If you smoke heavily, you will only need the harvest from between five and seven large female marijuana plants for the entire year – assuming they were grown properly and are as healthy as possible, of course.
When translated into choosing the best place for growing cannabis, this means that you do not need a terribly large amount of land to grow all the plants you could want.
This is not to say, however, that a usable growing area will be easy to find. There are lots of different things you need to remember when deciding where to grow your marijuana outdoors.
Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more information
If you are looking for the perfect place to grow marijuana outdoors, it should look something like this: some sort of clearing that is isolated and near a riverbank, with nutrient-rich soil that does not have rocks in it, that is reached by the sun throughout the day.
The most important factor to consider when choosing a location, of course, is always your own security. The following topics will be covered in this chapter:
Best outdoor growsites:
Grow site examples
Few people have the luxury of growing marijuana in their own personal garden, but this is always the ideal option. You’re never far from your plants, you can water them accordingly, and keep prying or suspicious eyes out of your garden as you see fit.
Even so, the smell of marijuana can be quite pungent, so keep the plants away from your neighbor’s fence.
Growing marijuana on a balcony
Like a garden, a balcony gives you an area to grow your marijuana where you have easy access. Unlike a home garden, balconies can be seen from the road or by neighbors who are also on balconies.
You can use a frosted plastic film to keep your plants out of sight but still in the sun. The film can also reduce the spread of the marijuana scent. In the northern hemisphere, you should place your plants facing south (if possible) so that they get the most sun during the day.
Growing marijuana on a roof terrace
A roof terrace gives your plants a full day’s worth of sun, but odors and strong winds can be an issue. Small amounts of wind are ideal for thicker stems, but constant windy conditions (like those found in coastal locations) aren’t good for marijuana plants.
If you live in a windy environment, try to find windshields.
Growing marijuana on the roof of a vacant building
Some people don’t have access to their own roof terraces, balconies, or gardens, but another roof can work just fine. If you can find a vacant building in which the roof is not easily accessible by anyone but you, then you might have a perfect urban location for your outdoor marijuana grow.
It might be enticing to grow on roofs that are difficult to access but not vacant. Just be aware that appliances or equipment like air conditioners might be up there and they will need periodic maintenance.
Growing marijuana in a forest
One of the best places to employ guerrilla marijuana growing is in the forest. It’s always a fun journey hiking through woods, trying to find a location with ample sun, a nearby water source, and a long distance from any trails or paths.
If there are no streams, you might be able to dig (sometimes only 3 feet deep) to find groundwater. In most cases, however, the soil in the forest is quite acidic (low pH level).
Pine forests and meadows have a problem with acidic soil. Sometimes, you might be better served digging a hole and putting in better, nutrient-filled soil. You might also be able to take 15 gallon pots filled with good soil.
Growing marijuana on a riverbank
Rivers or streams have what is called a riverside that features a whole host of tall, green plants like canes or nettles. The soil in these locations is usually so wet that you don’t have to water the plants. You can add a nutrient solution every month or so for better nutrient quality.
These locations are also hard to get to. You may have to swim across a river to get to your guerrilla marijuana garden, because there’s a good chance that most other people wouldn’t be willing to do that.
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Growing marijuana in an open field
This might seem like a bad idea considering how wide open a field is, but if you camouflage your cannabis with other plants then you can get away with it. You get all the sun your plant could need in a location that’s easy to access and difficult to tell what it is.
Heathland is usually quite acidic, but if the field has grass or any other plants, marijuana should do well. If you see nitrogen-loving nettles, then the soil is full of nitrogen, one of the most important macronutrients for marijuana growth.
Even so, the best course of action is to start your plants off in a pot or a hole that has fertilized soil. Keep the plants near brambles and nettles so that they’re not obvious to the casual onlooker.
Growing marijuana in a corn field
Although you likely don’t own a corn field, they are ideal locations for marijuana growth. If you plant in the middle of all the corn, your plants get tons of sun, privacy, and all the water and nutrients they need.
