Many people are interested in cannabis cultivation but don’t know where to start. Growing cannabis outdoors is a great way to get started! Outdoor marijuana growing can be done anywhere by following these steps on how to grow marijuana outdoors:
Benefits of Growing Marijuana Outdoors
- Easy to find locations for growing cannabis plants outdoors in most parts of the world.
- More space and sunlight than indoors, which is great for outdoor marijuana plants that grow large!
How to set up to grow Cannabis Outdoors?
Start by choosing the right place to grow your outdoor marijuana plants. It should be somewhere where they’ll have plenty of room, but also get at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.
The climate in your area
will dictate what type of plants you can grow. For example, if it is too cold outside for the marijuana plants to survive, then it’s best to grow them in a greenhouse or another indoor environment with lots of light and warmth!
Choosing the best outdoor cannabis grow site
If you know the climate in your area, you’ll need to think about some things before planting a cannabis plant.
A cannabis plant need full, direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. If you grow your weed in the backyard, make sure it is in a place where it gets full sun every day.
Your cannabis plants should get as much sunlight as possible. The best time is midday when the sun is not too bright. When the season changes, your plants will get less and less light during the day. This will trigger their flowering stage.
Plant some windbreak near your plants if you are in a hot area. This can make the plant grow better.
Privacy and security
Think about what is important to you. Some people want their garden to be private and hidden from others and some people want their plants to be hidden from thieves. You can do that by putting up fences or planting bushes or trees around the garden. There are also laws that say you have to make sure your plants are not visible from the street.
Types of outdoor grow spaces
Some growers plant in containers on balconies or rooftops that are shielded from view. They do this so that thieves and animals can’t see the plants. You should think about how big you want your final plant to be, because outdoor cannabis plants can grow to 10 feet tall or even more, depending on how much you let them go.
Garden plot: Some people will plant cannabis plants in their garden. They will do this with other types of plants, like vegetables.
Balcony: This can be a great spot if it gets good light—ideally, it faces south—and will usually get good wind. However, you may need to cover your balcony from peeping neighbors.
Roof: The sun can be great in this, but you might have wind.
Soil is the top layer of dirt that plants grow in. It has organic matter, clay, and rock particles. Cannabis plants grow best in soil with a lot of organic material in it. And they need good drainage.
Most outdoor weed growers will either grow their plants in a hole in the ground or with pots. This way they can better control the growing medium and nutrients for their plants.
If you want to plant directly into the ground, it is important to get your soil tested. If you do not do this, you will have problems with your plants. You can find a soil test nearby and it is easy and not expensive.
Soil has three basic consistencies, in various ratios:
Soil also varies in:
- pH level
- Water retention
- Nutrient makeup
Sandy soil is easy to work. It drains well and gets warm quickly. But it doesn’t hold nutrients well. You need to make sure that you dig a hole for your plants and add things like compost, peat moss, or coco coir to help bind the soil together.
For sandy soil, mulch is a good idea. It will help with water retention and keep the roots cool.
- Large granular size
- Low pH
- Good drainage
- Prevents compaction
- Easy to work with
- High oxygen levels
- Poor water retention
- Dries out quickly
- Nutrients get washed away
Heavy clay soils need to be amended before planting. A few weeks before you plant, dig holes and put in lots of compost, manure or worm castings. Then marijuana plants can grow better with good drainage and nutrients.
- Small granular size
- High pH
- Provides minerals
- Retains water
- Stabilizes plants
- Poor drainage
- Heavy soil
- Hard to work
People plant plants in their native soil, which is usually one of three types. But cannabis plants do better when they are planted in soil that contains all three types. This mixture is called loam.
Identifying loamy soil is a simple task, all you need to do is feel it. Loam should be compacted by hand and will form very loosely packed clumps in your hand without cracking apart. You can also identify loam based on how much of the different particles it contains. The best soils for growing marijuana outdoors are those that have received constant humus from decayed plant materials like leaves and twigs.
- Mixture of sand, silt, and clay
- Near neutral pH
- Water retention
- Naturally fertile
- Easy to work
- Nutrient retention
- Supports microorganisms
- High oxygen levels
- Can be costly
The composition of potting soil is variable and can differ regionally. Beyond texture and color, the soil should smell rich and alive when it is used in gardening.
Buying the right soil for outdoor cannabis grow
If you are a first-time gardener, buy some potting soil for your cannabis plants. This soil will give them the nutrients they need to grow. It also has enough nutrients so that you don’t need to add any other fertilizers if used correctly.
You can make this on your own by combining worm castings, bat guano, and other ingredients with soil. You let it sit for a few weeks. It can also be bought from a local nursery or grow shop.
