Outdoor stealth growing cannabis guide
Growing cannabis outdoors has many key benefits. It’s the most cost effective way to grow cannabis – with no grow room to buy or run. All you need is pack of outdoor cannabis seeds to go with your free light source! Many guerrilla growers also claim that sun-ripened buds have an extra kick and a superior terpene profile compared to indoor-grown buds. But one of the key challenges for outdoor growers is to ensure a safe, secure outdoor grow location which will be safe from thieves and discovery. This review is packed with grow tips for growers determined to bring home an outdoor crop even if it’s your first outdoor grow!
How to hide your outdoor cannabis grow
You may not have to worry about the expense of buying and running a grow room, but you will need to plan your outdoor grow carefully to maximise your chances of success. You may be lucky enough to have your own land (or that of a friend) to grow on.
But many prefer the thrill of preparing a secret, hidden grow location in the countryside. Your two main choices are to grow either autoflower seeds or photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds. Each has their own pros and cons, but whichever strains you grow you will need to ensure that the plants are not seen (or smelled!).
Choice of grow location is critical, but choice of strain can also play a role. Some strains remain naturally short and bushy and easy to hide among the undergrowth and other plants/flowers. Strains such as Frisian Duck and Auto Duck have a stabilised natural leaf deformity meaning that people may walk straight past your plants and not even recognise them as cannabis.
1. Pick a grow spot away from prying eyes and noses
Choosing a private, secret grow location is one of your first challenges. Many outdoor, or ‘guerrilla’ growers prefer to have several outdoor grow locations. This spreads the risk should one location be discovered by dog walkers, do-gooders, rippers or the Police.
Online mapping apps like Google Earth/Apple Maps are very useful for anyone looking for off-the-beaten-track locations, but boots on the ground can’t be beaten. You may prefer to use online maps to give you general locations to consider such as unused land, hills, river banks, countryside etc. A subsequent walking visit to the area is the best way to judge the viability of the location.
If you are growing autoflowers, your plants may only be around a metre tall and relatively easy to hide behind brambles, bushes and nettles. You may even wish to plant some extra vegetation (e.g. thorny brambles) to offer greater security and deter accidental discovery of your plants.
If growing feminised cannabis seeds you will need to hide your plants for a longer timer period and may need taller surrounding vegetation to conceal your plants. There is little you can do about the cannabis aroma which will be produced by your plants other than hope that a thick border around your grow location will allow the smell to be naturally diluted by the breeze.
Avoid leaving a trail to your grow, eventually someone will follow it and it could compromise your plot. Take different approaches if possible, or use a route that doesn’t leave an obvious clearing through the undergrowth. Many of the most successful outdoor cannabis grow locations have a crawl-tunnel (or similar) entrance to make accidental discovery unlikely. Over a few years you can enhance the security of the perimeter of your grow location by progressively planting more nettles, thorns etc around the perimeter to block views as well as access.
2. Avoid spreading the word about your outdoor grow
One of the golden rules about outdoor cannabis growing is to avoid telling others about it. Losing a harvest to thieves is never easy. It’s heartbreaking if you can’t rule out your own contacts/friends for the loss.
One of the old rules to avoid cannabis problems is: Don’t tell, don’t sell and no smell. When it comes to your private outdoor grow, keeping the details to yourself is often the best policy.
3. Grow Dutch Passion’s camouflage cannabis strains
For real stealth cannabis growing, Frisian Duck and Auto Duck offer unique natural camouflage. The leaves have a stabilised natural deformity which often results in just 3 ‘fingers’ which looks like a ducks foot print, with webbing connecting the individual leaflets.
During vegetative growth and early bloom the natural stealth camouflage is particularly effective. Even experienced cannabis growers have been astonished to see the effect. Without the iconic ‘traditional’ cannabis leaf shape many people would simply fail to take a second glance at Frisian Duck and Auto Duck.
Autoflower plants – compact & easy to hide outdoors
If you think you can hide a few 1 metre tall plants in the countryside then you could plant any autoflower strains. They typically take around 3 months to grow outdoors. Just select the warmest and sunniest 3 month outdoor period to grow them in. Perhaps give them a head start with a few weeks of indoor growth in order to shoot for maximum yield. It’s always good advice to wait to plant your autos outdoors after the last frost has passed.
