The Complete Guide On How To Grow Cannabis Outdoors
Published : Feb 8, 2018
Categories : Cannabis cultivation
Are you trying to grow a cannabis plant outside and want to know more about the process? You came to the right place! We’ll be giving you a detailed introductory guide on cultivating your own cannabis and achieving the best yields of outdoor bud possible!
Growing cannabis indoors has become more and more popular as technology improves. But that’s the catch; indoor growing requires a lot of equipment. And all this equipment will still require your constant attention. Unless you spend thousands on an automated system, having an artificial light and water source will demand your intervention. Outdoors, on the other hand, you can’t control the sun nor the rain, yet both will still exist whether you intervene or not.
Besides the obvious materials needed for an outdoor plantation, what you’re absolutely required to have is passion. If you have that, then there will be nothing you can’t achieve nor a mistake you can’t solve.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SEED
When growing outdoors, you’ll have to look beyond what your intended high is. There are multiple factors you should also be considering. Certain seeds will grow better in some environments than others. Having the proper strain can make all the difference between a great yield or no yield at all.
If you live in tropical areas, you’ll be lucky to discover that almost all strains will grow well outdoors. These are extremely humid places with little to no change in climate through the seasons. You’ll have a nice long growing period where your plant will rarely be under stress. The main issue is mould (more on that later). It really won’t matter if you’re growing an indica or a sativa. Both will have enough time to grow.
If you live in the Mediterranean or the United States, you’ll have to be pickier. In these climates, you’re better off with an indica or indica-dominant hybrid. For the northern European growers, try an indica-dominant strain that will finish flowering stage around September/October. Critical XXL is a great option for this.
FINDING THE PERFECT SPOT
Once you have your perfect strain selected, it’s time to decide where you’re going to grow it. Unless you have a huge pot with wheels, it might be hard to move the plant around once it’s growing. Choosing the right spot will help ensure your plant gets the sunlight it needs and isn’t damaged by excessive wind.
All you have to look for is a place where your cannabis plant can get a lot of direct sunlight. A balcony or garden facing south will guarantee this as long as there are no obstructions. The perfect scenario will be if you can get 6 hours of direct light during the hottest hours of the day. These will start at around 10am. If you live in an extremely cold place, placing your plant next to a wall or something that retains heat will help your plant avoid stress.
This will be different if you live closer to the equator. With average temperatures around 30°C, you should try to filter sunlight during the most aggressive hours and find a spot with a cool breeze or nearby shade. Also, remember to avoid surfaces that retain heat during the day such as asphalt pavements and brick or stone walls.
If you want to make sure your seeds grow into plants, germinating them indoors before transferring them to the pot can be a great idea. This will also be a smart thing to do if you want to plant several seeds and only use the healthiest ones. You’ll be sure you’re not wasting soil and fertiliser on a seed that isn’t going to give you a proper plant.
The best time to start germinating seeds is during the spring. Find a sunny window board. Do not take them outside until after the first three, maybe four weeks. This is when seedlings will be approximately 15cm tall and have at least 3 branch nodes. Seedlings should be resilient and healthy before placing them at risk of insect bites, wind, and aggressive temperatures.
We have a great option on our website if you want to avoid these issues. The Micro Propagator Plus is a complete package for seed and clone germination. For just over €17, you’ll be getting a controlled environment for 15 seeds or clones, where all you have to do is add water. The kit comes with a full bag of perlite, a thermometer, and a LED grow light. Germination success rate has never been higher.
SOIL AND FERTILISER
For cannabis plants to survive, they need soil that is rich in nutrients, well-draining, and slightly acidic. This will be found in the best proportions within a silty soil. Soil rich in silt will hold nutrients and humidity, but will still oxygenate the root zone of your plant extremely well. If you’re unable to find a perfect soil compost, you can make your own mixture. A couple of months prior to germinating your seeds, you need to prepare your plantation area. Dig large holes where you’ll be placing worm castings, manure, and any organic compost you have laying around from your day-to-day. This will create a great foundation for your marijuana plant to grow and thrive.
With soil for your plant to grow, now you need to worry about the nutrients you’ll be feeding it. Although the soil, manure, and worm castings will already have an abundance of nutrients, the use of external fertilisers will aid you in obtaining the best yields possible. For these, you’ll be faced with different options. You’ll have to choose whether to use synthetic or organic products. The organic solutions will provide high-quality buds, but they consume more of your time.
If you do purchase supplements, try to source those specifically designed for cannabis. There are all sorts of options online. But if you don’t have this option, only use general products designed for edible plants, such as tomatoes. If the products are used on fruit or vegetables, then you’ll probably be safe smoking cannabis grown with it.
OVERFEEDING AND PH
Be aware that overfeeding cannabis plants will lead to nutrient toxicity and can be lethal. Although supplemental fertilisers can be of benefit, too much of a good thing will destroy any chances of a successful crop. Nutrient deficiencies do occur, but often times, novice growers will mistake nutrient lockout for deficiency. This phenomenon occurs when nutrients are available to the plant, but the roots cannot absorb them. This often happens as a result of a pH outside of the optimal range. When growing in soil, cannabis plants require a pH between 6.0-7.0 to thrive. If above or below this range, it is imperative to bring the levels back if quality bud is desired later on.
