Most cannabis growers will grow indoors. This is due to a few things, one mainly being legality. Cannabis cultivation is illegal in many countries around the world. Growing cannabis outdoors can be risky. If the crop is discovered, it may be stolen, or, you may be reported to the authorities, and prosecuted.
Security is always the number one priority when growing cannabis. And you should only grow cannabis outdoors if you can keep it hidden, even if you are legally allowed to grow.
Along with cops and crooks, you also need to worry about bugs, and animals, eating your plants. So more care needs to be taken in bug prevention. In this article we will discuss the best techniques to growing cannabis outdoors and how to improve your chances of a good harvest.
If you considering growing cannabis outdoors, and you don’t know where to start, feel free to ask for help in our cannabis growers forum
Outdoors Vs Indoors
For most people, growing cannabis indoors is the best way to get to harvest. You have more control of your plants environment, and it is easier to keep the grow hidden. Also, your plants will be less susceptible to predators, like bugs and animals.
You will of course have to pay for the electricity used for your grow room, which can become expensive. When growing cannabis outdoors, the cost of the grow is reduced significantly.
Outdoors, you have to pay for very little. The light is provided by the sun, if the soil in the ground is good, the food will be provided by the earth. Rain and groundwater will give your plant the water it needs too.
With the right preparation, you can grow cannabis outdoors, for less than the cost of a gram of cannabis. You may only need a seed!
Preparing for an Outdoor Cannabis Grow
What Strains are Best for Growing Outdoors
Before you consider growing outdoors, you must consider where you live. Different strains are suitable for different growing conditions. For example, growers in the uk, will usually grow some of these strains:
These cannabis strains are more resistant to mould, and cold, which is useful when growing in colder climates. Genetics is always half of the battle when it comes to growing cannabis. Get the best genetics you can and your grow is already off to a good start.
Plant Them, or Pot Them
You can either grow your cannabis in pots, or, you can plant directly into the ground. Cannabis can be fussy about what medium it sits in, and unless the soil in the ground is really good, you should dig a hole, and fill it with some good, airy soil, with good drainage, that is more suitable for the cannabis plant.
You can also fill pots with soil, and grow your plants in those. This will make it easier to move your plant around if you need to. Of course, when they are planted, you can not move them until it’s harvest time.
If you choose to grow your plants in pots, you will need to feed and water them more often than if they were planted into the ground.
It is a good idea to get your plants started indoors, in small pots to start with. When the roots have grown a little, and the plant can handle the stress of being outside, than you should plant it.
There are many animals and bugs who love cannabis too, and your plant is always susceptible to being eaten by something. There are somethings you can do to prepare for potential predators.
If you are going to plant you plants into the ground, consider moles and burrowing animals first. Place some chicken wire, or something like it, on the ground. This will prevent animals being able to dig upwards, to get to your plant.
You should also use chicken wire fencing around the plant to stop animals getting to it. But this of course will not keep bugs away.
To prevent bugs, your plant not only needs a good immune system, but you should have insect repellents and pesticides around at all times. Planting other plants around your cannabis is a good technique too. The smell of some plants and herbs will keep bugs away, or, they will eat that plant instead of your cannabis.
Try planting some of these crops around your grow area, as it will deter bugs from you cannabis plants.
Starting a Cannabis Grow Outdoors
So, after choosing your strain, if you’re going to grow in the ground or in pots, and you have prepared your grow space, you need to plant your seeds or cutting.
Start Indoors First
For a better chance of survival, most growers will start growing their plants indoors for a few weeks, before they are planted outside. This will not only make the plant stronger, but it will of course also give you a head start in its growth cycle.
Some growers, will “veg” their plants indoors for months before planting them outdoors in springtime. This creates huge cannabis plants! Which is something we all like to see, but most of the time, it isn’t practical. The bigger the plant gets, the harder it is to keep it hidden and maintain.
Give your plants at least 2 weeks indoors before planting them outdoors if it’s possible. As they grow, take them from your grow room, and leave them outdoors for a couple of hours a day. Increase this time gradually, so they can get use to the lighting and temperatures outside.
This will bring less stress to them when you plant them outdoors, as the environment won’t be such a shock to them.
Planting Seeds Outdoors
Growing outdoors is often a choice for growers who do not have space for an indoor grow room. So starting indoors is not an option. If this is the case, the seeds will have to be planted outdoors.
When you select your strain from the breeder, it will give you a time of year to plant outdoors. Your location needs to be taken into consideration. Cannabis plants will begin to shut down, and stop growing if temperatures fall below 12c. You must wait until temperatures will stay above 12c, and until there is very little chance of frost getting to your plant.
