How to Grow Cannabis in the Field
Growing your cannabis can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be very challenging, frustrating and expensive. For the novice grower with limited resources, indoor growing can be too costly to be an option. The good news is that a small outdoor garden can produce a lot of quality cannabis without a sizeable monetary investment. If you have access to a sunny spot in a private courtyard or even on a balcony, terrace or roof, you can successfully grow cannabis. Our outdoor cultivation guide will discuss the different factors you need to consider when planning your first outdoor growth.
Step 1: consider the climate
It is essential to have a good knowledge of the environment in the area you live in. Cannabis is adaptable to various conditions but is still subject to extreme weather conditions. Sustained temperatures above 30 degrees will cause your plants to stop growing, while temperatures below 12 degrees may also cause damage and stoppage of life, even death.
Heavy rain and strong winds can cause physical damage to plants and reduce production, and excessive moisture can lead to mould and mildew, especially during flowering.
In addition to weather models, it is necessary to understand how the length of the day changes seasonally in your area. For example, in Italy in Spain, you will experience just over 15 hours of daylight on the summer solstice (the longest day of the year).
A useful resource is the map of climatic zones, which takes into account multiple factors such as elevation and proximity to large bodies of water. It is also a good idea to use local resources, as experienced gardeners in your area will have a vast knowledge of growing flowers and vegetables that can be applied to cannabis cultivation. If you have experience with gardening and growing plants, you may also find that growing cannabis outdoors is a relatively easy activity.
Step 2: Choose a good location
Choosing the location for your outdoor garden will be the most crucial decision, especially if you are planting in the ground or large, immobile containers. Your cannabis plants should receive at least 5 or 6 hours of direct sunlight a day, ideally during midday, when the quality of the light is the best.
An area that gets a constant breeze is also a right choice in warm climates, although this will increase water consumption. On the other hand, if you live in an area that sees a lot of strong winds, you should consider planting near a screen, such as a wall, a fence or a large shrub. Those who live in colder climates can benefit from planting near a function that retains heat, such as a brick wall facing south or a fence, while those in hot areas will undoubtedly want to avoid these points.
Finally, you will want to consider privacy and security. Most people will want to hide their gardens from judging neighbours and potential thieves. High fences and large shrubs or trees are the best solutions unless you live in a secluded area. Some people plant in containers on balconies or roofs that are shielded from view, while some build big wire cages to keep thieves and animals at bay. Whatever you decide to do, remember that outdoor cannabis plants can grow up to 15 feet tall or more, so plan accordingly.
Step 3: Acquire some soil
The soil consists of three essential components in various relationships:
Cannabis plants need well-drained, slightly acid soil, rich in organic matter to thrive. If you decide to plant directly in the ground, you will need to understand the composition of the land and modify it accordingly.
The heavy clay soils flow slowly and do not hold oxygen well, so they will have to be heavily modified. At least a month before planting, dig large holes in which to put your cannabis plants and mix in large quantities of compost, manure, worm jets or other decomposed organic matter. This will provide aeration and drainage and nutrients for the plants.
Knowing the terrain will be a great help
The sandy soil is easy to work, drains very well and heats quickly, but does not retain nutrients well, especially in wet environments. Again, you will want to dig large holes for your plants and add things like compost, peat moss and coconut fibre, which will help tie the soil together, providing food and air circulation. In warm climates, sandy soil must be mulched to help with water retention and to prevent the roots from becoming too hot.
The silty soil is the ideal growth medium. It is easy to work, heats up quickly, retains moisture while having good drainage and contains many nutrients. The best loamy soil is found in the river beds and the depths of prehistoric lakes. This dark and crumbly soil is the most fertile and will probably need few or no amendments.
If you want to guarantee excellent results and minimise headaches, having the soil tested is easy and relatively inexpensive. A soil analysis service will tell you the makeup and the pH of your land, inform you of any contaminants and will also recommend the modification of materials and fertilisers.
