With the summer growing season in full swing, many of you have reached out asking what's the optimal time to start an outdoor cannabis grow. Check out some recommendations based on different regions where marijuana cultivation is popular. There’s only so much Netflix you can watch. Grow a pound to save money and stay sane during long bought of self-isolation from covid19. How and when to plany marijuana outdoors. read on for tips and hints on how to grow small, medium, and gigantic marijuana plants outdoors.
What’s the Best Time to Start an Outdoor Cannabis Grow?
I t’s amazing how quickly the world can change, isn’t it? In the past 25 years, cannabis has moved from an illicit substance relegated to the shadowy corners of the illicit market to an “essential” industry amid COVID-19. In many states, local cannabis laws allow you to grow your own, and why not? When you grow your own, you can do your own quality control, know the purity of your product, and manage your own supply.
Luckily, you can start your own grow in a container as small as a flower pot. If you’ve got some space in your yard to grow weed outdoors, even better. So this may leave you wondering, when should I plant my cannabis outdoors? Luckily, there are some general date ranges to help guide your growing plans.
Regardless of which climate you’re starting in, when Spring Equinox comes around, start germinating your seeds. Make sure those plants get outside by Summer Solstice in June, then harvested around Fall Equinox.
For more specifics about how to protect your outdoor cannabis grows from the elements or whether you should grow indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse, check out the linked articles. Better yet, look into a book by celebrated cannabis growers like Ed Rosenthal’s Marijuana Grower’s Handbook, and of course, every green thumb’s favorite, The Farmer’s Almanac.
For a (shallow-ish) deeper dive into what to expect when growing cannabis outside, here’s a look at optimal grow times for regions across the U.S.
When to Grow Weed Outdoors by Region
Northwest (Northern CA, OR, WA)
When you grow outdoors in this loamy region you’ll never have to worry about getting enough rain. However, mold development and lack of sunshine can make growing outside a more difficult proposition.
Hybrids that flower earlier are suggested as the most successful grows, especially in Washington and Oregon. California plants can be put in the ground earlier due to the region’s warmer weather. Your best clue indicating that it’s time to start your outside grow is when daylight hours increase and the temperature starts to warm.
- Preparing Your Colorado Soil for an Outdoor Marijuana Grow
- How Long Does it Take to Grow Cannabis Plants?
- The Best Strains to Grow Outdoors
- The Flowering Stage Of Cannabis Week By Week
Midwest (IL, MI, Eastern CO)
This region is tricky because the weather is highly variable; rainy and muggy, and/or hot and dry. Winter may come early to this region, so choosing an indica-dominant hybrid strain might be your best bet, since their flowering times are shorter. Try to shoot for germination after the final frost of spring has passed in these regions.
Northeast (NY, MA, ME, VT)
With its rich soils and abundance of water, the northeast region can be a great place to grow cannabis outdoors, especially if you choose an early harvest strain that can finish up before fall kicks in. The best time to move your plants outside in this region is the middle of April, when days are longer.
Southwest (Southern CA, NV, AZ, NM, CO)
If you choose to grow outdoors in this scorching climate, be prepared to pay attention to the temperature, where highs that regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit will slow your plant’s growth. Sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids do well in this environment because of their lineage tracing back to the equator, where the weather is uniformly hot.
However, the dryness of the region means you’ll also have to carefully monitor your watering routines. Before moving your plants outside, make sure the last frost has passed. This last note is especially important in this region, as sudden, sporadic snowfall is common, so keep an eye on the weather.
Though home cultivation is not yet allowed in the Sunshine State, many new medical producers getting into the industry are starting to grow outdoors, and there are a few things to be aware of if you’re licensed in the industry. The temperatures in Florida might be good for cannabis growing, but the humidity definitely is not.
In fact, because of all that moisture in the air, it’s best to avoid indica strains and grow sativas instead to avoid the mold that inevitably comes along with humidity. In this region, you could start the germination process as early as February. Just make sure that the last frost has passed before moving plants outside.
Of course, there are many different factors that go into the timing of an outdoor grow, and the weather will shift year-to-year. Use these estimates as rough guidelines and adjust as needed. Happy growing!
What’s the best time to plant outside in your area? Share in the comments!
Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work – which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor – covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.
Erin’s work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let’s Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedIn, WordPress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.
5 reasons why it’s the perfect time to start growing cannabis
Right now, all across the US, the President, state governors, and local officials are ordering everyone to go home and stay there. They’re trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which threatens to overwhelm the US healthcare system in the coming weeks.
Millions of Americans are taking mental inventory of their preferred indoor hobbies.
Trust me, Leafly’s California editor: Cannabis gardening should really be at the top of the list.
