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When should you plant cannabis seeds

How and When to Plant Marijuana

Many people aren’t really sure when to plant their crop. When’s the perfect time of year to germinate your seeds so that everything runs as smoothly as possible? Well, this depends on what medium you’re growing in, the accessories and things you have at your disposal etc. You can grow the perfect crop at any time of year depending on how you’re doing it and what you have. Today we’re going to show you techniques so that you can get the absolute most out of your plants regardless of what time of year it is.

How and When to Plant Marijuana Outdoors

If you’re looking for normal marijuana plants (2m 500mg +/-)

When spring arrives we all know that it’s time to start germinating your marijuana seeds for your outdoor crop. It’s the most important crop of the year as it’s where you can get the most production of the entire year. Old school growers like to plant their seeds for the first full moon of March.

The reasoning behind this is so that while your seeds are germinating they’ll also have light at night time and they won’t stretch up too much in their first days of life. Sometimes it’s a bit too cold at that time though, and of course you can’t plant at the same time everywhere, we’re talking from a Spaniard’s point of view here. If you live somewhere with a very cold climate your plants will take much longer to grow and they’ll get stressed out from cold or wind, which will create weaker plants that are more susceptible to infestations and fungi.

The best thing to do in this case is to wait another month or two; a germinated seed in a decent climate from April onwards will actually be bigger and better grown than one planted in March in the same place.

Taking care of plants for such a long time is quite a lot of work for the grower, you need to keep an eye on infestations, fungi, nutrition, transplants, pruning, tutoring… The whole process takes about six months of constant work. If you’re looking for a decent product and yield, you’ll need:

  • Fertilizers for growth and flowering. You can use your preferred fertilizers, organic hummus, guano for growth, a booster for the flowers and a base fertilizer for flowering should be enough to get a productive and flavorful plant. If you use chemicals then you’ll need a complete range from a specific brand that’ll give your plants the minerals they need to make the most out of the flowers. Of course, chemical products reduce flavor but increase yield, whereas natural products intensify the flavor but make for a lower yield.
  • Insecticides for insects like white flies, mites or thrips. Preventive insecticides are recommended to avoid any scares.
  • An anti-fungi product that works well against oidium. Propolix or other chemical products work well, but you’ll need to use it from the start.
  • Bacillus Thuringiensis; this is used for caterpillars and other worms. Use it as soon as flowering begins, which is when these pests start to appear. Around May/june.
  • Stakes or wires to keep the branches up during the flowering period.

If you’re looking for small plants (1m 250g +/-)

If you’re looking for some small to medium sized plants, both compact and strong, then you’ll need to wait till around the middle of March to germinate your seeds. Your plants will have about a month to grow before the light period changes, and they’ll grow with more sun than other plants, making for strong and compact specimens. So, when they begin to flower they will be more compact, around 1m tall. You’ll need the same products as for large plants, as well as patience although less due to the fact that they take a lot less time, around three and a half months. This style is much easier for beginner growers, although you’ll still need to take care of them.

If you want gigantic plants (3m 1kg+)

To get these kinds of plants you’ll need to apply yourself to the job more than the other two types. You’ll need to grow plants with a decent size so that they can grow amazing 2m long branches in all directions with buds as thick as your fist that you’ll need to hold up with a SCRoG mesh so they don’t break.

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If you’re looking to grow a plant of this size before June then you’ll need to grow it for at least six months so the plant has more surfaces to flower on, which should take another three months. You’ll get much better results if you plant straight into the ground rather than pots.

To be able to grow it for so long you’ll need to do so in a greenhouse. You’ll need to buy or make your own plastic greenhouse. In a greenhouse your plants can avoid the cold during the winter as well as receive enough light to grow properly. You’ll need to germinate your seeds in December. You should germinate them inside so that they don’t die off at the start and they can get a nice warm germination.

Then, you’ll need to make a hole around 50x50x50cm and fill it with new substrate so the plant has a decent medium to grow in. Once your plant has germinated and it’s a few centimeters tall you can officially move it to the greenhouse. You’ll need to install a light above the plant that should turn on for 10 minutes every four hours or twice a night so that it still grows during the winter. The light doesn’t have to be super powerful, the only reason we do this is to annoy the plant and keep it growing. Once the plant reaches around 40cm, you’ll need to start pruning it starting with the main calyx. Two or three weeks later, prune again on the higher branches, two weeks later another one… until after a couple of months you have a big ball of leaves full of mini-calyxes which will later grow into long branches.

