A new grower might think that growing cannabis outdoors is expensive and complicated. Fortunately for you, this is not the case. The truth is, you can grow marijuana in your garden like any other plant. However, though growing cannabis outdoors is far easier than growing indoors, you will still need to set up an outdoor gardening setup. So, assuming you already have your cannabis seeds, our best outdoor grow setup for cannabis guide will help you plan and establish an outdoor garden, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced weed grower.
- 1 Can You Grow Cannabis Outdoors?
- 2 Best Outdoor Grow Setup for Cannabis
- 3 What Are the Main Grow Media for Cannabis?
- 4 Growing Marijuana Outdoors vs. Indoors: Differences
- 5 What Are the Outdoor Grow Setup Requirements?
- 6 What Are the Benefits of Growing Cannabis Outdoors?
- 7 Factors to Consider Before Selecting the Best Growing Spot
Can You Grow Cannabis Outdoors?
Yes, you can grow cannabis plants outside. Cannabis is commonly grown indoors and outdoors, depending on where you live and the general climate. Nonetheless, since marijuana plants flourish in a natural setting, it usually requires fewer tools and accessories when grown outside rather than inside. The first critical factor to consider is whether or not you can legally grow weed outdoors. This will depend on where you reside and how many plants you intend to grow, but we will discuss this later in the post.
Now that we know you can grow marijuana outdoors let’s check out the best outdoor grow setup.
Best Outdoor Grow Setup for Cannabis
1. Grow lights
Although outdoor plants rely on sunlight, there are times when grow lights are required. For instance.
- When the weather is not favorable
- When growing in the offseason
- When the sun sets earlier than normal, you must extend the lighting time, especially during the vegetative stage.
In such cases, you can invest and learn how to hang grow lights and ensure they have the following characteristics;
- Full-spectrum lights offer the plant everything the sun would at all growth phases.
- UL approved, making them safe and of good quality.
- Resistant to fire
- Have daisy chains feature allowing numerous lights to be tied together
- Have a strong penetrating power
When looking for the best soil for cannabis plants, check for the following characteristics:
- Excellent drainage capabilities
- Good water retention capacity
- PH values ranging from 5.8 to 6.3
- Contain worm casting, compost, or bat guano
- High quantities of oxygen
i). Silty soil
Silty soil is one of the best growing mediums. It’s usually easy to work, retains moisture quickly, drains well, and is high in nutrients. The ideal silty soil is dark, crumbly loam—it is fertile and won’t require any soil amendments.
ii). Clay soil
Clay soils usually drain slowly and don’t retain oxygen well, so it requires extensive amendments. Dig huge holes for your weed plants a few weeks before planting and fill them with large volumes of compost, worm castings, manure, or other decomposed organic materials. This provides drainage, aeration, and nutrients to your plants.
iii). Sandy soil
Sandy soil usually drains well, warms rapidly and is easy to work; however, it does not retain nutrients well, particularly in rainy areas. Therefore, you will want to dig wide holes for your plants and add compost, coco coir, or peat moss to help bind the soil together. In warmer areas, mulch the soil to help with water retention and protect roots from becoming too hot.
iv). Loam soil
Although some plants usually thrive in their native soils—one of the compositions described above, marijuana plants thrive in a mixture of the three compositions listed above—this mixture is referred to as loam. Conversely, touching loamy soil is the easiest method to identify it. The texture, how does it feel?
Clay soil should compact into a tight, non-crumbling, while sandy soil should be hard to compact. Subsequently, loamy soils should compact to a loose ball that holds its shape briefly before falling apart in huge parts when squeezed.
Besides, you can invest in pre-packaged potting soil since it comes with beneficial mycorrhizal fungi and microbes for healthy root growth, resulting in stronger marijuana plants with larger yields.
3. Grow container
If you don’t have good soil, you might need to grow all of your marijuana plants in pots. Also, containers might be your only option for growing weed outdoors if you cannot undertake the heavy labor required to dig holes and adjust soil. If you don’t have enough land for a garden, you can place containers on decks, rooftops, patios, and other surfaces. Besides, you may move them around during the day to take advantage of the sun or protect them from extreme heat or too much wind.
Nonetheless, plants grown in pots, barrels, or buckets tend to be smaller than those planted in the ground since root development is limited to the size of the container. Generally, the grow pot size determines the size of the weed plant, though you can grow larger plants in small pots with suitable practices.
