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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!