Growing weed outside is awesome. Not only is it less expensive than an indoor setup, but it offers the opportunity to grow bigger plants with significantly higher yields than you might when growing indoors. However, growing weed outside comes with its own set of challenges, and you’ll need to learn how to protect your outdoor grow from a number of outside influences to ensure a high-yield harvest.
Ready To Learn How to Protect Your Outdoor Grow?
Knowing how to protect your outdoor grow is crucial, especially with weather patterns that seem to get more erratic each year. Extreme weather isn’t the only thing you’ll need to protect outdoor plants from, either. Here, we’ll take a look at how to protect your outdoor grow from the elements, outdoor garden pests and more.
Protecting Your Plants From Extreme Weather
Some blame it on climate change while others contend that the crazy weather we seem to experience year after year is the way things have always been. No matter what the reason, a big part of protecting your outdoor grow is keeping your plants protected from extreme weather. This includes heat, frost, heavy rains, hail, winds and storms. Let’s take a deeper look.
While cannabis plants love heat, too much of anything is never a good thing. When it gets extremely hot, pot plants can become stressed, causing leaves to curl inward. When you notice signs of heat stress, water your plants immediately. This will ensure that roots stay cool despite soaring temperatures.
You can also protect plants from extreme heat by making sure your cannabis roots are protected. Mulch works well but steer clear of bark mulch, as this can negatively impact pH as it decomposes. Straw and grass clippings also work well. However, you’ll want to avoid using hay because it contains seeds that could cross-pollinate your precious plants.
Using shade netting is another option if you’re interested in protecting your outdoor grow from extreme heat. Nets, in this case, work like a sunblock, meaning your plants still get plenty of sun but stay a lot cooler. When outside temperatures get above 27°C (80°F), it’s always a good idea to cover cannabis with shade netting to cool it down to the optimal 22-23°C (73-74°F).
Frost And Hail
While it would be ideal to have warm, sunny days throughout the entire outdoor grow season, experienced growers know not to count on perfect weather. Frost and hail can potentially ruin your entire crop if plants aren’t protected in time. Keeping up to date with the latest weather reports is key to any outdoor grow, and knowing how to protect your marijuana plants from frost and hail is critical. You’ll also want to understand how to protect your outdoor grow from hard rains.
You can protect your plants from these harsh elements by covering them up immediately when a cold snap strikes or if you know hail is going to hit. Consider using buckets or large trash cans for quick and easy protection. Cardboard boxes will also work. Some growers will even gently cover their plants with a large blanket or tarp. Whatever you use, ensuring plants are protected from frost and hail is essential for any outdoor grow.
Wind And Storms
Growing weed outdoors means your plants will likely see their fair share of wind and storms throughout their lifecycle. While there’s not much you can do about stormy weather, taking the right precautions and learning how to protect your outdoor grow from hard rains, wind and storms is vital.
Using a trellis is a great way to keep branches from breaking off your plants when the weather gets windy, as securing plants before wind and storms strike is one of the best precautionary measures you can take.
If it gets extremely stormy, you might want to consider covering plants up like you would when protecting them from hail or frost. Just make sure that whatever you’re using to cover them is secured down, such as with ropes when using a tarp or blanket. If you’re using cardboard boxes to cover your plants, think about placing large rocks or bricks on the box flaps where they touch the soil to help keep them fixed firmly in place.
Protecting Your Plants From Pests
The last thing any grower wants to ask themselves is “why are bugs eating my pot plants?” Growing anything outdoors, marijuana plants included, will attract garden pests, and unwanted bugs can be a huge problem. If you’re going to grow cannabis outside, you’re going to have to protect your plants from a variety of uninvited garden pests such as spider mites, aphids, grasshoppers, caterpillars and more.
Consider Companion Planting
Did you know there are certain plants you can plant alongside your cannabis that will help deter pesky garden pests? This is known as companion planting, and it’s something that’s been utilized for centuries. Companion plants that help deter unwanted insects from cannabis include dill, basil, coriander, peppermint, lavender, marigolds, alfalfa, yarrow and lemon balm. Not only do these plants deter predators, but some even attract beneficial predators like ladybugs, honeybees, parasitic wasps, aphid lions and hoverflies.
Outdoor Cannabis Seeds
Introduce Beneficial Pest Predators
We mentioned that certain companion plants will attract beneficial pest predators. If you don’t plant companions, you should seriously consider introducing beneficial predators to your outdoor ganja garden. These are the predators that feed on the pests that could otherwise destroy your plants. Ladybugs, parasitic wasps and praying mantes are all beneficial predators that will keep unwanted pests far from your pot plants.
Consider Soil Sterilization
If you want to take care of your pest problem before it starts, you might want to consider sterilizing your soil. By doing so, you get rid of any of the various pests and pathogens that might be present in it. Soil sterilization can be done by subjecting it to high heat through steam or solar sterilization, which should eliminate anything unwanted lurking in your soil.