4. Grow room
To create a grow room, you’ll need to buy fiberglass, glass, or plastic and start from scratch. Otherwise, an already made grow house. A grow house is ideal for keeping your cannabis warm and properly ventilated. In addition, it protects your plants from elements such as wind, rain, and snow. The grow house is simple to assemble and features hooks and ropes. The best grow house model is of high-quality materials and rust-resistant metal tubes. Besides, they’re large enough to fit 12 wired shelves while still leaving room for gardening tools. Plus, the cover is UV-resistant, waterproof, and incredibly sturdy.
Moreover, oscillating exhaust fans will help maintain correct grow room humidity levels, keeping diseases and pests at bay. Besides, maintaining appropriate temperatures on hot, bright sunny days is critical for plant growth. You can invest in the best oscillating fan for outdoor grow rooms with the following characteristics;
- Energy-saving and powerful
- Suitable for medium to large spaces
- Features easy-to-use remote control
- Works quietly
- Features three power settings allow you to adjust the cooling in your space by selecting the variable, breeze, or constant options.
What Are the Main Grow Media for Cannabis?
When designing the best outdoor grow setup, consider growing media. Based on the three grow media we discussed above, let’s check out three setups.
1. Direct planting in the ground
For new cannabis growers, the best outdoor grow setup is to plant cannabis directly in the ground or a raised bed. Besides being the easiest setup, it’s the cheapest and least time-consuming way when you learn how to grow weed at home.
Furthermore, there is not much to this grow setup as long as you have the correct temperature and soil rich in nutrients. First, however, you have to spend time researching the outdoor environment and how effectively it can support cannabis growth. After that, if your environment meets all of cannabis’ requirements, you’ll have an easy time.
2. Planting in pots
Growing marijuana plants in pots gives you the freedom to move your plants, especially if you are a beginner and do not know what to expect. Most of us live in climates that can support outdoor cannabis growing, but it may not be ideal in other ways.
Your area may experience harsh weather, or you may have trees or shade blocking natural sunlight access, among other things. So, consider growing marijuana in a movable media when your surroundings aren’t optimum.
You can make super soil and compost tea for this setup for great yields. This usually keeps things organic, and many outdoor growers feel that combining super soil with compost tea produces the best-tasting weed. Another advantage of this setup is that you can start your plants indoors while there is a danger of frost.
Though this is the most advanced climate control grow setup, it’s less costly and work-demanding than growing indoors; thus, it is still beginner-friendly. This system is ideal for severe rain, low humidity, harsh temperatures, and other conditions. When your climate has significant challenges that need the use of a greenhouse, Hydroponics is an excellent solution since they need an enclosure to keep the rain out.
Conversely, it takes a bit more effort to set up a hydro system, though the results are unrivaled — and you can go back to bottled nutrients for hydro, which eliminates the need to make your fertilizer. Furthermore, the setup allows you the most control over plants to adjust humidity, watering, and even temperatures, though it will take more monitoring and maintenance.
Growing Marijuana Outdoors vs. Indoors: Differences
Growing weed outdoors means the plants will have more space to grow, more sunlight, free water from rains, and better ventilation, and you will have the delight of farming in the elements. However, growing outdoors presents several challenges, including pest insects, heat waves, bigger predators, and cold snaps.
Conversely, growing marijuana plants indoors provides additional shelter, and growers have total control over the growing environment. They can modify the temperature and humidity conditions, and their plants are more hidden. However, indoor growers often have less area, less potential for large harvests, and spend money on power costs to run their setup.
What Are the Outdoor Grow Setup Requirements?
When growing cannabis outdoors, you must ensure that your setup meets the vital demands of your plants. Conversely, you can either rely on what Mother Nature provides or take control of them yourself using the equipment.
1. Grow media
You need to plant your cannabis somewhere, and you have three options: potted in soil, directly in the ground, or Hydroponics. Planting directly in the ground is an easy approach for newbies to get started if you have rich soil and enough sunlight. However, if your soil or sunlight conditions are poor, planting in a pot/container with either homemade soil or premix soil is typically a preferable option since you can move plants around. Conversely, setting up a hydroponic system may help plants grow quicker, conserve water, and keep insects off plants.
