Cannabis: Growing Medicine Outside

Cannabis: Growing Medicine Outside

Russell posted 23 Mar 2016


Sunlight, it is free and is abundant in everything your plants need to grow.  Choose  a well lit spot that gets as much sunlight as possible and is going to be exposed to some breeze. The breeze will help ensure that you avoid things likebud rot and other fungus or mould related problems.


Soil Preparation:

If using pots, the larger the pot the better; the more room your plant has to grow the bigger it can get. Potted plants should use a mix of good quality potting soil  and organic mulch. I recommend sugar cane mulch.

When choosing to grow in the ground it is a whole different game - I have grown some enormous   yielding,  high quality Sativas and Indica’s in what could be called barren dirt. If you are prepared to get your hands dirty and put your back into it, all it takes is some organic mulch and a whole bunch of soil turning. Dig as deep as you can and turn the soil over every 2 days for a week or 2 prior to introducing seedlings. 

Give the soil plenty of water and if you want to, add some nitrogen based slow-release fertiliser pellets. Once the plants reach a certain size they will look to grown their tap roots as deep as possible, . The deeper you dig, the deeper its roots can grow and the deeper the roots, the bigger your plants will grow. Try to space your plants 1.5sqM from each other to allow for later growth. Remember, when you grow outdoors in the earth, your plants will get much, much bigger than potted plants, or plants indoors. They WILL need room to grow.

Seed Selection:

Depending on what your purpose for growing is, the right strain choice is essential. There are 2 main types of cannabis, Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica.

Sativa is used mainly to treat mental and behavioural issues like A.D.H.D, autism and depression. It gives you a happy, uplifting high that is creatively stimulative and energizing. This strain in particular stimulates the appetite (“the munchies”), which makes it particularly good for people battling cancer, anorexia or other health related issues where eating or keeping food down is an issue. Sativa has a higher THC:CBD ratio and is best used during the daytime.

Indica is used mainly to treat chronic pain, epilepsy, nausea, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and lupus. It can also help treat insomnia and over active brain activity, so it is especially useful at night before bedtime.

Cannabis Seeds


You may want to use planter boxes. Some people like to use old toilet rolls to germinate their seeds; once they are big enough, simply plant the seedling (toilet roll and all) straight into the ground. Plant your seeds 4-5cm deep in a good quality mix of soil and mulch and keep them well watered every day. Be careful not to over water. It is better to use less water more often rather than more water less often. How the seeds germinate will have an impact on your plants growth later on. Expect your seedlings to emerge within 7 days if they are kept warm and watered.

Young seedling


Once they are up you will notice two small roundish leaves emerge first. Where I come from they are called thewater leaves. Shortly after the first set of pointed leaves will grow out, meaning your seedling is now ready to receive, store and convert sunlight into nutrient. At this stage there is no need for any fertilisers, as long as quality soil is used to germinate.

Once the seedlings have been above soil for about a week you should start to see some quick growth. At the end of the 1st week you should be seeing 2-3 tiers of leaves formed. At this point you can start to think about transplanting them into the ground.

Established seeling


Watering and Fertilisers:

Once your young plants are in the ground, you need to keep them well watered for the first week. Don’t go nuts, but try not to let your plants soil get bone dry,  either. At this stage your plants will accept a little fertiliser, I like to use Seasol. It isI high in nitrogen and is 100% organic so breaks down well and doesn’t leave harmful chemicals behind in your soil.

From this point on, your plant will drink almost as much water as you want to give it. Again, be careful not to overwater. You know you are over watering when the water does not drain from your grow site when you turn the hose on or if you start to see slushy mud type soil after a watering. Pots are generally harder to overwater if they are well drained and placed, so if your plants are potted, have at it with the water! During the leaf/stem growth phase, every 4-5 days I will not water my plants at all for 24 hours. This encourages the plants to convert energy into root growth in order to dig deeper for more water and nutrients. The bigger the root system, the bigger the plants can grow. This has been the difference between a normal/average sized plant and growing tree sized plants with incredibly high quantity and high quality yields.

