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Outdoor Cannabis Growing Basics by LuckyAcres

by LuckyAcres (Check out his Instagram and Youtube for more!)

Are you ready to start growing cannabis outdoors? If you’re a wannabe grower looking for a quick and basic tutorial on how to grow weed outside, this is it. Check out these plants and learn how to grow plants just like them yourself!

Plants grown outdoors can get huge if you care for them properly

Growing auto-flowering strains can help keep plants from getting so big. This is Night Queen Auto by Dutch Passion not long before harvest.

What you need to get started growing outdoors:

Here’s a complete list of supplies you need to grow plants outdoors.

Seeds (or clones)

  • You need to get your plants somewhere. If you can’t get plants locally, here’s a list of online seed sources that deliver anywhere.

Root Riot Plugs

  • Seedlings get germinated in RootRiot Plugs (the extra michoryzae is nice!)

Container(s) – Air pots or Nursery Pots

After 20 years of being around black “nursery pots”, airpots have become my number one choice. Better root growth, better access to air, massive root terminals…. day and night to what I was accustomed to. Grow bags can retain salts and pests if not dealt with properly between grows. My access to sun changes thru the season so I must be able to move my ladies as needed.

Soil

  • Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil does the job. There are better ones out there but I’m happy with the results for the price.

Nutrients

Nutrient companies seem to have reached a status quo imo. They all seem to sell different variations and packagings of the same ingredients. Buy what you can afford. Keep it simple. The sun brings the food, nutes are the vitamins. When it comes to nutrients, you can use just the “base nutrients” or you can get the whole line (which also includes additional supplements that are nice but not necessary).

I’ve had similar results using at different times the full lines of nutes by Emerald Harvest (you can use just the base nutrients or the whole line), Roots Organics (base nutrients are Buddha Grow and Bloom, and they offer the whole line in a kit) and Fox Farm (soil base nutrients or whole line)…

Supplements

I swear by Foliar Essence foliar spray weekly. Mammoth P is great to lubricate the nutes highways. I use Mad Farmer Detox right before harvest, which is a cleaning/flushing solution.

PH and PPM Tester

To test the pH, I use a Bluelab PH Pen. I also use a PPM meter to measure the strength of nutrient solutions.

Watering can

I use old hydrogen peroxide bottles(quart size) that I cut at the top for a wider neck. 3 or 4 rounds of these will feed one auto.

How to Start Growing Cannabis Outdoors

Follow these steps and you will be harvesting your plants in a few months:

1.) Find a growing location

When growing cannabis outdoors, it’s important to find a private spot with easy access to water and 6+ hours of direct sun each day.

I built my backyard for privacy long before growing cannabis outdoors so it was canna-ready, but if fence height and privacy are an issue I’d recommend growing autos or scrogging photos. Have a dog to keep away cats and rodents as much as possible. Be nice to your neighbors, and a little sharing goes a long way! Sunlight availability is my number one challenge. 2-3 hrs in the morning and 3-4 hrs in the afternoon. The more the better!

A private, secluded area with plenty of sunlight is perfect for growing cannabis. Make sure you have access to water!

2.) Set up your containers with soil

Nursery pots are straight forward. Fill with loose soil to the rim, bang the pot lightly 2-3 times on the ground, add soil up to the rim again and that’s it.

In airpots the soil has to be pushed lightly into the holes on the sides as it’s poured in but same tapping and refilling method works great afterward.

3.) Germinate your seeds and place in containers

I germinate seeds in RootRiot plugs (the extra michoryzae is nice!) I drop the seed in water(shot glass in a dark spot for a day or two usually) until the tap root pops out and is about half an inch long.

Auto-flowering strains

I move autos in their final pot as soon as they’ve germinated (5-gallon container(= #7 Airpot USA), though 10 gallons is better for the longer cycle strains and super autos.)

Photoperiod strains

Photoperiod plants go to a 1-gallon pot first then 5 or 7-gallon then to their final pot. I use 15 or 20-gallon nursery pots for photos.

4.) Water plants regularly

Cannabis plants like when the root environment is slightly acidic. The optimal ph is 6-7 for cannabis plants grown in soil. It’s important to check the pH of your water because plants get nutrient deficiencies if it’s too high or too low. The city water where I live has a 6.5 ph so on plain-water days it comes out straight out of the hose.

