Grow Cannabis Outdoors with our Ultimate Growing Guide
Grow Cannabis Outdoors! This guide explains in 12 simple steps, how to cultivate your own hemp or marijuana. You’ll see, it’s exciting and entertaining at the same time. Just be aware, it can also be frustrating, disappointing and expensive. A good, healthy and productive harvest requires a lot of knowledge. Fortunately, a small plantation can deliver valuable cannabis, without much financial investment. All you need is a private, sunny and bright spot. This can be a garden, if possible even on a south-side slope, a balcony or a roof terrace. You need a lot of sunshine and your weed will grow well.
This article is not only meant as a guide but as a manual for beginners and advanced growers. We show you step-by-step, what to consider when it comes to growing cannabis outdoors. The various elements will be described in detail and of course, we give you valuable ProTips. Are you ready? Then let’s start!
Step 1: Is the Cultivation of Cannabis Legal? The Legality Check
Growing marijuana, containing lots of THC (the “high” maker), is banned in most countries and states. The cultivation of CBD cannabis or industrial hemp, however, is continuously released. The legal situation varies from country to country. Accordingly, it is important for you to check in advance, the current status in your country, as well as in your state. The easiest is to make a quick call to the nearest police station or to the local prosecutor. Your friend and helper give you reliable information.
ProTip: Do not believe everything that is on the Internet. Do not trust an unofficial site. Failure to comply with the Narcotics Act can be punishable by heavy fines or imprisonment. Some countries do have a death penalty as well.
Our Video will show you what can happen if you illegally grow cannabis outdoors:
At your place growing cannabis is allowed? Excellent! Then you can relax and read on.
Step 2: Outdoor vs Indoor Growing – What’s the Best?
If you grow cannabis outdoors, then it’s relatively easy and cheap. Outdoor Growing is the best choice, especially for beginners. Indoor growing not only requires more knowledge but also a lot of money. Cannabis needs optimal climatic conditions. You can only get them indoors with a lot of effort and expensive equipment. Let’s look into Outdoor Growing.
Here are the Pros and Cons:
– Indoor has a free choice of location, while outdoor needs sunny place towards the south.
– Outdoor gets more pests, which can be better controlled indoors, whereas, on the other hand, outdoor got beneficial organisms.
– Indoor Growing increases the amounts of Cannabinoids.
– Indoor, the geographic climate does not matter.
– Indoor buds (flowers) are purer and first class.
– Cultivation, harvesting, and healing are more sophisticated indoors.
– Indoor cultivation requires high investment and enormous fixed costs (equipment & energy).
– Outdoor, biological cultivation is easily possible, while indoors is only with enormous effort.
Step 3: What to Look for regarding the Climate? The Optimal Environment
It is important to have a good understanding of the climatic conditions in your growing area. Cannabis is also called Weed. If the conditions are right, grow cannabis outdoors will work smooth. It will grow like a regular weed. Bad weather or wrong conditions, however, cannabis gets a disruption in development.
The Perfect Conditions to Grow Cannabis Outdoors
+ Constant temperatures between 68 and 84° F.
+ Humidity between 50 and 80%.
+ Light wind.
+ Regular rain.
+ 12 to 18 hours of sunlight.
Unsuitable Clima Conditions for outdoor cultivation
– Temperatures above 86° F weaken plants in development.
– Temperatures below 56° F lead to damage or total loss of harvest.
– Heavy downpours and winds damage plants.
– Too low humidity limits the growth of young plants.
– Extreme humidity causes mildew, especially in the flowering phase.
Step 4: Where can I Best Grow Cannabis? Choose the Right Location
The choice of location should not be left to chance. Certainly not if you don’t have a greenhouse. Especially if you grow cannabis outdoors, in the garden or even on a field. Cultivating weed in the open field means leaving Mother Nature with the decision on the success and failure of your harvest. For beginners, therefore, big flowerpots are best. You are flexible and you can act in the short term if the weather changes.
In addition to a lot of sunshine and enough water, but not too much, cannabis also needs some wind. A small breeze strengthens the plant and lets it grow splendidly. Your plants should receive direct daylight for at least 5 to 6 hours daily. In a perfect environment, optimal exposure takes place in the early afternoon. At that time, the natural light is best.
What else to Consider?
