Because I love to garden I’m an outdoor cannabis grower so the growing of the plant is a large part of the fun. Usually by now, late April, I have germinated my seeds, and I’m watching tiny cannabis plants grow under lights indoors. Right after the May 24 weekend, I move my carefully tended plants, now about 8” high, outside to a carefully prepared patch of ground behind my composters.
I’m an organic gardener, so most of the material that goes into the soil comes from my composters, though when the plants are vegetative, that is before they flower, I use fish-based fertilizer. Outdoors the plants can depend mostly on rainwater, but after a drought of 3-4 days I tenderly water with RO filtered water. My objective is to avoid any chemical in the germination and growing of my plants.
This year will be different because I’m going to Paris for the month of May, the critical time when my cannabis plants are under lights indoors. I have a friend who would drop by occasionally to check up on the plants but he could easily forget and occasionally isn’t enough. At this stage of life the plants require lots of love; I’m not willing to leave them to fate, so I have nervously adopted a new growing strategy. Over time I’ve discovered that my particular growing conditions, tall trees, diffused light, produce a good sativa plant that goes outdoors in late May, flowers in late August and is ready for harvest by Thanksgiving weekend. For me, the sativa strains make the best smoke.
There are dozens of different types and strains of cannabis seeds today that can deliver plants of various sizes, flowering cycles, colours, and tastes. The evolution of cannabis plants and the seeds that they grow from over the last 15 or so years is mind-boggling to people like me who once took a few seeds from a batch of grass from who knows where, tossed them into little pots and watched the fun. Who knew if they were Indica or Sativa seeds? Or if they were feminized or not? Nobody I was acquainted with at the time.
In contemplating this year’s crop, I selected a relatively new treat in cannabis growing; auto-flowering seeds. These seeds flower in as little as three weeks and are ready for harvest in another 45 days or so. They flower after a set period of time, don’t depend upon light cycles, and purportedly the crop will have a lemony smell and flavour.
I will germinate them in early June, keep them under lights till they flower, then outside for a couple of months, likely till mid-September. It’s a radical timing and growing cycle change but suits both my timing and growing conditions. I’ve had more than one crop failure over the years, usually caused by seeds that are not fresh.
Seeds MUST be fresh and fully feminized. I’ve had more than one crop failure, usually due to old seeds or seeds that were left over from the previous year. Peruse the web for the kinds of seeds that will best suit the location and light conditions of your garden (this is usually a crap-shoot) and give it a shot. You can buy seeds legally in provinces that permit growing, although the pickings can be pretty slim. For example there are only two kinds of seeds on the OCS.ca at the time of the publication of this article. It may take a couple of growing seasons and crop failures to find the ultimate seeds, but much of the fun is in the trying.