five hours of sunshine a day. Once again, residents of certain towns and cities will find it easier than most. For example, those who live in San Diego will experience 14 hours of sunlight during the Summer Solstice (June 21).

As we mentioned above, make sure the temperature of your location does not exceed 86 degrees. If your area regularly surpasses this temperature, then you will need to be careful where you cultivate your plants.

Look for a plot that gets direct sunlight early in the day and filtered sun later in the afternoon. It is also ideal if you can find a place that offers a constant breeze. However, bear in mind that this increases water consumption.

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.

Even if it is legal to grow outdoors in your location, there will always be judgmental individuals and possible thieves. Try and plant your marijuana so that it is hidden behind tall fences or shrubs.

It may also be worth investing in wire cages to keep animals at bay. As already mentioned, some plants often grow over six feet tall. However, some plants, when grown outdoors, can become so tall that they resemble mini-skyscrapers. These plants can sometimes be over twelve feet in height, so make sure you plan for this.

Some Potential Grow Sites for Outdoor Growers

It isn’t easy to find the best location. Not only must it offer ideal growing conditions, but it must also be safe from discovery, even when planting legally. If you are adhering to the law, private property is best because you have full access and can control security. Otherwise, you have to risk public property, which increases the chances of discovery.

Some places to consider for an outdoor grow include:

  • Balcony: This allows easy access; however, it is also highly visible. Frosted plastic film can conceal your plants and reduce the spread of the scent. As the U.S. is in the northern hemisphere, it is best if your balcony faces south. This will ensure your plants get the most sunlight during the day.
  • Personal Garden: Again, your plants are highly visible but easily accessible. If you have the right security measures in place, this is the best location.
  • Roof Terrace: Guarantees the maximum amount of sun, but strong winds and odors are an issue.
  • A Forest: Streams provide an excellent source of water. Alternatively, you can dig a couple of feet into the earth to find groundwater. It is well hidden, but just about anyone could stumble upon your stash. As the soil is also likely to be acidic, it is best to use huge pots filled with premium-quality soil.
  • An Open Field: You will need to camouflage it with other plants that are capable of growing as tall as marijuana. Look for land where nettles grow. This is a sign that the soil is filled with nitrogen, which is an essential nutrient for healthy marijuana growth.

Tips for Choosing a Grow Site

When choosing the ideal location for your outdoor grow, look for the following features:

  • Sunlight: More sunlight equals bigger plants and larger yields.
  • Water: Marijuana plants thrive in most areas as long as they get enough water.
  • Wind: A gentle breeze is perfect because it helps develop robust root systems. Heavy winds can damage or destroy a crop.
  • Soil: We explore soil choice below, but suffice to say, it has to be rich in the right kind of nutrients.
  • Access: You don’t need to spend as much time tending to outdoor plants as their indoor counterparts. However, you still have to visit your crop every couple of weeks. This helps you identify if they lack nutrients, need more water, or are infested with pests.
  • Security: If your crop is easy to access, don’t be surprised if someone comes in and helps themselves. Also, we urge you not to break the law. Getting caught will lead to a massive fine and possibly jail time.

Step #3: Buy the Best Soil for Your Plants

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.

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.

When choosing the right soil, bear in mind that it is made up primarily of clay, sand, and silt. Your plants require slightly acidic soil with organic matter that has been adequately drained. Therefore, you have to test the soil if you intend to plant your cannabis directly in the earth.