More or less around February you’re going to need to place four stakes around your plant in a 1mx1m formation, with the plant right in the middle, and then place a SCRoG mesh over it to separate the branches as much as possible and as wide as possible. Once March arrives you’ll need to take the light away and let it get used to natural light and the growth period lighting (these dates are for Spain). Once you notice the good weather starting again, sometime near April, remove the greenhouse and let your plant breath fresh air. Your plant will be a meter tall, when everyone is is still germinating at this stage, which a whole lot of branches and prepared to grow for another three months. Once June/July arrives, your plant will be absolutely huge. Just before it flowers you can place another mesh so the branches can put up better with the weight of the buds. You’ll need to keep an eye out for infestations and fungi due to the size of the plant and how hard it can be to inspect all of it. It’ll need good nutrients due to how long it’s going to grow, and you’ll need to water it properly. You can get the entire years’ worth of gear in just one plant. Happy growing!

Weed seasons: understanding the best time to grow cannabis in America

Are you thinking about growing your own cannabis? New to being a plant parent? Wondering when you should plant your cannabis seedlings outdoors?

Let’s talk about what “weed season” means in the US, and how you can time your outdoor grow to get the best results.

Photo by: Damien Robertson/Weedmaps

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What is weed season?

Weed season is an affectionate term for the eagerly awaited outdoor cannabis growing season, a period that touches our spring, summer and fall seasons.

In the Northern Hemisphere weed growing season can kick off as early as April, when gardeners and farmers might start seedlings indoors. Cannabis plants typically flower in late summer through fall, and the season can run as late as mid-November in warmer climates where some cultivars take a long and luxurious time maturing their buds.

Why do growers plant and harvest cannabis at specific times of the year?

Like any farmer or gardener, cannabis farmers and gardeners typically get their plants in the ground as soon as the weather is warm enough and the days are long enough.

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This, of course, varies by region. Farmers in California enjoy generally warmer growing seasons and can plant outside earlier while also harvesting later than, say, New York, whose growing season is shorter on both ends. Regardless of where you’re growing, the main goal is to time planting for maximum light during the summer and maximum growth before fall sets in.

For photoperiod plants, timing is everything. Photoperiod cannabis plants take their cue from Mother Nature (or more specifically the number of uninterrupted hours of darkness) to start flowering. As fall sets in and hours of darkness hit twelve per night, the plant will be triggered into its flowering stage.

There are also cannabis plants that aren’t light-sensitive, called autoflower varieties, that will automatically flower on their own at a particular point of their maturity independent of how much light they’re getting. These plants tend to have much shorter life cycles, which is appealing to some gardeners.

Harvesting happens when the plant’s flowers have fattened up but before the very cold weather comes on, typically by mid to late fall.

Phases of growth and timing for outdoor growers

Speaking of life cycles, let’s talk about the plant’s stages of growth and development. This is where we see the importance of timing once more, since outdoor cannabis growers try to map out the growing season and find the sweet spot for optimal plant development.

Early spring: germination stage Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Early spring: germination stage

If you’re growing from seed, the first step in the life of your cannabis plant is germination. Once the seed has sprouted, it will immediately grow two little round leaves, called cotyledon leaves, that will be responsible for delivering energy to the seedling until it starts to grow the more familiar fan leaves we all know and love.

As far as timing when to sprout your seeds, a general rule of thumb is on or around the Spring Equinox. If you’re not growing from seed but instead buying clones, they’ll already be in the seedling stage when you get them so you don’t have to worry about germination.

Spring to early summer: seedling stage Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Spring to early summer: seedling stage

Seedlings are baby plants. Whether you’ve sprouted your own seed or bought a clone, during this first stage of life the plants are delicate and sensitive.

Folks in cooler climates often elect to start plants indoors to keep them safe and warm, waiting to plant outdoors until they’re somewhere between 6 inches and a foot tall and strong enough to handle the environment outside. Even in warm climates, many growers like to start their plants indoors to give them a leg up since seedlings are susceptible to pests, disease, and mold.