If it gets too hot in your growing area (over 86° F), then shading may be useful. If the temperatures fall below 55° F, you can protect the plants with bubble wrap. In case you live in an area where heavy winds are blowing, you should think about a windshield. A dividing wall or a fence helps for better growth.
Finally, the choice of the right location and the protection against robbers. This means neither animals nor pests. Good quality marijuana got huge value. Therefore, you should protect your plants from thieves. Behind a screen, bushes or trees, cannabis plants can be safely hidden. Many growers prefer raised terraces or rooftops, which are protected from the eyes of neighbors. Wire mesh fence helps a little. Please note that outdoor hemp can grow up to 16 feet, depending on the variety. Therefore, privacy must be well considered.
Step 5: When should I Plant Cannabis? The Right Time for Sowing
As mentioned in step 3, a good climate is key for cannabis plants. Accordingly, the right time for sowing is important. The easiest way is to search via Google for the average end of frosty nights. Frost causes cannabis seeds and cuttings to die quickly. Therefore, the right time is after no frost comes up at night. In many areas, one speaks also of the Ice Saints. This is based on an old and very valuable farmer rule. In meteorology, the ice saints signify the last days of ground frost. After that, it can be sown.
ProTip: In Central USA or in valleys, it is possible to plant between mid-May to mid-June.
If you grow cannabis outdoors too early, ground frost can kill them. If you put hemp out too late, the flowering phase will be too late. A lean harvest will be your result.
Last but not least, it never hurts to talk to expert gardener and farmer in your neighborhood. Experienced professionals know your environment best. They give you a wealth of valuable information. The vegetative development of flowers and vegetables does not differ much from the cultivation of cannabis. Who can grow vegetables, should also be lucky with hemp or marijuana.
Step 6: What kind of Soil should I Use? The Perfect Outdoor Substrate
Cannabis plants require nutrients. A good soil condition is an important part of good harvest success. You should always use quality soil. The cheap one from the hardware store will certainly make your weed grow too, but you will only get magnificent flowers with appropriately quality soil.
What do I need to make High-Quality Soil?
1. Humus-rich soil (floral, vegetable or professional cannabis soil).
2. Sand, so that the roots spread quickly and ensure healthy growth.
3. Compost provides your hemp plants with enough food.
Marijuana plants need nutrient-rich, weakly acid soil (PH 5.5 – 6.5). If necessary, nutrients can be supplied with natural compost. The PH value of the soil can be controlled with appropriate water. Sludge or clay soil accumulates water. Backwaters are the biggest poison for your plants. Cannabis likes water, but not too much.
ProTip: Beginners usually water their plants too often. The soil should be moist, but never wet. Standing water in saucers or waterlogging must be prevented. Drainage can help. Saucers should be emptied after watering.
Hemp plants need a lot of oxygen. This is especially true for their roots. Airy light soil and pots with good air supply increase yields. Old, leached soil does not necessarily have to be destroyed. Simply mix it with fresh compost (25 – 50%) and if possible, add some worm humus. Now you have new, fruity soil.
How About Sandy Soil?
Beware of sandy soil. Although it’s easier to work with, it consumes large amounts of water and nutrients. In addition, sand heats up quickly. To grow cannabis outdoors in sandy soil, you use not only fertilizer but also coconut fibers. They help to bind the sandy soil to store oxygen and nutrients. In hot regions, sandy soil must be mulched. Water storage helps to protect the roots from excessive heat.
Is There a Perfect Soil to Grow Cannabis Outdoors?
Silty soil is the perfect medium for marijuana. It is very easy to work with, warms quickly, keeps moisture for up to 3 days, contains a lot of nutrients and supplements. This type of soil is found in river beds and lakes. This medium also corrects beginner errors to almost zero.
In case you really want to guarantee great results, then you can also get high-quality cannabis-soil. At the grow shop near you, you’ll find everything your grower’s heart desires.
ProTip: For a little money you make the best soil yourself. A cost-effective soil analysis gives you perfect values to grow on and to check the soil for the perfect PH and nutrient values (EC content).
Step 7: What Fertilizer do I Need? Grow Cannabis Outdoors Organically
Your plants need a lot of nutrients throughout their life cycle. Essentially nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Depending on your variety and condition of the soil, you have to fertilize.
Seed producers, chemical companies, as well as soil manufacturers, advise you to use their liquid fertilizer. We, however, can only advise you not to. With so-called fertilizer plans, they suggest that your plants need a lot of these incredibly expensive “miracle drugs”. The danger of over-fertilization is omnipresent and very expensive.
