Outdoor Cannabis Growing Basics by LuckyAcres

Updated Feb 21, 2019

by LuckyAcres (Check out his Instagram and Youtube for more!)

Are you ready to start growing cannabis outdoors? If you’re a wannabe grower looking for a quick and basic tutorial on how to grow weed outside, this is it. Check out these plants and learn how to grow plants just like them yourself!

Plants grown outdoors can get huge if you care for them properly

This "Wedding Cake" plant was grown outdoors by LuckyAcres

Growing auto-flowering strains can help keep plants from getting so big. This is Night Queen Auto by Dutch Passion not long before harvest.

Outdoor Night Queen Auto-flowering Cannabis Plant

 

What you need to get started growing outdoors:

Here’s a complete list of supplies you need to grow plants outdoors.

Seeds (or clones)

Get Root Riot plugs on YoutubeRoot Riot Plugs

  • Seedlings get germinated in RootRiot Plugs (the extra michoryzae is nice!)

Container(s) – Air pots or Nursery Pots

After 20 years of being around black “nursery pots”, airpots have become my number one choice. Better root growth, better access to air, massive root terminals…. day and night to what I was accustomed to. Grow bags can retain salts and pests if not dealt with properly between grows. My access to sun changes thru the season so I must be able to move my ladies as needed.

Learn more about air pots vs regular pots

Air pots - these plant growing containers help get more oxygen to cannabis roots - buy one on Amazon.com!     Get nursery pots on Amazon.com

Soil

Get Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil on Amazon   Example of good cannabis soil - Ocean Forest soil by Fox Farm

Nutrients

Nutrient companies seem to have reached a status quo imo. They all seem to sell different variations and packagings of the same ingredients. Buy what you can afford. Keep it simple. The sun brings the food, nutes are the vitamins. When it comes to nutrients, you can use just the “base nutrients” or you can get the whole line (which also includes additional supplements that are nice but not necessary).

I’ve had similar results using at different times the full lines of nutes by Emerald Harvest (you can use just the base nutrients or the whole line), Roots Organics (base nutrients are Buddha Grow and Bloom, and they offer the whole line in a kit) and Fox Farm (soil base nutrients or whole line)…

Here are more examples of suitable cannabis nutrients.

Supplements

I swear by Foliar Essence foliar spray weekly. Mammoth P is great to lubricate the nutes highways. I use Mad Farmer Detox right before harvest, which is a cleaning/flushing solution.

PH and PPM Tester

To test the pH, I use a Bluelab PH Pen. I also use a PPM meter to measure the strength of nutrient solutions.

Watering can

I use old hydrogen peroxide bottles(quart size) that I cut at the top for a wider neck. 3 or 4 rounds of these will feed one auto.

Outdoor cannabis bud paradise

 

How to Start Growing Cannabis Outdoors

Follow these steps and you will be harvesting your plants in a few months:

 

1.) Find a growing location

When growing cannabis outdoors, it’s important to find a private spot with easy access to water and 6+ hours of direct sun each day.

I built my backyard for privacy long before growing cannabis outdoors so it was canna-ready, but if fence height and privacy are an issue I’d recommend growing autos or scrogging photos. Have a dog to keep away cats and rodents as much as possible. Be nice to your neighbors, and a little sharing goes a long way! Sunlight availability is my number one challenge. 2-3 hrs in the morning and 3-4 hrs in the afternoon. The more the better!

A private, secluded area with plenty of sunlight is perfect for growing cannabis. Make sure you have access to water!

This outdoor grown cannabis plant is in a private, secluded space with easy access to water

 

2.) Set up your containers with soil

Nursery pots are straight forward. Fill with loose soil to the rim, bang the pot lightly 2-3 times on the ground, add soil up to the rim again and that’s it.

In airpots the soil has to be pushed lightly into the holes on the sides as it’s poured in but same tapping and refilling method works great afterward.

 

3.) Germinate your seeds and place in containers

I germinate seeds in RootRiot plugs (the extra michoryzae is nice!) I drop the seed in water(shot glass in a dark spot for a day or two usually) until the tap root pops out and is about half an inch long.

