5. Giving your cannabis plants the right amount of water for Sacramento.
Because we don’t get a lot of rain or groundwater (and even if we did, it won’t make its way naturally into your greenhouse) you’ll probably need to water your plants frequently, especially during summertime. In hot weather, larger cannabis plants can use up to 10 gallons of water per day. During the hot summer months in Sacramento, we recommend digging down to place clay soil or rocks below the planting holes to slow drainage. Or, you could plant in shallow depressions that act to funnel runoff toward your plants. Another good way to improve water retention is to add water-absorbing polymer crystals to your soil.
We recommend filtering the water that you use to water your plants, as Sacramento’s water can sometimes contain high levels of dissolved minerals that may build up in your soil. This may affect the pH level, or even have high levels of chlorine which can damage and even kill soil life.
But on the other side of the coin, be careful of overwatering. A general rule of thumb is to water deeply, and then wait until the top inch of soil is dry before watering again.
6. Going with a container garden? Here’s what you need to know for Sacramento.
If you don’t have ideal soil conditions, or if you want to be able to move your plants around in your greenhouse when it gets too hot in the Sacramento heat, a container garden might be the way to go. It’s typically easier, physically, to take on a container grow as it doesn’t require as much physical exertion (digging holes, amending the soil, etc) as planting straight into the ground. It also takes most of the guesswork out of fertilizing your plants, because regular cannabis nutrients designed for indoor grows will work just fine. But, there are some drawbacks. Your plants will probably be a little smaller due to the restricted root size. A general rule of thumb is that, typically, the size of your container will determine the size of your plant. If you want smaller plants, 5-gallon containers are perfect for you. However, if you want heartier plants, 10-gallon containers or larger is recommended.
Because of the Sacramento heat, you need to be aware of overheating the roots of your plants, especially in containers. Containers with soil can easily reach 90°F or more on a hot day, so you need to be prepared by shading your containers from direct sunlight. Container gardens also require much more water than garden planted in the ground. We recommend watering deeply in the morning so that they have a sufficient supply throughout the day. Check on them again in afternoon to make sure they have enough water and that your plants aren’t overheating.
7. Protecting your cannabis plants from Sacramento’s environmental threats.
Some of the most common environmental threats to cannabis plants are temperature changes, pests, rain, and wind. Since we don’t get too much rain or wind in Sacramento, let’s focus on the first two: temperature changes and pests.
Temperature changes and seasonal events could damage your plants if you’re not aware of how to prevent them. We’ve gone over how to prepare for extremely hot temperatures, but it’s also known to get a little chilly in Sacramento winters. On nights where temperatures reach below 40°F, or when it gets frosty outside, using solutions within your greenhouse like cold frames, hot caps, cloches, or other protective enclosures will be your best bet.
Like any garden everywhere, pests are… well, pests! Your greenhouse should protect you from most of them, but in the case that it doesn’t, here’s what you need to know.
If you have healthy plants, most flourishing plants have their own natural resistance to small pest infestations. But you also need to take preventative measures to make sure a small infestation doesn’t turn into a big one. Keeping your plants separated from other flowers, ornamentals, and vegetables will keep the pests on other plants from spreading to your cannabis plants. This is another place your greenhouse will come in handy. You also need to be examining and inspecting your plants daily for signs of pests. Catching an infestation early will save you a lot of time, energy, and money. For minor infestations, washing your plants with a mild solution of soap and water has been known to work. If it doesn’t, there are a number of organic insecticides that have been designed specifically for cannabis plants. These are usually derived from natural botanical extracts like neem, and they are usually effective when used correctly.
8. Seeds vs. clones.
Growing from seeds or from clones both have their benefits and disadvantages. Cloning requires what’s known as a “mother plant”. A mother plant is kept under a light for 16-24 hours a day to prevent it from flowering. The benefit of having a mother plant and using clones is that mother plants are known to produce quality flower, and all of the resulting clones will be female plants which means they’ll have the same characteristics. However, with clones, the plants tend to be smaller and yield less.
If you’re interested in growing with seeds, they tend to be more resilient in lower temperatures and in wetter conditions so it’ll be easier to plant them in the ground during winter or spring. They also tend to be more adaptable to the heat and other weather conditions that occur in Sacramento. However, with seeds, you can never really be sure what you’ll end up with plant-wise. People tend to choose only feminized seeds because seeds, in general, will produce both males and females, and you need only the females.