If you are thinking about cultivating cannabis, one of the first things you will need to determine is if you should cultivate outdoors. How and when to plany marijuana outdoors. read on for tips and hints on how to grow small, medium, and gigantic marijuana plants outdoors. The truth is that the ideal time for any stage of the growing process is entirely up to you and the circumstances that you must work within.
When is the best time to plant cannabis outdoors?
A number of states now allow cannabis cultivation for adult use, and even more states allow cannabis cultivation for medical purposes.
The increase in cultivation reform has resulted in a rise in interest in growing cannabis among cannabis consumers.
Cultivating cannabis can be one of the most rewarding activities that a person can do, and with a pleasant reward at the end of all the hard work (assuming the cannabis is grown right).
If you are thinking about cultivating cannabis, one of the first things you will need to determine is whether to cultivate cannabis inside or outdoors.
Why cultivating cannabis outdoors can be better than growing indoors
Cultivating cannabis outside has the following advantages over cultivating cannabis indoors:
- Reduced equipment costs
- No increased electricity bill
- Larger harvest
- Lower carbon footprint
- Often easier to incorporate organic cultivation methods
- Cheaper nutrient/input costs
Growing cannabis indoors has its benefits too, but for people that want a lower maintenance garden, cultivating cannabis outside is the way to go.
An obvious question – when is the best time to plant cannabis outdoors?
One of the first things that a grower needs to determine when planning a sun-grown garden is when to put plants into the ground.
A one-size-fits-all approach does not work. A number of factors are involved:
- What is the latitude of where the garden will be located
- What is the altitude of where the garden will be located
- What is the precipitation level where the garden will be located
- What will the temperature be like while the plant is in the ground
Ultimately what a grower needs to try to avoid is planting the plant(s) too early in the year, which could result in the plants dying due to the soil/air being too cold.
Also, the grower needs to avoid planting the plants too late in the season so to ensure that the plant(s) has enough time to go through a full growth cycle.
Generally speaking, you want to plant your plants in the ground outside in early to mid-May, similar to when it’s recommended to plant tomatoes.
Tomatoes do not grow exactly like cannabis, but for planting purposes, they are almost identical. With that being said, each part of the country is different.
A great resource to look up the recommended planting date for where you live is the Farmer’s Almanac.
Simply enter your location and it will tell you when is the best time to plant tomatoes outside, which can double as the date for when to plant your cannabis too.
Getting started ahead of time is key
If you are growing from seed, you will want to germinate the seeds at least 6-8 weeks before planting.
A way to cut down on the prep time is to use a clone if you are able to. Clones are often harder to find than seeds. Each route provides its own advantages.
Growers can get a head start by letting their plant grow indoors for a few weeks prior to putting them inside. This obviously requires a greenhouse or indoor garden.
By allowing your plant to grow in a controlled environment while the air and soil outside is warming up, you give your plant some additional growth time, resulting in a larger plant.
Other tips that can help
If you live in an area where the warm season is shorter than in other parts of the world, there are two tricks that can really help.
The first is growing your cannabis plant in a container rather than planting it into the ground.
This allows you to move your plant to the most favorable parts of your yard to get the most sunlight as the season goes along.
Putting your plant in a container also allows you to bring the plant in at night when the temperature drops below a desirable threshold.
The second tip is using a concept known as light deprivation, or ‘light dep.’ This method involves cutting back on the sunlight time that a plant receives by cover the plant up after 12 hours of sun.
It’s a tricky method that requires using a tarp over a greenhouse or building a box that can go over your plant.
When you first plant your cannabis plant outside, the amount of daylight at that time is usually around 14 hours.
As the season goes along, and your plant is big enough, you can cap the amount of light it is exposed to at 12 hours and your plant will start to bloom faster than it normally would, thereby helping your harvest come sooner.
How and When to Plant Marijuana
Many people aren’t really sure when to plant their crop. When’s the perfect time of year to germinate your seeds so that everything runs as smoothly as possible? Well, this depends on what medium you’re growing in, the accessories and things you have at your disposal etc. You can grow the perfect crop at any time of year depending on how you’re doing it and what you have. Today we’re going to show you techniques so that you can get the absolute most out of your plants regardless of what time of year it is.
How and When to Plant Marijuana Outdoors
If you’re looking for normal marijuana plants (2m 500mg +/-)
When spring arrives we all know that it’s time to start germinating your marijuana seeds for your outdoor crop. It’s the most important crop of the year as it’s where you can get the most production of the entire year. Old school growers like to plant their seeds for the first full moon of March.
