If you have found your way to this outdoor cannabis grow guide, you more than likely often find yourself thinking something along the lines of, “I want to grow cannabis outdoors, but how to grow weed outdoors and where do I start?”
Well, have no fear, growing weed outdoors is easier and even more rewarding than you may have previously suspected. Or, perhaps you’re an experienced grower looking for a quick refresher and a few pointers.
At any rate, growing a new plant, or specific strain in this case, for the first time, can be overwhelming and confusing, but it is also a very rewarding experience to know that you personally grew an abundant harvest. Doing so in a safe and familiar location makes the experience even more enjoyable. Your very own backyard flower beds, garden plot, or greenhouse, will do just fine.
That said, learning all that you can about the proper procedures to growing cannabis outdoors is a must if you want a successful experience. All too often, would-be cannabis growers fail in raising their crops due to lack of understanding of the species.
So, if you’re new to the world of growing cannabis and wondering how to grow a weed plant outdoors, this step-by-step guide and our tips explains everything you need to know to make it happen.
Growing cannabis outdoors: Steps to a successful first grow
Growing weed outdoors as a first-timer is a careful job that requires dedication, time, and love of the process. As with any new task, there is seemingly so much to learn. After all, you can’t simply throw a few weed seeds into the ground and expect the perfect plants to sprout up from nowhere!
Outdoor weed growing tips (for beginners)
For the novice grower, there are simple steps that can be taken to make sure your cannabis plants grow successfully on your first try.
- Plan your garden space (with caution)
- Select the strain you want to grow
- Gather suitable containers and proper soil
- Choose between clones or seeds
- Start to plant your cannabis outdoors
- Maintain your garden through the entire grow
- Harvest your outdoor cannabis plants
Picking the place where you would like to plant your cannabis is one of the most important decisions you can make. The location should be chosen wisely because you need to have access to water, and cannabis plants require a lot of direct sunlight, specifically anywhere from 4-6+ hours. Also, a nice, private setting will make you and your plants happy because it will prevent any wandering eyes from becoming intrigued or offended by your plants, potentially costing you all of your hard work.
Choosing the strain of cannabis for your climate’s conditions is key. It is smart to grow a few different species in order to see what grows well in your environment. If you live in a region that has a history of growing cannabis, there is a good chance that a variety of different strains can grow there. There are also strains that have been bred specifically for outdoor growth. In addition, growing cannabis outdoors can often lead to pretty large plants, so choosing auto-flowering strains can be helpful if you don’t want your plants to take up so much space.
Tip: check all our outdoor cannabis seeds
Planting cannabis seeds can be done directly in the ground or in transportable pots. This leaves you the option of purchasing a rich soil made with organic matter, knowing the quality of the soil in your ground, or adjusting your soil composition if necessary. Good quality soil equals healthy roots and will more likely ensure the duration of a long, healthy life for your cannabis plants.
Cannabis plants also require plenty of soil drainage. If you are using a clay-based soil, you will have to adjust for more drainage. Sandy soil provides plenty of drainage, but it doesn’t contain sufficient nutrients. Soil made of silt, such as a dark crumbly loam, is usually a happy medium because it probably won’t need adjusting, as it’s already fertile.
After about a month of feeding off of the soil, a good quality fertilizer can be extremely beneficial. Cannabis plants require constant nutrients, such as phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen, over the course of their lives. As a first-time grower, it might be best to stay away from commercial fertilizers because they can serve a variety of purposes from which your specific plants might not benefit. Organic fertilization is a plus, as these soils tend to take complete advantage of bacteria already living in the soil. If you’re unsure about where to start, you can always get your soil tested so that you can make adjustments as necessary.
Planting seeds, as opposed to clones, can be beneficial, making the fully developed plant heartier; however, the major drawback of growing from seed is that you might be unsure of exactly what you’re planting, especially if you end up with a mixture of males and females. So, if this is something you would like to avoid, you may be able to purchase clones from a resident dispensary depending on the legality in your state.
Another popular choice for outdoor growing is auto-flowering seeds, which begin blooming as they reach maturity. This provides the opportunity to achieve a fast-growing harvest or the ability to fit a variety of harvests into a year.
After germination, plants can be placed outside as long as temperatures do not fall below about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. As previously mentioned, you will also want to pick a spot where your plants are receiving sufficient direct sunlight. Planting in pots is useful because you can move your plants around as needed, but large pots will need to be chosen because this allows fuller flower and canopy growth. Planting in a garden is another valuable option that provides the opportunity to utilize more space. When considering planting placement in a garden, a general area of about 53 square feet should suffice.