If you know another breeder who has a corn field and plants marijuana surreptitiously, then ask them if you can plant there. Otherwise, it’s pretty risky to try guerrilla farming on a stranger’s land.
You will still need to grow your plants outside of the corn field first. You’ll have to wait until about the end of May or the beginning of July when the farmer stops working the field with a tractor. The marijuana plants should be between 10 and 15 inches in height when transplanted to the field.
Plant in the middle of the field and allow for about 3 to 5 feet of space between the plants. Mark the rows where your plants are located with an object or by gauging another natural item. Within a matter of weeks, corn will grow up to several feet tall, which will conceal your marijuana plants nicely.
Find the best places
First and foremost, you need your location to be safe from discovery. As soon as your marijuana plants are discovered by someone else, it will immediately be unusable because you will lose your entire crop.
If you have it on your own property, be sure to keep yourself safe by placing it in a location where you can easily deny your knowledge of it being there. If the plants are in a remote enough location on your property, you will probably be able to get by claiming you had no idea it was growing there.
Some growers use self-made greenhouses in order to hide the types of plants that are in there. Although this takes away your chances of denying any knowledge of it, it greatly decreases the chances of your crop being discovered.
Although more exposed to the outside world, public land is probably the safest choice. This can keep the marijuana plants from being traced back to you. Even if your crop was discovered and destroyed, at least you would be safe from legal action.
Avoid it being discovered in the first place by choosing a location wisely. Make sure it is in a spot that does not have high traffic (such as a hiking trail or other attraction), and where hunting does not take place. Keep a special eye out for places that someone looking for psilocybin mushrooms might stumble upon, and avoid such locations – a mushroom hunter would be more than happy to take your valuable marijuana plants for themselves.
Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more tips about outdoor growing
Another potential problem could be new development. You wouldn’t be the first one to choose a spot, ready the soil, and spend valuable time and money preparing the water systems, and then come back a while later only to see the land completely destroyed by bulldozers and construction.
Some cannabis growers are particularly lucky because they live in a place where the law allows growing so they can focus their efforts on the more important aspects: soil, water, and light. Here’s a short list with requirements for an outdoor grow site:
More sunlight correlates to larger plants and higher yields. If you plant in the shadows, at least make sure your plants get a few hours of sun each day.
Marijuana plants will be able to thrive in most areas, except those that are uncharacteristically dry. Of course, if you have more water at your disposal, then the plant can absorb more nutrients. Creeks, rivers, or other nearby sources of water are ideal. Bringing in your own water is also an option.
3. The Right Amount of Wind
The gentle touch of a small breeze helps develop strong root systems, but lots of wind can cause damage to the marijuana plant. Choose a location that is not too windy.
4. Nutrient-Rich Soil
Nutrients are the lifeblood of marijuana plants, so try to find an area where lots of other green plants are growing. Marijuana will likely do well in that location.
5. Easy Access
Seeing your plants at least once per month is reassuring and also important. You will be able to tell if they have incurred a bug or pest problem, lack of nutrients, water deficiency, or whatever else.
6. Keep It Hidden
Easy access is good for you, but not for others. Try to keep thieves or potential police informants off your trail by planting your marijuana garden away from the road or other locations that people frequent. Corn, canes, and tomato plants can also camouflage the marijuana.
Other plants can help you
You can easily use the growing cycles of other plants to help guide you for what you can expect with your marijuana plants. You should look into the growing behavior of other summer plants, such as corn or tomatoes. Corn is generally your best bet.
This strategy gives you the chance to ask around for tips (about corn or tomatoes, for example) without needing to explain that you are actually gathering the information in order to grow cannabis.
Because the harvest time is similar for these other plants and cannabis, information about other plants can turn out to be invaluable for you. You can gain helpful insight into growing climates and harvesting time, and you should plant your marijuana seeds around the same time as these other plants should be planted.
