Outdoor marijuana cultivation guide
Before you can sow your marijuana seeds you must find a suitable location to grow your marijuana plants. The garden should be located in an area where people are unlikely to stumble across it. Try to grow your marijuana away from roads, trails, railroad tracks, power lines and any man made structures. Pricker bushes, mud, water and steep hills are all people deterrents. Growing near small pine trees also helps hide your marijuana plants in the fall when other plants are turning brown and marijuana remains green. Also, find out when and where hunters start to roam the woods in your area. Marijuana likes allot of sunlight. Your marijuana grow site should have at least three hours of direct sun every day. Marijuana will grow the fastest with around five hours of light every day. The less light the marijuana plant receives the slower the growth and smaller the yield. If there is less than three hours of direct light at the marijuana grow site then tin foil can be put around the marijuana plants to reflect more light on the leaves. If you are in a low light area this will make a big difference. Marijuana also seems to respond better to morning sunlight than afternoon sunlight. Keep this in mind when selecting a site.
Soil is obviously an important factor when determining a cannabis grow site. Marijuana likes a soil that drains well and has a pH of about 6.5. Soil should compact when you squeeze it and break apart easily when you poke it. Sand, perlite or vermiculite can be added to soils that drain poorly. The pH of the soil must also be kept around 6.5. If the pH is too extreme then the marijuana plant will not be able to absorb nutrients properly. Low pH also causes more male marijuana plants to develop. The pH can be raised by adding hydrated lime. The lime is slow acting so add it during the fall or at least one month before planting your marijuana. pH can be lowered by adding sodium bicarbonate to the soil. The level of the water table at the grow site is also important. If the water table is too high and the soil is too wet the roots will not receive enough oxygen and die. If the water table is too low then the soil will dry out quickly and you will have to water often. If the ground is too wet then the marijuana plants must be grown in pots. The larger the better. The pot should have a 1 inch | 2.5 cm layer of gravel for good drainage.
The rest of the pot should be filled with potting soil. A nearby source of fresh clean water is also helpful. If no water is available in the area for watering then large buckets or barrels should be partially buried. These will collect enough rainwater for watering. If you have to bring water to the grow site then do it at night and water the following morning. Watering at night or late evening will increase the chance of developing a mold problem. Any equipment needed for watering or garden maintenance should be left hidden at the site. Wild animals love to eat young marijuana plants and if you don’t want your marijuana plants to be food then you must keep them away. Human hair and blood works well. Hair from predator animals such as bears, foxes, lions and wolves also works well. If you would rather put up a fence then fishing line hung at 8 inches | 20 cm and 3 feet | 90 cm off the ground will stop deer. When the marijuana plants are small a drinking glass can be placed over them to act as a humidity tent and to keep rodents and deer out.
Humans have been cultivating marijuana for thousands of years and, as a result, hundreds of varieties are available to the marijuana grower. There are many commercial "seedbanks" that sell many award winning seed strains. Be sure to select a cannabis plant that will survive in the climate it is to be grown in. For example, a marijuana plant native to Jamaica [sativa], where the growing season is longer, will not be able to complete flowering in Canada. Know the date of the first expected frost and choose a variety that will be ready for harvest before then. If you are growing commercially then the yield per marijuana plant is also important. Different marijuana varieties have different yields. The biggest yielding marijuana plants are grown near the equator where the sun is much more intense and the growing season is longer. If these marijuana plants are chosen they may have to be finished in a greenhouse or you have to choose a marijuana variety that suits your weather circumstances.
Once you have your marijuana seeds and the grow site is ready you may begin sprouting the marijuana seeds. There are two methods to do this: planting the marijuana seeds in their permanent homes or sprouting [germinating] the marijuana seeds in paper towels and transplanting them to Jiffy-pots. If you choose to plant the marijuana seeds straight into their permanent homes then you only want to plant viable marijuana seeds. A good marijuana seed will not be cracked or deformed. The marijuana seed should not be green. A green marijuana seed is not fully mature. Each marijuana seed should be pressed by your thumb to make sure it is not cracked or weak. To plant the marijuana seeds take a pencil and stick the point ½ inch | 1.5 cm into the soil. Drop one marijuana seed into one hole. The marijuana seed should be covered loosely with dirt and watered with a 1/4 strength mix of high phosphorus [P] fertilizer. Mark where the cannabis seed was placed so you don’t forget. Give each marijuana seed 3 square feet | 90 cm of space. If they are given less when they turn into large marijuana plants they will crowd each other and growth will be stunted. It is very important not to let the soil dry out at this stage. When the surface feels dry water with distilled water.
The first stems and cotyledon will appear in about one week. Continue to water when the soil feels dry and after another week the first node of spiked leaves should appear. If you choose to sprout in paper towels then get a flat pan and cover it with three paper towels. Wet them thoroughly and spread the marijuana seeds out on the paper towel. Cover with another three paper towels and cover the whole deal with plastic wrap. Place the pan in a dark, warm place. Check daily for new sprouts and never let the towels dry out. Once the white root on a sprout is 1/4 inch | 1 cm in length then it can be placed in the Jiffy-pot. The Jiffy-pot should be filled with the same soil as the marijuana plant is to be grown in permanently. Stick a pencil point 3/4 inch | 2 cm into the soil. Plant the marijuana seedling with the white root facing down and cover loosely with dirt. Water with a high phosphorus [P] fertilizer at 1/4 and never let the soil dry out. Within a week the cotyledon will appear followed by the spiked leaves about one week after that.
