Activity Not all farms are inhabited by the grower so watch out for signs that there is no one actually living there: unkempt front gardens, or if your neighbour never leaves out any bin bags on collection day.
Light Growers can’t get away from the fact that internal farming requires a lot of it: 2,000 watts running 12 hours a day in a small bedroom looks a lot like the sun, so look out for windows that are constantly blacked out to cover that up. Cannabis farms in spare rooms will have the tell-tale sign of curtains that never open.
Smell Follow your nose. A cannabis crop takes about three months to produce. During the final four weeks, the plants stink. Earlier this year, Crimestoppers helpfully issued cannabis-farm scratch-and-sniff cards to 210,000 homes in the UK to help you identify the exact bouquet.
Security Growers live in a paranoid world, always wondering when their door is going to get kicked in – not only by the police but by “enforcers”, violent criminals who make their living by stealing cannabis crops. For that reason many of them adopt Fort Knox-like security. Portcullises on the doors, bars on the windows and even CCTV cameras are not uncommon.
Ventilation Growers need to ventilate the plants with large extractor fans, which generally emit a low hum. If every morning, at exactly the same time, it sounds as if someone next door is starting up their hovercraft, then it’s probably a cannabis farm warming up for the day.
Conor Woodman’s film Exposure: Britain’s Booming Cannabis Business is on ITV on 16 October at 11.05pm
Heat Those lights also give off a lot of heat, so the old theory was that the house growing cannabis in the loft would be the one with no snow on the roof in winter. But nowadays growers use internal tents, that isolate a lot of the heat. This makes farms harder for police to spot using their infra-red cameras.
Good neighbourliness If the grower is in residence then it can go the opposite way. Perhaps the most surprising tell for having a grower next door might be their over-the-top neighbourliness as they overcompensate in their efforts not to annoy you or make you suspicious as to what they’re up to. As one grower told me: “I’m the nicest, most law-abiding citizen on my street, because the last thing I ever want is to give someone a reason to want to call the police to complain about me.”
In the UK there is a company called ‘Living Soil’ who make amazing dry soil amendments.
Autoflowering plants are becoming popular in the UK, with the possibility of two grow seasons in one summer – I would start planting these in May, June and July.
Growing out of season yields are obviously not as big as normal, but certainly can be larger than some autoflowering plants. For many people the smaller size of plants grown like this can also be an advantage. Remember you can also ‘tie down’ plants that are getting too big, or ‘top’ them to keep them under a certain height. This normally leads to higher yields.
There is a new class of Autos known as ‘Super Autos’. ‘Chaze‘ is particularly good as an outdoor plant in the UK that yields significantly more than your normal auto though takes a bit longer then 70 days. Magnums are also amazing for yield and high. Autoflowering plants can also be topped but some handle it better than others. You can keep an autoflower successfully under 24 hour light – many people have – so if the weather is crap you could bring an auto inside at night for more light if you have a decent light.
Purple Maroc from Female Seeds – A sativa that produces lots of resin and finishes very early, does well in the UK.
An amazing amount of cannabis does grow without problem outside in the UK! And as we know weed that has been grown in the sun is always going to be better than weed grown using artificial lighting.
Early Skunk from Sensi Seeds – an easy to grow very high yielding indica variety with body stone – ideal for beginners.
What’s the legal status of growing cannabis in the UK?
As August progresses, daylight hours and temperatures start to drop. The cannabis plant senses the reducing daylight hours and you may notice your photoperiod feminised plants are in bloom.
Growing photoperiod vs autoflower cannabis in the UK
Especially in the north, wet and windy weather is already becoming more and more common place. Many that grow cannabis in the UK find September and October to be the most critical months.