Grow Outdoor Cannabis: A Complete Guide

Grow Outdoor Cannabis: A Complete Guide

Come enter a realm the line between nature and luxury is not just blurred, but virtually non-existent — this is the realm of cannabis cultivation.

If you’ve found your way to this page, we’re guessing you’re here because you value holistic health and sustainable practices. Because you, like us, believe in the power of balance, the magic of tending to the earth, and the wonders of nature. And, of course, because you’re ready to venture into the revolutionary realm of growing outdoor cannabis.

Now, whether you’re a seasoned grower looking for new insights or a novice ready to get your hands a little dirty, this guide is crafted with you in mind. It’s designed to demystify the cannabis cultivation process, empower you with knowledge, and, ultimately, help you harvest the highest quality plants.

What’s the Difference Between Hemp vs. Cannabis?

Before we dig into the how-tos of outdoor cannabis cultivation, let’s clear up some common confusion. Hemp and cannabis, what’s the difference? If you’ve been wondering about this, you’re certainly not alone.

The truth is, hemp and cannabis are both members of the Cannabis sativa plant family. What differentiates them is not a matter of species but a legal classification based on their chemical composition.

By law, “hemp” refers to cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content. THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis — the substance responsible for the “high” sensation.

So, when we talk about hemp, we’re talking about a variant of the Cannabis sativa plant that’s been bred to contain minimal THC levels, making it perfect for people interested in the plant’s other benefits without the psychoactive effects. Think of it as the more laid-back cousin of cannabis, just as revolutionary but with less of the psychoactive edge.

Is It Legal To Grow My Own Cannabis?

Now that we’ve set the record straight on hemp vs. cannabis, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty — can you legally grow your own cannabis?

This is where things get a bit tricky. While the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the regulated cultivation of industrial hemp for commercial use, cannabis legality is still a complex issue that varies state by state in the U.S.

While some states have embraced the green revolution with open arms, others maintain stricter stances. To complicate things further, regulations may even differ within states.

Some states may permit you to grow cannabis, but with certain conditions. For instance, they may prohibit the growth of cannabis in public view, requiring growers to opt for greenhouses, indoor cultivation, or covered outdoor areas.

No matter where you live, you should always check local and state regulations before embarking on your cannabis cultivation journey. With the right knowledge, preparation, and respect for the law, you’re well on your way to growing some incredible cannabis plants, reaping the benefits of balance and holistic health while contributing to a sustainable and abundant future for all.

What Are the Benefits of Growing Cannabis Outdoors?

Now that you understand what cannabis is and the legality around its cultivation, let’s explore the world of outdoor cannabis growth. We’re not just talking about producing high-quality outdoor cannabis. The benefits go beyond just yield.

Harmonizing With Mother Nature

First and foremost, outdoor cultivation allows your cannabis plants to grow in the most natural environment possible.

They’ll bathe in direct sunlight, dance in the wind, and root deeply into the earth. This direct connection with nature often results in robust, hearty plants that can withstand the trials and tribulations of the growing season.

Nutrient Availability

Outdoor soil is a treasure trove of nutrients. When you grow cannabis outdoors, your plants have access to a rich ecosystem teeming with the nutrient goodies they need to flourish. Unlike indoor growers who have to manually provide all the necessary nutrients to their plants, outdoor growers can often rely on nature to do much of the heavy lifting.

With the right soil type and quality amendments, you’ll give your cannabis plants the feast they need to grow and flower. And remember, the happier and healthier your plants are, the more high-quality cannabis they’ll produce.

Cost and Sustainability

Outdoor cultivation is typically more cost-effective and sustainable than indoor cultivation. Indoor growers need to recreate what Mother Nature provides for free, leading to higher energy usage and costs.

But growing outdoors? It’s like having the best cannabis-growing amenities, courtesy of the planet.

But it’s not just about money saved — it’s also about a lower carbon footprint. When you choose to grow outdoors, you’re not just becoming a cannabis cultivator — you’re also doing your part in sustaining our planet.

What Is the Life Cycle of Cannabis Plants?

Embarking on the journey of growing cannabis outdoors means intimately understanding the lifecycle of cannabis. It’s like learning a new language — the language of growth, change, and blooming.

Stage 1: Germination

Every great cannabis journey begins with a tiny seed. The germination stage is when this seed awakens from its dormancy. With the right moisture, warmth, and care, your cannabis seeds will crack open, revealing a tiny root that will soon dive deep into the earth.

