When there are so many cannabis nutrients to choose from it can be hard to find the best one for your particular situation. If you’re planning to grow cannabis outdoors this summer then you won’t want to waste your time and money on the wrong nutrients.
Outdoor marijuana plants can grow much larger than indoor ones. This means they will also have higher requirements for nutrients to support that growth through their life cycle.
Want the best results? Then you will need the best nutrients for growing cannabis outdoors from seed to bloom.
Try The Best Nutrients for Good Outdoor Weed
Reefertilizer is a specialized blend of nutrients that helps grow perfect outdoor cannabis plants.
All-in-one powder nutrients make it easy for anyone to grow good weed in their own backyard.
Mix the powder into water and feed your plants once a week. That’s all it takes to grow good weed.
Includes “The Beginners Guide to Cannabis Cultivation” and one-on-one customer support.
“Chemical” Nutrients Vs. Synthetic Nutrients
A word of clarification – you may sometimes hear synthetic nutrients referred to as “chemical” nutrients, often with a negative connotation.
After all, whether the nutrients your plant eats are synthetic or organic, they’re all still chemicals.
Organic nutrients are made from natural sources like compost and potash. Synthetic nutrients are processed further to make them more concentrated and able to be absorbed more quickly by your plants speeding up growth.
You should be aware of what goes into the nutrients you use – but, don’t be afraid of “chemical” nutrients just because of the name!
The right fertilizer makes plants grow bigger and healthier
Fertilizer makes plants grow bigger and healthier, but what exactly do they do?
Like all other plants, cannabis plants require a handful of nutrients to live.
There are 17 different nutrients that are needed, mostly in very small amounts.
The exceptions are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, known collectively as NPK.
These are called macronutrients, and your plant needs a lot of these. Fertilizers are mixtures of concentrated nutrients that growers add to their plants’ soil to make sure the plants can reach their full growth potential.
In nature, conditions may arise that growing cannabis plants are quite happy in, but there are enough variables in the outdoors that conditions will never be “perfect” without human intervention and work.
And, it turns out that up to a certain extent, marijuana plants grow best and bigger with more nutrients – and bigger plants also mean bigger buds, so you’ll probably want to add some extra nutrients!
Fertilizers Vs. Nutrients
From time to time, you may hear growers talking about feeding their plants nutrients, or adding nutrients to their plants.
Usually, this refers to giving your plants fertilizer, since fertilizers contain a mix of various nutrients. These nutrients help plant growth.
It’s rare for growers to actually feed their plant a single nutrient on its own, but this is sometimes done via foliar feeding to quickly correct a nutrient imbalance.
Do I need Reefertilizer for growing cannabis outdoors?
Nutrients can help cannabis plants grow bigger and yield larger buds outdoors, but do you actually need it if you’re planning to grow marijuana outdoors in your garden?
It depends a lot on the quality of the soil in your garden (or pots).
Fertile soil that’s already full of organic nutrients may be able to sustain a cannabis plant on its own throughout its life cycle, especially if you supplement with compost.
But, that plant will likely be a bit smaller than if you used a little extra plant nutrient in the form of fertilizer.
And, if the soil you’re starting with is poor quality, your plants will probably require a better nutrient mix for a good yield.
What’s the difference between using nutrients for cannabis and not using them?
Your plants need nutrients from one source or another, but as long as your plants get the nutrients they need, what happens if you don’t use marijuana plant fertilizer?
Well, if you grow your cannabis organically, you usually don’t need to flush your plant with water before harvest.
If you use a synthetic nutrient though, it’s important to flush your plant for two weeks before harvest to get rid of any nutrient buildup in your soil.
If you don’t flush your plants with water, the marijuana smoke may be harsh. To flush your plants use plenty of water, two to three times the volume of your growing container.
With fertilizer, your marijuana plant will likely grow stronger, larger, and healthier, and have bigger yields – but if you prefer to grow organic, that’s certainly doable as well.
What are the environmental impacts of using fertilizer outdoors?
While chemical plant fertilizers only contain nutrients that occur in nature, they contain these nutrients in much higher concentrations than soil naturally has.
Of the three major plant nutrients (also called macronutrients) which do most of the work – nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium – nitrogen has the biggest impact on the environment, and it’s also the hardest to come by.