Now the marijuana plants should be on their first or second node of spiked leaves. Fertilizer is not yet needed at this stage. Continue to water whenever the soil feels dry. Make sure your marijuana plants are protected from animals. Also, watch for and molds. Any marijuana plants with mold on them should be removed immediately. Be careful not to shake the plants because the mold spores will break off and effect other marijuana plants. If your are using Jiffy-pots transplant when the fourth set of spiked leaves appears. Simply place the plant Jiffy-pot and all into the soil. The pot will break down and allow passage of the roots. Once the marijuana plants have developed six or seven nodes they should be fertilized with a complete 20 | 20 | 20 fertilizer. Other combinations can be used, just make sure it contains all three macro-nutrients Nitrogen [N], Phosphorus [P] and Potassium [K]. The marijuana plants can also be sexed at this stage. To do this a piece of a black plastic garbage bag can be secured to the end of a branch using twist ties. Apply the bag so that the branch receives 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Example. On at 6pm off at 6am. Within three weeks the male marijuana plants will have what look like little balls forming on the branch. The females will have two tiny white hairs emerging from a immature calyx. The male marijuana plants can now be removed and you are guaranteed a crop of all female marijuana plants. Remove the plastic from the branch of the female marijuana plant and she will begin growing again.
By now the marijuana plants should be well established. Water when the soil feels dry around 3 inches | 7.5 cm deep. Spray light with insecticide and re-apply after it rains. The marijuana plants should be fertilized about every three to four weeks. If the marijuana plants receive enough light and gets all the nutrients and water it needs then it is not uncommon for them to grow up to 2 inches | 5 cm a day. Should symptoms of a deficiency arise, check the [Nutrient Table] for identification and a cure. Be careful not to over fertilize. The soil pH should be tested again at this time. It should be a little lower than it was before you planted. This is because most fertilizers lower the pH as they break down. It probably won’t be a problem but if the pH is below 6.2 then water with wood ashes until the pH is back up to 6.5. As the marijuana plant ages it’s roots become less and less effective at bringing nutrients to the marijuana plant. You may decide to start foliar feeding at this time, that is spraying a nutrient solution directly onto the leaves.
The leaves can absorb nutrients just as well as the roots can. If you do desire to foliar feed than back off the fertilizer to half strength. Get a good spray bottle and set it to the finest spray. Foliar feeding should be done between 5am and 9am when the leaves stomata are open. If it is done later than this than the stomata may not be open at all. The leaves should be misted with the nutrient solution. Do not drench the leaves. It is better to feed twice a week than drench the marijuana plants once every two weeks. The day after foliar feeding the leaves should be sprayed with water to wash off any unabsorbed nutrients from the leaves. Pruning may also be needed at this stage. Pruning the cannabis plants will promote branching and keep the marijuana plants shorter and harder to spot. Pruning may not be needed for some varieties. Other strains concentrate more growth around the stem and pruning may be needed to develop more marijuana bud producing branches. Some marijuana growers argue that pruning will stunt the marijuana plants growth and may even produce more males do to the stress of removing branches. However, pruning has shown itself to be a helpful technique in increasing yield and keeping marijuana plants short and out of sight. If you choose to prune use sharp, clean scissors to snip the branch. Where you cut the branch two new branches will grow from that point. Never take off more than 6 inches | 15 cm when pruning.
Flowering is triggered in marijuana when the length of uninterrupted darkness reaches a certain length. The actual time varies from marijuana plant to marijuana plant but a guideline is 12 hours light and 12 hours dark. Be careful if you visit your marijuana garden at night. Any light, even that from a weak flashlight will destroy the hormone that induces flowering and the marijuana plants will revert back to vegetative growth. If you must visit at night don’t use any light, or better, visit during the day. If you removed the male marijuana plants earlier than you have little more to do but wait. However if the male marijuana plants are still present than keep a close eye out for them. As soon as you can determine it’s sex, a male marijuana plant should be removed to keep it from pollinating the female marijuana plant. Once the male marijuana plants begin to appear it won’t be long before the female marijuana plants begin to show. Don’t spray with bug spray during the marijuana flowering time or you will taste it in the smoke. Also, fertilizing should be minimized or cut down to 1/4 strength. Marijuana plants use large amounts of phosphorus [P] during flowering so 15 | 30 | 15 fertilizing should be used at 1/4 strength if needed at all.
Now is the time when all the hard work pays off. By now the marijuana buds and resin should be forming at a rapid rate. The time to harvest the marijuana plant is when 3/4 of the white pistil hairs have turned brown. Use a magnifying glass to examine the resin crystals on the marijuana leaves. They should appear amber right before you cut the marijuana plants. If they are clear the resin has not reached full potency. If they are brown then the resin has already peaked and potency is declining rapidly. When you go to harvest bring back packs to carry the marijuana plants. Cut the branches off and place them in paper bags. Remove the large lower leaves right there because they are unsuitable for smoking. Try not to shake the marijuana plants too much because the resin glands will fall off. When the marijuana plants are home put them in rubbermaid containers and let them sit. Stir them around twice per day and check for mold. If mold appears take the marijuana plants out immediately and spread them out to dry. Keep the buds in the dark. Light degrades THC. After about three weeks the marijuana buds should be taken out and the leaves should be removed except for the ones with lots of resin. Place the almost dry cannabis buds in some newspaper and put them in a warm dry place. After a week the stems should be brittle enough to snap with your fingers. Now the marijuana should be totally dry and ready to smoke!