If you live in a legal state and haven’t taken the plunge into cannabis cultivation, what’s stopping you? Autoflowering cannabis seeds (you can check here) are a low-maintenance, set-and-forget option, so why not learn how to grow weed outdoors and give it a shot?
Why Grow Weed Outdoors?
Before legalization became widespread, outdoor cultivation was a risky prospect, resulting in the bulk of people growing inside. Now that many states have legalized marijuana, lots of farmers are reacquainting themselves with the benefits of raising plants under the sun.
Indoor grow ops guzzle down electricity, producing a significant carbon footprint. If you’re trying to minimize your actions’ negative impact on the environment, outdoor cultivation is a natural choice.
On top of the environmental cost of raising cannabis inside, there’s also the financial cost. Running high-powered lights, fans, extraction systems, and dehumidifiers for long periods racks up quite the energy bill.
Grow outside, wave goodbye to all the above costs, and enjoy inexpensive, sun-grown cannabis.
Getting out and about under the sun is good for you. Taking care of your crops gives you a chance to squeeze in some exercise without feeling it. Multiple studies also show that gardening reduces stress and anxiety while promoting a calm mindset.
Master the art of outdoor cultivation, and it’s possible to grow weed outdoors with fantastic results. The sky’s the limit with unrestricted space and lots of natural light.
How to Grow Weed Outdoors
Now that you’ve learned about the benefits, it’s time to learn how to grow weed outdoors step by step.
Preparing to Grow
Before getting started, it’s a good idea to do a little research and compare your local climate against the ideal temperature and humidity for weed. If your weather doesn’t match up precisely, growing is still possible, but your yields might be a little lower.
The next step is to choose a suitable strain and seed type. Decide on a sativa for more hot, humid climates, an indica for cooler locations, or go for a hybrid. Then you must determine whether feminized, autoflower, or regular seeds are best.
Feminized seeds contain no male chromosomes and produce females 99% of the time. Autoflowers don’t require any photoperiod management and flower regardless of day length. Regular seeds produce both males and females, giving you the option to breed your plants.
This is the process that gets your seeds started. Germination is straightforward and requires just a few bits and pieces from around the house. Get some purified water, two plates, and some paper towels, then follow these simple steps.
- Moisten two paper towels with water. Put one on a plate, then place your seeds on top. Cover them with a second moist towel.
- Use the second plate as a lid for the first, then place in a warm, dry place. Monitor the seeds’ progress, check in twice daily and ensure the towels stay damp.
- Your seeds should germinate within five days. Move any opened seeds to their starter pots, planting them an inch deep in the soil.
The first couple of weeks following germination is known as the seedling stage. Your baby plants spend this time establishing their root system and producing their first few pairs of leaves.
Seedlings are delicate and vulnerable, so it’s best to keep your seedlings indoors or well protected from any opportunistic herbivores.
After two or three weeks, vegetative growth begins in earnest. Cannabis does most of its growing during this stage. Transfer your plants to larger containers. 5–10 gallon fabric pots give the best results as they drain well and don’t heat up too much in the sun.
Choose a location that receives plenty of light throughout the day. Some farmers place their pots on small trolleys, making it easy to relocate plants as the sun moves across the sky.
Feed regularly and consistently, and avoid overwatering. Cannabis prefers a well-aerated medium to one that’s waterlogged. Nitrogen is in high demand during vegetative growth, so use an appropriate fertilizer.
Pruning is an integral part of any outdoor gardener’s plant care routine. Cutting back thick foliage allows light to reach more of your crops, boosting their growth rate. More importantly, it also helps to promote a healthy airflow and lower moisture retention.
If you’re growing a photoperiod strain, the vegetative period lasts until plants experience 12 hours of darkness each day. Most plan to have their garden vegetate for 8–10 weeks.
The length of this stage varies depending on your chosen strain. Most spend 8–12 weeks blooming, although auto strains may mature in a much shorter time.
Ensure you use a fertilizer formulated for flowering, as the nutrient requirements change at this point, requiring higher levels of potassium and phosphorus. Many reputable companies offer sets of nutrients to meet the needs of your crops as they grow.
Pruning is even more critical during this stage if you grow weed outdoors. Keeping your plants well-trimmed lowers the risk of mold or mildew infecting your buds. It also redirects energy toward bud production, increasing your yields.
As the buds on your plants develop, small hair-like protrusions called pistils appear at the tips. These pistils change from a transparent or milky color to a dark brown or burnt amber as your weed matures.
When approximately half the pistils have changed color, it’s time to harvest. Cut down your plants, defoliate, and hang in a cool, dark place with low humidity.
Allow the plants to dry out until it’s possible to snap the branches cleanly. Trim the buds from the stems and place them in a sealed mason jar to begin the curing process. Open the jar once a day, and allow the weed to cure for at least 2–4 weeks.
The curing process causes the chlorophyll to break down, removing the “grassy” taste and improving your smoking experience.
Cultivate a passion for cannabis
Now that you’ve learned how to grow a weed plant outdoors, grab some high-quality seeds and start exercising those green thumbs. Once you’re sitting on a fat stash of homegrown buds, you’ll be glad you did.
Jennifer Gallagher, an experienced cannabis grower at SeedSupreme Seedbank. During a 7-year career in the marijuana growing business, Jennifer has gained a high competence in this field. As far as weed is concerned, she knows it all inside out. Jennifer is an expert in pot-growing, as well as cannabis types and their effects. She’s also familiar with all legislation nuances.