Also unsuitable are so-called granules with long-term effect. These are expensive too, not biologically safe and over-fertilization is likely.
Commercially available fertilizers and supplements from grow shops are expensive and can damage soil microbes. They are usually made from chemically modified mineral salts. These, as well as beneficiaries of nature, are of great value for the healthy development of plants and the long-term and positive soil development.
What is the Best Fertilizer to Grow Hemp Outdoors?
Experienced farmers who grow cannabis outdoors rely on natural and purely organic techniques. Useful organisms and microbiological life are used and limit uncertainties. There are a variety of inexpensive, organic fertilizers. For example, there is the bone meal, fish meal or bat guano. The most effective and simplest fertilizer is and remains fresh dung (from cows, chicken or horses). You can also buy these packaged in the garden center or in the DIY store. Those who are not too lazy and want to use their household waste for fertilization, make their own compost.
EcoTip: Compost contains all the nutrients for a perfect weed grow. Hemp plants grow and flower better with compost than with any commercial, mineral or synthetic fertilizer. In addition, compost is 100% organic.
Why is Organic Farming so Important when Growing Cannabis Outdoors?
1. Bud smokers, as well as medical marijuana patients, certainly, don’t want to consume any chemical residues. After all, cannabis products should be healthy and not add extra poison to your body.
2. We Grower do have a responsibility towards nature too. The use of chemicals harms the environment, pollutes the soil, as well as our drinking water.
Buy finished manure if you find composting too time-consuming. These organic fertilizers discharge all important nutrients quickly and orderly. The plant takes what it needs. Over-fertilization is practically impossible.
Watch your plants daily. Too much water and the leaves curl inside. Too little water and the leaves start to hang down. Nutrient deficiency can also be seen immediately. Green leaves change color otherwise. In the next post, we will give you more details on nutrients deficiency and pests symptoms.
ProTip: Two weeks before the harvest, stop supply fertilizer. On the contrary! Each plant needs to be “watered”. You water the plants and flush out all salts and nutrients. The leaves begin to turn yellow from bottom to top. Perfect! Then you have done everything right and the power goes straight into the buds (flowers).
Step 8. Planting Distance and Pot Sizes for Hemp? Field Grow and Outdoor Pots
When growing cannabis outdoors, the right type of seeds must be selected. Certain hemp seeds grow very bushy (> 3 ft) or become tall (> 13 ft). Therefore, the ideal planting distance depends on the variety of your choice. An optimal planting distance can be 2 and 4 ft.
The Right Pot Sizes to Grow Outdoors
If you grow in pots, make sure you have 2 to 3 different pot sizes. Seeds and cuttings are raised in small pots (3 to 4-inch diameter, maximum 5 inch high), raised. Once your seedling is 6 to 8 inch high, you do a repotting. The growth phase begins. In addition, you take a fresh soil. Again, a mixture of potting soil, sand and compost, and place the plant very carefully in pot size of 6 to 8 inch in diameter, with a maximum height of 10 inches. After reaching a height of 12 to 18 inches, you might want to use new pots again. Optimal results are obtained in large pots from 6 gallons. These have a diameter of about 13 inches. The more space they have to grow, the taller they become. Your plants can thrive wonderfully until full bloom.
ProTip: A big plant is not synonymous with high yield. Depending on the variety, you can increase yields with smaller pots. Increase the growth of the flowers, by downgrading the growth of stems and leaves.
In pots, a planting distance of 6 to 20 inches makes sense. When choosing the pots, make sure you have enough overflow holes at the bottom. Do you remember? Waterlogging is poison for any genus of Cannabaceae (Cannabis Indica, Sativa or Ruderalis). In addition, your pots should have large air holes, so the roots get enough oxygen. Saucers are recommended on terraces or balconies.
ProTip: Do not use plastic pots outdoors. Professional cannabis growers do use clay pots. These don’t heatup to much in the blazing sun and store valuable water.
Be careful when repotting! The sensitive, fine roots are extremely fragile. Do not damage them while repotting.
Step 9: Which Variety Should I Buy? The Best Cannabis Strains to Grow Outdoors
The success of growing cannabis outdoors starts with the right variety. Here is the rule: who has the choice got the agony. There are thousands of different strains available. Breeders, like the guys from Mountain Grades, develop new varieties almost daily. The aim is to continuously improve the genetics.
