The Ultimate Guide For Guerrilla Growing Cannabis
For cannabis growers living under prohibition, guerrilla growing can be a saving grace. In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know to successfully start—and finish—your very own guerrilla grow.
Not everyone can grow cannabis in the comfort of their own home or garden. You may not have suitable space for it, or your landlord, roommates, etc. may not share the same enthusiasm for weed as you do. But no reason to throw in the towel! Here is how you can guerrilla grow great cannabis!
What Is Guerrilla Growing?
Quite simply, guerrilla growing means cultivating cannabis secretly outdoors. The location is usually “in the wild” and stealthy, as you want to ensure nobody will discover your plants. That means no busy public parks or pathways. However, a nice forest clearing can make a great location, for example.
Guerrilla growing is most often associated with growing weed; but, of course, you could also guerrilla grow other plants like vegetables or flowers. After all, not everyone has a garden, or perhaps you want to do a guerrilla grow simply out of curiosity.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Guerrilla Growing?
Guerrilla growing has obvious advantages; the first and most important is that you are less likely to be caught. Besides the fact that your cannabis plants are somewhere hidden in a forest, the risk of getting busted is also much lower. You don’t have to worry about cops or neighbors complaining about the cannabis smell or sight.
On the other side, taking care of your plants can be a bit harder when they aren’t in your own garden. Next to that, growing out in nature can have risks too. Imagine what could happen to your growth with all the animals and bugs out there in the forest, or when stormy weather arrives. It is recommended to avoid areas with lots of rabbits burrows around, or take steps against these nibbling animals. The most efficient solution to rabbits is to plant chicken wire around you plant(s).
Where To Set Up Your Guerrilla Grow
Now, you wouldn’t just go to your local park in the middle of the night, dig some holes, and drop your seeds in. Chances are this wouldn’t turn out very successful…
You’ll need to choose a better location. There are several ways you can go about guerrilla growing, and a number of factors that you need to consider with each location. Here are some factors to consider:
On The Ground Or High In The Sky
The first and probably most common option is to start your guerrilla growth on the ground. To avoid anyone finding your plants and stealing or destroying them, make sure to not plant near beaten paths or streets. Places like that are more easily discovered by passers by, since the odour of the grow will be noticeable up to 10 metres away, depending on the wind.
You can also plant your weed amongst bushes or other strong-smelling plants to provide natural camouflage and protection. Forests, fields, and abandoned farmland make good potential locations. You can choose to grow directly in the ground or in fabric pots, so you can move your plants around when needed.
Planting down on the ground always comes with a risk for discovery. Look for a nice spot high up, where other folks can’t as easily get to. This could mean growing on the rooftop of an abandoned building or setting planters high up in a tree. Just use your imagination, and we’re sure you’ll come up with a brilliant idea.
Grow a few plants in a few different locations; if one of your crops is discovered, the others will still be hidden.
Close To Water
A hidden spot near the water, such as a river, lake, or pond can be optimal for growing weed. You don’t have to look suspicious running around with buckets of water. Furthermore, it might possible that you don’t need to water you cannabis plants at all if your growth is close to water. Your plants can simply absorb the water that’s already in the soil. A spot close to running water is also at less risk for frost.
Among Other Crops
Planting your weed among high-volume crops, such as in a cornfield, is a good way to hide it. If you grow on the edge of the woods or of a maize field, make sure you choose the sunny side of the field. Look where the sun sits in the sky at midday, where it comes up, and where it goes down. The more sunlight your plant gets, the bigger the yield during harvest will be.
Use fast-flowering varieties that are ready before the field is harvested!
When To Start Your Guerrilla Grow
Timing is important; plant too early, and your weed may fall victim to cold temperatures and frost. Plant too late, and it may succumb to mould from the autumn rain.
If you’re growing photoperiod cannabis, timing is especially crucial. You want to make sure your plants have a decent veg time, as well as enough time to fully mature their buds before harvest. Since photoperiod strains flower based on available light hours, you’ll need to make sure they’re ready to do so when the time comes.