A good outdoor grow location is one that isn’t visible to anyone nearby. With autoflower strains around a metre tall you can use natural wild plant life, bushes, shrubs, earthen banks or any other natural barrier such as fallen trees, brambles, streams etc to your advantage. Many outdoor growers have found autoflower strains perfectly suited to their needs.
Growing autoflower seeds outdoors is easy and fast and you won’t need much space for a plant or two. A sunny spot as small as 1m x 1m can accommodate an auto. Maybe you can think of a hidden corner of your garden, a corner of an unused field or a spot of disused land to plant an autoflower seed.
Feminised seeds – tips for stealthy outdoor crops
A secure grow location could be compromised if you grow a plant that’s a little too tall for comfort. Some monster plants grown from photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds can reach 3-4m tall and just as wide. You can reduce vertical growth with techniques such as LST (Low Stress Training), super cropping or topping/fimming of your plants.
If these techniques allow your feminised strains to grow unnoticed at your particular grow location then you can enjoy choosing from a wide selection of outdoor cannabis seeds. Your selection of photoperiod feminised strains can include heavy yielding outdoor champs such as Frisian Dew, Passion #1, Durban Poison etc.
4. Throw a few companion plants around your weed
Many outdoor cannabis growers like to grow cannabis alongside some companion plants. There are various reasons to do this. Use of colourful flowering shrubs alongside your cannabis plants may distract the casual observer who may not notice the green foliage of the cannabis.
Other growers will use plants such as Chamomile which can deter white fly and other pests. Dill is thought to protect against bugs, mites and aphids. Basil is another herb that can be grown at the base of your cannabis plants and is thought to improve terpene profile whilst repelling beetles, mosquitos and white fly.
Many other herbs and companion plants are favoured by outdoor cannabis growers including Lavender (repels pests), Coriander (repels aphids & spider mites) as well as others such as Yarrow, Sunflower, Lemon Balm etc.
5. Change the natural growth patterns of your plants
Various cannabis plant training techniques may also prove useful to the outdoor cannabis grower seeking to add a touch of discretion and privacy to their guerrilla grows. SCROG is often thought of as an indoor training technique but it can be used very effectively in an outdoor grow where it can tame vertical growth. Instead of a 4m tall outdoor monster you may be able to keep vertical growth to a more acceptable 1-1.5m.
Another option for the outdoor grower is LST, or cannabis low stress training. This technique allows the user to tie down the tallest branches, reducing the overall height of the plant. It’s an easy and low-risk way to change the natural growth structure of your outdoor cannabis plants and can also increase yields.
Topping your cannabis plants is another way to change the growth profile and reduce vertical growth. Another useful technique to slightly reduce the visual impact of your cannabis plant (e.g. if growing on a balcony) is to simply remove some of the foliage. When combined with some companion planting, e.g. colourful shrubs, the impact can be quite dramatic.
The experienced outdoor cannabis grower may favour grow locations close to a natural water source. This will be valuable in droughts or heatwaves.
Grow locations that are some distance from walking routes tend to remain the most private, as do those grow locations protected by natural barriers, thorns etc. You may wish to select plots that have some protection from the prevailing wind/weather, e.g. an earth bank.
Locations with all-day long sunlight are the best, though this may not always be easy to achieve. If soil quality is poor you can always supplement with supermarket soil and fertilisers, manure, nutrients etc.
This expert guide to outdoor cannabis growing was designed for UK growers who face a short season and poor grow conditions. But many of the main tips and advice will work very well for non-UK growers too.
Best stealth cannabis strains for outdoors
You can opt for professionally bred stealth strains with webbed leaves such as Frisian Duck or Auto Duck. Frisian Duck is a feminised cannabis strain, very popular with outdoor growers. She finishes bloom around late Sept/Early October in the Northern Hemisphere (early April in the Southern Hemisphere). Auto Duck takes around 3 months from seed to harvest outdoors. Both ‘duck’ strains have light odours.
By applying some careful consideration to their grow location(s), many outdoor cannabis growers create well-hidden grow locations that are difficult to see or enter. Soil quality can be maintained through the regular addition of nutrients, manure and fertilisers. Surrounding vegetation can be regularly cut back to prevent it invading your grow location and stealing the light from your plants.
Stealthy cannabis grow locations often provide many years of service and can be used to grow any photoperiod feminised or autoflower strains. At the end of each season tidy up well, remove all equipment and leave the site looking anonymous. Not only is outdoor cannabis growing the cheapest way to grow, it’s also great year-round fun. Enjoy planting your outdoor cannabis seeds!
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