Chapter 3: Outdoor Marijuana Growing
In growing marijuana, the first rule that you need to keep in mind is to avoid any discussions about marijuana cultivation. Even if you feel close with your neighbor, bank teller, or an acquaintance, don’t say anything about it. Those people may have a different view regarding the practice of growing marijuana. It is only natural for any gardener to boast about their current exploits, but it is dangerous when the plant that they are cultivating happens to fall in the category of illegal substance as the law sees it.
If you have decided to grow your marijuana indoors and your grow room has a window, it would be difficult to conceal the marijuana plants unless you have a tinted window. At night, it would be risky to leave your grow lights on because someone may see it and suspect that you have something illicit going on. You can avoid prying eyes if you have a blackout curtain to cover your window all the time while growing your marijuana. Blackout curtains can effectively block any outside light and make the flowering period goes by without trouble.
There are times when your marijuana plants will give off a distinctive smell, which can only be associated with cannabis. The relatively strong scent coming out of an open window may alert your neighbors and become suspicious, especially those that are familiar with marijuana. Make sure to keep the window closed and install fans inside the room and arrange it in such a way that they can keep the odor from going out.
Many marijuana growers prefer to disseminate the seeds outdoors. Doing so can make the marijuana emit a better smoke, which recreational users find more satisfying. Moreover, it is best to grow the plants in their natural environment and make them propagate freely. Most of the things that your plants need to grow can be generously provided by nature. While indoor growing can give you a lot of control, outdoor growing gives the plants the freedom to flourish and yield better harvest.
However, the primary disadvantage of growing marijuana outdoor is that you won’t be able to conceal it from prying eyes. If you live in a residential area with so many neighbors, you may be able to grow your marijuana plants in your backyard. But, you may find it difficult to keep a discreet operation and you may also feel paranoid all the time. There is also a chance of being caught and the penalties could be severe. It is important to keep a low profile and do not perk the interest of your neighbors.
If you own a wooded or secluded land, then you could grow your own marijuana plants without so much worry. It is best if you have a ranchland and actually live there or you have free access to someone’s ranchland. You could successfully grow marijuana outdoors with little to no interruptions. Taking residence near your precious plants can be viewed as the most ideal way to grow them. That way, you can immediately check your plants whenever necessary and without being afraid that someone might be spying on you. It is also easy to avoid the fuss of dealing with thieves who are trying to steal your precious buds.
Unfortunately, not many people have access to a secluded private land that wouldn’t rouse suspicion from anyone, especially the law enforcement agencies. Marijuana growers who want to obtain the best bud choose to employ a system called “guerrilla farming.” To do this type of farming, you need to go to public lands that you think won’t incite suspicions when you grow your marijuana plants. Choose the area that no one dares to visit. There are risks that you must be prepared to face when you choose this system of gardening. Someone who may accidentally stumble upon your marijuana garden may alert the authorities. It is common for law enforcement to investigate many public lands using slow-flying planes or helicopters. The police have infrared devices that can easily detect foliage irregularities. If you have chosen an open spot for your garden, your plants are clearly visible from above. Anyone flying by can easily spot it. If you have decided to plant your marijuana underneath the dense foliage, you may just be able to conceal it from plain view because the marijuana can blend in with the rest of the shrubs and trees in the area.
Advantages of Growing Outdoors
This is perhaps one of the best advantages in growing outdoors. If you’re growing in a public place, the possibility of the plants ever being traced back to you is low. Even if growing indoors feels more convenient, it also carries some risks with it. If you’re growing in your apartment or anywhere on your property, there’s nothing you can do when it is discovered.
Outdoor cannabis plants produce more than indoor growing. While you have better control over external environmental differences, the plants cultivated indoors will never grow to the size of those grown outdoors. The plants grown outdoors can double the size of the plants with about half as much energy as if you grew them indoors. For newbies, it is advisable to grow outdoors as growing indoors requires a lot of time, expertise and money. In perfect conditions, you can expect harvests to extend to 500 grams or 17.5 oz of marijuana for one plant.
