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how to grow cannabis outdoors

The sky’s the limit with outdoor plants—you can let them get as big and tall as you want, as long as they’re manageable. One plant can potentially yield between a half-pound and full-pound of dried weed! Growing a handful of hands for yourself is more than enough. With an indoor grow, your space is a lot more restricted.

How to set up your outdoor marijuana grow

Heavy rains and high winds can cause physical damage to plants and reduce yields, and excessive moisture can lead to mold and powdery mildew, especially during the flowering stage.

Sunlight

Sandy soil is easy to work, drains well, and warms quickly, but it doesn’t hold nutrients well, especially in rainy environments. You’ll want to dig large holes for your plants and add compost, peat moss, or coco coir, which will help bind the soil together.

How to grow cannabis outdoors

Find a dark, dry place with a consistently moderate temperature to dry your harvest. Keep in mind that you want to be able to have the hanging branches separated to avoid any mildew or mold issues. Also, keep in mind that it is going to smell a lot in that area and that the smell will likely linger long after the buds are gone.

The best cultivators in the Emerald Triangle cultivate cannabis in containers that are as large as 200 gallons, with the soil filling the containers carefully selected for its nutrients (often referred to as ‘super soil’). Fiber pots are better than plastic pots, however, having to use plastic pots is not the end of the world.

While it is perfectly fine to be ambitious, newbie cultivators need to temper their expectations and know that growing cannabis outdoors takes solid planning, a lot of work, and a predetermined strategy that’s been executed well.

Know ahead of time how long it will likely take to germinate the seed(s). Determine the best time to plant an outdoor cannabis plant where you live. Gather as much of the resources and materials you will need before you start planting.

Prepare For Harvest Ahead Of Time

However, growing weed under the sun in a wide-open space allows the plants to grow large — much larger than in an indoor garden where space is usually limited. As long as sun-grown cannabis plants are provided the right nutrients, attention to detail, proper bracing, and other factors we’ll cover later in this article, the plants can yield several pounds each.

Test your water source ahead of time. Know what the pH level of the water is so that you know if it needs to be adjusted. Be aware that most city water has chlorine and other additives in it. Research what goes into your local water and take measures to mitigate what’s in it as much as possible.

So many factors will determine whether your garden produces a limited number of small buds, a large amount of potent buds, or something in between — or for that matter, any buds at all!

Soil, Containers, Sun, & Water

Be aware that seeds or clones of the same strain name may vary from breeder to breeder. Your best bet is to find someone you trust who has successfully cultivated a particular cannabis genetic in your area — see if you can replicate what they have already accomplished.

While it is rare, some of the best sun-grown cannabis cultivators in Southern Oregon and Northern California can regularly harvest 15-18 pounds of dried cannabis flower from one plant, in addition to all of the plant trimmings that can be used to make edibles, topicals, and concentrates.

How to grow cannabis outdoors

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.

Cannabis has been cultivated outdoors for thousands of years, but before you go putting a seedling in the ground, it’s best to know how the process works and how to make the most of Mother Nature’s gifts. You should also have some idea of how to handle those unwanted gifts you’d rather return — pests and weeds.

If you decide to use seeds, make sure you start them about a month before you would typically start clones to give them time to germinate and adequately develop their taproot.

Containers vs. in-ground

While cultivars may vary, here are some general rules that will be useful no matter which one you choose.

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.

How to grow marijuana outdoors

During the vegetative stage, water your plants thoroughly, then not again until the top 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) of soil has dried out. This can be every day or every four days, depending on conditions, but the time between watering will become shorter as the plant grows its roots. Container gardens tend to dry out faster than soil beds, so they’ll need to be watered more frequently.

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.