Spring Into Outdoor Gardening

Spring Into Outdoor Gardening

As the first signs of spring bring warmer temperatures and longer days, hardy crops for homegrowers weeding in outdoor gardens reach a vegetative season that doesn’t culminate until fall. In autumn the sticky, moist buds are harvested and ready to harden. . Although the process is steeped in tradition and lore, growing quality herbs is well within the capabilities of most home gardeners, even beginners. With a little knowledge and work, and a sunny spot outside, you’ll have your first harvest of homegrown buds within a few months.

One of the first decisions you make at the beginning of the growing season is whether to start your garden with seeds or clones (small plants taken from a mature so-called mother plant). Both options have their pros and cons, but the proliferation of online seed banks and limited options for obtaining healthy clones make seeds attractive to many gardeners.

high times magazineMarch 2023

starting a plant from a seed

Gardeners choosing seeds usually have hundreds, if not thousands, of strains to choose from in three categories: feminized and autoflowering.Michael Ben McGraw, Cultivation Director, Vertically Integrated Cannabis Company Pharmacan, suggests that novice gardeners start with the seeds of autoflower strains. Autoflowering strains flower and sprout without needing continuous hours of darkness each day. After gaining a certain amount of experience, feminized seeds produce only female plants (with a few exceptions) that begin flowering until the days begin to shorten in late summer, giving gardeners the option of extending the growing season. increase. Due to the long period of vegetative growth, cultivators can produce larger plants and yield higher yields.

Normal (i.e., autoflowering and non-feminized) seeds produce approximately 50/50 male and female plants. Although the variety of strains available as regular seed is the widest, McGraw recommends it only to experienced gardeners who have the time and skill to identify and remove males that do not produce buds suitable for smoking. Is not … If left alone, the male plants will pollinate the female flowers, making the buds dubious and less potent.

“A single male plant can produce enough pollen to seed an entire crop, so we need to identify and remove them as soon as possible,” McGraw warns in a virtual interview.

Seeds are available from dozens of online sources.McGraw and Dean Schwartz, Founder of Cannabis Home Grow Resources bud clubwe recommend doing a little research before choosing a seed bank to buy.

“Once you have decided what you want to grow, seed quality is the most important factor to consider when growing cannabis,” says Schwartz. “It’s important to buy seeds from quality breeders and look for seeds that provide test data on content and effectiveness. Seeds are expensive, so it’s also important that they come with a germination guarantee.”

Experienced cannabis horticulturists use several methods to germinate or germinate seeds to begin the life cycle of a new plant. One common method is to place the seeds between several layers of paper towels in a shallow tray or dish. To use this method, wet a paper towel thoroughly and wipe off any excess water. After that, cover the dish with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place indoors. Carefully lift the top layer of paper towels daily until you see white root tips starting to protrude from the seeds. At that point, it can be transplanted to the desired growing medium. Seeds can also be germinated in rockwool cubes, organic peat plugs, or planted directly into small containers filled with potting soil. Grow seedlings on a bright windowsill or under grow lights until you are ready to transplant them outdoors.

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start a garden with clones

Homegrowers can also start their outdoor cannabis gardens from clones, tiny plants produced from sprouts cut from the mother plant and encouraged to grow roots. Clones are generally more difficult to find, but clones have several advantages over seeds.

“With clones, you can get started much faster than with seeds,” McGraw said. “Also, the clone is an exact copy of the plant from which it was cut, so you can expect it to carry on the same traits. No guesswork about flowering time, growth rate or flavor.”

When choosing clones, Schwartz recommends choosing plants with strong, white roots sticking out of the growing medium. Avoid clones that show brown shriveled roots, yellow leaves, pests, or other signs of stress.

“A strong, healthy clone should show visible signs of growth, such as strong leaves and new growth at nodes,” he added. “New leaves are bright green, but can darken as they grow.”

If you are planning to obtain clones of photoperiod cannabis cultivars for your outdoor garden, make sure that the daylight hours in your area are sufficient to prevent the new plants from starting flowering too quickly and then reverting back to normal. Wait until the length reaches 13-14 hours per day. It grows vegetatively as the days get longer. Supplemental lighting can also be used to extend the length of the day until the day is naturally long enough to stimulate vigorous vegetative growth and prevent flowering. If you get the clones early, plant them in pots and grow them under grow lights indoors until the right time to transplant them outdoors.

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move young plants outdoors

Once the danger of frost has passed and the days begin to warm, the seedlings and clones can be transferred to outdoor containers or well-prepared garden beds for further growth. Schwartz recommends different processes for seeds and clones, but points out that both need to be handled carefully to ensure a healthy start in outdoor environments. Seedlings should be gradually transitioned from indoors to outdoors before being transplanted into the garden during the growing season.

“A week or two before you move, start taking animals outdoors to acclimate them,” says Schwartz. “Then place the plant in a shaded area for a few hours, then gradually increase the amount of sunlight, increasing the amount of time it receives outdoors for hours each day. Make sure to bring it every night.”

Clones are grown in a controlled environment, so their transition into the garden should be done carefully. Keep it moist but not overwater and shade it out of direct sunlight until it shows signs of new growth. Clones can also be grown in smaller pots under more controlled conditions until they grow more roots for a smoother transition outdoors.

Whichever you choose, both seeds and clones can be the start of a successful cannabis home garden. But, of course, planting young plants in the ground is just the beginning of a process that can last up to six months or more. See our quality growing guides for the care your plants need throughout the growing season, including watering, fertilizing and harvesting. Before you know it, you’ll be indulging in the sweet scent of homemade herbs.

This article originally appeared in the March 2023 issue of the magazine. High Times magazine.

Chris M.

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