Licensing presents a big opportunity. With the summer growing season in full swing, many of you have reached out asking what's the optimal time to start an outdoor cannabis grow. Check out some recommendations based on different regions where marijuana cultivation is popular.
Cannabis cultivators begin planting seeds as New York’s industry starts rolling
NEWARK, N.Y. — New York state has approved 52 licenses to cultivate marijuana for adult use. For those who are in that group, the license presents a big opportunity.
In a Newark warehouse, they are literally planting the seeds for a new frontier.
“We gear everything toward the cannabis industry,” said Jeremy Jimenez, who co-founded Honest Pharm Co. three years ago. The hydroponics store is geared toward the hemp and cannabis industry. The place sells everything from soil and seeds to rolling papers and bongs.
This month, the business began planting cannabis seeds. Honest Pharm Co. is one of the 52 businesses approved to grow and cultivate marijuana in New York.
They are pioneers of this new frontier.
“It’s getting more publicly accepted,” said Jimenez of the use of marijuana. “And as we educate people, it’s not just about getting high. There are medical benefits.”
The past few years, Honest Pharm Co. grew hemp in the warehouse. The product was used to develop a line of CBD products. The machine which can plant 9,000 seeds an hour is the same one they used for hemp.
“It does give us a leg up a little bit,” he said. “Because we have done it on a mass scale.”
Jimenez has previous experience in Colorado’s booming marijuana industry. He says Newark has welcomed him back to his hometown.
“I mean, you’re always going to have one or two,” said Jimenez of the naysayers. “But as far as the community here in Newark, it’s been open arms here.”
Jimenez says the plan is for between 8,000 and 10,000 marijuana plants this year, which will be grown indoors, then picked, dried, processed and sent off to the state for testing — and finally sold to dispensaries.
“The potential here is unlimited,” said Jimenez. “As long as you got everything together and all the moving parts and the right people together, you can really take off in this industry.”
What’s the Best Time to Start an Outdoor Cannabis Grow?
I t’s amazing how quickly the world can change, isn’t it? In the past 25 years, cannabis has moved from an illicit substance relegated to the shadowy corners of the illicit market to an “essential” industry amid COVID-19. In many states, local cannabis laws allow you to grow your own, and why not? When you grow your own, you can do your own quality control, know the purity of your product, and manage your own supply.
Luckily, you can start your own grow in a container as small as a flower pot. If you’ve got some space in your yard to grow weed outdoors, even better. So this may leave you wondering, when should I plant my cannabis outdoors? Luckily, there are some general date ranges to help guide your growing plans.
Regardless of which climate you’re starting in, when Spring Equinox comes around, start germinating your seeds. Make sure those plants get outside by Summer Solstice in June, then harvested around Fall Equinox.
For more specifics about how to protect your outdoor cannabis grows from the elements or whether you should grow indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse, check out the linked articles. Better yet, look into a book by celebrated cannabis growers like Ed Rosenthal’s Marijuana Grower’s Handbook, and of course, every green thumb’s favorite, The Farmer’s Almanac.
For a (shallow-ish) deeper dive into what to expect when growing cannabis outside, here’s a look at optimal grow times for regions across the U.S.
When to Grow Weed Outdoors by Region
Northwest (Northern CA, OR, WA)
When you grow outdoors in this loamy region you’ll never have to worry about getting enough rain. However, mold development and lack of sunshine can make growing outside a more difficult proposition.
Hybrids that flower earlier are suggested as the most successful grows, especially in Washington and Oregon. California plants can be put in the ground earlier due to the region’s warmer weather. Your best clue indicating that it’s time to start your outside grow is when daylight hours increase and the temperature starts to warm.
- Preparing Your Colorado Soil for an Outdoor Marijuana Grow
- How Long Does it Take to Grow Cannabis Plants?
- The Best Strains to Grow Outdoors
- The Flowering Stage Of Cannabis Week By Week
Midwest (IL, MI, Eastern CO)
This region is tricky because the weather is highly variable; rainy and muggy, and/or hot and dry. Winter may come early to this region, so choosing an indica-dominant hybrid strain might be your best bet, since their flowering times are shorter. Try to shoot for germination after the final frost of spring has passed in these regions.
Northeast (NY, MA, ME, VT)
With its rich soils and abundance of water, the northeast region can be a great place to grow cannabis outdoors, especially if you choose an early harvest strain that can finish up before fall kicks in. The best time to move your plants outside in this region is the middle of April, when days are longer.
Southwest (Southern CA, NV, AZ, NM, CO)
If you choose to grow outdoors in this scorching climate, be prepared to pay attention to the temperature, where highs that regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit will slow your plant’s growth. Sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids do well in this environment because of their lineage tracing back to the equator, where the weather is uniformly hot.
However, the dryness of the region means you’ll also have to carefully monitor your watering routines. Before moving your plants outside, make sure the last frost has passed. This last note is especially important in this region, as sudden, sporadic snowfall is common, so keep an eye on the weather.
Though home cultivation is not yet allowed in the Sunshine State, many new medical producers getting into the industry are starting to grow outdoors, and there are a few things to be aware of if you’re licensed in the industry. The temperatures in Florida might be good for cannabis growing, but the humidity definitely is not.
In fact, because of all that moisture in the air, it’s best to avoid indica strains and grow sativas instead to avoid the mold that inevitably comes along with humidity. In this region, you could start the germination process as early as February. Just make sure that the last frost has passed before moving plants outside.
Of course, there are many different factors that go into the timing of an outdoor grow, and the weather will shift year-to-year. Use these estimates as rough guidelines and adjust as needed. Happy growing!
What’s the best time to plant outside in your area? Share in the comments!
Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work – which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor – covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.
Erin’s work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let’s Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedIn, WordPress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.