Growing marijuana basing on latitude
Marijuana is a plant that grows outdoors throughout the entire world - except in the Poles - either wild or under the care of a farmer. For a crop to be successful, we must consider when to grow it and the most suitable marijuana strain to use. This post aims to provide information on growing marijuana based on the latitude in which we are.
The latitude on the Earth has a direct impact on photoperiod, in other words, on the daily hours of darkness and sunlight. In turn, latitude also determines the planet's geographical zones. Taking into account that marijuana is an annual plant - it germinates, flowers and is harvested in the same year - and that its different phases are related to the photoperiod, we come to the logical conclusion that, based on our geographical zone in the planet, the growing period of cannabis varies. Mild temperatures and low humidity during the flowering stage provide the ideal conditions for harvesting top quality marijuana.
To simplify the information, as it's a very broad subject, three major areas have been identified: northern hemisphere, intertropical zone and southern hemisphere.
Growing marijuana in the Northern Hemisphere
It comprises the half of the world that is north of the equator. The longest day in the year occurs between 20 and 23 June (summer solstice). The shortest day (winter solstice) is between 20 and 23 December. Day and night are the same length (equinox) on 20 March and 22 September. For cannabis farming, we will mainly focus on two areas: the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands.
Marijuana in the Iberian Peninsula
It is situated between the 36º and 44º North. Although its climate is mild due to its latitude, crops must be adjusted to the climate and latitude of the area where they are grown.
Luckily, in the Iberian Peninsula almost all marijuana strains grow in perfect conditions. The only problems that a grower may encounter are with equatorial sativa strains that can finish their flowering by the end of November or even December.
The ideal months to start growing marijuana are March, April, May and June. You can also do it in July and August, but only the autoflowering strains are recommended in this case, for they do not depend on photoperiod but need a maximum of sunshine - and daily light hours - for a productive yield. In addition to the last chances of frost during spring, choosing the month we start growing depends basically on the strain and its needs, so if we have enough space, planting during the waning moon in March can produce large plants of the size of Moby Dick from Dinafem, Domina Haze from Kannabia or Jack Herer from Sensi Seeds.
If you are growing marijuana on a terrace or in pots, April and May are ideal months to start growing early strains. Early Maroc from Philosopher Seeds is an option to bear in mind, as it can be harvested in the first half of August. Plant it in June if you want to control the height or reduce the growing time of sativa strains. Notice that the cycle of cannabis plants ends in Autumn, so you should choose the fastest plants according to the Iberian Peninsula latitude, as they can be harvested before the cold and heavy rain period start.
Types of weed for the Canary Islands
The Canaries are located between 27º37' and 29º25' North. The climate is mainly subtropical, but it varies depending on altitude and slope, north and south. Except in areas with cooler microclimates, on these "lucky" islands you can grow at least two outdoor crops per year naturally. The planting months are from March to June and from September to November, to be harvested in March, always depending on the strain and its quality.
Growing marijuana in the intertropical zone
Tropics are the region between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. In the intertropical zone there is little variation on the photoperiod throughout the year, while in the equator (latitude 5° N / 5° S) there is a constant photoperiod of 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.
As we approach the Tropics there is a maximum variation of one hour during the day, which varies in the calendar depending on whether you are located north or south. For example, in the Tropic of Cancer, the months with more daylight hours (13) fall between May and August, while in the Tropic of Capricorn, it will be between November and February. As for the weather, usually these are warm areas with no frost risk. However, like in the rest of the planet, this may vary depending on altitude.
Given the photoperiod in these latitudes, marijuana can be grown all year round and the plants behaviour will be almost like that of autoflowering strains, i.e. they will go into flowering when they reach maturity, regardless of the current photoperiod.
A hindrance when growing weed is rain, specially during flowering. It is recommended to be prepared for drought and rainfall periods so that we choose the right month to harvest. Direct rain water to plants should be avoided during the flowering period, so using a cover can solve the problem of rain. However, suffice it to say that cloudy skies have an impact on harvests and final yields.
In the intertropical zone, Indica strains don't grow as vigorous as in areas further from the equator. However, the tropics characteristics are ideal for Sativa strains, local or commercial strains containing tropical genetics such as Acapulco Gold from Barney's Farm, Oldtimers Haze from Ace Seeds and Neville's Haze from Mr Nice, for they will easily adapt to these conditions.
A good way to overcome nature constraints when harvesting marijuana is using a grow lamp in order to grow the plants indoors or in a greenhouse, and taking them outdoors when we wish to make them flower.
Growing marijuana in the southern hemisphere
The southern hemisphere is the area located south of the equator. The day with more daylight hours in the year is 21 December, which is when daylight hours begin to decrease. The shortest day falls on 21 June, coinciding with the winter solstice. On 21 March and 21September, day and night are of equal length. These are called fall and spring equinoxes.
What are the best marijuana strains to grow in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, southern Brazil, South Africa... 23° to 33° south
In the area comprising 23 and 33 degrees south, the months with more daylight hours are November, December, January and February. Depending on the area, we find subtropical or semitropical climate in all its variations. In most of the area the climate is mild, but because of its montainous landscape there may be serious chances of frost and even snowfall.
In warmer areas it is possible to grow two outdoor crops per year. In the winter, the yield will be poorer, which is ideal for experimenting with local seeds. In the summer, selected cannabis seeds are recommended, so you can grow strains such as Nexus from Eva Seeds, Channel + from Medical Seeds and Easy Haze / K13-Haze from Philosopher Seeds . You can get excellent yields in terms of quality and quantity ensuring a great stash of marijuana for the rest of the year.
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In these latitudes, the four seasons are perfectly differentiated, so there are chances of frost in almost all areas, being abundant in high areas and of course, in areas nearer the South pole.
The ideal time to start growing marijuana depends on altitude and risk of frost - either at planting or harvesting - of the area where it is going to grow. It is also recommended to take into account what strain is planted in a certain month -this will avoid unexpected results regarding the final size of the plant.
For those experienced growers seeking large plants, September and October are ideal months to start growing. For beginners, a good option is to start growing autoflowering strains, for they are fast and thus avoid salt accumulation or potential pests that may occur in regular seeds during the 5-9 months of their cycle. It is recommended to pay attention to the weather, as frost is still a risk. By covering your plants or moving them indoors at night you can avoid wasting time and money.
If you start growing in November or December, you will avoid problems related to low temperatures. Marijuana plants are nicely developed with 14-15 hours of sun in this season and if the growing conditions are good you will get large plants, whether you are growing them potted or in-ground. These months are also ideal for growing autoflowering strains, such as Maxi Gom from Grassomatic, Deimos from Buddha Seeds and Jack 47 Auto from Sweets Seeds, as they are productive cannabis strains despite being automatic. If Rudelaris genetics are not available, any regular strain will develop well.
January is perfect if you want to grow sativa cannabis strains that do not exceed 250 cm in height. You can also grow indica strains, but they won't get big, although they will be perfectly developed, especially if planted in the early days of this month. Growing autoflowering seeds is recommended - as well as during the mentioned months - even at the end of February, when you can also start growing tropical genetic seeds. In this case,keep in mind the weather conditions when harvesting it.
As in the mild area of the northern hemisphere, plants will end their cycle in Autumn. Based on the strain, climate and when you started growing it, the harvest can be between late March and May. Some pure sativa stains can be harvested in June.