Growing marijuana, particularly outdoors, always comes after a series of choices. Recreationally, on the surface, marijuana is not grown out of necessity and, for medical patients, the immediacy of medical issues and related symptoms generates a perpetual need. In either case, marijuana is being grown to serve the people who want to experience the plant in one way or another.
As more and more people begin to consider their own home grow, the most present goal people wish to achieve is strong ending potency, followed by flavor. Obviously, most people want both and, luckily, both can be easily achieved through proper plant care.
Unfortunately, plant care itself can be a complex, tricky thing and growing marijuana outdoors in OR, due to the mountainous oceanic climate, tends to compound the complexity. Depending on where in the state you are located, a variety of legal or climate-related quirks can make or break personal marijuana grows. Here is what you should know:
Certain strains are better to grow in than others
On an evolutionary level, the best strains of marijuana to grow in OR come from the genetic adaptability of the specific plant species, as these traits help to cope in Oregon’s wet climate. You may have heard of indica and sativa, but did you know there is a third species of cannabis – cannabis ruderalis?
Not that cannabis ruderalis is, in itself, something you need to know about before you attempt growing marijuana in OR; rather, having an idea of what ruderalis is expands how the upcoming explanation of adaptive plant traits enables huge harvests in cloudy, cold, and humid Oregon.
First thing’s first:
Cannabis Sativa is known for tall, sprawling limbs with wide fan leaves. The plants grow between eight (8) and twelve (12) feet on average. Requiring nearly constant light at certain points in the plant life cycle, sativa plants often yield some huge nuggets of cannabinoid love, while also having one of the largest maturation periods, growing from seedling to flowering buds. Sativas are known to be an energizing high, often tasting like fruit or herbs.
Cannabis indica grows shorter but much wider than the sativa counterpart. A bushy plant with deep green leaves. The limbs do not often stretch out and much of the plant becomes dense foliage. The plants require less light than their sativa counterpart and have a shorter maturation period. Indica highs are more body – calming, relaxing, and sometimes sleepy – than their sativa counterpart.
Ruderalis is commonly used for hemp due to it’s low THC content. It requires less light than both indica or sativa and has a shorter maturation period than either other cannabis species. In fact, some ruderalis plants are known as “auto-flower“, having a very short period spent growing vegetatively and much more of the time producing buds.
Adapt your high
Are you at high altitudes? How humid is it? Is there plenty of sunlight? Are you inland or closer to the coast? Do you have a greenhouse? Are you planting in the garden or using 15-gallon buckets? Depending on where in OR you are growing marijuana, the wet climate can have several effects on outdoor grows. Yet, luckily, seed producers, dispensaries, and other legal seed retailers have found ways to keep flavors, potencies, cannabinoid profiles – you know, genes – all together while adapting the strain to better function in an increasing number of environments.
In so doing, elements from indica have been mixed with sativa-dominant genetics to allow it to grow shorter, require less sunlight, and have a faster growing cycle. This is one of the many reasons why it is seemingly difficult to track down pure strains. Furthermore, ruderalis genetics have also been selectively added to seeds, as ruderalis is better adapted to cold (it’s native to the region around Russia), giving crossbred strains better seasonal adaptability and a quicker maturation period.
Outdoor marijuana growing not done in a greenhouse in OR has a roughly six-month window of temperatures which may – for the most part – be warm enough to ensure healthy outdoor growth. The humidity and common overcast weather in western and coastal cities such as Portland, Hillsboro, Tillamook, or Bridgeport are two factors which can significantly limit the production of strong, potent marijuana.
For the first-time grower, on one hand, it may seem attractive to plant your cannabis seeds in the garden, but in an environment which sees frequent rains, this may lead to complications. For more humid environments, the obvious choice would seem to be sativa. Humidity better lands on the wider, sprawling leaf and branch system than on the dense foliage of indica, yet even if you have chosen a marijuana strain which is autoflowering, getting too much water from any source can ruin the entire crop. Using a 15-gallon bucket over directly in the garden allows you to bring the plant inside if it rains or if persistent heat and humidity stress the plant, harming potency and flavor in the process.
Due to large periods of overcast weather, outdoor marijuana growing in Oregon is not only more susceptible to rot or mold from water, but may also receive fewer nutrients directly from the sun. The compound effect of humidity stress and nutrient deficiencies can easily arise and, if unmanaged, can trash a crop.
This is why picking seeds based on strain genetics is vital to successfully grow marijuana in OR. You can look for seeds which produce wide bushy plants with airy leaves and autoflowering traits. If rain happens, your plant should hold as little water on its leaves as possible as it can become an ideal environment for molds and bacterias to accumulate or grow.
As much as seasons are an indicator of changes in weather, there are weather outliers and unseasonal events always. A sudden snow storm in mid-May or a two-week spat of heavy rain in July result in different amounts of the same thing: plant stress on outdoor grows.
All-in-all, growing marijuana in OR outdoors, because of the temperate, yet wet climate, requires the attention to be focused more persistently throughout the plant’s life on the outdoor climate. Starting any grow, no matter the climate, it is important to ensure you have rich, healthy soil for your plants. As plants grow and are exposed to wind, rain, temperature changes, humidity, pests, and a variety of other growth obstacles, the nutrients in the soil can act as the first line of defense in keeping your plants healthful. Just be careful, over using nutrients is itself a form of plant stress.