When winter sets in, many farmers, including those who cultivate cannabis plants, usually take a break. To some, this is the period to prepare for the next growing season. To others, this is the time to sample last season’s harvest. This is because winter is usually freezing for most plants to survive. However, it’s still possible to grow cannabis in winter. This article offers some of the best tips on growing cannabis in winter.
Can You Grow Cannabis in Winter?
Do you think it’s possible to grow cannabis in winter? Well, it’s generally known that cannabis plants thrive in warm environments. The Sativa species is mostly cultivated in warm weather with plenty of suns and some humidity.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to cultivate weed in colder climates or during winter. The only issue is that you might face more challenges. So, what are the tips on growing cannabis in winter?
Tips on Growing Cannabis in Winter
This can only happen seamlessly if you are growing cannabis indoors. You need to create an indoor space that can allow you to successfully cultivate your plants. The indoor setup is the most ideal because it gives you total control of the most essential variables. This includes the likes of temperature, humidity, and light cycle.
As a result, you will create an ideal environment that allows your plants to flourish regardless of the season. However, not everyone knows exactly what’s required to grow cannabis plants indoors. There are others who are also keen to know if it’s still possible to have your cannabis plants outdoors. Well, it’s also possible.
But regardless of where you choose to cultivate your plants, you have to get things right. So, here are the five primary considerations that you must implement during winter.
Find the Ideal Space for Your Indoor Grow
So, you now know the most ideal cannabis strain for use during winter. But does this mean you should straight up start to grow your cannabis in an outdoor space in winter?
Well, it’s recommended that regardless of the season, always start the cultivation process indoors. This is because the cannabis seedlings are usually fragile. As a result, they will quickly wither and die if they are directly introduced to the harsh winter temperatures found outdoors.
Start by growing the seedlings in a warm and humid environment indoors. To ensure that your seedlings are correctly supported, you can decide to invest in a seed starter kit.
Find the Right Marijuana Strain
There are some marijuana strains that can quickly adapt to the harsh winter season. Winter is an extreme season, and that’s why many plants don’t make it through it. During this period, your marijuana will have to deal with pests, diseases, molds, and pathogens.
So, it’s essential to get a strain that can effectively deal with these conditions. Generally, marijuana plants from the ruderalis genetics usually do better in cold weather. There are multiple strains from this genetics that you can try to check out. Some of the best strains that you can check out include:
- OG Kush strain
- Bubble Gum strain
- Critical Auto strain
Auto-Flowering Indica-Dominant Strains
Genetics is key to ensuring that your plant can grow and thrive during winter. The best cannabis strains to grow outdoors during winter are the Auto flowers. They usually do better compared to photoperiod strains.
Photoperiods aren’t ideal for winter cultivation because they usually require some changes in the light cycle for them to flower. When you cultivate them in an outdoor setting during winter, it’s impossible to get this type of light cycle. In fact, if your plants are scheduled to flower at the end of the winter season, then they will highly likely start to revenging again once the daylight starts to increase.
The best thing about Auto flowers is that they will flower naturally based on age. They don’t depend on a change in the light cycle. So, regardless of how much light they will get, their growth is wholly determined by age.
Note: a combination of an auto-flowering strain and Indica variety is usually the best. This type of marijuana usually has the highest level of success during winter.
Grow the Seedlings Indoors
The outdoor temperature during winter isn’t the most ideal for seedlings. For starters, you should consider cultivating the seedlings indoors. Generally, they need a warm and humid environment that will allow them to grow effectively.
After 2-3 weeks, the plants will be in a vegetative stage, and then you will have to move them outdoors. It’s essential that you first start to grow your plants early in winter so that they can mature before the weather becomes extremely worse.
Maintain Temperature and Rainfall
When your plants are outdoors, you have to ensure that the soil temperature doesn’t dip below 15 degrees celsius. If the temperature dips below this level, then the plant roots can no longer be able to absorb nutrients from the soil. The damage caused by frost is usually extensive, and so it should make sure that you avoid it at all costs.
However, you don’t have control of the weather in an indoor setting. In case the temperature reaches subzero, it would only be right for you to move your plants indoors.
Rainfall is essential for hydration. However, when your plants are over-watered, it will become a big issue for your marijuana to thrive. Generally, if the rainfall exceeds 4 inches, then your plants will be in danger.
You have to employ preventive mechanisms to ensure that the plants aren’t affected by molds. To prevent molds, there are preventive fungicides with Bacillus subtilis as the active ingredient. This is ideal in preventing the development of molds after heavy and prolonged rains.
To prevent the development of fungal spores, you can use a product with Potassium bicarbonate. However, it can be quite impossible to effectively manage these conditions when the plants are outdoors. So, it’s important to just provide shelter to the plants. And the best way to do this is by creating an outdoor greenhouse.
