Container gardens can be convenient as plants can be moved around the garden to maximize sunlight or protect them from harsh conditions such as rain, heavy winds, or extreme temperatures.
Avoid all-in-one fertilizers as they can be too high in nitrogen for the flowering cycle and damage any beneficial microorganisms that may be present in the soil. Instead, choose a line of nutrients created specifically for cannabis, and use its suggested feeding charts to avoid over- or under-feeding. Organic sources of nutrients are best, as they are a great source of beneficial microbes, but they may take longer to break down and become available to the plant. Both types of nutrients can be found in dry, pre-blended powders or liquid emulsions, but can also be made from scratch with the right ingredients. Organic compost tea, which includes nutrient-rich ingredients, like molasses and earthworm casting compost, is a popular homemade brew for cannabis farmers.
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.
Pests and wild plants are an inevitable occurrence when cultivating cannabis outdoors. Most issues can be avoided with proper planning. Clearing a buffer area around your plants can go a long way, but your first line of defense is a healthy plant that can defend itself naturally.
After the solstice, the available daylight hours decrease, allowing the plant to naturally transition into the flowering period. Cannabis is a short-day plant, meaning it will begin to flower as the nights get longer and the hours of sunlight decrease.
Containers vs. in-ground
Cannabis requires more nutrients than many of the other plants you may have in your garden. Quality soil contains enough organic nutrients to start the growth cycle, but as your cannabis plant grows and transitions into flowering, it may deplete the available nutrients and require additional fertilizers.
Daytime temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (23.9 to 25.4 degrees Celsius) are ideal for cannabis, while temperatures above 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31.1 degrees Celsius) or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius) can delay growth. Cannabis is considered heat-tolerant, but sustained highs and extreme lows will usually lead to complications that could eventually kill your plants.
Growing cannabis outdoors will inevitably attract bugs and pests. Aphids are a particularly common nuisance when it comes to growing cannabis outdoors. You will want to be proactive and check your plants every day. At the first sign of aphids or other bugs you will want to spray them with soapy water (5 tablespoons of dish soap per 1 gallon of water). You will want to make sure to spray both sides of the leaves to the point that the soapy water is dripping off of the leaves.
To learn more about the benefits of super soil check out this What Is Super Soil? guide to the topic. Below is the list of ingredients to make super soil:
Water is a very important component for outdoor cannabis cultivation. At first, when a cannabis plant is small, it does not require much water. However, as the cannabis plant grows and approaches harvest, it can require multiple gallons of water every day, especially on summer days when the temperature is really hot. Using a moisture meter device, which can be found at virtually every garden supply store, is a great idea to let you know when you need to water your plants.
Many rookie outdoor cannabis cultivators make the mistake of planting directly into the soil in their yard. It takes more than just dirt for a cannabis plant to thrive, which is why planting into a container is a much better option.
Bugs & Disease
If preparing super soil is too daunting of a task, using a quality organic soil will work, although you will have to use nutrients during the vegetative and flowering stages to supplement the ingredients of the organic soil. Again, keep in mind that the soil used for growing cannabis outdoors is arguably the most important component to an outdoor garden strategy.
Some strains prefer the sun-grown experience much more than a life under artificial light, and have typical growth cycles that ensure that the plants will be ready to harvest by the end of the outdoor grow season (May to October in most areas). In areas that are farther north from a latitude perspective as measured by the equator, cultivators will want to stick with strains that are ready to harvest quickly because the grow season will be shorter.
Give strong consideration to creating a ‘super soil’ for use in your garden. The term ‘super soil’ was first coined by legendary cannabis cultivator Subcool. Sadly, Subcool has passed away since first blessing the cultivation community with his soil recipe. He may be gone, yet his legacy will endure forever via his popular recipe.
A standard tomato plant cage goes a long way for bracing cannabis plants. They are affordable and can be found at any home and garden store. Incorporating large bamboo stakes is another good option, as are wooden stakes. For really large plants, using wire fencing is a solid option.
Light deprivation can be done by simply bringing cannabis plants inside after they have been in the sun for 12 hours, or if you have a greenhouse, placing a dark sheet of plastic or other covering over the greenhouse after 12 hours of exposure to sunlight.