Growing cannabis outdoors is the natural pendant to growing cannabis indoors, just outside. As such, it has several different aspects, and its legalities are also different from those of indoors growing.
It is generally possible to plant cannabis outdoors exposed directly to the sunlight, either on natural earth soil or in pots of commercial soil (which can be also used indoors, although this is not very common). Around the subtropic areas of the Earth, cannabis is planted from late spring to the early part of summer and the plants are harvested from the end of the summer up to the beginning of fall.
Growing cannabis outdoors exists both in urban and rural areas, although rural areas are usually more popular due to the fact there’s more open space and soil for the plants. On the other hand, for legal reasons, outdoors cannabis growth can be better camouflaged in an urban area (and usually involves lower amount of plants).
Among outdoor growers, strains of the type indica are usually preferred as they tend to have better yield output and mature faster. Sativa may be preferred by some in case better response to sunlight is sought, and less odor presence (to avoid detection). As part of what is considered outdoor growing, there are many part-time or hobby growers who grow their plants for self-consumption in their own back-yard or in pots on the veranda. Such growers are usually, but not always, no professionals and are simply experimenting around with growing cannabis, or they may want to cut down on the costs of purchasing cannabis for their own recreational use. In addition, in most countries where purchasing marijuana isn’t considered a completely legal act which can be done in broad daylight, many people prefer to go the often partly or wholly decriminalized way of growing small to minor quantities of cannabis for self-consumption.
Even though many of the indoors growers for self-consumption may be amateurs, the process of growing their own cannabis by themselves teaches them a lot about the plant, as cannabis (or marijuana) users are known to be engaged all-around concerning their drug more than other recreational drug users – a lot due to the fact cannabis is a very natural plant and is adaptive to almost every environment. In addition, some users may be growing cannabis themselves in order to ensure they consume only high quality crops controlled by themselves, and not something they purchased from a stranger.
In case the indoor private grower is more than an amateur, but still not quite the expert, they may try to buy the seeds in a special shop selling them (selling seeds is legal in most countries) or order them on the Internet, rather than simply using the seeds from the best last batch consumed. Here too, the level of the engagement the grower has with the drug may dictate the extent to which they are willing to dedicate themselves to tending to the growth, or with how much care they approach the whole process.
So-called guerrilla farming is another aspect of outdoors growing, and involves large plantations in remote areas. This method is common in subtropical countries or in countries that are considered worldwide as major exporters of cannabis for recreational use. In some cases, due to corrupt pr weak governments, the growth may actually be tolerated by the law-enforcing agencies in exchange for sharing the profits from the harvest.
Unlike indoor growing in a sterilized environment, where lighting can be controlled and adjusted as needed, the outdoors grower is almost completely dependent on the elements. Picking a spot which is exposed to at least 12 hours of sunlight a day will be crucial to the success of the undertaking. Corresponding with this, growers in the Northern Hemisphere may plant in different months of years (usually late May/early June) than in the South Hemisphere.
Especially in countries or jurisdictions where growing cannabis outdoors is outlawed and actively enforced, many measures may be taken by the grower to conceal or camouflage the existence of the plants. While finding a remote, abandoned spot is an almost basic prerequisite to avoid detection, other methods may be used in combination with it or on themselves. One of the more popular of those is ‘embedding’ the cannabis plants within a bigger crop that may obscure the cannabis and allow it to blend in and not be conspicuous, such as maize. In the United States, this method appears to be common in the Midwestern states.
Camouflaging the cannabis successfully involves picking a ‘host’ plant which grows roughly to the same height as the cannabis (which is why the lower indica is usually preferred outdoors). Bushy species of host plants may also help the camouflage work. Another common technique used by outdoor growers is digging holes in the ground and placing potted plants in them, thereby reducing the plant’s overall height and exposure to the watching eye.
As far as the process itself of growing the cannabis is concerned, it is rather straightforward and similar to how other plants would be handled. Germinating the seeds may be simply done traditionally by planting them straight into the ground with their pointy end up, around an inch under the surface. The other method is putting the seedlings about around ten days in an indoor starter box, which should give them the right push to grow out well. The seeds themselves should be ideally virile, meaning they shouldn’t look gray and spent, but green and healthy. A common test among hobby growers is to put some test seeds into a frying pan and heat it. If the seeds crack, then they are probably ideal for planting.
Concerning the soil, it should also be fertile, and free of rocks, clay, or other things that may deter growth. If growing completely outdoors (and not in a pot with commercial soil), care should be taken to root out the area around the growing spot of weeds or general pests. As watering grows, the grower should make sure there is enough space between plants (at least three feet apart) to ensure that when they are watered, each receives enough, as cannabis plants are greedy for water during their growth time. All in all, though, not more water than needed (as with any other plant watering) should be given to the plants so as not to overflood them.