Some southern growers will be able to harvest their photoperiod plants in September. Northern growers may need to wait a few more nervous weeks and hope the October weather stays good enough.
Growing cannabis in the UK is great fun in July. Warm sunny weather is in plentiful supply and you may want to keep an eye on rainfall. Usually UK rain is never far away, even in July, but in drought you may need to transport water to your plants if there has been a few dry weeks. The long sunny days are ideal for cannabis. Growth above and below ground is in full flow.
Many that grow cannabis in the UK like to add extra nutrition in August to allow for a healthy bloom process. Seaweed fertilisers are popular, so is fish/blood/bone meal, worm castings etc. But if your soil is good quality it may not be absolutely necessary to add extra nutrients.
Growing photoperiod vs autoflower cannabis in the UK
Autoflower plants are often ready to harvest around August. Many autoflower growers feel that they get particularly potent harvests since their buds are able to ripen under full summer sunlight.
Some outdoor growers like to try to control surrounding vegetation throughout the summer. In particular they like to stop nearby trees and bushes from taking sunlight from their cannabis plants. Outdoor pests such as aphids, whitefly etc can be a nuisance though they can be tackled with traditional methods as well as predatory insects (ladybirds etc).
What does your cannabis grow calendar look like?
One useful tip for those growing cannabis in the UK countryside is to avoid making a clear and obvious track to your plant location. This may simply encourage curious walkers to wonder why a new trail has emerged. Instead, it can be wiser to visit your outdoor grow location only when necessary. If possible, you may also wish to have different approach routes to your grow location to minimise the chance of creating an obvious pathway.
But the UK weather is so changeable that you may be able to finish blooming a particular strain one year but not the next. UK cannabis growers simply can’t rely on the weather in the way that growers in warmer countries can. That’s also the same reason why cannabis seed companies just can’t guarantee results from their strains.
Security Growers live in a paranoid world, always wondering when their door is going to get kicked in – not only by the police but by “enforcers”, violent criminals who make their living by stealing cannabis crops. For that reason many of them adopt Fort Knox-like security. Portcullises on the doors, bars on the windows and even CCTV cameras are not uncommon.
Heat Those lights also give off a lot of heat, so the old theory was that the house growing cannabis in the loft would be the one with no snow on the roof in winter. But nowadays growers use internal tents, that isolate a lot of the heat. This makes farms harder for police to spot using their infra-red cameras.
Ventilation Growers need to ventilate the plants with large extractor fans, which generally emit a low hum. If every morning, at exactly the same time, it sounds as if someone next door is starting up their hovercraft, then it’s probably a cannabis farm warming up for the day.
Activity Not all farms are inhabited by the grower so watch out for signs that there is no one actually living there: unkempt front gardens, or if your neighbour never leaves out any bin bags on collection day.
Light Growers can’t get away from the fact that internal farming requires a lot of it: 2,000 watts running 12 hours a day in a small bedroom looks a lot like the sun, so look out for windows that are constantly blacked out to cover that up. Cannabis farms in spare rooms will have the tell-tale sign of curtains that never open.
Smell Follow your nose. A cannabis crop takes about three months to produce. During the final four weeks, the plants stink. Earlier this year, Crimestoppers helpfully issued cannabis-farm scratch-and-sniff cards to 210,000 homes in the UK to help you identify the exact bouquet.
Conor Woodman’s film Exposure: Britain’s Booming Cannabis Business is on ITV on 16 October at 11.05pm