So you’ve picked out your seeds or your clones, and you’re ready to set up and start an outdoor grow. Whether you’re going to grow outside or inside, You’ll find some valuable how-to’s here.
Is an outdoor grow right for you?
If you’ve got plenty of private lands, space, and time, outdoor growing may be for you. Keep in mind that an outdoor grow has a few defined differences from indoor grows, such as plant yield, pest problems, and bud quality. Your bud will also have that home grown taste, which a lot of folks prefer over indoor hydro grows because it tastes natural and earthy.
As long as you can keep pests at bay and prying eyes off of your plants, you enjoy the earthy flavor, and prefer a more natural approach, outdoor growing is definitely your thing. Just be smart and obey the law. Keep your plants fully enclosed at all times and away from children and pets.
Growing marijuana outdoors
If you’re growing your medicine garden outdoors, the first thing you’ll need to do is be prepared. Keep in mind that not all strains are suitable for outdoor grows, and plan your seed selection accordingly. If you’re growing outdoors, you’re going to want to have your seeds planted after the final frost of the year. In Colorado, many growers typically grow from April or May to October.
The best way to ensure the survival of the plants you intend to grow is to germinate them indoors under a light for a few weeks in order to acclimate the plants to the temperatures and to permanently plant an established sprout outdoors in time to yield before the fall. If you’re growing from clones, read on to learn how to prep your site and stick those suckers in the ground since they’re already ready to go!
When you’re ready to plant outside, it’s time to pick your grow site. For optimal results, the best place to put your plants is in a place where they will get full sun for as many hours per day as possible. In Colorado, the sun is never an issue, but it does get windy!
You’ll want to take precautions to ensure that your plants will be alright by placing them near a natural barrier, such as on a hillside, a fallen tree, or thick sturdy bushes. Remember, if you’re going to grow outdoors in Colorado, your plants must be fully enclosed.
Pro tip: You can also place a small fan in your germination area to blow on your newly sprouted seeds.
This motion helps the plants to establish thick, sturdy stems to protect them from wind damage, and to support big flowers. Spindly stems cannot support large flowers.
After you have your site picked out, it’s a growing best practice to begin using organic fertilizers to improve the condition of the natural soil. Marijuana is a hardy plant and every strain is a little different. Marijuana grows pretty well under most circumstances, but if your soil appears especially bad (ie, even weeds won’t grow there), get it checked out.
Garden stores sell soil testing kits which will test your pH (which should be between 5.8-6.5), sand content, clay, and loam content. You can use this information to adjust your soil before your plants are ready to go into the ground. Keep in mind that there is no perfect soil for your plants, as every strain performs a little differently. Just aim for a healthy, well-draining soil with plenty of nutrients, and your plants will do beautifully.
If you want to harvest at a specific time, keep the lifecycle of cannabis in mind. On average, it takes 3-5 months from seed to harvest. Meaning if you start your plants inside in January, and plant them outside for the last few weeks, you can harvest in early spring. If you plant in the summer, you can harvest in the fall and vice versa.
And there it is! Our Marijuana grows guide for establishing an outdoor grow for the newbie medicine gardener. For those of you currently growing outdoors, what other tips do you have worth sharing to the growing newb in regards to set up? Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll give you a shout out!