There are many factors to consider when planning to cultivate cannabis, one of these being whether to grow indoors, outdoors, or both. Each option has pros and cons, so it is important to educate yourself before deciding which option is best for you. Let’s explore the pros and cons of growing marijuana outdoors.
Outdoor cultivation is generally the lower-budget option, as it has reduced start-up and overall costs. Indoor grows can cost as much as $75 per square foot, making them the most expensive cultivation option. Outdoor grows cost $10-$17 per square foot, while greenhouse and combination grows average $50 per square foot.
Outdoor grows do not require a building with a complicated set-up, an artificial light source, or a cooling and ventilation system. Cannabis is grown with sunlight instead of indoor equipment, and little to no electricity. Because of this, utility bills are miniscule. This also leads to leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
There are multiple ways of growing outdoors. These include directly in the ground, or potted, with or without a watering system installed. Potted plants may not grow as large due to a confined root system, but are much easier to relocate if needed. Potted growth also allows for greater control of soil content, and may be the best option if the soil on your property is not ideal for plant growth.
Many cannabis entrepreneurs prefer indoor grow operations due to the privacy and security of working within a building. But it is possible to have a secure, safe location outdoors.
Plant cannabis in a discreet location, and consider installing security features, such as a tall fence and cameras. A barrier will deter both thieves and vandals, as well as keep animals from eating and destroying plants.
Many states, including Michigan, require the plants to be fully enclosed by fences or barriers that block outside visibility from the public view. No marijuana plants can grow above the fence or barrier. Fences must be secured and comply with all applicable security measures.
Local weather and plant placement play a crucial part in the growth of marijuana, with most plant strains requiring a minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight. If there is a dry season where the cultivation area is located, more effort will be required for watering. It is most convenient if there is a water supply near the crop. Hardy varieties of marijuana are available for outdoor growth, and it is recommended that naturally robust strains are selected.
Rogue pollen from male plants or hemp can pollinate your female flowers. This can be difficult to avoid, but there are measures you can take. June and July are when pollen levels are at their highest, so plant with the intention of flowering in August. Keep a close eye on the wind direction, know what is being grown at properties near your cultivation facility, and read pollen reports.
A single natural disaster can wipe out an entire year’s crop. In August, 2020, wildfires claimed several of California’s cannabis farms. Still more farms are in the wildfire’s path. These fires are often caused by lightning, and driven by the area’s strong winds.
While wildfires are not a common occurrence in all states, there are other natural disasters that can damage crops. These range from flooding, to drought, tornadoes, and pest infestation. It is always a good idea to be prepared: insure your company and all assets.
Be aware that only one grow can be harvested yearly, unless the outdoor cultivation location is near the equator, or an auto-flowering strain variety is used. Also, crops must be planted at a specific time of the year, and outdoor plants have a longer growing period than indoor plants. Indoor grow operations can harvest multiple times per year since they are not dependent on the seasons.
“Outdoor marijuana plants will outgrow even the best indoor gardens. This is because marijuana thrives in its natural state, and it has been doing so for centuries. Natural sunlight is infinitely better for the plants than the best indoor lamp, as it provides all the necessary wavelengths for photosynthesis.” (George – International Highlife)
Outdoor growth leads to a more organically grown, naturally smelling and tasting product. Plants are also known to grow fuller, as they typically have more space to spread and grow. They often produce higher yields, which leads to an increased profit margin.
There are many benefits to outdoor marijuana growing, but as you can see, they do not come without risks. Crop yield from an outdoor harvest can be affected by many things, including thieves, vandals, bug infestations, animals, and weather events. Outdoor cultivation of marijuana can be a great option, especially for those who would like to start a cannabis growing business with low start-up costs. If you feel that outdoor growing may be right for you, check out our approved grow locations HERE.