As the sun starts to shine and the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time to consider planting cannabis outdoors. Many cannabis enthusiasts believe that outdoor cultivation is only viable in the spring, but that’s not entirely true. With the right knowledge and some preparation, you can still enjoy a successful outdoor cannabis grow later in the growing season. In this blog post, we will explore why it’s not too late to plant cannabis outdoors and offer valuable insights to help you make the most of your late-season grow.
Choosing the Right Strains
The first step in a successful late-season outdoor cannabis grow is choosing the right strains. Cannabis strains vary in terms of their growth characteristics and flowering times. Some strains are specifically bred for quick flowering and resistance to colder temperatures. When you’re planting later in the season, it’s advisable to opt for these early-flowering and hardy strains to maximize your chances of a successful harvest.
Autoflowering strains, in particular, are well-suited for late-season outdoor cultivation. They have a pre-determined life cycle that doesn’t rely on changes in light hours, making them less sensitive to the decreasing daylight hours as the fall approaches. Popular autoflowering strains like Northern Lights, White Widow, or Blue Dream can be excellent choices for a late-season outdoor grow.
Preparing Your Garden
Proper preparation of your outdoor garden is essential for late-season success. Here are some key steps to consider:
- Soil Quality: Ensure your soil is well-prepared, rich in nutrients, and properly aerated. You can improve the soil by adding compost or organic matter. Testing the pH and nutrient levels of your soil can help you determine if any adjustments are needed.
- Location: Select a spot that receives maximum sunlight during the day, as the available daylight hours will decrease as the fall season progresses. South-facing locations are ideal, as they receive more sun exposure.
- Protection: Consider using greenhouses, hoop houses, or even simple row covers to provide protection from colder temperatures and potential frost. These structures can help extend the growing season and protect your plants during the late fall.
- Container Gardening: If your local climate is unpredictable or if you want more control over the environment, consider planting in containers. This allows you to move your plants indoors if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Late-season outdoor growers can also benefit from investing in high-quality soil and organic fertilizers to help ensure their plants receive the nutrients they need during their rapid growth phase.
Sowing Seeds or Transplants
While starting from seeds is a traditional approach, when you’re planting later in the season, using healthy transplants can give your cannabis a head start. Transplants are young plants that have been started indoors or in a greenhouse and are then moved outside to continue their growth.
Starting from seeds may take longer, as the germination process can be sensitive to changes in weather. If you choose this route, consider germinating your seeds indoors or in a controlled environment and then transplanting them outside when they have developed into sturdy seedlings. This can help you avoid any issues related to late germination.
For transplants, be sure to “harden off” your plants before planting them outdoors. This involves gradually acclimating them to the outdoor environment by exposing them to sunlight and varying temperatures over several days. This process reduces the risk of transplant shock.
Maintaining Adequate Nutrients and Water
Watering and nutrient management are critical for late-season outdoor cannabis cultivation. As your plants start to flower, their nutrient needs change, so it’s important to adjust your feeding regimen accordingly. Here are some tips for maintaining the right nutrients and moisture levels:
- Feeding Schedule: Late-season plants require less nitrogen but increased phosphorus and potassium for healthy bud development. Switch to a bloom-specific nutrient formula or adjust your feeding schedule accordingly.
- Watering: Monitor the moisture levels in your soil and water your plants as needed. Keep in mind that the evaporation rate may decrease as the weather gets cooler, so adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
- Organic Nutrients: Consider using organic nutrients as they tend to be gentler on your plants and are less likely to cause nutrient burn or imbalances.
Rain Protection: In late-season grows, be prepared for more frequent rain. Ensure your plants have good drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.
Pest and Disease Management
Late-season outdoor cannabis grows can be more susceptible to pests and diseases as the cooler weather may attract certain unwanted visitors. Here are some key considerations:
- Regular Inspection: Continuously monitor your plants for signs of pests and disease. Early detection allows for effective intervention.
- Natural Predators: Encourage the presence of beneficial insects and natural predators in your garden, such as ladybugs, lacewings, and spiders. These can help control common garden pests.
- Preventative Measures: Use preventative measures like neem oil or insecticidal soap to protect your plants from common pests. Regularly trim away any damaged or infected foliage to prevent the spread of diseases.
Planting cannabis outdoors later in the growing season is entirely possible with the right approach and a little extra care. By selecting suitable strains, preparing your garden, choosing the right planting method, maintaining proper nutrients and water, and managing pests and diseases effectively, you can enjoy a successful harvest even in a late-season outdoor grow. Don’t be discouraged by the calendar; it’s not too late to experience the joys and benefits of growing your own cannabis outdoors. Happy growing!