Growing weed in an AeroGarden: the complete step by step guide with everything you need to know along with pro-tips by experimented growers. Autoflower seeds are regarded as the fastest and easiest way to grow cannabis. Read on to find out how quickly you can grow them. Outdoor cannabis growing has become a popular way to grow your own cannabis easily. But how to harvest cannabis, when and what's best to do?
How to Grow Weed in your AeroGarden
Miracle-Gro AeroGarden™ is an exciting hydroponic system. You can grow fresh herbs, lettuce, year-round, in the comfort of your home.
You may be wondering: Is it possible to grow weed in an AeroGarden? And is it worth it? The short answer is Yes.
In this guide, I’m going to show you everything you need to know to grow weed your AeroGarden™ successfully including the best practices, the material needed, and exclusive pro-tips by experimented growers.
The best part? It will pay for itself in only 2 or 3 grows in weed value!
Table of contents
1. The Best AeroGarden Models For Weed
At the time I wrote these lines, the available models are; Sprout, Harvest, Classic, Bounty, and Farm family. To grow weed successfully, you will need a garden with 24 inches of growing height capacity and a powerful grow light panel.
So here are the AeroGarden models I recommend:
The AeroGarden™ Classic 9 is one of the most powerful models. It comes with a 45-watt LED full spectrum growth light and a growing height extendable up to 24 inches.
The Classic 9 also includes a touch screen control panel that makes things very easy and fun to control!
Classic 9 Bounty model has been replaced recently by a new design and this one is now obsolete but still one of the best to grow weed.
The most recent AeroGarden Bounty comes with a 40-watt grow light. The Bounty Elite (WiFi and Alexa Compatible) comes with a 50-watt grow light and both have 24 inches of growing height capacity.
Finally, the bigger models available are the AeroGarden™ Farm family with 60W of dual LED power and 24 inches of growing height.
2. Weed strain and seed type for the AeroGarden
Since the maximum grow height is only 24 inches (when the LED panel is fully deployed), it’s crucial to choose a strain that will stay small and compact.
Some strains can grow big plants that are not suited for the AeroGarden small reservoir. The strains also determine the effects and medical attributes.
2.1 Cannabis seed types
Autoflowering seeds are perfect for beginners because they grow very quickly and stay smaller. Also, there’s no need to change the light cycle to induce the flowering stage, and you will get only female plants.
Some strains can take only 10 weeks from seed to harvest.
On the other hand, yields are usually smaller with autoflowering seeds and most have a lower THC percentage.
Feminized seeds are also great, they allow growers to apply training techniques that aren’t recommended for auto and they can be cloned.
You will have to change the light cycle from 18/6 to 12/12 to trigger the flowering phase. Increased darkness hours tell the plant the fall is coming and start creating buds.
Key takeaway: Feminized seeds give more control to the experienced grower while autoflower seeds grow faster and are suitable for beginner grower.
2.2 Recommended marijuana strains for the AeroGarden
– (Hybrid) – (Hybrid) – (Indica) – (Indica) – (Hybrid) – (Hybrid) – (Hybrid) – (Hybrid) – (Indica) – (Hybrid) – (Hybrid)
3. The shopping list
Now you have your AeroGarden™ and your seeds, you will need the material below, and the optional list will help to have more yield out of your grow.
3.2 Optional products
Cannabis, like any other plants, needs calcium and magnesium.
Your tap water may have calcium and magnesium in small concentrations, but likely not enough.
If you’re using distilled water, you will need to add a Cal-Mag solution to your water as they are essential secondary nutrients for healthy plant growth.
Botanicare Hydroguard® is well known for their unique beneficial bacteria that help to increase root mass and health.
In my installation, I have added an external air pump with an air stone to make more bubbles in the root zone. This helps to prevent roots rot, and bring more oxygen to the roots.
The external pump also helps to reduce the usage of the AeroGarden™ built-in pump. The water temperature will stay low, and you will be able to keep an optimal temperature (between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit).
On the top of the AeroGarden reservoir, you will find two water/air ports with rubber plugs that you can remove.
They are the same size as the standard aquarium airline tubing. Just place the tubing inside one of them and put the air stone in the center of the bowl.
4. Nutrients and the importance of pH
Important: don’t use the provided plant food that comes with the AeroGarden™. This will not work, and you will lose your time and seeds.
