Outdoor growing is the best. Outdoor pot by far is the strongest, since it gets more light, it’s naturally more robust. No light leak problems. No dark periods that keep you out of your grow room. No electricity bills.
Sunlight tends to reach more of the plant, if your growing in the direct sun. Unlike growing indoors, the bottom of the plant will be almost as developed as the top.
Outdoors, outside of a greenhouse, there are many factors that can kill your crop. Deer will try to eat them. Chipmonks and rodents too. Bugs will inhabit them, and the wind and rain can whip your little buds to pieces if they are exposed to strong storms. For this reason, indoor pot can be better than outdoor, but the best smoke I ever tasted was outdoor pot, so that tells you something; nothing beats the sun.
Put up a fence and make sure it stays up. Visit your plot at least once every two weeks, and preferably more often if water needs demand.
It’s a good idea to use soil if you don’t have a green house, since hydroponics will be less reliable outside in the open air, due mostly to evaporation.
Light exposure is all important when locating a site for a greenhouse or outdoor plot. A backyard grower will need to know where the sun shines for the longest period; privacy and other factors will enter in as well. Try to find an innocuous spot that gets full winter sun from mid morning to mid afternoon, at least from 10-4, preferably 8-5. This will be really asking for a lot if you live north of 30 degrees latitude since days are short in winter. Since most gardeners will not want to use the greenhouse in the middle of the winter, you can still use winter sun as an indicator of good spring and fall lighting exposures. Usually the south side of a hill gets the most sun. Also, large areas open to the sun on the north side of the property will get good southern exposures. East and West exposures can be good if they get the full morning/afternoon sun and mid-day sun as well. Some books say the hemp plants respond better to morning-only sun, verses afternoon-only sun, so if you have to choose between the two, morning sun may be better.
Disguise your greenhouse as a tool shed, or similar structure, by using only one wall and a roof of white opaqued plastic, PVC, Filon, or glass, and using a similar colored material for the rest of the shed, or painting it white or silvery, to look like metal. Try to make it appear as if it has always been there, with hemp plants and trees that grow around it and mask it from view while allowing sun to reach it.
Filon (corrugated fiberglass)or PVC plastic sheets can be used outside to cover young hemp plants grown together in a garden. Buy the clear greenhouse sheets, and opaque them with white wash (made from lime) or epoxy resin tinted white or grey and painted on in a thin layer. This will pass more sun than white PVC or Filon, and still hide the hemp plants. Epoxy resin coats will preserve the Filon for many more seasons than it would otherwise last. It will also allow you to disguise the shed as metal, if you paint the clear filon sheets with a thin layer of resin tinted light grey. Paint will work as well, but may not protect as much. Be careful to use only as much as needed, to reduce sun blockage to a minimum.
Dig a big hole, don’t depend on the plant to be able to penetrate the clay and rubble unless your sure of the quality of topsoil in the area. Grassy fields would have good top soil, but your back yard may not. This alone can make the difference between an average 5’ tall plant, and a 10’ monster by harvest time. Growing in the ground will always beat a pot, since the plant will never become root bound in the ground. Plants grown in the ground should grow much larger, but will need more space for each plant, so plan accordingly, you can’t move them once they’re in!
You may want to keep outdoor hemp plants in pots so they can be easily moved. A big hole will allow the pot to be place in it, thus reducing the height of the plant, if fence level is an issue. Many growers find pots have saved a crop that had to be moved for some unexpected reason (repairman, appraiser, fire, etc.).
It’s always best to put a roof over your hemp plants outdoors. When I was a lad, we had hemp plants growing over the fence line in the back yard. We started to build a greenhouse roof for them, and a cop saw us hauling wood, thought we were stealing it (which we were not) and looked over the fence at us and our lovely hemp plants. We were busted, because he saw them. If he had seen a shed roof instead, there would never have been a problem. Moral of the Story: build the roof BEFORE the hemp plants are sticking over the fence! Or train them to stay well below it. Live and learn…
When growing away from the house, in the wild, water is the biggest determining factor, after security. Water must be close by, or close to the soil surface, or you will have to pack water in. Water is heavy and this is very hard work. Try to find an area close to a source of water if possible, and keep a bucket nearby to carry water to your plot.
A novel idea in this regard is to find high water in the mountains, at altitude, and then route it down to a lower spot close by. It is possible to create water presure in a hose this way, and route it to a drip system that feeds water to your hemp plants continuously. Take a 5 gallon gas can, and punch small holes in it. Run a hose out of the main orifice and secure it somehow. Bury the can in a river or stream under rocks, so that it is hidden and submerged. Bury the hose coming out of it, and run it down hill to your garden area. A little engineering can save you a lot of work, and this rig can be used year after year.