Is your garden ready for summer yet?
It's May and the outdoor growing season has begun. For me, it is always a great privilege to grow my own cannabis. In my opinion, nothing can beat organic outdoor cannabis. Cannabis grown under the sun has a more balanced effect on me. And you have a free source of light. Even on a cloudy day, the brightness is just as great as an average Led bulb.
This month is THE time to germinate seeds for outdoor growing, so I've already started plenty. This year I am growing two feminized varieties, one regular variety and two feminized autoflowers. This way I stay within the tolerance law and if the regular strain is female I will be able to harvest 5 plants.
What will you grow this year?
Seeds of feminized strains are plentiful. Always choose a strain with a short flowering period or a strain adapted to our Dutch climate. This will be stated in the description. The strains with a shorter flowering period are usually Indica species. They also tend to be smaller and bushier. Something that is also an advantage in a garden. Sativa strains can grow very large and easily over your fence if you do nothing about it. It is of course not desirable that your plant can be seen three gardens away. Some Sativa's have a flowering time of 16 weeks, this will also not be a success outdoors without any aids. They will rot before they can be harvested.
Regular seeds produce both female and male plants. On average, the ratio is 50/50. The plant will have to flower for the gender to become visible. Male cannabis is not consumable and its pollen will fertilize the female plants, causing her flower buds to make seeds. This means that after a few months of care you may have to get rid of half your plants.
Autoflowers I personally find increasingly interesting to grow. This is because the supply is becoming more varied. Although the varieties do not tell me much, I am more interested in how the cannabis is grown. On average autoflowers are ready for harvest three months after germination. So the warmest months, May through August, are ideal for these autoflowers to flower. This is in contrast to non-autoflowers that only develop their first bloom in August. Not only the number of sun hours, but also the high humidity at this time of year is a disadvantage and can easily lead to bud rot (Botrytis cinerea) and other fungi.
Due to their short life cycle, autoflowers do not grow large and therefore have lower yields. But due to the many hours of sunshine, the potency of this cannabis is many times greater. With some tools and training techniques, decent yields can be achieved with autoflowers. With a little calculation you can grow two rounds of autoflowers. One at the beginning of the summer and one at the end of the summer. Together with the higher potency of the autoflowers you can harvest enough for a long time recreational or medicinal use. For your well-being, in other words.
The growing area
I had already thoroughly cleaned the growing area in the garden and removed old branches and leaves. A squirrel had stashed a winter supply of nuts and seeds there. I gathered them together and put them elsewhere in the garden in the hope that he will find them again.
Keep your growing area clean to avoid attracting unnecessary mold and pests. Unfortunately, in our climate we can still experience some setbacks when growing outdoors.
- Bugs and other pests, such as snails, that can rob you of your young seedlings overnight.
- Storms and winds that can devastate plants.
- Prolonged rain that leads to high humidity, which makes the chance of bud rot very high and can ruin large parts of your harvest. Never smoke weed that is moldy!
An average Led light above the plant will do just fine, but in the months of June, July and August you will want them under full spectrum multi-watt sunlight. And if the weather is any indication, you also need to be lucky enough not to have any uninvited guests in your garden. The well-known pests that come to steal or confiscate. Yes, as an outdoor grower sometimes it is not easy. Should such a thing happen, be calm and courteous!
The first plants have germinated and it is time to repot them to a larger enclosure. The autoflowers I repot after one week of germination in their final pot. This is because an autoflowering plant has a short life cycle and you do not want to disturb its growth unnecessarily. To get the most out of them I plant an autoflowering plant in a pot of at least 18 liters. The bigger the pot the bigger the plant, in this case the autoflower, can get.
Good cannabis starts with good genetics. The characteristics of the various genetics that give the smell and taste to a particular strain are a personal preference. For me, there are only two types: a well grown or a poorly grown weed. I have seen flowers of cannabis that looked very nice but were dirty to consume, due to chemical foods.
And the tastiest orange I've ever eaten didn't look it. More green and brown than it was orange, but how an orange should taste. Not the balls sprayed with orange dye that are in the fruit section of our supermarket. But like I said, taste is personal. Do you like oranges or bananas? If they are grown in a good way I eat them both, because fruit is healthy!
Yes, organic weed, I like that. That is why I am often busy with all kinds of organic growing techniques in my (vegetable) garden.
Like improving the soil with compost and worm manure. Making compost tea, fermented nettle tea, etc. I would recommend everyone to use organic food products.
I have been growing for over 25 years now and in the beginning I didn't know any better either. At that time, I bought the nutrition that was recommended to me by experienced people at the time. Those experienced people were not growing for themselves, but for the yield. Often it is a liquid base nutrient that consists of 2 parts. Never mix them together, only mix them in water, it said. In addition, you needed all kinds of bottles. At one point I found it more laboratory work than gardening. And because over the years I became more and more critical of what I consumed, I began to adjust my growing method. Also because one time I just put a seed in the ground somewhere and a plant grew out of it. This in itself is not strange, but the plant had much more flavor than I was used to. My interest was piqued.
Nowadays I am convinced, cannabis grown with products from mother earth smells much better. And it is softer and more flavorful when you smoke or vape it. No, you don't have to build a compost heap like me and start experimenting!
I prefer to grow my autoflowers with Biotabs. With the short life cycle of the autoflower, I want a no nonsense nutrition from A to Z. If you are a beginning (organic) grower then the Starter Set is highly recommended.
Now it's just waiting for the sun. Hoping that it will shine a lot this year. And that the rain holds back and only limits the watering of our crops.
May 2021 be a good year for cannabis. Good luck to all (sun)growers!
Blog picture: Henri Rousseau - Fight between a Tiger and a Buffalo
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