Outdoor Tips to Get You Started – Types of Plants, Seeds and Soil
Although this site focusses on CBD, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that there are many people who use cannabis (marijuana) to manage their day to day living, pain or just for good old recreational pleasure. In light of this, and because of the changes in marijuana laws, especially in Canada, people are growing cannabis plants, either inside their homes or out in the garden – or at least attempting to. I myself tried in the past and never got very far because I didn’t have this information.
Over the next few weeks, we will discuss growing cannabis outdoors and indoors, from seed selection to beautiful full-grown plants.
TYPES OF MARIJUANA PLANTS
There are three major species, a couple of which you may already have heard about: The two common ones are Sativa and Indica and a lesser known one is called Ruderalis.
Properties and Characteristics of Each
The Sativa plant is tall, thin, has narrow leaves and produces more fibre. They take longer to grow and mature and require a great deal more light. When used in medical marijuana, they tend to have a higher ratio of THC to CBD.
It is an annual plant, indigenous to eastern Asia, and has been cultivated as a source of industrial fibre, seed oil, food, recreation, religious and spiritual moods and medicine. Sativa means things that are cultivated. The flowers can be male or female. The female plant is prized by growers because of its high THC content.
Indica is shorter and bushier and has wide leaves. They grow faster and have a high yield. When used for medical marijuana, they tend to have a higher ratio of CBD to THC. It is also an annual plant originating from the Indian subcontinent.
Ruderalis are smaller plants and are mostly used for making clothes, rope, etc. It grows in harsh climates, is low in THC and is native to Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. It is much debated whether it is a sub-species of Cannabis sativa.
Getting your marijuana seeds can present a challenge, depending on where you live and the laws that pertain to the sale and purchase of seeds.
For example, in Alberta Canada, you can now purchase online from a Government retail outlet. They are sold 4 to a package and are female. These are from an Ontario producer (Tweed) and are offered in two varieties – one mainly THC and the other a hybrid combination of THC and CBD (only ships within Alberta). Future plans include selling live plants.
Cannabis NB is hoping to eventually sell seeds.
How to Order or Recognize Quality Seeds
Buy from reputable seed banks such as:
I Love Growing Marijuana (US Based)
- Free shipping to US and Europe. Ships daily to the US, Australia ($25 fee), New Zealand and West European countries; offer tracking (not on regular/standard shipping)
- Guaranteed germination
- Guaranteed delivery
- 27/7 grow support
- Offers a large selection of seeds
Growers Choice Seeds (Canada based – world-wide shipping/flat fee).
- Ships all over the world. Flat delivery fee based on country of residence. Over $500, free delivery.
- Offers a 90% guarantee seeds will germinate; if not, they will replace them free of charge
- More than 50 strains
- Opportunity to win up to $200 in seeds free
- Offers a large selection of seeds
Look for mature seeds:
Usually dark brown (or shades of dark gray and black) with slightly lighter stripes and firm to the touch. Pick the ones that are rounder and fatter. Avoid white or light green as they are not ready to plant.
Female, Male or Hermaphrodites?
Did you know that marijuana plants have two sexes – male and female? Sometimes, some varieties will have both male and female characteristics and are called hermaphrodites.
Unless you have specifically purchased feminized seeds, you most likely will have to go through the process of planting several seeds to determine the sex of the plant, then separating them to get rid of the male plants.
Why should you care if your plants are male, female or hermaphrodites (characteristics of both male and female)?
The first signs of which gender you have is when the plant develops pre-flowers or little green shoots. Males reveal their sex typically sooner than females. On the pre-flowering males, you will notice a small cluster of ‘balls.’ On females, the pre-flowering appears as small white hairs.
Female plants are the ones that produce bud cannabis (produces the most ‘high’). Male plants produce the pollen to pollinate the female plant. If you want seeds, then it is okay to leave the males and females growing together. If you want to control the strain, isolate the females by cutting the males out, let them make pollen, take the pollen and choose a female plant(s) you want to work with, pollinate it and you will have your seeds.