The best time to head outside depends on your local climate. Obviously, someone in a colder region, such as the UK or the Netherlands, will be more limited in their window than someone in, say, Southern Spain or Italy.
How To Set Up Your Cannabis Guerrilla Grow
You’ve found a nice spot, and now you’re eager to plant your seeds. But hold your horses—we don’t want to do things half-arsed and then be disappointed at harvest time. It’s important to prepare if you want your guerrilla grow to go well.
1. Choose The Perfect Strain
You don’t want to grow monster plants that would alert everyone and their mother of your location. Choose compact strains and plant several. Autoflowers are excellent for guerrilla grows! Not only are they small and stealthy; they are also fast and robust.
2. Measures To Protect Your Plants
Out in the wild, lots of bad things can happen to your weed. Your plants can encounter thieves or cannabis-loving critters such as deer, rabbits, ants, mites, or slugs. Use a slug barrier and other preventative measures like predator urine or neem oil to keep pests away. Set up protective cages for your plants with chicken wire and wooden stakes. The latter can help plants withstand wind and heavy rain.
3. Prepare Your Plants
Wind and weather, cold and hot temperatures, and pests make a cannabis plant’s life challenging enough. Unfortunately, seedlings are particularly vulnerable in uncontrolled environments outdoors.
You can make it much easier on your weedlings by germinating seeds at home as opposed to outdoors. Allow them to develop into healthy little plants of up to 30cm before you set them outside. But don’t move them from inside right out into the open. You’ll need to introduce them to their new environment slowly. You can do this in your garden; let them get two or three hours of sunlight each day for a week or so.
4. Prepare The Planting Spot
Preparing your plants is one side of the story, but preparation of the planting spot is equally important. If you have found a secluded spot, but doubt the quality of the soil, you can still enrich it by adding professional potting soil or coco coir, as well as organic additives. Add some perlite and vermiculite for a lighter soil that will still hold moisture for dry times. For the best marijuana, you will need to use good potting soil, unless the soil on site is very loamy, dark, and rich-looking.
5. Let The Little Green Monsters Off The Leash
Once the plants are used to the outdoors and frost is no longer a potential threat, it is time to unleash your little green monsters. What you can do now is cut off the bottom of the pot and replace it with a small piece of cardboard (make sure to tape it there to keep things secure). Take the pots to your secret garden and remove the cardboard before placing them in the ground. If you are inclined to keep it a little greener, use pulp pots—they are biodegradable.
Maintenance Of A Cannabis Guerrilla Grow
In a perfect world, you’d just plant your seeds, and after some weeks go back and harvest. If only it were that easy! Instead, you’ll want to check on your plants often as they grow along. Aside from watering them, you’ll need to inspect for pest infestations, give nutrients, and so forth.
If you’re regularly heading to your secret spot with a bag full of equipment, people may wonder what you’re up to. Not good. So let’s get a bit creative. Take a camera, binoculars, a fishing rod, or your dog on a leash. This way, if someone starts asking questions, you will have a good alibi—bird watching, fishing, taking the dog out, etc.
Go on foot to visit your plants so people nearby don’t see your parked car or bike. It can also be a good idea to wear dark clothing and only go at dusk. Another good time is during office hours, as most people will be at work.
During the summer, heat and absence of rain can become an issue; any 10-day period without rain poses potential harm to your crop. Visit your plants at least once a week and be prepared to carry in enough water to saturate the roots completely.
When tending to your plants, make sure to examine them closely. Look for damage on the undersides of the leaves and along the stems, and fight any infestation immediately. Check your plants for signs of deficiency, in which case additional fertilization may be necessary.
As autumn approaches, you’re advised to add some special flowering nutrients to max out your yield. This is the perfect time to sprinkle some bat guano around the root zone and water it in. Otherwise, any good flowering nutrients will do. These contain phosphorus and potassium, which your ladies will need to fatten their buds.