Different Types of Soil

If you decide to use the soil in the earth, make sure you have its pH tested. Otherwise, purchase the soil from a garden store. Please remember that even store-bought soil could use added nutrients from compost. Your options include:

  • Clay-Rich Soil: This is heavy, doesn’t hold oxygen particularly well, and drains very slowly. Around four weeks before you start planting, dig the holes for the marijuana. Add significant amounts of manure, compost, and any other decomposed organic matter. This process improves drainage, offers aeration, and ensures your marijuana plants receive adequate nutrients.
  • Sand-Rich Soil: This is a good option because it drains well and warms quickly. On the downside, it doesn’t hold nutrients very well, and this can be problematic in wetter climates. Dig holes for the plants and add peat moss and compost to bind the soil together. If you live in a warm environment, mulch the soil to prevent the roots from overheating. This process also helps the soil retain water.
  • Silt-Rich Soil: This is the best soil for growing marijuana plants because it warms rapidly. It also has excellent drainage, holds moisture, and is easy to work with. You will find the best silty soil at the bottom of lakes or in prehistoric riverbeds.

Step #4: Add Some Fertilizer to the Plants

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:

  • Compost
  • Kelp Meal
  • Blood meal
  • Fish meal
  • Worm castings

Adding these to the soil before planting means you won’t have to add as much fertilizer during the growing cycle. After planting your marijuana in premium quality soil, you don’t need to add anything else for a few weeks.

It is tempting to make your soil amendments with store-bought fertilizers, but remember, they are filled with chemicals. This can significantly impact the flavor and aroma of the finished product.

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.

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.

Composting is the way forward because it is cheap and relatively simple. You can also add all sorts of organic matter from fruit clippings to animal manure. Avoid using meat or animal fat as it will attract pests.

Make sure you layer the compost heap and ensure it has proper airflow. Turn the heap every few weeks and test the pH regularly to ensure it is balanced. These days, consumers are turning to super-soil to help fertilize their plants. This is organic pre-fertilized soil, which contains all the nutrients your marijuana needs.

Step #5: The Importance of Properly Watering Your Cannabis Plants

Obviously, your plants need water, and the benefit of growing outdoors is that your marijuana should be exposed to rainwater. However, in places like California, the hot summer months mean minimal rainfall, so you have to water your plants manually. The main danger is overwatering your cannabis. A good rule of thumb is that a large plant needs 10 gallons of water a day during hot weather.

If you live in a dry and hot climate, then try this tip. Dig beneath your plants before adding rocks or clay-rich soil beneath the planting holes as a means of slowing drainage. Some growers believe that adding polymer crystals to the soil helps improve water retention as these crystals absorb water.

Three Ways to Boost Drainage

Those who live in wetter than average climates need to improve drainage. Marijuana that grows in waterlogged conditions is susceptible to root diseases. Here are three ways to improve the drainage of your soil:

  1. Plant your weed in beds or raised mounds.
  2. Dig ditches to ensure that the water flows away from your plants.
  3. Add clay pebbles, perlite, and gravel to the soil.

If you use tap water, test it first. It could have a significant number of dissolved minerals that build up in the soil and impact the pH level. Alternatively, tap water could contain an excessive amount of chlorine, which is very bad for the soil. Therefore, we recommend filtering the water you use.

Some people use a container garden instead of planting straight into the soil. If you opt for this, bear in mind that they dry out much faster than soil. Therefore, you may have to water your plants daily. Additional watering is also necessary for warm or windy conditions. To avoid overwatering, wait for the top inch of the soil to be dry before adding more. Invest in a soil moisture meter to make things easier.

See also  Forbidden Fruit Weed Seeds

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

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.

Step #6: Select Carefully the Type of Container You Need

If this is your first outdoor grow, you may not realize that the surrounding soil is unsuitable for growth until you try and use it. If so, you have no choice but to use container gardens.

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.

One of the main advantages of container gardens is that you can place them anywhere. Therefore, you can grow your weed on a patio or even on a rooftop. Make sure you move the plants around to make the most of the available sunlight. You can also use store-bought nutrient-rich soil, which simplifies the fertilization process.

Take note that growing the weed in containers will impact the size of the plant. Container-grown marijuana will be smaller because root growth is restricted. In other words, the size of the container determines the size of the plant.

You will have to learn specialized techniques if you wish to grow a few large plants.

Don’t use a container smaller than five gallons. If you want large plants, try 15+ gallon containers. There are even 100-gallon container bags!

