Starting Outdoor Cannabis Plants Early

Rambo April 6, 2013 17
Starting Outdoor Cannabis Plants Early

For most people Valentine’s Day brings to mind love and an obsession with exchanging candy, gifts and bodily fluids.Valentine’s Day also marks something I am very passionate about, the beginning of the outdoor growing season. For those of us with advanced greenhouses or indoor gardens, that is the time to get those clones rooted and ready to go. They say the early bird gets the worm, those who started growing in mid February will also be growing some monster cannabis plants. For those without the indoor gardens, starting around Easter still allows enough of time to grow some very large plants.

Strain Selection

The first step is selecting the kind of plants you want to grow. Personally I prefer the sativa dominant hybrids that will finish by mid October and stack on some heavy yields. My goal each year is to average about five pounds per plant. If you start early, don’t make mistakes, and grow the correct strains, this should be an achievable goal. After seeing Big Sluggers outdoor garden finish with monster yields, I think Blue Dream is a pretty safe bet. Obviously there are many other great strains for outdoor gardens as well.

Quantity and Space

Decide how many plants you want to grow in your outdoor garden. This decision should be based on the time and energy you have to put into the project, the space you have available, and local regulations for growing marijuana. In my opinion this decision should not be based on how much medicine you actually need. Even advanced growers can have a bad year due to unforeseen events. Don’t assume a high yield.

If you want to grow monsters, make sure your garden will allow each plant at least a 10 foot by 10 foot area to grow in. Personally I think a 15 foot by 15 foot area is better. While they may not fill the space completely, the side branches will be exposed to much more light if they are not being shaded by the plants next to them. This will allow to buds to fill in completely on the sides and should help the plant mature at a more even rate. Plus, a little more space to work in is never a bad thing.

Don’t underestimate how much time it takes to grow monster plants. You must enjoy the work or it will never get done. As for local regulations, assuming you live in an area where growing medical or recreational marijuana is legal to some extent, don’t be afraid to call the sheriffs department and ask about the guidelines in your area. Sometime these can also be found on the Sheriffs Departments web page.

Once you know how many plants you want to grow, start at least twice as many as you need. As they grow and begin to fill up your grow room or greenhouse, select the strongest plants and discard most of the others. It’s always wise to keep an extra few plants around until after you transplant, just in case a few don’t respond well.


Get those seeds or clones planted in high quality sterile planting mix or a coca fiber and perlite mix like Ready Grow. When starting indoors, DO NOT fill your pots with soil from outdoors. While your garden may have great soil, it contains many pests that will quickly invade your grow room or greenhouse once brought into a warm predator free environment. Outside they are kept in check, indoors they are a disaster. Use clean 1 gallon plastic pots. Most nurseries have these for about ¢.50 each. If you are planning to use recycled pots, wash them well and dip them in a bleach and water mixture to sterilize them. As you are adding soil to the pots, mix in a healthy dose of beneficial mycorrhizae. Once the plants grow a bit larger you will be transplanting into five or ten gallon pots and adding additional mycorrhizae. Do not start with the larger pots. Starting with one gallon pots will allow you to fit more plants in a smaller area. This means you won’t need to fire as many lights at first which will save money. One gallon pots also mean that less humidity will be introduced into your garden area when you water.

Frost Prevention

The goal is to have your plants already quite large and planted in the ground by around mid April. This means you have as much as two months to get them as large as you possibly can in pots before transplanting into the ground. Often this means planting in the ground before the last frost of the year. If this is the case, you may need to build an inexpensive makeshift greenhouse for each plant. Simply pound four posts in the ground creating a 4’x4’x4’ square. Wrap the four stakes from the ground up with a roll of pallet wrap. At night you can cover them with clear plastic pallet covers. Make sure you uncover the plants during the day so the moisture can escape, CO2 can get in, and so they don’t get too warm on the sunny days. Don’t forget to provide supplemental light so your clones don’t start flowering early. Be aware of high water tables in the early spring. If the hole you dig has water at the bottom, plant in mounds, smart pots or planter boxes so the roots are not in standing water.

When starting in greenhouses, use heating pads or cables under the pots to help keep the root area warm. Also make sure to supplement with artificial light to extend the day to about 18 hours and help produce growth on the rainy days.

