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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Grow Tip - Outdoor Grow - by Kathy Hess

It’s that time of year again.  Spring.  It’s when the most dutiful of gardeners will begin prepping for the growing season to come, if said gardeners have not already planted some of their gardens outdoors.  Many cannabis growers will be moving healthy and approved clones to the wilds of outdoor growing.

The savings in energy costs are monumental with outdoor grows.  As long as your cannabis plants are getting 5-6 hours of direct light (absolutely no shade) they can grow to be big and gorgeous, flowering beauties.  Direct sunlight from April through October is the equivalent of using 2000 watt HSP bulbs, without those high electric bills.

Also be sure to enclose your cannabis grow according to local and state laws and ordinances.  You don’t want human like pests damaging/confiscating your harvest.

However growing outdoors does bring about a whole other set of troubles that indoor grow operations are free from worrying about.  You have a lot less (to no) control over all other environmental factors that could affect your girls.
Rogue Pollen (Bursts Pollen sacks) – Pollen from rogue male plants or hemp can pollinate you female flowers. Although this is a difficult problem to avoid, there are measures you can take. June and July are when pollen levels are at their highest, so plant with the intention of flowering in August. Keep a close eye on the wind direction, and read pollen reports that are easily found online.

Pests – Check your plants regularly for any damage from pests. Caterpillars, slugs and snails can eat away at your plant. Attracting birds to your grow using bird feeders will provide it with some natural caretakers.  You might also consider introducing beneficial bugs to your garden.  Lady bugs (which help keep aphids and mites at bay) and praying mantis (keeping your larger leaf eating pest numbers down) are easy to obtain beneficial bugs, you can locate them at many garden supply shops and online.

Animals – Look out for any animals that may cause your outdoor marijuana grow some damage. Keep animals away from your plants with wire mesh.  You might be able to avoid most of these issues if you’ve enclosed your complete garden.  Avoid picking a place that is inhabited by many deer and/or rabbits, as both like a nibble on growing marijuana.

Frost (Frost Damage) – Although marijuana is a hardy plant, it cannot survive long spells of temperatures that are below freezing. Leaves will begin to curl when temperatures are not to the cannabis plants liking. Avoid frosts by planting in late April.  Most strains will go through a full growing cycle before the first frost comes. Indica strains generally have a shorter cycle than sativas
strains, if your local frosts come early.

Mould – As you can’t maintain the humidity or the amount of rain supplied by Mother Nature, keep a close eye on your buds for any mold growth, or bud rot. You can reduce the risk of mould by shaking your flowers out after any large rain falls. Remove moldy buds before they spread. 

Growing cannabis outdoors can be fun and rewarding.  Maybe not less work than an indoor grow, just a different type of work.  Growing outdoors can certainly save you money, as all that lovely light from the sun is free.  Let your girls soak it up and produce some wonderful and beautiful buds for you.

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