Cannabis How-Tos

How to Grow Cannabis Outdoors

7 things to know before you grow cannabis outdoors

Image of 3 cannabis plants

If it’s your first time attempting to grow cannabis, an outdoor option is a good one. For starters, it’s relatively inexpensive; no added electricity or energy costs, ventilation systems or special equipment are needed. Secondly, growing outside gives you the ability to grow big plants that can potentially yield large harvest.

Whether you’re a first-time gardener or not, you don’t have to be an expert to get started – but you do need a well-informed plan. Read on to learn the 7 things you need to know before you grow outside.

Be sure to keep cannabis plants out of reach from children and pets.

1. Your outdoor grow should start indoors

Seed germination can take around 2-7 days and should be done indoors, especially if you live in a northern climate. If you’re looking to produce a bigger yield, you’ll need to begin the germination process sooner to give the plants enough time to grow; the bigger the plant, the greater the potential harvest. To learn about seed germination and harvesting time, click here

Although bigger plants typically yield a larger harvest, smaller plants are easier to manage.

Image showing a small cannabis plant

2. Choosing the right location is vital to your plant’s success.

When picking a spot to grow your cannabis plants, take into consideration:

Temperature: Although cannabis plants are adaptive to different weather conditions, they are still susceptible to extreme temperatures. Cannabis plants shouldn’t be grown in temperatures below 12°C or anything above 30°C for sustained periods of time.

Sunlight: Cannabis plants need plenty of sunlight. When picking a location, consider that the plant needs a minimum of 5 hours of direct sunlight and 5 hours of indirect sunlight.

Shelter: Choose a location that allows you to easily shelter your plant from temperamental weather such as strong winds or rain. Or, consider growing in a pot which can be moved indoors if the weather take a turn.

To help protect the plant on colder nights, consider using a hoop house.

3. When deciding on genetics -- do your research

When choosing a strain, environmental considerations should be carefully weighed as some genetics are more adaptive to cooler climates while others are better suited for hot and humid climates. For example, sativa and indica have different growing traits: indica-dominant strains are typically more adaptive to colder environments while sativa-dominant strains can be better suited for hot and humid climates.

4. Understand the difference between growing in the ground vs. containers.

Growing in the ground provides the benefits of added nutrients but only if the soil is high-quality. If you choose this route be prepared to test the quality of the soil to ensure it’s adequate for growing. Containers on the other hand give you control over the quality of the soil while providing flexibility throughout the day – allowing you to easily relocate the plants into the sun or shade.

To shop seeds, click here

5. Don’t skip the basics when it comes to soil: texture, drainage, water retention

When shopping, look for soil that is light in texture and has a good balance at retaining water. Cannabis plants always need both water and oxygen at the roots to grow. Too much water and the roots can’t get enough oxygen, but not enough water retention and the roots can be damage from drying out too quickly.

Image of a potted cannabis plant being watered

6. Avoid one of the most common mistakes made by first-timers – overwatering

When watering the plants, make sure to water thoroughly, then wait until the first one to two inches of soil is dry before you go about watering again. Because tap water can contain high levels of chlorine or dissolved minerals, which can build up in the soil and affect the pH or eliminate valuable microorganisms, it’s advisable to test the water quality or use filtered water instead.

Image of a cannabis leaf being shown while still attached to the plant

7. Keep a grow journal to track your plants’ progress

Growing cannabis is a learning process, especially when first starting out. Documenting the development of your plants, which may include pictures of the plants at various stages and detailing each step you performed along the way, will allow you to look back and learn from your mistakes, helping to increase the harvest the next time around.

Please note that although it’s legal in Ontario to grow up to 4 cannabis plants in your dwelling-house, readers of this article should review and comply with all applicable laws regarding the growth and possession of cannabis. The content on this article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind.

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