If you’ve lived in Colorado for more than a week, you know that our weather can change without a moment’s notice. It is not unusual for us to experience all four seasons within a 24-hour span of time. Our altitude and weather patterns, sweeping over the Rocky Mountains, can produce some odd and unpredictable climate conditions. Therefore, growing cannabis outside in Colorado can be a complex exercise. Will our surprise snowfall in late spring harm our cannabis plants? The answer is yes. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to plant after Mother’s day in Colorado.
But the news is not all bad.
Our state has been known to be sizzling hot in mid-winter and dump a foot of snow in mid-May, and hurl huge golf ball sized hail at us in June and July. As a result, many question the wisdom of planting cannabis outdoors in Colorado. Because marijuana can be a bit fussy as a plant, our weather only adds to the mystery of what your yield might look like in the end. There is a great deal that goes into a decision to plant marijuana outdoors in Colorado; where to plant, when to plant, how much to plant, where will it grow best?
Expert growers tell us that a good time to begin planting seeds is in March. Shortly, the plants will begin to show what gender they are; typically during April. In the beginning weeks of May, you can look at planting outside in your greenhouse. It is often touch and go in Colorado because a quick cold spell could mean death to young plants or produce early flowering.
Our weather is some of the most unpredictable in the country. The high winds, rain, snow, and hail, for the most part, can be mitigated with a greenhouse. However, this past year, winds have blown hard enough to flip over trucks on the interstate. Your greenhouse would not stand a chance. It is always a good idea to have indoor grow lighting ready to go, just in case. If you do grow inside, keep in mind that your plants will be limited with respect to how much they can grow; especially in pots. The pungent smell as they flower can also become a huge issue with neighbors if you plant them in the greenhouse. You should consider a carbon filter for this issue.
As a plant, cannabis can grow in many places around the globe, except in snow. The result is that we have a huge variety of cannabis genetics on our planet. These varieties are a result of environment, geography, altitude, temperature, humidity etc. In regions closer to the tropics, it is possible to cultivate marijuana all year long. In areas where weather patterns become more diverse, like in Colorado, you have certain defined periods of growth. Cannabis best fit for our climate will be the indica variety because they are better suited to handle changing weather dynamics.
Depending upon the variety of your cannabis, you may witness different reactions to cold weather and snow. Typically, temperatures below 12 degrees Celsius mean certain death for your plants. Once the air reaches between 18-20 degrees Celsius, the metabolic rate of the plant decreases and the growth of your plant is stunted or stopped altogether. As this occurs, everything slows to a crawl. Processes such as the enzymatic and biochemical progression, needed for a healthy growth pattern, cannot happen. Your plant will be left weak and under-grown. The roots will not be able to expand and the plant will not receive enough nutrition. The result will be small buds, small yields, and low production.
As mentioned earlier, cold temperatures are extremely harmful to cannabis plants. This is particularly true during the first stages of development. During this time, temperatures between of 20 to 24 degrees Celsius are required for your seedling to flower properly. However, oddly there are some advantages to cold weather. If you time it just right, you will be able to exploit the low temperature to amplify the resin in your flowers.
Cold causes a great deal of stress on your plant and can cause changes in its metabolism. When this happens in the final stages of growth, the resin is increased. However, if you reduce the temperature to between 16-17 degrees Celsius during the final weeks of bloom, it is possible for you to accomplish a much higher quality resin; with only a small surrender to the weight, yield and production.
Also, colder temperatures during the final stages of growth can help to retain a higher terpene content, and therefore enhance the aromatic and full flavor of your flower. If you love bright colors, another advantage of colder temperatures is the vast selection of autumn-like shades because the low temperature produces a particular genetic. The deep blues, purples, and red are a result of lower temperatures over the course of the final stages of growth creates a spectacular looking plant. Not only that, the cold temperature also triggers a noticeable change in color and a heightened trichome intensity of your buds; this is the sprinkling of a frost-like blanket on the bud.
In the end, if you do it properly, cold temperatures can be used with positive results when growing outdoor cannabis. You just have to be mindful that during the bulk of the life cycle, the temperature should be sustained between 20 to 26 degrees Celsius for maximum healthy growth. Watch the weather forecasts and predictions to help anticipate cold weather and snow.
Article By: Alfonzo Porter