Off-season marijuana crops outdoors

A single outdoor crop per year?

Normally, when growing outdoors we only take advantage of the best period of the year, late Spring and Summer. However, in many areas is it possible to perform several outdoor crops per year, especially during Spring and Autumm. To do this, we only need a small greenhouse to stabilize the temperature of the plants. For this type of crops we can use either autoflowering seeds or cuttings from motherplants; the only disadvantage of using cuttings is that, once we place them outdoors from our indoor growing tent, they practically don’t grow and start flowering immediately regardless their size.

For this reason, we should grow our cuttings indoors a few weeks before placing them in our outdoor greenhouse. In this way, we can control the final height of our plants keeping in mind that, while our plants will start flowering as soon as we place them outdoors, they will have the typical stretch during the pre-flowering stage just like in any other type of cultivation. Protecting our plants from the cold, frost, wind and other bad weather conditions with a greenhouse is also a good idea, since our plants will have a more abundant flowering.

Spring crop in greenhouse

Spring crop in greenhouse

A single fluorescent lighting kit is enough to grow traditional seeds or cuttings for a few weeks; if we root some cuttings at the beginning of the year, we can have nicely developed plants in February, perfect for a Spring outdoor crop. Many indoor growers seize this moment to renew their motherplants, taking cuttings from them – which will be kept indoors – and placing their motherplants outdoors to achieve higher yields.

Another option is using autoflowering seeds; germinate them during February-March (as soon as we notice that nights are less cold) directly outdoors, in their final pot. While we won’t need to previously grow automatic seeds indoors, it is true that our crop won’t be as homogeneous as it would have been if we were using cuttings. We can do the same during August-September to enjoy an Autumm crop, either if we use automatic seeds or clones.

Plants in pre-flowering stage

Plants in pre-flowering stage

 Spring cannabis crops

Naturally, marijuana plants grow during Spring and start flowering in Summer. If someone has ever grown cuttings outdoors, he/she will know that, as they have been under a 18/6 photoperiod during their rooting, they will start flowering automatically if we put them outdoors before mid-late May. Mid May is the approximate critical date for cannabis plants grown indoors; it is the time in which the cuttings that we put outdoors during February-March will start revegetating – stop flowering and growing again – since daylight hours increase. It is, then, the ideal time to put the cuttings that we want to flower during summer outdoors. Many growers choose the 1st of June to put their cutting outdoors, avoiding any risk of a premature pre-flowering.

For all these reasons, when we plan our Spring crop we must think that our plants have to be ripe in May, otherwise they will stop flowering and start growing again. We must carefully calculate the flowering time of our strains to know the perfect moment to take them outdoors; normally, the best moment for Sativas is mid-February, while we can wait a little bit for the Indicas, until the 1st of March.

Healthy plants inside an outdoor greenhouse

Healthy plants inside an outdoor greenhouse

Many growers use small pots indoors and transplant their cuttings to bigger containers when they are placed outdoors. Using a quality root stimulator during the fiorst two weeks outdoors helps the plant to develop a nice rootball, needed to achieve abundant yields. During this short period, they also make sure that the plant has all the Nitrogen it needs for a lush pre-flowering stage.

From this moment, we only have to take special care of the temperatures and humidity levels inside the greenhouse, caring and fertilizing our plants like we would do in any other cannabis bloom, and always bearing in mind that we’ll have to harvest our plants by mid May.

Autumm marijuana crops

The idea is exactly the same than in Spring crops, with the advantage that in Autumm crops we don’t have a harvest deadline. If we take cuttings and place them outdoors from August to May of the following year, they will start flowering automatically. For this reason we can place them in our greenhouse during September (when the Summer crop is almost ready to harvest) to harvest them during November-December. We can do this a little later, but in most areas temperatures will be too low at the end of the flowering stage, affecting the yield.