With hard work and perseverance comes great success. And in our industry, success means loads of big, juicy buds. After anywhere between 9-20 weeks, your plant will be ready for harvest! At this point, the pistils will have darkened, the trichomes are becoming milky, and the buds will have puffed out.
The main advantage of growing outdoors will be unlimited space. With this, if you’re lucky, you can grow a huge plant that can give you up to half a kilo of bud or more! The only thing left for you will be to trim, which you can do before or after drying your buds. Different growers will stand by different techniques, although “wet” trimming is very popular amongst home growers.
Although it might be awesome to grow your own marijuana plant outdoors, it can become very frustrating to notice problems start to appear if you’re not prepared for them. The outdoors is not owned by us like an indoor facility is. When we grow outdoors, we’re creating a great home for many insects and living creatures. While these little guys might love to have a cannabis plant as their home, they will not treat it like such. Some pests might actually kill your plant, so knowing how to treat these attacks is crucial.
If you have a problem with large animals, that will be easy to fix with a fence or a cage. But when it comes to small or microscopic creatures, the best you can do is keep your plant healthy and be observant. Cannabis plants are like human beings in that sense; if they eat well and don’t have to deal with constant stress, they’ll have fewer chances of getting sick. Be sure to also keep your marijuana plant away from the other stuff you’re growing. Pests can easily spread from these plants purely for proximity reasons.
In the last few weeks, the plant will be very pungent. Buds will emanate intense aromas and almost feel damp to the touch due to high moisture content. And with this comes another problem: mould. Check inside the buds (close to the stem) to ensure nothing is taking over, especially if you live in an ultra-humid climate! Careful defoliation during the vegetative stage is one way to help prevent this, although it’s not always recommended for new growers.
The best way to avoid mould during bloom is to ensure your plants have enough space to breathe. Unlike with indoor operations, you can’t simply blow a fan on your plant all day. If you do see mould start to appear and rot your buds, you’ll have to cut off the damaged ones to prevent contamination of the rest of the plant. Do this carefully and you shouldn’t have any more problems. Best of luck with your plants and have a good harvest!
Outdoor marijuana plantations are probably the most popular ones. And there are many good reasons why people choose this method. Find out what those are!
Outdoor Cannabis Growing Basics by LuckyAcres
by LuckyAcres (Check out his Instagram and Youtube for more!)
Are you ready to start growing cannabis outdoors? If you’re a wannabe grower looking for a quick and basic tutorial on how to grow weed outside, this is it. Check out these plants and learn how to grow plants just like them yourself!
Plants grown outdoors can get huge if you care for them properly
Growing auto-flowering strains can help keep plants from getting so big. This is Night Queen Auto by Dutch Passion not long before harvest.
What you need to get started growing outdoors:
Here’s a complete list of supplies you need to grow plants outdoors.
Seeds (or clones)
- You need to get your plants somewhere. If you can’t get plants locally, here’s a list of online seed sources that deliver anywhere.
Root Riot Plugs
- Seedlings get germinated in RootRiot Plugs (the extra michoryzae is nice!)
Container(s) – Air pots or Nursery Pots
After 20 years of being around black “nursery pots”, airpots have become my number one choice. Better root growth, better access to air, massive root terminals…. day and night to what I was accustomed to. Grow bags can retain salts and pests if not dealt with properly between grows. My access to sun changes thru the season so I must be able to move my ladies as needed.
- Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil does the job. There are better ones out there but I’m happy with the results for the price.
Nutrient companies seem to have reached a status quo imo. They all seem to sell different variations and packagings of the same ingredients. Buy what you can afford. Keep it simple. The sun brings the food, nutes are the vitamins. When it comes to nutrients, you can use just the “base nutrients” or you can get the whole line (which also includes additional supplements that are nice but not necessary).
I’ve had similar results using at different times the full lines of nutes by Emerald Harvest (you can use just the base nutrients or the whole line), Roots Organics (base nutrients are Buddha Grow and Bloom, and they offer the whole line in a kit) and Fox Farm (soil base nutrients or whole line)…
I swear by Foliar Essence foliar spray weekly. Mammoth P is great to lubricate the nutes highways. I use Mad Farmer Detox right before harvest, which is a cleaning/flushing solution.
PH and PPM Tester
To test the pH, I use a Bluelab PH Pen. I also use a PPM meter to measure the strength of nutrient solutions.
I use old hydrogen peroxide bottles(quart size) that I cut at the top for a wider neck. 3 or 4 rounds of these will feed one auto.
How to Start Growing Cannabis Outdoors
Follow these steps and you will be harvesting your plants in a few months:
1.) Find a growing location
When growing cannabis outdoors, it’s important to find a private spot with easy access to water and 6+ hours of direct sun each day.