I use General Hydroponics Flora Series, and I always have great results with these nutrients. Some other popular alternatives are Advanced Nutrients and Botanicare.
Your AeroGarden™ Bounty holds approximately 4 liters of water. I pour this amount of water into a big stainless steel mixing bowl. Let the tap water sit for 24 hours to become chlorine-free or use distilled water.
Now it’s time to add nutrients to the water. Begin with half of the recommended dosage by the manufacturer.
If you’re using GH Flora Series, take a look at this fully-tested nutrient schedule.
4.1 pH control
The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. The pH of the AeroGarden™ solution should be between 5.5 and 6.5.
So I target 6, and I check with the pH pen tester every day and make the required adjustments with pH buffers (do not use pH up and pH down in the same solution).
In the vegetative phase, the pH tends to go higher, and in the flowering stage, it tends to go lower. Keeping the pH in the target zone is essential. Out of this zone, the cannabis plant may be unable to absorb some nutrients, and this leads to nutrient deficiencies.
If the pH fluctuates a lot or is out of control for a long time, your plant leaves will become distorted especially in the new growth areas.
This can be reverted, but the affected leaves will not return to normal appearance.
Key takeaway: pH problems can slow the growth of your cannabis plants and lower your yield.
4.2 Total dissolved solids (TDS) & parts per million (PPM)
Before pouring the solution into the AeroGarden’s bowl, you need to verify the concentration of nutrient in the solution with the TDS digital meter.
In the first weeks, the PPM should be around 400, and this amount increase as the marijuana plants grows. In the early flowering stage, the TDS could be around 1000+ PPM.
High nutrient concentration levels will not help the plant to grow faster and can lead to problems like nutrient burn.
5. AeroGarden setup to grow weed
Now the fun part! I assume you have already assembled your hydroponic system and you have transferred the solution to the AeroGarden reservoir.
Now let’s take a closer look at the control panel. First, set the clock, and if you’re in the quick plant menu, select the grow anything option.
5.1 Grow light settings
Select the sun icon, and follow the steps to configure the grow light. If you have autoflowering seeds, I recommend 20/4 light cycle. My settings are as follow; light open at 6:00 am, and close at 2:00 am.
For feminized seeds, I suggest 18/6 for the vegetative stage, then switch to 12/12 to trigger flowering stage.
5.2 AeroGarden™ Pump settings
Select the water icon, and then change settings. Follow the steps until you reach the pump on/off screen.
In the vegetative stage, I recommend setting the pump 30 minutes on, and 60 minutes off.
In the flowering stage, it’s better to give an oxygen boost in the water for the increasing root masse of your plants. So, if you don’t have an external pump, set the pump to 60 minutes on, and 30 minutes off.
If you have the external air pump with an air stone, keep in mind this one should run all the time from seed to harvest. You can configure the AeroGarden built-in pump 10 minutes on, and 60 minutes off when you run the external pump.
5.3 Nutrients settings
Finally, select the nutrients icon, and then settings. Set your nutrients cycle to 7 days. This is a simple reminder, and the AeroGarden™ will give you a warning every week to add nutrients and replace the water.
6. Seed germination
I strongly recommend growing only one or two plants at a time. Your marijuana plants will need an increased amount of space while growing and try to put more plants will decrease the yield.
Take two grow sponges and baskets, then place the seeds into the small holes. Be sure seeds are not falling too deep, (1/2” would be awesome). Cover the two pods with the provided transparent domes and put duct tape over the remaining pod holes.
From my experience, it could take anywhere from 2 to 4 days to see the first tiny sprout.
How long do autoflowers take from seed to harvest?
The fastest autoflower strains such as Auto Blueberry can be ready to harvest in as little as 8 weeks after autoflower seed germination. There is simply no faster way to grow cannabis!
Other strains such as Auto Blackberry Kush can be ready in as little as 9 weeks, and as a proud member of Dutch Passion’s Very High THC cannabis seed collection you can expect seriously impressive potency as well as fast harvests. Fast growing autoflower seeds can also be extremely potent!