Spring crop is almost ripe

Spring crop is almost ripe

So, while in Autumm crops we don’t have a harvest deadline – as happens in Spring crops – we must take care of low temperatures and bad climate conditions. This is why using a greenhouse is so important, which we can upgrade using greenhouse tubular heaters to achieve best results.

Conclusions

As we have seen, by using a simple fluorescent kit – indoors – and a small greenhouse – outdoors – we can easily perform up to three outdoor crops per year. The natural photoperiod of lots of countries allows us to perform these kind of crops.

As is so often the case, this type of growing has advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, late Spring and late Autumm are not periods in which thieves look for plants in other’s houses. Neighbours and Police do not expect to see plants during this periods, and we can supplement our Summer crop in case that we can’t grow enough plants during Summer for our personal annual use.

Ice water extraction made from an off-season crop

Ice water extraction made from an off-season crop

On the other hand, we do find a few disadvantages: as we have mentioned, clones don’t grow outdoors during this time, so a small indoor installation is needed in case we want to use cuttings. Both autoflowering seeds and cuttings have slightly lower yields than in Summer crops, and they decrease their calyx-leaf ratio, developing more sugar leaves in the buds. The flowers won’t be as dense and compact as usual, while the quality will be the same, with small variations on the terpene profile.

The lover of cannabis extractions will have noticed that all these “non-desirable” phenotypical changes are actually ideal if we want to make resin concentrates with our buds. Indeed, since our buds are not so compact and the resin production is the same (if not higher), these crops are perfect to make resin extractions, especially hashish.

Have a nice smoke, best vibes!

February 23, 2015 | Outdoor cannabis growing
38 Comments


38 comments on “Off-season marijuana crops outdoors

  1. George

    Helpful article, had to read multiple times.

    So what I am getting from there, if I grow in a vegging greenhouse with 18/6 artificial light and want to put plants OUTSIDE for flowering, I can do that from August to mid March. (Assuming 8 weeks for flowering, those I would put out in mid March would then be ready mid May). Otherwise, from mid May on they would reveg. Interesting, very helpful!

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi George,

      Remember that growing outdoors from December to March is difficult in many areas. Where I live I can start an outdoor crop in late February and harvest it in March. Start another one in June and harvest it in October. And start another one in September and harvest it in December. But I can’t grow from December to March, yields are ridiculous.

      All the best!

  2. Orlando

    I’m wonrding when shout I move my plant outdoor. I leave in a tropical wethear. We get 12/12 of sunlight, it hasn’t revived any sunlight sens it was germinated. I would like to know what’s the right way to grow in this type of weather.

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Orlando,

      With your natural photoperiod, most cannabis strains will grow until reaching sexual maturity and will then begin flowering. Thus, these varieties will stay shorter (especially Indicas and mostly Indica hybrids) than they would in other climates. If you want larger plants, you can grow them indoors (18/6 photoperiod) until they reach the height you want and then take them outside, where they’ll start flowering immediately.

      Hope it helped!

  3. andy

    I stay in northern Cali I moved my plants from 24 hours of light to my greenhouse march 7th to flower my question is will I haft to light dep to keep them from revegging I plan to harvest first week of may

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi andy,

      It will mostly depend on the strains you’re growing: I’ve had mostly Indica hybrids that were still flowering by the last weeks of may, while Sativa hybrids often tend to reveg earlier, by early May.

      Best of luck!

  4. andy

    The strain is strawberry cough its a 7 to 8 week flower time. Any advice?

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi andy,

      Pretty fast strain! I would bet you will harvest it without problems. Perhaps I would recommend taking the plants out a week or so earlier, since they need some days to adapt to the new environment.

      Please keep us updated, we would love to read that your plant has done it! 😉

  5. justin

    I put my auto flowers outside a little over a week ago. my land lord is cool with me growing but im not aloud to have a greenhouse. this has caused the cold weather at night to make my plants unhappy and some of the leaves turn brown and dead looking. any ideas on what would help them pull through without a greenhouse?

