The best way to identify loamy soil is by touching it. How does it feel? Sandy soil should be difficult to compact while clay should compact into a tight ball that won’t crumble. When squeezed, loamy soils should form a loose ball that will hold its structure momentarily before breaking apart in large chunks.
Most outdoor weed growers will either dig a hole and add fresh soil for the plant, or grow their weed in pots. This will allow you to better control the growing medium and the amount of nutrients your plants receive.
Here are some important considerations before starting an outdoor marijuana grow.
However, plants grown in pots, buckets, or barrels will likely be smaller than those planted in the ground because their root growth is restricted to the size of the container. In a broad sense, the size of the pot will determine the size of the plant, although it’s possible to grow large plants in small containers if proper techniques are used.
Soil and other media for outdoor cannabis growing
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.
Even if it is legal to grow cannabis outdoors where you live, you should still take some precautions to hide the plants from public view. And it’s often required by law. You can grow your cannabis plants among other plants in your garden to hide them in plain sight. Cannabis can easily grow taller than your average fence, though. Training techniques can help keep your plants shorter. The fewer people who know you are growing cannabis, the better. The ideal situation is to have your grow tucked away on a piece of land where your plants can truly flourish away from prying eyes and nosy neighbors.
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.
Greenhouses also offer growers the ability to harvest more than once per year, if they are equipped with a light deprivation system. These systems allow growers to control the hours of sunlight their plants receive, much like turning lights on and off in an indoor garden, by covering the greenhouse with a black tarp that deprives the plants of sunlight.
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. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Pest and weed control
While cultivars may vary, here are some general rules that will be useful no matter which one you choose.
During the first half of the season, the daytime period increases until the summer solstice, which occurs in the Northern Hemisphere on or around June 21 and in the Southern Hemisphere on or around December 21. While the daylight hours increase, the plant’s vegetative stage takes place. During vegetation, the plant will develop the roots and stems that will serve as the foundation for growth until flowering.
Keep this info in mind as you embark on your cannabis-growing adventure. The smallest adjustments can make all the difference — planting a week earlier, a week later, watering less, watering more, etc.
Beneficial insects, fungi, and bacteria can also be used to protect your plants from their parasitic or predatory counterparts. Jumping spiders, ladybugs, and other native, beneficial predatory insects can clear your crop of insects such as aphids and whiteflies. When sourcing beneficial insects, fungi, or bacteria, it’s important to research those which are native to your region.
Deciding whether to start with seeds or clones will change the timing and manner by which your plants are introduced to the outdoors.
Native soil is different everywhere, and the levels of fertility and drainage vary greatly from place to place. Your best bet is to send away some soil samples for testing so you’ll know exactly what you need to do to make it better. I believe in no-till gardening, meaning you just continue to place composted material on top of your soil without ever having to dig it up. Some growers recommend digging up the soil the first time you plant in it, but this is dependent on how rich your soil is in the first place.
It’s easy to get a decent harvest of outdoor buds as long as you take certain factors into account. The most important aspects are the amount of direct sunlight your plants will receive, the genetics of the plants you choose to grow and the care with which you harvest, dry and cure your finished branches. So be sure to find a good space to put your plants, choose great seeds or clones of known origin, and put an emphasis on your processing techniques when your plants are ripe.
I’ve done small grows the past two summers so I’m basically a beginner. I just want to be able to grow the best marijuana I can outdoors. I want it to be the bushiest plants with the best yields and highest THC levels. I hope to get serious in the marijuana business not just because I love smoking it, but I hope to grow marijuana for medical use to help other people. If there are any tips on what soil I should use, what I should put in the water, or anything special I can do to help grow more and bigger buds with higher THC, I would appreciate it. — Conner
As for the water, plants in good soil and full sun will need a lot of it. Use plain water often but also plan for feedings with a nutrient solution. I prefer organic formulations and always advise using less than the recommended amounts unless you’ve detected a deficiency. Drip systems work quite effectively on outdoor plants, delivering a near constant supply of water without over doing it and reducing the amount of water wasted to evaporation and overflow.