Growing cannabis outdoors with autoflower seeds is probably the fastest, cheapest and simplest way to grow your own weed. It will take around 3 months to grow and harvest an outdoor auto with very little (if any) effort required from you. The seeds will only cost a few euros each and you may not even need any nutrients. It doesn’t get any easier than this! Our top-10 tips for outdoor autoflower growing are here. All you need is a pack of autoflower seeds and you can look forward to a summer of easy, abundant harvests.
Top 10 tips for growing autoflower seeds outdoors
Key takeaways for succesful autoflower harvests
If you haven’t grown autoflowering cannabis seeds outdoors before then our list of 10 top tips will increase your chances of a smooth, uneventful outdoor grow.
The life cycle of autoflowering cannnabis seeds
Select the best grow location
Plan your grow ahead from seed to harvest
Use proven cannabis seed germination techniques
Allow your seedlings a couple of weeks of indoor life
Use good quality soil and plant directly into it
Protect well – slug/snail pellets and perimeter fencing
Consider topping/training if height is a concern
Supplement with bloom feed if required
Avoid temptation to harvest too early
Tip 1: Understand the life cycle of autoflowering seeds
From germinating your autoflower seeds to harvesting them outdoors will probably take around 3 months. Select a 3-month window with warm, sunny weather for best results. Many will be able to get 2 successive autoflower crops each year. Those with mediterranean climates might be able to squeeze 3 successive auto crops each year.
Autoflower seeds come in all types and flavours! Whether you prefer indica, sativa or hybrid seeds there should be something to fit your needs perfectly. Some auto strains, such as Auto Blueberry or Auto Blackberry Kush might be finished in under 3 months.
Slower, heavier-yielding autoflower strains like Auto Ultimate may take a couple of weeks longer. Match your grow season and your personal smoke preferences to the right autoflower seeds and enjoy the spectacular satisfaction that comes from growing your own cannabis!
Tip 2: Select the best grow location and use it for years
Some are lucky enough to be able to grow on their own land. This could be a private terrace/patio, a small window box, or a garden. If growing cannabis on your own land you will find it easy to monitor plant progress and health.
If you can’t grow on your own land, there are plenty of other options. Countryside, woodland, riverbanks, waste farmland, unused urban land and many other places offer quiet spots where you can sneakily grow an autoflower or two.
A few moments on Google maps can allow you to quickly find potential locations to grow a plant or two. Thousands of people successfully grow autoflowers outdoors each year. So can you!
Tip 3: Plan your grow ahead from seed to harvest
You may need to prepare the ground in advance. Often growers dig the soil over to aerate it and improve texture. Many growers will dig in additives, lime, blood/bone/fish meal, seaweed, well-rotted manure etc. If digging in fresh manure, allow the ground a few months to allow it to rot down (to avoid ‘burning’ your plants with the nutrient-rich fresh manure).
Consider your grow location. Is it well hidden, safe from people/animals? Do you need to make any changes in order to keep the grow discreet and hidden? Some growers plant thorny brambles nearby to deter accidental discovery by dog walkers etc.
If not growing on your own property you made need to consider how easily you can get water to your plants in the event of a heatwave. If you’re completely new to outdoor cannabis growing, then the following article offers some in-depth advice.
Growing cannabis outdoors
Tip 4: Use proven cannabis seed germination techniques
There are two main techniques used to germinate cannabis seeds. One way is to simply germinate them directly in the moist grow medium. The other is to germinate between damp cotton pads.
Most suppliers of good quality cannabis seeds should be able to deliver 90%+ germination rates. Poor cannabis seed germination rates often arise from old, poor quality seed stock. As always, stick to the established, proven seed suppliers for the best service and germination rates.
Tip 5: Allow your seedlings a couple of weeks of indoor life before planting them outdoors
Rather than germinate your autoflower seeds at the grow site, many prefer to germinate their cannabis seeds indoors. This allows you to aim for maximum germination rates under home conditions. It also allows your seedlings the best possible start while they are young and vulnerable.