Step 4: Get some fertiliser
Cannabis plants require a large amount of food during their life cycle, mainly in the form of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Fertilisers for home gardeners can be used if you have a good understanding of how plants work and what they need. But generally, they should be avoided by less experienced growers. It is possible to buy nutrient solutions designed specifically for cannabis from your local nursery. But these are often expensive and can damage soil bacteria as they are generally composed of synthetic mineral salts and intended for indoor cultivation, without soil.
Many growers have long devoted themselves to organic fertilisation methods because they take full advantage of the microbial life in the soil and minimise harmful runoff. There are many different naturals and organic fertilisers available at your home and your local gardens such as blood meal, bone meal, fishmeal, bat guano and seaweed meal. You will be extremely educated about what they are and how they work. Helpful.
Study to save money
Focus on less expensive and more readily available products. Some of these materials quickly release their nutrients and are easily used by the plant, while others take months or years to release the compounds. If done correctly, you can mix some of these products with your soil amendments to provide sufficient nutrition for the life of your plants. Once again, having the soil tested can give beneficial information on the types and amounts of fertiliser you should use. If you are not sure how much to use, be careful; you can always fix it if the plants begin to show deficiencies.
Another method of fertilisation increasingly used today is an organic pre-fertilized soil, also known as “super-soil”, which can be made at home or purchased in-store. In any case, it is more expensive than merely changing the soil in your garden, but it requires almost no thought since all the necessary nutrients are already present. Just dig large holes for your plants, fill them halfway with the super-terrain and top with soil.
Step 5: Give your cannabis plants water
Whole cannabis plants can use up to 10 litres of water each day in hot weather. Growers who live in warm and dry places often dig and place clayey soil or rocks under their plantation holes to slow drainage or plant in shallow depressions that act to channel runoff to the plants. Adding polymeric crystals which absorb water in the soil is another right way to improve water retention.
If you live in a particularly rainy climate, you may need to take steps to improve drainage around your garden. These techniques include:
Plant in raised beds or mounds
Digging ditches that direct water away from the garden
Add things like gravel, clay pebbles and pearlite to the soil
If you are using tap or well water, it is a good idea to try it first. Water can contain high levels of dissolved minerals that can accumulate in the soil and affect the pH level, or it could have high levels of chlorine that can kill the useful life of the land. Many people filter their water for this reason.
Container gardens dry much faster than those planted in the ground and often need to be watered every day. Plants grown in hot or windy conditions will have to be watered more frequently; high temperatures and winds force the plant to breathe at a faster rate. Remember that over-watering is the most common mistake made by novice growers. The general rule is to water deeply, so wait until the top inch of the soil is completely dry before watering again. An inexpensive soil moisture meter is an excellent tool for the beginner.
Step 6. Choose the container for your plants
Container gardens are often the right choice for people who do not have the ideal place to grow or have terrible soil conditions. There are numerous advantages to growing outdoors in containers, but there are also disadvantages. If you are unable to do the heavy work necessary to dig holes and change the soil, containers can be the only way to grow your cannabis.
If you do not have a suitable plot of land to create a garden, the containers can be placed on decks and moved during the day to make the most of the sun. Furthermore, it is possible to use the standard cannabis nutrients designed to grow indoors, eliminating guesswork from plant fertilisation.
These advantages lead many newbies to use the containers for their initial growth outdoors. However, plants grown in pots, buckets or barrels will probably be much smaller than those planted in the ground because their root growth is limited to the size of the container. The size of the pot will determine the size of the plant, even if it is possible to grow large plants in small containers if the correct technique is used.
Step 7: Protect your cannabis plants
Without the ability to control the environment as you would do inside, outdoor cannabis growers had to figure out how to protect their plants from storms and other weather events.
Temperatures below 40 ° F can quickly damage most cannabis varieties. So if you live in a climate where late spring or early frosts are a common occurrence, you will probably need to use cloches, hot caps, cold frames or other protective containers.
