outdoor grow journal

Outdoor grow journal – Start to Finish

Well-Known Member

Hello everyone. I’ve been lurking for a long while, but finally decided to register and start my grow journal. I would like to contribute to the many other great journals out there that have a simple beginning and end with information helpful to other new growers. I’m hoping mine ends with a successful grow!

I am a noob to growing marijuana, but have been reading this forum for the past month non-stop. I can’t seem to get enough info! I also enjoy vegetable gardening from time to time.

Lets talk about the grow.

Germination: I have germinated and sprouted three bag seeds. A word of caution about germinating in paper towels: make sure the tap root hasn’t embedded itself in the fiber of the paper towel. I accidentally snapped the end of the root and killed one. I would have had four sprouts!

Medium: a mixure of natural, rich compost from a nearby private forest, perlite, and vermiculite. The soil naturally has a favorable ph, so I dont have to worry too much there. I decided to add the perlite and vermiculite to better aerate the soil. I am using the same mixture in pots while they are young so when I transplant them to the forest, they will have an easier transition with less shock.

Site: I have scouted a nearby forest that is privately owned by a community. The forest is rather thick and small, so there are no hikers, hunters, or deer. I do worry though about kids who sometimes (rarely) wander out there to play.

Within the woods, there are patches where the trees have thinned out and lots of sun shines through. I would estimate the plot receives about 5 hours minimum of direct Florida sunlight, and much more indirect. I plan to grow the plants in pots for a period of 2-4 weeks at my house where they will receive a full day’s direct sunlight everyday before being transplanted to the forest. I will post pictures of the site soon!

Nutes: I placed a small amount of starter fertilizer in the soil at the time of planting in the pots. I know. shouldn’t have done it. Its best to wait until the plant tells you it needs food. Lesson learned, and plants are doing OK. Starting in three to four weeks I will be feeding with Jack’s Classic Plant Food from J.R. Peters. The website is great. You can locate vendors by zip code. I will use the All Purpose fert for vegging and the Blooming Formula for flowering.

I am considering these first three sprouts my practice plants. Within a few weeks I will be receiving 10 Afghan seeds which are brilliant indicas for outdoor growing and very resistant to disease. Several sites have ranked this strain within the top 5 outdoor strains. I purchased the seeds from this reputable site. The price was fantastic and every order is shipped with an additional 5 free seeds! Hopefully, the month lag between grows (bagseed and Afghans) will allow me to make most of my mistakes on the bagseed strain.

This concludes my first post. I dont plan on this being a daily diary of events. I plan to post about once a week or possibly more frequently if I am having grow problems. In that case, I would love your comments and suggestions. For that matter, I would love your comments and suggestions regardless! I am well read, but need help as any newbie would.

Hello everyone. I've been lurking for a long while, but finally decided to register and start my grow journal. I would like to contribute to the many other…

Leafly’s outdoor cannabis grower’s calendar

Growing cannabis outdoors is easy. All you need is a nice open space that gets lots of light, a water supply, good soil, and a way to cover the plants when the weather turns.

One of the most important things to know is that cannabis is dependent on a photoperiod, meaning that it changes from the vegetative to flowering stage when days start to shorten and nights get longer. You want to time things right so your plants can maximize their exposure to light during the summer before fall sets in.

Growing and harvest times here reflect ranges of time in the Northern Hemisphere. For more growing tips on specific regions, check out this guide on different climates.

On the West Coast of North America, cannabis farmers in Northern California have a long season: They can put plants outside early and harvest later into the season because of the region’s relatively warm weather.

Washington state, on the other hand, will have a shorter time frame, as plants can’t be put outside until later in the season because there’s not enough sunlight yet. Harvest needs to be completed earlier, before cold weather descends on buds and makes them wet and moldy.

Important dates

The Spring Equinox is a good reminder that it’s time to kick off the outdoor growing process and start germinating your seeds.

As the sun reaches up high in the sky, your cannabis will want to as well. Make sure all of your plants are outside by the Summer Solstice.

The weather will start to turn and the sun will begin descending in the sky as your plants fatten up with sweet, sticky buds. It might be tempting, but wait until around the Fall Equinox to start harvesting.

Everything should be cleaned up, dried, and curing well before the Winter Solstice. Now’s a good time to make your own cannabutter, topicals, or tinctures with all that trim from the harvest. Kick your feet up, relax, and hunker down for the cold, it’s been a long growing season!

Notes on phases

I can’t stress enough that the time frames on this graphic are ranges of time for the Northern Hemisphere. You’ll need to adjust them based on your specific region and local weather and climate.

Be sure to keep a grow journal to track the progress of your plants. Looking back on your notes will help you learn from mistakes and maximize the quality and quantity of your buds.

Take meticulous notes on when and how you perform each step, as well as what the weather is like. Other notes can include how much water you give plants, at what intervals, and how much nutrients you give them. Pictures will also give you a better sense of how your plants look along the way.

Buy seeds

Figuring out which strains you want to grow, where to purchase them, where on your property you want to grow, and your local climate and weather can take some time and work. And once you order seeds, it can take a few weeks for them to arrive. Be sure to do your research early and get a head start so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute and miss the ideal time to grow.

Germinate/Sow seeds

It takes about 3-7 days to germinate a seed. A lot of growers will do this indoors because seeds are delicate and it’s easier to control the temperature and climate inside. But if you live in a warmer climate, by all means, start growing them from seed outside. You can also use a small greenhouse outside to keep them warm.

When you start growing your seeds depends partly on how big you want your plants to be for harvest. If you’re going for high yields, the earlier you grow your plants, the bigger they’ll be. But keep in mind that smaller plants are more manageable and easier to top and prune.

Move outdoors/Put in the ground

If germinating seeds and growing them indoors first, this is the time frame that you’d move your plants outside so they can get some serious sunlight. You want them to get at least 6 inches – 1 foot in height before putting them outside, so they’re big and strong enough to handle the weather.

Some old school gardeners will tell you to wait until after Mother’s Day to take them outside, and generally speaking, you want them in the ground by the Summer Solstice at the latest.

Top/Prune plants

Most growers top their plants a few times (two or three) throughout the season to encourage outward development and make plants bush out. It’s a good idea to give them an initial top after the plant develops five or so nodes.

Once your plants start flowering and producing buds—generally, sometime in August—you want to stop topping your plants.

Pruning and cleaning up plants is done as-needed. You want to get rid of dead leaves and lower branches that won’t get light so the plant can use that energy for producing buds in healthier branches.

Growers can clean up their plants anywhere from 1-4 times during the season, depending on how big the crop is and how much labor is needed.


What kind of strain you have and what climate you live in will determine when to harvest your strains. Indicas typically grow stouter and bushier and there is more of a concern that their dense buds will get moldy, so they’re usually harvested on the early side of the season. Sativas are generally taller and less dense, so they usually get harvested later.

Growers in colder climates will need to finish their harvests earlier, sometimes as early as September, for fear of wet, cold weather setting in and molding out buds. Warmer climates can sometimes harvest well into November.

This post was originally published on January 15 31, 2019. It was most recently updated on May 1, 2020.

Growing cannabis outdoors is easy, but timing is important. This guide will tell you what you need to know to get the most out of your garden.