Growing Medical Cannabis
Today, many countries like the USA, a few countries of Europe, South America, and Asia allow the growth of medical cannabis legally. However, the laws enacted by different states in the USA and different countries differ from one another in terms of their content.
It is therefore essential to be aware of the relevant legislation in detail for growing your medical cannabis with a peace of mind.
Medical cannabis can be grown indoors as well as outdoors. Indoor hydroponic systems are becoming a popular way to grow them indoors, but the beauty of seeing the plants flourish in the outdoors cannot match the indoor cultivation. So, what exactly are the steps involved in growing medical cannabis outdoors? We find out.
Selecting a Secured Site
Even if growing medical marijuana is legal in your region, it is better to keep your cultivation hidden from normal view. Two factors account for this advice:
– Possible opposition from neighbors
– Fear of theft from passer-bys
One among a couple of options can be selected for your secured site. You either grow the plants in your backyard or away from home. If you want to grow them in your own backyard, then it is wise to hide them among another fast-growing plant like tomatoes. If you look for a site in the woods or an abandoned industrial site, then it has to be ensured that the place is less trodden by hikers or dog walkers.
Natural Requirements for Growing Medical Cannabis
Next, it has to be seen that your plants obtain maximum sunshine to enable them to thrive. About six hours of sunlight is a must for having flourishing foliage. Equally important for proper growth is good water supply. If the area is assured of adequate rainfall, then it should not pose any problem whatsoever. As for the soil, cannabis likes well-drained soil which is slightly acidic with a pH content of 5.5 to 6.5. Dark brown soil which is not rocky or clayey and breaks down with slight pressure is ideal.
Selection of Strain Best Suited to your Climate
Two types of strains exist for growing medical cannabis and they are the ‘indicas’ or the ‘sativas’. The choice will be determined, depending on how conducive the climatic conditions are in your region. If you are blessed with a frost-free environment endowed with long growing seasons, then you can pick any of the strains available.
Environments typical to the Southern states or Mediterranean region can pick up any of ‘indica’ strains and some of the hybrid variety of the ‘sativas’. Colder, damper environments have comparatively a lesser choice of the ‘sativa’ strains.
Sources of Growing Medical Cannabis
You can grow your medical cannabis either from a bag of seeds or through clones. The second option is a preferred option as the clone is already developed with a root system and leaves and hence, you get a head start over the seeds option. If you have chosen to go the ‘seeds’ way, then you can either germinate them at home, keeping an eye on the delicate early stages of growth and then plant them outdoors.
Another way is to directly sow the seeds into the soil. While doing so, the pointy side has to be kept up and the soil should be watered regularly.
The seeds which are germinated at home have to be planted outside when they are about six inches in height and endowed with three to four internodes. While transferring the plant into the soil, care should be undertaken so as to not damage the roots. Once they are firmly planted into the soil, they will proliferate at a rapid rate. It is essential to ensure that the site is clear of other unwanted plants and good quality of fertilizer is being used.
Sexing the Cannabis Plant
It is advisable to sex the cannabis plant as that will help to fulfill your need for either the seed or ‘sensimilla’, meaning ‘without seeds’. The male plants have seeds whereas the female plants produce weed that is heady and has no seeds.
Classification of the plants into male and female is possible through physical appearance. Male cannabis plants are much taller and have sparser foliage when compared to female plants. Lesser leaf nodes and a lighter shade are other characteristic features of the male plants.
Another way of identifying them is by the presence of preflowers. Female preflowers are small in size and have delicate white hairs that thrust forward. On the other hand, small bumps seen on the node are indicative of the plants being male.
The identification process is not a very difficult task and becomes simpler as you get a hang of it. Once the identification process is through, you can remove the male plants if your intention is to produce seedless weed.
Importance of Harvesting at Correct Times
Your cannabis plant has to be harvested at the right time if you want to reap the fruits of your labour. If you cannot go often to check on your plants and if the flowers seem to be shiny, swollen and sticky, you are better off harvesting your weed.
This is simply done by cutting the plant at its base; a sharp knife can be used for the purpose. The plant ought to be kept upside down in a bag as you take it home.
Drying and Curing
A dark space that has a good enough air circulation is required for drying your cannabis plant. Each branch has to be cut off, fan leaves have to be trimmed; so do the smaller leaves which are close to the buds. The branches have to be hung upside down to dry. It takes about a week for them to dry.
Glass jars are used to cure the cannabis plant. The jar’s lid has to be kept open for about twenty minutes per day for a week or so. The curing process helps to enhance the flavor of your cannabis plant, also ensuring that no mold spoils the bud.
Commonly Occurring Problems To Be Kept In Mind
The two most commonly occurring problems that can affect your plant are:
– Bud rot
– Danger from spider mites
Bud rot has to be tackled on an urgent basis as that can flatten your entire cannabis yield in no time. It is best to take preventive measures to avoid this problem. As for the spider mites, they can be tackled by the use of insecticides.
It is necessary to be equally aware of other problems like nutrient deficiencies so that you can undertake the required steps to cure your cannabis plant off them.
Following the guidelines detailed above will help you to be successful in growing medical cannabis legally.