Cannabis grows exceptionally well hydroponically and, cannabis also does very well in its natural environment, growing outdoors in a raised garden.
Whether it’s decriminalization, medical use, or recreational legalization, America has been shrugging off historic stigmas associated with cannabis. Brewers and beer enthusiasts can make their own brew, while gardeners and green enthusiasts can cultivate (where legal) their own cannabis.
Each state has unique possession and growing laws that must be adhered to. If you are interested in growing cannabis, please research and understand the laws and regulations in your state. Cannabis, just like any other garden plant, has its growing preferences including season, soil, watering, and spacing, along with the different varieties to consider. Indoor growing gives gardeners complete control over the environment, but control can come at a cost. Follow these guidelines for cultivating cannabis successfully outdoors in a raised garden.
When to Plant: Avoid the Cold
Cannabis is a warm-season plant, preferring warmth and humidity to cooler, dryer temperatures. It is advisable to begin planting after the last frost but note that colder temperatures will adversely affect growth and flowering. It’s important to provide cannabis with direct sunlight, however, too much heat can be just as damaging as cold. Prolonged direct sunlight (more than eight hours), paired with temperatures higher than 90˚F can be detrimental but easily remedied. If plants begin to wilt or develop burns, simply provide some shade. By using screen material or some light cloth, you can erect a covering to limit some of that direct sunlight.
Raised Bed Square-Foot Gardening
Raised bed square-foot gardening is celebrated for its simplicity, structure, and growing efficiency. Coupling the advantages of a raised bed (accessible, controlled soil, and great drainage) with square-foot gardening (organization, efficient space utilization, and reduced watering needs), creates the ideal conditions for nearly any plant to thrive, including marijuana.
Matthew Sokolowski, operations manager at True Plant Science in Seattle, says cannabis loves nutrient-rich soil, good drainage, and at least four to six gallons of soil per plant. One square foot in an 8-inch tall raised bed provides a gardener roughly five gallons of soil. So, if a grower wanted to exclusively plant marijuana and they had a 4x4-foot garden bed (16 square feet of planting space), they could plant 16 plants. Sokolowski notes cannabis is fairly adaptive to the space given, producing a smaller yield with less space and a larger one with more room. Here are two spacing options using a 4x4-foot raised garden as an example.
Soil, Drainage, and Watering
Cannabis plants require plenty of nutrients to grow strong and vibrant. Backyard soil isn’t known for being nutrient-rich, but raised beds avoid this issue by letting gardeners add their own pre-mixed nutritious soil. Soil will settle naturally, so be sure to add about two inches of soil above the top of your raised bed. That way it remains full to the top after settling. Also, don’t tamp down the soil when you add it. Leave it loose. Plants prefer looser soil so the roots can grow without obstruction. Loose soil also provides for better drainage, unlike yard soil which has been compressed over time. Cannabis plants, in typical conditions, should be watered every few days. Every morning, check to see if the soil is moist up to an inch below the surface. If the soil is crumbly and dry an inch or more down, then it’s time to water.
Which Strain? Sativa Optimum for Square-Foot Gardening
There are two primary strains of marijuana. Sativa is more prone to growing up/elongating, while indica tends to grow bushier and outward. For those who intend on growing weed in a square-foot bed, sativa is preferable as it won’t crowd as much as indica. Airflow is important when gardening, and dense plant-clusters can keep air from moving freely, resulting in mold.
Overall, you can treat growing cannabis in a raised garden the same way as growing other warm-weather garden plants. Problems with the plants can arise (mold and pests) and if that does happen, research the issue as you would for any other plant. If you give the plants good soil, avoid weather extremes, keep an eye out for concerns, and water well, you should have a great cannabis harvest this season.
With recreational cannabis now being legal across Canada, Canadians can now grow their own cannabis, in addition to purchasing it. Most provinces and territories (with the exception of Quebec and Manitoba) all people to grow a maximum of four cannabis plants per household for recreational use. With spring and the growing season approaching, it’s time to think about what method to use when it comes to starting your cannabis plants.
What does Strain mean?
In general horticulture, the term strain refers to variations found within plant cultivars, and also refers to the offspring that descend from modified plants.
Cannabis strains consist of either pure or hybrid plants. Typically, strains of cannabis that are relevant to the medical marijuana community are broken up into three distinct groups: sativa, indica, and hybrid. There is also a strain called ruderalis, which isn't referenced much due to it not having much, if any, effect on humans.
Basically, the distinct groups of cannabis are a way for medicinal consumers to better understand marijuana and its overall effects. The sativa group of marijuana plants tend to provide an uplifting cerebral effect, the indica cannabis plants are more relaxing, and hybrid types often combine a bit of both indica and sativa strains to offer the best of both worlds.
In addition to the effects they have on humans, cannabis strains are also a way to characterize or predict a plant's growth habits and patterns. For example, indica plants are known to be shorter and more compact than their sativa counterparts.
The distinction between cannabis strains first began to occur in the 18thcentury when researchers and scientists first started to study the differences in various marijuana groups and plants. Researchers started to divide the cannabis plants into groups and then individual strains when they began to discover that certain cannabis plants thrived in mountainous regions but others needed more temperate climates. As cannabis cultivation became more widespread, researchers started to breed the strains together to produce distinct hybrids.
Today, there are 779 known cannabis strains that all fall into one of the three distinct cannabis groups. However, as cannabis becomes more widely used around the world, the list of strains changes and grows almost daily.
This definition was written in the context of Cannabis
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