Posted on

growing cannabis outdoors when to harvest

Growing cannabis outdoors when to harvest

If you’re growing the same strain, you’ll want to harvest all your plants in the same window of time because they’ll all ripen at the same time.

Because of this, you can start growing a set of autoflowers early in the season, around March or April, harvest them in June or July, and then start growing a second set for harvesting in the fall. You’ll be able to have multiple harvests, but keep in mind that your plants will be smaller because they’re autoflowers.

Note that potted plants experience more severe temperature fluctuations than plants in the ground, making them more susceptible to frost damage.

Equipment needed to harvest weed

More harvests mean you’ll have fresh, homegrown weed to smoke more often, but it will also be more work in cleaning up the space between harvests, trimming, etc.

By and large, cannabis grown outdoors gets harvested once a year. In most climates, seeds or clones will start in the spring, and you’ll harvest in the fall. In some tropical regions, you can squeeze in a second harvest in a year because of the climate.

Light deprivation

Check out Johanna’s full video series on how to grow weed on Leafly’s YouTube .

Weed can take anywhere from 3-8 months to grow from seed to harvest, so you can fit in as many as four harvests of smaller plants, or one or two harvests of bigger plants each year.

Growing cannabis outdoors when to harvest

Pests come in many forms, from large deer and gophers to small slugs and spider mites. Larger animals and pets can be kept out of the garden with fencing, while gopher wire beneath your soil beds can keep rats and gophers from eating the plants’ roots. Weeds will not damage cannabis, but they will compete for the nutrients in the soil and reduce the quality and yield of your crops. A light layer of mulch on top of your soil can prevent weeds from sprouting in the middle of your plants’ cycle.

During the vegetative phase, plants need more nitrogen in order to create the roots and leaves that serve as the base for flowering. During the start of the flowering cycle, the plants will require more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen. Towards the end of the flowering cycle, once the majority of the nitrogen has been depleted, the plants will focus their attention on using the remaining nutrients. The lack of nitrogen is largely responsible for the vibrant purple and orange hues that can be seen on large fan leaves and throughout the plants’ colas.

Cannabis is a hardy plant that has adapted to climates all over the world. From the cool and arid mountains of Afghanistan to the humid regions of Colombia, over time the plant has been forced to adapt its defenses against a host of problems. But cannabis is still susceptible to extreme weather conditions. Whether it is heavy winds breaking branches or excessive rain causing mold, the great outdoors presents challenges to growers that can be mitigated with sufficient planning.

Some cannabis genetics have adapted to specific climates and are capable of growing more easily in certain conditions than others, so pay very close attention to the cultivars, or strains, that you choose. A little research will go a long way in ensuring you have a successful harvest.


Quality soil should be dark, rich in nutrients, and have a light and fluffy texture. The structure of your soil should be capable of retaining water but also allow for drainage of any excess. Organic potting soil blends from your local garden center will do just fine, but more advanced growers prefer to blend their own organic super soil from scratch. The soil itself should be slightly acidic with a pH of around 6. This can be tested with a soil pH meter or test kit.

Organic sources of nutrients include alfalfa meal, bone meal, kelp meal, bat guano, fish emulsion, dolomite, and earthworm castings. Each contains different ratios of nutrients that can be used for different phases of the plants’ growth cycle.

Plants grown from seeds are typically heartier and more vigorous than clones, as they produce a sturdier taproot that clones are not able to replicate. The vigor that comes from deep roots can be an advantage when dealing with harsh environmental conditions and pest pressures. The disadvantages of growing seeds are the additional attention required to germinate the seeds, the necessity to eliminate any males before they pollinate the females, and the high variability in growth characteristics that results from their genes.

Image lightbox

Determining the optimum location is another important factor that can affect the yield and quality of your plants. Cultivators in the Northern Hemisphere should attempt to place their plants in an area with southern exposure to ensure their plants are getting the most available sunlight. The opposite is true for the Southern Hemisphere.

Becoming intimately familiar with your local climate and seasons is one of the most important steps in producing high-quality outdoor marijuana. Before you grow, you’ll need to know the ideal temperature your plants require in order to thrive, the best site, optimal timing of planting and harvesting, and the season’s photoperiod — the amount and intensity of light available through the duration of the growing season.

One good way to figure out when your pot plant is ready without investing in expensive equipment is to use a magnifying glass to inspect the pistils, or “hairs.” These are the flowers’ reproductive parts.

First, you want to plan ahead by knowing roughly when you will need to start closely inspecting your plants. How long does it take to grow weed? The time varies by type, location, growing method and other factors. But most hybrids should approach maturity in about eight to 12 weeks. That means you should be ready to inspect the buds to see if your plants are ready after two to three months.

You have sweated and slaved over your marijuana plants for months, babying them with just the right amount of water, nutrients and light. If they are outdoors, you have protected them from deer, rabbits and other critters, including human thieves. Inside or outside, you have guarded them against disease, mold and countless other threats.

Thanks to your unstinting efforts, your cannabis plants are big and bushy and full of lovely flowers. Now comes one of the most daunting questions in cannabis cultivation: when is the perfect time to harvest your cannabis plants?

Schedule Your Inspections

A good early warning sign can be when the plant’s leaves begin to yellow. This can alert you that harvest time is near.

When they are white, wait. You want the majority of pistils darken and turn brown before you harvest. The plant is ready when the brown pistils comprise half or more of the total. The heaviness and taste of your bud will increase as the percentage goes up.

Don’t fret. Whether you are growing marijuana in California, growing marijuana in Colorado or growing marijuana in Oregon or somewhere else in the West or growing marijuana in Massachusetts or another place in the East or Midwest, DripWorks is here with some simple tips to help you get the most out of your hard-earned harvest.

Harvesting Tips

Checking the trichomes is more accurate but requires better magnifying equipment, like a microscope or a loupe. These tiny, mushroom-like growths are impossible to see clearly with the naked eye. When you have a suitable device, use it to see whether the majority of the originally white trichomes have darkened and have bent over. When more than half are darker, you can count on higher levels of THC.