Growing cannabis outdoors is easy, affordable, and fun! Come harvest season, however, you need to pull up your sleeves and tackle your outdoor cannabis growing checklist for the end of the season. We've rounded up the top 7 end-of-season chores to do in your outdoor marijuana grow to help you finish your harvest off strong and have a bountiful yield.
7 End-of-Season Chores to Do in Your Outdoor Marijuana Grow
1. Keep Your Plants Secure: Get a Live-Streaming Camera
When choosing the best place to grow outdoor weed, growers must find a location that has enough sunlight, a nearby water source, a gentle breeze, and nutrient-rich soil. You also need to keep your plants hidden and secure from the public. Installing a secure fence and keeping your garden under lock and key can help.
As we get closer to harvest season, home growers must keep a watchful eye on their outdoor grow. Cannabis plants get taller and smellier as the cultivation season winds down. While some jurisdictions have rules on keeping an outdoor grow in a locked and fenced enclosure, others have no restrictions, leaving plants vulnerable to thieves.
If you want to have peace of mind, invest in a live-streaming video camera. An outdoor security camera with a motion detector, bright LED warning light, and a theft-deterrent alarm is an affordable tool to prevent burglars from taking your plants. It can alert you and live-stream the video through your phone if the motion detector is activated.
2. Give Your Plants Support: Set Up a Trellis
Due to the long growing season, outdoor cannabis plants can grow tall and heavy, just like it was intended to do. However, these top-heavy plants can topple over due to heavy winds and rain or their sheer top-heavy weight. Stake your cannabis plants with a metal stake right before they begin to flower and set up a trellis during the flowering period for branch support.
3. Flush Your Plants: Water with Only Water Toward the End
Generally, after 5 to 6 weeks of the flowering period, outdoor growers can begin flushing their potted cannabis plants with only water and no nutrients. Flushing removes the residual fertilizer salts from the roots to produce an unadulterated aroma and flavor. Depending on your strain genetics and when you expect to harvest, flush your plants about two weeks before harvest.
4. Protect Your Plants: Use a Tarp for Rain and Nighttime Dew
Outdoor growers must take preventative measures to protect their crops against natural elements, especially heavy rain during harvest season. Heavy rain can damage crops and produce the right environment for mold and mildew growth. Mold and powdery mildew can quickly ruin the crop you’ve spent so long growing.
Whether you are growing clones outdoors in pots or cannabis seeds in outdoor soil, you can protect your cannabis plants from mold spore growth with a clear tarp if you expect rain or nighttime dew. If a tarp is not an option, you can gently shake the water off of your plants to prevent fungal growth from the wetness.
5. Prepare for Harvest: Stock Up on Harvesting Supplies
Since you have a short window of time when you must harvest, it is important to prepare and gather all of your harvesting materials before you have to trim outdoor cannabis. Make sure you have enough trimming shears, storage containers, nitrile gloves, and rubbing alcohol to disinfect your tools. If you wait until the very last second to get your supplies, your harvest may suffer.
You should also prepare your drying and curing spaces. Make sure that you have enough space to dry and cure outdoor weed. Give your space a deep clean to prevent any bacterial growth. Ensure that your HVAC systems such as the air conditioner and dehumidifier are properly cleaned and maintained for better drying and curing.
6. Time Your Harvest: Check for Amber-Colored Trichomes
As your harvest time approaches, you will need to keep a close eye on the color of your trichomes. At first, they start off white in color and gradually get darker throughout the flowering stage. Generally, the best time to harvest your plants is when most of the trichomes have darkened to a dark amber color.
- Learn more about when to harvest outdoor weed by reading our blog post: Harvesting Time for Marijuana Plants.
- Learn how to cut outdoor cannabis plants down, the right way, by reading our blog post: How to Harvest Marijuana.
7. Improve Your LARF: Prune Top Leaves and Let LARF Mature
Last on our list of chores to do in your outdoor marijuana grow is improving your LARF. Improve the airy and larfy bud material towards the bottom of your plant by pruning the mid and upper leaves that can block light from penetrating deep within the canopy. Pruning these leaves can provide your lower calyxes with more light and more growth.
During your harvest, only harvest the top colas and allow the lower larfy calyxes to mature for about a week or two now that they have more access to sunlight. While this method can be too time-consuming for larger grows, for small home grows, it can improve yield and break up the trimming process.
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