As the temperatures warm up and finally it looks like summer may be round the corner for many of us, we begin to think about outdoor growing, and even doing a guerilla grow.
What is guerilla growing?
Guerrilla growing is the art of growing weed on property that is not yours, whether that’s a national park or farmer’s field, it may be the only option. We will outline a few things to consider before you start, with advice on how to choose a location, what security measures to take, what to do about your harvest and the dangers a guerrilla grower may face. It’s important to know your story just in case someone asks what you are doing. If you are near a lake, bring fishing equipment. You can also bring binoculars or ropes and say you are bird watching or rock climbing. If you are caught this early on, it may be time to find a new spot. Avoid leaving an obvious path to your plot. Take a different route every time and if you are leaving foot prints, kick some dirt over them as you walk. Leaving an obvious path is an easy way for someone to discover your plant. Try to keep visits to a minimum as the more you visit, the greater the chances of being caught. Beginners will be tempted to visit with every little change in weather conditions. Remember weed is a hardy plant so good planning and picking a suitable strain increase the chances of a successful grow.
Choose the best location
The first step to guerrilla growing is to find a good spot to plant your cannabis. Try to find a spot not too far from water. You want to find a spot that will not have many visitors or workers all throughout the year. Busy national parks, public places, and trails that are kept-up by employees are not the best spots. Another point to consider is the quality of the soil and the surrounding planting for camoflauge. Brambles and stinging nettles are full of nitrogen, and enrich the soil. If you find a hidden spot with plenty of these, then you’ve found a guerilla goldmine:
When looking for a place to guerrilla grow there are important factors to consider:
- Location and Security – a site that is unlikely to be used by others.
- Water supply – a decent water supply nearby is a useful resource.
- Sun coverage – at least five to six hours of direct sunlight a day; the more you can get, the better
- Wind protection – a strong wind can dehydrate a plant and cause water loss
- You should plant your crops in different areas in blocks of whatever numbers you want. Why keep the numbers low? After all splitting plants up into different locations means more work in preparation and greater maintenance…. Planting in a number of different locations minimizes the loss. In the worst case scenario if you get busted for a guerilla grow, it is better to be accountable for 2 plants as opposed to 50. There’s another thing to consider when planting out your small groups: camouflage. No matter how remote you think your area is, if you found it, the chances are someone else will too.
Pick a hardy strain that needs less attention and grows well in your chosen climate. Make sure that seasons are long enough, and your plant has enough time to flower. In colder northern climates, an Indica like The Cheese grows well and has a short flowering time. If you have long, hot summers, a Sativa like Jack Herer, which has a longer flowering time but doesn’t need a lot of attention, would be ideal. If you want your plants to grow large and produce pounds instead of ounces, it is recommended to root the clones or start your seeds in the winter indoors. You will want to plant your seeds and put them under some grow lights. Once they have started to sprout a bit, you will replant them in your grow spot.
Once you have located where you’re guerrilla growing, use the following steps to prepare the site.
- Remove excessive green vegetation in the autumn/fall ready for spring
- Cut back any competing roots and clear foliage to allow sunlight to make its way through.
- If the soil is not suitable, make amendments in autumn/fall to return to a healthy potting environment in spring.
- Plant your weed in spring, after the last frosts have passed.
- take different routes to your planting area .Its surprising how quickly a twice a week visit to your site can end up leaving a obvious trail for others to follow.
- Visit the area at varying times
- Park your vehicle in different place
- Transport your equipment a couple of pieces at a time.
- Don’t get lazy. And use some common sense!
Once the winter is over and spring has arrived, it is time to plant your cannabis plants. If you have already started them indoors, you are going to need to get them accustomed to the sunlight by putting them outdoors for a few hours every day. Get your plants all boxed up or grab your seeds and head to your guerrilla growing spot that you have chosen. Next, you will need to dig a deep hole to plant your cannabis in. You can put some pro-mix, perlite, or water absorbing crystals to hold in moisture for stronger roots. Remember, the stronger the roots, the stronger the plant, and a stronger plant means more of the product. If you have already began growing in the winter which is highly recommended, place your plants into your soil mixtures in the holes. Water your plants until the soil is nice and moist. If you still have seeds at this point, plant them in the soil mixture and water them until the soil is moist.
The only disadvantage of guerrilla growing, is that your cannabis plants will be susceptible to wild animals and pests. You can put chicken wire around your plant to keep the wild animals out, especially if you are in an area with deer. You may also want to use some sort of pest control in the area to protect your plant.
It is extremely important to keep your plants watered to prevent them from dying. If the amount of rain water isn’t sufficient to support your plants life cycle, make sure that you give it extra water. When locating a site, pick a place that is near a supply of water as doing so will make it easier to keep your plants hydrated and reduce the chances of you being caught carrying it. If you have to carry water, make sure you have an excuse ready. Avoid watering your guerrilla grow in the middle of the day to limit chances of detection. Visiting early in the morning is preferable and helps to avoid mold growth. If you have picked a secluded area, pierce a gallon water bottle at the bottom and allow for water to drain slowly into the soil around the base of the plant. Keep any containers for transporting water well hidden near your guerrilla growing site. Every time you water your plant, check for pests. Under the lease and along the stems you will find damage if bugs are eating your plant. Deal with bug infestations immediately as bugs can kill your plant.
If you used seeds instead of clones, your plants will start showing their sex around the end of summertime. The male plants have flowers that look like tiny banana pods and the female plants have white hairs coming from the nodes at the point where the branches and stems meet. Remove any male plants before they have a chance to fill the female buds with seeds. When summer ends, you will need to add some plant food to get the maximum out of your plant. Try adding some nutrients and supplements like bat guano around the roots and watering it in. Go light on the nitrogen and look for plant foods with phosphorous and potassium. These nutrients will help you get the greatest yield from your plants. Where it is crucial to keep your plants wet in summer, it is equally as important to keep your buds dry in fall to prevent bud rot. Shake the excess moisture from rain off your buds every time you visit your plants.
Harvesting your guerilla grow
As the leaves fall and colors turn, it is time to harvest your plants. This is the most dangerous point in any guerilla grow. Some advise harvesting at night, but perhaps its better choose a bad weather day when casual visitors aren’t around and keep the time on site cutting down plants to a minimum. Bring a large, solid color container with you like a 5 gallon bucket that seals up to prevent anyone from smelling or seeing your plants. Place branches in with the cut end down to keep your buds intact. Work quickly. Once you are in a safe location, you can dry and trim your plants.If you can, let a friend drive the route home shortly ahead of you to check the route is clear.
The dangers of Guerrilla growing
Apart from your weed being discovered by the police or stolen, the wild can pose unexpected dangers that are a threat to your plants.
- Local Wildlife – Wild animals love to eat marijuana plants. You can deter them with bear, fox, or even human hair and blood.
- Frost – Frost can kill plants, so make sure you pick a strain that will complete its life cycle between the last and first frosts. Be ready to harvest if frosts come early.
- Drought – A lot can be done to avoid damage from drought. Make sure you have a decent loamy soil and that water is supplied regularly. Sativa root systems grow deeper so have better drought resistance. Keep a close eye on signs of dehydration.