You should ask yourself the following 3 questions before you buy cannabis seeds:
1. Is the selected variety legal in my state?
The clarifications mentioned in step 1 can severely restrict you in your choice. Let the seed or seedling supplier provide you with a test report. Information about THC and CBD levels must come from a certified laboratory.
2. Is the variety suitable for outdoors in my climate zone?
If the supplier makes no or insufficient information, then leave it. Some species love the tropical climate. Others die off or reduce their yield. Choose a variety that can complete its full flowering during your summer months. Each strain has shorter or longer periods of growth. The flowers must be ready before the winter is back. Otherwise, it can lead to total failure.
3. What do I use my hemp for?
Different varieties give different results. Species which may be cultivated in the European Union f.e. must be listed in the EU Common Catalog of Varieties. These are almost exclusively industrial hemp types, with THC and CBD values of lower than 0.2%. Industrial hemp can be used for many things. Examples are fibers, ropes, paper or insulating material. Seeds are extremely nutritious and sold as hemp nuts or hemp seed oil.
The Main Differences between Cannabis Strains
While varieties like Cannabis Sativa L, Cannabis Fedora, or Cannabis Ruderalis are grown for industrial purposes, smokers or medical cannabis patients should never consume this. High-quality cannabis products (for CBG buds, CBD oil, hemp tea or extracts) are made from Indica or Hybrid (Indica/Sativa) strains. Such seeds and clones are more expensive of course. There are also big differences in THC / CBD content. Highly bred Indica varieties provide up to 30% THC. Such marijuana does not just go in. It can destroy even a seasoned pothead. Other Hybrid varieties were specially bred for CBD. MG Green Indica, for example, offers over 21% CBD with less than 0.8% THC. A unique product that most consumers prefer because it does not make you “high”.
Medical patients should seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist prior to cannabis use. Depending on the clinical picture, patients require more or less THC or CBD or CBG. The decisive factor is the disease to be treated. Diseases are controlled by your endogenous cannabinoid system. CB1 is treated with THC, while CB2 needs CBD or CBG.
ProTip: Before you decide on a variety, think about what you want to use the end product. Always have a THC / CBD analysis provided by a certified laboratory.
Step 10: Should I use Seeds or Clones? The Mother Plant Decides
You have the freedom to choose between seeds and clones (aka cuttings). If you choose seeds, you will certainly have a much wider choice. But also a greater risk, because in seeds you have to expect a 10 to 20% failure rate. In addition, the entire maturation process takes a few weeks longer, of course.
If you buy cannabis clones, you have the advantage that they already have a certain size. With proper care, the failure rate is low.
Importance of a Healthy Mother Plant
Cloning requires a so-called mother plant. A plant that is kept under 16 – 24 hours light every day. So it does not start to bloom. Anyone who owns a mother plant can produce clones. The big advantage of cloning is that the mother plant can be viewed as a reference. In addition, it is ensured that clones are always female and always have similar properties.
A disadvantage of clones is that they generally grow smaller than seeds. Thus, the yield can be a little lower. In addition, cloned plants lack the taproot. This is the thick main root that penetrates deep into the ground. It is used outdoors to balance the plant and absorb groundwater. Clones are therefore rather helpless in strong winds and dry seasons.
Pros & Cons of Marijuana Seeds
Good to know, you can grow cannabis outdoors from seeds. They are more robust as young plants. They tolerate low temperatures and wet. This means that you can selectively plant seeds in a greenhouse even in late winter. This in cooler environments. If the seeds begin to sprout from the inside, they should even be solidified before transplanting.
The key disadvantage of using hemp seeds is that there is no certification. Nobody can predict what will happen. Each seed is unique and provides a unique plant. In addition, you will grow female and male plants. In industrial hemp varieties even hermaphrodite. These, as well as male plants, do not produce buds. While the buds are by far the most valuable part. Flowers pollinated by male or hybrid plants are worthless. Therefore, male plants must be removed manually before the flowering stage begins.
What are Feminized and Auto-Flowering Seeds?
Sure, there are more expensive seeds available. So-called feminized and auto-flowering seeds. As the names already suggest, you get from feminized seeds, only female plants. Self-blooming seeds are another important decision to grow cannabis outdoors. They begin to sprout as they develop. Considered by these genera the day length is less import. With auto-flowering seeds, you can harvest up to twice a year. In late spring and late autumn.
