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Planning Your 2023 Outdoor Cannabis Garden

It's a new year and a new opportunity for outdoor cannabis farmers to plant another years crop. It's never too early to start planning and preparing for this years garden. Like any good venture in life. we prefer to "think twice and act once" so to speak. Whether you are planning on growing a few plants for a personal supply or are out to "make the big bucks",

nothing is more important in the outdoor marijuana game than good planning. Below you will find a month to month breakdown of exactly how we do it here in northern Michigan at the 45th parallel. This unique location offers us an average climate that is perfect for growing and breeding strong genetics that perform well in most environments.


The first thing that comes to mind after the holidays for an experienced farmer is what strains are we going to grow this year and how many plants of each one? Are we growing from seeds or clones? Do we want as much work as we did last year? Do we want to grow more?

Strain selection is critical. Choosing strains that will finish on time as well as be resistant to pests and problems like mildew and mold can make or break an operation. January is a good time to make some seed orders, start some mother plants if we plan to take cuts later, and start to acquire the things necessary to do so.

We need a climate controlled or indoor space to start our gardens here in northern Michigan. It is time to get this space prepared. The good news is our plants are small in this stage and we can do a lot in a small area. A good closet or basement corner, or a small grow tent can work perfectly. A good imagination can create a plant friendly area in a lot of places.


It is time to consider how many plants we are going to grow? Are we growing in the ground or in containers? What are our goals this year? And so on.

We like to get our mothers selected if we are planning to grow from cuttings at this time. This allows plenty of time for these mother plants to have the stature required to provide us with the proper number of cuttings we will require in a couple months. If we are only growing a few plants of 1 strain than 1 mother would be plenty. If we plan to grow many plants with a variety of strains than we need to start enough mothers to satisfy our needs. Be conservative in your estimates at this stage. Its so much easier to have some extra than it is to be short. Don't forget that our mother plants can be planted outside as well if they are not too old and woody already. This is why we like to start fresh mother plants each season vs keep them alive for the long term like we used to.


What space are we growing in? In a greenhouse? In a fenced in area? In the neighbors corn field? What soil are we using?

This is a good time to start acquiring the soil, amendments, and general supplies needed to maintain our outdoor gardens. We like to think as far ahead as frost cloths to assure we do not run into supply issues when everyone is trying to acquire their supplies last minute. Don't wait until frost is in the forecast to have that plan in place. This can happen early or late season without warning in this age of climate change.


It is time for us to start our seedlings if that is our choice. We prefer to grow from seeds and in holes we dig in the ground outdoors to take advantage of all the earths energies. Thermal protection as well as natural microbes are 2 major benefits of being in the ground. Growing from seeds vs clones offers the obvious advantage of a tap root vs no tap root. This dictates that branches either alternate up the stalk with 1 branch on each side for clones or 2 branches per node with seedlings. Tap roots will grow straight down while plants from

cuttings will grow more of a ball shaped root system. There are benefits to both seedlings and cuttings. Plants mimic their root balls above ground. You will not grow a 10 foot plant with a 5 foot root base. Mother nature is the master of engineering in this way by only allowing our plants to get as tall as they can be to withstand the elements like wind and storms.

It is also time to start digging some holes or preparing containers. We prefer to dig our holes at 3'x3'x3'. Bigger the better here but it can be costly to fill those holes depending on your source of soil. Some places like that 20 year old farm pasture filled with composted manure may not need any amendments. We are usually planting in a sandy soil and prefer to dig ours out and use that sandy soil for perfect drainage after we put in a yard of Uncle Pete's Soil. Some folks have their own mixes, purchases local organic soils, or even buy commercial bagged soil. There are tons of recipes available online to make your own "super soil" but this can be costly and labor intensive and isn't for everyone.


With only a month before we plan to move our garden outside, it is time to transplant our cuttings from rooted clones in cups, into number 2 nursery pots. This is important to give them time to establish roots and be prepared to transition to their life outside. When you transplant your plants you have an opportunity to spend a few minutes with each of the. This is a good time to lollypop and FIM or top any of them that may need it. We like to add some beneficial bacterias to the new pots in and around the hole where the root zone will be transplanted to.

If you are growing from seed it is also time to transplant into number 2's, as well as, time to start looking for the sex of your seedlings. If you choose to grow feminized seeds you have no worries here because you know your seedlings are all female. If you choose to grow regular seeds this is a crucial step in the growing process. One male plant can pollinate your entire garden and your neighbors, so check and double check for those magic little hairs. Click here for more information on sexing your seedlings.

Once we have our transplants all completed its just a matter of feeding and loving them until it's time for their big move. A few days before you plan to move your plants outside, you will want to start transitioning them from the artificial light of inside to natural sunlight. To do this you want to ease them into the sunlight by placing them outside in a spot that gets full shade for the first day. On day 2 you would move them to partial shade, then to partial sunlight on day 3 and finally to full sunlight. We don't want to damage or even kill our plants by just placing them into full sunlight right away.


June is here and it's time to finally plant our garden outside. We prefer plants that are knee

high when we plant them. Again this is an opportunity as we transplant into the ground or into our final container, to spend some time training and pruning our plants. Now we are off and running and ready for a spectacular growing season.


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