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Nico’s Nuggets: Mid-Summer Outdoor Crops

Nico Escondido

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Hi Nico, where have you been? Love the new website! Need some advice on mid-summer planting! Can I put plants outdoors now, or is it better to just bite the bullet and start a new cycle indoors? As always, love you work and thanks for all the advice.
Jorge F. via NicosNuggets@hightimes.com

Greetings, Jorge! Sorry for the lag in replies to the Nico’s Nuggets mailbag. Between the launch of the new website and the summer vacation, things slowed down a bit for Nico, but have no fear—I am back! And you, Jorge, are not slowing down at all it appears. A mid-summer outdoor crop is ambitious and certainly within the realm of possibilities!

Supplemental lighting in this Denver greenhouse is needed in the late summer months.

Supplemental lighting in this Denver greenhouse is needed in the late summer months.

The key to planting a garden this late in the season is really your geographic location and the length of your days. Remember, almost all cannabis plants will have their flowering cycle triggered once daylight hits 12 hours (or less). In the northern latitudes of the U.S. (New York–San Francisco), we are still hovering around 14 hours of daylight and this will increase a bit as you go farther south and decrease as you go farther north. This means you can still get a solid month to six weeks of veg time in, assuming you can keep your plants in direct sunlight for most of the day. If not, you might need to consider a cold-frame set-up with supplemental lighting (more on this below).

The next important consideration will be the size of your plants. If your plants were started indoors and have been in a vegetative state for a few weeks already, then placing them outside is less risky than if they are still seedlings or young clones. At this point in the summer, depending on how much sunlight you can get them, you are running the risk of them going into flowering immediately. If these plants are already a foot or two tall, it may not be such a big deal (though do not expect big yields). But if they are still babies, it would be hardly worth it to risk them flowering and better to keep them indoors under artificial lighting.

Cannabis plants require more than 12 hours of light, otherwise they will begin to flower.

Cannabis plants require more than 12 hours of light, otherwise they will begin to flower.

If you are married to the idea of growing outdoors, but your daylight hours are dwindling quickly, you can consider using an inexpensive structure outdoors to hang supplemental lighting from. Cold-frames or hoop-houses are non-heated, greenhouse-like structures that can help protect plants from poor weather as well as provide structure for hanging a few HID lamps. These structures can be DIY construction projects or bought on the cheap from most gardening centers. Either way, a structure to hold lamps may be your best bet at this time of year, especially if your plants are just starting out.

Cold-frames can provide support and structure for both plants and lights.

Cold-frames can provide support and structure for both plants and lights.

Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

Got questions? Email ‘em over to Nico at NicosNuggets@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line! (Tip: Before sending a question, try the new Search feature on the HIGH TIMES website. Simply click the “magnifier” icon at the top right and type “Nico + your subject topic” to see if your question has already been answered!)

Follow Nico on Social Media: @Nico_Escondido (Twitter) & @Nico_High_Times (InstaGram).

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