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How To Create The Best Outdoor Grow Setup For Cannabis

How To Create The Best Outdoor Grow Setup For Cannabis

With how fast cannabis legalization is spreading, more and more homeowners are hopping on the trend of growing their own cannabis. Be warned, though: growing weed is not an easy task.

Cannabis is a bit finicky and requires certain conditions to thrive. Light, water, soil, temperature, and pest control — these are just a few of the many things you need to consider when growing weed.

If all that seems overwhelming, don’t worry! In this article, we’ll be guiding you through everything you need to know about growing weed and how to make thebest outdoor grow setupfor cannabis.

Related: How to Build Your Own Grow Room in the Garage or Shed

Why you should grow cannabis outdoors

Growing cannabis outdoors provides many benefits for both beginners and experienced growers. Here are some reasons why you might want to take your cannabis cultivation outside:

Cost-effective

Growing cannabis outdoors can save you a lot of money since you won’t have to invest in expensive grow lights, fans, and other equipment needed for indoor growing. The natural environment provides what your plants need — such as sunlight, air, and water — reducing your overall costs.

Larger yields

Since there’s more space and sunlight available, outdoor grows tend to produce larger yields compared to indoor setups. Additionally, outdoor plants usually grow taller and bushier, leading to more buds at harvest time.

Environmentally friendly

Growing cannabis outdoors is more eco-friendly compared to indoor growing since it doesn’t require much (or none at all) electricity. This effectively lowers your carbon footprint. Also, organic growing methods, natural sunlight, and using compost for nutrients can help create a more sustainable outdoor grow operation.

Important growing factors to consider

Before creating your outdoor cannabis growing setup, consider the following factors to ensure a successful harvest:

  • Legality: First and foremost, make sure growing cannabis is legal in your area. Different places have different laws about growing cannabis, and you don’t want to invest time and money only to face legal issues.
  • Location: Find a spot with plenty of sunlight, preferably at least 8 hours a day. It’s also important for the location to be accessible for watering and maintenance. Lastly, consider a secure and private place away from prying eyes.
  • Climate: Check your local climate to see if it’s suitable for growing cannabis. If you live in an area with harsh winters or a short growing season, you may want to consider indoor growing instead.
  • Soil: The soil quality is important for growing any crop, especially cannabis. Test your soil to ensure it has the right pH and nutrient levels. You might need to amend the soil with compost or other organic matter to improve its quality.
  • Timing: Consider the natural life cycle of cannabis and plan your harvest. Grow your seeds or clones early enough to give them plenty of time to mature before the first frost. Then, figure out the best possible harvest time for quality buds.

Materials you’ll need

Outdoor growing is different from an indoor setup since you rely more on natural conditions rather than controlled environments. This means you’ll need to prepare differently to ensure your plants thrive.

  • Cannabis seeds or clones: Make sure you pick a strain that suits your local climate and weather conditions. Pick a reliable source so you know you’re getting high-quality seeds or clones. Consider getting feminized seeds so you get female plants that produce the buds. If you’re a newbie grower or live in a cold region, auto-flowering seeds are a great option since they flower based on age rather than light cycles.
  • Soil: Good soil is the foundation of healthy cannabis plants. Use a well-draining soil mix rich in organic matter like compost. Alternatively, you can also buy pre-mixed soil specifically designed for cannabis growing. Look for soil with well-balanced pH levels (around 6.0 to 6.5) to help your plants absorb nutrients effectively.
  • Nutrients: Cannabis needs a variety of nutrients to produce healthy buds in high yields. Look for organic fertilizers or nutrient mixes with a good balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Containers: If you're not planting directly in the ground, you'll need containers for your plants. The containers need to be big enough to accommodate your plants’ root systems as they grow. Fabric pots can provide good drainage and airflow to the roots. A minimum size of 5 gallons is recommended, but 7-gallon ones are more suitable for bigger plants and strains.
  • Water system: You need a reliable water supply for outdoor growing. Drip irrigation systems are efficient and can save water while ensuring your plants get a consistent supply. But if you want a more simple method, hand-watering your plants using a hose or watering can will do the trick. Additionally, collecting rainwater for watering can be both cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
  • Pruning shears: Cannabis plants grow better and produce more buds when they’re pruned and well-maintained. Regular pruning improves air circulation and light penetration, which can lead to healthier plants. Invest in pruning shears to trim away dead or yellowing leaves and to shape the plant.
  • Harvesting supplies: You’ll need a few tools to properly harvest your most-awaited buds. Sharp scissors or pruning shears are essential for cutting the buds from the plants. Also, you can protect your hands from sticky resin by wearing gloves.