Indoor cultivation requires a lot of funds to create that perfect condition to start growing. You will have to buy equipment, lighting and air systems as well as measuring tools. None of these are cheap at all. You even have to designate an entire room (or two entire rooms) to successfully grow healthy plants. Growing outdoors means your expenses are just for marijuana seeds, for fertilizers and a few things to use for seed germination. Provided that you have a good planting area, growing outdoors is relatively cheaper than creating a decent setup indoors.
Improve the Quality of Your Buds
Growing your own cannabis plant is more than just the gratification of having a lovely plant to look at. There is a specific purpose in doing so, and that is to have access to a great product and accomplish a great high. All time, effort, funds and materials will all factor in to a good quality weed. Since you are growing your own, you have complete control over its quality. You know you’re using a good product since you have supervised its growth from the start to end. You probably are well aware that when you buy weed from others, they don’t usually have the highest quality. The bags are often lighter than advertised or have been filled with too many leaves and stems. It looks like a dull brown color, which is harsh to smoke that could easily provide a major headache instead of a great high. These products have been picked and dried in a way that makes it lose its purple and normal green combination of colors. Marijuana like these are not worth your money. On the other hand, the marijuana you personally cultivated is a guarantee of satisfaction.
When you have decided to grow marijuana outdoors, find a place with a good soil. However, not all kinds of dirt are ideal for planting marijuana. Before planting the marijuana, test the soil to find out if it is the right soil for your plant. You need to conduct a pH test to determine whether the soil has too much alkaline or too acidic. If the pH test shows that the soil is too acidic or with high alkaline, you may just as well look for a new location. You can also try infusing the soil with fertilizers and nutrients.
Most growers prefer compost as natural fertilizer. Any organic material can be used as compost. You can collect pet droppings, fruit peels, leaves, and even rotten vegetables. In a few months, you’ll have a good natural fertilizer that is nutrient-rich. To create compost, you need to wait for the organic materials to decay. You can use a makeshift compost bin where you collect the things you need. You can also make an open compost bin so it would be easy to turn the materials that you have collected.
If you don’t want to trouble yourself so much, you can always buy fertilizers from the store. Your best option is a fertilizer with NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) ratio of around 5:1:1. In most of the plant’s growing years, the ideal choice is a fertilizer that contains more nitrogen than the other two nutrients. When it is already flowering, choose the fertilizer with more phosphorous.
If you choose guerrilla farming, then you don’t have such options at your disposal. You don’t have the liberty to create a more workable soil for your plants. You’ll just have to be content with the kind of soil that you have for your guerilla farming. You can’t risk hiking in your fertilizer to your garden to avoid suspicions. You don’t want anyone to know that you are growing something out there.
Sowing the Seeds
Many marijuana growers prefer to plant their seeds in rows. There’s no need to bury the seeds deep into the soil. Some growers just scatter the seeds on top of the soil and let them germinate. The random seeding is known as broadcast seeding.
Perhaps using mounds or hills may prove to be a more effective way to plant the seeds. Planting on top of small mounds can give you the liberty to plant outdoors and even if the soil is wet. The water in the soil will naturally go down the mound so that the seed won’t get soaked in water. When you choose either the hill or row option, always make sure that the seeds are covered with adequate amount of soil so they can retain the moisture.
Most guerilla farmers choose the broadcast seeding method to prevent any suspicions from arising. It is also a lot easier to do. If you spend hours in arranging your rows or mounds, there is a huge possibility that someone may see you tending your garden. It is also rare to see rows of well-arranged plants in the wild. If your plants are neatly arranged in rows or they are all planted nicely on top of a small mound or hill, passersby (on ground or air) may notice something odd about the whole thing. Scattering the seeds around will definitely give off a more natural feel that won’t leave any room for suspicions.
