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
22 Comments


22 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!

  11. Freddie

    Hey I have a question that ive been trying to find an answer to but just can find one…
    I planted a “Fire OG” clone in my vegetable garden here on Bethel Island in they Bay Area CA right next to 2 “Purple Punch” clones, this is my first time growing weed ever actually but im eager to learn as much as i can so i can hopefully get great results. we live in a 2 story home right on one side of the levee and obviously water on the other. At night, id say 3 out of 5 nights it is hella fuckin windy and have placed bamboo sticks next to them so they dont damn near get blown the fuck away lol but can that wind still stunt their growth? also, being this is my first time at doing this i was un aware of “topping” so the 2 “purple punch” plants im guessing are too far along to even try it and are already starting to bud. but both “purple punch” plants only grew to be about.. idk… not even a foot tall. so i dont think ill get much off of them. but, before those 2 started budding and were still growing, along with the “fire OG” to the left of them, the “fire OG” really didnt seem to be doing anything at all. once the other 2 started flowering, the “fire OG” still seemed to be barely hanging on. so, i tired topping it, once i did a little research on tips and things like that. and it seems to have worked. i see the beginning to 2 new leading stems. and this “fire OG” plant is only idk.. about 7 maybe 8 inches tall. these first 3 plants have been in the ground for a month now (i really wish i would have kept an exact timeline on my plants now that im learing more) the friend who gave them to me is also growing outdoors (although his are being grown in big pots) are doing way better then ours. another thing i left out was, our garden was dug out in 2 stages and the stage to the left (the first stage) got mixed with a big ass bag of some type of soil im not exactly sure what kind either (this whole thing kind of started and happened on a fluke ya know lol) and that side was dug out by the friend who gave us our clones. i dug out the second side to the right 3 our 4 days later which got basically no type of any soil mixed with it at all. (we are real strapped for cash so we are just doing the best we can with what we got) this right side which i dug out is where these first 3 clones were put in the ground. and above after mentioning the stage they are at now, im just gonna leave the 2 “purple punches” where they are. but the “fire og” plant seems to have been slowly but steadily moving along with its 2 new leading stems but really not getting any bigger or taller. (the friend who helped us and is also growing outdoor in pots said his grew way taller then our is half the amount of time) so basically one of the things im wondering is, would it be a good decision to transplant the “fire og” for what would be the second time, (first time obviously being when we put it in the ground to begin with) into in a big pot like the one our friend has his in? filled with some type of soil (that would have to be on the cheaper side) or should i just leave it be? also when watering them, the ground around these 3 eroded a bit so i filled it back in with some left over soil from the original bag that was used on the left/first stage on our garden… hoping then when watering, its nutrients would soak down into the ground. my bad for writing so much but i just wanted to be as thorough as possible in describing everything so i can get the best answers possible. i also have a couple other things id like to ask but ill save those for after a later time lol thank you and hope to hear back soon, ONE LOVE!

    1. Tim Alchimia

      Hey Freddie, thanks for your comment. Let me answer your doubts one by one…

      firstly, strong winds can certainly slow down a plant’s growth, but they can also strengthen the plant too. As long as it’s well- supported, some movement of the branches is a good thing, as it will encourage them to grow thick and sturdy. High winds can, however, stress the plant in other ways, for example, by causing too much transpiration and drying out the plant too much, so make sure they have enough water on windy days.

      Secondly, your Purple Punch plants are flowering because they were planted outdoors too early in the season. Clones that have been kept indoors under an 18/6 photoperiod will begin to flower immediately they’re put outdoors before mid-late May. This is because the natural photoperiod before this time is similar to autumn, with long nights and short days, which will mean plants will stop growing and begin flowering. I imagine your friend who supplied the clones must be giving his some supplemental lighting to either extend the daylight or break up the nighttime, if they’re doing as well as you say, otherwise they would have been flowering too.

      With the Purple Punch plants, I’d let them mature as much as possible, then I’d cut them back, making sure to leave some healthy flowers and leaves so that they can revegetate and give you another harvest at the end of summer. As the days get longer, the plant will receive the signal to begin growth again, and new shoots will emerge from the flowers, meaning the plant will be able to grow and get bigger over the summer before flowering again.

      It sounds like the Fire OG may have been stressed at transplant, so rather than start to flower, it just stayed in stasis for a while. If you can see it’s recovering now, then I certainly wouldn’t recommend moving it again, you’re likely to stress it and have the same situation until it recovers. I’d leave it where it is and begin to work on the fertility of the soil where it is planted. You can improve the soil by top-dressing, which is as simple as putting soil amendments on the surface around the plant and maybe working them into the top inch or so of soil. Without knowing what the existing soil is like, it’s hard to say what you’ll need, but some good quality worm castings would be a good start and aren’t expensive. Check out our article about Living Soil and you should get some idea of how earthworms and natural soil microbes can help you get the most out of your plants without spending a fortune of nutrients and soil!

      I hope that’s helped, all the best with this crop and happy growing!

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