Table of Contents
For many people, growing an indoor white widow plant from seed to harvest is simply not an option, due to space or financial constraints. Outdoor growing can be a great alternative to the more professional, more time-consuming, and more expensive, indoors method. In the first chapter of this guide, we’ll focus on finding and selecting a good location for sowing your white widow seeds.
Growing marijuana is possible in most parts of the world, but in some areas it will grow much better than in others. The most important factor that will influence the quality and yield of your harvest is the amount of sunlight the plant will receive throughout its growing cycle. In selecting a location, try to make sure that the site will be exposed to at least three hours of direct sunlight every day. If the area in which you live is not sunny enough to guarantee three hours daily, you can place aluminium foil around the plants, which should reflect more sunlight on it. More than three hours will make the plant grow faster and improve its yield, and morning sun tends to produce better results than afternoon sunlight.
Marijuana plants, like all plants, require a specific water table level and soil characteristics in order to thrive and produce a good yield. More water is not necessarily better, as the roots require oxygen to survive. If you live in a very wet climate, you may want to consider growing your outdoor plant in a large pot and include a layer of gravel to ensure good drainage. On the other hand, if there is not enough water, you may have to water or spray the plant regularly, ideally in the morning, as watering at night or in the evening can induce mold problems.
As for soil, a well-draining, moderately compact soil should be best, and a pH of about 6.5 is recommended. It may not be a bad idea to buy a pH tester to measure the acidity of the soil, as a too high or too low pH will greatly reduce your chances of a good yield. Alternatively, you can estimate acidity by taking a sample and having it react to vinegar and baking soda.
A good site for outdoors marijuana growing is one which won’t be stumbled upon by either humans or wild animals. Grow your white widow plants well away from any man-made structures, hunting grounds or other sites which are likely to be frequented by people. Also, in order to protect your plants from roaming wild animals, leave some deterrents nearby, such as human or predator hair or blood. A small fence will also do a good job of keeping away hungry animals.
In conclusion, the selection of a site for your outdoor white widow plant will be the single largest factor influencing the success of your growing venture. The most important things to keep in mind in selecting a location are the amount of sunlight the plant will receive, the quality and pH of the soil, availability and access to water and the amount of protection from animals as well as other humans.
After you’ve chosen a location at which to grow one or more marijuana plants in the outdoors, it is time to make some other crucial decisions. Which variety of seeds will you use? How will you select the ones which will maximize yield in a minimum of time and effort? Will you plant the seeds directly into the soil at the site or sprout them at your home before planting them in the outdoors? This chapter is dedicated to answering these questions.
Though most will pick an established strain, proven to be adaptable to manifold environments, the selection of the right strain to plant in the outdoors is a very important one, because some strains which are indigenous to certain climates will simply not flower in other regions of the world. So, in choosing the right strain for you, it is important not just to look at the expected yield, but also to make sure that the strain will thrive in your climate and will be ready for harvest before the frost. A bad decision at this stage may lead to no yield at all, so do your research.
Some good rules of thumb to make sure you don’t waste time with bad seeds, is to immediately discard the cracked and crinkled ones. The color of the seed should be gray and glossy, with brown or green overtones. If the seed is green, this is a sign that the seed probably isn’t fully mature. If you’re about to plant them, you can try putting them in a pot or bowl filled with distilled water. A good seed should slowly sink to the bottom. Just don’t do this any earlier than just before planting, because the seeds should remain dry.
If you don’t want to sprout the seeds at home, then you can plant them directly into the soil at the outdoor growing location. Pick your spot and stick a pencil about half an inch (about 1,3 cm) into the ground. Drop a seed in there and mark it so you don’t forget where you planted it. Cover the hole with soil and water it. Use some fertilizer (mix of three parts of water and one part of high phosphorus fertilizer is ideal) if you want. Make sure there is at least three feet (90 cm) between each seed, so the plants won’t compete with each other for sunlight. Water frequently with distilled water (don’t let the soil dry out) and after about a week the first stems should appear. Continue watering whenever the soil is dry and after another seven days or so, the first rudimentary leaves should appear.
