Six Ways To Get The Biggest Plants Outdoors

Looking for a way to grow bigger and better plants outdoors? We’ve got you covered with six great tips for achieving the very best results outside with the help of organics, recycling, and plant training.

1. Pruning And Support

Many people train their plants in the early growing stages; if you haven’t, now it’s time to support them and start pruning the lower parts. The reasons why you should open the canopy is to allow more light to penetrate the inside. It’s also an excellent time to incorporate L.S.T, followed by super-cropping. Once the canopy is tied down and the shape has configured into a bushy, lateral dominant bush, then you want to consider pruning the lowest parts of the plants.

Using a sterile blade, clean away all of the lowest, softwood shoots. These can be used as clones and taken indoors to be rooted, if necessary. The reason for doing this is to promote all of the energy of the plant into the upper parts, which produce the top buds that you want. When the plant has begun flowering, stretching between 100-250% of its original size, then the pruning and simple tying down will have shaped a canopy that is efficient without any risk of popcorn sized, lower schwag.

The final thing that can be done once all the relevant pruning has taken place is to firmly insert bamboo canes around the side of the pots, or directly into the ground. Never stake directly around the roots; be sure to place it on the outside of the root zone.

2. Feeding Times

How often we feed the plants during the flowering stage can also make a difference in the final weight. I find it better to feed less frequently in the flowering stage, providing one large feed only when the growing medium is dehydrated. Then again, I have also grown large outdoor plants that have been fed hydroponically, where small feeds were given on a four-hour timer.

Of course, most of us won’t be setting up a hydroponic feed, so assuming you are hand-watering the plants, follow this rule: less is more. There are many disadvantages to having a soggy, overwatered medium, especially with the combination of hot days and cooler nighttime temperatures. Overwatering your plants and causing a low-oxygen environment can lead to a build-up of harmful bacteria. This type of bacteria is known as anaerobic, which fights the helpful bacteria.

Once your growing medium is dry, then give it enough nutrient solution so there is a stream of liquid a short time after running through the base of the pots. As the water is pulled through the growing medium, fresh oxygen will take its place around the roots.

3. Soil Microbiology

Deep down in the soil that we use, there are millions and sometimes billions of beneficial bacteria and fungi present. Soil microbiology has existed for millions of years and is half the concept of organic growing and long-term sustainability for large-scale farmers across the world. Beneficial bacteria and fungus help the plants by directly attaching themselves to the root hairs.

Once they have become host to the root zone, a symbiotic relationship is formed, working on a complex network of signaling and living intelligence. Adding a batch of brewed microbes is easy and will supercharge the growing medium, improve nutrient uptake as well as the conversion of available nutrients. If you are thinking about boosting your current organic medium with a microbe tea, then you will want to use aerobic bacteria.

Similar to aerobic bacteria in the human body, they rely on the presence of oxygen to metabolize, growing in count from millions to billions within a 24 hour period. Boosting the soil microbiology of a growing medium will allow for a more efficient buffering zone, while also improving nutrient uptake, crop yields, and plant health.

4. Transition Feeding

Knowing what your plants require between the growing stage and the flowering stage can often be confusing. There is a point that is called the transition stage, which needs to be accommodated with transition feeding. There is no set way to feed; it’s more of a conscious mindset of balancing the nutrients. One big mistake many growers make is to cut the nitrogen off and hammer the plants with substantial amounts of phosphorus and potassium, hoping that a lengthy flush will correct this bad decision-making later on.

Plants require far more than just the primary nutrients, and considering how long they have been growing and establishing themselves as large-sized, vigorous plants, depleting them of nitrogen, calcium magnesium, and other trace elements during the transition stage will only kick-start a whole line of deficiencies. Simply reduce one feed and slowly introduce the flowering feed; in my opinion, this should be done over a two or three week period.

You may have seen a recent rise in the culture of “No-Till” growing. Incorporated by outdoor growers in the U.S for a long time, we are now seeing more indoor growers using this technique. It allows the plants to utilize the nitrogen-rich compost between the growing medium and the top layer. Fascinating stuff and a smooth, organic way to ensure your plants get what they need, when they need it, guaranteeing high-productivity.

5. Using Felt Pots

This is one of the best ways to grow, also ensuring that you’re pruning your roots. Growing in a felt pot will guarantee that your root zone will not become root bound and limited. The science behind using fabric pots is that the growing medium and the roots can come into direct contact with the air. Once this has happened and a root hair has been exposed to the air, it will naturally prune itself and form two root hairs. Then, as part of its course, the root hairs will instinctively search through the darkness looking for moisture and nutrient content.

Using fabric pots can dramatically increase your root mass, resulting in large-sized plants that can grow with an impressive capacity. If you aren’t yet thinking about repotting the plants before flowering or planting in the ground, then consider transplanting your existing root bound plants into a large-sized fabric pot.

I do not recommend disturbing the plants when they are so far gone outdoors; however, if you are currently growing in pots as large as 10-15L, then there is no harm in transplanting into a 20L fabric pot and allowing the plants to benefit from being root-pruned by the air. It can also be a refreshing change if the existing roots are root bound and restricted.

6. Molasses

Adding phosphorus and potassium to your plants will promote strong branching, pre-flowers, and flowering sites. However, you will be limited to the actual weight that your plants can produce until you consider adding a supply of carbohydrates. Basically, in the form of liquid sugar or blackstrap molasses, soil microbiology depends heavily on the availability of carbon in the atmosphere.

As organic matter breaks down and decays in the earth, the material is turned into carbon;  a lifeless, charcoal black substrate that is one of the most abundant elements on the planet. Blackstrap molasses are a humic-rich form of pressed sugar cane. Molasses is mineral-rich and especially high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese and vitamin B6. It will also add weight to your buds, resulting in the big outdoor plants you want.

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Stoney Tark is a freelance writer with over 15 experience in the canna industry. Specialising in plant science, tutorials, how-to-guides, top tips, microbiology, breeding and all fundamentals cannabis-based. Living in Amsterdam and the resident writer for Soft Secrets and Garden Culture Magazine.