If you want to take advantage of all nature has to offer when it comes to cultivation, growing marijuana outdoors is the way to go. There are some very distinct differences between indoor and outdoor growing, so we thought we’d take the time to outline the nature of those differences and why moving your grow outside may help you to really clean up on harvest day.
The Challenges of Recreating Natural Photosynthesis
Indoor cultivation is primarily about recreating natural conditions in a controlled environment. Outdoor cultivation, as previously stated, is all about utilizing natural processes to achieve your cannabis goals. The first thing you have to understand is that cultivation revolves around photosynthesis. The process by which plants absorb water, sunlight and carbon dioxide and turn them into energy to fuel growth is what fundamentally needs to be recreated in an indoor environment. That requires lights, supplementation of CO2 and thousands of dollars in HVAC equipment to ensure an adequate environment. None of that is necessary in an outdoor growing situation.
Natural Limitations to Growing Marijuana Outdoors
Besides saving tons of money on equipment, growing marijuana outdoors gives your plants exposure to the full range of the light spectrum. Indoor cultivation lights have come a long way but few are able to actually recreate the fullness of the spectrum delivered by the sun. Of course, you are limited by when you can grow outside or in a greenhouse by the changing seasons. Outdoor marijuana grows thrive in the summer and into the fall, leaving most of the year untenable. Most of the time, you will see plants go down in late spring with the latest harvest ready to come down by the end of October.
Relationship to the Ecosystem
When it comes to outdoor grow mediums, you can utilize coco coir and go hydroponic, but you lose the benefit of natural soil. In nature, the soil has a direct relationship with the ecosystem around it. It takes advantage of microbes and fungi in the soil in order to process raw elemental nutrients into a form that the plant’s root system can more easily absorb. This is one of the key benefits to growing outdoors, or more specifically, to using real organic soil. Coco coir as a medium utilizes nutrient salts which are very effective in hydroponic cultivation, yet they are harmful to the beneficial microbes in real soil. To use coco coir indoors and organic soil outdoors is a simplified way to think about it, although exceptions can be made.
Additional Obstacles in Outdoor Cultivation
There are many challenges to growing outdoors, however. Pest control, light overexposure, and harsh weather can throw a wrench in the works. To avoid the overexposure to light and be able to better control the environment, the use of a greenhouse is very common. A greenhouse traps light and heat while shielding it from harsh direct rays from the sun. Vegetative plants can withstand the direct sunlight better than more mature plants and so it’s okay to leave your veg stage plants uncovered. To gain more control over flowering, many greenhouse growers utilize advanced light deprivation techniques to block ambient light and improve yields. There are a number of tricks and tips that outdoor and greenhouse growers use to maximize yields.
So growing marijuana outdoors brings you back to nature and allows your plant the advantages of interaction with a natural environment. It does come with its challenges, however. Once you learn the ropes, you’ll bask in the glory of enormous yields and giant buds.