Start off in small pots, and place them in a warm shaded place, not in direct sunlight. Keep the plants off the ground, and keep them covered by a net, or dome. Animals will eat these seedlings if they are found, keep them covered to prevent them vanishing.
After a couple of weeks, when the plant has a good root system growing, and has a few nodes. You can plant them into the ground, or move them into bigger pots. Plant them, or place the pots, south facing and expose the plants to as much sunlight as possible.
Avoid Ambient Lights
The growth cycle of a photoperiod cannabis plant will be affected by the light it receives. They will vegetate under around 18 hours of daylight and 6 hours of darkness. As the days grow shorter, and the nights get longer, the plant will begin to flower.
During these dark hours, the plant needs an uninterrupted night cycle. If it is interrupted, the plant may stop flowering, reveg, or even hermie. Plant your plants away from any lights that will affect them. It is vital to a successful crop. If this might be a problem, consider growing autos instead.
Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Plants Outdoors
Photoperiod cannabis plants will generally be planted outdoors during spring time. It will then vegetate until late summer, and then it begins to flower. The life cycle of the plant will end around October time, this is a very long grow cycle. And the longer the plants are outdoors, the more risk there is of it being found, or eaten.
This is why some growers prefer to grow autoflowering plants outdoors. Most autos will take on average 12 weeks to grow from seed to harvest, and will flower under any light cycle. You can start a grow at the start of summer, and it will be finished before Autumn sets in.
Still, of course you have to take your local climate into consideration, and choose a strain that can withstand harsher environments and colder conditions.
If you live in a cold part of the world, then consider growing cannabis in a greenhouse. This will give you some control over the environment and help with temperatures and humidity. See our guide on growing cannabis in a greenhouse:
Guide coming soon
Maintaining an Outdoor Grow
When you grow cannabis outdoors, you can rely on mother nature to take care of your plants. But she is a double edge sword, and of course, we need to help things along some times
Watering Your Plants Outdoors
If your plant is planted into the ground, you should water it, if there is more than 7 days with no rainfall. The roots will reach deep down and be able to pull water from deep beneath the surface, but if it gets too dry, the plants will suffer.
Look out for signs of underwatering, such as droopy, pale leaves. If it hasn’t rained for a week, then you should water your plants.
If you decided to grow your plants in pots, then use the usual watering technique. Check the weight of the pots, if they feel light, water the plants. If they’re heavy, wait a little longer. Also, look out for signs of dehydration in your cannabis plant like mentioned above.
Feeding Your Outdoors Cannabis Plants
If you are growing cannabis outdoors, you should really take advantage of it and grow organically. You can grow with salt based nutrients if you’re growing in pots, but if you have planted your plants into the ground, then you should use the microbes to your advantage.
By first digging a hole and filling it with good soil before planting your plants, you can offer your plants nutrients for weeks, and they will only need water.
Your plant will pull nutrients from the ground, but at some point, it may need a boost. You can bury things under the soil. Dig your hole, and place a fish at the bottom, then fill it with your soil.
As the plants root system grows, it will grow down into the decomposing fish, and the microbes will feed the nutrients to the plant. Along with top dressing with mulches and compost, you can feed your plant cheaply, and easily, throughout its whole life cycle.
Organic Nutrients For Outdoor Growing
Here is a list of things you can use for organic plant foods. If possible, it is always best to source these products locally, this not only supports your local businesses, but the bacteria in the food will be local to you. This will give your plant a better immune system against local pathogens and bugs.
GUIDE COMING SOON
If growing cannabis in your back garden is not an option, and you also do not have space indoors for a grow room, you still have options! Guerrilla growing is when a grower finds a spot, far away from anywhere, in a secluded area.
They will then prepare the plot, and plant their cannabis plants there. You must choose your spot wisley, and be very careful not to get your crop discovered, or leave tracks to your guerrilla grow spot.
If this sounds like a better option for you, then check out our guide to Guerrilla Growing:
Final Thoughts on Growing Cannabis Outdoors
It’s cheap, and you can get huge yields from organically grown plants. Growing cannabis outdoors is the most efficient and natural way to do it. You’re energy consumption will be considerably lower than indoor growing, which not only reduces your bills, but reduces your carbon footprint too.
You can prevent bugs, you can deter animals, and you can get to a successful harvest. But, you must always, remember, even if you’re growing legally, cannabis is a highly sought after crop. If people find out about it, there is very little you can do to keep them away.
Loose lips sink ships, nobody needs to know about your grow! Keep it to yourself, choose the right strain, and prepare your growing area. This will see you to a good harvest for a very low cost.
Get Grow Advice in our Cannabis Growers Forum
Thanks for reading! You can find more information on anything related to growing in our cannabis grow guides. All of our guides are written by experienced growers, and members of our cannabis growers forum. If you have any questions, sign up. It is free, and we are always happy to help!