Growing some plants outside in the summer can be a great learning experience. There are a few rules to consider. You must use the correct genetics for your climate. Choosing strains that take too long to finish in a cold environment is something to be avoided. Also you want to have a bud structure that will not mold easily, not too dense.
Another important factor is the right soil mix. A mix that is cannabis friendly is essential. Many soil mixes are the wrong PH and have the wrong combinations of nutrients, so when you get your soil do a thorough check of the NPK and the ingredients. Make sure that the soil has good drainage so it can handle being rained on a lot and coping with it by not becoming too soggy.
Cannabis plants love full sun, so think carefully about where they are placed. I always super-crop my plants, and outside I even do it more.
By super-cropping I mean a structured bending of the branches. This is a handy technique for controlling height and shape. Plants can be bent multiple times to obtain the desired dimensions.
Here is how it is done. I usually wait until a plant is about 10 inches high, then with my thumb and forefinger I roll the stem in-between my fingers gently squeezing them together. I do this at about 3 inches from the tip of the branch. You can feel a crunching sound as the inner pulp of the cannabis plant is pressed together. After your plant has been bent, you must leave it be for a few days, making sure that the bent part does
not receive any extra stress.
Within 24 hours you will notice that the tips of the branches are already starting to point upwards again, and within a week have turned directly back to the sky.
What I like to call "elbows" start to form where the bend was made, and with time get stronger and stronger. All of the side branches next to the elbows get much bigger and stronger to make up for the injury and stress.
These bends can be made quite a few times on the same plant through time but only while they are in the vegging phase. You end up with a plant with multiple top colas all of a large size.
Besides getting a larger yield per plant and more tops it also improves the overall health of the plant. This is also a great technique for keeping your plant from getting too tall.
I have compared buds from the same strain that were super-cropped with buds that were left alone, and my feeling is that the super-cropped plants were always better. The main stalks are greatly strengthened by the super-cropping helping them to withstand strong winds and heavy rains.
Even though I am primarily an indoor grower, when it gets to be this time of year, I can't help but have a few outside, its just so nice to see the natural sun at work.
Growing in a climate like Holland, most cannabis has a hard time finishing up before it gets too wet and cold. One solution to this is to make a lightproof box big enough to place over the entire plant. Start to give it 12 hours of light in the last days of July and it will finish by the end of September, before it gets too cold and wet.
All of these cultivation methods are a little extra work, but are well worth the time and energy.
I don't know about you, but I sure love having a few sacred cannabis plants around just to look at, even if I never get to smoke them.
Being a medicinal user it has become even more important to me to grow and study this magnificent healing plant, and getting a chance to study it outside in the sunshine is a real treat.
Keep it GREEN........Peace Soma