If you live in a warm climate, be wary of excessive heat damaging the roots. It is normal for container-grown pots of soil to exceed 90 degrees on a hot day. Always water the plants generously in the morning to ensure they don’t dry out during sweltering afternoons.

Airflow is also critical, so be sure to invest in breathable containers. These enable air to penetrate the root zone quickly and ensure that oxygen gets to the roots. Once marijuana plants breathe in the CO2, the roots use the most with the highest consumption occurring at night.

Step #7: Protect your Cannabis Plants from Pets and Inclement Weather

Outdoor cannabis growers face a significant disadvantage compared to their indoor growing counterparts; outdoor plants are vulnerable to inclement weather. Also, plants grown outdoors are susceptible to attack from pests and pets. Rapid changes in the weather can damage or even kill cannabis plants, while animals and aphids are a constant threat.

Protecting Your Marijuana Plant from Pets & Pests

Don’t just focus solely on bothersome insects. Larger animals such as rodents, dogs, cats, rabbits, deer, and raccoons can damage or eat your crop.

While insects damage your plants over a few days or weeks, larger animals can destroy them in minutes. You must examine your cannabis plants daily.

You should be able to deal with animal threats by surrounding your plants with a high and sturdy wire fence. If you are concerned about birds, you can place netting over the plants.

Threats like moles, who push up from the soil beneath your plants, require extra planning. An excellent way to prevent them from causing damage is by building a fence around 2-3 feet beneath the soil. You can also use deterrents such as urine from predators like coyotes, to ward off rabbits, gophers, and raccoons. Household items such as garlic and castor oil are pretty effective deterrents, too.

Homemade solutions for every g…

It is imperative that you keep your marijuana healthy because blooming plants have a natural resistance to specific pests. You can add ladybugs and lacewings, as these predators keep harmful pests at bay while doing no damage themselves.

Pyrethrum is one of the most popular organic insecticide options. Homemade remedies include combining soap with water and misting your plants with it. Soap and water solution is effective against a mild outbreak

Garlic is useful for fighting beetles. Check your plants daily for signs of infestation and act immediately if you see any issues.

Another method of fighting pests is to grow companion plants. Companion plants are plants of a different species to cannabis that you plant near your crop. Clover, rosemary, basil, and marigold are good choices as they are capable of repelling pests.

Protecting Your Weed from Rain & Wind

High winds are a significant problem for cannabis growers as it can damage the plants. It can break branches, damage trichomes, and leave your weed vulnerable to disease and infestation. Any type of excess strain like this can over-stress the plants, causing the buds to produce seeds. You do not want this to happen.

If your crop is in a windy spot, create a windbreak such as a wall. Alternatively, tying perforated plastic sheeting to garden stakes is also effective.

Although rainwater helps your plants grow, too much of it results in mold and mildew. This problem is at its worst during the flowering stage.

If you live in a wet climate, choose a mold-resistant marijuana strain, and support it with stakes or cages. Otherwise, the rain will collect on buds and leaves, and your plants will be weighed down. Alternatively, try and predict wet spells and be prepared by adding a makeshift shelter to your crop.

Protecting Your Precious Crop from High Temperatures

It is best to maintain the temperature between 55-86 degrees Fahrenheit for as much of the growing cycle as possible. Marijuana plants can survive outside this range for short periods.

However, once the temperature goes below 42 degrees Fahrenheit, most varieties of cannabis will be damaged quickly. If excessively cold temperatures are a problem, use protection such as cold frames, hot caps, or cloches.

Step #8: Choose the Right Genetics

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.

Picking the Right Marijuana Strains for Your Climate

Whether you like it or not, certain strains don’t grow well in specific climates. No matter how much care and attention you give your crop, its yield will always be disappointing.

It is important to remember that cannabis plants start flowering as the days get shorter. This is why growing marijuana in northern latitudes is a problem. Your cannabis will flower. However, the process happens too late to get the most from the sun in late summer.

