Should I Grow Marijuana Outside?
In the wake of pot-friendly legislation, literally everyone and their grandmother are talking about marijuana. From recreational to medicinal, the hottest topic of discussion inevitably leads to patients (and proponents) wondering about growing their own pot for personal use.
A handful of states have passed laws allowing their residents the right to grow – Alaska, California, Colorado for recreational and medical, and Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada (if you live 25 miles away from the nearest dispensary), Oregon, Washington, and Washington D.C. for strictly medicinal weed. Some of these states have even made provisions allowing for patients to plant their weed outside, provided they accept a few caveats
If you’re lucky enough to live in a state where growing marijuana as nature intended is legal, by all means, we think you should go for it! Although setting up an indoor grow room gives you greater control and flexibility over your crop, there are untold advantages to planting weed out in the open (so to speak).
Bank a Bigger Yield
Have you ever heard that goldfish will grow to the size of their tank? (This is a half truth, by the way – although goldfish continue to grow until they die, their growth isn’t dictated by the size of the tank but the quality of the water, which also applies to weed.) Marijuana plants, particularly those that grow tall, like sativas, reach for the light source in order to reach their full potential. While you can garner a hefty harvest in a small room or closet, your buds will deliver double the density when given room to breathe.
Climate is Key…
Marijuana is an extremely diverse, adaptable plant and while it’s technically a weed (hence its most popular nickname), to get deliciously smokable and high-yielding crops outdoors, you need to know which marijuana seeds will thrive in your region.
Some marijuana strains prefer Mediterranean climates with lots of heat and humidity, while other’s, like the iconic Northern Lights, prefer the drier climates of countries like Canada and Russia.
Outdoor cultivators need to keep a close eye on the weather, since conditions out of your control may affect the health and longevity of your plants. Case in point: sustained temps of 86 degrees Fahrenheit can cause your plants to stop growing, while temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit can cause damage, stunting, and even death. Even heavy rains or high winds can reduce potential yields, while excessive moisture or humidity can lead to mold or powdery mildew.
If you can guarantee that your outdoor marijuana plants will remain relatively unphased by drastic changes in the weather over their normal growth period, you’re one step closer to producing probably some of the best weed you’ll ever try in your life.
But Light is Everything
Lighting is second only to space in producing seriously smokable cannabis. Indoor set ups give you control over the light duration, which means you can basically trigger your plants to switch from one phase to the next when you’re ready (cannabis plants must get roughly 18-24 hours of light during the vegetative stage, and 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness during flowering). Plants grown outdoors, however, rely on the natural change of light that occurs with the seasons. Knowing this will dictate the best time for you to plant, and roughly when you will be able to harvest.
This near-constant need of light is one of the reasons indoor gardeners see a spike in their electricity bills, especially in states like Hawaii, and if you’re worried about the added expense, outdoor growing offers a much cheaper, more eco-friendly solution.
Pot Plants Need Privacy
Marijuana plants are not shy, in fact they’re quite showy with their big bushy buds and often beautiful colors. They are also not the kind of plants you want strangers gawking at.
States that have given their residents permission to grow marijuana on their private property have also stipulated that these plants must remain out of the view of and inaccessible to the public. Often, they must be planted behind a fence, gate, or in a greenhouse that can be locked. These rules benefit everyone involved, considering your gorgeous pot plants are going to attract a lot of attention once they start blooming with sticky, crystal covered buds.
Acquiescing to the rules and regulations of your region should be your first priority. Picking a private spot that guarantees your plants receive the right amount of sunlight every day should be your second.
The Story on Soil
Cannabis plants thrive in soul that has excellent draining and is slightly acidic with organic matter. Container gardens are a good way to guarantee that your soul meets these requirements, or else you’ll want to have the soil in your yard tested to check if it is sufficient.
In many cases, you’ll probably have to add organic matter to your existing soil to aid in drainage and/or nutrient and water retention.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Speaking of water retention, proper hydration can be the difference between a bumper crop or a disappointing harvest.
Marijuana plants need a lot of water, in some cases up to 10 gallons a day, to thrive, but even areas that see heavy rain or benefit from groundwater may not be providing enough natural water. You will need to be able to top your plants up, especially during hotter months, to ensure they receive enough water. For climates that do see a lot of rain, cannabis gardens require extra draining to keep from developing fungal diseases.
If you have the space, the resources, and the legislation in your area is set up to allow for it, growing marijuana outdoors can be extremely rewarding. You’ll be in an even better place if you start your garden with high quality cannabis seeds – take a look at our selection and place your order today!