Some of the heaviest yielding autoflower strains can take up to 15 weeks from seed to harvest. This shows there are a range of autoflower seed options, some much faster than others. Read on to understand more about autoflower grow cycles.
|●||Autoflower cannabis average time from seed to harvest|
|●||What is the fastest autoflowering cannabis strain?|
|●||What is the slowest autoflowering cannabis strain?|
|●||All Dutch Passion’s autoflowers seed to harvest time|
|●||Seed to harvest time vs flowering time for cannabis|
|●||Autoflowering cannabis seeds, high quality results with speed and convenience|
Autoflower cannabis average time from seed to harvest
The average time it takes for an autoflower seed to grow and reach harvest is around 75 days. This can partly depend on the specific phenotype as well as environmental conditions.
When compared to a typical photo-dependent feminised (or regular) strain this is a huge time saving. With 5-6 weeks of vegetative growth and around 9 weeks of bloom it can take 15 weeks or more for a feminised strain to reach harvest.
That’s almost twice as long as a crop of fast autoflowers. Anyone interested in reading more about the fastest photoperiod and autoflower strains may find the following interesting.
|Top 5 fast growing cannabis seeds|
What is the fastest autoflowering cannabis strain?
Auto Blueberry is the fastest autoflowering strain in the Dutch Passion collection. The fastest phenotypes can be ready just 8 weeks after seed germination. Auto Blackberry Kush is another very fast auto, which can be ready as little as 9 weeks after seed germination.
What is the slowest autoflowering cannabis strain?
Auto Desfrán can take 12-15 weeks from seed to harvest. The heavy yielding, pure sativa genetics simply cannot be rushed! The ultra-heavy yielding Auto Ultimate can also take 12-15 weeks, as can Auto Glueberry OG.
It pays to research your autoflower seed choice carefully. The beauty of autoflower strains is that they offer the grower a choice of harvest times from fast autos to slower XXL yielding super-autos.
All Dutch Passion’s autoflowers seed to harvest time
Most of the Dutch Passion autoflower strains reach harvest around 11 weeks after seed germination. As well as selecting autoflower seeds based on their speed, you can also grow autoflower strains rich in CBD or CBG as well as the usual THC rich autos.
The full collection of Dutch Passion autoflower seeds (indica, sativa & hybrid seeds) is shown below with key characteristics.
|Seed variety||Collection||Yield||Seed to harvest|
|Auto Ultimate®||XXL||12-15 weeks|
|Auto Desfrán®||XL||12-15 weeks|
|CBD Auto Charlotte’s Angel®||L||13 weeks|
|CBD Auto Blackberry Kush®||XL||13 weeks|
|Think Big®||XXL||13 weeks|
|Auto Kerosene Krash®||XL||12 weeks|
|Auto Lemon Kix®||XXL||12 weeks|
|Auto Mokum’s Tulip®||XL||12 weeks|
|Auto Power Plant®||XL||12 weeks|
|Auto Skywalker Haze®||XXL||12 weeks|
|Auto CBG-Force®||L||12 weeks|
|Auto Banana Blaze®||XL||12 weeks|
|Auto Glueberry O.G.®||XXL||12 weeks|
|Auto Xtreme®||XL||11-12 weeks|
|Auto Duck®||L||11-12 weeks|
|Auto Meringue®||XL||11 weeks|
|Auto Colorado Cookies®||XL||11 weeks|
|Auto Brooklyn Sunrise®||XL||11 weeks|
|Think Different®||XXL||10-11 weeks|
|Auto Cinderella Jack®||XL||10-11 weeks|
|Auto Orange Bud®||XL||10-11 weeks|
|Auto Daiquiri Lime®||XXL||10-11 weeks|
|CBD Auto Compassion Lime®||XXL||10-11 weeks|
|Auto Mazar®||XL||10 weeks|
|Auto Blackberry Kush®||XL||9-10 weeks|
|Auto Critical Orange Punch®||XXL||10 weeks|
|Auto CBD-Victory®||–||10 weeks|
|Auto White Widow®||XL||10 weeks|
|Blue Auto Mazar®||XL||10 weeks|
|Auto Night Queen®||XL||10 weeks|
|Auto Euforia®||XL||10 weeks|
|CBD Auto White Widow®||XL||9-10 weeks|
|Auto Blueberry®||M||8-10 weeks|
Seed to harvest time vs flowering time for cannabis
The seed to harvest time is a guide for growers, showing the likely time it will take to complete a full autoflower grow cycle. Just like feminised cannabis seeds, autoflower seeds will produce a range of phenotypes. Some will be faster than others to reach harvest.