Besides weather and the harvesting time, talking to others about plants with the same growing season will help you out with other factors you may not have considered already, including subjects such as rainfall and types of pests. You can’t believe everything you hear, of course, but conversations like this could even help for finding a good growing location. Just make sure to be discreet about it.
Other plants can also help from just being near where you will grow your marijuana plants. Tall plants, especially green ones, will help hide the cannabis. Many growers (such as ones in an urban location), put flowers on their marijuana plants so they will resemble a different local plant.
Although the flowers are just attached loosely, they are good enough when seen from afar, so they are a popular method for rooftop growers. Sometimes combining the flower technique with something else, such as tying down a few of the branches, will be enough to mask what you are really growing in your garden.
Other growers use or intentionally place other plants around their cannabis plants. Green plants with lots of leaves such as jasmine and spider plants can do the trick nicely. Bushes or bamboo have also been used by growers to make a sort of shield around their plants.
Be careful with these methods, though: cannabis plants that need to compete for sunlight with taller plants around them will spend all of their precious energy on growing very tall, meaning they will grow very quickly and will soon be taller than the other plants. To avoid this, simply make sure that you are not planting the other plants too close to your marijuana. This especially applies if you are using the shield technique.
All in all, make sure to be taking in a lot of information not only about marijuana plants, but about native and local plants in general. Learn how and when they grow, and use this to your advantage. It will help you grow healthy,strong marijuana plants, and will allow you to have a successful crop without any theft or loss of your plants. Any information about your local system will help you reach success, so start with the local plants.
Camouflage your plants
One of the best ways to hide your planted marijuana is to originally plant them beneath trees or beside bushes. Another tip is to make sure you have only a few plants in one specific area, just in case one clump of your plants are discovered. This way, you won’t lose your entire crop if they are discovered.
You can actually bend and prune your marijuana plants so they look like other types of plants, therefore lessening the chances of their discovery. If you bend the stems in a horizontal way while doing this, all the better: your plants will get more sun, making the yield even bigger.
Although planting marijuana plants underneath trees seems like a good way of keeping them well-hidden, you have to be sure that they will still get at least five hours of direct sunlight, as well as much more indirect light. The more light there is, the more you will get from your harvest.
A great tip from Barry Cooper, the cop who turned against the war on drugs: “Disguise your outdoor marijuana plants by attaching small, silk flowers. This really works.” Check the picture below.
I also know growers that attach silk flowers (click here for some examples) to their marijuana plants to camouflage them better; otherwise, planting them close to similarly colored and sized plants could do the trick. Make sure these plants won’t die earlier than your plants, however, as that would make your plants be even more obvious.
The key is to keep your marijuana plants from being visible from people just looking around. Your work is not done after planting them, however; you will need to take other steps, such as changing your route each time when you go back to your site, as well as covering your tracks as you go. Don’t make it obvious that you have been there: keep the environment looking like it is untouched by anyone.
Even if it is less convenient, try parking your car in a place where there are multiple cars around. It will help if you have your source of water near to the planting site; carrying 100 gallons of water will look awfully conspicuous if anyone sees you. Have a reasonable explanation for you being in the location, and even bring along “props” to further prove your story.
All of this is equally important to consider during the planning process before you plant your cannabis. You might even want to try on a smaller scale for your first season so you can be sure that you will harvest the few plants that you do grow.
More than anything, be careful who you tell about your operation. Even if you do tell someone that you are growing marijuana, you must always keep yourself from telling them where they are planted.
For most people whose growing sites are in really well-hidden areas and are nonetheless discovered, their only mistake was bragging about it to someone who then reported it. Despite all your efforts until now, nothing will matter since your entire harvest will be gone. Never underestimate the importance of security!
Protect your grow site
Security issues can vary quite a bit, depending on the geographic location – it can even vary quite a bit within a single country. Vancouver growers of marijuana have an easier time of growing outdoors than US growers who live in states located in the southwest do.
