How to Make the Most out of your Outdoor Crop
How to make the most out of your outdoor crop is something that many growers ask themselves and aren’t entirely sure how to answer. It’s more than clear and obviously quite logical for people to grow their own cannabis to fight illegal black market trafficking. However due to the laws surrounding growing marijuana in many countries, people tend to be put off growing their own crop due to possible legal consequences.
Some people use discreet grow tents indoors, although those who don’t or simply can’t due to how much it can cost to grow plants indoors choose to grow outdoors in mother nature. In this article we’re going to talk about outdoor growing and explain the correct factors needed in order to obtain a nice yield.
When it comes to outdoor growing there are various methods available; in a greenhouse or not, in flowerpots or in the ground. What generally stays the same for most growers is the grow medium; soil (although it’s true that you can grow hydroponically in a greenhouse).
You should already know at this stage that the deciding factors for the growth of any plant anywhere are; genes, nutrients, watering and climate or environmental factors.
When growing outdoors you can pick between seasonal feminized strains and autoflowering strains for those that like a bit more discretion. The good thing about feminized strains is that they tend to produce a bigger yield per plant, although autoflowering seeds are smaller, more compact and you won’t need to worry about infestations or bad days due to how they grow and how fast they grow.
You’ll also need to keep in mind that sativa strains tend to take a bit longer to grow and their buds are smaller but more spread out over the plant. This doesn’t mean that all feminized indicas are productive. In each seed and strain and in each seed bank there will be more potentially productive seeds than others.
Some plants can reach up to four meters tall, although this is a feat more to do with the grower than the plant. Some seeds known for being especially productive and having high yields are Somango 47, Blue Rhino by Positronics, Santa Sativa, Moby Dick by Dinafem, Orange Bud by Dutch passion or Monster by Eva Seeds.
In outdoor crops people usually plant in a soil substrate rather than fiber, coconut or hydroponics. Whether you plant in a pot or straight in the ground, it’ll be extremely important for you to use a substrate that’s nice and nutrient-rich to get the absolute most root growth possible, which in turn creates more growth.
If you’re planting in flowerpots then you can just go about your business as if you were growing indoors. The advantage of planting in pots over terra firma is that you can move them around, although you’ll most likely get a much lower production rate.
If you’re growing in the ground we recommend mixing up the earth and substituting some of it for a nutrient-rich substrate, mixing it up properly.
Either way if you’re going to grow in pots or not we don’t recommend directly planting neither seeds nor saplings. What you’ll need to do is start off with a small pot and increase the size little by little until you transplant it to its proper pot or to the ground.
Each grower has her or her own technique, and there are many ways to transplant. People usually transplant saplings into 3 to 5L pots, then to a 7L pot, and then to a 11L pot and onwards or to the ground, depending on how big you want the plant to be or how big you’re willing to let it grow.
In as far as nutrients, more and more products are coming on to the market every day that can help your plants grow amazingly. There’s a huge variety; root stimulants, CO2 tablets, growth fertilizers, flowering fertilizers, bud fattening fertilizers, sugars, enzymes, pest control products like neem oil etc. People usually use root simulants, specific fertilizers for growth and flowering periods, bud fatteners and, for feminized plants we recommend using enzymes to make the most out of the substrate.
When growing outside you’re going to need to pay special attention to insects and things like that because your babies will be exposed to all sorts of things unless they’re in a greenhouse. You’ll need to keep an eye on your plants, checking every detail periodically; the leaves, the stems, even the substrate. You’ll need to get used to doing this as it’s something that should be done all the time, even in indoor crops. We recommend using neem oil dissolved in water for preventive treatments against illnesses and infestations (keep in mind that it’s just a preventive, it’s not a pesticide).
Fertilizers can be mineral or biologic. Mineral fertilizers tend to have a generally larger effect, although biological products tend to make more sense for feminized plants, especially when growing outdoors. The descriptions on our website should be helpful in as far as helping you decide what brands and products to buy, although you can leave a comment below and we’ll answer any questions you may have.
Watering Is also extremely important; you’re going to need to be selective when checking the dryness of the substrate and knowing when you need to water your plants. Make sure to check them individually, and keep the PH in your water nice and balanced too.
This is probably the hardest parameter to control in outdoor crops; obviously mother nature is in charge of climate situations and the temperature, although you get to choose at what time of the year you’re going to plant.
Of course, there are strains that can deal with high and/or low temperatures, and some aficionados also plant in colder months although that isn’t the ideal thing to do. In this guide we’re trying to give you the most practical instructions for growing outdoors.
So, when’s the best time to start an outdoor crop if? Well, that honestly depends on where you live and because we can’t know where our readers live, we’re going to try and give as concrete a response as possible:
The essential things to keep in mind:
- Avoid the rainier times of year.
- Plant when the lowest temperatures are around 10-12ºC, and a maximum of 29-30ºC. The perfect temperatures are around 15º and 28º.
- Try and grow when there are around 12-16 hours of light.
- Grow facing the south. This way your plants will be able to get the most hours out of the sun.
- Try and avoid growing near fences or walls so that your plants aren’t shaded.
- Avoid areas with tendencies for strong or cold winds.
- If you’re planting in pots we recommend using white pots or clear colors that allow your plants to absorb more light.
Apart from all of this advice and correct caretaking of your plants, you can also do certain types of pruning (we have other articles that deal with the issue of pruning) and stake, wire or string your plant so that it can get stronger and create heavier buds.
Our last piece of advice is that you should avoid growing at all if you have unfriendly neighbors or you can’t do it in a discreet enough place so you don’t call attention to yourself. Many people use plastic sheeting to hide their plants, but that takes away a lot of the light. Of course, if you live somewhere where growing is legal then by all means go ahead!
Author: Kiko Nieto, GB collaborator
Translation: Ciara Murphy