Outdoor plants grow and thrive in as much direct sunlight as possible. Besides, early-season plants require at least 5-6 hours of direct sunshine and 10 hours of darkness. Later in the season, when the plants begin to flower, they will require at least 5-6 hours of direct sunshine and at least 10 hours of darkness. Autoflowering strains are distinct and grow best when given as much light as possible.
Cannabis plants usually thrive in low to moderate rainfall or about a gallon per pound of processed flower each day. Therefore, avoid growing weed outdoors in areas with much-standing water, and ensure to water if there is a drought.
You may feed your young cannabis plants in two ways: organic fertilizers or synthetic fertilizers. Weed plants have no preference as long as they receive the proper nutritional ratio. However, buying prepared “bottled” fertilizer is easier, needs less labor, and you may sometimes locate organic bottled fertilizers.
5. Air circulation
Your marijuana play requires constant air circulation to develop tough stems that withstand harsh weather and insects and protect your colas from dropping to the ground. However, excessive wind can cause windburn and a variety of other problems. Therefore, place your plants where they will have regular access to what you would consider a pleasant breeze.
6. Temperature & humidity
Plants prefer temperatures of 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels of more than 60% during the earlier stages. However, when growing marijuana plants get to the flowering stage, they prefer temperatures ranging from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels of less than 50%. Building a greenhouse is an excellent solution if your area’s temperatures and humidity are far outside the ideal range.
What Are the Benefits of Growing Cannabis Outdoors?
1. Low costs
You won’t spend much money on outdoor growing since your marijuana plant will depend on the sun’s power. You will need soil, seeds or clones, fertilizer, and a small greenhouse to get them started. You won’t have to spend on electricity to power lights, dehumidifiers or air conditioners, and you can also collect rainwater. Therefore, since you will be using natural light from the sun, your electricity expenditures will reduce.
Indoor grows may be wasteful, consuming a large amount of electricity to operate all fans, lights, and other equipment. The wind and sun are both free.
3. Large yields
With outdoor cannabis plants, the sky is the limit—they can grow as large and tall as you like as far as they are manageable. One plant can produce between a half-pound and a full pound of dried cannabis. Therefore, growing a few hands for oneself is more than sufficient. Besides, indoor growers have limited space to grow larger plants.
4. It’s great and relaxing.
Growing outdoors has a therapeutic effect that you can’t ignore. It’s calming to spend your time outside, roll-up sleeves, and get your hands dirty for a while. Besides, nothing beats smoking, something you’ve grown yourself.
Factors to Consider Before Selecting the Best Growing Spot
1. Outdoor grow space types.
Some growers usually plant their weed in containers hidden on rooftops or balconies, while others make heavy-gauge wire cages to keep animals at bay. Whatever you choose, consider how big you want your weed plant to be—outdoor marijuana plants may grow 10 feet tall or more, depending on how much space you provide them.
- Garden plot: This grow space is the most common outdoor growing location. You can grow your cannabis plants alongside other plants.
- Rooftop: This can be ideal since your plant will get enough sunlight; however, it may be too windy.
- Balcony: This can be a great grow spot if it gets enough light. Nonetheless, you might need to cover your balcony from nosy neighbors.
Although outdoor plants receive rain, they might face drought conditions. And since watering an entire marijuana garden or greenhouse might be difficult, installing an irrigation system makes it quite easy.
Besides, plants in guerrilla growing areas are usually neglected more than those grown near your home. Therefore, go for a spot near the water source to avoid transporting heavy water containers to your plant location.
Cannabis plants require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. So, if your backyard doesn’t get direct sunlight, it may not be ideal for growing your weed. Your weed plants should get as much sunlight as possible, especially during the noon hours when the light quality is optimal. And as the season changes, your plants will receive less sunshine during the day, causing the flowering stage to start.
4. Light pollution
Before considering the growing spot, pay attention to the light pollution. Too much light pollution from street lights may cause the weed to remain in a vegetative state. However, if you face these conditions, consider auto-flowering varieties of weed. These varieties usually grow quickly and do not require a specific light cycle to start and sustain flowering.
5. Wind damage
If you choose to grow your weed on rooftops, balconies or in open gardens, consider installing fences and barriers if you live in a windy area. Besides, if you intend to mulch, use thicker substrates anchored with pebbles rather than sawdust and straw.
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