Southern California growers can grow these strains and not worry about late flowering due to plentiful sunshine. Growers in British Columbia, on the other hand, won’t achieve a decent yield because they won’t finish flowering until December. By that time, the lack of light, cold weather, and heavy rainfall will probably have killed the plant.

Cannabis Seeds vs. Clones – Choosing the Best Seeds on the Market

The best genes equal the best marijuana. Marijuana with good genetics not only smells and tastes fantastic but is also extremely potent.

Indoor growers tend to grow their marijuana from clones, while outdoor growers prefer to grow from seed. You can get quality buds using either method, and they both have their advantages and drawbacks.

Clones

If you elect to clone, you need a mother plant. It’s possible to buy clones from your local dispensary. However, bear in mind, clones require at least 16 hours of light a day to ensure that they don’t flower.

All clones are female plants that have the same traits, and they are known for producing premium quality weed.

You must root the clones indoors before they are ‘hardened off.’ This is the process of moving a plant outdoors for a few hours a day. This method gradually exposes them to air, cold nights, and sunlight.

The main downside to using clones is that they produce small yields. If you want a more abundant harvest, you have to grow the clones indoors during the winter and early spring. Cloned plants never develop the thick central taproot that goes into the ground, which stabilizes the plant and consumes groundwater. As a result, they are vulnerable to drought and windy conditions.

Seeds

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.

The chief downside to growing from seed is that the outcome is less predictable than it is with clones. If you don’t choose an inbred seed line, you could end up with a different plant to the one you expected. Also, cannabis seeds produce males and females. This means you have to sex your plants when they achieve sexual maturity. This process involves culling the male plants. You can avoid this issue by purchasing feminized seeds.

One other option for outdoor growing is auto-flowering seeds. As soon as they reach maturity, these plants begin to bloom irrespective of the length of the days. If you live in a temperate climate, you will benefit from two crops every year by using auto-flowering seeds. Simply plant one crop in late winter (or even early spring), and another at the beginning of summer.

Step #9: Cut Your Cannabis Plants Carefully

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!

Make sure you trim your plants regularly to help them attain optimum growth. Get rid of unnecessary cannabis cuttings because leaving dead leaves and branches will only attract pests. Pruning also enables you to shape your plant. If you see new shoots that are not growing properly, take a pair of pruning scissors and trim them away. This will help your plants develop bigger buds.

The type of strain you’re growing dictates the duration of flowering. For example, most sativa strains will go through the full growth and flowering cycle in a little over three months.

Lastly, make sure female plants are not exposed to males. Otherwise, pollination could occur – a process that decreases the quality of the harvest. If your strain begins flowering during a wet season, excess moisture exposure could prove troublesome. In this instance, find shelter for the plants to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Step #10: Grow, Enjoy, Repeat!

Most cannabis strains are ready for harvest between the end of September and the first week or two of October. Although, this does depend on the strain and climate conditions. Monitor pistil and trichome formation to gain a better idea of when your plants are ready for harvesting.

The growing process can take anywhere from two months to 8+ months. Your plants are ready to be harvested when approximately 70% of its pistils turn from white to a reddish-brown color. If the pistils are turning red, harvest immediately!

Other signs that it is time to harvest include brown resin on the buds, a broader stem, and if the leaves of the plant begin to turn yellow and die back.

The plant’s trichomes should have turned an opaque white color at this stage, too. This is a good indication that they are fully mature and ready for harvesting.

Experienced growers also recommend keeping an eye out for a change in color in the plant’s stigma. A good sign that the plant is ready for harvesting is when the stigma changes in color from white to orange. However, most growers agree that the most accurate method to determine when it is time to harvest is to wait until the trichomes have turned opaque white.

You must be careful not to wait too long to harvest because marijuana plants suffer a decline in health once they have completed the flowering phase.

Is There a Precise Time to Harvest?

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.

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!

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.

Once you have a successful harvest under your belt, move onto the next stage with our article on Drying and Curing Cannabis Buds.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

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.