Growing marijuana in cold climates? Yes, it is possible!
Growing cannabis in cold climates
It’s true that the ideal season to crop the vast majority of cannabis seeds is when it is not particularly cold and the hours of sunshine are abundant (long photoperiod), helping its growth and proper development. However, cold temperatures should not prevent you from growing cannabis all year round. In this post we’ll give you some techniques to achieve it.
The most common period for growing marijuana is usually between the months of April-May (seeds germination), for the September-October harvest (this can vary depending on what planet hemisphere we live; the latitude and the season), since they are the months in which the weather is less hostile, and in the rest of the months, many are the self-growers who devote them, simply, to consume everything they harvested.
The cold should not be an impediment to growing marijuana. In times when it is colder or in countries where the cold is present almost all year round, there is what is commonly known as the winter harvest.
And when we speak of cold, we are not referring to temperatures below zero throughout the day and for long periods of time, since in those places it is difficult for this plant to grow; we are referring to climates where temperatures are maintained at an average of between 5 and 10 degrees, as is usually the case in the north of most countries in Europe or North America, as well as countries such as China, Pakistan or northern India, where the cold is present along the year in some of its most mountainous regions.
Latitude and altitude is one of the most important aspects to carry out a good outdoor crop
It is precisely from these places from where provide some of the most suitable seeds to grow in cold climates or in cold seasons, understanding the cold, as we have said, climate conditions with temperatures below 10 degrees, does not mean continuous frosts.
Therefore, if some of the best seeds are provided from these countries to the current cannabis market, is because is really possible to grow cannabis during the cold season, taking into account that many of the genetics which can be found in the seed market, have been progressively adapted to European latitudes.
Before we get fully into the advice on how to grow cannabis in cold climates, it is important to know that the seeds we grow during this period will not result in large plants, and as a result the production will be smaller, although we know it will be worthwhile.
If you are fed up of having to wait for warmer seasons to grow marijuana, we invite you to continue reading this post, as it will be very useful to improve your winter harvest.
How cold affects marijuana
For a long time and specifically in countries where it is not particularly cold all year round, as is the case in most European countries, a large number of marijuana growers devote to this task in the less hostile months of the year, i. e. those that range from April-May (germination and transplantation of seedlings and cuttings) to September-October (harvest), approximately, which is the time of outdoor harvest. The rest of the year, they devote to enjoying the production and prepare the next harvests.
Actually, the problem is not the cold. It is true that the cold slows everything down, but the important thing is that it is cold, among other things, because the solar radiation is not so intense, and because of the scarce number of sunlight hours (photoperiod).
We at PEV Grow would like to encourage anyone who wishes, but does not dare, to try out winter crops, because it is possible, especially if we take certain aspects into account:
-The photoperiod is ideal for flowering: This means that our plant will start to bloom almost immediately. The best thing you can do is to grow the plants indoor until they reach a suitable vegetable mass, and then take them out to the garden (outdoor). The change to the natural photoperiod will do the rest. Do not forget to place the plants outdoors so that they have direct sunlight all day long.
-Smaller plants: Considering the previous point, it is logical that the plant we grow in winter does not reach a large size. In fact, it is estimated that they do not usually exceed 100 centimetres in height, but they can give us between 20 and 60 grams per plant. Although it’s not a good idea to do this with autoflowering plants, as these genetics will not have the photoperiod or the proper light intensity to provide an acceptable amount of vegetal mass.
-Try a greenhouse in the garden: Better an outdoor crop in glass greenhouse. This is the main recommendation to be taken into account when you decide to grow marijuana in winter, as this increases the size of the vegetal mass and is less likely to be invaded by pests. Humidity is also well controlled in this way, as plants are not exposed to the rainfall regime.
Greenhouse crops, better if glazed
-Grow Indica or hybrid strains: They are the ones that, in general, best adapt to this type of climatology. Later on we’ll give you some tips about choosing the best seeds for this kind of weather, but you can take a look at a longer article already published in PEV Grow previously which is about this topic. Sativa strains are better adapted to tropical climates, and therefore need a lot of light intensity.
Tips to combat the cold weather
As in everytime we grow cannabis,” Every grower have their own way to crop marijuana”, but we want to give you some general tip with guaranteed results in order to be able to carry out your marijuana crop during the winter or in cold seasons of the year.
-If we start from seeds: It is recommended to germinate them inside your home in any winter month. The germination is carried out with natural water, between 18-22ºC.
It is advisable to keep the seedlings indoor until the plant mass is adequate. In case they are cuttings, it is not necessary to take them out immediately, we can make them grow about 30 days. Watch out! As soon as we take our plants outdoor, the most normal thing for them is to start blooming, because they will notice a photoperiod shock.
-If we use indoor lighting: Continuing with the previous point, and if we want to enlarge the photoperiod of the plant with the purpose of promoting its growth, we will have to use indoor lighting, as for example, LEC. In PEV Grow you can find a wide range of lighting equipment to help you getting the best results.