Plan B is a Homemade Greenhouse
Winters will generally get extreme. If the conditions turn to be unfavorable, then it’s only right to move your plants in a greenhouse. However, setting up a greenhouse isn’t cheap. But it’s possible to set up your own DIY greenhouse at home and simply move your plants there whenever necessary.
The best thing about a greenhouse is that you have total control over the elements of weather. You can control temperature, humidity, and even the water supply.
One of the biggest threats to the growth of cannabis is mold. And because of the harsh winter temperatures, this usually leads to an increase in relative humidity. The high level is usually a significant risk to your plants.
Generally, cannabis plants don’t thrive in high levels of relative humidity. This is because it enhances the development of fungi and mold. So, extreme temperatures can create serious issues when it comes to managing the levels of relative humidity.
You need to understand that as the temperature continues to drop, the water volume in the air continues to condense. The only way to effectively manage the damaging effects caused by low temperatures is by moderating them. You can do this by using a central heating system. Alternatively, you can also use lights.
Note: in case the problem of high relative humidity is extreme, then it might only be necessary that you use a dehumidifier.
For management purposes, cannabis growers are usually advised to get a hygrometer. This is a useful device that can be used to check the soil’s relative humidity and the surrounding environment.
How Winter Affects Marijuana Plants
To effectively use the tips on growing cannabis in winter, you must understand how this season affects these plants typically. Countries that experience the four seasons usually dedicate the warmer months for the cultivation of the cannabis plant.
In Europe, for instance, growers usually use the period between April and May to plant, germinate, and transplant the seedlings or cuttings. The period between September and October is usually dedicated to harvesting. The rest of the year is usually used to enjoy the cultivations and prepare for the next cultivation season.
However, some places are generally cold throughout. Besides that, the winter season could be put into productive use instead of only waiting for the warmer months. So, how does winter affect the growth of cannabis plants?
The shock to the plant’s root system
Healthy roots are essential for the healthy development of any plant. So, healthy roots are the heart of a healthy cannabis plant. The worst thing about winter is that it directly affects the growth of the plant’s roots.
During the winter season, temperatures usually reach negative. On the other hand, the metabolism of the cannabis plants usually slows down when the temperatures of the soil drop to 12 degrees celsius. So, it means that when the temperatures reach negative, the metabolism will be significantly low.
This generally means that the plant will end up struggling to absorb nutrients, water, and oxygen from the soil. Consequentially, this will make the enzymatic process difficult. So, the growth process will eventually come to a standstill. Over a couple of weeks, you will notice that your plants are suffering from stunted growth. On some occasions, you may even start to notice that the plants are wilting.
In some cannabis strains, extremely cold weather could trigger hermaphroditism. This is a condition that makes up the cannabis plants to grow pollen sacs and buds. Consequentially, this leads to self-pollination. The eventual impact is significantly reduced yields in turn.
Apart from hermaphroditism, mold is another condition that winter usually causes. If there is a high moisture content in the air, then the severity of mold will increase.
Generally, the moisture from frost, snow, and rainfall are some of the things that can trigger the development of mold. The worst thing about this is that mold can be complicated to get rid of. The eventual effect is that the flowers will end up rotting even before they are ready for harvest.
Why the Future-Generation Grower needs to turn Up the Heat in winter
Heat is an essential factor for the growth of cannabis plants. The next generation of growers, therefore, need to turn up the heat in winter.
Currently, the LED lighting systems are rapidly taking over the HID bulbs. Millennial cannabis growers are using LED lighting systems because it seems to be effective. LED lights are more ideal because they are calmer and usually emit around 75% of their energy as light. If you cultivate your cannabis in a tent or a greenhouse, this is the best tool to use.
However, LEDs are not usually useful in winter because they smoothly run too cold. The best solution is to simply turn up the heat. While this may be initially expensive, using low-wattage drawing LEDs can help to significantly cut down on the costs.
But LED systems may also interfere with the level of relative humidity. So, it’s essential to get a dehumidifier to ensure that everything is under control.
While most cannabis strains love warm climatic conditions, it’s still possible to cultivate them in cold seasons like winter. There are stains that can effectively thrive during this season. However, you need to ensure that you first grow the seedlings indoors before transferring them outdoors.
It’s also essential that you consistently monitor the outdoor environment. This is because cold winters usually lead to the prevalence of pests and diseases. Mold is also rampant during this period, and it can be difficult to completely eliminate it.
However, if you can still manage to have a bountiful harvest if you start the cultivation process earlier in winter. This will give your plants ample time to mature before the harsh winter season sets in. Besides that, you can also design a DIY tent where you can transfer the plants if the conditions worsen.