Outdoor Cannabis Growing Tips and Tricks

It’s early July! Thunder Bay is in the heart of the summer growing season, and every plant is straining to soak up as much sun and nutrients as possible. Your little sprouts have been in the ground—or in their pots—for a few weeks now, and are well-acclimated. If needed, you’ve eliminated the males from your crop, and can now just focus on getting those buds as big as possible. The days are still long, with that sun hanging out till around 10 pm, and there’s still many weeks before the harvest. If you’re relatively new to gardening, or cannabis is the only crop you grow, here are some tips and tricks to maximize your cannabis yield.

Location is key. Picking the right spot in your yard will help your plants grow healthy and strong, but ideally you’ve picked a location with as much sun as possible and good drainage. Throwing them into a corner of your yard might hide them a bit from the neighborhood kids, but plants do best with room to grow. Try to plan for having about two-to-three square feet of growing space for each of your four plants, as this will give both the roots and the branches room to spread, and you can always stake them to support the stalks on those aggressively windy days. If you’ve planted your cannabis in pots, then you can move them around your yard to chase the southern sun, which comes in handy once the days start to shorten in autumn. As well, consider what’s growing around your plants. If there are dandelions everywhere, then you’ll find their seedy fluff clogging up your buds. 

Instead of watering according to a schedule, meet the plant’s needs. If they’re in the ground, your cannabis will need less watering than if they’re in pots. If the soil appears to be dry or cracked, that’s a sign that you’ve waited too long to water, which will stress the plant and cause the leaves to droop or curl. And no, if it’s hot out, your plants will not be okay if you’re leaving for camp for the long weekend.

Similarly, too much water is also a bad thing. There should never be puddles around the plants, and you should consider tarping when Thunder Bay gets one of those hammering rainstorms that occur once a season. Regular compost treatments are also helpful; where I grow in Current River, the soil is fairly sandy, so I like to mix in some enrichment. Mulch on top of the soil is also helpful to keep moisture in and prevent weeds from taking hold. One bit of maintenance is to trim down the plant’s bottom branches around the first week of August; these branches use a lot of energy but don’t produce a worthwhile quantity of dried flower. This will force energy to the top part of the plant and boost the biggest buds.

If you’ve picked an appropriate strain for Thunder Bay’s climate, then the plants should mostly take care of themselves as long as these needs are met. Constant fussing and touching of the plants will damage them in the long run. It’s strange to consider but cannabis really does act like a weed in this regard: it’s a hearty plant, and if you’ve taken all the right steps, you’ll see the benefits in just a few months.

By Justin Allec