Growing cannabis outdoors
Growing cannabis outdoors has been mans traditional method of growing his favourite recreational and medicinal herb for thousands of years.
Nature has provided cannabis with the adaptations and hardiness needed to grow in many regions. Specialist selective breeding by the more professional seed suppliers has produced some truly outstanding varieties that will produce excellent ganja in non-tropical northern European climates and even thousands of metres above sea level.For those growers that don’t wish to grow indoors or in greenhouses, outdoor growing is a great and easy way to produce your stash. Growing cannabis outdoors with good quality seed not only gives amazingly powerful weed but it also produces some of the best tasting weed with deep flavours and rich aromas.
The outdoor grower typically grows from April/May to October in the northern hemisphere. Outdoor growers often germinate the seeds indoors and give their plants a headstart by growing them indoors under lights for a few weeks. These plants are often gradually acclimatised to outdoor temperatures before being permanently planted outside as established plants in time for the summer.
It's also possible to start growing cannabis outdoors in the beginning of April, the first weeks under a piece of glass or in a greenhouse. The yield per female plant is between 100 and 400 grams for the different strains. Most of the plants have yields in between. Yields are especially dependent on sowing time, nutrition, and sunlight.
Harvest times given on this website are for the Dutch climate and latitude. All "indoor" and "outdoor" varieties can be grown outdoors in more Southern latitudes. For this reason, the harvest time under natural light is also given for all the "indoor" varieties. Greenhouse varieties and Indoor varieties can be grown outdoors in Central and Southern Europe with very good results. In more Northern latitudes (Scandinavia) only the outdoor varieties that are harvested early can be grown outdoors. Most "outdoor" varieties cannot be grown indoors, unless mentioned in this catalog.
One of the most important factors for the outdoor grower is to correctly prepare the site.
The ideal grow site should get unrestricted sun for as much of the day as possible. Protection from strong winds will also shield your crop. A grow site will often benefit from shelter; a small earth bank, a fallen tree stem or thick bushes can not only protect the plant from prevailing winds but it may also protect the plant from animals and unwelcome human attention. Having a close source of water, such as a nearby stream can make it easy to get water to your crop during hot weather. Many outdoor growers will use organic fertilisers such as bat guano, worm castings, bloodmeal, bonemeal etc to improve soil condition before the grow starts, perhaps digging in plenty of compost as well. More proficient outdoor growers will test the soil when preparing the site and fertilise it accordingly. Professional soil testing kits can be bought from garden centres which will indicate the soil type, the pH and factors such as sand content, loam and clay content etc. There is no ‘perfect’ soil for growing in and different varieties will often perform well in a range of conditions so long as nutrients are present, drainage is good and pH is within 5.8-6.5.
For some people, outdoor growing means a secure and private part of their back garden or even a balcony. In some parts of the world this is too risky, so growers will choose a private and often remote spot in the countryside where they can grow. Internet maps or local knowledge can be used to find private sun-facing locations.
Some growers prefer the seclusion of high altitude mountains for complete peace-of-mind and security. A new technique is to grow cannabis plants in large soil-filled sacks that have been hoisted into the tree canopy. This technique allows growers to choose locations that may be closer to home since the plants are completely invisible to people passing nearby. Yet plants grown in this way benefit from all-day sunlight and can be grown relatively close to cities and villages without raising suspicion. Just make sure that the sack is securely fixed in place.
Those lucky enough to live in a Mediterranean climate with a private sun terrace are ideally placed for convenient outdoor growing.
Those growing outdoors on their own land will be able to ensure that the plants receive the water and nutrients that they need and should be guaranteed the very best results assuming they originally invested in quality seed stock.
Those growing on their own land may have the option of growing the plants in plant pots or rooting them directly into the soil. Plant pots have the advantage of being portable but may need regular watering in hot weather. The experienced grower will often avoid ‘black’ plant containers which get very hot in direct sunlight. They will also avoid putting plant pots directly onto a hot surface (e.g. tiled terrace) which will stress the roots.
Those growing plants rooted directly into the soil will often get the best growth and yield so long as the soil is in good condition and the spot receives good sunlight.
Those growing outdoors may not always be able to visit the plants regularly so a grow spot has to be chosen which is private, sunny and with some protection from animals such as rabbits and deer that will happily munch the plants if not kept away. Some growers surround their secret grow spot with branches and undergrowth to conceal the crop and deter grazing animals. Other growers deliberately plant thorny plants (blackberry plants etc) around their grow area to provide lasting and effective protection. This technique usually involves systematically surrounding the grow patch with a thick, tall and impenetrable barrier to humans and animals. When done properly there is absolutely no way that anyone could guess cannabis plants are growing nearby.
Often the only way into the centre of such a grow is by crawling along the ground through a single secure route that can be easily covered and hidden.
Visits to the grow spot will often involve checking the plants for pests and treating them accordingly. In dry weather water may need bringing to the plants. Some outdoor growers transport the original soil to the grow site, often it will have been pre-enriched with e.g. worm castings and perhaps water absorbent gel crystals will have been added. Water absorbent gel crystals can be bought in many garden centres and absorb excess moisture swelling into large water retaining gel particles. These then slowly release the water during dryer times. They allow plants to thrive with additional water reserves for their roots even in drought conditions.
When growing cannabis outdoors think carefully about the variety. Not all strains are suited to outdoors, so read the reviews carefully and choose a good seed supplier. The best outdoor strains were often developed over a period of several years, selectively breeding those offspring that displayed the best suitability to outdoor conditions as well as retaining premium potency levels. This is a full time job that requires an expert ability not just to create premium outdoor strains but also to stabilise them.
Sometimes the hardest part of outdoor growing is selecting the right location and preparing it for the cannabis plants/seeds. Often the outdoor grower will have several different grow locations and accepts that losing the occasional plant is an occupational hazard. Once the spot is ready it will often be used for many years of harvesting by the outdoor cannabis grower. Outdoor growing is challenging but fun, it may require ingenious thinking and professional preparation but when done correctly the outdoor grower can experience the thrill and satisfaction from harvesting all his herbal supplies free of charge, the way nature intended.