If it’s a day I give nutrients, I mix nutrients then take ppm readings. Once everything looks good I ph the water. Nutrients tend to lower the ph, so on feeding days I usually have to adjust the ph up before giving it to the plants. Your experience may vary depending on the ph of your water source. Here’s a tutorial on how to test the ph of your water.

How often do you water the plants?

  • Every other day to every 3 days

How often do you water seedlings?

  • I make sure they stay moist until I know the root growth is sufficient to allow for the top to dry out between watering.

How often do you water bigger plants?

  • Bigger plants, especially later in the summer get watered every day in between feedings, not a full round of water but enough to sustain them thru the heat. And it helps them use up whatever nutes leftovers were there…

How much water do you give at a time?

  • Full pressure on the hose wand, set on shower, and I count until 3 or 5 seconds while I release water.

5.) Plant care

Make sure photoperiod plants don’t get light at night. A privacy fence or a hedge will block street lights pollution enough. No direct bright light at night is the ticket!

A young outdoor marijuana plant

Watch for bugs or nutrient deficiencies and react quickly to problems

  • Every day, twice a day I survey my plants, if something is spotted I make sure to treat it as soon as possible. Once a week I spray a pesticide and make sure to rotate between them, spinosad, neem oil, insecticidal soaps etc… to keep any kind of invasion from happening.
  • Diagnose some common plant bugs and other plant problems with this cannabis plant doctor.

Do you do any plant training like LST, supercropping, topping, etc?

  • All of it! Depending on the plant or my mood I might top one and not the other but supercropping is a constant for sure.

How to deal with caterpillars

Caterpillars are one of the most common cannabis pests for outdoor growers. They will eat leaves and may even tunnel through the middle of your buds.

There’s a worm in there, that’s what this leaf tells me… Now I must remove the whole bud.

“B.T.” is an organic and OMRI certified insecticide that kills caterpillars but won’t hurt people, bees, animals or plants. It is safe to use on your plant up until the week of harvest. Get Monterey B.T. Ready-to-Use Spray on Amazon.

Anything else major to keep an eye on?

  • The tip of the leaves, if they remain green you’re good, but watch for that yellowing tip, every day! Too much food! When it happens, it’s time to flush!

6.) Harvest plants when ready

When to Harvest

Plants are getting close when most trichomes are cloudy(autos and photos). At that point, I start flushing with mad farmer detox. I chop when the first ambers show up at about 10% max. Learn more about trichomes and when to harvest.

Autoflowering plants are ready to harvest on their own schedule as determined by the breeder.

For photoperiod plants the exact timing depends on your local latitude, but are typically ready to harvest in mid to late fall. Harvest here runs from mid-September to early November for those late sativas.

How to Dry and Cure Buds

My methods remain the same for autos and photos. (Here’s an alternative guide)

  1. Chop
  2. Hang for 10 days at 70F and 60% humidity
  3. Dry trim
  4. Store in brown paper bags for another 7-10 days
  5. Store in glass jars with a 62% humidity pack

That’s it! A quick and dirty tutorial that will get you all the way to your first outdoor cannabis harvest!

More from LuckyAcres

Check out more pictures and videos by LuckyAcres on Instagram and Youtube.

Are you ready to start growing cannabis outdoors? If you're a new grower looking for a quick and basic tutorial on how to grow weed outside, this is it!

How To Grow Cannabis Outdoors (2020 Guide)

Looking to grow cannabis outdoors this season? Follow our comprehensive guide for a smooth and easy experience.

A guide to growing cannabis outdoors in 2020.

  • 1. Growing cannabis indoors vs outdoors: differences
  • 2. Growing cannabis outdoors
  • 2.a. Benefits of growing outdoors
  • 2.b. Choosing location
  • 2.c. Genetics
  • 2.d. Germination
  • 2.e Maintaining the plant
  • 2.f. Preventing pests
  • 3. Outdoor Grower’s Calendar 2020
  • 3.a. Indoor germination
  • 3.b. Seedling stage / growing indoors
  • 3.c. Sowing and moving outdoors
  • 3.d. Topping and training
  • 3.e. Sexing
  • 3.f. Pruning
  • 3.g. Harvest
  • 1. Growing cannabis indoors vs outdoors: differences
  • 2. Growing cannabis outdoors
  • 2.a. Benefits of growing outdoors
  • 2.b. Choosing location
  • 2.c. Genetics
  • 2.d. Germination
  • 2.e Maintaining the plant
  • 2.f. Preventing pests
  • 3. Outdoor Grower’s Calendar 2020
  • 3.a. Indoor germination
  • 3.b. Seedling stage / growing indoors
  • 3.c. Sowing and moving outdoors
  • 3.d. Topping and training
  • 3.e. Sexing
  • 3.f. Pruning
  • 3.g. Harvest