This magical beginning, full of potential and promise, usually spans a period of three to 10 days.

Stage 2: Cannabis Seedling Stage

As the taproot from the germinated seed burrows into the soil, the seedling stage begins. In this stage, the first pair of round “baby” leaves (cotyledons) emerge, followed by the iconic serrated cannabis leaves.

With proper care and nourishment, your cannabis seedling will grow stronger and start preparing for its next life stage.

Stage 3: Vegetative Stage 

This is the phase of rapid growth for your cannabis plants. The vegetative stage sees your plants focus all their energy on growing bigger and stronger. Large fan leaves will unfurl to soak up all the wonderful sunlight, and sturdy stems will grow to withstand winds.

This stage, typically lasting from three to eight weeks, depending on the strain and growing conditions, requires a balanced mix of nutrients — especially nitrogen — for optimal growth.

Stage 4: Flowering Stage

The flowering stage, which typically lasts for six to eight weeks, commences when your cannabis plants start responding to the change in light cycle and begin producing flowers.

Expect to see small buds with white hair-like pistils during this period. These are your future buds, full of potential and just starting to form. Maintaining an optimal light schedule and nutrient mix is crucial to encourage healthy flowering.

During this phase, your plants will begin to focus entirely on flower production. You’ll observe that your buds are getting bigger, denser, and more resinous. It’s a thrilling time as you watch your plants put all their energy into creating beautiful, rich buds.

As the buds mature, their pistils darken and curl in. The previously clear trichomes will turn milky and then amber, indicating the ripening of cannabinoids. During this time, proper watering and nutrient adjustments are critical to ensure you end up with high-quality, potent cannabis.

Stage 5: Harvesting

Finally, we reach the harvesting stage. This stage is the culmination of your efforts and the beginning of a new journey with the fruits of your labor. Here, timing is everything.

You’ll know your cannabis plants are ready for harvest when most of the pistils have darkened and curled in, and the trichomes have turned from milky to amber. Careful observation and patience are key in this final stage — a premature harvest could yield less potent buds, while waiting too long could result in overly narcotic effects.

Once you determine the plants are ready, the harvest begins. This process involves cutting the plants, trimming away excess leaves, and then drying and curing the buds. The goal is to preserve the aroma, flavor, and potency of your cannabis.

Drying and curing, if done correctly, can greatly enhance the quality of your harvested buds, rounding off the lifecycle of your cannabis plant.

Understanding the Cannabis Plant’s Compounds

Let’s dive deeper into the heart of what makes cannabis so unique and beloved — the production of cannabinoids and terpenes.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds produced by cannabis plants. Two of the most well-known cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). While THC is known for its psychoactive effects, CBD is non-intoxicating and is lauded for its potential therapeutic benefits.

But THC and CBD are just the tip of the cannabinoid iceberg. Cannabis plants produce a myriad of cannabinoids, each interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system in unique ways, offering a symphony of potential health benefits.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. They are responsible for the distinct, tantalizing aromas of different cannabis strains — from the sweet, fruity notes of some sativa strains to the earthy, musky scents of many indica varieties.

But terpenes aren’t just about adding olfactory delight. They also contribute to the therapeutic effects of cannabis. They work in concert with cannabinoids in what’s known as the “entourage effect”, amplifying the plant’s overall therapeutic potential.

What Are the Best Growing Conditions for Cannabis Plants?

Cannabis is a sun-loving plant that thrives under direct sunlight. But it’s not just about catching rays. Your outdoor plant’s health and productivity are also significantly influenced by the quality of your soil, the right nutrients, and the ideal outdoor growing season.

Soil Type and Amendments

Cannabis prefers well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Amendments like worm castings, bat guano, perlite, and other fertilizers rich in organic matter can enhance the nutrient content and drainage properties of your soil, leading to healthier, more robust plants.

The pH should ideally be between 6.0 and 7.0. Amending your soil with these organic materials can enrich the soil structure, enhancing its ability to retain nutrients and water. Look for amendments that are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to best support your plants.

The Power of Sunlight and the Right Growing Season

Direct sunlight is essential for cannabis, stimulating photosynthesis and promoting healthy growth. The optimal outdoor growing season usually aligns with the warmer months, when sunlight is abundant, ideally providing at least five to six hours of sun per day.

