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Tuesday April 7, 2015

By Abby Hutmacher


I love spring time. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and my toes finally have a chance to thaw before the heat of the sun kicks in. But the one thing that I love the most about spring is the time I get to spend in my garden preparing soil, planning my layout and planting my favorite fruits, vegetables and herbs.  

My favorite herb, cannabis, requires a bit more consideration than simply where to plant it, though. Regulations about how accessible the plants are, how many there are, where they can be grown and whom should come in contact with them all make planning a cannabis garden all the more time-consuming.  

Whether you’re a Colorado resident or considering a transplant to our fine state, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you plan on growing your own cannabis garden outdoors. Aside from learning where to find the best marijuana seeds in Colorado, you’ll also need to make sure your grow space meets the regulations outlined by the Marijuana Enforcement Division. 

Regulations for growing marijuana outdoors

Growing your own marijuana isn't as simple as growing your own tomatoes. If you plan on adding cannabis to your veggie garden this year, then make sure you're well within Colorado law by following these simple rules:  

  • Limit your plants: In Colorado, home growers are allowed to have up to six plants per person or 12 per household, but you can only have half flowering at a time. When you grow outdoors, expect all plants to flower at the same time (which is usually around September and October when the days start getting shorter).

    Rather than pull half of your plants at this time, I suggest planting only three to six female plants. You can find out the gender early if you force-flower clones under artificial light.  

  • Grow your plants in a secure, enclosed location: Planting your ganja in your garden -- even if it's locked -- isn't good enough to meet regulations in Colorado. In order to grow cannabis lawfully, it'll need to be in a fully-enclosed location. This could be a basement, garage or greenhouse, but must remain closed off at all times (opening windows doesn't count as enclosed any more).

    Fortunately, you can build your own greenhouse for relatively cheap using old windows or clear, corrugated plastic sheets. Free greenhouse plans are available online to help you get started.   

  • No kids allowed!: Finally (and perhaps most importantly), remember that only adults should have access to your marijuana grow. According to Colorado law, this includes anyone over 21, or 18 with a valid medical card.

Additional considerations for growing outdoors

There are many other things to think about when growing marijuana outdoors aside from simple regulations. Before planting your babies in your garden greenhouse this year, consider the following:  

  • The size: If your plants will remainin pots, their size will be limited, but if you plant marijuana plants directly in the soil, their roots could expand exponentially, allowing ample foliage growth. When planning your greenhouse, be sure to account for the potential size of your plants, which will almost double in size during the flower period. 
  • The smell: Your greenhouse design might be sufficient for keeping out unwanted guests, but it won't do much to keep the smell in. Especially during its last few months, marijuana plants emit a powerful odor which, pleasant as it might be for some, could have some neighbors thinking otherwise.  
  • Pests and contaminants: Controlling for pests outdoors is significantly more difficult than it would be in a sterile indoor grow room. Though your enclosure will help keep birds, a rabbits and squirrels away, smaller pests like aphids or spider mites can still find their way in. Keep them under control with organic sprays and plant deterrents, and be diligent about checking them.

Being a resident of Colorado certainly has its perks, one of which is our right to grow our own medicine (provided, of course, that we meet the regulations outlined by the state). If you'd like to grow your own cannabis without having to invest in a costly indoor grow set-up, then buy local marijuana seeds, build a greenhouse, and have at it.   

Have you ever grown your own marijuana outdoors? Would you like to? Tell us about it. 

Photo Credit: free photos (license)


Abby Hutmacher Abby Hutmacher

Abby is a writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace designed to connect cannabis writers and creatives with businesses in the industry. She has been a professional cannabis writer since 2014 and regularly contributes to publications such as PotGuide and M&F Talent. She is also the Content Director at Fortuna Hemp, America’s leading feminized hemp seed bank. Follow Abby on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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