To Do List

  • Select a few strain you want to grow
  • Acquire twice as many healthy clones as you will need
  • Transplant each clone into a 1 gallon plastic nursery cans filled with sterile potting soil and mycorrhiza
  • Place the plants under either fluorescent, high pressure sodium, or metal halide grow lights for 18 hours per day, or supplement outdoor light to lengthen the day to 18 hours.
  • Water as needed and feed with a light dose of high nitrogen plant food like NPK 30-10-10.

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  1. midowo April 25, 2013 at 4:08 am -

    Very informative!
    What about the gorilla growers? when would be the best time to plant seedling in the remote area where there is no way of supplementing light of tents?

    • Rambo May 1, 2013 at 11:03 pm -

      From seeds as early as the last expected frost. Clones however should not be placed outside until around mid May or they may start to flower early.

      • midowo May 12, 2013 at 9:40 am -

        tnx! keep up the good work!

  2. Lynn May 3, 2013 at 11:18 pm -

    I am from the hills of Northern california too. Near Jamestown.

  3. Lynn May 3, 2013 at 11:20 pm -

    What is a good strain to grow to help ease pain and help to relax and sleep?

    • Rambo May 4, 2013 at 8:40 pm -

      I would suggest looking for strains that lean toward indica dominant. There are hundreds to choose from but you may want to experiment with some different varieties to see what works best for you.

    • midowo May 12, 2013 at 9:42 am -

      You could look at autoflower Indica dominant strains as autoflower crosses are usually high in CBD and CBD is the thing that will knock you out so take them in the evening, but for a relaxing and uplifting feeling take some Sativa dominant strains.

  4. 45yrtoker June 22, 2013 at 6:47 pm -

    Just a word about clones and putting them out as early as mid May. This season, everything is happening 2 to 3 weeks earlier than normal. This happens in some years. I’m a commercial walnut grower, and my California Pest Control Advisor just informed me that this season, I can expect my walnuts to harvest that much earlier than in normal years. I should have paid better attention, as this also extends to everything grown in this area. that grows in this area. I put out cones of 4 different varieties in Mid May. Dianfem’s “Power Kush”, Big Buddha Seeds “The Kali”, G13 Labs “Pineapple Express” & Caribbean Cannabis Farms “Caribbean Queen”. The 1st three of those varieties usually begin to show flowers in late August with a harvest by the end of Sept, or the 1st week of Oct. The Caribbean Queen harvests near the end of Oct. Only the Caribbean Queen made it. The rest all went into flower and had to be destroyed and replaced with much smaller plants. So, MId May isn’t written in stone. June 1st would be safer.

  5. farmer March 14, 2014 at 9:25 am -

    is it better to start seedligs or clones in their final pot or start in a cup then 1 or 2 gallon then the final pot?

  6. KNCEOINCUSA April 13, 2014 at 10:36 pm -


  7. JD April 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm -

    i just been handed a clone from a plant called girl scout cookies and was wondering how much water should i give it seeing as i do not want to drown the plant. It is already sprouting with hairs and crystals and just need to know exactly how much water to feed her?

  8. JD April 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm -

    I am keeping it outdoors

  9. lius June 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm -

    Very God info. I’m a 1st time and I have 4 plants dat r 14 in long and stand tall and proud wen should I start the 12-12cycle and how do I know the males from females

  10. Nativeboy June 26, 2014 at 9:21 am -

    im a first time grower and i just got some clones two days ago and I don’t know when I should transplant them to bigger pots im planning on growing them outdoor and I think they where started outdoor

  11. Shaman June 27, 2014 at 9:38 am -

    Great Post, Thanks! What if I want to prepare my plants indoor and then transplant them outdoors. I don’t want them to start flowering right away so I wonder if there are any techniques for that. If I put them on 18/4 cycle indoors they’ll probably start flowering when I put them out right? So if I simulate day light and put them out (balcony) over the night so the plants adjust to temperature and then transplant them outside. In this case would they start growing furher? Or would they also start flowering?

    Thanks and best regards.

  12. michael davison August 11, 2014 at 1:56 am -


    HELP ME .


    • Jackel August 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm -

      In the northern hemisphere it is now entering the flowering stages of cannabis. They will start flowering, if they haven’t already.