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how to grow cannabis from seed outside

Outdoor Marijuana Growing For Beginners

Are you a novice cannabis cultivator looking for a guide to outdoor marijuana growing? Or maybe you’re an old pro indoors, looking to take your plants outdoors. Well, you’re in luck. High Times Cultivation Editor Nico Escondido answers all of your grow questions in his weekly Nico’s Nuggets column, and this week, he’s focusing on outdoor marijuana growing for beginners.

The Question: What Advice Do You Have For Outdoor Marijuana Growing For Beginners?

We live in South America, in the great country of Chile. You are quite popular in the southern hemisphere. As winter comes to an end here, we are finally looking forward to some outdoor gardening. We want to display a small ganja garden in our backyard. It receives total sunlight for most of the day, and we grow other fruits and vegetables during the summer as well. Any advice for our first try with marijuana? We are grateful for any tips you might provide!

— Mucho gusto, Alejandro

The Answer: Learning The Basics Of Outdoor Marijuana Growing

Thanks for reading High Times and writing into the mailbag!

The outdoor growing of marijuana has become very popular these days in both South and Central America. As the seasons change in the northern hemisphere to colder weather, they are starting to change in the south to the spring and summer seasons. We have received a lot of emails from friends south of the border asking for cultivation tips for outdoor marijuana growing.

Location & Sunlight

The primary concern for any outdoor grow operation is something directly touched upon in this question—the amount of sunlight available.

When choosing a location for a few plants, or even an entire garden plot, be sure that the area has near total sunshine throughout the day.

In the northern hemisphere, we say that outdoor gardens should have “southern exposure,” meaning that the garden is open mostly to the south, facing the sun’s archway throughout the day. Conversely, for those in the southern hemisphere, northern exposure is preferred due to the sun’s position in the sky relative to the Earth’s axis. Of course, for those cultivating plants closer to the equator, this is less of a concern, as the sun’s arc will pass directly overhead.

Water & Nutrients

Once you have selected your outdoor marijuana growing area, the next consideration will be its proximity to its caretakers. If the plants are on your property and easily accessible, you will have a lot more flexibility in terms of irrigating and feeding your garden.

Going outside (daily) to water your plants and add nutrients to your soil (on a twice-weekly basis) will not be an issue if your garden is nearby. However, if your plants are a considerable distance away, you may need to consider using a grow medium that can hold moisture for extended periods of time. In this situation you may choose to amend your soils with perlite, vermiculite or other water-absorbing additives.

For guerilla growers who need to hide their plants off-site, an irrigation system might be needed. In this case, look for plots with good sunlight that are also near a natural water source. While siphoning off water from natural sources for large gardens if often frowned upon, using natural water sources for a few plants to be hand-watered every other day should not impact the surrounding environment negatively.

Additionally, if your plants are farther away from your abode, you may choose to utilize time-release mineral pellets that dissolve over time and slowly release plant nutrients into the soil.

Of course, for gardens in your own backyard, it is better for the plants to use a mild nutrient solution made by dissolving organic nutrients in water and applying to the grow medium every third day.

Medium & Containers

It is entirely up to you whether you plant your garden directly into earth beds or utilize plant containers.

If you have chosen a specialty mixture or created a proprietary blend of mediums as your grow substrate, large container pots or bags are likely the best option. Container bags for outdoor gardens come in every size imaginable with some holding over 100 gallons of medium. These bags are made of durable fabric and usually have handles sewn on. The fabric bags are the best, as they offer much more breathability than their plastic counterparts.

Breathable containers such as these allow air to penetrate the root zone more easily, which is important for getting oxygen to the roots. While the plant itself breaths in CO2, the roots use O2 the most and do so during the nighttime (dark cycle).

It is important to remember that the larger the roots grow, the larger the plants will grow and that will equal much more yield come harvest time.

This is the distinct advantage that outdoor marijuana growing offers over indoor growing—there is no limitation on space or plant size outdoors (hopefully). Outdoor plants can achieve heights of up to 14’ tall and yield anywhere from four to eight pounds per plant depending on their final size and genetic potential.

Outdoor cannabis growing

The method of cultivation known as dry farming is one that is widely used in conventional agriculture (especially with cereals) and that has many advantages over traditional growing techniques when applied to cannabis. In fact, many people will have heard of rainfed crops, a centuries-old cultivation technique. Therefore, dry farming by definition is a crop that does not need to be watered by the farmer but instead grows with the water that nature provides, either through rainfall or from underground sources.

In the case of cannabis crops that are being cultivated in California by this method, more specifically in Humboldt County, they rely on the second option, since they are located near rivers, allowing the plants to absorb the water that accumulates below the ground. It may seem impossible to imagine that majestic cannabis plants can develop and deliver quality crops without the grower watering them, but it is a method that really works.

Outdoor cannabis harvest: tips and tricks

As many of you know, cannabis legalization in numerous countries has led to an increasing interest in home growing from many users who, in other circumstances, would have been forced to resort to the black market. Thanks to this, marijuana cultivation has gained numerous followers in recent years, as currently many people grow a few plants in their balconies, patios or gardens, in order to stock up on marijuana.

However, the effort made during half a year (or longer in some cases) can be ruined if you don’t take into account a series of parameters when harvesting your cannabis plants. Today we are showing you a few tricks to bear in mind to ensure you’ll get high-quality buds. Nobody likes to see how the flowers they have been taking care of for months get covered in fungi due to an error!