During the leaf/stem growth phase of your plants, cannabis’s favourite thing to eat is nitrogen. Nitrogen helps fuel your plants ability to convert sunlight into energy and growth, similar to how a tomato plant grows. I never did anything fancy as far as plant food goes, just followed the instructions on the Seasol bottle and went with it. Continue with this process until flowering. Bearing in mind that as the plant gets bigger it WILL drink more and WILL happily accept more fertiliser/food.

During the flowering stage your plants stop producing stem and leaf growth and stop getting any taller. At this point you will want to change fertilisers to a low nitrogen content or eliminate nitrogen fertiliser altogether. Your plant no longer needs nitrogen and now wants a fertiliser blend high in Magnesium, Potassium and Phosphorous, which are key to promoting flower growth in most flowering and annually fruiting plants. Continue following the instructions on the back of the fertiliser packet until the last 2 weeks of flowering. At this point, give it just a water “flush” to remove any excess fertiliser chemicals from the buds. It makes for a cleaner smoke and tastier oils and butter. Typically you can just go to the garden store and buy the fruit and flower fertiliser. Most out there will have everything you need. Australian summers are hot, if your plants are wilted during the heat of the day, do not be afraid to give them a watering and a squirt down, even during the hottest period of the day.


Depending on your grow site situation, there are a couple of ways to go about pruning or tipping your plants. Sativa and Indica differ because they grow into completely different sized and shaped plants.

Sativa: grows much like a “Christmas Tree” shape, gets quite tall and tends to have bulky stem and root stocks. If you do nothing with your plants as far as tipping goes, they will still grow into good healthy plants all by themselves. Nature is quite adaptable and hardy.

Tipping is the process of removing the head/top of the plant by either cutting or pinching it out. I have found that tipping is most effective for overall growth if left until the 7th-8th tier of leaves have formed from the main stem.

Tipping can help do one of 2 things. Firstly, it will promote denser growth around the bottom and middle sections on the plant and encourages closer node growth (resulting in more flowers). Secondly, it will slow the plants vertical growth as it “bushes out”, meaning you can grow shorter, bushier plants that are especially handy if you have low fences or limited grow space. It generally helps increase overall plants yield also.

Indica: Grows in a shorter, bushier form. It has lighter coloured leaves which are much broader in shape than the Sativa strains. I grow Indica the same way as I grow Sativa. Depending on how the plant is doing I might “tip” the Indica a little more to promote denser bud growth. In reality, you can grow them the same as Sativa and still get high yield and high quality buds. Keep in mind, the yield of the Indica strains is rarely as big as the Sativa.


Maintenance/Plant structure:

Pretty simple really. You can let your plants grow tall or you can tie them down with some string and tent pegs to keep them as low to the ground as you need them. Some people like to tie their plants down as it promotes more “head flower” growth. Some like to do nothing at all which promotes the main flowers growth but ignores the development and potency of the other smaller flowers on the plant.

Do not remove your leaves! Particularly the big ones that grow from the plant’s main stem. They convert and transfer energy faster and more efficiently than any other leaves on the plant, even well after they have turned yellow. Never remove any sizable leaves unless they are so dead that when you pull them gently with your fingers they seem to fall off. If they resist being removed at all, leave them be!

Once your plant has started to develop “branches”, you may want to consider removing the lower foliage from the 1st to the 4th tier of branches, even perhaps the 1st 1-4 branches entirely (closest to the ground is the 1st, counting upwards as you move higher up the plant.

cleared lower foliage


You will notice roughly 2-3 weeks before your plant starts to flower that it will go through a massive growth spurt. At the time, they can grow up to 70% larger.

If at any stage a branch is bent over and looks like it has been broken, unless the branch is already completely separated from the plant, you can simply straighten it out and bind the branch back to the stem and it will heal itself.

Group of plants


Males give seeds and no flowers. Females provide flowers and no seeds. Hermaphrodites give flowers that are full of seeds.

Male plants generally tend to be smaller than females and are distinguishable  mostly by the “balls” that appear instead of flower pistols.