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi justin,

      I’m affraid your only choice is putting the plants in a warm room every night and then putting them outside again every morning. There are heating mats and other elements that could work, but their efficiency is almost zero if you don’t use a greenhouse.

      Hope it helped!

  6. Georg

    Dani,
    I am coming back to this blog and two articles on your site all-the time.
    Am I right that if I put plants upstairs NOW or in the next week (End of April), this would be a bad idea because the plants would likely start flowering but would then re-veg in May? (In other words: Now it’s already too late for a complete 8 week flower cycle outside and I should wait until June 1st with putting plants outside? Then the plants would still veg outside for a month or two but then do their flowering end of summer?)

    Gracias!

  7. Love my weed

    I started from seed on Thanksgiving, grew indoors until early March, now in full flower, wondering why that is happening, stain is White LSD and living in Louisville, Ky, I’m totally mind boggled and would like to have an answer if there is one……..

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Love my weed,

      Indoor plants are normally grown with a 18/6 photoperiod. If you take them outside before June, they’ll start flowering since the natural photoperiod is shorter than indoors. We use this to take indoor plants outside on late february so they can complete their flowering before June, when they would start re-vegging.

      Hope it helped!

  8. tpg

    I live in WA state north of Seattle and decided to plant 4 different strains in 10 gallons of soil in early May. Temperatures were in the high 70s for the most part and around 50 for lows. 2 of the strains dj short bb and an unidentified Afghan indica seem to have started flowering? It is now End of May and summer Temps are expected the next 10 days high 70s low 80s, do you think the two In early stage of flowering will start vegging again? The Grape Ape and God’s Gift are the other two and are in Veg mode and are also in 10 gallons of soil,they appear just fine with no sign of pre flower.I was just trying to take advantage of the mild winter/spring and get a jump start on my summer crop and had no idea that flowering was even possible. Just wondering your thoughts on the 2 in early stages of flowering?..thanks

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi tgp,

      I assume you started your plants from seed and directly outside. What may have happened is that the strains that started flowering are a bit sensitive to photoperiod. I wouldn’t worry about it, they’ll probably start re-vegging pretty soon. It is strange, since normally seeds planted outdoors don’t start flowering until August, but it can happen sometimes.

      Best of luck!

  9. Eddiee

    Hi .
    I have some seedlings about 3 weeks , and some cuttings I took off my mother plant , got them all going under a t5 light . trying to place them inside this small homemade greenhouse . So my question is . Do I need some type of light inside the greenhouse ? Im trying to do the autumm crop . The September to December. Would the cuttings grow ?

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Eddie,

      If you’re in the northern hemisphere and you put your cuttings outside right now, they’ll start flowering as soon as they adapt to the outdoor conditions. If you want them to grow a little bit more, you can either grow them indoors for a couple of weeks or put them outside and prolongue their daylight hours with artificial lights.

      Hope it helped! 😉

  10. Andy

    Hey Dani my strawberry coughs finished up nice although I did notice them wanting to start to reveg late April beginning of May so I started to pull a black out tarp over the greenhouse to keep in flowering stage and it worked out fine pulled it all down on May 20th. I have the greenhouse going again and should be pulling again around the middle of October. I have a couple more questions for you… I have some seedlings going right now but my greenhouse is full and I won’t b able to put seedlings in there tell mid October would that be too late to try a autumn crop? Another question is would it be possible to veg in a greenhouse October thru November and bring them inside to flower in December under hps lights?

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Andy,

      Glad your spring crop was harvested successfully! Mid October is a bit too late for an Autumn crop, especially if your plants are not early flowering Indicas. Still, and if the place is safe, I’d definitely try it, even if it is only for making concentrates. The ideal in this case would be starting the seeds indoors in late August and putting them outside by mid October).