-Use pots: Especially if we grow outdoor and even though we are in a greenhouse in this case.
Why? Because plants that are directly grown directly in the soil are more difficult to give them heat, if the soil is not hot. However, the pot will avoid this problem.
We also have the option of using a “blanket” for the floor, made of heat-absorbing materials such as a limestone blanket. It is a technique widely used in vineyards, to dampen the temperature differences between day and night. If there is frost, we will prevent the roots from freezing.
-Be careful with the humidity! Although the truth is that during the winter, plagues are less common, humidity can always cause pest problems. We must bear that in mind. We must always use preventive fungicides, especially during the rainy season.
-Harvest staggered in time: It’s an interesting option, because if there were any unforeseen frost, we would not lose the entire crop, and we will have for longer time marijuana ready to harvest, we will be also able to crop in less space than if we were growing all the seeds at the same time. You should use to do it well an indoor germination and maintenance seedlings under indoor contidions.
Protect from cold to our marijuana plant
-Heater and thermostat: This option is only viable in greenhouses. For this reason, and in order to maintain all the time the temperature according to the development period in which our marijuana plant is located, it is best to place a thermostat on the substrate (substrate temperature) and greenhouse (temperature of the growing environment), to know what temperature we have at all times, and based on this, start a heater. If the substrate is very cold, do not forget to prepare the irrigation solutions by heating the water with a resistance, to leave it between 18 and 22ºC.
The best varieties for cold climates
As we have already mentioned above, the best seeds for growing in cold climates or in winter periods are the indica strains, since most of them come from hostile climates such as India or Pakistan, and their genetics come from pure acclimated landraces developed naturally in high mountain climates, where growth in itself is already quite difficult and therefore those landraces have become more resistant to fungal pests and cold along the time.
In addition, these seeds need less time to develop and, although they will not give large plants, the results will be good if we take into account the advice given in the previous section.
In PEV Grow you can find a wide selection of indica seeds, highlighting for example cultivars such as PEV Bank Seeds Critical Feminized, PEV Bank Seeds Mazar Feminized or PEV Bank Seeds Bruce Banner Feminized.
Bruce Banner causes in general cerebral effects givind us euphoric and creative notes which spread in the body providing a state of well-being…
PEV Bank seeds offers you the best genetics in the market at incredible prices, with Indica and Hybrids strains, acclimated to European latitudes with Mediterranean and Continental climates.
Other ancestral genetics of Indica phenotype, highly valued by our best breeders are cultivars such as Sensi Seeds Afghani 1, Dinafem Blue Hash, Dutch Passion Mazar and Sweet Seeds S. A. D.
It is a great producer outdoors, due to its size, and a good choice for high altitude mountain areas, where cold nights give it attractive colours…
As you can see, it is also possible to grow high-yield cannabis under “unsuitable” conditions. Simply select the seeds carefully and take special care with the plant.
The Mediterranean is the most favourable climate for growing cannabis outdoor, especially in its flowering phase, although it carries an artificial irrigation calendar. But in cold climates it’s also possible to grow marijuana and, without going any further, here is the example of Dutch marijuana, where breeders have been grown during three decades the most powerful Indica marijuana genetics and hybrid phenotypes fundamentally.
And in case you don’t dare to do a winter crop, in other posts we will try to work entirely indoor, mentioning the best tips for your indoor crop.
And if you have dared, please share your experience, and tell us what strain you’ve grown explaining us what were conditions you used and if you applied any of our advices.
We never stop learning with you…
By Noelia Jimenez Team Piensa En Verde
It is true that the ideal for growing the vast majority of cannabis seeds is that in time it does not particularly cold and sunshine hours are abundant
How to Grow Cannabis in Winter
If you think that growing cannabis in a European winter is impossible, then you’ve been misinformed. With the right conditions in an indoor growing operation, you can successfully yield good quality cannabis. We are here to teach you how to set up and optimize your grow room in the winter time.
When growing cannabis in winter, even an indoor garden is at the mercy of the elements. Cold, dry air and dropping temperatures can create problems with relative humidity and light intensity. But that doesn’t mean that growing in winter is impossible. Actually, with the right conditions, an indoor garden can perform just as well in winter as it does in the summertime.
It is true that growing in the winter takes a little more attention and a little more TLC. With the right advice and the right frame of mind, you can successfully grow all year round. That is what we are here to help you do!
How to maintain grow room temperature in winter
Temperature is one of the most important concerns when growing in the winter. Optimal daytime temperature for cannabis is 24-30°C (75-86°F), and optimal night-time temperatures falling in the range of 18-22°C (64-72°F).
As a grower, you want to avoid temperatures outside of the prescribed range but you also want to avoid huge discrepancies between day and night temperatures. Growth rate is severely affected by inconsistent temperature changes as much as by an incorrect temperature bracket.
As well as this, if there is too great a discrepancy between daytime and night-time temperatures in the first 2-3 weeks of the flowering period (during which time plants ‘stretch’ noticeably), very widely-spaced internodes will result. Conversely, keeping the discrepancy as small as possible throughout this time reduces the space between nodes.