Females are distinguishable early by the sets of pre flower spikes   The female flower has clear white fibres that emerge from the pistols.


Hermaphrodites are the result of a female flower that has tried to turn to seed. This is usually due to stress, lack of water or incorrect fertilisers. It can also happen if you have other hermaphrodite or male plants in the vicinity of your females via pollen transfer.

hermaphrodite bud

Above is a Hermaphrodite flower.

This is how it works. Female plants can turn Hermaphrodite but they can NOT turn ‘male’. Hermaphrodites can be either more male than female or vice versa. Male plants can turn hermaphrodite but cannot turn female. It is advised to remove any male or hermaphrodite plants, unless you want some seed stock. Keep in mind that hermaphrodite plants still produce large amounts of THC and CBD (better for use in butter and oil than for smoking) and can still have high yields.

frosty hairs

Flowering stages:

Flowering can take from 4 weeks up to 8 weeks when you are growing outside.

Every plant is different, so rather than giving specific timeframes and expectations, I’ll talk about the different  visible phases the flowers go through.

Female plants shoot out what are called “pre-flower spikes”. This is an indication early that your plants is female and is entering the beginning of the flowering stages.

You will notice when your plants start to flower that little pistols will emerge from the node points and the plants will stop getting any bigger from this point on.  Little white, hair-like fibres will start to shoot out from the growth nodes. The leaves that grow from this point on will also be quite smaller than the leaves that are used to collect sunlight during the stem and leaf growth stage.

Sativa X Indica bud

As the first couple of weeks pass, the flowers will thicken up a little and start to gain some odour. The leaves and fibres will start to grow little crystal like droplets on them.

From here on the flowers get larger and larger until they are ready to be harvested.

Typically flowering time is 6-10  weeks for most strains but if you are unsure about your plants, you know when your plants flowers have reached full maturity when the flowers stop producing white fibres from the TOP of the flower and they start to turn brown. Fibres early on in the flowering stage will also turn brown, you only need to worry about the fibres growing out of the head of the flowers turning brown or failing to produce anymore white fibres.

final stage flower

You are now ready to harvest your plants!

Harvest- wet vs dry:

The 2 main active chemicals that cannabis produces are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). CBD is active in the plant at all times where as THC only exists in the plant once it is in the final 2-3 weeks of flowering. THC only then becomes active once the plant is exposed to heat. Meaning that it needs to be dried out and heated up in order to activate the psychoactive element to THC. This can be done by smoking or cooking.

Wet harvests are used medicinally when the patient only requires the CBD component of the cannabis. This means the patient can be medicated without feeling any of the psychoactive (stoned) effects. Typically most useful when medicating children with mental illness or patients who already have other psychoactive medications.

Wet cannabis is most useful when made into an oil. Simply harvest from your plant whatever you need, chop it up and pack it into a jar(s) (while still wet) and add cold-pressed oil.

Dry harvests require space, hygiene and somewhere that’s dry and well ventilated. Go to your plant, chop off all of the main branches from the main stem, then harvest whatever else is left. Find  a place to hang your branches upside down to dry. Some people like to remove all the excess leaf before the flowers dry, some like to wait until it is entirely dry.

Any random flowers that fall off stems or branches can be dried in a cardboard box using high quality paper towel. Be careful to never use anything scented or that has loose fibres that can contaminate your harvest. Simply make layers of flowers covered by a layer of paper towel.

The biggest key is to never let your flowers get wet (or even damp) during the drying period. It may serve well to point a pedestal fan at your drying harvest to prevent moisture.


You cannot store wet cannabis for very long before it either dries out or goes mouldy/off. Wet cannabis cannot be frozen or it turns to slime when defrosted.  If your medical requirements require you to make wet cannabis oils you may want to consider just harvesting what you need as you go or be prepared to make up large batches of oil all at once.