Reading tip: How to plant cannabis seeds
In order to maintain your cannabis garden, make sure you’re giving your plants enough water, but be careful not to overwater. If you are planting in a particularly rainy area, you may need to improve drainage around your plants so they don’t get too much water, as cannabis roots are known to commonly grow fungus if they become waterlogged. Only water when the soil appears dry. To test this, apply the back of your fingers to the soil; if the soil is cool to the touch, there is still water present.
Sometimes other common types of weather can be an issue for your garden, too, so you might need to take precautions to set up barriers, such as a windbreak, to keep these natural nuisances from affecting your plants. Additionally, make sure to keep an eye out for pests, especially caterpillars. An option for an OMRI certified and organic insecticide is Monterey P.T., which is safe for humans, animals, bees, and other plants. And remember, the more sun your cannabis plants get, the faster they’ll grow!
You will know when your cannabis plants are ready to harvest when your buds are large, and the trichomes are cloudy as opposed to clear. Also, your stigmas will all have mostly turned brown. To harvest, chop the plant at the bottom. Make sure to touch the buds as little as possible, as the trichomes contain the THC, which can stick to your fingers. After chopping, it is time to hang the plants to dry.
Reading tip: how to harvest weed plants?
The suggested temperature for drying is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and the suggested humidity percentage is around 62%. Make sure to have a slow, consistent airflow to dry out the plants, as you don’t want mold to grow. At this point, pull off any large fan leaves, and prepare to trim your plants. Also note that your plants should not be completely dry when you go to trim, as they should have only been hanging for around ten days. After trimming, it is time for your plants to cure, which means that you’re going to leave the trimmed plants in a metal container for around one to two weeks along with a humidity pack of around 65%.
After the curing process of your cannabis has been completed, you have accomplished growing your first cannabis plants.
Growing cannabis outdoors: Things to consider
Just like that, you have succeeded in growing your own cannabis garden from beginning to end – congratulations! Growing cannabis plants outdoors can seem like a sizable task, but you can definitely be successful if you are patient and learn to enjoy the process.
There are many important decisions when initially planning for your cannabis gardens, such as placement, strains, soils, and materials for maintenance, so take the opportunity to decide what your personal cannabis preferences are and what you need to make this an experience you can return to time and time again. Therefore we have some final tips and things to consider:
What’s the best place to grow weed outdoors?
The best place to grow your weed outside is when the environment meets several criteria. To start with, select a place with a lot of sunlight as a cannabis plant prefers plenty of sunlight, as much as possible. Shaded areas or places where tiles turn green because of moss are not suitable for a cannabis plant. Does moss grow in the place where you want to grow outside? Then choose another location, as moss likes moisture and not sun, the cannabis plant really does not like a humid environment with too little light. The chance of bud rot and mould is many times greater.
How do I keep insects away from my cannabis plants?
Hang up an adhesive strip! This way, you can see what is flying around and take measures if necessary. Insect control outside is a lot more complicated than inside. There are plenty of biological agents to control insects in an indoor grow. It is vital that you take timely steps when controlling pests.
How do I keep snails away from my cannabis plants?
Snails react with copper. If you grow in a pot, you can consider clamping a small strip of copper wire around your container. The blow will get a little shock and turn around. It may also work if you put a circle of copper wire around the stem of the cannabis plant.
You can put the pot in a saucer on a small block of wood. This block of wood is much smaller than the bottom of the tub. This way, you make it very difficult for slugs and snails to climb up the side of your pot. However, your plant is a bit less stable.
Disguise your cannabis plants with clever planting
To create a lush microclimate for your plants and protect them from prying eyes, it’s a good idea to grow other plants and herbs as well, either in different sized tubs or directly in the soil. Both flowers and foliage plants are great additions to your cannabis garden. Companion plants can also help protect your weed from pests and diseases or introduce useful predators into the garden.
Some great companion plants to grow among your cannabis plants:
How to keep your plants manageable small while maximising yield
After four weeks of vegetative growth, you should typically prune your plants to keep their growth under control and adjust it to the space you have available.
Most growers using containers on balconies or patios are keen for their plants to stay small so that they grow sideways rather than upwards. For this to work, you’ll need to trim the top shoots of your plants. This allows the plants to produce more leaves below the top stem, essentially making it bushier instead of larger. You will need to prune your plants regularly throughout the vegetative phase to control their growth.
There are also other options such as binding or bending techniques (known as LST or low-stress training) that allow you to grow your plants in specific directions and ensure that your plant’s canopy has the same amount of sunshine.
Other popular training techniques that you could try on your patio/balcony plants are topping, fimming, and super cropping. Each creates a different area of foliage depending on the individual needs of the grower.
Want to start growing weed outdoors?
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