Growing marijuana in the ground

Growing marijuana outdoors in the ground

In-ground marijuana crop

In-ground marijuana crop

Growing cannabis outdoors in the ground is undoubtedly the easiest, cheapest and most environment-friendly way of growing marijuana, since with very limited means you can get great yields. The materials needed to grow weed this way are:

Growing marijuana step by step

When you start growing you should take into account the final size that you want for your plants. If you want the largest possible plants, the best is to start growing at mid or late March. You will get plants between 250 and 350 cm in height, depending on the strain. If you do not want them to grow that much, then you should plant them a little later.

Germinate the seeds and once the small roots can be seen, transplant them to a 9×9 cm (0.25 l) pot with moistened substrate. During the next few days water them only with tap water (pH adjusted at 6) when you see the soil dry. Place the pots under the sunlight and wait for the small seedlings to start growing, which may take 5-10 days. Throughout this process the plants should be exposed to full sun, otherwise you will get very tall and weak plants.

After approximately three weeks, your plants should be about 20 cm tall and have about three pairs of true leafs. At this point, remove the plant from the pot if it has a good rootball. You can then transplant your plants to an 11 litre pot. Prepare the soil mix containing 80% of the recommended soil + 20% of vermicompost + 1/2 kg of bat guano and 250 grams of Nutrihemp per 100 litres of soil. Mix it thoroughly and proceed to transplant.

During the first two weeks after transplanting, water your plants whenever the soil is dry, always using tap water. You only need to add the required acid to adjust the pH, lowering it at pH=6.

By the fourth week after transplanting (eighth weeks after having started growing the plants, early June) you should start sexing the plants, as they reach full sexual maturity at this moment. This should be done if you have used regular seeds, ignore this step otherwise.

In-ground cannabis

In-ground cannabis

We are not going to expand on how to sex marijuana plants here. We recommend that you read our post on how to sex your cannabis plants.

Once you have identified the gender of your plants, it’s time to transplant them in the ground. You will have to prepare the site by making a hole about 50 cm deep and wide. Add 20 litres of vermicompost, one Nutrihemp bag and 0.5 kg of bat guano to the soil you get from making this hole. If the soil is clayey, add a couple of spadefuls of river sand to enhance drainage and 30 litres of the soil used in transplants to prevent compaction. Mix all ingredients and pour the mixture into the hole. Transplant the plants and immediately after that prune the apical areas from the seventh or eighth pair of true leafs.

After this, just keep watering the plants with tap water – pH=6 – once or twice a week, always making sure that the soil dries out between waterings.

From mid-July, anticipating the onset of flowering, provide the soil with more nutrients. Prepare the soil around your plants and add a mixture of 20 litres of vermicompost, 1/4 of a Nutrihemp bag and 1/2 Kg of bat guano per plant. Mix the nutrients added to the soil in the ground and make a slight dip or depression in the soil around the base of each plant so that water and nutrients are better retained and won’t directly run off.

Until the end of flowering, always water them with tap water – pH=6 – although if you stimulate their flowering with an activator like Green Hope, your plants will definitely appreciate that.

When flowering begins – mid-July or early August (later for pure Sativas) – you can prune the lower parts of the plants so the top buds get bigger, achieving better yields.

Buds will get bigger and bigger, so it is time to protect the plants from strong winds and storms; use stakes to fix the branches of your plants so they can support the weight of their buds.

When 80% of the pistils have ripened (turned orange-brown) it is the right time to harvest. However, we always recommend using a magnifying glass to check the trichomes, ensuring that you choose the right time to harvest your plants.

For further information on this subject, visit our post about harvesting marijuana.

Marihuana grown in the ground

Marihuana grown in the ground

Weed grown using this method gives a yield of 500 to 1000 grams per plant.

Aspects to consider to grow weed in the ground properly

  • The distance between plants should be at least 2 meters otherwise, they can’t fully develop.
  • It is preferable that you also grow other varieties of plants in your garden, as they will help to create a suitable microclimate as well as enhancing the biological richness of the environment. It will also help us conceal our secret crop.
  • If your garden is very sunny and it’s very warm throughout the day, it would be a good idea to refresh the plant leafs by spraying them with water in the mornings and afternoons/evenings, always before the onset of the flowering phase, especially during June and July, when there is more proliferation of red spider mites.
  • If your garden is very exposed to strong winds, stones and ropes will be necessary to support or fix your plants, preventing them from falling.