Of course, 78% of Earth’s atmosphere is made up of nitrogen gas.
Unfortunately, plants can’t take nitrogen out of the air; they need to absorb it through their roots from the soil.
Nitrogen can only be converted from a gas to solid form (or “fixed”) in three ways:
- For one, lightning strikes fix nitrogen by breaking the bonds of gaseous nitrogen molecules with extremely high temperatures.
The free nitrogen atoms in the air then bond with oxygen to create nitrogen oxides, which rain carries back down to earth.
- A variety of bacteria and microorganisms that live in the soil fix nitrogen as a byproduct of their digestion.
- Finally, nitrogen can be fixed industrially using the Haber-Bosch process.
To use this process, nitrogen and hydrogen gas must be mixed together and put under 200 times Earth’s atmospheric pressure. Then, after being pressurized, the mixture is heated to 450 degrees Celsius.
There is a limit to how much nitrogen the bacteria in soil can fix, and how quickly they can do it. And, if soil becomes unhealthy and those bacteria die, nitrogen-depleted soil may take a long, long time to recover.
With the population steadily increasing, humans need more food, which means plants need more nitrogen. We now have to add more industrially fixed nitrogen to the environment than there is naturally fixed nitrogen being added.
The Haber-Bosch process takes a lot of energy, and we are now using this process on an enormous scale, fixing around 150 billion kilograms of nitrogen per year.
That’s roughly the same weight as 24 million adult elephants… but that probably doesn’t make it a lot easier to imagine.
In any case, this mass-fixing of nitrogen consumes an estimated 1-2% of the whole world’s energy supply each year.
So, we fix a lot of nitrogen, and it consumes a lot of energy.
But how does all that nitrogen affect the environment once it is applied to the soil?
Well, unfortunately, in a typical agricultural field, crops only end up using about half of the nitrogen from fertilizers.
The rest washes out of the soil and ends up in groundwater, streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans.
This can lead to harmful algae blooms that kill local aquatic life by using up all the oxygen in the water, and excess nitrogen in the soil can be broken down by various microorganisms into nitrogen-containing gases, which contribute to climate change when they are lost to the atmosphere.
Of course, many of these problems only become significant on a large industrial scale – still, as a home grower, what can you do to limit the environmental impacts of the nutrient source you use on your plants growing outdoors in the garden?
Tips to Mitigate Environmental Impacts Using Nutrients
When it comes to reducing the amount of nitrogen that goes to waste and is lost to the environment, the first idea that may come to mind is simply recycling the runoff.
After all, if the plant misses some nutrients the first time they flow through the grow medium (whether you’re using soil, coco coir, or something else), it could still get them the second time, right?
Unfortunately, even though you “can” collect the runoff water which will have some leftover nutrients, it’ll also contain excess salts that your plant excretes.
You don’t want to deal with a buildup of those salts around the roots and in the soil, so it’s better not to reuse runoff.
And, you won’t be able to get the right mix, exactly.
Some users on various forums say that they’ve had great results by recycling runoff, though, so it’s possible that your mileage may vary.
But if you want to play it safe, here’s how to use (and not re-use) nutrients in the most responsible way possible in your garden.
Use chelated nutrients.
A few of the nutrients your plant needs are iron, zinc, copper, manganese, calcium, and magnesium.
Some of these are present in most soils…
but not as much as your plant would get in optimal circumstances.
However, in liquid nutrients, these metals are in the form of positively charged individual ions.
When those ions are exposed to the air, they oxidize rapidly, becoming unusable to your plant.
And, they can also interact with other ions in the soil and become solids – once again becoming unusable to your plant.
Chelation solves this problem by bonding individual metal ions with a larger compound.
The larger compounds act as a sort of shell that prevents the metal ions from binding to other elements in the soil or oxidizing.
Your marijuana plant will absorb this new molecule whole and then break it down to use the nutrients.
Chelation helps plants and growers by making sure that nutrients actually go to your plant and get digested instead of going to waste.
And this is a win-win, since fewer extra metals going into the soil is also better for the environment.
So, make sure you use chelated growth nutrients!
Use a good quality special-purpose nutrient mix.
Different plants have different needs, and cannabis is certainly no exception.
