Cannabis cultivation often brings to mind intense-looking lamps and ventilation tubes hanging over a warehouse of vibrant, glowing buds. I’m here to tell you that you can grow and harvest your own marijuana just as easily as one might grow an outdoor tomato plant. Here’s how:

Buy some seeds:

  • Yes, you should probably buy some high quality, feminized seeds from a reputable salesperson, either online or at your local dispensary. You’ll likely want an autoflowering strain for your first go around as well. This ensures that all your efforts will be rewarded with a bountiful harvest instead of accidentally growing a male plant from a seed you found in your uncle’s 30-year old skunkweed that fell behind the couch.

Germinate the seeds:

  • This step is optional but has been proven to give an improved germination rate. The process is simple, submerge the seeds in a cup of water overnight or for a day. A shot glass amount of water will do. After 24 hours you will likely see what is called the taproot emerging from the seed

Plant the seeds:

  • While it sounds obvious enough, what you plant your seeds in actually matters a whole lot. Most people like to start their seeds in what is called a “starter cube”. These cubes can be made of anything from peat moss to a proprietary blend of organic, mycorrhizal materials but the important thing is they have everything baby plants love. You don’t need to worry much about light until the plants’ first “true” leaves appear.


  • This is something you are going to be doing a lot of as cannabis sucks up water almost as fast as it sucks up sunlight (more on this later). As with any seedling, be careful not to drown your babies before their stems and roots become strong enough to withstand some light flooding.


  • After a few weeks your seedlings will be adolescents and ready for an upgrade to their living situation. You can tell they are ready when roots are bursting from the sides and bottom of their start cube. Transplanting can be stressful for young plants so make sure to take care of their delicate root systems. Luckily with starter cubes there is no old soil or small pot to contend with and you can plop the cube right into a prepared hole. Bury the stem about an inch into the soil for extra root strength and stem support. Now whether you decided to go for the portable, reusable fabric pots or just dug a hole in your yard hoping for the best, soil quality still matters. Ideally buy a bag (or two) of top-quality, organic soil. Brand does not matter so much as the contents of the fertilizer. A good rule of thumb for soil contents is to grow the plant like you would a tomato plant. All successful grows start with quality soil. This is because the plant and soil have a complex relationship that is beyond the scope of this article. Essentially the soil is alive and has a mutually beneficial relationship with whatever is growing in it. In our case, making sure to have healthy, organic soil ensures we have healthy, organic bud come harvest time.


  • Again, similar to tomatoes. These sexy ladies want all the light you can give them, the more the better. However, there are several considerations to growing outdoors. One may be that you don’t want your neighbors to walk past your prized possessions every day, especially if they are of a more conservative temperament. Another consideration is temperature. Cannabis is generally accepted to have originated in and around modern day Turkmenistan. Geographically it is hot, arid, and dry. That being said, these are not wild plants we’re growing here so let’s use some science to maximize our yield. Try your best to keep the ambient temperature around your plants below 86 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 30C for our non-American friends). Anything above this will send the plants into a dormant state until temperatures return to tolerable levels. While this may be an awesome survival mechanism for the plant, it means all progress to harvest is effectively halted. Avoid this at all costs. Conversely, anything below 55F (13C) and your plants will be slowly dying. Obviously, avoid this also. Since you are reading this guide to outdoor growing, you are presumably located somewhere that has a Mediterranean climate or at least somewhere with warm and relatively dry summers. Make sure not to jump the gun on germinating your seeds as high-quality cannabis seeds can be worth a pretty penny. Mid to late April is ideal. Keep them growing near a windowsill until around May before taking them to their final home outdoors. The ideal spot is somewhere that gets >12 hours of sunlight each day but does not leave the “green zone” of growing temperatures. This typically occurs around the start of May.

Water some more:

  • A few days after transplanting you can really start to pour it on as by now the roots of the transplanted cannabis will be greedily expanding to fill their new containers. Keep in mind that overwatering can still damage your plants’ root systems and leach soil of the nutrients you just spent your hard earned money on, so what we’re really looking for is a happy medium here. The plants will let you know when they are thirsty. A slight droop in their leaves means it is time to water. Don’t wait too long however, because severe drooping is a sign that the plant is experiencing shock. Multiple shocks over their growth cycle will negatively impact overall health. Another method is the “finger test”. If you poke your finger lightly into the topsoil and it comes out dry then it’s time to water.


  • This is the category where everyone has a different opinion about the right way to feed their plants and is also often the hill they choose to die on. That being said, people have strong opinions because they are passionate about the topic and no other form of plant care can make or break your crop like feeding time can. This field can also be a rabbit hole of different products being touted as the “miracle treatment” for any grow. It is easy to get sold a bill of goods from some company promising you the world when in reality their product is no more different than that of their competitors. With that, the simplest route is often the best one. Look for a relatively cheap yet still organic-based basic fertilizer. It does not need to be geared specifically towards cannabis cultivation, just your run of the mill basic cultivable crop fertilizer will work wonderfully. Any additional nutrient treatments are nice to have but ultimately only supplement the basic fertilizer. Also remember that adding nutrients can change the chemical makeup of your soil and overdoing it will do more harm than good. Simply follow the dilution and application directions on the box or bottle of whatever fertilizer you end up choosing.

PH stands for Phery Hemportant:

  • Test strips are dirt cheap and can make all the difference in the final outcome of your harvest. PH affects everything from overall yield to the quality of smoke you get from your cured cannabis. Make sure you get a pH control kit to go with your test strips as this will be what allows you to change your tap water pH levels. Most regular tap water is anywhere from pH 6.5 – pH 8.5 so make sure to find out what it is in your local area. Every strain is different but a rule of thumb is to try and shoot for around pH 6 – 7. That’s the slightly acidic level that cannabis loves. Adding nutrients will tend to lower your pH so make sure to check your levels before accidentally giving your babies chemical burns.

Tender Loving Care:

  • This step is a common one to overlook but critically important. Any time you spend in your garden is a social interaction between you and your plants. We’re not out here mechanically harvesting a crop for market. This is a practice of love and mutual understanding between plant and person. As cliche as it sounds, the true secret ingredient to growing unbelievable cannabis is love. Our plants are more aware of their surroundings than we can comprehend and showing them love and affection brings out their best, just like any human. I recommend tending to your plants daily, ideally twice a day; once in the morning and again in the evening. This not only fosters a relationship between you and your plants but also allows ample time to identify problems before they get out of hand. Finding one or two spider mites on a plant is manageable but if you don’t notice an infestation until leaves start to drop from the stem then it’s already too late. Having a close relationship with your plant also adds a nostalgia factor to your harvest when it comes time to enjoy your hard work, and remember: weed wants to be smoked. Human beings and cannabis have a long and storied past, and the plant has spread all over the world thanks to the mutually beneficial relationship we share with one another. I do hope this brief guide provides enough information to get you started on your journey alongside this wonderful, magical and medicinal being. Happy tending.

To Learn More about Growing Cannabis Outdoors Book a seat on our Wine-and-Weed Tour and get up close and personal with weed!