Unfortunately, broadcast seeding won’t guarantee that the seeds will germinate properly. To make sure that they will germinate, put a layer of soil over the seeds and gently push them into the soil using your foot. If you use broadcast seeding, expect that many seeds will fail to germinate or will eventually die after turning into seedlings. To get the target number of seedlings, you need to use large quantities of seeds for broadcast seeding. That way, you can be certain that you will be able to germinate and grow a number of plants.
The seeds need moisture to germinate properly – be it indoor or outdoor. Adding too much water can harm the seeds. To germinate properly, the seeds only need to keep a bit of moisture. That’s why planting the seeds using small mounds are highly recommended because planting them in such fashion can help them retain the needed moisture without getting soaked.
There are times when the conditions outside are not conducive to germination. If the area in which you live in has a temperature that remains relatively low, then you may need to choose indoor germination. To accomplish this, you need to follow the instructions stated in the indoor growing section of this e-book. You can only transplant the seedlings once the weather becomes suitable for the seedlings to grow outdoors.
It may be pointless to transplant the seedlings to a secluded public land if you want to practice guerilla farming. There’s a strong possibility that the plants won’t be able to survive the transplant due to all the stress that they should bear. It is also possible that someone might see you because it may take more than one trip just to transplant all your seedlings. You also need to do some work to make sure that your plants are positioned correctly. Guerilla farmers may find the entire germination process difficult, especially when there’s no reliable source of water in the area. The soil must retain moisture so the seeds can germinate.
It is also important to keep the area weed-free as the seeds start to germinate. Don’t use a weed killer because it might affect the growth of your seedlings. The weeds take up a lot of water and nutrients that are meant for your plants, that’s why you need to pull them out quickly. Using chemicals to kill the weeds will only bring harm to your plants and they may not grow nice and healthy. Before planting in a certain area, make sure that you pull out any weeds to avoid trouble.
The great benefit of planting outdoors is that you don’t really need to worry about giving your plants sufficient light because the sun can easily provide it for them. Nothing is better than the sun as a source of light and it helps the plants get their food naturally.
Your plants may experience shock when you transfer them from indoor to outdoor due to the intensity of the light. This practice is not advisable if you want to start or convert to outdoor growing. The plants that you cultivate indoors may lose their vigor and vitality when transferred outside. It is also possible that your plants would die. It is different if you sowed the seeds outdoors under the bright light.
You may be facing a huge problem if there’s something blocking your source of light. Your plants won’t be able to absorb the amount of light they need to grow well. If your plants are planted in a cloudy area, your plants may not receive the right amount of light from the sun. What you can do is bring the plants indoors during the night and put them under artificial lights so they can still get the full amount of light that they need within the day.
If you have chosen a forested area for your guerrilla farming, your plants might not get sufficient light because their source of light may get blocked by the taller trees in the area. The trees may be able to provide excellent cover and security for your plants and hide them from potential onlookers, but they may also limit the amount of light that the plants must receive. It is difficult to transplant them once they have established their roots in the ground. You can only get satisfied with the limited amount of light. You can clear some cover to let some more light penetrate your garden.
If you choose to plant on a mountain slope, make sure to do your planting on the south side of the mountain when you are in the northern hemisphere. The sun goes from east to west in such area and usually stays in the southern half of the sky. If your plants are on the southern slope of the mountain, they will surely get the most sunlight throughout the day.
Watering your outdoor marijuana plants can be quite tricky, especially if you really need to water them regularly to get sufficient supply of water. During the early stages, your plants may not need much water. They will certainly demand for more water when they reached their vegetative growth. As they grow even more, they also need more water. Large adult plants can absorb up to a gallon of water in a day. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to pour a gallon of water every day. The soil has retained some of the water from the previous day and when it rained.