Phytosanitary treatments for marihuana

Outdoor crops are exposed to numerous pests, so it’s important to carry out biological preventive treatments that will prevent both pests and the need to use chemical insecticides/fungicides later on. Some of these chemicals are toxic treatments, which are harmful for the health of people, animals and natural environment.

In-ground marijuana plant flowering

In-ground marijuana plant flowering

You should start pest control when you transplant your plants to the 11-litre pot, using neem-based insecticides or pyrethrum mixed with propolis to prevent red spider mites, whiteflies and aphids, as well as several types of fungi.

Treat the plants every 15 days until the end of July, at which time you should begin the next treatment. Then you should combine a weekly spray of Bacillus Thuringiensis – to avoid the appearance of dangerous caterpillars – with a spray of propolis to prevent powdery mildew. Continue with these treatments until two weeks before harvesting.

It is important to do all treatments, waterings and transplants early or late in the day to avoid heat excess, that could damage your plants.

Happy growing!

Early Maroc grown in the ground

Early Maroc grown in the ground

October 21, 2014 | Outdoor cannabis growing
20 Comments


20 comments on “Growing marijuana in the ground

  1. Gene Dattapoli

    Could you please explain, preferably with pictures, how to “prune the apical areas from the seventh or eighth pair of true leafs”

    1. Dani Alchimia

      Hi Gene,

      You just have to cut the tops of the plants. Count the pairs of leaves starting from the lower part of the plants, and cut the tops when you reach the 7th or 8th pair of leaves. In this way, you’ll get two tops on each stem/branch, and the plant will look more bushy and compact.

      Hope it helped!

  2. Ruben

    Can you just plant your seeds around your yard just in normal dirt and expect them to grow naturally or is soil the only way?

    1. Dani Alchimia

      Hi Ruben,

      Normally, people use quality soil to grow their plants, it is one of the do’s for any grower, otherwise you may have problems like poor development and yields. What people do is digging a hole in the ground and filling it with quality substrate. The bigger the hole, the more quality substrate you can put in, so the better your plants will grow. You can mix your soil with solid nutrients or use liquid fertilizers to have more control on the exact dose.

      Hope it helped!

  3. Koren55

    I transplanted my two girls right into my established veggie garden. We’ve been adding composted leaves and Fall leaves each Spring to soil, and then roto-tilling. I don’t like using any chemicals, either for fertilizer or for insecticides.

    Will I need to add additional fertilizer to the two girls as they approach flowering time?

    I’m already going to have to use Neem.oil.spray – I noticed some red spider mite damage on.one plant, normal for outside this time of t 🙂 e year

    1. Dani Alchimia

      Hi Koren55,

      Once flowering time comes, you can add some slow-release organic nutrients to the soil, also liquid organic nutes once into bloom if you see the need.

      Hope it helped!

  4. Junkman

    Never top use a fim techniques

  5. Kerrie

    I was told of a disguise for growing outdoor dope
    Go to the cheap shop and get the cheap flowers and place them on the plants,
    Looks like a bush with flowers.

    1. Tim Alchimia

      Hi Kerrie, thanks for that ingenious tip, what a good idea! I’ve heard of people hanging plastic tomatoes or other fruit from their plants in an attempt to disguise them, but flowers really do make a lot more sense! Thanks again!

  6. Walter

    Iv planted about 5 shash seeds on a small surface area of about 7inches and they have sprouted young plants with the monocots and new centre leaves can thy be transplanted or shud I wait till there bigger please help.
    Walter KENYA

    1. Tim Alchimia

      Hi Walter, thanks for your question. The seeds were planted in soil, right? I think it’s probably best to let them grow a little bit more, once they’ve got a couple of sets of true leaves their root system ought to be robust enough to be able to transplant them safely. The trick is to do the transplant before the roots of the 5 plants become too entangled with each other, and be very delicate with the fine and easily breakable roots when transplanting. Good luck and happy growing!