The hermaphrodites are good if you cross-breed it with a female because your next crop will be mostly females.
So this brings us back to the importance of separating the males from the females – if not done and pollination takes place, you will have a crop of useless, low quality flowers. Once the sex is determined, it is best to remove the males, place them in plastic bags and discard them (bye-bye guys!).
Role of the Male Plant
Does this mean male plants are useless or have no purpose? No. Here are some things that the male plant is definitely good for but not just ‘any’ male.
Breeding – To determine a good breeding male, eliminate those that:
- Flower too soon or autoflower
- Grow tall and gangly
- Have a pithy stem – the spongy tissue in the plant stem (they should be large and hollow)
- Have loosely packed buds
- Have a weak scent
Hemp Fibre Production – for making goods such as textiles, bed linens and towels.
Pest Control – Grow them in your flower or vegetable gardens – the terpenes (aromatic oils) are a natural way to control pests instead of harmful pesticides but you will want to keep them far away from your female plants to avoid the risk of pollination.
A Little ‘high’ – There is some THC present in male plants (in sacs, leaves and stems); use it to make cannabutter.
Cannabis Drink – Make a nutritious drink and enjoy the benefits of the cannabinoids. The male plant contains the same cannabinoic acids as the female.
Most importantly, they are needed for Genetic Survival to avoid having strains disappear.
We will go in more depth on the sexes later but in the meantime, here is a short video showing the difference between the female, male and hermaphrodites plant.
GROWING YOUR MARIJUANA
For the sake of this article, let’s assume you now have legally purchased your seeds. There are two main ways to grow marijuana, outdoors and indoors. Here we will discuss growing your plants outdoors, especially as planting season is just around the corner in many areas.
Of course, getting your seeds is just the start. There are many variables that will come into play – Where do you live? How much space do you have? Growing conditions? How many plants do you want to grow? WHY are you growing them – what do you hope to achieve? What kind of growing conditions do you have – sunny, shady? Do you have privacy or are you open to your neighbour’s scrutiny?
Since good soil is important, what makes it ideal?
Sufficient nutrients are needed, i.e. nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with a pH balance between 5.8 and 6.5. Commercial fertilizers tend to make the soil more acidic.
Sandy soil contains large particles that are rounded rather than flattened. On the plus side, it has high pH, and good drainage. The downside it has poor water retention, dries quickly and nutrients wash away.
Silt soil is granular and a size between sand and clay. The plus side is that it is more fertile than other soils and has good water retention. The downside is it has poor drainage.
Clay soil has a large percentage of fine particles. On the plus side it is rich in nutrients and good for water retention. The downside is it is heavy and difficult to work with; it also drains poorly.
Loam soil contains a lot of decayed vegetable matter and does not contain too much sand or clay. On the plus side, It also has a neutral pH balance, great drainage, water and nutrient retention, and easier to till than clay. The downside, unfortunately, it is also very expensive.
While searching for the perfect soil, you might be flooded with terms you aren’t familiar with such as perlite, peat moss, compost, bone meal, fish meal, etc., and it can all be very overwhelming and frustrating.
If you have absolutely no idea where to begin, go to an expert in a nursery or a specialized store and explain what you are looking for. If you are uncomfortable discussing marijuana, ask for the type of soil you could use to grow tomatoes in – yes, tomatoes!
“Ideal growing conditions will promote high quality THC production in female plants.”
If you are adventurous or just very conscious about the soil you use, here is a video on how to make 100% organic soil.
And if this seems like too much work for you, order your Organic Soil here.
Okay, we have come to the end of Growing Cannabis Outdoors – Part 1.
In Part 2, we will discuss the Germination of your seeds, the next important step.
DISCLAIMER: As mentioned in all my posts, you need to do your due diligence with regard to the legality of marijuana and CBD – I AM NOT A LAWYER; make sure it is legal to purchase marijuana seeds in your area of residence! Read all disclaimers carefully.
We would love to hear your comments and views on growing your own cannabis. Is this something you would try or have tried in the past?