Harvesting Your Cannabis Guerrilla Grow
Finally, once summer has come to an end, your guerrilla ladies will be ready to harvest. But keep your expectations about yields realistic, as your plants are unlikely to produce max harvests. Because of that, and since there is always a chance that some of your plants may not survive for whatever reason, it’s a good idea to plant a few specimens to make up for the reduced yields of individual plants.
On harvest day, you’ll want to bring your crops in as covertly and swiftly as you can. Don’t spend a long time cutting or trimming buds out in the open. Work fast and place your harvest into airtight containers. You can do the other stuff like trimming at home.
Post-Harvest Measures (Optional)
When your chosen spot has proven safe and private, give something back to Mother Nature! Your plants have “eaten” plenty of nitrogen during their life cycle, so if you want to use the same spot again next year, consider planting a fall cover crop or grass in that space to improve soil conditions. Something like berseem clover or hairy vetch will do well over the winter and can be worked back into the soil in spring, naturally enriching it as the plant matter is broken down by microbes.
Guerrilla Growing Hints And Tips
Here are some tips to help you hide your cannabis plants when guerrilla growing:
- Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind: T he most important rule for a successful guerrilla grow: keep your grow as discreet as possible. Choose spots far from footpaths and avoid locations that passersby might come across. Consider autoflowers for their short stature and fast life cycle.
- C amouflage With Companion Plants : Consider camouflaging your cannabis plants with similar-looking companion species. Moreover, plants such as lavender and peppermint can hide your plants both physically and in terms of odour. Plus, they act as natural pest repellents.
Click here to learn everything you need to know about guerrilla growing cannabis, including how to select a location and the perfect strains for the job.
All You Need To Know About Guerrilla Growing Cannabis
Guerrilla growing is when you grow cannabis outdoors, somewhere in a hidden location that won’t easily be discovered. Learn all about how to successfully guerrilla grow cannabis in our guide below!
Not everyone can grow cannabis in their own home or garden. For some cannabis enthusiasts, the only way to go about growing weed is to do it outdoors in a secret spot in nature. When you stealthily grow weed somewhere (where you hope that your precious crop isn’t discovered), this is known as guerrilla growing. Here is all you need to know on how you can successfully guerrilla grow cannabis!
THE BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS OF GUERRILLA GROWING CANNABIS
The most obvious advantage to guerrilla growingis that your plants will be located suitably far away from your place of residence. While this can be a pain in terms of checking up on your plants, it removes the risk of you getting busted should growing cannabis still be illegal in your region. In those places where cannabis laws are still not as relaxed as we’d wish, a guerrilla grow can remove the threat of cops, landlords, and neighbours complaining about the smell or sight of your “devil’s lettuce”.
Then again, growing weed somewhere out in nature can have its own risks. The biggest, of course, is that your grow might be discovered—by humans or otherwise. Animals out in the wild, from deer to birds to nasty bugs, can all take a toll on the health and vitality of your precious plants. And of course, any human passersby who enjoy cannabis themselves may take their own toll by chopping down your plant or stealing your container. Moreover, adverse weather conditions mean that your guerrilla-grown crop largely has to fend for itself.
Still, if you plan your guerrilla grow ahead of time and go about it with some basic know-how, it is certainly possible for the experience to be both fun and rewarding.
HOW TO FIND A GOOD SPOT TO GROW
The very first thing you need to do when planning a guerrilla grow is to find a suitable location. Obviously, you want to choose somewhere discreet where there is little chance of your plants being spotted. For this, you should explore the surroundings of a potential location to see whether you come across nearby paths, footprints, garbage, and other signs that people may come here on occasion.
So make sure to select your secret growing location a good distance away from streets, paths, and buildings. Consider also that the odour of your plants may be noticeable as much as 10–15m away or more, so take this into account when choosing a spot. Parks, public places, and areas that seem to be kept-up well are usually not very good locations. The more difficult it is to get to your secret growing spot, the better!