      About your second question: vegging outside in October/November would be almost the same as starting your seeds indoors with 12/12 photoperiod (unless you light your plants at nights). I think your plants will grow for a few weeks (October) but then they’ll start flowering as soon as they reach their sexual maturity (which would happen in November). As you’re actually growing outside under a bloom natural photoperiod, you can put your plants inside at any time (12/12). They’ll need some days to adapt to the new environment, but there’s no problem.

      Hope it helped!

  11. Andy

    Yes I think I will give it a shot with a autumn crop. And for my second question I will be using supplemental lighting to keep from flowering I will probably give them 24 hours of light. Thanks for your advice I forgot about this page for awhile glad I can come to you with questions and always get answers most people don’t like helping others out thank you again

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Andy,

      We LOVE helping you guys to get the best possible crop!!! 😉

      Speak soon!

  12. So Kong

    I live in north California, can I put my plants outside without a greenhouse in February to April

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi So Kong,

      Well, it all depends on night temperatures in your area. If they drop below 15ºC you should definitely try it with a greenhouse (especially in February-early March).

      All the best!

  13. Devin

    So I don’t really grow weed at all but I got a hold of a seed and I was wondering if I could plant it now even though it’s almost December, I can’t grow inside so would it not work out if I tried now? Should I just wait until spring?

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Devin,

      Best thing would do to wait until spring, your small seedling would probably die due to winter cold temperatures.

      All the best!

  14. Gronomo

    Nice posting about off season cannabis crops and good advice to growers. Unfortunately, I had to quit growing Cannabis over a decade ago after getting busted outdoors harvesting a spring crop in May in Central Florida’s perfect spring-harvest climate. Did some prison time and don’t want to go back. I still enjoy reading about modern-day Cannabis cultivation around the world. Anyhow, I would start indica/indica-dominant seeds in the woods between Christmas and mid-February in a passive hydroponic/capillary matting system covered by a 1/4″ mesh hardware cloth “cage” which I would then wrap with plastic wrap from about an inch from the base, up the sides and over the top.(Think mini-greenhouse w/ bottom ventilation) I’d place this set-up in a full-sun-all-day-long spot on the south side of an over-hanging lightly-foliated bush and would place some twigs and grass thinly on top for camo. I’d put soluble fert. in the resevoir, water the peat cups and mix, plant the seeds, put on the plastic-covered top, walk away and return 3-4 weeks later to set out the super-healthy seedlings. The set-up is also ideal for taking clones in situ from any post-harvest “re-juves” and forest-grown sativa/sativa-hybes. from March- August. A late fall/early winter crop of indica/indica-dominant plants could be harvested around New Year from seeds planted early Sept. – mid-Oct. Sunlight too weak and temps too cool any later to make it worth the effort until after Christmas. This method works well for zone 9b+(perhaps warm 9a) climates, though it seems that nowadays that many if not most growers have grown indoors and have different concerns. I salute you all for your efforts. For what it’s worth, Mr. Gronomo

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Gronomo,

      Thanks for your excellent comment, I can see you’re an experienced grower!

      All the best!

  15. Abe

    I’m have a question or two. First of all, I live in south Orange County in Southern California. It’s is sunny pretty much every day here from 7am until 5pm durring the winter months. (If it’s not a rainy week) Temp is around 60-70 during the day and 50-55 at night. I bought two baby Indica plants from a local dispensary in late October. I took them home, waited a couple of weeks and replanted them in 1/2 gallon clay pots using organic potting soil. Every day I set them out in direct sunlight in the morning and bring them inside when it gets dark where they sit in my kitchen without grow lights. I bring them in just to keep them warmer. They are both starting to grow nice little shiny buds. The plants are only about 12-15in tall. When should I pick off the buds? When will it be ready to harvest again if I keep this same routine through the spring? Any advice? Thanks in advance for any advice you can give!

  16. Abe

    Also need to say that I just replanted them in 5 gallon black plastic pots from a garden shop.

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Abe,

      Being Indica plants, they should be ready about 8-10 weeks after they started to develop buds. Here’s an article on how to determine harvest time for cannabis. You can put some more Indica plants before mid February, which should be ready by early May.