The reasoning behind this is so that while your seeds are germinating they’ll also have light at night time and they won’t stretch up too much in their first days of life. Sometimes it’s a bit too cold at that time though, and of course you can’t plant at the same time everywhere, we’re talking from a Spaniard’s point of view here. If you live somewhere with a very cold climate your plants will take much longer to grow and they’ll get stressed out from cold or wind, which will create weaker plants that are more susceptible to infestations and fungi.
The best thing to do in this case is to wait another month or two; a germinated seed in a decent climate from April onwards will actually be bigger and better grown than one planted in March in the same place.
Taking care of plants for such a long time is quite a lot of work for the grower, you need to keep an eye on infestations, fungi, nutrition, transplants, pruning, tutoring… The whole process takes about six months of constant work. If you’re looking for a decent product and yield, you’ll need:
- Fertilizers for growth and flowering. You can use your preferred fertilizers, organic hummus, guano for growth, a booster for the flowers and a base fertilizer for flowering should be enough to get a productive and flavorful plant. If you use chemicals then you’ll need a complete range from a specific brand that’ll give your plants the minerals they need to make the most out of the flowers. Of course, chemical products reduce flavor but increase yield, whereas natural products intensify the flavor but make for a lower yield.
- Insecticides for insects like white flies, mites or thrips. Preventive insecticides are recommended to avoid any scares.
- An anti-fungi product that works well against oidium. Propolix or other chemical products work well, but you’ll need to use it from the start.
- Bacillus Thuringiensis; this is used for caterpillars and other worms. Use it as soon as flowering begins, which is when these pests start to appear. Around May/june.
- Stakes or wires to keep the branches up during the flowering period.
If you’re looking for small plants (1m 250g +/-)
If you’re looking for some small to medium sized plants, both compact and strong, then you’ll need to wait till around the middle of March to germinate your seeds. Your plants will have about a month to grow before the light period changes, and they’ll grow with more sun than other plants, making for strong and compact specimens. So, when they begin to flower they will be more compact, around 1m tall. You’ll need the same products as for large plants, as well as patience although less due to the fact that they take a lot less time, around three and a half months. This style is much easier for beginner growers, although you’ll still need to take care of them.
If you want gigantic plants (3m 1kg+)
To get these kinds of plants you’ll need to apply yourself to the job more than the other two types. You’ll need to grow plants with a decent size so that they can grow amazing 2m long branches in all directions with buds as thick as your fist that you’ll need to hold up with a SCRoG mesh so they don’t break.
If you’re looking to grow a plant of this size before June then you’ll need to grow it for at least six months so the plant has more surfaces to flower on, which should take another three months. You’ll get much better results if you plant straight into the ground rather than pots.
To be able to grow it for so long you’ll need to do so in a greenhouse. You’ll need to buy or make your own plastic greenhouse. In a greenhouse your plants can avoid the cold during the winter as well as receive enough light to grow properly. You’ll need to germinate your seeds in December. You should germinate them inside so that they don’t die off at the start and they can get a nice warm germination.
Then, you’ll need to make a hole around 50x50x50cm and fill it with new substrate so the plant has a decent medium to grow in. Once your plant has germinated and it’s a few centimeters tall you can officially move it to the greenhouse. You’ll need to install a light above the plant that should turn on for 10 minutes every four hours or twice a night so that it still grows during the winter. The light doesn’t have to be super powerful, the only reason we do this is to annoy the plant and keep it growing. Once the plant reaches around 40cm, you’ll need to start pruning it starting with the main calyx. Two or three weeks later, prune again on the higher branches, two weeks later another one… until after a couple of months you have a big ball of leaves full of mini-calyxes which will later grow into long branches.
More or less around February you’re going to need to place four stakes around your plant in a 1mx1m formation, with the plant right in the middle, and then place a SCRoG mesh over it to separate the branches as much as possible and as wide as possible. Once March arrives you’ll need to take the light away and let it get used to natural light and the growth period lighting (these dates are for Spain). Once you notice the good weather starting again, sometime near April, remove the greenhouse and let your plant breath fresh air. Your plant will be a meter tall, when everyone is is still germinating at this stage, which a whole lot of branches and prepared to grow for another three months. Once June/July arrives, your plant will be absolutely huge. Just before it flowers you can place another mesh so the branches can put up better with the weight of the buds. You’ll need to keep an eye out for infestations and fungi due to the size of the plant and how hard it can be to inspect all of it. It’ll need good nutrients due to how long it’s going to grow, and you’ll need to water it properly. You can get the entire years’ worth of gear in just one plant. Happy growing!
Is it too early to start germinating cannabis seeds?
