One of the most overwhelming things facing the first time cannabis grower is getting your first plants; there are so many options! Where should I go to get my plants? What strains will give me the effects I want? Will I even be able to grow that strain outdoors? Fortunately, a little knowledge and planning goes a long way towards a sucessful harvest; here is your guide to selecting the right plants for your outdoor garden.
Not all Plants are Suited for Outdoor Growth
While cannabis is considered a weed by some and can grow just about anywhere, many of the high quality strains available at dispencaries were developed to be grown indoors using hydroponics. These indoor strains can grow into mature plants in a controlled environment but do not handle the unpredictable nature of outdoor growth. Unfortunately for the outdoor grower, indoor strains tend to dominate the market which limits the choices we have for our backyard garden. Research the strains that you intend to grow and make sure they are appropriate for the type of garden you are planting and be aware that your choices will be limited so you should be prepared to settle for your second (or even third) choice.
The Easiest Strains to Grow Outdoors are the Classic Ones
While the indoor constantly gets new, specialized strains each year the options for outdoor growing have stayed largely stagnant. Outdoor growers should be on the lookout for classic strains such as Trainwreck, White Widow, or Bubba Kush or new strains decended from from; these plants have been grown sucessfully outdoors year after year. As a rule, sativas grow much larger than indicas are usually easier to grow outdoors as well. Sour Diesel is probably the most widely available strain and is one of the easiest strains to grow; every beginning cannabis grower should have at least one in their garden!
Growing for the Effects you Want (sativa, indica, cbd, cbn)
While many cannabis growers just wan to grow a plant that gets them high, most of us are growing to address specific needs and this will be reflected in the types of plants we select. While sativas are the easiest plant to grow, they are also the most psychoactive and have a tendency to produce insomnia when taken in the evenings; people who want a more calming effect will do better with an indica strain, even if it means a lower yield during harvest time. CBD plants, which are not psychoactive, have become very popular for pain management and treating epilpsy but unfortunately tend to be harder to grow and have smaller yields that traditional sativas and indicas so you may want to avoid them. Another thing to consider is your method of consumption; the THC from smoking a sativa flower may keep you up at night but that same THC can be decarbed into the sleep-inducing CBN when making tincture or edibles. For high yielding sativas, Blue Dream and Dream Queen are both relatively new strains that grow very well outdoors; for indicas, growers should try Mango Kush or Romulan Grapefruit.
Preparing for your Trip to the Dispensary
Yes, you should purchase your clones from a dispensary and yes, you will need to prepare for your trip. Purchasing your clones from a dispensary is the best way to ensure that you are getting quality plants with the properties that you desire; purchasing from private growers is risky in that there is no quality control and most major farms only sell in bulk. Purchasing from a dispensary is not a guarantee for a good harvest, however, and the outdoor grower must know how to navigate the market. Most dispensaries have a revolving inventory and update their websites daily; what is available one today might not be available the tomorrow so it is important to either be flexible in your choices or be willing to wait to get your ideal strain. Make a list of strains that you are interested in growing along with a list of alternates in case you can’t get exactly what you want and check your local dispensary’s website daily to get an idea of what is available. Remember that most dispensaries will not allow you to use your phone once inside so it’s important to write all of you notes on a piece of paper that you can reference! You will want to purchase your clones between the middle of April and the middle of March but it’s never too early to see what’s on the market!
Your Trip to the Dispensary
It’s best to plant your outdoor cannabis between the middle of April and the middle of March so it’s best plan your trip to the dispensary around that time (keep in mind that April 20th is a holiday in cannabis culture and most dispensaries will be very busy around that time). Most dispensaries will have an online ordering system where you can reserve clones to pick up; if your dispensary offers this than take advantage of it! Reserving clones online is no guarantee that you will get the plants you want, however, so make sure you have your list of alternates if you can’t get your first choices of strains and don’t be afraid to ask the person assistanting you for advice; they will almost certainly know what strains are good for growing outdoors and will be happy to help you. Try to arrive at the dispensary early and be prepared for some delays with security; even though cannabis is legal it still isn’t the same as buying flowers at the grocery store!
You got your plants! Keep them watered and get them in soil! Your clones have been growing indoors in ideal environment so they might not be ready for the harsh outdoors, you may want to keep them in some shade for a week or so to acclimate to the outdoor weather before sticking them in the ground where they are exposed to direct sunlight. It is not uncommon to lose a couple of clones to the elements when the are young; try to make your trip to the dispesary early in the planting time (mid-April) so you can make a second trip later just in case you loose a few. Make sure you get your plants in the ground by late March and good luck with your harvest!