Starting a March garden benefits from perfect timing, low costs, and easy logistics. You can keep it simple, or go PhD-level deep into the hobby. And it can provide real mental health benefits.
Here’s five reasons why gardening is the way to go right now.
Self-isolating? Order cannabis online with Leafly Pickup or Delivery
The timing is perfect
Let’s face it: chances are, the government has already ordered, or will order you to stay at home for the coming weeks.
You can’t spend all day fearfully checking Twitter and spinning out.
Now is literally the best time of the year to start that special houseplant you always meant to. That’s because cannabis is a fast-growing annual weed that naturally germinates in the spring and flowers in the fall in North America.
For outdoor crops, February and March are the best months to acquire and germinate cannabis seeds in order to maximize a harvest. You can nurture the plants indoors, then transplant them outside in May when the ground is warm enough and the nights are short enough. They’ll grow big and tall through the fall.
For indoor growers, starting in March means finishing as soon as June or July. That’s awesome, because you’ll have herb for the summer!
Seed season is here. (Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)
Save money growing exactly what you want
Everyone loves to complain about the cost of cannabis. Well, grow your own pound and save a few thousand dollars this year.
The sun is a free source of power. One fully grown outdoor cannabis plant can potentially yield a pound of dried, cured buds. That’s enough flower to keep a one-gram-per-day gardener baked for more than a year.
Your crop will be as cheap as seeds, soil, water, and patience. If and when you do need equipment, the costs will pay for themselves over future harvests.
A home garden is also the best way to ensure your cannabis is organic. You can explicitly control what you spray or don’t spray on your plants.
And only you know your favorite strain of weed. Grow a pound of that! Even better, grow two personal favorites and cross-pollinate them in early fall. Boom—a personal designer cultivar for 2021.
You don’t really have to leave your house or yard
You don’t really need to leave your house to grow a dank pound. Many folks have gardening gear lying around.
You can order seeds online and from local licensed cannabis stores. Some of those stores deliver, or offer online ordering and pickup. Gardening equipment can also generally be ordered online, including soil, cups, dirt, lights, containers, pots, nutrients, and the like.
I’m currently firing up Black Dog LED’s all-in-one, professional-grade indoor grow kit, which starts at $2,194.53 with free shipping. The kit contains everything but the seeds, down to the duct tape—so you never have to live-action role-play the film Contagion at Home Depot.
We need hobbies today
There’s only so much Netflix you can watch.
There’s only so much Netflix you can watch.
We’re all going to need a bunch of hobbies while we’re dealing with self-isolation. You can’t spend all day fearfully checking Twitter and spinning out.
A bit of gardening every day is a great way to focus on the now. Focusing on the needs of others, including your plants, is a healthy, productive way to lose yourself for a bit each day.
Read gardening books like Leafly freelancer Johanna Silver’s new book Growing Weed in the Garden, and Marijuana Harvest by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. (That’s me.)
Stocking up on legal cannabis? Leafly has all your local menus
You’ll have to find a space, source supplies, and make a plan.
Make and keep a grow diary to set goals and track progress.
Join a new online community. Share your project online in forums, and get help with questions. Ed Rosenthal likes to say that cannabis isn’t addictive, but growing it can be.
The plants are different every day, and their needs change. You can name each one and give them the kind of personal attention a factory farmer never could.
Some days, the plants drink more. Other days you can almost watch them grow in real time. Pore over every detail of each seedling, making sure there’s no bugs, and they have enough light.
Now more than ever, you have the time. Plant a garden, and you will live in better rhythm with night and day, the seasons, the weather, and the soil.
Mental healthcare for the months to come
On the secret of life, French Enlightenment writer Voltaire once wrote, “Happiness lies in the cultivation of a garden.”
As I type this, over in the corner, underneath a windowsill, sit six Supreme Diesel seedlings (a mix of Jet Fuel Gelato and Sour Diesel, from Compound Genetics of Portland).
They bask in the weak winter light. Two compact fluorescent bulbs augment the sun. The seedlings’ stalks stretch to the light. Their first serrated leaves grow larger by the hour. One little girl needs help ditching her seed shell. A tiny gnat needs killing—bastard! One seed cup could use a little more soil. An hour just flies by.
Growing plants gives you something to look forward to. And, come on—we need something to look forward to right now.
When you pop new cannabis seeds, you can’t help but say a hopeful little prayer. Every gardener has a version of it, probably ever since man began agriculture.
To plant is to hope and keep faith with the cosmos. Hope for a fruitful future. Faith that it’ll happen. So many things remain beyond our control. Every gardener, no matter how agnostic, prays for sun, curses pests, and gives thanks at harvest.
Sowing seeds today is a physical, intentional way of saying: “There will be a tomorrow. The seasons will turn. The problems of now will not be forever. We will work through this. This too shall pass.”
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!