Cool grow room temperatures will slow down the growth and bloom, so ensure your grow room conditions are optimised. Note that outdoors, most auto strains will take an extra few weeks to finish compared to indoors.
|Top 5 Autoflower Seeds With Best Yields|
Autoflowering cannabis seeds, high quality results with speed and convenience
Many growers routinely cultivate autoflower seeds and nothing else. Their speed, ease-of-growth and convenience are unmatched. The best cannabis seed suppliers offer a range of autoflower genetics – you should find some perfect genetics to meet your needs.
If you need help selecting your next cannabis seeds then our unique Seed Finder tool will ask you a few simple questions about your preferences and recommend the best cannabis seeds for you. Enjoy the grow and choose a seed company that you can trust!
How to harvest cannabis, dry and cure your outdoor crop
Growing cannabis outdoors is perhaps the lowest cost way to grow your own. All you need is a few good quality outdoor cannabis seeds and a sunny, sheltered spot with reasonable quality soil. You can always supplement the soil with additional high quality compost and fertiliser if necessary.
You don’t need to live in a warm, tropical climate to be able to grow great quality outdoor cannabis. High quality autoflower seeds can grow from seed to harvest in around 100 days outdoors (they are even faster indoors). Even those with short summers can find a good 3-month window to grow and harvest some autoflower seeds outdoors. But what are the best ways to harvest, dry and cure outdoor grown cannabis? Read on for some expert tips and advice.
Harvesting advantages of autoflowers grown outdoors
Growing autoflower seeds offers some tremendous advantages to the outdoor grower. Autoflowers have earned a solid reputation for being easy and convenient to grow. With their fast life cycle and short size they are a fast way to grow plants which will hide easily behind other plants and shrubs.
- Autoflowers grow from seed to harvest in around 100 days outdoors. That’s much faster than photoperiod outdoor strains and ideal for those with short growing seasons.
- Autoflower seeds tend to produce short, stocky plants which are around 1m tall. These are much easier to hide than 3-4m monster plants grown from photoperiod outdoor feminised seeds.
- Autoflower seeds are easy to grow with little maintenance required. If you choose a sunny location with good quality, moist soil you can expect a straightforward grow with little effort.
Harvesting advantages of photoperiod feminised strains grown outdoors
Your other main option for outdoor cannabis growing are feminised photoperiod cannabis seeds. Unlike autoflower seeds, you won’t be able to grow these in short 100-day summers. You will typically need 5 months or so to grow these larger plants. But harvests can be huge. Yields of well over 1Kg from a 3m tall specimen are quite possible.
If you enjoy a reasonably long growing season you will be able to harvest your outdoor photoperiod cannabis plant before the worst of the late-season weather arrives. For some outdoor cannabis growers, feminised photoperiod cannabis seeds are the preferred choice.
- For the largest harvests, outdoor cannabis seeds with photoperiod genetics are the best choice.
- Plants can be 3-4m tall and just as wide in optimum conditions. However, for some growers such large plants can present security/risk issues and are difficult to hide.
- You need to ensure that your preferred outdoor photoperiod strain is able to complete the bloom cycle before the growing season ends.
One other advantage of growing photoperiod feminised seeds is that they may be able to recover somewhat more easily from a pest attack or accident than an autoflower.
Autoflowers have a fixed life cycle outdoors, usually around 100 days. If an autoflower plant suffers any kind of grow incident/accident in its prime, it may not have the time to recover from it. A photoperiod plant, with a longer growth phase before bloom, may be able to recover slightly better when it comes to dealing with attacks from slugs, rabbits or other pests.
When to harvest outdoor cannabis, autoflower seeds vs photoperiod feminised seeds
In general, autoflowers take around 100 days from seed to harvest outdoors (indoors, with optimised conditions they often take nearer to 75 days). This means that growers in warm climates can get 2 (or even 3) successive outdoor autoflower harvests per year. That’s one of the reasons autoflower seeds have become so popular with outdoor growers.
Outdoor feminised seeds often have a 5-6 month life cycle. That’s longer than the life cycle of an autoflower, but the grower is usually compensated by heavier harvests than those produced from smaller autoflower plants. However, unless you live close to equatorial latitudes, you will only be able to grow one outdoor photoperiod crop per year.
