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Guerilla grow: Growing weed in the woods
If you don’t have much room at home or a large garden but you do have an adventurous spirit, a guerilla grow can be the answer. And it is also an inexpensive option. Here are some tips for growing weed in the woods, although, of course, such an endeavour is never guaranteed! Start your guerilla grow at the end of spring after the danger of frosts has passed and follow our advice. With a bit of luck, your harvest should produce enough buds to last you through the cold winter months.
Choosing the right location is the key to success
Planting cannabis in the wild is dependent on the correct growing location and is of paramount importance to the success of your grow. Whether you intend to cultivate a couple of plants or a good dozen, it is the location of your secret plantation that will ensure success.
Things to consider
The growing site should be well away from any public footpaths or boundaries to prevent curious eyes from stumbling upon your secret or even stealing your harvest. The ground should not be excessively wet, so avoid boggy marshes or any area that is likely to be flooded. Check that the available water isn’t too far away from the site – this could be a stream, well, pool or river or even a trough for livestock. If any of these are situated near the growing area, you should also make sure the water is not stagnant or unclean. Stagnant water can contaminate the nearest aquifer. Ensure that standing water is at least a dozen metres from the grow site.
Good spots for a guerilla grow
- In the wood
- In the dunes
- In meadows
Adequate drainage is vital because cannabis needs plenty of water but does not do well growing in water as the roots will quickly rot, which means a speedy death for your weed plants. If you notice insects or larvae in the water, it means it is likely to be permanent, and is a sign that it is not the right location for a guerilla grow.
Get the young seedlings ready in a tub, or, even better, biodegradable pots (made from a natural plant fibre such as coconut coir). Planting cannabis seeds directly in the soil is also possible if you live somewhere with a long growing season.
Watch out for areas overgrown with weeds as they naturally prefer under the same environmental conditions as marijuana. Spend some time clearing this area, pulling weeds out by their roots and using a garden fork to aerate the soil and remove any large stones. Although, there is no need to make the site perfectly manicured and completely weed-free as this could draw unwelcome attention to the site!
Then it’s time to plant your seedlings in the ground. If the roots of your plant seem rather delicate, sink your tub directly into the soil, so that it is completely submerged. However, it’s a fact that during the transplantation process, your roots will probably sustain a bit of damage, no matter how careful you are. One tip is to use a pair of scissors to cut away the base of the tub to free the roots and then plant the pot in the soil – this technique is often used by tomato growers.
We recommend planting between 10 to 12 plants; a number which will lead to the probable harvest of 5 or 6 plants. Expect at least half of it to be lost to natural causes, such as insects or bad weather. Besides, eliminating male plants will also reduce the number of mature plants at harvest, although you could choose feminised seedeeds to avoid this.
If you don’t use feminized marijuana seeds, you should remove any male plants before they have a chance to pollinate the female buds with seeds. However, harvest management will be quite challenging unless you visit the plantation to check the condition of the plants as often as possible.
Tips for a successful guerilla grow
If you plan to grow in the wild, there are a number of points to consider. Here you can think of:
As it is not recommended to visit your guerilla grow daily, the culture medium should be able to hold plenty of water for as long as possible. Choose a mixture of potting soil, peat, and vermiculite. Well-rotted manure is always welcome, and tomato feed also works well for weed plants.
Worms are ideal creatures to help aerate the soil and should be encouraged.
If you have chosen to plant seeds, ensure the soil is well aerated by using an aeration tool or simply digging the soil with a fork. It’s really important to ensure that the soil is nice and pliable so that early roots can easily explore the soil.
Since weed needs a plenty of moisture, there will probably be occasions when you need to visit the site to water them. The rule of thumb is that if there is no rain for three consecutive sunshine-filled days, the plants will need to be watered.
You should aim to dampen the first couple of centimetres. Wait until the water sinks into the soil surrounding the base of the last plant, then return to the plant you started with, and water again on your return. This is the gentlest way of watering the growth medium. If too much water is chucked over the plants at once, there is an increased danger of exposing the roots and harming the plants. The sudden shock of cold water will also slow growth until the roots have a chance to warm up.
Reading tip: how often do you water weed plants
It’s also essential to avoid too much humidity in the autumn. While keeping your plants damp in the summer is key, it is just as crucial to keep your buds nice and dry in the autumn to prevent mould from taking hold.
Give the mature plants a shake every now and then to remove excess rain moisture. If it is really muggy and dampy, you may even have to harvest early to prevent mould from spreading.
If the planting area is in the middle of nowhere, it might be a good idea to take note of the exact location in case you forget where the location of the plants is! There are several ways you can track your location. Most growers prefer to place their plants well off the beaten track – at least ten minutes walk away. The simplest way is to use an app on your smartphone to record the geolocation and save it somewhere safe.
Or you could try a more old school way which is easy and fun and involves placing painted or memorable stones or marking trees and bushes along the trail indicating the site – a bit like Hansel and Gretel. The trick is to make the markers noticeable to you but not to anyone else!
Finishing up your guerilla grow
When the leaves fall, the resin flows and the colours begin to change, it’s time to harvest. Do it at a sensible time when you are less likely to come into contact with others, such as early in the morning on a cloudy day. Bring a large, strong container, like a 2-litre bucket with a secure lid, to avoid the smell attracting unwanted attention. Place the branches in the container with the cut end pointing down to keep your buds intact.
Once you and your plants are home and dry, you can start to dry them off and begin the process of curing your plants. Hopefully, you will have enough weed to keep you going for the whole year and some seeds for next year’s.