Published: August 31st, 2018
Categories: Cannabis Cultivation
The first step for every cannabis grower is to carefully choose the best genetics. If you are growing outdoors, you cannot control the weather and create the perfect micro-climate. You are most definitely at the mercy of Mother Nature. The trick is to select the cannabis seeds most appropriate for the environment, without making too many compromises - if any. Cuttings are not an option if you really want to learn how to complete an outdoor grow from seed to harvest. So it’s gotta be nothing but the highest quality feminized and autoflowering seeds you can get your hands on.
My all-star lineup is a mix of both hardy auto hybrids and maximum-THC firepower feminized seeds from Royal Queen Seeds and Zamnesia Seeds. Don’t grow just one type of cannabis. That’s a huge mistake, especially if you have little outdoor cultivation experience or have just moved to a new area. In my case, both apply. I’ve got over 15 years of indoor cultivation experience under my belt, but only dabbled with outdoor grows twice since I moved to Spain in 2016.
This summer, I’m going for 10 cannabis plants on my rooftop terrace, somewhere in the Spanish countryside. So without further ado, here’s the list of my reefer rockstars. Representing Zamnesia Seeds: 2x Bruce Banner #3, 2x Blueberry Automatics, and 1x Sticky Beast Automatic. Accompanied by regal reefer from RQS: 2x Purple Queen, 2x Royal Gorilla Automatic, and 1x Royal Cookies Automatic.
Growing outdoors is definitely cheaper than setting up an indoor grow-op, but you’ll still need to make sure you get the correct supplies in good time. When it comes to containers, bigger is always better, but the typical black plastic pots won’t do. I’m using great big 17l and 27l white plastic pots with plenty of drainage holes in the bottom. Also, I’m experimenting with a couple of white fabric smart pots too. Roots need plenty of oxygen and will cook in black pots that attract heat, rather than reflect it.
The same high-quality, brand-name, cannabis-specific soils you use indoors are worth sticking with. However, I’m adding some extra perlite to some complete mix by Top Crop to make sure the medium doesn’t get waterlogged.
Acquiring supplies in most European countries is usually a breeze. Nevertheless, you should allow a week or two for deliveries. 24-hour delivery is not an option in my remote location; in fact, it's false advertising. I found this out the hard way. Unfortunately, one of my deliveries never came at all and it’s too late to do anything about it.
So this past weekend, I found myself in a lousy garden centre 10km away from home, in 35°C heat, and the only soil available in a 25l sack that I could carry home in my seriously dehydrated condition is not really suitable for cannabis cultivation. As a result, 2 Royal Gorilla Automatics and 1 Blueberry Automatic are not doing as well as the magnificent 7 happily growing in the right stuff. I doped up the garden centre mix with some Vertafort pellets. Hopefully, all is not lost. Another painful lesson learned in Spain.
Initially, I intended on starting my seeds indoors under artificial lights. This was not necessary as I got off to a great start on the summer solstice (21st June) in full sunshine. The paper towel method never fails me. With a 100% success rate for germination, I was feeling confident, so I went for it.
16 hours of natural sunlight is perfect for cannabis seedlings. No artificial light supplementation proved necessary. Even if you get growing later in the summer, so long as you can keep your little sprouts in the sunshine for at least 10–12 hours a day, you should go for it too. I cut a couple of 8l plastic water bottles and made my own propagators. In the morning I set the seedlings on the windowsill, then later in the afternoon, I take them up to the rooftop to continue vegging comfortably until about 9 pm. They are not in direct sunlight for the last hour, but it’s still bright so I leave them in the twilight. After sunset, around 10pm, I take them inside for the night. I have my alarm clock set for 6am to repeat the process again.
Sure, it’s not as handy as setting a timer and using a grow lamp, but it costs nothing and my plants are developing even faster than they would indoors. Sunlight is far superior to any other kind of illumination, and it would be a real shame to waste a minute of it.
Absolutely. You don’t have to go to the extremes I’m going to in order to succeed with an outdoor cannabis project. I’ve always been an outsider, and as a writer, I’m quite content to live in my own world. All an ordinary decent home grower needs is a private space like a back garden or a balcony with decent sunlight.
Outdoor cannabis cultivation is far more productive and actually more fun than growing indoors. One good summer crop could be enough to keep you toking for the rest of the year. As for me, I live on the road less travelled. It’s all I know. So it makes perfect sense to embark on these crazy cannabis adventures.
Hopefully, you’ll find my new YouTube series Growing Cannabis Outdoors And Off The Grid entertaining and maybe pick up a few tips and tricks too. I’ll be back with more weed dispatches from the wilderness as the crop progresses. Good night and good luck my green-fingered friends.