Will I be able to grow cannabis plants outside to harvest?
Last year I attempted to grow cannabis outside and I learned a lot in the process. I wasn't able to harvest the plants due to an early cold snap however I still had the leaves that I was able to eat raw. I'll be trying again this year!
Why grow cannabis?
Cannabis can be expensive, especially if you're a medical user. Growing your own cannabis is a labor of love that saves you money. Another great reason is the nutrition you can get from the cannabis leaves and even the root! Eaten raw it's shown to have some nutritional benefit, you can add it to smoothies or salads and it won't get you high. Raw cannabis in non-psychoactive. 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!
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.
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.