At this time of year Dutch Passion get lots of mail about the outdoor growing season. The days are getting longer, and the sun is getting stronger. Outdoor growers are busy getting their walking boots ready to find some outdoor locations to grow their favourite varieties.
Many outdoor growers will plant a small number of feminized photoperiod plants, and in some cases the harvest will be enough to see them through the year. The secrets to successful outdoor growing of photoperiod feminized plants are as follows:
• Early season climate. You need to know when the last frost is at your latitude, this allows you to choose a safe date to put your seedlings outside. Most serous growers like to give their photoperiod cannabis plants a head start by planting them indoors for a few weeks before planting them outdoors after the last frost has gone. This allows larger plants and bigger harvests at the end of the season. Remember to gradually acclimatise your cannabis plants to outdoor weather over a few days. Your plants will find it easier when they are finally planted outside if they have had some time to acclimatise.
• Late season climate. Know when the autumn weather starts to deteriorate, and plan your genetic selection accordingly. Most northern European growers select proven genetics which finish in early October. There is no point selecting a Haze variety which will finish in November if your winter weather has already begun. Know the limits of your climate, and understand which seed genetics can be trusted to finish on time. If in doubt, remember you can always supplement with auto varieties which will grow from seed to harvest in around 85 days.
• Location, location, location. Choose a good growing location and you will be able to use it for many years. The best locations are those with good quality growing conditions which will not be discovered by other people. Google Earth can be a great way to find these locations. You can look for locations that are not close to public paths, dog walkers etc. Ideally you want a sunny, south facing location, perhaps with some protection from the prevailing wind. The location should have good quality moist soil, you can always supplement the soil with good quality compost if the existing soil is poor quality. And you can add organic fertilisers such as manure, worm castings, bat guano, fish/blood/bone meal. In hot climates you may also wish to add water absorbing crystals to the soil to increase the water holding capacity of it during hot weather. A perfect grow location may also have a water source close by, this will allow you to bring water to your plants in hot conditions.
• Protection. Most outdoor growers like to protect their cannabis plants from local wildlife. Use lots of slug and snail pellets, and if necessary use some chicken wire to keep rabbits, deer and wild goats from eating your plants. Slug and snail pellets will require regular re-applications whenever you go to visit your plants.
• Invisibility. Your photoperiod cannabis plants will need to be kept hidden for around 6 months until they are ready to harvest. If the cannabis plants grow too tall you may need to reduce plant hight by tying the tallest branches down (tent pegs are a good way to do this). But pay attention to the surrounding vegetation which may be a good and convenient way to hide your plants. Many growers have plots that are just a few metres from public paths, but the cannabis plants can be hidden from view if you plan carefully.
• Secret entrance to your grow location. Many growers choose an entrance to their grow location using deliberately difficult access. A small hole that you need to crawl thru will make it harder for your plants to be discovered. Many of the most successful growers plant brambles and other thorny plants around the outside perimeter of their grow location. Over several years these ‘protection plants’ can become thick and create an un-penetrable barrier which will protect your secret cannabis location.
• Don’t leave trails to your plants. Most outdoor growers avoid visiting their plants too often in case they create a recognisable path to the grow location. Some growers like to take different routes to their plants to avoid leaving clear trails. The last thing you want is for dog walkers to follow your paths to the cannabis plants. Remember, a good growing location can give many years of service if it is well cared for and discreetly located.
• Multiple grow locations. The most serious outdoor growers like to have a few plots, and they are always looking for more opportunities to create more hidden grow locations. The more grow locations you have, the more you spread the risk. Some growers like to create multiple small grow locations where they can hide one or two plants. Other prefer to concentrate their resources on a couple of larger areas that they have prepared professionally over several years.
Feminized photoperiod plants, when grown well, can provide several hundred grams of top quality cannabis from each plant. So you only need a few plants to achieve self-sufficiency, and the key to that is creating well hidden good quality grow locations. As always, do your research on the seed genetics first but make sure you allow plenty of time to prepare and optimise your growing locations as well. And good luck !
By Tony, Dutch Passion Seed Company