  7. Wendy

    I have 4 plants 5′ tall growing directly in the soil. I am located in southern B.C. and get lots of daylight hours during the summer and they seem to be happy. I want to have them be finished their flower before the end of September when frost arrives, but day/ night light ratios are still at 16/8 right now at the end of July. I built a frame to hold a light blocking cover but l still think a bit of light is still showing through during the 4 extra but slowly diminishing daylight hours and affecting my efforts. How crucial is this? Should I cover it further with black plastic? What would be better?

    1. Tim Alchimia

      Hi Wendy, thanks for your question.

      I’d advise you to use an extra cover if you think that some light is getting through the one you’re using. It’s important that the plants get full darkness, any light leaks could slow down flowering and even potentially stress the plants to cause hermaphrodite/intersex problems.

      I hope that helps, all the best and happy growing!

  8. John

    Idky but everywhere i look i dont get the answer im looking for i just wanna know if you can just put a seed in the ground after germination with a little soil and just waterinh it everyday but no one has a simple answer like that everyones buying grow chemicals etc… but ik that you can now bc started late in the season and i was told i probably wasnt gonna get any yeilds but i figured out they were wrong bc now i got a plant thats growing 22 buds so i think im in the clear for some bud this year just wanted to post this if anyone else had the same question amd one more thing is im growing a plant inside on a small 45w light im getting a better light soon just to start off but my plant went through stress and it mutated but it seems to be a good mutation everything its growing its growing double of idk if anyones seen this before but i just wanna knoe if it would increase the yeild considering its doubling

    1. Tim Alchimia

      Hi John, thanks for your comment and questions.

      For sure, you can put a seed in the ground after germination and as long as the soil is good then you can give it only water without any problems. I wouldn’t water it every day from the stat though, at first it will only use very little water, and excess irrigation will water-log the soil, and stress the plant due to lack of oxygen in the rootzone. as well as potentially causing mould problems. There’s no need to buy chemicals to grow weed, although some good organic fertilisers can make a huge difference to the quantity and quality of your harvest.

      As for your second question, it’s unusual that stress in early stages has caused the plant to grow double the size, usually growth would be restricted by stressful conditions. Without knowing the reason for this phenomenon I’d say that if growth is doubling then it follows that the yield will also be increased too, although it could simply be the natural stretch period that plants go through at the beginning of flowering, which is more pronounced in some genetics than in others. You can read a bit more about the stretch here on our blog.

      All the best and happy growing!

  9. Christopher Payne

    What exactly does this statement mean? “Mix the nutrients added to the soil in the ground and make a hole under each plant so that water and nutrients are preserved.” How do you make a hole under each plant that is already in the ground? Thanks

    1. Tim Alchimia

      Hi Christopher, thanks for your question. I think this is a case of an article being written in Spanish and then later translated to English, so a few of the more nuanced meanings got lost in the process. Here, the idea is to make a dip or a slight depression in the soil around the base of the plant to avoid the water and nutrients running off straight away and being wasted.

      I hope that clears things up, I’ll go in and make a change to the article so there’s no more confusion 😉 All the best and happy growing!

  10. Alison Mclarty

    Thank you for the article, very informative.

    I have a question on the land selection. If I want to buy a piece of land for growing, is there any requirements or criteria for choosing the land (i.e. flat land, soil and etc.)?

    1. Tim Alchimia

      Hi Alison, thanks for the question. I’d look for land with a southerly aspect to maximise solar exposure. As far as soil goes, a rich fertile loamy soil that drains well is perfect, but it’s also feasible to improve the growing soil in terms of fertility, so I’d say that well-draining soil that isn’t going to get waterlogged or flood in heavy rain is the most important thing. You’ll also need to consider water supply for irrigation, which can make or break a grow operation.

      Flat, level land will be easier to work, but is generally more expensive to buy or rent. Hilly land can be terraced for growing, but that’s another expense and a lot of work. Avoid growing in a depression or dip, as cold air will settle in the lower areas, sometimes causing “frost pockets” in autumn, which can damage a crop quickly. Good air movement is essential in the growing area, but often this must be balanced against the discretion and privacy we growers often need for our plants, as we are forced to hide them to avoid theft or detection by law enforcement agents.

      That’s a few basic pointers for finding land suitable for cultivation, I hope it’s been some help. Happy growing!

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