Growing Cannabis in the Ground vs Pots
One question bumbles around the mind of the cannabis grower at the start of the outdoor season: to grow in pots or directly in the ground? Both of these methods produce quality buds and healthy plants. However, both techniques possess unique advantages and disadvantages that appeal to different growers. Find out which one is right for you!
Growing cannabis outdoors puts the cultivator into frequent, direct contact with nature. Alongside the pleasant activity of raising plants, you’ll find sunlight, fresh air, and microbe-rich soil in-between your fingertips.
Cultivating weed outdoors comes with a host of advantages, including reduced water and lighting costs and more space for bigger strains. Growers have two primary choices when it comes to nurturing plants outdoors: place them in pots, or plant them directly into the ground.
While both of these methods can produce outstanding results, each features its own perks and drawbacks. In this article, we’ll dive deep into these factors and help you decide which route to take.
Growing Cannabis in the Ground
Growing cannabis directly in the earth serves as the purest way to cultivate the herb. Some choose to sow seeds on tilled earth and let nature take her course, with minimal intervention, while others prefer to transplant healthy seedlings and take a more hands-on approach.
Whatever your strategy, growing cannabis in the ground can provide fantastic results. The roots get to stretch to their own accord, and local microbes get to work forming a mutually beneficial relationship with your crop.
Whether you’re thinking about growing in the ground for the first time or have done so for some time, you’ll find it helpful to weigh up the pros and cons of this method. Check them out below.
If you’re unsure about growing in the ground, the following points might just help you make your decision.
Healthy soil features a vibrant soil food web—a network of organisms that prey on some species and serve as prey to others. This flow of energy starts at the macroscopic level (moles, birds, and worms) and works down to almost invisible fungi and bacteria.
If you’re blessed to have healthy soil in your garden or growing space, you also have the advantage of a healthy population of indigenous microorganisms. Indoor growers splash the cash or go to great lengths to secure synergistic bacteria and fungi. By sowing directly into the ground, you’ll be tapping into this powerful resource for free.
Some forms of bacteria help companion plants pull nitrogen into the atmosphere and fix it into the soil. Of course, nitrogen plays a vital role in cannabis physiologyeems with mycorrhizal fungi that fuse with the root system of your plants and provide them with nutrien. Healthy soil also tts in return for plant sugars.
Less Equipment Makes Things Cheaper
Planting directly into the ground requires slightly less gear. You won’t need to buy containers to house your strains. Although basic pots don’t cost much, more advanced smart pots and nutrient-rich growing media do come with a small price tag.
Before you cast seeds to the ground or transplant your seedlings, you need to make sure your garden or growing location has adequate soil. If you’re lucky, you’ll uncover a dark and rich soil after plunging your shovel into the ground.
Likewise, you’ve won the lottery if you find clay soil beneath your feet. Although you’ll need to add some organic matter to create a cannabis-friendly soil structure, this type of soil boasts a high nutrient content.
Adds Stealth to Guerrilla Operations
For those unaware, guerrilla growing involves cultivating cannabis in hidden locations away from your house. Such settings may include a remote meadow or a secluded forest clearing. Stealth and secrecy are the main goals of this type of growing.
By avoiding the use of a container, your plants will integrate into the environment more effectively. Dig a hole, fill it with healthy soil, and transplant your seedlings into a secure spot without obvious signs of activity.
If you’ve ever transplanted cannabis, you’ll know what the roots look like when you retrieve them from a small pot. They begin to twist, turn, and form a tight ball. In contrast, plants growing in the ground have all the space they need to “express themselves”. These deeper roots have access to more soil containing nutrients and water, which means less feeding and watering on your to-do list.
Despite these impressive advantages, growing cannabis in the ground does come with some setbacks. If you plan on using this method, you should be aware of these factors to help you master the technique.
Not all growers are lucky enough to find a treasure trove of nutrient-rich soil in their garden. Many growers will uncover numerous types of soil that cannabis plants don’t get along with. These include:
• Sandy soil: Low in nutrients, light, and dry.