Alternatively, you can sprout the seeds at your home and transplant them to the site afterwards. To do this, get a flat pan and put three wet paper towels in it. Put the seeds on there, cover them with another couple of paper towels and then put plastic wrap around the whole thing. Wet the towels regularly to make sure they never get dry and keep the pan somewhere warm and dark. White roots will appear, and once they are about a quarter of an inch (half a cm), put them into a jiffy-pot, filled with soil from the growing site. The white root should be facing downwards and follow the instructions in the above paragraph for the rest.
If you followed our advice up until now, then a few marijuana plants should have sprouted in the outdoors at your chosen growing site. This is yet another crucial stage in the development of your plants and the utmost attention should be paid to making sure that the right ones will survive to the next step, and the bad ones are weeded out now.
At this stage, the young marijuana plants will be extremely vulnerable to roaming wild animals. Protect the plants by leaving human hair or blood around the site. Hair or store-bought products that mimic predator smells can be very successful.
Alternatively, protect the plants by building a small fence around them (fishline works great). Just make sure that the cannabis doesn’t become a tasty snack for deer or other animals before it can become one for you!
If you sprouted the seeds at your home and then put them in a jiffy pot, you should transplant the young marijuana plants by the time they develop their fourth node with spiked leaves. The pot is made to break down in the soil, so just put the whole thing in the soil at the growing site.
Apart from animals, mold is your biggest enemy at this stage. Inspect every plant regularly and check for mold. If you find any, remove the plant entirely, but make sure you don’t break off the mold spores by shaking the affected plant too vigorously. They can and will spread to your other plants, rendering all your efforts fruitless, so put a lot of effort in preventing this from happening.
Water only when the soil feels dry. Unless the temperature is very high, you should not be watering the plants on a daily basis, as marijuana plants do not require their roots to be wet at all times.
Fertilization is not necessary in the early growth stage, meaning the time from when there are only one or two nodes with spiked leaves present on each plant, until the moment it grows six or seven. From that time on, adding fertilizer is a great idea, and we recommend 20-20-20 fertilizer for best results.
As you know, you want to spend time only on the female plants and discard the male ones. Telling the males from the females is probably one of the hardest things to do, even for experienced growers. Basically, in the early flowering stage, males will develop what seems to be some bud, resembling little balls, without any hairs coming from it, at the tips of the branches, whereas females will develop no balls, but will have small white hairs.
A good trick is to cover an individual branch per plant with a plastic garbage bag (black) and making sure that the branch receives 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness per day. This should bring on the stage earlier and enable you, within about three weeks, to tell the males from the females based on a single branch per plant, as long as you look for the signs described above. Remove the males (unless you want to have some seeds for the next generation of course) and the bags and continue with the females.
If all has gone well, at this point, your plants should be established and in good condition. Having survived the first critical stages of sprouting and early growth, the rate of growth should now be increasing dramatically. But of course this doesn’t mean that your work is finished. Over the next few paragraphs, we’ll outline some guidelines which should be followed during the vegetative growth phase of your plants.
Only water your outdoor plants when necessary, ie when the soil is dry. When in doubt, dig a small hole about 3 inches deep and check whether it is wet or dry. If it is dry, then water the plant. Fertilization should continue as mentioned above, but be careful of over-fertilization, which is not only bad for the plant itself, but will also encourage the growth of other species of plants which will compete with yours. As for insecticide, it is not absolutely necessary, but can be very useful in protecting the plant against insects attempting to feed on it. If you do decide to use it, then spray your plants lightly with it and reapply more after it rains.
At this point, the pH of the soil should be tested once again and should return a slightly lower result than before the seeds were planted, due to the impact of fertilizers on the soil. In case the pH value is below 6.2, you should apply some wood ashes while watering until it is back to 6.5.
Your plant should be growing at a fast pace at this point, but if complications arise and you begin to notice symptoms of certain deficiencies, then you should consult the Nutrient Chart for a diagnosis and remedy.