Storing dry cannabis is quite simple depending on how long you want to store it. Sandwich bags are commonly used for short term storage. You may want to use a shoe box or something similar. If you have a large amount to store then consider using vacuum seal bags. The main things to consider when storing dry cannabis is the removal of 4 things: Air, light, heat and moisture. These things all serve to shorten the usable lifespan of your hard earned harvest. Improperly stored cannabis will result in either mould/fungal decay or at the very least, an off tasting and smelling harvest.

Cooking/baking with butter:


To make your “cannabutter” all you need is a 500gram block of salted butter per 1/4 Oz of dried cannabis. Drop both into a large stock pot, fill it with water, bring to the boil then simmer for 45mins – 1 hour. Use a strainer to remove any plant matter or alternatively put all of your cannabis into a stocking  to be boiled. Squeeze the plant matter as much as you can to ensure you get as much oil out of the buds as possible. Really crush it up and even resubmerge the plant matter and re-strain again to get the most possible oil.

After all of the plant matter has been removed simply let your pot cool down. You can out it in the fridge or add some ice to assist cooling if you like. Once cooled the butter and oil will separate from the water and rise to the top while mixing together. Remove the cannabutter from the pot and use/store the same as you would regular butter. Heres a great video to have a look at.-

Cannabis oils at home:

Making oils at home is simpler than you might think. You may not produce the finest grade super oil on your first try, but following this method will still give very potent and desirable effects, especially for medicinal use.

Oils like vegetable oil and olive oil will work fine. Cold pressed oils are more effective carriers. Almond oil or coconut oil are commonly used to help assist with flavour. They are a bit more expensive, but extract and carry  THC and CBD better. As well as having their own fantastic health benefits too. Coconut oil is said to enhance the medicinal effects even further.

Fill your jar 3/4 full with your cannabis and then fill the jar with oil almost to the top and seal it up air tight. Leave it to sit for 2 – 3 weeks in the sun or in a greenhouse (NOT in a cupboard). After 2- 3 weeks, strain the oil from the plant matter using a muslin bag or something porous. Paper towel or a stocking can be used but using a muslin bag will ensure you don’t lose anything important in the process. Store your oils in air toght jars in the fridge.

Flower almost ready

Key points to remember:

- Soil and site preparation is everything. Put the extra work in early and you will reap the benefits later.

- Sunlight, sunlight, sunlight. Cannabis loves dry hot days and will drink lots on these days. 

- Be careful not to “over love” your plants. Too little or just enough fertiliser is better than too much.

- Tend to them every day. You will learn quite a lot about advanced growing techniques if you pay attention to your plants development.

Most of all, have fun growing the worlds most useful and easy to grow plant and remember, this is not some kind of mystical, magical plant only grown by Shaman’s or scientist’s. To achieve decent results, it is very much like growing tomatoes in the veggie patch. Anyone can do it! Love them and they will love you back for it.

Ask your parents/grandparent who know how to garden for tips on how to grow annual flowers. You may just find they know a lot more about growing this kind of plant than even they knew.


This is a guide intended for beginners>intermediate level gardeners growing in the drier parts of Australia.  You may find that some of my advice is not relevant to your location or situation and that is fine. There are many other guides out there written by some other amazing people that may be better suited to you.

Once you have grown successfully for the first season, next season, play around with your plants. Tie them down or let them grow high. Train one to grow along the ground like a creeper. Doing these things will only serve to help you understand  just how versatile, hardy and fun the growing cannabis plant really is. Bonus part is, you can transfer all the knowledge from  growing cannabis into so many other things in the garden. Most vegetables and annual flowers can be grown using the same methods as cannabis having amazing fruit/veggie harvests and beautiful smelling and looking flower gardens.

Growth cycle averages for outdoors:-  6-10 weeks in  vegetative growth state. 6-10 weeks flowering time (can vary by a week or 2 depending on the weather)

At the end of the day, remember this.


Grows anywhere


About the author

Serene Spirit since Jun, 2016

My aim is to seek the truth behind our own natural ability to be healthy. To explore the truths that medicine has missed or has misunderstood. I have Epilepsy and currently manage my seizures without any pharmaceutical treatment at all. Just a ...

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