If you planted your marijuana plants in a private land that you can easily access, then you can use some techniques to get water to your plants. For example, you can transport some water to the grow site. Prepare some barrels to hold the water for storage. You can use the stored water onto your plants when needed. You can refill the barrels when you see that it is time to do so. Don’t dump the water to your plants all at once, that’s why it is best to have a large container to store the water.
You can also set up a drip method of watering. This method allows the growers to avoid watering the plants every day while keeping the soil moist all the time. The drip method gives continuous supply of water without flooding the plants.
If you can find a piece of land where cannabis can grow naturally without the need of giving it water every day, then it is much better. This is the most ideal land for guerrilla farmers who got no time to check on their plants daily. If you are a guerrilla farmer who lives in a hot and dry area, then you need to keep a close watch on the plants. Bringing water to your plants may be tedious and difficult. It is better if you can find a nearby water source that can give constant supply of water.
Plants that don’t get enough water will soon wither and die. Take special care on watering your plants during summer or when the weather becomes hot. Check if your plants are getting enough water by digging 6 inches into the soil. Be careful not to cut any major roots of your plants. See whether the soil is still cool and moist. If it is, then your plants should be fine.
Once every couple of weeks, you can also water your plants with a nutrient solution. Your nutrient solution should have a higher concentration of nitrogen than phosphorous and potassium. When your plants are already flowering, use a solution that is higher in phosphorous. It should be done at a time when you need to water the plants.
Temperature is one of the major factors that you need to consider when planting outdoors. If there are some issues with the weather and you have an outdoor garden, there’s nothing much you can do to keep your plants warm enough or cool enough. If your plants are still in pots, you can move the pots indoors to give your plants the right temperature they need. The moment the outside temperature turns particularly hot, the roots of your plants may practically “boil” in the soil. Keep them cool with extra water to help ensure that the plants won’t lose their vigor.
Your plants must deal with numerous weather problems when planted outdoors. Wind, rain, snow, and other weather issues can pose problems that can hurt your plants. For the most part, strong winds won’t leave much devastating effects on healthy cannabis plants. They typically grow firm and robust stalks that won’t need any support to keep them standing. It is true that the strong winds may cause some miniature cracks in the stalks. However, healthy plants can easily heal themselves.
It is different when the plants are suffering from nutrient deficiencies. They may encounter some difficulties recuperating. This is also true if they have heavy tops that are susceptible to stalk bending. In such case, you may want to stake the plants to avoid irreparable damage. If you know that a storm is approaching, it is advisable to give external support to your weakest plants to mitigate the possible damage that the storm may bring. All you need to do is put a stake about six inches from the base of the plant. Tie the plant and the stake together using wire twists or string. Make sure to do it gently.
A guerrilla farmer who plans to plant on the side of a mountain must not choose a slope that is prone to mudslides. If you can’t tell whether the area is prone to mudslides or not, choose another location instead of taking a great risk.
In terms of best air quality, nothing will be able to provide it better than the great outdoors. Your plants will surely savor fresh air all the time and they can get plenty of carbon dioxide to stay healthy.
Flowering outdoors will require not much intervention from the grower. Most plants automatically adjust to the changes in the daylight hours and start the flowering process. Daytime will naturally begin to get shorter and that will trigger the plants to start flowering organically.
For some growers, such circumstance is not something ideal. Some growers don’t want their plants to begin flowering and there are times when they want them to begin at a much earlier time. For example, when the weather remains nice and you want to take advantage of the vegetative growth of your plants, then you will naturally wish to delay your plant’s flowering for as long as you can. If the news said that the weather will soon become exceptionally cold that the plants may not be able to survive, then you need to do everything in your power to make your plants start flowering sooner than they should.
For growers that can easily access their plants, both options are possible. If you want to delay the flowering of your plants, then you need to keep them under a light at night to simulate daytime. You can shine a high-powered flashlight on the plants for ten minutes every two or more hours. Such move can adequately mess with the natural tendency of the plants to start flowering. They will keep their vegetative growth for the time being.