Because the roots become less efficient at absorbing nutrients as the plant ages and enters successive stages of development, many outdoor growers choose to begin foliar feeding at the onset of the vegetative stage. Foliar feeding involves applying nutrient solutions onto the leaves of the plant, to make it easier for it to absorb the chemical elements. The ideal time for foliar feeding is between 5 and 9 AM, when the stomata of the leaves are open. The nutrient solution should be delivered by spraying, not drenching, the leaves gently about twice a week, and washing off the unabsorbed nutrients with water the day after foliar feeding. If you decide to do this, then don’t forget to decrease your regular fertilization routine to half-strength.
Some strains may require pruning, to increase the amount of bud-producing branches as well as to keep the plants from growing too tall. There is a fair amount of disagreement among growers about the effectiveness and desirability of pruning, with some arguing that it stunts growth and makes it more likely for the plant to become male, whereas supporters of the practice (which probably constitutes the majority) point to the beneficial effects on yield as well as its usefulness in keeping the plant short and hidden from unwanted observers. When pruning your plants, use sharp scissors to snip branches, which will induce the growth of two new ones at that point. As a good rule of thumb, avoid snipping off more than six inches.
If you made it this far, then pat yourself on the back, because once your outdoor plants enter the flowering phase it should be (comparatively) smooth sailing and the rewards for all the hard work you put in over the last few months will show themselves in a big and magnificent way! In this last chapter, we’ll swiftly discuss the flowering of the plant, and then move on to the harvesting and drying, leaving you, in the end, with a nice, smokable batch of the good stuff.
Marijuana plants enter their reproductive (or flowering) phase when they are exposed to continuous darkness for a certain amount of time. This period of daily darkness can differ depending on the strain and even the individual plant, but a rough rule of thumb for predicting when the flowering phase will be triggered is the onset of days of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Even some faint light from a torch or flashlight may cause the marijuana plant to cease production of its flowering-inducing hormone and set it back to vegetative status. This is why you should try to visit your garden only when there is natural light present. If you absolutely must visit at night, then don’t bring any light sources to the growing site (which, obviously, can be a problem).
If you followed our guide to the letter and managed to remove the males during the earlier stages of growth, then you don’t have to worry about this, but if there are still males present, you want to identify them as soon as possible to prevent them from pollinating the females.
When the plants are flowering, you should not be using any insecticide whatsoever, as you’ll be able to taste it when smoking, and the chemicals may be harmful to your health. Fertilization should also be minimal during this period, or cease completely. If you decide to keep using it, the fertilization compound should be cut down to a quarter of its strength and be heavier on the phosphorus (15-30-15 would be desirable). All in all, there is not much to do but wait during the flowering phase.
Apart from the actual smoking, the harvesting of the bud is probably the most rewarding moment for most growers. Pinpointing the exact time to harvest your plants can be tricky, but the best time is when about three quarters of the white pistil hairs have become brown. The resin crystals too are a good indicator of the correct harvest time. By studying them with a magnifying class, you should be able to tell whether they are clear or amber, the latter of which indicates that they have achieved their maximum potency and are ripe for the harvest. However, if the crystals are brown, then you must harvest as soon as possible because the peak has already passed and the potency is now rapidly decreasing.
Make sure to bring enough bags or back packs when you arrive to the site for the harvest. When you cut off the branches, get rid of the lower leaves, which do not contain any THC. While doing this, try not to shake the branches too much, as the resin glands are brittle and will easily fall off. Place the branches in paper bags and put the paper bags in bigger bags or backpacks.
Store the plants in Rubbermaid Tupperware containers and put them somewhere dark (light has a negative effect on the potency of the weed). Check all your containers twice or more every day for signs of mold. In case some mold is discovered, take out the affected plants immediately and dry them by spreading them out on a surface. A short stint in the microwave can kill off mold and is worth a try.
After 20 days or so of storing in this fashion, take out the buds and remove all leaves, except if there is a lot of resin on them. The last week of drying can be done by wrapping them in newspaper and leaving these in a dry and warm location. When this is done, the weed should be completely dry and the stems should be very easy to break.
Congratulations, if all went well, you should now have in your possession a batch of self-grown weed. At this point, it’s probably better to stop reading and reward yourself with some of that amazing white widow you just grew yourself. So relax and smoke up!