When you’re choosing a guerrilla growing spot, you must also make sure there are no street lights in the vicinity. The lights could otherwise mess up your plant’s natural dark cycle, causing it to turn intersex or resulting in other adverse reactions.
LOOK FOR WATER
Experienced guerrilla growers often say that a hidden spot near water is optimal. So, if you have a lake or stream nearby, this can be a nice advantage. It can make it easier when it comes to watering your wild plants, and you won’t look suspicious carrying buckets of water over quite some distance. In an ideal location near a lake or river, your plants can just absorb the water that’s already in the soil, and you may not even have to water them. Likewise, locations near water are naturally also warmer in the winter, so there is less risk that your plants would suffer from frost. On the other hand, if you grow very close to a stream, there can be a risk for flooding should it rain heavily late in summer. Keep this in mind.
If you grow outdoors, you will want to frequently check on your plants. You may need to water them often, and you want to keep a close eye on things such as pests or other possible problems. Because of that, a growing spot that’s miles and miles away isn’t optimal. If you can, choose a guerrilla grow spot that is accessible by foot or bike.
STARTING YOUR GUERRILLA GROW
Now it’s time to get to the exciting bits: how to start your guerrilla grow. The “pros” normally don’t start a guerrilla grow from seed. It can be best to start the seeds or clones indoors first, then replant them in your secret spot outdoors once your seedlings have grown a bit. You can still plant seeds outdoors, just don’t expect the same results as you would when transplanting a robust young plant.
The best time to replant your cannabis seedlings outside is after the last frost has occurred in spring. Make sure to accustom your seedlings to the conditions outside. Before you set them out, you should place them in the sun for a few hours every day so they can get used to the natural sunlight. As you’re doing this, it can be a good time to prepare your guerrilla grow spot for your plants!
PREPARING YOUR OUTDOOR GUERRILLA GROW SPOT
There are some things that you should do to prepare your grow spot before you start planting. You may want to put up extra protection against animals, or camouflage your location. Likewise, most growers bring in outside soil to grow their plants, as natural soil is not always ideal for raising healthy and productive specimens.
In this case, start out by digging a hole for your plant, and filling it with a rich growing medium of soil, coco, and perlite, if possible. The hole should be big enough to accommodate the spread of roots into nutritious soil.
Although the above process requires only one visit, watering becomes a little more complicated. Frequently watering your plant out in the wild can be challenging. A good way to go about this is to mix water-absorbing polymers into your substrate. These polymers are like water-filled gels that can absorb and store water, which they slowly release so your plants can drink during dry spells. When you add mulch and cover your growing spot with straw, this can also help keep water from evaporating so that the soil in your grow spot will stay moist for longer.
You can also consider adding slow-release nutrients to your substrate. You should be able to source the substrate, polymers, and the slow-release nutrients from any good garden centre or grow shop.
After digging the hole and filling it with a suitable substrate, you can finally plant your seedling or seed. Water your plant well until all the soil in its surroundings is moist.
CAMOUFLAGING YOUR GUERRILLA GROW
The possibility that your secret grow spot could be discovered is arguably the biggest risk with guerrilla growing. Because of that, you want to camouflage your growing area.
Ideally, your grow spot should already be hidden enough that you don’t need to go through much effort to conceal it. If necessary, you can use the surrounding vegetation to hide your plants by constructing a sort of natural fence, making it necessary to move these plants out of the way to access your hidden crop.
Then again, there will always be a small risk that your plants could be discovered, no matter how well you hide them. This is the reason that guerrilla growers often spread their plants around in multiple locations, rather than relying on one single spot. In other words: don’t put all your eggs in one basket! If you plant your weed in more locations, any unexpected happenings will not result in the failure of your entire crop.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR PLANTS
Outdoors, a lot can happen to your plants since they will be susceptible to all nature has to offer. You can increase protection of your cannabis plants by making simple cages out of chicken wire. These should at least keep larger animals like birds and deer away from your plants. When you visit your guerrilla grow, you should also make a habit of checking for common signs of pest infestation. Some natural pesticides such as neem oil can work in a preventative way so you can decrease the chances for common pests, such as aphids, to appear. Online, as well as in grow stores, you can find a number of products to repel deer, rabbits, and other animals.