If the weather starts to get cold early in the place you live in, it is best to make your plants start flowering as early as you can. The task is especially challenging if you have outdoor plants. You need to get 12 hours of darkness to induce flowering. If daytime is longer in your area, then you need to create artificial darkness to force the plants to start flowering soon. You can use a polyethylene sheet to block out the light that the sun emits. Keep in mind that you need to achieve 12 hours of darkness to accomplish your goal. After doing it for about 1 to 2 weeks, the plants should start flowering and you can start harvesting.
When it comes to flowering period manipulation, most guerrilla farmers won’t be as lucky. They will remain at the mercy of the weather in their chosen plantation location. All they can do is rely on nature to give them a good harvest.
Pests and Problems
It is true that plants in the outdoor garden must deal with pests much harder than the plants planted indoors. You can easily detect the pests that try to bring harm to your plants and get rid of them yourself. Also, the number of pests that may invade your garden is comparatively few against the number of pests that may likely invade an outdoor garden. Nature may have provided many predators to get rid of unwelcome visitors for your outdoor plants, but they may not always work right away. The natural predators of the different pests may not always be around to protect your plants. A few insects may enjoy munching leaves of your cannabis plants for a long time because their natural predator isn’t around. It is unlikely for a predator to always lurk in your outdoor garden to wait for its prey.
Spider mites, mealy bugs, whiteflies, and aphids are the common pests that many growers must deal with almost every day. The said pests are present in both indoor and outdoor gardens. When the plants are still young and not yet fully developed, they are still in their critical period and highly in danger. A single attack from a group of mites could cause some irreparable damage to the seedling.
As the plant ages, it will start to adapt to the environment and become less susceptible to insect attacks. The said insects will be handled by their natural predators and spare the plant from incurring much damage.
The THC in marijuana is supposed to act as a repellent, yet it sometimes fail in getting rid of certain insects. Several outdoor growers are relying on companion planting to repel any pests. In general, you need to put the companion plants near the marijuana plants. The most effective companion plants of marijuana are those that have strong scents like mints, spices, and herbs.
Garlic is probably the best companion plant because it can repel a wide range of pests. Aphids, potato bugs, spider mites, assorted types of beetles, and a wide array of other pests are easily repelled by garlic. Even rabbits will be put off by the scent of garlic.
Mints are particularly reliable at stopping flea beetles, especially if you have a large infestation of them. Mints also repel a wide selection of other insects and even mice.
Marigolds and geraniums can also be scattered in between your garden to give a larger range of protection. You can plant geraniums in pots so you can eliminate the hassle of planting them in the soil. Marigolds usually produce a strong scent and they can easily propagate in a matter of days.
You can buy the natural predators of the pests that frequent your marijuana garden and place them in your plantation. Other insects, such as ladybugs, have no interest in munching marijuana leaves, but they have a huge appetite for aphids and insect eggs. The praying mantises and lacewings can also provide you with a natural way to get rid of pests. You can buy all of these at outdoor shops.
Several birds like robins, blue jays, chickadees, martins, and others are adept predators of marijuana pests. To naturally attract these birds, some growers prepared pools of water, bird houses, and feeders. You can also let a few chickens or ducks to roam around your garden to take care of some pests and weeds for you. Other insect predators include snakes, frogs, turtles, toads, and lizards.
Many gardeners use some ingenious homemade sprays or other remarkable solutions that are quite effective. You can use a concoction of regular soap and liquid garlic extract. You can choose to add onions, cayenne peppers, or almost anything that is pungent enough to repel the different pests and at the same time won’t harm your marijuana plant.
If you are looking for a cheap solution, you can just stomp on the bugs or pinch them to death. It is advisable to do this during the early morning when the bugs are moving much slower than they normally do. It also gives you something to do to start moving your body and begin your day right.