Giving your plants a couple of weeks of indoor life with 18-24 hours of daily light allows them to bathe in ideal conditions, getting the optimum start. This will result in a larger final size and greater eventual yields.
You can place the plants outdoors when conditions are good, perhaps with a few days spent gradually acclimatising your plants to outdoor life.
Cannabis seedling stage how-to guide
Tip 6: Use good quality soil and plant directly into it
Many outdoor autoflower growers prefer to grow their plants directly in the earth rather than in containers. This allows the plants a larger root zone and means that you won’t have to worry about manual watering/feeding as much (if at all).
You may prefer to optimise soil conditions by swapping the local soil with some higher quality compost from the grow shop/garden centre. Some growers prefer to grow in containers, this allows them to move plants if necessary (e.g. for security reasons or to protect from bad weather).
If growing your autoflowers outdoors in containers, then note that you will need to be attentive to watering demands. Air pots and fabric sacks are particularly recommended if you have to grow in containers, both offer good levels of root aeration.
Tip 7: Protect well – slug/snail pellets and perimeter fencing
Many growers find a regular application of slug/snail pellets around their outdoor cannabis plants to be essential. Especially in damp, cooler climates where these pests can thrive. This may require regular visits to your outdoor grow location.
If this grow location is on public land you may prefer to take different routes to your grow spot, this prevents the creation of an obvious trail to your plants.
Note that many outdoor guerrilla growers create a perimeter fence around their plants. This can be as simple as a roll of chicken wire (garden fencing) secured in place with tent pegs and poles.
Some guerrilla pros spray-paint their chicken wire with green paint to enhance stealth. Others will use a perimeter fence made from fishing wire. This deters wild animals e.g. goats, rabbits, deer etc and may protect your cannabis plants from being eaten.
Tip 8: Consider topping/training if height is a concern
One of the many advantages of growing cannabis outdoors with autoflower seeds is that the plant height tends to remain naturally low. Many auto strains tend to max out at around a metre (3 feet or so) in height. This makes autos a discreet and convenient option whether growing on your land or elsewhere.
But topping or training (e.g. low stress training, plant tying down etc) can also be applied to autos to control their size/shape further if required. The best autoflower strains are very tough and respond well to topping and training.
Tip 9: Supplement with bloom feed if required
Even if growing your autoflowers directly in the earth you may still encounter moments when your plants require a dash more nutrition, especially if the soil quality is poor or low in minerals.
If in doubt it may help to have a bottle of general-purpose bloom nutrient which you can add if required as harvest approaches and plant nutrient requirements reach their peak.
Many of those that grow their autoflower seeds outdoors will improve the local soil, especially if it is excessively sandy/rocky or low quality. But it can always help to have a bottle of bloom nutrients if the plants need extra minerals as harvest nears.
Tip 10: Avoid temptation to harvest too early and plan curing/drying beforehand
Allow your auto the chance to fully ripen, providing you with optimised taste and yields. One advantage of growing autoflower seeds outdoors is the rapid life cycle of around 3 months. That means that most growers can complete at least one auto harvest each year. Look for the point where the trichomes are just transitioning to mainly cloudy.
You will also need to consider where you will dry and cure your outdoor grown cannabis. Some growers will buy a small grow tent and use it for indoor drying, in combination with a fan and carbon filter.
Get premium harvest from your outdoor autoflowers
Remember it really is easy to grow autoflowering cannabis seeds outdoors. Once the plant is established in safe grow conditions there is often very little that you need to do other than return to harvest it! In hot conditions you may need to bring water. Some growers periodically inspect their outdoor autos to see how they are progressing.
Most of the main fears people have about trying to grow their own cannabis are focussed on perceived complexity and their lack of experience. But it really doesn’t get any easier than growing autoflower seeds outdoors, especially if you have a good, private grow location and mild weather. Once the seed is germinated it is often a case of simply leaving mother nature to take over for the next 3 months until your buds are ready to pick!
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