Auto-flowering strains

I move autos in their final pot as soon as they’ve germinated (5-gallon container(= #7 Airpot USA), though 10 gallons is better for the longer cycle strains and super autos.)

Photoperiod strains

Photoperiod plants go to a 1-gallon pot first then 5 or 7-gallon then to their final pot. I use 15 or 20-gallon nursery pots for photos.

 

4.) Water plants regularly

Cannabis plants like when the root environment is slightly acidic. The optimal ph is 6-7 for cannabis plants grown in soil. It’s important to check the pH of your water because plants get nutrient deficiencies if it’s too high or too low. The city water where I live has a 6.5 ph so on plain-water days it comes out straight out of the hose.

If it’s a day I give nutrients, I mix nutrients then take ppm readings. Once everything looks good I ph the water.  Nutrients tend to lower the ph, so on feeding days I usually have to adjust the ph up before giving it to the plants. Your experience may vary depending on the ph of your water source. Here’s a tutorial on how to test the ph of your water.

How often do you water the plants?

  • Every other day to every 3 days

How often do you water seedlings?

  • I make sure they stay moist until I know the root growth is sufficient to allow for the top to dry out between watering.

How often do you water bigger plants?

  • Bigger plants, especially later in the summer get watered every day in between feedings, not a full round of water but enough to sustain them thru the heat. And it helps them use up whatever nutes leftovers were there…

How much water do you give at a time?

  • Full pressure on the hose wand, set on shower, and I count until 3 or 5 seconds while I release water.

 

5.) Plant care

Make sure photoperiod plants don’t get light at night. A privacy fence or a hedge will block street lights pollution enough. No direct bright light at night is the ticket!

A young outdoor marijuana plant

A young, outdoor marijuana plant

Watch for bugs or nutrient deficiencies and react quickly to problems

  • Every day, twice a day I survey my plants, if something is spotted I make sure to treat it as soon as possible. Once a week I spray a pesticide and make sure to rotate between them, spinosad, neem oil, insecticidal soaps etc… to keep any kind of invasion from happening.
  • Diagnose some common plant bugs and other plant problems with this cannabis plant doctor.

This outdoor plant was just transplanted to a new container

Do you do any plant training like LST, supercropping, topping, etc?

  • All of it! Depending on the plant or my mood I might top one and not the other but supercropping is a constant for sure.

How to deal with caterpillars

Caterpillars are one of the most common cannabis pests for outdoor growers. They will eat leaves and may even tunnel through the middle of your buds.

There’s a worm in there, that’s what this leaf tells me… Now I must remove the whole bud.

The dead leaf on this cola was caused by a caterpillar (bud worm) tunneling inside the cola and setting up shop

 “B.T.” is an organic and OMRI certified insecticide that kills caterpillars but won’t hurt people, bees, animals or plants. It is safe to use on your plant up until the week of harvest. Get Monterey B.T. Ready-to-Use Spray on Amazon.

Monterey B.T. RTU (ready to use) spray is safe for cannabis plants and effective against caterpillars

Anything else major to keep an eye on?

  • The tip of the leaves, if they remain green you’re good, but watch for that yellowing tip, every day! Too much food! When it happens, it’s time to flush!

 

6.) Harvest plants when ready

When to Harvest

Plants are getting close when most trichomes are cloudy(autos and photos). At that point, I start flushing with mad farmer detox. I chop when the first ambers show up at about 10% max. Learn more about trichomes and when to harvest.

Autoflowering plants are ready to harvest on their own schedule as determined by the breeder.

For photoperiod plants the exact timing depends on your local latitude, but are typically ready to harvest in mid to late fall. Harvest here runs from mid-September to early November for those late sativas.

Huge cannabis cola in an idyllic meadow

 

How to Dry and Cure Buds

My methods remain the same for autos and photos. (Here’s an alternative guide)

  1. Chop
  2. Hang for 10 days at 70F and 60% humidity
  3. Dry trim
  4. Store in brown paper bags for another 7-10 days
  5. Store in glass jars with a 62% humidity pack

That’s it! A quick and dirty tutorial that will get you all the way to your first outdoor cannabis harvest!

 

More from LuckyAcres

Check out more pictures and videos by LuckyAcres on Instagram and Youtube.

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