The majority of growers place barriers around their garden. This method is quite effective for guerrilla farming because it is hard to notice and it can keep the critters off of your garden. It is also easy to prepare. All you need to do is put a barrier about 6 feet away from your garden using powdered potash or wood ash. You can also sprinkle some wood ash on the leaves of your marijuana plant to keep flying bugs off of your plants.
However, insects are not the only pests that can bring trouble to your garden. This is particularly true if you dwell in an area that has a huge population of omnivorous or herbivorous birds or mammals. Rodents, cows, deer, and other mammals can easily find their way to your marijuana plants. When the plants are young, they can easily attract some animals to come by and virtually destroy the plants. As the plants age, they no longer attract the critters and somehow eliminated some of the pests.
For huge mammals, the best barrier is an equally large fence. However, many growers simply can’t find the time to build a fence. There are growers who choose to just force those mammals away from their crop. There are growers who use the urine of certain predators to fend off the troublemakers. There are stores that sell the urine of different predators to scare the troublemakers. If a group of deer frequently visits your garden to mess it, then you may want to consider buying some bear urine and pour it around the plants as if creating a perimeter fence. When the scent reached the deer’s nose, it will inherently want to stay away from the area because it recognized the smell of its predator. If it wants to save its dear life, then it is best to stay away from the area where its predator seems to stay. This method also works well with smaller mammals. As long as the critters smell the urine of their main predators, they will surely keep away. Many outdoor shops sell these repellents.
In general, birds are not much of a threat to any plants. However, it is different when you have just sown the seeds. Starlings, sparrows, crows, and other birds may pilfer the seeds. It would be impossible to germinate the seeds when these birds discover them. You can use a plastic netting to prevent these birds from plundering your seeds. You can also try putting a scarecrow to shoo away the birds. The birds are not fond of munching on marijuana leaves, but they love to crack some beetle to eat. It would be best if they choose to make a nest in your garden and take care of the bugs for you.
The huge difference between growing indoors and outdoors is that the plants in the open area are exposed to anyone who happens to pass by. There is a huge possibility for thieves and law enforcement to discover your marijuana plantation, which is not good either way. The surefire method to really prevent your marijuana plants from being discovered is to meticulously cover your tracks.
If you are a guerilla farmer, find a suitable place that would be difficult to trace by land or air. Find an area where your fly-bys are rare or practically non-existent. Also, be cautious and choose a garden in an area that is not visible from walking paths or any trails. Even a random person could report your crop to the authorities. Even if you don’t get caught, you will still lose your plants and may never have a chance to return to your garden. It is prudent to be as secretive as possible and try to avoid the range of sight of any onlookers when you visit your garden. Find a place that is secluded but can be reached without much difficulty. That way, you will be able to take care of your plants and get a good harvest.
It is advisable to take different routes (when possible) when you need to visit your garden to avoid creating a sort of path or clearing, which others may trace. Even an amateur tracker will surely discover the path and may even try to follow the trail and uncover something big for the law enforcement agencies. Worse comes to worse, a group of thieves might discover the path and harvest everything for you without leaving anything, not even a word of thanks.
It is also wise to exit the garden using a different path from the one you used to enter it. Always keep a map of the land handy in case you lost your way. Try accessing the public land from inconspicuous places like the ones that don’t have trails.
Prune and trim your plants so they don’t rouse suspicions from passersby and neighbors. Plants that are grown outdoors often grow to incredible heights that can make them clearly visible to almost anyone.
There are growers who have considered cultivating their crop on the adjacent land owned by someone else. For example, if you live next to a private land without anyone tending it, you may want to consider growing your crop there. The only problem is when the owner suddenly pays a visit and sees your marijuana garden. He could either report it to the authorities or keep the garden as if he was the one who planted the seeds. If you will try to claim it, the owner of the land might sue you for trespassing and let the authorities take care of you.
Always keep in mind that you should never discuss about growing marijuana to anyone. Even if your plants are in a heavily secluded area that is impossible to find, don’t speak about it to any soul.