If you happen to live in a state where you can grow marijuana outdoors, why bother with an indoor grow room? Think how much you’ll save on artificial lighting, fans and other expensive equipment – grow tents cost hundreds of dollars! With outdoor cannabis grows, you don’t even have to worry about the cost of electricity. Best of all, you can grow marijuana plants the way nature intended: under the sun and feeling the breeze. But what are the best places to grow outdoors? What are the laws concerning outdoor cannabis? And how do you make the most of your outdoor cannabis grow?
Is it legal to grow cannabis outdoors?
Always keep yourself updated on laws governing the cultivation, possession and use of marijuana. It is up to YOU to follow the laws as they apply in your state or country, nobody else. Find a good marijuana news website and set up some alerts. If it is legal to grow cannabis in your state, there will be caveats.
If you live in California, for example, your outdoor cannabis grow needs to be locked up and kept out of sight – if you were dreaming of 8ft Neville’s Haze trees dominating your open, front lawn, we can only apologize…
If you’re renting the house, you are most likely required to seek permission from the landlord and they probably have the right to deny your request.
If you want a fun look at cannabis cultivation law, check out Kyle Kushman’s: Knowing the Law.
What do I need for a successful outdoor cannabis grow?
You can’t just plant marijuana in any random outdoor location. For a successful growing operation there are a few factors to take into account.
1. Adequate sunlight
Your chosen spot should receive as much direct sunlight as possible, especially during midday. Remember, the more sunlight exposure, the more vigorous the plants will be, growing healthfully and producing high yields.
In the northern hemisphere, pick a south-facing spot with no obstructions – trees or buildings, for example. Ideally, you want cannabis plants to be vegetating in spring and capturing as much summer sun as possible.
2. Gentle breeze
Aside from being sunny, the grow site should also have a light, prevailing wind. A gentle breeze helps the plants develop sturdier stems and discourages mold and other pathogens.
3. Fertile soil
Marijuana crops need nutrients to grow and flourish, so choose a spot with nutrient-rich soil. If several green plants are growing in the area, it’s probably fertile enough to sustain cannabis as well. Even if the soil looks nice and rich, you should always observe the overall health of your plants – they’ll tell you if they need extra nutes.
4. Water supply
Do not take water from rivers or creeks – this isn’t very ecological and illegal in many states. If your grow is in your garden – you might need to buy a pump and a hose but be careful with ppm levels and chlorine. You can read about the best water for your plants in our watering article.
This is common sense, really. Don’t plant your cannabis on the side of a cliff or somewhere you cannot access. You need to be able to check on the plants and provide nutrients and water as needed. You also need to spot and troubleshoot problems – including pests, stress, nutrient deficiencies and disease – without having to purchase climbing equipment.
Keep your plants out of sight. You don’t want to give anyone an excuse to call the cops or complain about you. In California, if you don’t have an out-of-sight spot in your garden, you can’t grow marijuana in your garden. It’s that simple, unfortunately.
Make sure your grow is locked away and out of sight – a secure fence with a locked gate is ideal.
Where do people normally grow weed outdoors?
1. Growing marijuana on a balcony
In a condominium or apartment complex, the balcony may be the closest thing to a traditional outdoor garden. It could work provided you’re facing sunrise or sunset. One advantage is that the plants are protected from strong winds. You just have to house the plants in containers filled with high-quality potting mix, then water and feed as needed. Since both space and sun are limited on a balcony, you should take a look at autoflowering cannabis strains.
One downside is that a balcony doesn’t offer much privacy. Neighbors or pedestrians might notice your grow from the street or opposite gardens. If this is the case, you could try installing a frosted plastic sheet to mask the plants from view.
2. Growing marijuana on a roof terrace
If you don’t have a balcony, a roof terrace will work just fine. It offers a full day’s worth of sunlight, although bad weather and marijuana smells could be an issue. Those living in coastal areas, in particular, might struggle with strong gusts of winds. One solution is to plant near windscreens, such as fences and walls.
3. Growing marijuana in an open field
If your property includes an open field it could be the best place to grow cannabis outdoors. It’s more than enough space. There are probably lots of other plants that could hide your marijuana plants from view, too.