Strong winds can break branches, damage trichomes and stress your plants, leaving them vulnerable to pests and diseases. If your garden is in a particularly windy spot, or if you expect a particularly heavy blow, it is highly recommended to mount a sort of windbreak. This can be as easy as attaching perforated plastic sheets to garden poles around your plants.
Although useful for watering your garden, rain is generally seen as a nuisance to cannabis growers. If summer rains and autumn are probably in your area, it is advisable to choose a variety that has a natural resistance to mould. Make sure you fully support your plants with cages or poles because rainwater accumulates on leaves and shoots, weighing your plants and destroying the branches. Otherwise, you can use plastic sheeting and pallets to build temporary shelters on your plants when you know the rain is coming.
Protecting your cannabis garden from pests can be a challenge. Animal pests like deer and rabbits are treated quite easily: fences and cages will keep them at bay. When the full range of crawling and flying insects that can attack your plants arrive, things get a little more complicated. The best protection is merely keeping your plants healthy; the most vigorous cannabis plants have a natural resistance to pests, which makes minor infestations easy. It is also a good idea to keep your plants separate from other flowers, vegetables and ornamental plants, as pests can quickly spread.
Examine your cannabis plants every day for signs of parasites. An infestation is much easier to deal with if you take it early. Washing the plants with a mild solution of water and soap can stop a small outbreak in its tracks. If it does not work, there are many organic insecticides designed for use on cannabis, often derived from neem or other natural botanical extracts. These are quite effective if used correctly.
Step 8: Decide on genetics
The success of your outdoor cannabis cultivation will depend a lot on choosing the right variety for your climate and location. If you live in an area with a history of cannabis cultivation, there are likely to be many strains that have proven effective or even bred specifically for your climate.
Some strains do not produce well in unfamiliar environments, the first example being the tropical sativa varieties. Cannabis plants start to bloom when the days begin to shorten; these tropical plants are acclimated to the areas closest to the equator where the length of the day does not vary so much. When you try to grow them in the northern latitudes, they start flowering too late to take advantage of the late summer sun. These varieties can also last more than 50-100% to complete the flowering, which means that sometimes they don’t end until December. If you live in southern California, you can grow these varieties without problems; in Seattle or Vancouver, BC; they will not produce before being killed by lack of light, heavy rain and cold.
Cannabis seeds against clones
While most indoor growers grow from clones, outdoor growers often prefer to grow from seeds. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.
Cloning requires a “mother plant”, which is a plant kept under 16-24 hours of light a day to prevent flowering. Alternatively, you can buy clones from a local clinic. The advantage of this route is that “mother plants” have generally shown to produce a quality bud, and all clones will be female plants that have the same characteristics.
These clones will have to be rooted indoors and then hardened in much the same way as you would a plant that has been started indoors.
A disadvantage is that clones tend to be less vigorous than seeds, which means that plants are smaller and less productive. Furthermore, cloned plants do not develop a taproot, the thick central root that penetrates deep into the ground to stabilise the plant and absorb ground water, so they are more susceptible to strong winds and drought.
Plants grown from seed are stronger
Seed-grown plants are generally more abundant as young plants than clones. Cannabis seedlings are tolerant to low temperatures and wet conditions, which means you can plant the seeds directly in the garden in early spring, even in colder and more humid climates. If you choose to start them at home, however, they will still have to be hardened before transplanting them.
The main disadvantage of growing from seed is that there is no guarantee on what you will end up with. Each cannabis seed is unique and will produce a different plant, so unless you choose an inbred seed line, you can’t be sure how the final product will look. Furthermore, regular cannabis seeds produce both males and females, so you will have to have sex with your plants when they reach sexual maturity and kill all the males. For this reason, many people choose feminised seeds.
Autoflowering seeds are another popular choice for outdoor cultivation, as they start to flower as soon as they reach maturity regardless of the length of the day. Many gardeners in temperate climates will receive two crops each year using auto-flowering seeds, one planted in late winter or early spring and another planted in early summer.