For those who cultivate indoors or in a greenhouse using supplemental lights, the grower is afforded a year round grow season. But for those who enjoy growing outdoors using the power of the sun, the location and the date you plant your crop and later harvest your bounty is determined by the photoperiod, the length of the day and the amount of light that gets to your plants.
For outdoor gardens it is best to start your clones or seedlings near the Spring Equinox, allowing them vegetative growth and to create a strong root system until the optimal outdoor plant day, which in Southern California is June 1st. Your plants will continue to increase in size through June and July, then will start to show signs of flowering in late July/early August. Typically, cannabis finishes flowering and is ready for harvest in late September to early November, depending on the strain of your plants.
There are some important considerations when choosing a location for your Cannabis garden. Be sure that the area has near total sunshine throughout the day, Cannabis is a fast growing plant that loves full sun. In the northern hemisphere, the outdoor gardens should have “southern exposure,” meaning that the garden is open mostly to the south, facing the sun’s archway throughout the day. Proper drainage is also important. Using soil amendments can help with this; coco coir, sphagnum peat moss, perlite and vermiculite to name a few. Generally speaking it is preferable to plant in containers, a great choice are the reusable fabric containers with handles that are easy to use and move, and they also allow for “air pruning” of the roots and more oxygen to the root zone.
Pest management is part of growing outdoors. Employing garden netting can help with some insects, and natural beneficial insects can also be used. Ladybugs can help control mite infestations for example. There are some good natural insect and mildew inhibitors such as Neem oil as well. The best defense however is to ensure strong healthy plants, and to that end proper light, nutrients, water and drainage will ensure optimal health and optimal resistance to pests and disease.
In the next blog we will discuss pruning techniques and the use of trellis or netting to support and control how your plants grow. These techniques are extremely important for indoor grows, but still have a lot of benefits for various types of outdoor gardens.
Enjoy your gardening! With a bit of time and effort you will be rewarded many times over from your plants!
Scott is a Delivery Specialist and Clone & Seedling Expert at Sespe Creek, and has been cultivating cannabis at home for nearly two decades.