If you use the wrong blend of nutrients for your garden marijuana plant, there are two downsides.
First, your plant’s health may suffer from an excess or lack of one nutrient. Marijuana has particular nutritional needs depending on its current cycle of growth.
Second, excess nutrients may go unused and end up draining into the waterways (assuming you are growing outdoors).
If you use the correct nutrient mix for your plant, it will use the nutrients efficiently and there will be less waste.
Some cannabis nutrient system brands like Reefertilizer also sell different mixes for the vegetative and flowering stages (Grow and Bloom, respectively) so that the NPK ratio can change to match the plant’s needs all along its life cycle, making the nutrient usage even more efficient.
But, just because you aren’t seeing nutrient burn doesn’t mean you aren’t going overboard with fertilizer.
Depending on how quickly your soil drains, you could be losing more fertilizer to instant runoff than you realize.
Normally, all you’ll need to do to make sure you’re giving your plants the right amount of nutrients is to follow the instructions on the package.
But, if you grow plants in pots versus directly in the soil, take advantage of the opportunity to check your runoff PPM every so often.
If it’s ever unusually high, you may want to think about troubleshooting – it could be either a drainage issue, or you may want to adjust your plants nutrient dose down a little.
Don’t fertilize before it rains.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s worth repeating.
If you fertilize your plants’ soil right before rain, a lot of the nutrients may wash through.
That’s bad for your plant, and bad for the environment – so check the weather before you give your plants their dose.
Consider an outdoor grow rather than indoor.
With all this talk about keeping excess nutrients out of our waterways, you might be thinking it would be better to just grow indoors.
That way, you can collect all your runoff water and make sure it goes to a water treatment plant instead of the groundwater, at least.
That’s good, but taking into account the amount of energy that indoor grow lights consume, it’s still much more environmentally friendly to grow outdoors.
Why is it better to grow marijuana outdoors?
Is it better to grow cannabis indoors or outdoors?
Well, growing indoors is certainly easier, and you’ll get to work with fewer variables – there’s no weather inside, no need to worry about frost, and pests are much easier to control or avoid entirely.
You can also grow year-round, regardless of the season.
On the other hand, if the season and climate permits, and you’re up for a little more of a challenge, you may prefer to grow outside. Here’s why:
- More environmentally friendly. It takes a lot of energy to grow cannabis indoors.
You need at least one powerful grow light, a ventilation system, fans, heating and/or cooling units, and possibly more. Outdoors, you get all of that for free. It’s better for the environment and better for your wallet.
- Better flavor. Cannabis grown outdoors often tastes quite different to an indoor-grown batch of buds.
“Different” is certain; some growers and cannabis users may debate whether the flavor of cannabis from outdoors is “better,” but the general consensus is that it is.
- Bigger yields. With the power of the sun and without the space constraints of a grow room, cannabis plants grown outdoors can grow very large!
And a bigger plant means a bigger yield.
You can also go for a “best of both worlds” approach by growing your outdoor plants in pots, fabric planters, or other containers.
This allows you to take advantage of the outdoor sunlight and also the breeze, but you can also move your plants back inside if you are concerned about impending weather, a frost, or anything else.
The only downside is that smaller containers are easier to move, but will also limit the maximum size your plant can achieve.
Liquid vs. Powder Nutrients
When you’re doing research to determine what kind of outdoor growing fertilizer is best for you, you’ll probably come across liquid, granular, and powder grow nutrients.
Granular fertilizers are slow-release: you want to mix them in with your soil before you plant, and the plant will slowly eat the nutrients as it grows outdoors. Rain and water break down the granules in the soil feeding your plant.
Powder and liquid nutrients are both meant to be mixed into water and given to your plants on a regular feeding schedule, so they can be compared more directly.
Broadly speaking, between powder and liquid marijuana fertilizer, which is better?
- Convenience. With liquid nutrients, different elements have to be stored separately so they don’t react, and then the grower has to mix those elements and dilute them with water before feeding the marijuana plant.
With powder nutrients, the chemicals are not reactive since they are in a solid form.
So, they can all be stored together – all you have to do is measure out the right amount and mix it with water. In terms of convenience, powder is the best.
