If you've ever picked up a juicy bud and wondered, "What gives weed its flavour…
As the days get colder and shorter, many cannabis growers in South Africa will be bringing their setups indoors for winter. If you have the disposable income to find a full-indoor setup, well done, you’re a ‘wealth-smith’.
To say that outdoor conditions in South Africa during winter are less than ideal to grow cannabis, is a mild understatement. But you can adapt certain elements and reap a decent crop.
This crop will be a little underwhelming. Now let’s jump in with seed choice.
Select an Autoflowering Strain
With longer nights, lower temperatures, and general bad weather ahead you will need a plant to flower quickly.
Autoflowering strains will deliver a fast grow with the entire grow cycle completed within 10-11 weeks.
While we know you want all the seeds off the shelf – just wait! You need some extra information!
While we’ve all discussed the differences between Indicas and Sativas, there’s a third “variant”, cannabis ruderalis.
The botany world is still trying to decide if this should be classified as a third strain or just a subspecies.
What makes ruderalis interesting is that it can grow in harsh cold climates like Russia and can begin to flower in 21 – 30 days. And just a nice little fact, the word ruderal in the plant world means it is a plant that grow despite the environmental conditions.
As there’s little to no real record of ruderalis, we can only assume that they’re a descendant of indica genetics, and was introduced to the harsh frigid north by humans. The plant just decided to survive.
Most autoflowering seeds come from a plant that has some ruderalis genetic makeup in it.
This means, your autoflowering strain should be good for the South African winter. And if you want to be doubly sure, select a hardy Indica.
Now that we’ve decided what seed you’re going to use, time to talk about rain and the cold.
Winter Rain and the cold!
Depending where you are in the country your winter’s rainfall will differ as well as the general temperature.
In Cape Town winters you can expect an average of 93mm of rainfall during the wettest month of June. This means you’ll need to make sure that the cannabis baby has a little cover.
If you can, during its early grow stages, make sure to cover it with a cut-in-half cool drink bottle. This does come with a few drawbacks, like humidity, but it is a cheap option.
You should get a greenhouse. Like the one in the free stock image below. You can pick one up at any garden centre.
They are available at most garden centers. You can also purchase one from Takealot.com. We suggest going for a slightly more premium brand, like Good Roots, as investing in a poor quality greenhouse will mean you have it for a single season.
Then, with Johannesburg, the frigid temperatures and potential for frost will be a challenge to overcome.
Cannabis, and especially indica autoflowers, are pretty hardy plants. But this being said, one cold snap and they could die.
In June, the average high temperature is 16°C and average low is 4°C. When soil temperatures drop below 16°C it can affect the plants’ health, root systems, and lead to stunted growth.
Above ground, frost will kill off even the healthiest vegetation. A tip is to make sure your plant is in a smallish pot that you can easily move around.
So, when the temperatures are dropping you can bring that little baby inside.
Beware of the light!
This movement out and indoors will cause strain on your plant – we know you love it but it’s hard being a plant on the move.
And if you have an indoor light to help it out during the dark days, it could trigger a “light stress condition” of revegetation.
Revegetation occurs when your plant has started to flower outdoors and after you’ve brought it inside you’ve now given it more indoor light (think long cold snap on the high-veld). This blast of light will send the plant back to a vegetative state and put more stress on the plant.
There are many things to consider when growing outdoors during winter.
But make sure you understand that you should lower your expectations.
No plant will produce the best outdoor buds during this period.
But you can grow outdoors – AND – we’d strongly suggest making a greenhouse structure with some sort of heating element.