The best outdoor grow setup ideas

Building your outdoor cannabis grow requires careful planning, as the optimal setup can make a huge difference in your cannabis plants’ health and yield. Here are some ideas to consider when creating your best outdoor grow setup:

Picking the right season to grow cannabis

The perfect season for growing cannabis is usually spring or summer. Cannabis plants prefer warm weather with lots of sunshine, so time the growing period during a season with long days and mild nights.Here’s a pro tip: start your seeds indoors a few weeks before your planned growing period and gradually introduce them to outdoor conditions to let them acclimatize.

Choose the right location

When picking the right place to grow your cannabis, consider the following:

  • Lighting: Cannabis needs at least 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Find a place where your plants can get optimal sun exposure, especially during midday when the light is strongest.
  • Space: Look for a spot with ample space for your plants to grow and spread out. This helps you avoid overcrowding your plants, which can lead to airflow issues and disease spread.
  • Air circulation: Good airflow helps prevent mold and pests, so choose a location with a natural breeze.
  • Accessibility: Make sure your grow site is easy to access for watering, feeding, and maintenance. You’ll be spending a lot of time there, so convenience is key.

As for where you want to grow, how about these places?

  • Porch or a balcony: Porches and balconies are easily accessible and often get good sunlight exposure. However, unless you have a big house, these areas usually offer limited space and lack privacy.
  • Backyard: These areas usually have more space, allowing for larger and more numerous plants. They also offer better privacy, especially if you have fencing or hedges. However, they’re more visible to neighbors, and tree cover or structures may obstruct sunlight.
  • Rooftop: Rooftops usually have excellent sunlight exposure and good airflow, which can benefit your plants. They are also generally out of sight, providing added privacy. However, safety can be an issue, depending on how accessible your rooftop is. You’ll need to consider whether your roof can handle the weight of your setup.
  • Greenhouse: These offer more controlled environments, which protect your plants from harsh weather conditions and pests. They can also extend the growing season by providing a warmer microclimate. On the other hand, the initial cost of setting up a greenhouse can be high, and it usually requires regular maintenance.

Implement security

Security is an important aspect to consider if you want to protect your plants for a successful harvest.

  • Local laws: Make sure you’re complying with local state laws on cannabis growing. Some states have strict regulations on where and how much you can grow. Staying informed can save you from legal trouble.
  • Weather protection: Weather can be unpredictable, and protecting your plants from extreme conditions can prevent plant damage and loss. Use tarps or greenhouses to shield them from heavy rain, strong winds, or hail.
  • Pollination: Unwanted pollination can ruin your crop by turning your female plants into seed producers. Make sure there are no male plants nearby by removing them as soon as you spot them in your garden.
  • Theft prevention: Cannabis plants can be a hot target for thieves. Consider installing motion sensor lights and security cameras to deter theft. Keep your grow site discreet and not easily visible from public areas.

Prep your soil

Soil provides theessential nutrients and support your cannabis plants need to grow and thrive by promoting healthy root development and nutrient absorption. Good soil for cannabis growing should have a high amount of organic matter, excellent drainage, and a pH level between 6.0 and 6.5.

Using poor soil can lead to nutrient deficiencies, poor plant growth, and ultimately, a lower yield.

Prevent pests

Pests are one of the biggest threats any plant grower faces.Common pests that go for cannabis plants include aphids, spider mites, and caterpillars. Fortunately, there are several ways to deter them:

  • Introducing beneficial or predatory insects: Ladybugs and predatory mites can help control harmful pest populations since they usually prey on common cannabis pests.
  • Installing barriers: Physical barriers like mesh netting can prevent large pests, like caterpillars and beetles, from reaching your plants.
  • Practicing companion planting: Planting herbs and flowers like basil, marigolds, or mint can repel pests. These companion plants release scents or chemicals that deter insects from your cannabis.
  • Using crop rotation: Rotating your cannabis plants with other crops can prevent pest infestations. This practice disrupts the life cycle of pests that prefer specific plants.

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