Preparing for The Outdoor Season
Picking the Best Genetics: this does not mean which company is the most reputable or hyped, but it refers to your environment. It is important to pick a strain that will be able to hold up to however late in the year it is. So, if you are in the U.K and have plans to grow outdoors this year, then it is a good idea to consider the following short list.
- A fast-flowering strain (50-56 days) that is indica dominant.
- High resistance to powdery mildew and mould.
- Wind resistant and endures colder temperatures well.
- Does not smell too pungent or attracts the wrong attention.
What About Auto Flowering Seeds?
Autos are a fantastic way to grow smaller sized plants without relying on a set light regime. This means you can plant the auto flowering seeds and around 70-80 days later you can harvest a female plant. Needless to say, autos are extremely popular in Europe, South America and it seems even the U.S market is soaring with autos.
What is great about these low profiles, easy to grow plants is you are able to achieve multiple grows outside in the space of a year. If you have the luxury to plant at a South facing location, then during April until September you have a 6-month window to squeeze 2-3 crops out depending on the cultivar.
I would personally recommend starting your seeds off inside for the first week, until your seedling is established enough to plant outside and endure the sun and cold nights. I do not advise planting seeds into the soil and leaving outdoors unless you have a very warm climate and constant sunshine, without cold and wet mornings.
Deciding which pot to plant your seeds can be a case of starting in a 6.5 litre pot for example, and repotting later. If you have a location in your garden or terrace that provides sunshine from the morning until night, then it is possible to plant the seedlings into a big pot such as 25-50 litre or directly into a well-maintained bed of soil.
Insect and Pests
Slugs and bugs are an outdoor grower worst enemy, and more so in the U.K. Nothing is worse knowing your prized seedling was lunch for a passing slug and now you are left with a trail of slime and a half-eaten plant. It is a good idea to keep your seedling well protected using a plastic pint-sized cup with holes in turned upside down. This simple but effective trick will keep all the pests at bay and allow your plant to grow up to a point where it can better defend itself with your help.
One way to fight off hungry slugs and snails is to use either copper wire laid down in a circle on the top of the pot. Somehow copper sends a shock through the slug quickly deterring them away from your plants. Dried broken egg shells are also a good tactic and these can be placed on top of the soil and pressed in. When the slugs and snails pass over, it will be like razor blades and stop them in their tracks.
Polytunnels and Greenhouses
One great way to increase the levels of privacy in your outdoor garden, and keep the plants warm and humid, is to grow inside of a glass greenhouse, or polytunnel. Not only do the plants stay well protected from the rain and heavy winds, they are also kept out of sight from neighbours and helicopters.
Building a polytunnel from a plastic water pipe, wooden stakes and polystyrene sheet is easy enough and cheap, allowing you to customise your own size. A greenhouse may be a little more challenging to set up and far more expensive to buy, however both will last the test of time if well built.
If you do plan to build a polytunnel in the comfort of your back garden, then you should consider building it facing South. You will also want to make sure that there is plenty of room for the plants and for yourself to comfortably manoeuvre around and do your hands on maintenance. When growing auto flowering seeds in outdoor polytunnels, the results can be amazing and ensures a solid Sea of Green crop delivered every 70-80 days alongside the photoperiod plants ready to harvest in the fall.
What to Remember!
- Grow strains that will be well suited for your environment.
- South facing is best to maximise the amount of sun.
- Seedlings will not enjoy cold nights so take care during the early stages.
- Keep your seedlings protected from insects and animals.
- Auto flowering strains will grow well outside in the U.K
Please check out my YouTube podcast and website www.officialstoneytark.com for more great info and advice about all things Cannabis. Keep growing and stay humble!