Growing Cannabis Plants Outdoor
It is possible to grow large cannabis outdoor year round using a simple technique called the Gas Lantern Routine. This technique will also work great indoors or in another climate outdoors without frost. Cannabis is a unique plant with multiple stages of growth; seedling, clone, vegetative and flowering. A vegetating plant focuses on growing larger everyday to allow for more finished product. The larger the plant the more potential harvest. This vegetative stage can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 5 months. The flowering plant stops growing in size and starts focusing on growing flowers or the buds that we smoke. These buds are covered in trichomes which harbor the THC and CBD that gives us the healing effects of Cannabis.
In nature, Cannabis sprouts after the last frost then grows through the summer while the daylight hours continue to get longer. June 21st marks the summer solstice, the period at which point the sun is at it’s peak and the daylight hours are the longest. In San Diego this is from 5:41Am to 7:59pm, just over 14 hours of daylight. Everyday after the summer solstice, the daylight hours begin to trend down 1-2 minutes per day. A small gradual change but the plants do notice!
Flowering Stage Trigger
Sometime in August, and depending on the strain, the plant has detected the total daylight hours are approaching 12. In San Diego, on August 31 there is exactly 12:50 minutes of daylight. The flowering period for Cannabis has a median of approximately 60 days. However, after decades of crossing genetics, many growers have created strains that can be harvested at 45 days to 80+! The flowering trigger is a rather small change in time. If Cannabis in the wild receives approximately more than 13 hours of daylight, it will keep growing or “vegetating”. Conversely, when Cannabis receives more than 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness, it is certain to begin to go into it’s flowering stage. Once Cannabis receives 12 hours of uninterrupted light, the plant hormones are triggered and the flowering stage begins. The detection of the flowering phase is not overnight, the process takes approximately 5-10 days depending on the strain.
Plants should not be exposed to undesired light. Forgetting to turn patio lights off or any light exposure during dark periods is undesirable. When this occurs, the plant can produce hermaphrodite characteristics which are always undesirable. When flowering, keep your plants in total darkness for 12 hours! Anything over a full moon’s worth of light is too much and will likely trigger those unwanted characteristics.
Gas Lantern Routine
The secret to the gas lantern routine lies in the 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness for plants to flower. The trick however, is to be consistent because inconsistencies while growing cannabis are heavy promoters of hermaphrodite tendencies, most importantly light! If you never allow your plant to reach 12 hours of darkness, it will not flower. This phenomenon is rooted deeply in the Cannabis genetics and gives way to the gas lantern routine. Turn the light on Cannabis for 1 hour in between the night. For example, on November 4 the darkness period is between 6:30pm and 630am, making the midpoint around 12:30am. This is your target time to to interrupt the plants, turn on the light for one hour, and viola! You have successfully allowed your plants to stay in the vegetative state. The Gas Lantern routine can be used anytime between August and April in Southern California; or applied in any scenario while the darkness period is less than 13 hours.
Why use this method?
The gas lantern routine is highly effective for two reason; saving energy indoors and growing larger plants outdoors while reducing your carbon footprint. When applied indoors, growers can cut their electricity cost 25-50%. They have also reported better yields due to the increased rest for the plant. Many believe this method is more natural than the traditional 18/6 Veg/Flower cycle. This is because no where on Earth does landrace cannabis receives 18 hours of sunlight for a sustained period of time. When using this method outdoor, your plants are able to grow larger more naturally using the sun’s energy. Thus, reducing the need for high powered energy lights attempting to replace the sun’s power! Grow natural!