Note that some growers of photoperiod feminised seeds can artificially force extra productivity from their plants if they grow in greenhouses equipped with blackout blinds. This can allow growers to ‘force’ an early bloom and create quicker harvest cycles by creating 12/12 light conditions manually. Some balcony growers also use this technique.
When to harvest outdoor cannabis according to trichome appearance
Many growers will examine the colour of the trichome resin glands and monitor the transition from clear, to cloudy to amber. This technique works well for both autoflower strains and traditional photoperiod outdoor strains.
Many growers buy an small magnifying glass (sometimes known as a jewellers loupe) to make accurate close-up judgements on the trichome appearance. You can also buy a sophisticated digital microscope which will also do a great job at showing trichome appearance.
Cannabis harvested with clear, colourless trichomes tends to have a lively, uplifting and energetic high. However, THC levels may not have quite peaked and the buds may not have finished growing. Most outdoor growers prefer to wait a little longer as this tends to give heavier harvests and slightly stronger weed.
Waiting until the clear trichomes are transitioning to cloudy/milky allows your buds to pack on more weight. It also allows THC content and resin coverage to increase, meaning stronger buds. Many growers like to harvest their cannabis when the trichomes are mostly cloudy. You may notice that a few trichomes are starting to show some amber colour at this point.
Leave your buds another week or two and you will notice more and more of the trichomes have transitioned from cloudy/milky to amber or red. Some growers prefer to harvest at this point, feeling that their cannabis has more of a narcotic, heavy effect. Many consider that a majority of red trichomes represents a somewhat over-ripe crop. But some growers prefer it that way e.g. medical marijuana growers who want a strong body effect with good sleep inducing qualities.
When to harvest outdoor cannabis according to pistil (hair) colour
As well as considering the appearance of the trichomes, many cannabis growers also monitor the colour of the pistils. These are the hairs which come out of the buds. Initially the pistils tend to be white. As they start turning increasingly brown it is an indicator that the plant is approaching harvest.
50% brown pistils
Cannabis is approaching harvest, though with many pistils still white in colour growers will often wait a little longer until they harvest.
70% brown pistils
At this point the majority, but not all, pistils are brown. For many growers this represents a good harvest point.
80-90%+ brown pistils
For some growers this would represent a mature cannabis crop with heavier, narcotic effects. Although some growers might consider such buds to be a little over-ripe, there are plenty of growers who consider the extra bloom time well worth the wait. But it’s worth saying that we all have a unique endo cannabinoid system that responds differently to cannabis.
One of the great joys of growing your own cannabis seeds is that you (not an unknown grower/dealer) decide precisely when to harvest the cannabis in order to deliver maximum personal satisfaction. Some cannabis users have strong preferences for specific strains which have been grown to a perfect ripeness level for them.
100% brown pistils
Most growers would consider a crop to be over-ripe if all the pistils are brown, but there are a minority of growers who would disagree.
The next time you grow some cannabis seeds, try taking (and drying) buds at different ripeness levels and comparing the high/effects from them. You may be surprised to find you have a clear preference which influences your harvest timings for future cannabis crops.
When to harvest your outdoor crop according to sativa vs indica genetics
If you know the cannabis genetics contained in your strains it will help you estimate the approximate harvest time. Much depends on the latitude that you are growing at as well as the specific climatic conditions experienced during your grow. But in general, indica genetics tend to reach maturity faster than sativa or haze genetics.
In the northern hemisphere, late blooming Haze varieties may not be ready to harvest until late November. For northern European growers that is simply too late for outdoor growing. Knowing which outdoor strains will grow well in your conditions is part of the skill of the experienced outdoor cannabis grower.
Drying cannabis buds grown outdoors
Drying your outdoor grown cannabis plants requires careful planning. If you plan to dry them outdoors you will need a warm and dry climate, though this can be difficult to guarantee around fall/autumn as the weather often turns cooler and wetter. That’s why many outdoor growers invest in some specialist drying equipment at home.
If you are growing cannabis outdoors in the hills and countryside you will probably be used to chopping down the plants and putting the heaviest branches and buds in large sealed bags to transport home. This can be a nervous journey since the freshly harvested weed can have a powerful odour. Stick to the speed limits and don’t attract attention on the drive home!
