When to Plant Pot Outside In California
Growing marijuana outside means you’ll need to think about some things ahead of time, even if you are simplifying the process with a Pot for Pot’s growing kits. One of the main questions people have is timing, especially if you live somewhere that doesn’t have four seasons that are quite as distinct as other places. California is one of these places.
If you are growing in California, you may be wondering when the perfect time to plant your marijuana outside is. Of course, the answer is never exactly simple – there are a variety of different factors that you should consider before deciding. Or you could always do a trial and error method… But we’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Seasons in California
California doesn’t have the same four extremely distinct seasons that other geographic areas might have, but the seasons are worth thinking about all the same. Of course, it makes a big difference if you’re living in Southern California or Northern California. NorCal’s weather is a bit gloomy, with rain and cooler temperatures. SoCal is a sunny and warm desert, which means dry air and toasty temperatures. In the South, winters can be warm and sunny, much like summer, but with heat that isn’t as oppressive. However, there is less daylight in the wintertime, making summer a better season for growing.
The size of your plants is going to make a difference in when you decide to start. This has to do not only with the strain you choose (and therefore the time it takes for that particular strain to go from seedling to flowering) but also how large you want your plants to be.
Most marijuana plants (if they aren’t autoflowers) transition from the growing phase to the flowering phase based on the amount of sunlight and darkness they receive during the day and night. So, if you want to have the biggest plants possible, you want to plant them as early in the season as possible. This gives your plant plenty of sunlight and time to grow properly before the flowering phase starts. If you’d prefer to have a smaller plant because of space issues or to keep it discreet, planting later in the season could be the right choice for you.
In general, you’re probably going to want to plant your pot at the beginning of May if you are growing a really big plant. The latest you should plant your pot is late August.
Keep in mind that your pot’s size should also be considered. If you plant your pot really early in the season, but you only have a smaller pot, your plant isn’t going to be able to expand its roots enough to grow as much as it could. So, plan ahead and get the right size pot. The following guide can help:
Related: Why Grow One Plant?
For plants that are affected by the sun for their life stage changes, you can manipulate their size a bit more. It all depends on how much growing time and sunlight they get. So your pots could vary in size from 5 gallons to 35 gallons for 1 ounce to 10 pounds of weed.
If your plants transition from the growing phase to the flowering phase automatically, no matter what the timing of the light is like, then your pots are going to be slightly smaller because they generally have a shorter grow time. Get pots that are between 2 gallons and 10 gallons, for between 1 ounce and 10 ounces of weed.
Related: We Love Auto-flowering Strains
How much sun?
Since you’re growing outdoors, you’re going to want to think about the sunlight. If you’re growing in Southern California, your plants will likely have no shortage of access to direct sunlight. That simply means that they can get a combination of direct sunlight and indirect sunlight (shade) without having any negative effects. In fact, it could even be better, so they don’t get overheated and lose too much water.
If you’re growing in Northern California, you might want to take better advantage of the direct sunlight when you have it. Keep your plants out in a spot where they can make full use of the sunlight that they get.
How much water?
Of course, how much sun your plants are getting determines how much water they should get as well. If they are getting tons of direct sunlight and the weather is quite warm, you’re probably going to water them more frequently. However, it’s important not to overwater marijuana plants, as that can lead to problems with mildew or mold development.
Test whether you should water your plants again with the finger test. Simply stick your finger into the soil – down to the first knuckle – and pull it right back out again. If the soil is sticking to your finger (and is wet), you don’t need to water yet. If it comes out soil-free and dry, you should water now.
You can also check if your plants need more water by weighing the pot since the water in the soil is not always noticeable from the top. Have a pot filled with dry soil (and no plant) next to your plant, and compare their weights. If they are similar, it’s time to water. If not, don’t water yet.
Cover crops and companion plants
One of the great things about growing outdoors it the fact that you can plant cover crops and companion plants alongside your marijuana plants. Cover crops can keep the soil nutrient-rich, such as clovers, which allow nitrogen-fixing bacteria to thrive in the soil.
Companion plants can also be planted to help keep the soil free of pests of all kinds. Planting basil nearby, for example, will keep away whiteflies, mosquitoes, asparagus beetles, and aphids. Parsley, on the other hand, attracts beneficial insects and birds that pollinate plants (which will at least help the plants around your weed to thrive, which in turn boosts your weed’s ability to thrive).
What if it rains?
While California isn’t known for its torrential rainstorms, on the occasion that it does rain, it’s a good idea to bring in your plants if possible (such as if they are planted in a pot). If they are planted in the ground, you can use a plant umbrella or else a black trash bag to protect them. While it might seem like rain would be a good thing for plants, in fact, it can make your plants get far too damp, and take a long time to dry. That would then encourage mildew or mold to develop. Check out our kits if you're ready to get started.
Related: The Basics of Growing Marijuana