• Silty soil: A good supply of nutrients but easily compacted, holds a lot of moisture, and predisposes plants to root rot.
• Chalky soil: Very alkaline, and cannabis prefers slightly acidic soil.
If you find poor-quality soil in your garden, you’ll need to start composting and adding organic matter and other amendments to improve its nutritional content.
You Might Need to Splash Some Cash After All
Correcting soil can take quite some time. Investing in raised beds will allow you to fill them up with high-quality soil and get to growing. However, this will come at a relatively high price.
If you live in a region that receives heavy rainfall, you might wake up one day to find your garden beds waterlogged. Whereas pots drain efficiently, moisture-retaining soil can become saturated quite quickly—especially when located on low ground. A severe case of waterlogging can deprive roots of nutrients and air, breeding fungal diseases in turn.
Once They’re In, They’re In
Be sure to choose a good spot for your plants; one with a good amount of sunlight and protection from the wind. Once you commit, you can’t go back, regardless of heatwaves, floods, strong winds, and early frosts.
Some strains will take full advantage of the sheer amount of space available when grown in the ground. Although mostly perceived as a good thing, some plants can quickly grow out of control. Despite bigger yields, this can cause problems for growers looking to practise discretion. Be sure to train your plants as necessary.
Growing Cannabis in Pots
Cultivating cannabis plants in pots simply gives growers more control. They’re convenient, limit growth, and can even be moved inside during extreme circumstances. Discover the best reasons to grow cannabis in pots, and why some growers choose not to.
Now that you know the good sides of growing in the ground, let’s see how pots compare.
Are you bracing for a heatwave? Or maybe even a hurricane? Fear not! Simply pick up your pots and move them to a safe location. Growers can easily protect their pot-grown crop against adverse conditions. Just lift, walk, and relocate. Easy!
Control the Size of Your Plants
The bigger your containers, the larger your plants will grow. You can use the size of your pots to control the size of your plants. If you want gargantuan and productive specimens, treat them to the largest containers you can find. If you’re after small plants and a small personal stash, an 11-litre pot will suffice.
Pick Your Pot
You’ll notice a lot of diversity when shopping around for containers. You certainly won’t be limited to the quintessential terracotta pot. Choose from cheap and cheerful plastic containers to advanced fabric pots that increase the aeration and moisture retention of the growing medium.
Air pots are also a superb choice to keep root systems healthy. These vessels feature small holes that prevent roots from circulating and encourage the formation of a healthy root mass.
Master Your Medium
Why waste time worrying about the soil under your garden? Simply load up your pots with your substrate of choice. No amending or correcting necessary. That said, you can develop your own closed-loop system by composting your garden and kitchen scraps to create a thriving super soil.
Pots offer a lot of merits over growing in the ground. However, you’ll still come across some limitations when using this simple method of growing weed.
You’ll be able to control the size of your plants, but it’ll be hard to achieve a true sativa giant. Even the largest pots fail to accommodate the demands of plants capable of growing into small trees. If you want to push large strains to their full potential, pots just won’t cut it.
Portability May Equal Vulnerability
The lack of a large taproot anchoring them deep underground leaves potted plants vulnerable against harsh winds and theft. They’re easy to move when conditions call for it, but this also makes them attractive to bud bandits, and wide open to toppling over in severe storms.
Potted plants typically require more frequent care than their partially subterranean counterparts. You’ll need to water and feed the growing medium more frequently, as these substances will move through the substrate at a higher rate. You’ll also need to carefully monitor pH to ensure it stays between 6.0–7.0 for optimal nutrient absorption.
Grow in Pots or in the Ground? Why Not Try Both?
Interested in seeing for yourself which method of outdoor growing is more suitable for you? Why not try both! If you have the space and time, raise some plants in beds and others in pots, and see how they compare come harvest. How’s that for a home grow experiment?