Will I be able to grow cannabis plants outside to harvest?
This is my first year attempting to grow cannabis! I wanted to see if it's as easy as people say (it's not) and if I can do it myself (I sort of can). If it wasn't for a few clones I received, I wouldn't have any plants to grow. None of the seeds I started made it past the seedling stage however I learned a lot in the process and will try again with seeds next year.
Why grow cannabis?
Cannabis can be expensive, especially if you are a medical user. Growing your own allows you to have access to more of your medicine without the cost. Another great reason is the nutrition you can get from the cannabis leaves and even the root! Raw it's shown to have some nutritional benefit, you can add it to smoothies or salads and it won't get you high. You can decarb the leaves and add it to drinks or food for a mild effect, none of the plant goes to waste when you grow it yourself!
You can get CBD strains and make your own oils. This is what I'm looking forward to, CBD oil is expensive and hard to source in B.C. Grow your own then make your own tinctures and oils from the plant you grew yourself. Weed Mama will have recipes for making your own tinctures in the fall, stay tuned!
Where to buy seeds
There's several online seed shops to buy from, this link provides information for buying seeds in Canada.
Types of seeds
Autoflowering seeds: this means the plants will autoflower on their own after a short vegetative period of 2-4 weeks. When growing outside this means you won't have to worry about how many hours of sunlight they get. The drawback to autoflowering seeds is they tend to be smaller plants with smaller yields.
Feminized seeds: This ensures you're getting the female plant, so you don't have to start with so many plants as male plants will have to be removed from the crop.
Best bet, find clones
If you're able to find clones, (clones are cuttings from a mother plant) this is the way to go. I started with 13 seeds and none of them made it past the seedling stage. It's hard to grow from seed! However clones are much easier, I obtained 3 clones from a friends and these plants are thriving.
How to germinate your seeds
Step 1: Germinate seeds in paper towel
Start your seeds March to April however you can go as late as July.
To start your seeds, take two pieces of paper towel and wet them with a squirt bottle. *don't get too wet!
Place seeds between sheets on the damp paper towel and place two more damp peices of paper towel on top. Then cover with another plate. Keep it in a warm, dark place until the sprout comes out
usually 2 - 5 days.
Step 2: Transfer to small pots
Once they've sprouted use the tip of a pen to make your indent in the soil then bury them seed up, taproot down, just under the surface then gently cover with soil. Keep them warm and with sunlight until leaves grow and roots are established. You can use container soil from a garden store. Or you can use a rock wool cube. Your sprouts needs proper water however not too much or it can get fungus and mold. It will need exposure to plenty of light.
Step 3: Transfer to final home
Once the roots are established you will transfer your plants to 1 gallon pots or to your garden. I grow in pots as my garden soil isn't great and I need to be able to move the plants easily.
Battling bugs & mold
Bugs, especially spider mites and mold are the biggest problems with outdoor growing. This is why so many plants die. With mold, the key is to not give the plants too much moisture. With bugs, the moment you see issues with your plants, treat it immediately. Here's a link with how to identify common problems with growing cannabis outside.
*Update on the girls*
I've battled a bug infestation, for that I used a a squirt of dish soap in a bottle of water and spritzed the leaves, that worked.
Then I overfed the plants nutrients, causing "nutrient burn"- which I've learned is a common newbie mistake. All of the leaves went yellow and brown, like they were burnt. For that I had to transfer the plants into bigger pots anyway, so I used that opportunity to add more soil and only give the plants water for about a week before adding nutrients again.
During that transfer I snapped the middle plant's stem off by accident. Not only did that plant grown back strong, she also flowered before the others.
Now in flowering stage the girls are healthy and green. I'm hoping before the weather gets too cold at night they will be ready to harvest!
The right nutrients
It matters that you get the right plant food, each stage requires different nutrients and balancing the PH is important. Most garden centres don't know very much about growing cannabis plants, yet. However the best nutrients you can get is remo. This is what I use for my little queens.