I built my backyard for privacy long before growing cannabis outdoors so it was canna-ready, but if fence height and privacy are an issue I’d recommend growing autos or scrogging photos. Have a dog to keep away cats and rodents as much as possible. Be nice to your neighbors, and a little sharing goes a long way! Sunlight availability is my number one challenge. 2-3 hrs in the morning and 3-4 hrs in the afternoon. The more the better!
A private, secluded area with plenty of sunlight is perfect for growing cannabis. Make sure you have access to water!
2.) Set up your containers with soil
Nursery pots are straight forward. Fill with loose soil to the rim, bang the pot lightly 2-3 times on the ground, add soil up to the rim again and that’s it.
In airpots the soil has to be pushed lightly into the holes on the sides as it’s poured in but same tapping and refilling method works great afterward.
3.) Germinate your seeds and place in containers
I germinate seeds in RootRiot plugs (the extra michoryzae is nice!) I drop the seed in water(shot glass in a dark spot for a day or two usually) until the tap root pops out and is about half an inch long.
I move autos in their final pot as soon as they’ve germinated (5-gallon container(= #7 Airpot USA), though 10 gallons is better for the longer cycle strains and super autos.)
Photoperiod plants go to a 1-gallon pot first then 5 or 7-gallon then to their final pot. I use 15 or 20-gallon nursery pots for photos.
4.) Water plants regularly
Cannabis plants like when the root environment is slightly acidic. The optimal ph is 6-7 for cannabis plants grown in soil. It’s important to check the pH of your water because plants get nutrient deficiencies if it’s too high or too low. The city water where I live has a 6.5 ph so on plain-water days it comes out straight out of the hose.
If it’s a day I give nutrients, I mix nutrients then take ppm readings. Once everything looks good I ph the water. Nutrients tend to lower the ph, so on feeding days I usually have to adjust the ph up before giving it to the plants. Your experience may vary depending on the ph of your water source. Here’s a tutorial on how to test the ph of your water.
How often do you water the plants?
- Every other day to every 3 days
How often do you water seedlings?
- I make sure they stay moist until I know the root growth is sufficient to allow for the top to dry out between watering.
How often do you water bigger plants?
- Bigger plants, especially later in the summer get watered every day in between feedings, not a full round of water but enough to sustain them thru the heat. And it helps them use up whatever nutes leftovers were there…
How much water do you give at a time?
- Full pressure on the hose wand, set on shower, and I count until 3 or 5 seconds while I release water.
5.) Plant care
Make sure photoperiod plants don’t get light at night. A privacy fence or a hedge will block street lights pollution enough. No direct bright light at night is the ticket!
A young outdoor marijuana plant
Watch for bugs or nutrient deficiencies and react quickly to problems
- Every day, twice a day I survey my plants, if something is spotted I make sure to treat it as soon as possible. Once a week I spray a pesticide and make sure to rotate between them, spinosad, neem oil, insecticidal soaps etc… to keep any kind of invasion from happening.
- Diagnose some common plant bugs and other plant problems with this cannabis plant doctor.
Do you do any plant training like LST, supercropping, topping, etc?
- All of it! Depending on the plant or my mood I might top one and not the other but supercropping is a constant for sure.
How to deal with caterpillars
Caterpillars are one of the most common cannabis pests for outdoor growers. They will eat leaves and may even tunnel through the middle of your buds.
There’s a worm in there, that’s what this leaf tells me… Now I must remove the whole bud.
“B.T.” is an organic and OMRI certified insecticide that kills caterpillars but won’t hurt people, bees, animals or plants. It is safe to use on your plant up until the week of harvest. Get Monterey B.T. Ready-to-Use Spray on Amazon.
Anything else major to keep an eye on?
- The tip of the leaves, if they remain green you’re good, but watch for that yellowing tip, every day! Too much food! When it happens, it’s time to flush!
6.) Harvest plants when ready
When to Harvest
Plants are getting close when most trichomes are cloudy(autos and photos). At that point, I start flushing with mad farmer detox. I chop when the first ambers show up at about 10% max. Learn more about trichomes and when to harvest.
Autoflowering plants are ready to harvest on their own schedule as determined by the breeder.
For photoperiod plants the exact timing depends on your local latitude, but are typically ready to harvest in mid to late fall. Harvest here runs from mid-September to early November for those late sativas.
How to Dry and Cure Buds
My methods remain the same for autos and photos. (Here’s an alternative guide)
- Hang for 10 days at 70F and 60% humidity
- Dry trim
- Store in brown paper bags for another 7-10 days
- Store in glass jars with a 62% humidity pack
That’s it! A quick and dirty tutorial that will get you all the way to your first outdoor cannabis harvest!
More from LuckyAcres
Check out more pictures and videos by LuckyAcres on Instagram and Youtube.
Are you ready to start growing cannabis outdoors? If you're a new grower looking for a quick and basic tutorial on how to grow weed outside, this is it!