A Brief Guide To Guerrilla Growing Cannabis
With spring just around the corner you might ponder about planting some of your green nuggets outdoors this time - but, what about your nosey neighbours and the strong arm of the law? Well, check out guerrilla growing.
If you read our article about the cost of growing cannabis indoors, you were probably left speechless when you realised the impact it has on mother nature - caused by the high energy expenditure and the corresponding CO2 emissions. The best way to avoid environmental harm is of course to let mother nature take care of the crop herself. But this is easier said than done, as growing cannabis is still illegal in most countries. While we don't advocate illegal activities, we oppose the complete ban of this wondrous plant alike and acknowledge that patients who have no legal or reliable source for their green medicine may feel the need to take up the reins and cultivate their own. Here‘s where guerrilla growing comes in.
What is guerrilla growing and what are the advantages?
Unless you have a license to grow cannabis or a secluded area on your own property, the only remaining option is to go guerrilla style. Guerrilla growing is the term used to describe a secret and hidden cultivation in the wild. Guerrilla growing has obvious advantages; the first and most important one is plain to see - if someone stumbles across your secret horticultural adventure, there is no name written on the plants, hence the possibility of legal prosecution is much smaller. Another weighty advantage is the lack of required electrical equipment - you still need a few things for your black ops in the wild, but none of those are as expensive as ballasts, filters, lamps, ventilation system, etc. But there are also some disadvantages to it. One has to think about how to protect the sprouts, the site must be prepared (at least the soil) and it is much more challenging to give the plants half the care you would love to.
Choosing the proper spots for your black ops
As with many other things, preparation is key and this applies to a successful guerrilla grow as well. First and foremost, you need to find the proper location(s) for your precious green girls - and it should be chosen wisely. For obvious reasons you should avoid well frequented footpaths, hiking trails and public areas such as parks or you will very likely never see your plants reach maturity. A good place to start are the sides of railway tracks, next to the embankment - as always, stay on the safe side, don't go too close to the tracks and don't get caught trespassing. A good idea is looking for brambles and stinging nettles, for they are evidence of good soil - and have the advantage of keeping people away (who wants to crawl through thorny bushes?). In addition to that, they show that there is plenty of moisture in that area - but be careful it‘s not too moist. Also, if there is a river or any other natural water source nearby, you could save yourself the trouble of carrying suspicious amount of bottled water through the forest. Consider your spot from all viewpoints, even from above - and don't tell any of your buddies about the place! Another very important thing to keep in mind is this: DO NOT PLANT ON SOMEONE ELSE'S PROPERTY!
Preparing your plants
There is nothing set in stone, but in general you can start planting your green girls after the last chance of frost. In the US and European countries the time frame opens in early/mid May. Sowing seeds in the wild is no good idea - first of all you have no control over the climate and even if your seedling manages to open its first pair of leafs, its prone to many hazards, such as ants, rabbits, snails, etc. In order to give your plants a good start, it‘s best to germinate the seeds at home and give the sprouts in small pots all the love and care they need to develop into a healthy little plant of up to 30cm in height - the healthier the plants are, the bigger the chance for a successful and bountiful outdoor grow. But wait, before you rush to your chosen spot, give the plants a certain time span to get accustomed to the great outdoors - you’ll need to introduce them to their new environment slowly. This can be done in your garden; let them get two or three hours of sunlight more each day.
Letting the little green monsters off the leash
Once the plants are used to the great outdoors and father frost is no longer a potential threat, it is time to unleash your little green monsters. What you do now, is cutting off the bottom of the pot and taping a small piece of cardboard to the bottom of it. Take the pots to your secret garden and remove the cardboard from the bottom before placing them in the ground. If you are inclined to keep it a little greener, use pulp pots - they are biodegradable.
Preparing your plants is one side of the story, but preparation of the planting spot can be equally crucial. If you have found a secluded spot, but doubt the quality of the soil, you can still enrich it by adding some kind of professional potting soil or coco coir, as well as any organic additives and some perlite and vermiculite for a lighter soil that will still hold more moisture for dry times. For the best marijuana you will need to use good potting soil with several additions - unless the soil on site it is very loamy, dark and rich looking. Don't cut corners here!
Protecting your plants
If you think your plants are safe now, you are wrong! Ants, slugs, rabbits, deer and other animals are a serious threat if you don't take precautionary measures or use deterrents. Use some pest control such as a slug barrier or some predator urine or feces (ferret, cat or dog) or a mild soapy solution to discourage deer and other animals or insects from feeding on your young plants. In addition to that you may want to set up some chicken wire as a barrier. Outdoor plants require a strong stem to withstand gusts and heavy rain, so tie your plants to a stake if you think they could need some support.
Keeping your plants happy throughout the summertime
During the summer, the plants develop the strong branches needed to support the weight of the buds formed later. Heat and absence of rain can quickly become an issue; any 10 day period without rain poses a potential harm to your crop. Visit your plants at least once a week and be prepared to carry in enough water to saturate the roots completely. Only watering is not enough though - make sure you always examine your plants. Look for damage on the undersides of the leaves and along the stems and fight any infestation immediately. Check if your plants are showing signs of deficiency, in which case additional fertilisation is necessary.
As autumn approaches
As autumn approaches, you‘re well advised to add some special flowering nutrients in order to optimise the final yield. This is the perfect time to sprinkle some bat guano around the root zone and water it in. Otherwise, any flowering fertiliser will do. Flowering plants require particular nutrients so remember to look for products with added phosphorous and potassium.
Post-harvesting measures (optional)
When your chosen spot for guerrilla growing has proven safe and private, give something back to mother nature - your plants have "eaten" plenty of nitrogen during their life cycle, so if you want to use the same spot again the next year, consider planting a fall cover crop or grass in that space to improve the soil conditions. Something like berseem clover or hairy vetch will do well over the winter and can be worked back into the soil in spring, naturally enriching it as the plant matter is being broken down by microbes.
Autoflowering strains are the perfect choice for black ops
Since growing cannabis in publicly accessible areas (and less temperate climates) has its potential risks, it is crucial to keep the growing time as short as possible, hence autoflowering strains are the perfect choice. But not only the short span from seed to bud has to be taken into account. Smaller plants need less water, they easily hide in natural foliage and the harvesting time is relatively predictable. Check out the Zamnesia selection of Autoflowering strains.