Are you considering growing your own cannabis plants? As the sweeping popularity of cannabis continues to spread across the nation, more and more cannabis enthusiasts with green thumbs are looking to try their hand at cultivation. If you are in a locale where it is legal to purchase and cultivate cannabis seeds, then you’ve come to the right place to learn how to do it the right way.
In today’s conversation, we are going to learn about the different cannabis seasons, when you should purchase cannabis seeds, and how you can watch your garden prosper around the year with auto-flowering seeds and an indoor set-up.
Outdoor Weed Season: Location is Everything
Wouldn’t it be nice if the world were simple and all cannabis strains flourished at the same time? Unfortunately, that isn’t quite the case. Instead, growers everywhere have to wait until the onset of the outdoor cannabis growing season, a period that begins in spring before extending into summer and fall.
For cultivators in the Northern Hemisphere, the cannabis cultivation season for outdoor growing will start around April. During this time, many growers will begin nurturing their seedlings indoors to prepare them for transplanting outside. As cannabis plants traditionally flower throughout the summer and into the fall, and in some cases into November, it is imperative to stay ahead of schedule.
Indoor growers can begin their crop at any time as they are not limited by the season or any of its limitations. Indoor growers can expose their crops to 12 hours of continuous darkness per day to force them into their flowering stage, an option not available to outdoor growers.
Strains and Their Unique Differences
What makes cannabis so unique and interesting can also make it a struggle for newcomers to cultivate it. If you were to plant your five favorite cannabis strains in a room together with the expectation that they’ll flower at the same time, you’ll likely face major disappointment. Each strain that you choose from will have wildly different genetics that will impact how and when they choose to ripen.
Some strains, such as Chocolate Thai, can take upwards of 14 weeks to enter their flowering stage. Other strains, like Blueberry, enjoy flowering times that are rapidly expedited.
What to Expect When Growing Indoors
Cultivating cannabis has long been largely accomplished outdoors with little more than the sun, some soil, and the elements to help the process. Thanks to the enduring prohibition on cannabis, growers have been forced to become more clever and dynamic in their approaches, thus leading to indoor gardening.
Indoor gardening, sometimes referred to in the same breath as hydroponic cultivation, is a sometimes soil-free way to grow your cannabis plant indoors, without regard for the outdoor elements or the season. Utilizing artificial lighting set on a timer, indoor growers can set the outdoor growing conditions that their plants need to succeed.
Unfortunately, growing cannabis indoors can become prohibitive concerning cost, as there are expenses pertaining to lighting, utilities, and feeding supplies. Indoor growers can utilize auto-flowering seeds at any time of the year to begin a crop that can flourish in under 12 weeks.
Impact of Climate on Outdoor Growing
Cannabis has been cultivated outdoors in a controlled setting for thousands upon thousands of years. While less aesthetically pleasing in some cases than its indoor competition, outdoor cannabis is simple to grow as it takes advantage of the natural world for most of its support. With that being said, we must still take time to understand how the climate can impact our operations when cultivating cannabis.
It’s long been understood that certain Indica varieties flourish in colder climates, rising in the mountains of Pakistan and Nepal. However, the opposite is true of many sativa variations. Understanding the nuances of your plant’s genetic history can be important when settling on your growing climate.
Key Stages of Your Plant’s Growth
Outdoor growers would be best to familiarize themselves with the different stages of their plant’s growth and development, regardless of strain or growing location.
Early Spring – Germination
Growing from seed requires a successful germination process and that means beginning at some point in the early spring. Nurture your seeds until they sprout, providing enough juice to grow a pair of cotyledon leaves.
Through Early Summer – Seedling Stage
As a baby plant, your seedling will utilize its cotyledon leaves to transfer energy to the rest of its system. By early summer, these delicate plants should grow upwards of six inches to a foot in height. It is imperative not to rush your plants if you are in a colder climate.
Summer to Early Fall – Veg State
The vegetative stage is where your plant’s growth will truly explode. Foliage will continue to accrue as growers continue to train and top their plants, guiding its directional growth and light distribution. At this point in the process, you’ll want to weed out any male plants to prevent potential hermaphrodites from forming. While the veg state will vary from one strain to the next, you’ll be looking at upwards of 12 hours of darkness before transitioning into the final stage of life.
Fall – Flowering Stage
White hairy pistils have begun to develop on your plant, hinting at the buds that are on their way. This stage will last throughout Fall as your flowers begin to develop and fatten up, earning a coated layer of trichome along the way.
By the end of fall, most cultivars are ready to harvest their plants. Aim for the Fall Equinox as a general guideline for when you should begin harvesting your plants. Growers will often look for trichomes that are more amber than white, showcasing their readiness for harvest.
Benefits of Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
Novice growers can avoid many of the pitfalls of outdoor growing by opting for an auto-flowering strain. Autoflowering strains are ideal for novice growers as they can be planted any time of the year because they do not depend on a certain photoperiod to trigger their flowering stage.
Autoflowering marijuana seeds can be grown both indoors and outdoors with life cycles of only 8 to 12 weeks. With much less in the way of dynamic variation, cannabis autoflowering strains are an amazing way for newcomers to the cultivation side of things to enjoy a potentially successful first grow.
- Understand Your Climate – Choose strains that fit your region and microclimate, unless you opt to grow indoors. If you are growing indoors, make sure that you have the equipment necessary to accommodate the plant’s requirements.
- Autoflowers – Autoflowers can be grown in the harshest environments so purchasing them is usually the best option for year-round outdoor and indoor growing.
- Take Notes – No matter what you aim to grow for your first time in the cannabis world, make sure to take detailed notes of the entire process. As you learn the ins and outs of cannabis cultivation, you will begin to learn the techniques that work best for you.