Category Archives: Growing Cannabis Outdoors

Articles about organically growing Medical Cannabis outdoors.

Cannabis Outdoor Growing Adds YouTube Videos


An example of the branching of a pruned tip. Here are two beautiful new branches where there used to be only one.

During the month of June, COG introduced helpful videos on YouTube demonstrating some of our various tricks for maximizing our Cannabis quality and output. Topics we’ve covered so far include Aeration of the Cannabis roots, Fertilization, Super-cropping, and Trimming the base of the plants.

Aeration does exactly what it sounds like — it breaks up the hardened soil and lifts the root base while providing better access to water and nutrient to the plants. Organic compost is added at this time to protect from heat and dessication as well as adding a little more food to the plant. The basin around each plant is made larger through each process and as the plants grow — providing a bigger “pot” for watering.

The Fertilization videos introduce the organic chicken pellets and Age Old Grow 12-6-6 fertilizer, along with the timing of application and the dilutions.

Super-cropping is a pruning method to make the plants bush and keep their height manageable. We keep the average height of the plants around 8 foot, while pushing branch production. We selectively remove the very tiny new meristematic tips of each branch — usually with tweezers; when the plant mends itself it splits the tip into two branches (see photo above). We do this until each bush has between 32-40 branch tips — each of which will develop eventually into large beautiful buds.


Plant with nice cleaned up base.

Trimming the base means that we trim the small leaves and branches dragging in the dirt at the base of each plant — this does several things. It removes branches that get all the dirt and mud backsplash from watering that will never produce large buds anyway. Those buds are very difficult to tie up at the end of the year and are impossible to clean. A growing plant is expending energy on every leaf and branch and stem, so removing these unwanted branches frees up energy to the remainder of the plant, thus pushing the growth of the upper branches. And finally, trimming up the base adds to the ease of access for watering the growing bush. At this time, we again widen the basin around the plant.

They look beautiful!

Controlling Pests Organically in your Cannabis Garden


Checking for bug damage.

This season has already been horrific for pests in our COG garden. We’ve decided the mild winter is the villain in play, leading to many more bugs surviving to lay eggs, hatch into detrimental larvae and adults. We especially have suffered from nasty earwigs and aphids which first decimated our marigolds, moved on to the beans, then the peas, even the hot peppers –which was an immense surprise to Anne. Typically the alkaloid capsaicin –the nitrogen compound that makes the peppers hot — provide enough protection to the plant to prevent insect predation. These were voracious little buggers! Then holes began to appear in our Cannabis and it was war!

Tim had already been applying his usually tried and true method of “Nicotine Tea” –which is an infusion of organic tobacco soaked in water then strained. The tea sprayed on plants is usually sufficient to hold off pests, but you need to keep applying after every watering as it washes off. This concoction was not enough. We made a four-prong attack: ladybugs for the aphids until our praying mantises hatched, parasitic nematodes applied to the soil of the entire garden and back yard to kill the larvae in the soil, praying mantises released throughout the garden for all bad pests, and Monterey Garden Insect Spray. The last item is an organically certified insecticide using natural toxins released by the bacterial group Actinomycetes. Bacteria will produce toxins as a waste product of their metabolism that can also defend them from other bacteria. [Turns out humans can harvest these toxins for our own use — we get a lot of antibiotics from bacteria and fungi]. In this particular instance, two chemicals produced by Actinomycetes bacteria –synosyn A and synosyn D — are also damaging to most insects. Monterey Garden Insect Spray combines them into Sinosad — the active ingredient in a great concentration that you dilute and spray onto your plants. It works!!! We thwarted the onslaught and can now plant more beans and peas.

Now what to do about the birds…

P.S. actually if birds are a huge problem, nets and cages work well :)

Playing in the Dirt Provides Natural High

SONY DSCHey, I’m not kidding. Actual legitimate verifiable scientific studies have found soil bacteria that release a compound that triggers our brain to release serotonin – a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good. Haven’t you every wondered why you feel so peaceful and serene when you garden? I did. For years I called gardening my “Zen work-out” but now I know why. A Dr. Chris Lowry and colleagues at Bristol University in the UK discovered that a particular soil bacterium can make you feel good; specifically they became intrigued by a study that claimed cancer patients treated with a particular bacterium experienced an “increase in quality of life.” The good doctors speculated that brain chemistry was at play. So they¬† did some experimentation themselves…

When they treated mice with Mycobacterium vaccae they found that it did indeed activate a particular group of brain neurons that produce serotonin – in the interfascicular part of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRI) of the mice, to be precise. (

What this means to me, is that I haven’t been imagining things — playing in the dirt all these years really HAS helped alleviate my stress. Back when I was commuting three hours a day, my daily solace was my garden. I’d get home, kick off my shoes and head out the back door to walk barefoot through the soft soil of my garden — to weed, plant, or harvest as needed. I could literally feel the pressures of my job lift away as my mind quieted. Often I would end up waxing philosophical as I pulled weeds. I didn’t count the minutes, I didn’t schedule how much gardening I needed to complete — I’d just putter in the garden until I was peaceful. Then I’d sit back in a chair on my deck with grubby fingers grasping a cold glass of Chai spice ice tea and relax.

I love science. As a semi-retired scientist I am constantly amazed and delighted by each new discovery — but this particular surprise tickles me to no end. Every day now that I literally get down and dirty growing my Cannabis and flowers and vegetables, I whisper a little thank-you to Mycobacterium vaccae, wherever it may be, for my Zen experience in the dirt…


“Identification of an immune-responsive mesolimbocortical serotonergic system: Potential role in regulation of emotional behavior.”
C.A. Lowry, J.H. Hollisa, A. de Vriesa, B. Pana, L.R. Brunetb, J.R.F. Huntb, J.F.R. Patonc, E. van Kampena, D.M. Knighta, A.K. Evansa, G.A.W. Rookb and S.L. Lightmana.
Neuroscience Available online 28 March 2007