Growing cannabis outdoors comes with many benefits. Apart from being a thoroughly enjoyable experience, it allows growers to rear bigger plants with better yields. Read on to learn how to grow cannabis outdoors.

GROWING CANNABIS INDOORS VS OUTDOORS: DIFFERENCES

Growing outdoors usually means more space to work with, plenty of sunshine, free rainwater, better ventilation, and the joy of cultivating in the elements.

However, growing outdoors also comes with a set of challenges. Plants are more vulnerable to pest insects, larger predators, heat waves, and cold snaps.

Growing indoors offers plants more shelter, and cultivators are in complete control of the growing environment. They are free to change temperature and humidity settings, and their plants are more concealed.

With that said, indoor growers usually have less space at their disposal, less potential for massive yields, and have to splash money on electricity bills to run their setup.

GROWING CANNABIS OUTDOORS

Sun. Fresh air. Soil. Growing cannabis outdoors offers a plethora of benefits for cultivators and cannabis plants alike. Everything from free resources to more time spent outside make it a worthwhile pursuit.

BENEFITS OF GROWING OUTDOORS

– Larger plants
– More space
– Free rainwater
– Sunshine (cheaper than lighting)
– No need to change light cycle
– Ventilation helps keep mould at bay
– Companion plants
– Beneficial insects
– Soil rich in native microbes
– Opportunity to practice regenerative methods

CHOOSING LOCATION

After deciding to grow outdoors, you’ll need to decide where to position your plants. Find an area that provides stable temperature, adequate sunlight, and shelter from harsh weather.

Make sure the area of your garden/position of your planting containers meets the following demands when growing in Europe in 2020:

• Temperatures never drop below 12°C
• Temperatures never exceed 30°C
6–8 hours of direct sunlight each day (south-facing location is ideal)
Shelter from torrential rain and heatwaves (e.g. temporary tarpaulin, greenhouse)

GENETICS

After selecting a location, you’ll need to choose a strain to grow. Here, you’ll need to consider your growing environment, and what kind of effect you’re looking for from your cannabis.

If you live further north and experience a shorter growing season, hardy and fast-flowering genetics such as autoflowers are a good choice. For those living further south, towering sativas that take longer to flower are a suitable option, and hybrids will thrive in these conditions.

Are you looking for a specific flavour? Research the terpene profiles of the strains you’re considering. This will give you a window into the sensory experience. Do you prefer fruity or earthy? Citrus or candy?

You can also use seed bank data to estimate the size, flowering time, and yield of a particular strain. If you can grow openly, consider a tall and highly productive strain. If you need to be more discreet, choose a smaller and more stealthy variety.

GERMINATION

The first phase in your cannabis plant’s life is germination. During this process, your seed will form its first taproot and emerge into a seedling. Germination requires three specific factors: darkness, humidity, and moisture. Together, these elements will activate your seed. It just so happens that soil provides the perfect venue!

Growers in warm climates can start their plants directly in pots or garden beds outdoors. However, plants require high humidity during the seedling stage. Consider starting outdoor plants in a greenhouse or polytunnel.

Those in colder climates can get a head start by raising their seedlings indoors during the chilly spring. Transplant them directly into the soil or into larger outdoor containers when the weather warms up.

Before germinating your seeds, secure some high-quality soil. Organic soil provides everything your plants need to thrive: nutrients, beneficial bacteria, and synergistic fungi.

To germinate your seeds, poke a hole into the topsoil in a garden bed or pot. Place the seed in the hole and gently cover with soil. Add a little water. You’ll see the first shoot emerge within 2–7 days.

The seedling stage will last around two weeks. Provide consistent lighting, humidity levels of around 70%, and water sparingly.