Canadians have now spent a few solid months in frigid cold temperatures, and we’re starting to get antsy as we notice the birds starting to return, and the snow melting away. The shining sun and mild weather can feel fantastic on the skin, but we aren’t quite yet to the point where flowers begin to come to life, and so for many, the idea of starting marijuana seeds is still a distant plan for the future.
Benefits of choosing to germinate early
Now, we’re pretty fortunate to live in a region with a long enough growing season that starting marijuana seeds indoors isn’t necessary, so not everyone concerns themselves with this extra step. Those that do get to sit back and enjoy the spoils with a bigger and better harvest at the end of the season are starting the process of germination early in the year as it can help in a variety of ways, including:
- Stronger plants
- Higher seedling survival rates
- Larger harvest
- More potent product
Is it possible to start germination too early?
The truth is that the ideal time for any stage of the growing process is entirely up to you and the circumstances that you must work within. Many cultivators have great success growing year-round indoors, but that can be time-consuming, space-taking, and financially less ideal, so instead, what you need to know is how long you should have a sprouting cannabis plant indoors before transplanting it outdoors, to thrive.
As we first enter into spring, the temperatures are perfect, and the days get longer, providing much-needed sunlight for the earliest stages of growing cannabis plants. Eventually, we reach regular double digits during both the night and daytime hours, which is ideal for the flowering period, as it enhanced the plant’s ability to produce vital cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
Towards the end of our Canadian growing season, the temperatures cool, the days get shorter, and this results in a response from your cannabis plants. Basically, it tells them to hurry up and finish production, and this reaction occurs because they can sense that winter is closing in quickly, which means that they are likely to die soon.
All of these things significantly impact the best time to start germination, but they only explain the why rather than the how of the process. Even after knowing all of this, it’s easy to misjudge the best time of year to germinate, which is why it is essential to keep one rule in mind the whole way through as you decide.
When is the best time for germination?
Most gardening experts start digging up their soil in early May, but that tends to be out of habit and to make the ground softer for when the time comes for planting. Very few seasoned growers will plant anything before the big May 24th weekend, which is also when the majority of greenhouses and nurseries open their doors to the public. This is fine for some vegetables and flowers that are climatized to lower temperatures, but at that time, it’s still incredibly cold at night.
Cannabis plants are a tropical plant that can survive in less than ideal conditions, but they prefer hot and humid weather, and that is why they are usually planted halfway through June. By this point, there is no longer a threat of frost looming overhead, which gives seedlings a much higher chance of surviving the strenuous transplant from inside to outdoors.
Marijuana seeds planted directly into the soil often don’t get planted until the end of June, but seedlings started indoors have a much stronger head start allowing them to be planted earlier, but that still doesn’t exactly tell you how early you should start, or whether or not it’s too early right now. What you need to know is that the ideal amount of time for seedlings to hang out indoors is between 6 and 12 weeks.
That might sound like a short period of time, but if you do the math, we are already so close to spring. By the time this article is published, there will only be between 3-4 months left to wait, which is between 12 and 16 weeks total. That means that right now, and any point over the next month is probably the safest window of time to get started with germination if you intend to put your cannabis plants outside for the remainder of their lives.
How to germinate marijuana seeds
If you have already gathered all of the necessary tools for germination, then you are probably wondering how to get started. It really isn’t that hard to germinate marijuana seeds. The trick is to provide just enough moisture and heat to open up the fibrous shell, which will release the fresh, new seedling. There are several different ways that you can do this, but the most popular and widely used option by small-time home growers is the paper towel method, which we have included easy directions for, down below.
- Paper towel
- Translucent plastic bag
- Marijuana seeds
Fold a paper towel in half and use it to line the inside of a plastic baggie.
Add just enough water to one side of the paper towel where you can see it’s been absorbed, without pooling in large amounts.
Gently place the marijuana seeds at least one inch apart onto the wet half of the paper towels.
Press the dry side of the paper towel onto the wet one to encase the marijuana seeds.
If parts of the paper towel still feel dry, then add a bit more water to the mix.
Set the baggie somewhere warm and cool for the next few days. Light will only dry out the paper towel because, at this stage, there are no exposed leaves to soak in the powerful light, so keep it in the dark until you see small jagged leaves start to poke out from the shells.
Usually, small germinated marijuana seeds can last for several days this way as long as you continue to add moisture and introduce light once the leaves form, but it isn’t going to take long for the seedlings wanting to stretch out as they try to form a complex root system. Cannabis seedlings should not spend more than seven days in one of these bags before being transplanted into soil-filled pots.
How to successfully germinate old cannabis seeds
The thing is, that even if you are having difficulty germinating old seeds, there are several things you can do to achieve a higher success rate.