It’s officially springtime, which means it’s time for cannabis cultivators to gear up for the outdoor growing season. While large farms generally get a jumpstart in February and March, there’s still plenty of time to get started on your backyard grow.
You won’t be able to sow your seeds or plant your clones until after the last frost of the season, but this doesn’t mean you should wait to get started. From preparing your garden and tools to popping seeds, a lot can be done before your plants go into the ground.
With these considerations in mind, we’ve created a helpful checklist to help you cover your bases before it’s time to get your hands dirty.
Checklist at a Glance
- Establish a garden space
- Plan and prep soils
- Buy seeds or clones
- Germinate cannabis seeds
- Gather all necessary tools
Establish a Garden Space
If you haven’t already established a garden, the first step to growing cannabis is to find the space that will work best for cultivation. The more direct sunlight your plants receive, the better they will fare in the outdoor season.
Ideally, find a space with a south-facing exposure if living in the northern hemisphere, or north-facing exposure if in the southern hemisphere.
If you’re looking to grow in the soil already on your property, find a space with good water drainage and healthy soil. Additional considerations include protection from high winds, privacy, and accessibility.
Plan and Prep Soils
If you want to use the soil readily available on your property, you’ll first want to order a soil test. This involves sending in a sample of the soil to a local testing facility to find out what nutrients are available and which are missing. Once the results are in, go to your local grow store, source the amendments needed, and work them into your soil.
Complete this step as early as possible to give the soil some time to settle before having to support your cannabis plants.
If you’re starting with new soil, you have a few different options:
- Option 1: Buy a complete soil that has all the amendments and nutrients your plant will need to grow the entire season without much feeding.
- Option 2: Buy a more basic soil that can be amended based on your personal needs and preferences.
You’ll also want to check the pH level of your water source to make sure your water is safe for gardening. A pH between 6.0 and 7.0 is ideal.
Purchase Cannabis Seeds and Clones
If you don’t have seeds or clones for the season, now is the time to make some decisions and purchases. When choosing a strain to grow, take into account the region you live in. Different strains are better adapted for various climate conditions.
In colder northern climates, it’s important to choose a strain that’ll finish flowering before fall rains. This will ensure the plant has time to fully mature while reducing the risk of mold. If you live further south, you can plant strains that finish later in the fall.
Consider bud structure in wetter or drier climates as dense, big buds will have a harder time fighting mold come fall. (Note: You can find growing information like flowering time and structure on Leafly strain pages).
Try growing a few strains that you want to learn more about in addition to those you already know and love.
Germinate Your Cannabis Seeds
If you’re working with seeds as opposed to clones, you’ll want to germinate your seeds before planting them in your garden. Germination generally takes a week or less to occur. The popped seed can then be placed in a small container where it will begin to grow the iconic ridged leaves.
This seedling generally takes around 3-4 weeks to develop before being placed in a pot outside.
Gather Tools and Supplies
To kick off the growing season without any hiccups, make sure you have all of your basic tools and equipment.
Also consider picking up these additional gardening tools:
With this checklist complete, your garden will be off to a great start for the season. Be sure to check out Leafly’s full outdoor growing guide for more tips and tricks for raising healthy cannabis plants in your own backyard.