- Cost. If you order a liquid fertilizer, you have to pay extra because the extra water weight makes the shipping more expensive.
In terms of cost, convenience, and shelf life, powder nutrients are superior to liquid nutrients.
Powder nutrients are cheaper, easier to use, and last longer on the shelf or in the shed.
The same amount of nutrients in powder form is much lighter and smaller. So, once, again, powder wins in terms of cost.
- Shelf Life. Since none of the chemicals in nutrients will react in powder form, they won’t degrade or go bad over time like a liquid nutrient will.
They also won’t evaporate, grow bacteria, or oxidize.
As long as you store your powder nutrients properly, they will keep indefinitely.
Liquid fertilizers, meanwhile, should generally be used within two years of purchase. Powder wins again.
What Are The Right Nutrients for Growing Weed Outdoors
Reefertilizer was designed to make growing weed as simple as possible. One powdered nutrient for plants in veg and another for plants in flower. When combined with Reefertilizer Start soil conditioner your roots will have an increased ability to take up water and nutrients.
Cannabis plants are not as complicated as you might think. Like a human, they need the right food to help them grow and stay healthy. Reefertilizer feeds your cannabis plants the right diet for their stage of the growth cycle. It also helps build the right soil environment for plants to thrive in your garden.
Reefertilzer is also safe to use on other edible plants in your garden. It works very well with tomato and pepper plants.
You can’t get it any easier than using Reefertilizer with your outdoor weed plants.
Why The Reefertilizer Nutrient System is The Best Choice for Your Next Outdoor Grow
We ship Reefertilizer all over Canada and the United States. Many of our happiest customers only grow once a year in the summer and the simplicity and power of our nutrients keep them coming back year after year.
If you’re unsure (Like I was when I first started growing weed) just read a few of our reviews. With so many different products covered in buzz words, we went out and created the nutrients we wanted to use. Something easy, powerful, and no bull$%^#.
Top Tips For Getting the Best Results From Your Outdoor Cannabis Plants
Use Nutrients Designed for Cannabis
You might be tempted to use whatever nutrients you find to grow your outdoor weed plants. A generic garden nutrient product like Miracle Gro are not suited for plants you plan on consuming. Using a nutrient system like Reefertilizer is the easiest way to be sure your cannabis is getting the correct cannabis nutrients at the right time, The perfect nutrients for outdoor grow situations.
Watch Out For Rain
Try to avoid feeding your plants before it rains. Your cannabis plants nutrients might get flushed out of the soil before the plants can metabolize them. It’s always better to feed after it rains.
Also, be aware of rain getting into the bloom of the flower. Water trapped in the bloom can lead to mold growth. If you can, cover the plants from the rain while they’re in bloom.
Top Your Cannabis
Topping your cannabis is a pruning method that results in shorter bushier plants. You can top a marijuana plant by cutting off the newest growth from the top of the plant. This is the best method to control the size of your plants making them easier to manage. Shorter plants also keep them out of view from nosy neighbors. Just a little bit of work as your plants grow can make a big difference.
Remove Excess Leaves
Leaves have a tendency to trap moisture around your outdoor cannabis plants. Removing some from around the base of the plant can help with airflow and prevent the growth of mold. It will also allow more sun to reach lower branches. Marijuana is a tough plant and can handle a heavy pruning of two handfuls at a time.
Use Only The Best Quality Soil in Your Garden
Good soil is a big factor in the success of your plants. Don’t use dirt dug up from the ground, it can be filled with rocks, pests, and might not be suitable for your plants. Plant roots need to be able to stretch and breathe as they grow. Using a good quality potting soil product like ProMix is a good start. Adding organic matter such as manure and compost works really well in improving the quality of the soil you grow in. Adding perlite will help aerate the soil and hold onto a little extra water and prevent the roots from drying out. Your plant will thank you.
Think About Using Clones if Available
Cannabis grown from seeds can result in male or female plants with varying genetic qualities. Clones are clipping from a “mother” plant. Each clone will be an exact copy of its mother. Using clones means your plants growth will be consistent with less to worry about since each plant is a guaranteed female.
If you want to learn even more about growing good cannabis, we offer a free 40+ page guide full of images.
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This guide will answer many questions about growing cannabis, like the following...
Identify and Correct Problems
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