Protect Your Marijuana Crop From Climate Change

Climate change in the Northern Hemisphere has greatly affected the growing strategy of the outdoor medical marijuana farmer.  With freak frosts in the Spring and Fall and inclement weather patterns bringing hail, wind storms and even drought, gone are the days of predictable weather patterns where you could plant and harvest on time during the onset of the seasons. Here are some of the adjustments I have found myself making over my decades-long career as a grower.

Breeding For Hardiness And Quick Finish

A lot of emphasis has gone into breeding hardiness and early finishing times into my genetics so that the strains can handle a frost or two on the back end if they go that late. Freak weather incidents are becoming more frequent and catching growers by surprise. Late and early frost can wreak havoc on a crop and wipe you out in a instant. So genetics play a big role in the strategy towards combating climate change. The mantra of the outdoor growing has become “… in late, out early.”

Increase Indoor Veg Cycles

Having the marijuana farther along in the veg cycle before out planting is another strategy for avoiding freak weather conditions. No more putting seedlings out after the typical last frost at the end of May. The increasingly unstable climates in the northern hemisphere seem to be in the spring and in the fall, with drought playing somewhat of a role, as well, in the middle.

Make Your Crop Drought Resistance

Use substrates with more water retaining properties such as higher vermiculite content and less perlite for drainage, so that during drought conditions your plants can thrive with better water retaining qualities. Drip systems and more frequent watering than usual also contribute to your crop’s hydration and keeps it in production mode. A dry plant slows its development to conserve energy.

Nutrients Can Help

Beneficial bacteria and fungi are great additives in the early stages of vegging your plants indoor first to promote vigorous, hardy root growth before out planting. I use these products for robust root growth before my plants go outside.

When using heat activated, granular nutrients, like Heavy Harvest.  adjust the directions to suit your actual planting times and not the times suggested on the label. These directions do not take into account changing climates and genetics that flower earlier and earlier. Earlier flowering times of genetics should affect when you apply  flowering vs. vegging nutrients.


Be Prepared For Anything

Be better prepared for weather anomalies such as freak late and early frost, heavy wind, rain and even hail storms.  Have a setup to get your plants  out of frost’s way on a moment’s notice by not committing them to the ground too early — keep them in pots above ground until the latest possible planting date. Use thicker bamboo stakes on your plants and do a main stock stake early when you commit the plant to the ground, to avoid stresses of blow down from heavy wind and rain.

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