Growers in Hawaii need to take extra measures to make sure that their plants remain a secret, but people living in Australia don’t have this same problem, due to the fact that they have a lot more space and a cultural lack of concern by the neighbors.
So how can you protect yourself, wherever you are? First and foremost, learn your local marijuana laws, and the consequences of breaking those laws.
In certain places with stricter laws and penalties, the risk simply might not be worth it. Some states in the US have zero tolerance, which means that if they discover you the minimum penalties will be extreme, including jail time and hefty fines. In other locations, such as some European countries and a few states in the US (especially California), the penalty depends a lot on how much was discovered.
In most cases, your stash will be taken away from you and you will be fined, but that is it. You will need to do the research yourself and make a well-informed decision about what is right for you. In any case, keeping your security a priority is crucial. If nothing else, it will protect your crop from being discovered and taken from you. The fewer people who know about it, the less likely discovery is. When in doubt, simply don’t tell anyone at all.
Aerial surveillance and infrared photography are some of the types of technology that American police forces will use to try and find secret cannabis plants. They are often successful, discovering hundreds of thousands of plants each year.
The US government funds efforts to find and get rid of cannabis plants. Don’t let this intimidate you, though: they are mostly focused on much larger planting sites, which are far easier to find than personal gardens or just a few plants in one location. Some state laws allow the police to take away entire properties of the grower, then auction everything off.
This money is then used to buy state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, firearms, vehicles, and other tools used to find and destroy all the marijuana in their precinct.
This is why security should be your first priority from the beginning. Think hard about where you will grow your marijuana: growing away from your own property is always the best choice for your own safety, as it is going to keep the crop separated from its grower.
Choose a remote location, away from any hikers, hunters, or other foot traffic. Other (legal) plants should be used for extra coverage – you can even plant some nearby to cover up your cannabis plants even more thoroughly.
Which states are legalized
It’s legal for adults to grow sun-kissed marijuana in Oregon, California, Colorado, Alaska, Massachusetts and Maine. Plus, if you are a medical patient in Washington, New Mexico, Montana, Vermont or Hawaii, you can grow as well. The number of allowable plants ranges from 4 to 15, depending on the state.
A few more states allow outdoor growing for medical patients under certain conditions. In Arizona and Nevada, home growing is permitted only if you live too far from a dispensary. Also in Arizona (and Rhode Island), outdoor growing is possible, but only in a greenhouse, due to their ‘locked facility’ requirement.
You may also want to consider a secured facility if you have younger housemates or live near a school. In both medical and recreational states, it is illegal to grow around children, unless that child is a patient.
TIP: Read the article Marijuana Laws for all information about growing marijuana per state
Although very few states explicitly discuss outdoor growing in their laws, (except for Alaska, which mentions plants being visible by plane), the general understanding is keep your grow private. How private it must be varies, but if people can see it, you are at risk.
The federal government still considers marijuana growing highly illegal, and so far, only Alaska has laws addressing outdoor growing. Focus on privacy, even in your own yard.
Because the law enforcement in certain areas is becoming more and more aggressive, marijuana growers have had to come up with some very creative ways of avoiding discovery. Guerrilla farming is one of those methods. It is the way that most growers who plant their cannabis plants outdoors have had to adopt.
The concept is simple: keep your plants from being discovered, and keep their discovery from leading to you.
Various tactics have been used to achieve a successful, undiscovered harvest. Some growers raise their marijuana plants amidst tree branches. Some growers used buildings that have been uninhabited for a while, growing their plants on its rooftop.
While these locations would be quite difficult to be discovered, it does lead to some difficulty when trying to reach them to water the outdoor marijuana plants. If you are growing your cannabis plants on some inaccessible patches on the side of some hills, you might have to carry water to each plant individually.
Given the risk you are taking in losing your time and money (not to mention legal consequences), be sure to keep your security the first priority when choosing the location of your planting site.
Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow bible
The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]