EXTRA TIPS TO KEEP YOUR GUERRILLA GROW UNDER THE RADAR
As you will likely go to your secret cannabis plantation fairly often, avoid always taking the same route. A fresh path out in the wild could draw suspicion, so take a different way as often as you can. If you notice that you leave footprints, cover them up with dirt.
It can also be helpful to prepare a credible story for the eventuality of someone seeing you near your spot and asking what you’re doing. You could, for example, carry a camera or binoculars on you and say you’re bird-watching. And if there’s a lake or a river nearby, you could carry fishing equipment to conceal what you’re doing. Needless to say, when you have gotten away with your story, it would be smart to look for another growing location.
FEEDING AND WATERING YOUR OUTDOOR PLANTS
Unless you added polymers to your substrate as mentioned earlier, you will need to water your plants regularly. For this, you can simply observe your local weather. If it didn’t rain for a week or longer, chances are your plants will be thirsty.
If you’re using slow-release nutrients mixed with your substrate, your plants may do well throughout their entire life without you needing to feed them. Otherwise, make sure that you give them sufficient nutrients so they can grow and stay healthy. When you’re purchasing cannabis nutrients, make sure that they are suitable to use in soil outdoors.
KEEP YOUR PLANTS DRY IN FALL
Watering your plants frequently is important, but so is keeping them dry as the weather gets rainy at the beginning of fall. Especially in our European climate, extended days of rainfall can increase the risk for mould to grow, which could spoil your entire harvest. When you visit your plants, shake the excessive moisture from rain off the buds to decrease the risk for mould. If the weather doesn’t look as if it will get better at the end of summer, or it is expected to stay cold and rainy for weeks on end, you may want to harvest early so you can save your buds from rot.
TIPS FOR HARVESTING YOUR GUERRILLA-GROWN CANNABIS PLANTS
When it’s finally harvest time, it can help if you don’t get too excited that you rush things. Know that harvesting your outdoor guerrilla crops can be the most sensitive part of the entire grow. After all, you will likely be carrying back a whole bunch of juicy and aromatic buds, and you want to do this without drawing unwanted attention.
For harvesting, most guerrilla growers begin early in the morning before the sun comes up. You will need at least one large container where you can place your buds. Get a sealable container with a lid so that your harvest won’t raise suspicion from the smell. Quickly cut the branches and place them with the stem down into your container. This helps keep the buds intact. It shouldn’t require long until you have cut all the branches so you can take them home.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT STRAINS FOR YOUR GUERRILLA GROW
What makes growing cannabis outdoors exciting, yet also challenging, are the many factors that decide whether your grow may turn out awesome, or not so much. And not always can we keep these things under control. Mother Nature may bless your grow with optimal conditions to reward you with amazing yields, or she could be moody and spoil your plans with poor weather, rain, and pest infestations.
Although you cannot predict everything that will happen, you can greatly increase your chances for a successful outdoor guerrilla grow by selecting the right strains. This is because some cannabis cultivars are better suited to the outdoors than others. They may have increased resistance to mould and pests, or they may grow particularly short, making them ideal to grow under the radar. Here are 5 strains perfectly suited to a successful guerrilla grow.
TOP 5 CANNABIS STRAINS FOR GUERRILLA GROWING
Quick One by Royal Queen Seeds was one of the first and fastest autoflowering cannabis varieties on the market. This formidable indica-dominant auto is still great to grow today, and rewards with decent yields. She will not grow taller than 50–60cm, which makes her a particularly good guerrilla strain. Her entire life cycle is a short 8 weeks from seed to harvest, perfect for getting in and getting out fast!
When you’re growing weed outdoors in a secret location, this is known as guerrilla growing. In this post, we'll walk you through the guerrilla growing process.