Once the buds and branches are at home you can begin the process of drying them. Even if you never grow cannabis indoors, many outdoor growers buy a small tent and some drying racks to dry their buds in. Some people hang the larger branches from clothes hangers or a piece of cord suspended across the top of the grow tent. You will need an extraction fan and a carbon filter to eliminate the smell. Drying an outdoor cannabis harvest without odour protection is always tremendously risky when others live nearby.
Often the buds will take around a week to dry. One drying tip is to start at 60% humidity for the first few days, slowly working your way down to 55% again for a few days. After 7-10 (max) days you may wish to set your dehumidifier to 50% to dry the buds a little further.
As soon as the branches start to snap (or almost snap) you can be sure that the buds on those branches are just about ready to be put into your curing jars. Be aware that the larger buds/blooms can take a day or two longer to dry.
Buds that are bright green at harvest often fade to a paler, less vivid appearance after drying. Often, you may notice brown colourations and perhaps even some blue or red hues as drying/curing progresses.
Trimming cannabis buds grown outdoors
Some growers don’t mind waiting until the buds are dry before trimming off the excess leaf material. Usually, after around a week of drying the buds are considered dry enough to think about jarring and curing. This is usually around the time that the branches have dried sufficiently to snap. The only problem with waiting until the buds are dry is that you may lose some of the trichomes when trimming dry buds.
For that reason, many growers prefer to try to trim the buds when freshly picked, or shortly afterwards. Some rubber gloves help keep your fingers clean, and a good pair of scissors (or trimming scissors) is highly recommended. From time to time, you may need to scrape the scissor hash off the blades to save for a post-harvest celebration smoke/vape. The trimmed leaf material can be frozen and used to make hashish or cannabis concentrates.
Curing and storing your outdoor cannabis crop
Curing and storing your outdoor grown cannabis buds is exactly the same process as that used for indoor cannabis harvests. If you have dried your cannabis well (without over-drying it and losing your delicious terpenes) you are ready to cure your buds.
Curing is the slow process of slowly removing the last remnants of moisture while allowing the buds to reach a state of preservation where they will last for months, or years. During this process the aroma can intensify to produce quite breathtaking flavours and aromas. A great terpene profile not only makes your buds taste delicious, they may also modulate the type of high you experience.
As the cannabis buds reach the curing stage they have lost most, but not all, of their moisture. The final curing stage is the last, and perhaps the most important part for the connoisseur cannabis lover. Growers often use glass jars. Plastic containers are less desirable since they can be softened or discoloured by the sticky resin. The well trimmed buds are placed in the glass jars leaving a centimetre or two at the top of the jar. The jars are sealed, and left in the dark.
The jars are then unsealed occasionally, once or twice a day, to allow any moisture to be released. Some people call this ‘burping’ the jars. Two or three weeks is considered a minimum cure time. Many connoisseurs prefer to wait longer, feeling that curing is complete after around 1-2 months. The cured buds will vape with a clean flavor, without a ‘chlorophyll’ taste.
Once your buds are fully cured you may prefer to store them in a freezer to fully preserve potency and ensure no degradation. Never store your buds in a high temperature environment (e.g. a hot loft space) if you want the best long term storage.
Fine control of the cannabis curing process with Boveda or Integra humidity sachets
You bought the best cannabis seeds and you grew them to the best of your ability. The last thing you want is to open your jars to find that the buds are mouldy because they were insufficiently dry.
Likewise, you don’t want to open your jar of precious buds and find that they are just too dry and crispy, with poor taste and aroma. This can feel like the buds are low quality and too old with a harsh effect when vaped/smoked.
When you open your jars you want to see and smell premium quality buds, with optimized potency, a well cured aroma and a delicious taste. One way to help achieve this is with humidity control sachets from companies like Boveda or Integra.
These sachets release moisture if your buds are too dry, or they absorb moisture if the buds are damp. You can select different products from these companies. From Boveda we recommend the “58% Humidity” sachets. From Integra we recommend the “55% humidity” packs.
