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Northern grow: frost protection

LiaK

New Member
Hi. I just moved to Michigan and am planning my first outdoor grow for next year. I have been growing indoors in, um, a different state, for several years now. Michigan is my home state and I held a Master Gardener's cert for 11 years while living here, so it's not totally new territory for me. This girl likes some sativa and this girl lives in a zone 5b area, which means frost can happen any day now.

With consideration to Michigan laws regarding grow enclosures my thinking is to build a fenced in enclosure which will be on the south side of my home. I will have to put up a privacy fence to prevent visibility from the west, but am otherwise clear. Being fenced or walled in on all sides, my idea was to add 6mil greenhouse covering when the weather cools. I should be able to hold off frost well into October. I can add a fan and venting once weather forces me to keep it covered 24 hours a day.

Even though we won't see less than 12 hours of sunlight until September 25th, my understanding is that the natural reduction in daylight hours will kick off bud development in August. Still, i plan to grow a variety- probably 2 each of 6 different cultivars in order to see what works and what doesn't, aiming for 8-10 week flowering Sativas, as well as a few indicas. And of course I will get a headstart indoors.

So, basically, my question is, for those with experience growing in the north - and maybe specifically with what i am planning, what am i missing? What can I expect? My biggest concern is bugs. But, having grown in only a controlled environment, I fully expect suprises.

Many thanks! Lia
 

BeezLuiz

Grow Journal of the Month: Nov 2018 - Plant of the Month: Dec 2020
Keep in mind that sativas tend to take longer to mature than indicas, so they might be a challenge in your region. While my region (Calif) is much further south than you (37 deg latitude), my outdoor plants typically begin flowering right after the summer solstice (14.4 hrs of daylight). The indicas are usually harvested late September, while the stativas last until mid October. I have a Killer Haze growing now that will probably not be ready until November. I know my growing region is much different than yours, but I just wanted to give you some reference info.
 

The Celt

Well-Known Member
Michigan has a similar latitude to Nova Scotia, although being near the ocean tends to moderate our climate more than it would be in Michigan, you should have no problem growing outdoors there.

Pretty much any strain the says 8-10 week flowering should do well there as long as it is a suitable strain for growing outdoors.

I have grown a number of Bomb strains, Blue Dream and Green Crack outdoors here and no worry about them finishing before freezing temperatures. A light frost or 2 will not hurt a mature plant but might cause moisture problems if they don’t dry quick enough the morning after, leading to PM and budrot issues.

Cannabis outdoors flowers under different rules than indoors, with most 8-10 week strains finishing by late September to mid October. They seem to ripen much faster when Mother Nature is tending their environment.

Poly film over the enclosure would ensure you could grow well into October provided the temperature doesn’t dip below freezing for more than a few hours a week.
 

LiaK

New Member
Thanks all. Yes. Mildew / rot might be an issue, especially if I leave the girls covered 24/7 - which may be necessary later in the season. I will hedge my bets and grow a good mix, but I am a stubborn one and am willing to spend several seasons on the learning curve.
 
I grow outdoors in MI and my garden plants are far better than my indoor efforts. It has been a "set it and forget it" process for the most part. Full strength nutes once a week and all the sprinkler water it wants (it's in the garden, after all). No bugs to speak of, maybe the MJ plant evolved with a strong chemistry to take care of that. Frost is a real concern, however. I started this year very late but it has started flowering now. I cage the plant due to prolific rabbits and deer so my plan is to wrap the cage in saran wrap and put a blanket over the cage in the event of an early frost. On last years plant, when I harvested in mid October there was some rot but the plant was big enough that I was ok with trimming off the rot parts and throwing them to the ground. I still have 2 full quart jars from that one. Btw, I grow in the ground with soil from my compost, no pots. It does smell but my neighbor is 200 yds away.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
Rabbits make great suppers! Deer, well, it'll fill a hole. Looks like you get to harvest more than just cannabis ;).
 
I'm a first time outside grower in Mi. Mine are taking off pretty good 10 feet tall..couple of the plants are getting good buds on them already .Hard part is keeping them out of vision.i have a privacy fence but with them getting so tall I hade to put a tent over top of them.i dont like the Michigan law that it has to be covered even on the top
 

DakiniKush

Well-Known Member
Hi. I just moved to Michigan and am planning my first outdoor grow for next year. I have been growing indoors in, um, a different state, for several years now. Michigan is my home state and I held a Master Gardener's cert for 11 years while living here, so it's not totally new territory for me. This girl likes some sativa and this girl lives in a zone 5b area, which means frost can happen any day now.

With consideration to Michigan laws regarding grow enclosures my thinking is to build a fenced in enclosure which will be on the south side of my home. I will have to put up a privacy fence to prevent visibility from the west, but am otherwise clear. Being fenced or walled in on all sides, my idea was to add 6mil greenhouse covering when the weather cools. I should be able to hold off frost well into October. I can add a fan and venting once weather forces me to keep it covered 24 hours a day.

Even though we won't see less than 12 hours of sunlight until September 25th, my understanding is that the natural reduction in daylight hours will kick off bud development in August. Still, i plan to grow a variety- probably 2 each of 6 different cultivars in order to see what works and what doesn't, aiming for 8-10 week flowering Sativas, as well as a few indicas. And of course I will get a headstart indoors.

So, basically, my question is, for those with experience growing in the north - and maybe specifically with what i am planning, what am i missing? What can I expect? My biggest concern is bugs. But, having grown in only a controlled environment, I fully expect suprises.

