Growing hemp outdoors is the closest way to cultivating this plant to natural conditions. Traditionally, cannabis has been grown in open fields, in mountain valleys, on the shores of the seas and oceans. Even today, most medical and recreational marijuana grows outdoors with natural sunlight. This is significantly cheaper and results in much higher yielding emissions.
For residents of countries where growing is a completely legal hobby, outdoor will be perhaps the best method of cannabis cultivation. Others will have to take certain precautions, including plantation camouflage. This article will cover the basic nuances of outdoor growing and teach you how to keep everyone happy.
Pros and cons of open ground
For the decision to join the ranks of outdoor growers to be meaningful, you need to clearly understand the pros and cons of this growing method.
This is the simplest growing method, as most of the nutrients and moisture is supplied to the plant from the environment without requiring the grower to do so. Additional feeding and watering will help to significantly increase the yield, but, in principle, the plants will not die on their own.
In the open air, the bushes grow larger. They are given unlimited space for the development of the root system, the sun supplies the plants with the light of the required intensity, and the wind provides ideal air circulation.
Outdoor is cheap. The grower will not need any lighting, ventilation system, or automation to maintain the light regime and control the microclimate. There will be no electricity costs. Labor costs are also reduced.
Many believe (and not without reason) that outdoor marijuana is more aromatic and tastes better. This is due to the fact that, in addition to basic nutrients, hemp growing in a clearing or in a forest receives a lot of additional compounds that are not in grow boxes.
Outdoors, plants are subject to the vagaries of the weather. Lingering rains, hail, squally winds, early frosts – all this cannot be accurately predicted, and it is almost impossible to resist the elements.
There is always a risk that the plantation will attract the attention of outsiders. This threatens a guerrilla grower with a loss of crops, and if a plant is discovered in his orchard or vegetable garden, this can lead to trouble with law enforcement officers.
On the street, hemp is more susceptible to disease, pest infestation and is not protected from damage by rodents or large animals.
In natural light, the grower cannot control the life cycle of the plant, speed up or, conversely, slow down the time of flowering.
Outdoor is possible only in summer, during which the harvest is usually obtained no more than once.
Choosing a variety for open ground
When choosing a variety, you must proceed from the specific conditions characteristic of your place of residence. Someone has a warm Black Sea nearby, while others live on the Baltic shores. Somewhere the summer is cool and humid, but with long daylight hours, and somewhere it is short, but hot and dry. Therefore, before heeding advice on how to choose “the best variety for outdoor use,” compare the climatic conditions of the area where the counselor lives with yours.
It is also important to take into account the individual characteristics of the growing conditions. For example, if you are planning to plant a guerrilla plot with the thought of visiting it next time just to harvest, regular (non-feminized) seeds are unlikely to work for you. Interspersed with females, males pollinate each inflorescence, depriving you of a quality crop. But if the hemp grows on an area near the house, where you can observe the plants every day and determine their gender in time, you can also resort to regulars.
The most important qualities that a variety should have for the middle lane are a short life cycle and resistance to cold weather. Autoflowering varieties meet these conditions best. The special flowering mechanism inherited from the wild Ruderalis significantly accelerates the ripening process. In addition, wild heredity gives autoflowering hybrids the vitality and unpretentiousness of weeds. This includes strong immunity, and the ability to resist pests, and resistance to cold and dampness.
When choosing a photoperiod variety, you should pay attention to indica-dominated hybrids or purely indica varieties – among them there are many early ripening plants that ripen in September. Many of them, for example, Kushi, trace their ancestry from mountainous regions with rather harsh conditions. So the coolness will not be something extraordinary for them. True, they are not very resistant to moisture. This is due to the dense indica buds, which perfectly accumulate moisture in themselves.
Choosing a site for an outdoor plantation
There are many options for locating the plot. Planting can be done in a forest glade, a ravine slope, an abandoned field. Those who have their own home can secretly grow cannabis right in the garden. There are also more exotic options. For example, on the roof of a high-rise building or in the middle of a field planted with corn. But most importantly, each site must meet the basic requirements for the plantation:
Safety – no one should find the site during the entire growing period, from planting in the ground to harvesting. If this main point is not observed, then the rest will no longer matter, and all the efforts made will go down the drain. Learn more about hidden outdoor marijuana cultivation.
Sufficient light – cannabis is a light-loving plant, it needs the bushes to be in direct sunlight for at least six hours a day. The bigger, the better.
Good soil, suitable for marijuana in terms of nutrient composition and acidity – in this matter, you can focus on nettles or raspberries – these plants love the same soil as hemp. Another option is to choose a safe place and prepare the soil mixture yourself. To do this, you need to bring the soil with you or fertilize the existing one with manure and compost.
The presence of a nearby source of water – in hot summer, when there is no rain for a long time, hemp will need watering. You can, of course, bring water with you, but this is not particularly convenient. It is better if there is a pond or stream next to the plot.
Preparing a site for planting cannabis
After the place is chosen, it will be useful to take care of the well-being of the future plantation. To do this, you must either fertilize the existing soil, or bring fertile garden soil to the planting site (when possible). Fertilization with organic matter is best done a few days or even weeks before planting, so that the nutrients are evenly distributed and absorbed into the soil. The brought soil mixture can be poured into pre-dug holes for planting or use growbags – fabric containers for growing cannabis.
Timing for planting cannabis
As soon as the minimum daily temperature exceeds 10 ℃ (the daytime temperature, in this case, is usually already set at 16-18 ℃), you can transfer the seedlings to open ground. Autoflowers are usually planted very small, on the third or fourth day after the seeds germinate – they have little time to recover from transplanting. Seedlings of photoperiodic varieties can be grown at home before planting. The optimal age for planting plants in open ground is two to three weeks.
Plant protection and care
The further development of events depends on where the plot is located. If this is a partisan plantation located several kilometers from the house, then it is clear that it will not be possible to pay attention to it every day. Some do not show up at all until the very harvest. From a safety point of view, this behavior is quite justified – the less fuss around the plot, the less chances that it will be discovered.
But on the other hand, from the point of view of ensuring the health and normal development of plants, it is still necessary to visit them. In heat and drought it is necessary to water it, as it grows – to feed it with nitrogen, with the beginning of the flowering stage, add phosphorus to the soil. It is also advisable to process the bushes to prevent pest infestation.
If the plantation is located next to the house, “in the garden, in the garden”, as they say, then all these issues are solved much easier. Here plants are under constant supervision – it will not be difficult to provide them with timely watering, feeding and treatment against pests.
The most enjoyable, but also the most risky moment for the grower. To avoid trouble and not be taken by surprise, you must make sure in advance that the plot was not discovered by anyone, prepare and do everything clearly and quickly. To transport crops from a remote plantation, you will need an airtight container that will not let the characteristic smell out. At worst – a dense plastic bag. But it is worse, because the collected plants in the bag can wrinkle. The collection is best done in the morning, before sunrise.
The timing of the harvest should ideally be determined by the maturation of the marijuana, but in practice this is not always the case. The weather often makes adjustments. If it gets cold outside and it rains for a long time, it is better not to wait until the cones get wet and start to rot. Harvested unripe crops are better than ripe but spoiled ones. Short-term frosts can still be survived by wrapping the plants overnight or fumigating them with smoke, but this only makes sense if a couple of weeks of warm and dry weather is expected after a cold snap. Learn more about growing marijuana in cold weather.
In general, outdoor is a worthwhile business, which is confirmed by the experience of thousands of growers who annually receive crops with minimal financial costs.