Frequently asked questions about harvesting cannabis
If you have never grown cannabis outdoors then it’s something you may want to try. The costs of growing outdoor cannabis are far lower than indoor grown cannabis. You won’t need a grow light, you won’t need to pay for energy costs either. If you are worried about your carbon footprint, then outdoor growing holds a lot of attractions. Even growers at extreme northern and southern latitudes are able to grow autoflower seeds outdoors in short summers.
Do environmental factors affect the cannabis grow season?
Growing and harvesting outdoor grown cannabis really is enjoyable and rewarding fun. Understanding your own climate, the onset of spring and fall/autumn is an important starting point. Environmental factors play a large part in determining which strains will best suit you. You need to select the best cannabis seeds for your own requirements and climate.
Many outdoor cannabis growers grow both autoflower seeds as well as outdoor feminised photoperiod cannabis seeds. The grower can usually rely on their autoflower plants finishing in time even if stormy fall/autumn weather arrives early and damages the photoperiod cannabis harvest.
Daylight hours and outdoor cannabis flowering
Indoors growers use a 12/12 light schedule to artificially induce bloom. But outdoors the plants go into flowering a considerable time before 12/12 outdoor light conditions are reached. Precise timings for bloom can of course be vary from strain to strain. But most of them are triggered to start flowering when daylight hours drop to around 14 hours per day and below.
In the northern hemisphere at Amsterdam latitude there are around 16-17 hours of daylight at the peak of summer. In the northern hemisphere, outdoor cannabis plants usually start preparing to flower in August when daylight hours are quickly diminishing.
Between 10 – 25 August daylight hours start to decline from 15hrs per day to 14hrs. This is often the period outdoor plants start preparing to go into flowering. 12/12 outdoor light conditions are seen around 25 September at Amsterdam latitude. Around 25th October there are only around 10 hours of daylight. This (or before) is usually the date that most outdoor strains are harvested.
You will need to know the average last frost date for your region and be careful to put your seedlings/plants outside after that date.
Some growers will germinate their cannabis seeds indoors and grow them under indoor lights for a few weeks to give them the best possible start before planting them outdoors, after the last frost. The best outdoor cannabis growers will gradually ‘harden’ their seedlings by exposing them increasingly to outdoor conditions before they are finally transplanted outdoors.
The seedlings will need to be protected with slug/snail pellets. Some growers also surround their grow location with thorny brambles to give further protection from animals such as deer, goats and rabbits.
If the soil quality is poor, it can be easily improved with high quality compost from the garden centre. This will help improve the quality of your outdoor cannabis harvest. Once the plants are settled in their final grow position you can let them do the rest of the work. Just protect them from thieves and wild animals. In times of drought you may need to transport water to the grow site, but other than that there will be little to do.
Is there an optimal time to harvest your plants?
In an ideal world, you will know your own preferences for early vs late harvested cannabis. And with a little experience you will soon feel quite confident about judging cannabis ripeness from trichome appearance or pistil appearance. But the astute outdoor cannabis grower also has to consider the local weather patterns and plan ahead carefully.
If winter storms are due earlier than normal then it makes sense to harvest your plants early rather than allow them to get battered by bad weather. If you cannot be certain of the onset of winter weather, then it may be worth considering growing autoflower seeds rather than relying completely on photoperiod outdoor strains.
Some outdoor cannabis growers feel that growing their plants under natural sunlight gives the buds an extra ‘kick’, delivering a particularly satisfying high. Outdoor grown cannabis is certainly cheaper to grow with no energy costs. It can also be great fun finding an outdoor grow location and watching your cannabis seeds grow into healthy, heavy yielding plants. However you go about it, enjoy your outdoor growing and good luck!
4 Comments . Leave new
Generally your guides are good, so thanks. But this one on drying is not comprehensive enough. For instance, how do I dry the plants? If outside is it best to hang the whole plant upside down from a tree so the wind and the sun dry it with little risk of mould or do you strip all the good bits from the plants, discarding the trunk and branches and just dry the flowers/leaves in some other way?
Indeed you are right, this blog is not that extensive. Here you can check out an updated document about drying and curing https://dutch-passion.com/en/blog/the-best-way-to-dry-and-cure-cannabis-n918
Growing 3 plants 8 to 10 ft. Fertilized with raw fish only. My plants are as wide as high! I’need 2 strong men to pull them by the roots, hose the dirt off w
ith warm water then hang whole plants by their roots for six weeks in dark un-heated garage. What say you.