A temperature gap of 2-4°C (3.6-7.2°F) is ideal for the first 2-3 weeks of flowering. A gap of no more than 10°C (18°F) should be maintained for the rest of the flowering period.
If you are an old-school cannabis grower, then you probably love growing in the winter. That is because last decade’s HID (high-intensity discharge lightning) technology emits alot of heat. And if you are using them in the summer time, then you need to pay through the roof for air conditioning. But in winter, HID lights can keep your grow room at the optimal temperature.
With that being said, a temperature drop when the lights are turned off is something to think about. To mitigate this, winter growers use their lights during the night time and use daytime as the lights off period. This lets a grower take advantage of warmer temperatures during the day.
While daytime temperatures are higher, they are not always high enough to maintain the plants’ required ‘night-time’ temperatures of 18-22°C (64-72°F). If temperature is consistently dropping below this range when lights are off, it is advisable to use central heating or an electric heater to maintain adequate temperatures.
A digital thermostat will come in handy here to automatically control the heater according to the ambient temperature. If using cold lights such as LEDs, heaters may be required round-the-clock.
Controlling humidity of cannabis grown in winter
Mould is one of the biggest threats to your cannabis garden during the winter. In the winter, there is a tendency for low temperatures to increase relative humidity (RH) to a point of danger for your plants. Not only do cannabis plants detest high levels of relative humidity, but it also makes them a breeding ground for mould and fungi. Low temperatures can create issues in maintaining relative humidity.
Essentially, the volume of water in the air continues to condense as the temperature drops. And if you have ever grown cannabis before, you know that this can open up a proverbial can of worms (or better yet, mould) all of your plants.
The obvious way out of this problem is to keep temperatures at the optimum level, whether by using lights or by using central heating. If the problem is extremely hard to contain, then it may be necessary to use a dehumidifier.
It is also highly recommended that winter growers purchase a device called a hygrometer. This device can test the relative humidity of your soil as well as your grow room. It is essential to regularly measure the relative humidity in order to stay on top of it and avoid huge spikes or drops in the concentration of water in the air.
In many areas, winter is actually the driest time of the year, as well as being the coldest. If you are not facing issues of relative humidity, then cold dry air will present problems of its own in the grow room. If air is taken in from outside at a temperature of 10°C and an RH of 50%, it will contain water vapour at 4.7g/m³. If this air is heated to 25°C without the addition of extra moisture, its RH will drop to around 20%, which is far too low for healthy cannabis plants to grow.
In the growroom, a moist growing medium along with transpiration will generally raise levels of water vapour in the air. However, relative humidity should remain consistently between 40% and 60%.
Other things to consider when growing in winter
Temperature and humidity are the main issues that winter-time growers will have to deal with. Lighting is usually not an issue as plants are typically grown under HID lights.
Having said that, some hobby growers might still be eager to utilise as much natural sunlight as possible, such as growing on a windowsill. The problem with this is that light intensity or simply the amount of sunlight hours may be insufficient for growth. Each area will vary in its wintertime habits, and each grower should make choices accordingly.
Some clever growers will use extra lighting during winter only, to ensure that their plants have enough light to grow. While plants will usually not achieve the yields and qualities achieved in more favourable times of the year, there are plenty of smart hobby gardeners out there that will ensure their supply remains steady even in the harshest times of the year by following this principle.
Greenhouse growers are similarly affected by the reduction in daylight hours during winter, and unlike those growing on their windowsill at home, additional lighting may attract unwanted attention.
However, some adventurous greenhouse growers will add the supplementary lighting and then make sure that the greenhouse is covered so that light does not escape when it is dark outside. Thick, heavy blackout curtains or Mylar sheeting can do an excellent job here. Then, all that remains is to heat the greenhouse sufficiently and provide adequate airflow, and growing throughout the winter should become possible.
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Consider growing winter-appropriate strains
Every grower understands the temptation of growing their favourite strains throughout the winter, even if those strains aren’t really appropriate for winter growing. If you can let go of that temptation and choose winter-appropriate strains, you might be able to avoid some of the difficulties in growing over a snowy winter.
Let’s look at autoflowering strains as an example. In as little as 8 weeks from germination of the seed, you can have a ready-to-harvest cannabis plant. This means that a grower can avoid growing throughout the harshest part of the winter and maximize their growing opportunity.
Any strain that contains ruderalis genes is also more likely to make it through a winter. Ruderalis is tougher and hardier than more common strains. It also isn’t photoperiod dependent, meaning it will flower when it’s ready rather than as a response to a change in light hours. It can bloom within 30 days of planting.
Growing in winter might mean doing some additional planning in advance to prevent the demise of your plants. But that doesn’t make it impossible. After a couple of seasons growing weed in a snowy winter, it should start to feel like second nature.
You don’t need to put down your garden shears and your green thumb just because it has snowing outside. You just need to take the weed garden indoors!