Cannabis and allelopathy

Allelopathy is a naturally occurring phenomenon by which certain biochemical compounds produced by an organism have a direct impact on the growth or development of other organisms. The action of these compounds can be either positive, promoting the development of other organisms (positive allelopathy) or negative, causing a series of harmful effects on some (or all) of the organisms that are nearby (negative allelopathy). The biochemical substances equipped with these properties are known as allelochemicals.

As many of you know, these properties have been studied in botany and agriculture for decades for different purposes. Thanks to this feature, certain plants can be used to inhibit the growth of other plant species and the reproduction of insects that could result in a plague, significantly reducing the use of insecticides. This is probably the most common and widespread use among farmers all over the world. Nevertheless, there are other lesser-known but very interesting interactions, like the fact that certain plants promote the production of terpenes in nearby plants. something that could be very appealing for the cannabis grower!

Common errors in the cultivation of automatic plants

Spring is getting closer, and with it, the ideal conditions for cannabis cultivation, which is why many growers are already starting to plan their outdoor grow for the season ahead, while others are planning a last indoor crop before the dreaded summer heat arrives. It’s no secret that auto-flowering cannabis seeds (also known as automatics) represent a considerable part of the varieties that can currently be found in the market, with sales increasing year upon year, thanks in large part to the excellent work done by breeders and seed banks.

Whether you grow outdoors or indoors, in this article we’re going to show you a series of tips and tricks towards successful autoflower cultivation, highlighting the typical mistakes that are usually made when growing this type of genetics and proposing alternatives that will make your grow much more efficient, with greater yields and higher quality of the final product.

Growing cannabis in harsh climate conditions

Although cannabis performs well in many latitudes, a rigorous selection of the genetics that we’re going to grow is sometimes necessary in some places in order to harvest our plants successfully, especially outdoors. In this article we will focus on two classic, adverse climate conditions: cold and humid areas – like Northern Europe – and hot and dry climates, where the different cannabis seeds won’t develop in the same way.

Cannabis strains for humid and cold climate

While high humidity promotes a lush and healthy growth, things are different during the flowering stage, when flowers can be infected by mildew and other pathogenic agents due to the effect of cold temperatures and rains. However, it isn’t impossible to grow in these regions, and many growers from places like the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Canada or even Alaska successfully harvest their outdoor cannabis crops every year, mainly thanks to an accurate selection of the genetics grown – always looking for the most resistant strains – and of course the use of greenhouses, greenhouse heaters, etc.

Before presenting you a brief list of this type of genetics, especially suited for outdoor growing in these areas for being particularly resistant to moulds, we are going to explain a few desirable traits that might ensure the best possible results.

Guerrilla growing cannabis

Growing cannabis outdoors, guerrilla style

Guerrilla cultivation is often the only available option for many growers to keep themselves supplied with cannabis throughout the year, especially for those who have no garden for outdoor growing and don’t have the possibility of cultivating indoors. The idea is simple, it’s a question of finding a suitable piece of land to grow on, in a forest, woods, or scrubland where plants can be left to fend for themselves until harvest time. Naturally, the plants need not be completely abandoned, they can receive some care and maintenance depending on how accessible the grow spot is, and how much the grower wishes to risk being caught red-handed while attending to them.

Although the success of the crop will depend largely on luck, with the plants being more or less left to their own devices for most of their life, a series of steps can be taken that, while not guaranteeing a successful harvest, can certainly help the plants to remain healthy throughout the season. In this way, guerrilla growers can harvest cannabis crops of a quality rivalling that of the most pampered outdoor gardens, where it’s far easier to provide the plants with all they need.In the following article we will outline the most important elements to consider for achieving a successful guerrilla harvest in the safest and easiest way possible.

Growing automatic cannabis plants outdoors in Smartpots

Equipment, genetics and fertilisers employed

The following article details a grow report of autoflowering cannabis strains cultivated outdoors, mostly using Smart Pots. The purpose of this report is to examine their performance when used to grow autoflowering varieties and note their suitability to the particular demands of this type of cultivation. Smart Pots encourage a vigorous root development that in consequence tends to lead to bigger plants and more abundant harvests.

We grew two plants of each of 2 different varieties in order to be able to perform a comparative test. The idea was to cultivate one plant of each variety in Smart Pots of 18 litres, which would be the “main subjects,” and then two more, one of each variety, in a smart pot of 12 litres and a circular rigid white plastic pot of 11 litres. So, we will be able to make a comparison between the different automatic seeds we have grown and how they perform in the different containers.

Soil Food Web Gardening

While it may be old news for organic gardeners, with writers like Elaine Ingham championing soil food web gardening since the late nineties and the more recent success of Jeff Lowenfels’ highly influential book ‘Teaming With Microbes’, this approach has recently been catching on with organic cannabis growers who are being won over by the vigorous vegetative growth, increased plant health and more importantly, many claim increased yield and terpene production in their flowers!

The term ‘Soil Food Web’ was coined by Elaine Ingham and refers to the relationships between the many and diverse species of organisms found living in soil. A balanced, well functioning soil food web is vital for healthy plants – most gardeners are familiar with the physical and chemical aspects of soil science – taking care to provide the plants with the correct soil type/texture and with adequate nutrition, but are often unaware of the equally important role played by soil biology in a healthy, vibrant garden – it’s all too easy to focus on the activity and growth above ground to the exclusion of everything else, but in doing so we risk ignoring the vital interactions taking place out of sight below the ground in unbelievable numbers.

Growing marijuana in plant pots

Growing marijuana in soil is, by far, the most common type of crop throughout the world. In this post, we are interested in how to optimize our soil in a simple and fast way.