Contributed by: olibrocoli
Here are a few tips to help people growing in northern countries (Canada & Alaska for example). The biggest problem (in northern climes) is frost;
frost during the spring can damage growing shoots on young plants and seedlings in the spring, and fall/winter frosts can cause problems during harvest. In summary, frost shortens the period of time we have to grow.
Here is how you can grow in a short season location, and still get huge
1. Start your plants indoors
Fluorescent lights will do a great job and are very cheap. If you start the plants in late March, you can easily have mature plants (at about 1 or 2 feet tall) for the beginning of June. If you top them , you\'ll have small bushes to plant. Plant during June, there is no more risk of late frost and the vegetation will already have started to grow, making your plants more stealth and less tempting for deer (or other animals)
2. Choose a growing location carefully
This is a crucial decision; you need a location with a lot of sun. It is best to prep the site by May for out-planting in June.
My tip would be to choose a place where your plants will NOT receive direct light in the morning. This way your plants will defrost slowly in the morning as the air is warming up, and will tolerate a couple of nights where temperatures go below 0C. This is important, because of lot of strains will need these extra days or weeks to be 100% ready for harvest.
If you can\'t find a spot like this, you can try to find a place near a river or a lake, because water will help mioderate night time temperatures.
If none of this is possible, try to water a lot your plants during the evening before a frost is forecast this should protect your roots from freezing
Valley bottoms have an earlier frost
If it is possible, you can plant very close to your house; the heat of the house will prevent early frost.
A friend told me that he planted his clones in buckets and buried them in the soil to give temperature protection to the roots. Plants in pots must be buried, or your soil /root zone will become hot during the day and more cold in the night this could unduly stress the plant.
Of course, you could use protective fences from the north wind, reflective surfaces or dark objects (warm up in the day and slowly release their heat in the night) but this are things that will decrease the stealth of your grow.
3. The choice of strain is very important
Forget about long flowering sativas - choose great strains with 9 or less weeks of flowering. Here are a few I know :
Northern Lights, M39 (Shiva Skunk), Freisland, C99, Early Pearl, Early Girl ( or any "early" ) Chemo, lowrider.
Look in Strain Guide for short period flowering strains. I also suggest to try some of the Canadian seed banks - they have outdoor strains adapted to early frost.
If you can , try 2 or 3 strains, you will have more chance to find the perfect one for your region.
Start clones during beginning of spring, choose a short or medium flowering time strain ( try different strains, you will find the best for your region) . Find a good spot who will prevent early frost and at the end of September or begining of October you should be able to enjoy the results of all your work!
When are average first and last frosts in the U.S. and Canada?
How do I prepare my outdoor plot?
GrowFAQ : Fertilizing & feeding : Outdoors
Beginners Outdoor Guide by Leaf