The Basics of Cannabis Outdoor Growing (Part 1)
Indoor growing with modern technology is amazing but requires equipment and energy. Get to know the natural, sustainable, and cheap alternative - organic outdoor growing.
Royal Queen Seeds decided to put together basic information on outdoor cannabis growing to help our customers who might have never grown outdoors before, to get ready for the upcoming season. Our common goal: Large yields of high quality cannabis, produced by Mother Earth itself, maybe with a little help from an enthusiastic gardener.
Good preparation helps when we want to reach certain goals. Outdoor cannabis growing is no exception and requires long-term thinking, time being spent in nature doing physical work, and a certain level of flexibility to overcome obstacles that threaten our harvests. Being motivated to get things right is very helpful, but won’t necessarily guarantee good results. It’s the mistakes we make, teaching us our most valuable lessons. Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” This is maybe a good mantra for novices who just found about the rewarding hobby of cannabis cultivation.
“The Basics of Outdoor Growing” divides into four parts, covering some of the most important steps worth thinking about when planning an outdoor grow. Here is quick overview of what to expect in each part of our brief outdoor grow guide.
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT STRAIN
The process of outdoor growing starts with choosing a strain that matches the climatic conditions present at the grow location. Most growers will also base their decision on personal preference concerning effects and taste, flowering time, size, and yields. The harvest month in which a strain finishes outdoors is of primary importance, along with its genetic heritage meaning Indica or Sativa, and the actual size of a plant.
A. The Harvest Month
• The harvest month of a feminized strain is our main concern
• Reason: Mould due to heavy rainfall and high humidity in autumn (our viscous enemy!)
• October is the most crucial month of the entire season; many feminized strains finish in this month; high humidity levels and rain in October are often the cause of mould
• Analyze weather data from past years and choose a strain that finishes on time, before the weather is likely to shift
• Autoflowering strains don’t have the issue of late harvests; they will start and finish their flowering period in disregard of the amount of light hours per day
B. Indica or Sativa?
• Indica-dominant strains have a greater resilience to tough weather conditions
• Sativa-dominant strains like higher levels of light intensity and warmer temperatures
• Norhern European growers: Try to choose indica-dominant strains that finish in late September to early October (e.g. Somango XL, Critical)
• Southern European growers: You’re lucky and can pretty much grow whatever you desire, including sativa-dominant strains and late finishers (e.g. Amnesia Haze, Royal Moby)
C. What about the size?
• Feminized strains can reach 2-3m in height; most autoflowering strains stay below 1m
• The plant growth above the surface of the soil correlates with the size of the root bale
• Not restricting the root bale by a planting pot will get you the biggest plants
• Compact plants are easier to hide in natural vegetation and urban environments
2. FINDING A PROMISING SPOT
Finding a promising spot is one of the most important steps of the entire process, and growers usually invest some time to think this one through. The first question we have to ask ourselves is how close we want to be to our plants. There are two basic principles of outdoor growing. The easiest and more convenient way is to grow on the property you own or rent. You’ll be close to your plants, can care for them every day, and watering is not an issue.
Prohibition and restrictive cannabis laws also made a different approach popular – guerilla growing. It already sounds exciting, and it really is. Guerilla growers will grow their plants on land that doesn’t necessarily belong to them, which comes with the benefit of reducing legal risks. Finding a good spot for a guerilla grow is a complex topic, a reason why we think of releasing a separate, and more detailed blog about this in the future. Since we’re already at it - here are some basic things home gardeners and guerilla growers can consider when looking for a promising spot.
A) Growing at your home or garden
• Balconies facing south are a good option
• Roof terraces are pretty much the best-case scenario
• Think of places in your garden where cannabis plants blend in, and receive a lot of direct sunlight
• Greenhouses ensure low visbility and aren't overly expensive
B) Characteristics of a promising spot for guerilla growing
• Water accessibility within walking distance (use Google Earth to find rivers, lakes, or ponds)
• Lots of direct sunlight from sunrise to sunset (use online tools like suncalc.net)
• There is no reason for someone to go there (>1h away from civilization)
• Cannabis plants will blend into the natural vegetation (similar sized bushes etc.)