Whether it’s in your backyard, on a balcony, or in a garden, select a spot that is private and secure yet receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day. Be aware of any potential environmental threats, such as excessive wind or potential pests, and consider whether you can mitigate these threats before choosing your site.

Different strains — like sativa and indica — may respond differently to growing conditions. For instance, sativa strains typically love a warm, sunny climate, while indica varieties can tolerate cooler temperatures.

What Do I Need To Grow Cannabis Outdoors?

Growing cannabis outdoors is a rewarding endeavor that requires a bit of preparation. The following are some of the essential items you’ll need:

  • Quality soil and raised beds: Begin with high-quality soil rich in organic matter, ideally housed in raised beds for better drainage and root growth.
  • Proper growing medium: Your hemp or marijuana plants will need a growing medium — such as a quality soil mix — that can support their nutritional needs throughout their lifecycle.
  • Proper space: As a rule of thumb, most cannabis plants should be planted about four to six feet apart to allow for bushy growth. Giving your plants ample room to spread their branches can contribute to greater sunlight absorption and air circulation, reducing the risk of mold and pests.
  • High-quality cannabis seeds: The choice of cannabis seeds significantly impacts your cultivation journey. High-quality seeds influence everything from plant hardiness to the profiles of cannabinoids and terpenes.

At Blue Forest Farms, we understand the importance of starting your cannabis cultivation journey with the best. Our seeds are meticulously selected for their quality, consistency, and high cannabinoid ratios.

We believe in providing seeds that offer not just a high yield but also a rich sensory experience with every bud. Each seed option is tested, ensuring it meets our high standards and fits into every grower’s needs, whether you’re a first-time cultivator or a seasoned grower.

What Are Some Common Issues When Growing Cannabis Outside?

Cultivating cannabis is a fulfilling journey of growth and understanding. But like any adventure, it may present some challenges. Let’s explore common issues you might face when growing cannabis outdoors and how to troubleshoot them.

Germination, Vegetative Growth, and Flowering Period

From the initial stages of germination to the flowering period, issues can arise that impede your plants’ growth. Seeds might not germinate due to improper storage, insufficient moisture, or incorrect temperature.

During the vegetative stage, nutrient imbalances, insufficient sunlight, or overwatering could slow growth. In the flowering stage, imbalances in light or nutrient ratios can affect bud development.

Most of these problems can be mitigated with careful observation, consistent care, and swift action. Remember to use Keep a keen eye on your plants, understand their needs, and adjust your care regimen as needed.

Extreme Weather

Outdoor growers, particularly in the northern hemisphere, must prepare for extreme weather events. Cold snaps, heat waves, and heavy rain can stress your plants and affect their health.

Protection measures such as cold frames, row covers, or relocating your plants can help you combat these adverse conditions.

Maintaining Quality in Outdoor Cannabis Plants

To ensure you’re cultivating top-quality marijuana, maintain a clean and nutrient-rich growing environment, use high-quality seeds like our collection at BFF, and adhere to the best practices during each growth stage.

Remember, outdoor cannabis cultivation is a hands-on experience that rewards consistent care and attention. Regular inspections for pests, diseases, and nutritional deficiencies are key.

The Bottom Line

From understanding the interplay of cannabinoids and terpenes to delving into the lifecycle of cannabis, we’ve covered an array of topics that lay the groundwork for your outdoor cannabis cultivation journey.

Growing cannabis outdoors offers a unique opportunity to cultivate a deeper connection with the natural world while producing high-quality marijuana. It’s a testament to the power of balance — the balance between human care and the raw beauty of nature, between proactive attention and patient waiting.

As you embark on this journey, remember that growing cannabis is more than just the end product — it’s about the transformative process of nurturing, learning, and growing. With the right knowledge and tools, you can confidently navigate the journey of outdoor cannabis cultivation.

Whether you’re an experienced cultivator looking to expand your garden or a beginner eager to delve into the world of cannabis, Blue Forest Farms is here to support you with a range of resources and high-CBD seeds tested for their consistent and high-quality genetics.

So, gear up and embrace the adventure that is outdoor cannabis cultivation. The earth is ready, the sun is shining — now it’s your turn. Let the journey begin!


Cannabis sativa: The Plant of the Thousand and One Molecules | Frontiers 

Farm Bill | USDA

Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids | NCBI

Study Shows Cannabis Terpenes Provide Pain Relief, Contribute to ‘Entourage Effect’ | UArizona Health Sciences