Step 11: How Much Water does Hemp Need? Watering of Outdoor Marijuana
Under the open sky, your weed is soaked from the sky or groundwater. Casting is only necessary for seething hot summer months. Huge hemp plants may need up to 8 gallons of water in extremely hot days.
If it rains too heavily in your climate zone, you have to create a drainage system. Excess water must be able to seep away. In prolonged wetness, cannabis is very susceptible to infectious diseases. The snow-white roots turn brown and begin to rot. This rot continues until the death of the plant.
How to Avoid Waterlogging when Growing Outdoors?
A) Grow plants in raised beds or on a hill.
B) Plan a ditch for drainage.
C) Enrich the substrate with gravel, hydrospheres or perlite.
You can follow these simple rules: Better too little water than too much. Test the soil with one of your fingers. If the first 2 inches are completely dry, then you can slightly add new water. Growers who use flower pots can regulate irrigation even easier. Just add enough water until it runs out into the saucer. Empty them immediately so that the plant does not stand in the water (waterlogging).
Check your Water for Best Growing Results
If you use well or tap water, then you should test it first. Water can contain abnormal amounts of dissolved minerals. These can have a negative effect on the soils pH-value. In addition, water can contain large amounts of chlorine. Chlorine completely kills soil life. Many growers check and control their water consistently.
Feeding water for cannabis should have a temperature between 68 and 77° F. Too cold or too warm water damages the roots and thus the plant. Your plants grown in soil, love a pH-value between 5.5 to 6.5. A too high or too low pH-value reduces healthy growth. Plants can even die off.
Why is The EC Value Important when Growing Outdoors?
Another important factor is EC-value (electric conductivity). The electrical conductivity is given in mS. In the water, the salinity influences the electrical conductivity, the higher the salinity, the higher the conductivity. This measures the amount of fertilizer. When growing on soil in the growth phase, the EC value should be between 0.8 to 1.2 mS. In the flowering phase, their nutrient requirements increase. The EC value should be continuously increased from 1.3 to 2.0.
ProTip: Buy a good pH- and EC-meter. Check your irrigation water as well as the drainage water.
Beware: The last 2 weeks every single plant is flushed with water. This means that fertilizer is no longer used. All fertilizers and salts are washed out. The EC-value needs to be lowered to 0. This will give you an optimal taste of your buds.
If the watering causes you a headache, then go buy a cheap moisture meter for soil. A decent instrument for beginners.
Step 12: How do I Take Care? Checklist for Growing Marijuana Outdoors
Of course, your precious plants also need care. Whether outdoors, in pots or indoors. Inspect the soil and the individual plant daily. As soon as you notice a change, get to the point of the cause.
1st check the EC-value of the soil. Remember the values mentioned in Step 11.
2nd look at the leaves. If these are not lush green, then your plant is missing something. Pests and deficiencies can occur at any time.
Protect your hemp culture from storms or heavy rains. As you grow cannabis outdoors such climatic events damage or destroy your work in no time. Windbreak and sewage drainage should be functional at all times.
Protect Your Plants from Frost & Pests
Temperatures below 40° F damage your work immediately. Please make sure that your plants are always protected at short notice. Cover your plants with bubble wrap or move them to a warm place.
Not only humans but also pests love cannabis. Grown outdoors, especially in the field, you will quickly get unloved guests. Starting with deer, roe deer, rabbits or mice. These can be kept outside effectively with fences. It gets worse when the slippery snails and other small crawlies do smell the lovely herb. Pests also fly on cannabis, literally. It is also a good idea for us growers to rely on mixed cultures. That’s the opposite of a monoculture. Place other other flowers, vegetables, and ornamental plants besides your hemp. So pests do not focus exclusively on marijuana. Certain flowers and herbs also keep insects away. Pesticides and fungicides must be avoided. Finally, you want to end up consuming a tasty natural product.
Analyze your cannabis plants daily. The sooner you notice a change in your plant, the faster and easier you can react to it and correct it. In any case, there are numerous natural and highly efficient antidotes for cannabis plants. Be it for deficiency symptoms, as well as against insect infestation.
We hope all your questions regarding grow cannabis outdoors are answered. In case you need more information, simply leave a comment below. Our team loves to hear from you.