Many thanks! Lia
Your best bet is to start them early! Btw I'm jealous of your set up sounding nice. Anyway I'm in boston so I'm always worried about mold/rot I just start them On March first inside and put it out when the weather allows. Theres no way to totally avoid it in our Latitude other than keep an eye out and cut it out where you can. By starting them early you'll get an absolute monster so if a few buds rot who cares . I've tried every breeder, spray, fan on them still get some. Idk if this helps I just smoked sorry for rambling
 

SmokingWings

Well-Known Member
Hi. I just moved to Michigan and am planning my first outdoor grow for next year. I have been growing indoors in, um, a different state, for several years now. Michigan is my home state and I held a Master Gardener's cert for 11 years while living here, so it's not totally new territory for me. This girl likes some sativa and this girl lives in a zone 5b area, which means frost can happen any day now.
Welcome. A lot of Michigan people here. There is thread dedicated to those of us in Michigan on the message board. I have included the link below in case you want to stop by and say "Hi".

Zone B runs through the center of the state from the south up to somewhere around Grayling/Gaylord area where we start to encounter that hilly area that has some wicked cold snaps. If you are expecting frost any day now then you have to be up that way or in the band of 5b that circles that area.

https://www.420magazine.com/community/threads/michigan-growers-unite.461373/ <<<Click on link>

With consideration to Michigan laws regarding grow enclosures my thinking is to build a fenced in enclosure which will be on the south side of my home. I will have to put up a privacy fence to prevent visibility from the west, but am otherwise clear. Being fenced or walled in on all sides, my idea was to add 6mil greenhouse covering when the weather cools. I should be able to hold off frost well into October. I can add a fan and venting once weather forces me to keep it covered 24 hours a day.
I know that the medical growers have to jump through a lot of hoops with fencing. Not saying it is not there but I don't remember seeing anything about fencing all the way around the garden in the Recreational legislation/bill that the voters passed a few years ago. Only thing I remember is that if it takes an artificial means of seeing the number of plants in the garden it does not count in court or something like that. Example being using a telescope or binocular to see that someone has to many plants or flying a drone over it to get a photo to prove that there are to many. That sort of stuff is out. The plants have to be easily seen without any aid.

Even though we won't see less than 12 hours of sunlight until September 25th, my understanding is that the natural reduction in daylight hours will kick off bud development in August. Still, i plan to grow a variety- probably 2 each of 6 different cultivars in order to see what works and what doesn't, aiming for 8-10 week flowering Sativas, as well as a few indicas. And of course I will get a headstart indoors.

So, basically, my question is, for those with experience growing in the north - and maybe specifically with what i am planning, what am i missing? What can I expect? My biggest concern is bugs. But, having grown in only a controlled environment, I fully expect suprises.

Many thanks! Lia
Here in the southeast corner I figure that between the 5th and 15th of August the flowering cycle starts on the outdoor plants based on 3 years of growing until October. The 12 hour of dark seems to apply to indoor grows. Outdoors it seems to be the cycle starts when there is 12 hours on light low enough that photosynthesis does not start until an hour or so after dawn and stops about an hour or so before sunset. No photosynthesis and the plant starts producing the hormones that begin the flowering stage. By mid August we can start to see those pistils showing up and the buds starting to form. But being Up North you will probably have enough stretches of very cold temps to mean a shorter growing season.

I leave insects alone and so far there must be enough predators that they have kept the mites and chewing insects under control. Also we have plenty of herbs for the garden on the patio and other plants in the garden that seem to discourage the bad insects.

This guy spent several days hanging around one plant last summer catching some flying bugs and then it was gone. Click on the thumbnail and it should expand into the full sized photo or open up in another tab.
spider1.jpg
 

CigNv

Well-Known Member
Pretty much all of South East Michigan is under a Freeze/Frost warning tonight. Temps can dip as low as 32-35 in some places. If you have anything out right now, I would recommend covering them up if you can. Looking now to see what I have for mine, probably just a tarp of some kind over the whole area.

I am in Mid Michigan and my first time outdoor and most of what I have started flowering the first to second week of August. Stretch is all done now and they are starting to fatten up. GDP, Northern Lights, Drunken Gorilla and Grape Ape out there. 4-6 weeks and they should all be done or close to it.

Yes, Michigan recreational laws say the plants can not be seen from a public place with the unaided eye. So basically someone has to be standing on a publicly accessible road or land and be able to see what you are growing. If you meet that criteria, you are legal.
 

SmokingWings

Well-Known Member
It looks like all the big, and small, heat islands were OK last night. Dropped down to about 40-42 here in the bottom half of Macomb County but it looked like St. Clair county was frost bit except for in the small towns. The more rural areas got the nip.

I figure it just stops the Marijuana plants till it warms back up and then the growth process kicks back in. I worry more about the peppers and Zucchini and cucumbers more since frost will kill off those leaves.
 

CigNv

Well-Known Member
It got down to just over 32 here last might. Glad I covered them up. Peppers look ok so far, but time will tell if this killed any leaves.

Also looked up the proposal 1 wording for outdoor grows because I could not remember the enclosure rules.

"This act does not authorize"
"cultivating marihuana plants if the plants are visible from a public place without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids or outside of an enclosed area equipped with locks or other functioning security devices that restrict access to the area"
 

SmokingWings

Well-Known Member
"This act does not authorize"
"cultivating marihuana plants if the plants are visible from a public place without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids or outside of an enclosed area equipped with locks or other functioning security devices that restrict access to the area"
That is what I remember reading.

This, to me, is very wide open. There is no definition of enclosed area so a typical suburban back yard with a 4 foot cyclone fence would be OK as long as there are "locks or other functioning security devices" on the gate. And, no mention of just what qualifies as one of the other functioning security devices.
 

SmokingWings

Well-Known Member
Certainly would be a functioning security device.

I actually considered it, or barbed wire, but I am going with just keeping the plants from being visible by anyone standing at the fence.
 
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