Look for nettles. They love growing in the same, nitrogen-rich soil as cannabis. If the soil isn’t amazing, you could try growing in a pot, or you could dig a hole and fill it with fertilized soil.
4. Growing marijuana in a cornfield
If you own a cornfield, then you are in luck – a cornfield is one of the best places to grow cannabis outdoors. Not only that – you’re probably rich so, congratulations! Cornfields tend to have ample sunlight, water and nutrients, as well as much-needed privacy.
You need to start growing the cannabis elsewhere, transplanting when the field is no longer being plowed by a tractor. This can be anywhere between the end of May to the start of July. Your cannabis plants should be about 10 to 16 inches tall by then. Another important thing to remember is where you planted them – cornfields can be pretty big! Kevin Costner is still lost in mine…
5. Growing marijuana in your home garden
For most people, the only reason to grow outdoors is that they have a garden. A few plants do not take up much space, which means you could also grow companion plants and herbs. Keep it gated and keep it secure and remember – it needs to be out of sight of the public.
What are the best tips when planning an outdoor grow?
After choosing where to grow, there are some things you might want to keep in mind.
1. Know the law
The marijuana landscape has seen many reforms and positive changes. In fact, you can now lawfully grow weed in many U.S. states – as long as you meet certain conditions.
For instance, in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota and nearly a dozen other states, you are allowed to cultivate cannabis for medical reasons. In Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, you can also grow for recreational use. The number of plants you can grow, though, varies and can range from four to twelve cannabis plants.
Unfortunately, some 20 states still prohibit cannabis cultivation. If you’re unlucky enough to live in one then you can join your local cannabis lobby group – make sure you’re being heard. Alternatively, why not come and live in California? We have lots of room for 420 fans!
2. Keep the grow site hidden from public view
Cultivating in remote locations is ideal as there are fewer people who may take issue or pass judgement. Besides privacy, security is also a concern. Homegrown Cannabis Co. does not recommend breaking the law. Hiding marijuana from the public is about obeying regulations, not breaking them.
The importance of knowing the legal status of marijuana in your area – including the penalties you might incur – can never be overstated. In some states, your cannabis might simply be confiscated, maybe you’ll be fined, too. In others, you might find yourself in prison. Unless you like your showers crowded, do not break the law.
3. Protect the grow site
Besides guarding the plants against intrusive individuals, you also want to protect them from severe weather and pests.
For locations with strong winds, planting near windbreaks or windscreens is key. Aside from screens, fences and walls, tall shrubs and rows of trees could also work. Fences will keep away pests and other animals, while large plants can help keep cannabis out of sight.
As for heavy rain, many people recommend a tarpaulin or plastic sheeting to safeguard the crops. It’s a better idea to just give the plants a good shake after a shower (cannabis is not water soluble).
If you are having pest-related issues, use only organic pesticides. Avoid products that are packed with highly toxic chemicals – to avoid harming the ecosystem. Some black-market marijuana growers are giving cannabis cultivation a bad rap due to their use of poisonous – often banned – pesticides. It has resulted in the deaths of many animals – from fishes to bears and mountain lions – even owls and vultures.
Refrain from using chemical-laden fertilizers. When growing outdoors, you want to have little to no environmental impact. Think about journey times to and from the site. Think about fuel consumption and transportation costs. Leave only footprints, as they say. And they don’t mean giant, carbon ones.
4. Companion planting
Companion planting involves growing other plants that offer various benefits to growing cannabis outdoors. It fosters a symbiotic relationship between different species, offering immense benefits not only to the cannabis plants but to you as well. Large plants, for example, can help in camouflaging, making marijuana plants less noticeable. Some can deter pests or attract beneficial bugs. Others can enhance soil quality and fertility, as well as boosting yields.
Growing cannabis outdoors safely and successfully
Finding the best place to grow cannabis outdoors can make or break your grow. Your chosen spot should be sunny, it should have nutrient-rich soil and be close to a water source. It also needs to straddle the line between accessibility and stealth, allowing you to raise the plants without attracting unwelcome attention.
Find the perfect spot and you’ll never regret it. Outdoor, sun-grown cannabis is amazing. The tastes and smells are rich and full-bodied, yields are generally higher and it’s far, far cheaper. The rewards HUGELY outweigh the costs and those who have the opportunity to grow cannabis outdoors should grab it with both hands.