When you are shopping for soil at the garden store, you will have many options. The most basic thing about soil is what type it is. From there, look at nutrients like:
Microorganisms and other things that make the soil better.
- Worm castings
- Bat guano
- Peat moss
- Fish meal
- Bone meal
- Glacier rock dust
- Plant food
Organic nutrients are things in soil that help cannabis plants grow. There are different types of organic nutrients. Some soils have a list of all the organic nutrients in them. Other soils offer the base nutrient, but you can add more if you want to fill in gaps.
You need to put your plants in containers if you don’t have good soil. You might not be able to dig holes and add soil. So you should use containers for growing outside instead.
If you don’t have enough space for a garden, you can put them in containers and put those containers on decks, patios, roofs- any place! You can move the container around during the day to take advantage of the sun or shield it from too much heat or wind.
Plants grown in small containers will be smaller than those that are planted in the ground. The size of the pot may determine how big the plant is, but you can still grow large plants if you use good techniques.
What size pot do I need?
There are different sizes of pots for plants. You can put small-to-medium plants in 5-gallon pots. Big plants need 10-gallon pots or bigger. Plants can get hot during the day, which is bad for them. That is why you will want to shade your pot when it’s sunny outside.
Fertilizers and nutrients for outdoor soil cannabis plants
Plants need a lot of nutrients. These are mainly nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You will need to add more if your soil has a different composition than most soils.
When you plant weed outdoors, you need to add some kind of special powder to the soil. This is different from when you plant a weed indoors and don’t need this.
First, use a fertilizer that is inexpensive and can be found easily at a nursery. Some fertilizers release nutrients quickly and are used by the plant very quickly. Other fertilizers take weeks or months to release usable nutrients. When you mix these in with soil amendments, there will be enough nutrients for the whole lifetime of your plants.
We recommend these organic fertilizers:
- Blood meal or fish meal for nitrogen
- Bone meal or bat guano for phosphorus
- Wood ash or kelp meal for potassium
- Dolomite lime for calcium and magnesium
- Epsom salts for magnesium and sulfur
There are also commercial soil blends that already have the right mix of ingredients.
You should avoid commercial fertilizers for first-time growers. Do not use a long-release fertilizer. Use these, but you need to know what they do and what your plants need.
We recommend that you do not use nutrients made for growing weeds indoors. They are made of chemical salts that can hurt the soil.
If you want to grow plants in your garden, it is important to make sure that the soil has the right nutrients. You can test your soil so you know what kind of fertilizer and how much you should put in. If you are not sure how much to use, start with a small amount and see if it works for your plants. You can always add more if they do not show enough growth.
Protect your Cannabis Plants from Pets and Inclement Weather
Outdoor cannabis growers are at a disadvantage because they have plants that are vulnerable to bad weather. Plants can be killed by a storm, and animals can also attack them. They grow plants outside where they cannot control the temperature or protect the plant if it is attacked by pests.
Protecting Your Marijuana Plant from Pets & Pests
Don’t just focus on insects. There are many other animals that can harm your crop, like rodents, dogs, cats, rabbits, deer or raccoons.
Some insects like to eat plants. They can do this over the course of a few days or weeks. But other animals, like larger animals, can destroy your plants in minutes. You need to check on your plants every day and make sure that they are safe from these animals too.
If you are worried about animals, you can put a wire fence around your plants. If birds are a concern, put netting over the plants.
You should build a fence around your plants. Moles push up from the soil and they can hurt your plants. You can also use things like urine from coyotes to keep rabbits away. Household items such as garlic or castor oil are good for keeping animals, like raccoons, away.
You need to keep your marijuana healthy. You can do this by adding ladybugs and lacewings. They will help you get rid of harmful pests without hurting the plants themselves.
Pyrethrum is one of the most popular ways to protect plants from insects. You can also make a homemade remedy by combining soap and water. This will work well for a mild outbreak.
Garlic can be used to get rid of beetles. Check your plants every day for signs of infestation and act immediately if you see any issues.
You can also fight pests by planting other plants near your cannabis. Clover, rosemary, basil, and marigold are good choices because they make the bugs go away.
Protecting Your Weed from Rain & Wind
High winds are a problem for people who grow cannabis. It can break branches and leaves, or it can damage the smell of the plant. More wind makes plants weaker, which can cause new plants to produce seeds. You want to avoid this happening if possible.
If your crop is in a windy spot, you can make a windbreak. You can do this by making a wall or tying pieces of plastic sheeting to stakes.
If you live in a wet climate, make sure to use a type of marijuana that is mold resistant. If not, the rain will collect on the buds and leaves and your plants will be weighed down. Also, try to predict when it will rain so you can prepare for it ahead of time by adding a makeshift shelter to your crop.