      Hope it helped!

  17. Paul

    I want to start growing at the start of march and want to harvest around June/July, I have a greenhouse but I’m not sure if that would mean it would harvest before July. Any ideas on what I could do?

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Paul,

      If you start now, you’ll harvest by mid-late May. The natural photoperiod will make your plants to grow again in June, so you should start asap in order to have your plants ripe before June. Try not to use long flowering strains and remember to open the greenhouse during the day so humidity and temps remain optimal. You can also use some type of heater for greenhouse at nights if temps drop too much.

      Btw, I assume we’re talking about clones. If we’re talking about seeds, then you should try some auto flower strain, otherwise your seeds will grow until July-August and then start flowering.

      Hope it helped!

  18. Ben

    Hi Dan, I live in Portland,Or. I was gifted some Blue Dream and OG Kush in 1 gallons. They’ve been under 18/6 indoors. I set them out yesterday , it’s almost 4/20, I know they’ll start flowering, but I fear Im risking reveg. In the past I’ve noticed, if i neglect and don’t repot when setting outdoors some plants would begin flowering when they’re Roots became pot bound. Do you think a combination of intentionally rootbinding and force flowering could keep these girls flowering through the May hump? Thanks Dan!

    1. Tim

      Hi Ben, thanks for your question. In my experience, after mid-May you’ll need to force flower them, if you can move them to a dark room indoors after 12 hours daylight they’ll finish up fine. It’s strain-dependant though, with Indica varieties less willing to re-veg than Sativa-dominant cultivars. Keepin them rootbound will certainly help to stop them re-vegging but if you’re going to force them then it’s not necessary and may well affect the quality and quantity of the final crop. Me, I’d re-pot them and force flower them. Good luck! Tim.

  19. Ben

    Hi Tim, thanks for the quick response. I used the wrong wording in my last question. What I meant by force flowering is vegging at 18/6 indoor and then putting the plant outdoor in April/may and relying on the time difference to induce flowering, understanding they can start to reveg, I was hoping that by keeping them rootbound I could trick them into not revegging and continue flowering. This is probably something that isn’t done commonly but would be a cool trick for certain situations. Im trying it now. I’ll post an update if it works!

  20. dylan

    my clones that are outside are starting to flower its only been about 3 weeks , is there anyway to stop them from flowering and put them back to veg? also i live in So Cal and what month would be best to grow from seed and from clones to get the best buds?

    1. Tim

      Hi dylan,
      You can try and stop your clones flowering by giving them a few extra hours of artificial lighting to make the daylight duration up to the 16-18 hours needed for vegetative growth. If you do it now, they’ll probably be ok in time to start flowering normally in late summer, although the process of stopping blooming and beginning the re-vegetating process takes time and energy that could be better devoted to vigorous growth. If you have the option of getting more clones, I’d throw these ones away and start with fresh clones for best results. Make sure they get 16-18 hours light a day, supplementing the lighting until June, when you can leave them outdoors without any fear of them flowering early.

      Seeds can be started outdoors at any time from early spring, they won’t start flowering early as they will be growing in natural light conditions and will become accustomed to the gradually increasing photoperiod. Seeds started very early will be at higher risk from frosts, pests and diseases simply by virtue of being outside for a longer period in less than ideal conditions. It’s always best to sow after the risk of frost has passed and once the consistently good weather comes, where i am (42.5ºN) it’s around the second half of April, but conditions will vary locally.

      For really big plants, outdoor cultivators often germinate in January and grow the seedlings to a really big size indoors or in a greenhouse with supplementary lighting, planting outdoors in large-capacity smart pots from mid-may onwards.

      Hope that helps, good luck and happy harvesting!

  21. dylan

    What month and day can i grow seeds outdoors in a pot and clones too, so i dont have to worry about flowering to early?. I would like to have a nice big plant if you know what i mean?

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