MAINTAINING THE PLANT

The vegetative phase begins once the seedling stage comes to an end. During this time, your plants will focus on photosynthesising and creating energy to fuel development. Expect a flurry of large fan leaves to proliferate throughout this phase. To maintain your plants, you’ll need to consider the following:

Only water after the top 3–5cm of soil has become dry. If you don’t wait long enough, your plant can become vulnerable to root rot and other nasties.

Test your soil occasionally and make sure it stays within a pH range of 6.0–7.0—the optimal range for nutrient absorption.

PREVENTING PESTS

As one of the main challenges for outdoor growers, pests can be managed and prevented using the following tips:

Predatory insects: Introduce predatory insects such as ladybirds and parasitic wasps to protect your plants against pest species.

Companion planting: Plant basil, lemon balm, or dill to repel pest insects.

Beneficial fungi: Soil that contains mycorrhizal fungi can help capture and kill nematodes—soil microorganisms that attack cannabis roots.

Physical barriers: Erect chicken wire fences and other barriers to prevent larger animals such as deer and birds from munching on your crop.

OUTDOOR GROWER’S CALENDAR 2020

This calendar revolves around the average climate in Europe. If you live in a more extreme climate (or in a different hemisphere), it’s worth looking into the relevant growing conditions.

Also, different strains will move much faster or slower than others. Keep the individual traits of your chosen cultivar in mind.

You’ll also notice that our calendar takes the time of year and the position of the moon and sun into consideration. Many gardeners work around the moon cycle due to the way the celestial body influences movements of moisture, sap, and subtle energies.

INDOOR GERMINATION

Start germinating your seeds indoors around March 9th if you live in a cooler climate. This date falls just before the full moon and encourages larger and more aromatic buds.

The spring equinox takes place on March 20th. During this time, the sun crosses the celestial equator, marking the first day of spring. Longer days and increased sunlight mean the growing season has begun! The seed will take anywhere between 2–7 days to complete germination and enter the seedling stage.

SEEDLING STAGE / GROWING INDOORS

The seedling stage lasts around two weeks before the vegetative phase begins. Continue to raise plants indoors in colder regions until mid-April to meet temperature and light demands.

SOWING AND MOVING OUTDOORS

If you live in a warmer climate, now is the time to germinate seeds directly outside. You’ll also be able to move indoor plants outside and transplant them into soil or larger containers.

If you decide to orient your grow around the lunar cycle, aim to transplant while the descending moon enters its crescent phase.

After transplantation, plants will become established in the ground, continue vegetating, and put on some serious mass. The shift into summer will see them receive plenty of light. They’ll continue to stretch upward as the North Pole reaches its maximum tilt towards the sun.

TOPPING AND TRAINING

Once your plants settle in, growers have the option to top and train them. Doing so will increase their yields, open up their canopies, and make them easier to tame.

Measures such as low-stress training can be conducted throughout June and July into early August. After this, plants will begin edging toward the flowering phase, and additional training won’t be beneficial.

Aim to top and train your plants when the ascending moon is in its crescent phase, ideally in a water constellation.

SEXING

Before flowers appear, your plants will enter the pre-flowering phase. Use this time to sex your plants to ensure no unwanted males end up fertilising your ladies. Pre-flowers occur at the nodes—points at which each branch meets the main stem.

Female pre-flowers feature a small bulb and a protruding hair, or pistil. In contrast, male pre-flowers feature a hairless bulb. Remove any males if you’re not looking to create seeds.

PRUNING

Your plants have entered the flowering phase. As the fall equinox approaches, the days begin to get shorter, and plants get the signal to blossom. Tidy them up and make sure each bud site has an adequate amount of light exposure.

Prune your crop between mid-July and the end of August in preparation for harvest time. Snip away excess fan leaves during a descending moon in the waning phase.

HARVEST

Perhaps the most exciting time of the entire grow occurs between mid-September and mid-November. It’s time to revel in your hard work and harvest your precious flowers. The weather becomes cool, the days shorter, and winter solstice approaches.

Harvest your buds in the morning during a descending moon in the waning phase.

Learn how to grow cannabis outdoors in 2020 using these essential tips and our outdoor growing calendar. Look forward to great harvests of top-tier bud!