Protecting Your Precious Crop from High Temperatures
Maintain the temperature between 55-86 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the growing season. It is okay for plants to be outside this range, but only for a short time.
However, when the temperature falls below 42 degrees Fahrenheit, most varieties of cannabis will be damaged quickly. To protect your plants from cold weather, use things such as coverings like hot caps or cloches.
Choose the Right Genetics
It’s important to think about what kind of climate you have. It will determine the type of marijuana that you can grow. Ask people in your area what they have grown before. Maybe there is a type for your climate, too!
Let’s discuss the best marijuana strains for your climate.
Certain strains of weed do not grow well in certain areas. You can take care of the plants and feed them, but their yield will always be disappointing.
Cannabis plants start to flower when there are less days in the day. This is why cannabis cannot be grown in latitudes that have long days like Canada and Russia. Your plants will finish flowering too late for the summer sun which is the best time of year for them to grow.
Southern California growers can grow these strains and they will not have a problem with flowering too late because of the sunshine. In British Columbia, however, lack of light, cold weather, or heavy rainfall might kill the plants before it finishes flowering.
Clones vs. Seeds – Expanding on the Best Option
The best genes equal the best marijuana. Marijuana with good genetics not only smells and tastes fantastic, but is also very potent.
Indoor growers grow their marijuana from plants made from an earlier plant. Outdoor growers grow it from a seed that they have planted in the ground. The grown weed can be either good or bad, and both methods have advantages and disadvantages.
If you want to grow plants by cloning (doing it just like your mother plant), you need a mother plant. You can buy clones of your own in the dispensary. But bear in mind that they need at least 16 hours of light a day to avoid flowering.
Clones are plants that are copied from other plants. To get them ready to grow outside, you need to take them outside for a few hours each day, one at a time. This is called ‘hardening off’.
Cloned plants do not produce a lot of food. You need to grow them inside at winter and spring. Clones never have thick roots that go into the ground, because they are not planted in the ground. This effect makes clones vulnerable to drought and windy conditions.
Plants grown from seed can give you more food. You should plant these seeds in the garden even when it is wet and cold outside. Plant them in the springtime. Another way is to start them indoors but they need to be hardened off before they are transplanted into the ground.
Growing cannabis from seed is hard because you can’t predict what will happen. You might not get the type of plant you want. You have to watch out for male plants, and if they are there then you need to kill them. It is better to purchase feminized seeds so that there are no males in the crop at all.
One way to grow outside is with auto-flowering seeds. These plants start growing after they are mature. If you live in a temperate climate, you can have two crops each year with these seeds. You could plant one crop in late winter or early spring and the other at the beginning of summer.
Cut Your Cannabis Plants Carefully
You can use something called a screen or tie to make the plant grow a certain way. You also need to cut your plants if you want them to be shorter, or if you don’t want them to grow as tall!
You need to take care of your plants. Trim the plants often. Throw away all of the leaves and branches that are not alive. Pruning will help them grow better, so if you see new shoots that are not growing well, cut them away with scissors. This will also make it easier for your plant to produce big buds.
The type of plant you are growing will tell you how long the flowering period lasts. For example, most sativa plants will have a flowering period that lasts for about three months.
Protect female plants from males. Pollination will happen and it makes the harvest less good, so make sure it doesn’t happen. If your plant is flowering when there is a lot of rain (a wet season), make sure there is shelter for the plant to stop mold and mildew growth.
Grow, Enjoy, Repeat!
Most cannabis plants are ready to be harvested in September or October. But this depends on the type of plant and the climate. To know when your plants are ready, you can look at the pistils and trichomes they have.
It can take 2-8 months for your plants to grow. They are ready to be harvested when about 70% of the pistils turn from white to a reddish brown color. If the pistil is turning red, then harvest it!
The plant’s trichomes should turn white at this stage. This means that they are ready to be harvested.
Growers recommend looking for a change in color on the plants’ stigma. When it changes from white to orange, it means the plant is ready to be harvested. But most growers agree that the best way is to wait until the trichomes have turned opaque white.
You need to be careful and not wait too long to harvest your marijuana plants. If you wait too long, they will feel sick.
Is There a Precise Time to Harvest?
You cannot say when to harvest your plant. Most people say eight weeks after it starts to grow and ten weeks after it starts to flower. But there are no rules.
You need a lot of tools when you are harvesting outside. When you’re ready, bring a bag that is big enough to carry all the plants. Cut them up in lengths so they can fit in your bags.
Congratulations! You grew a healthy marijuana plant. Now you need to do some more work before you can smoke it. First, you need to cure and dry the buds.