In cooler climates, growers should wait on putting plants in the ground until there is no danger of overnight frost, and plenty of sunshine. As Bill Cook, master grower at Kanna-Wise eloquently put it, “a heavy freeze is killin’ your trees.” An old gardener’s rule of thumb is to move plants outside after Mother’s Day, and they should definitely be outside and/or in the ground by the Summer Solstice.

Of course, you could always grow your plants in pots or containers. Lots of outdoor growers elect to use pots and other containers, and they offer the added benefit of being able to bring the plants out during the day and inside if nights tend to be cold.

Summer to early fall: vegetative stage Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Summer to early fall: vegetative stage

The vegetative stage is when the plant’s growth will really take off. For several weeks, it will grow more foliage, reaching ever upwards to that glorious summer sun.

During this phase, growers might consider topping and training their plants to encourage outward growth. This provides more even distribution of light to the leaves while also managing overall plant height. More water will be needed as the plant develops large root systems and additional nutrients like nitrogen are beneficial as the plant matures.

If you aren’t working with exclusively female plants, you’ll need to get rid of the males before they have a chance to pollinate the females (and wreck your harvest). “Even feminized seeds can have up to 10% males in the mix so it’s important to inspect your plants every day as they start to show their sex. Also important to note is that a stressed female plant can produce male branches or ‘hermaphrodites’, so even if you know she’s a girl, you have to check daily,” advised Sara Rotman, a veteran grower and founder of Wellfounded Botanicals.

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A photoperiod plant will continue to live its best vegetative life until the light-to-dark ratio starts to tip in favor of darkness. When photoperiod plants start getting 12 hours of darkness, they will move into their final phase — and perhaps the most exciting for growers — the flowering stage.

Fall: flowering stage Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Fall: flowering stage

For the final stage of a female cannabis plant’s life, most of its energy will be put into producing flowers. The flowering stage happens in three phases:

  • Flower initiation: You’ll start to see white, hairy pistils developing, hinting at the buds to come. The plant will continue to grow, but growth will start to slow down.
  • Mid-flowering: You will start to see the buds take shape, and the plant will stop growing.
  • Late-flowering/ripening: The flowers will really fatten up, becoming sticky and very covered in trichomes. When the pistils turn from white to brown, you can start to think about a harvest.

As the flowers fatten up, they might become too heavy for the branches to handle, and growers often give their plants some help with a trellis, bamboo canes, or another form of support. Extra nutrients like phosphorus are often given during the flowering stage.

Mid-to-late fall: harvest season Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Mid-to-late fall: harvest season

Timing the harvest is an art form in and of itself, though the general rule of thumb is on or around the Fall Equinox. Aside from brown pistils, a close inspection of the trichomes is helpful. Generally, growers look for trichomes that have an amber hue to them. When the plant is ready to harvest you’ll probably also see the fan leaves starting to yellow, curl, and dry out.

Tips for your outdoor grow

Use a grow journal. Tracking the details of your grow efforts, from germination to final cure, will help you become a better cannabis-plant parent. When it’s time for a new season, reviewing the successes and failures from the last crop will make your thumb greener — not to mention improve the quality and quantity of your final harvest. There are lots of ready-made cannabis grow journals out there, but really all you need is a pad of paper and an eye for detail.

Choose a strain for your region or microclimate. Some strains do better in some climates than others, and strain genetics will have a big impact on the growing season. In the northern half of the US where the season is cooler and shorter, growers might want to grow indica-dominant strains, whereas sativas will do well in the more hot and humid southern states that have longer growing seasons. Type of soil, volume of rain, and abundance of sun versus shade are other microclimate variables in your microclimate to consider when choosing a strain.

Plant companions. “Plant beneficial companion plants like marigolds, basil, lemon balm, or lavender. Not only do they invite pollinator insects into your garden, but they also invite beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which will prey on cannabis pests like aphids,” recommended Natalie Cox, a horticulturist and cannabis educator in Canada.

Keep learning. There is a lot to learn from your budding relationship with cannabis. There are also generations of growers who have shared their experiences, both online and in books. When it comes to cannabis, knowledge plus experience equals wisdom. We have a whole library dedicated to the plant for you to peruse. Luke Fletcher of Fletcher Farms Hemp Company added, “Talk to other growers and farmers in your region. You aren’t going to find all the answers on the internet. Good ‘ole fashion learning from others is a super valuable asset.”