growing weed outdoors in the desert

Growing weed outdoors in the desert

I planted my first seed on Oct. 19, 2020, opting for an easy-to-grow strain called Lowryder. Considered one of the first autoflowering strains of marijuana — meaning the plant flowers after a set period of time instead of taking its cue from seasonal light changes — Lowryder is a cross of Cannabis ruderalis, ‘Northern Lights No. 2′ and ‘William’s Wonder’ that yields a compact, indica-heavy plant. Based on the grow guide included in my kit, my plant would be ready to harvest just before Christmas. In a nod to the holiday season timetable, when the first green sprout popped out of the soil a few days later, I nicknamed her Mariah in honor of the chanteuse whose 1994 album “Merry Christmas” seems to flower like clockwork year after year.

So after a few weeks of mourning, I decided to give pot-plant parenting a second try. And this time around, I was determined to spare no expense — potential tax savings be damned. I invested in a bathroom scale so I could weigh the plant between waterings, and when Taylor offhandedly suggested an LED grow light so I could raise my little green girl indoors, I immediately ordered one and cleared a spot in my garage, not far from where my hard-partying friends used to routinely smoke plants like her in the pre-pandemic days.

In the run-up to 4/20, a look at some of the ways Southern California is shaping the cannabis conversation.

The fix was easy enough. Brandishing my P-Touch label maker, I printed out “Lowryder strain, seed two” and stuck the label on the container of curing buds, right over top of the one that read “Diana Prince.” I instantly felt better.

Growing weed outdoors in the desert

During the summer, it’s particularly important to never let the soil dry out. The roots draw water up that is then transpired by the leaves. If the water source dries up, the leaves will start to lose the water from their cells. They will also lose their turgidity and begin to wilt. As the drying progresses, more and more cells start to die. Even a minor wilt due to water stress damages the plants. If they are not watered at the first sign of stress, they can die in a matter of hours. Download my free marijuana grow bible for more watering tips.

Sometimes the plant’s leaves will droop slightly during the hottest part of the day, even when it’s had enough water. This is a normal reaction that might just be a protective measure used by the plant. When the sun gets too intense for the leaf, it shifts its angle by wilting so that it receives less sunlight.

Marijuna growers might be interested in a few commercial products to help with those sunny, hot, and dry climates. Anti-transpirant sprays will mitigate water loss during particularly stressful periods. Directions on these sprays indicate that they’re useful for transplanting and for enduring stressful climatic conditions like hot, dry winds. You can find these products at many nurseries.

Another option is water-holders which are made from starch and polymers. They resemble corn flakes and are relatively lightweight when dry. You mix them into the soil and, when they contact the water, they sort of balloon to hundreds of times their weight in water. A single tablespoon of flakes can hold 6 to 8 ounces of water. When the soil dries, the particles start releasing their moisture. The soil maintains its dampness longer and less water is lost overall.