Use Organic Pesticides
There’s also the option of using pesticides to kill off unwanted pests, but you’ll want to make sure that whatever you use is organic. Remember, you’re going to smoke this weed when all’s said and done, so the last thing you want is bud that’s been hit with a chemical cocktail. Neem oil is a cannabis grower’s best friend when it comes to getting rid of several different garden pests. In fact, it’s effective against over 400 different insects and pathogens, including spider mites and aphids. To use neem oil as a pesticide, simply mix it with water and spray this over your plants.
Protecting Your Plants From Pets And Wild Animals
If you’ve got pets or live in an area where wild animals have access to your outdoor grow, you should also consider protecting your pot plants. Even the most well-trained dogs still enjoy digging holes, rambunctious play and urinating on plants. Meanwhile, wild animals like deer, rabbits, raccoons and rodents love snacking on pot plants. You can avoid any potential animal-caused accidents from occurring in your garden by keeping your plants protected.
One of the best ways to protect your plants from pets and other animal invaders is to build fences around them. Consider keeping your plants in an area where you can fence them in and keep large animals like deer out. Fences can also keep plants protected from high-energy pets that might otherwise destroy your plants.
Cover Plants With Netting
You might also want to consider covering your plants with netting. Netting will not only keep your pets away from your plants but can be great to deter other animals like skunks and raccoons. Moreover, netting will help protect germinating seeds from birds who might otherwise steal them for food. If you’re growing for seed production, netting is a must for keeping birds away.
Stealthy Grow: Keep It Safe From Unwanted Attention & Theft
The last thing you want to do is attract attention to your outdoor grow. Not only is cannabis illegal to grow in some areas (which could result in serious legal repercussions), but even in places where it’s legal, there’s always the chance of someone stealing your plants. It happens more often than you might think, making protection critical for reaping the rewards of all your hard work. Imagine coming out to your garden one morning to discover your plants gone. Definitely not ideal. If you’re interested in knowing how to protect your outdoor grow from the attention of others, the following are a few easy ways to do so.
Keep Quiet About Your Grow
As excited as you might be about your outdoor grow, keeping quiet about it is one of the best ways to avoid unwanted attention. If you’re going to tell anyone about your garden, make sure it’s someone you trust, although even this can backfire if that person inadvertently tells someone else, and so on and so forth. Word of your grow can spread quickly, so your best bet is not to tell anyone at all that you’re growing unless you absolutely must.
Keep Plants Out Of Sight
One of the best ways to keep your plants from being stolen or attracting unwanted attention is to keep them hidden. If you’ve got a stealthy grow space outside, great. But this isn’t always the case, and knowing how to hide your weed plant (or plants) is key. Consider camouflaging your cannabis plants with companion plants, the same as you would when protecting from garden pests, or planting with things like tomato, corn and sunflowers that will help keep them hidden.
Another trick that will help hide your grow is low-stress training. LST will encourage your plants to grow closer to the ground, helping to hide them from public view. LST comes in especially handy when growing on a balcony or deck, as it keeps them from growing too tall while still allowing for a good yield.
Disguise Your Pot Plants
Pot plants can be easily overlooked when they’re disguised as something else. If you want to know how to hide your weed plant, consider implementing fake blooms into your grow. Putting fake flowers in with your plants is a simple way to disguise them. You can also buy real blooms and pin them to your plants, creating the impression of a flower garden instead of a ganja garden. If you go the real bloom route, you’ll need to replace the flowers every few days as they begin to wilt and die.
Make Your Presence In Your Garden Known
The more you’re in your garden, the less likely potential pot thieves are to come in and try to steal your plants. Make your presence in your garden known by being in it as much as possible at different times throughout the day. Make yourself seen by any plotting thieves by being seen at home as much as you can.
If your schedule requires you to be out of the house, create the illusion that you’re home by leaving lights on when you won’t be home at night, keeping a car in the driveway and bussing or riding a bike wherever you need to go, or having a friend stay at your place if you’ll be gone for more than a couple days.
Invest In Security Cameras
Security cameras can offer serious peace of mind when you want to protect your outdoor grow. A decent security camera system will only set you back $200 at most, with many available for less than $100. Security cameras with web streaming abilities are best, because you can watch them in real time wherever you might be. Investing in security cameras with motion sensors and night vision is also recommended. This way, you’ll always know who, what and when anyone is trying to invade your garden space.
If you’re really suspicious of thievery in your garden, there’s always the option of setting traps. We’re not talking about bear traps or anything that might potentially hurt or injure uninvited outdoor grow guests, but a trap that trips an alarm can be all thieves need to get out of your garden fast. Alert traps can be made easily, and when triggered, can blast the sound of a car alarm or something similar that will most likely make any intruder run the other way.
Ready To Protect The Crops?
Growing cannabis outdoors just the way nature intended is an extremely rewarding endeavor, but definitely takes some work. Your plants will need to be protected from any number of intruders that might otherwise ruin all your hard effort. Taking the extra steps to learn how to protect your outdoor grow can help assure that your harvest will be one to be proud of.