Cottage Q&A: Cultivating cottage pot

medical marijuana plant growing outside Photo by Filip Jedraszak/Shutterstock

Can I grow my own marijuana outside at the cottage? What if I’m only there on the weekends? —Cooper Smith-Piper, via email

Assuming that it’s legal to buy and plant seeds or cuttings in your province, and if no local bylaws would restrict you, then sure. “Cannabis plants are very resilient and not like other crops requiring daily attention,” said Scott Belton, a horticulture R&D specialist, and Katie Iarocci, a horticultural manager, both with Up Cannabis, in an email. “Weekend care is more than enough to get a harvest.”

They suggest that you start your plants from seed at home, though. Plant in February or March; grow them to at least a foot, then transplant the cuttings to the cottage no earlier than May Two-Four (later if there’s still frost).

Where should you put your new babies? The folks at Leafly recommend a spot with well-drained, slightly acidic soil that gets at least five or six hours of sunlight in a day and has some form of windbreak—a wall or a clump of shrubs.

Your two biggest hurdles will be the same hurdles for any cottage gardener: dry spells—you may need a trusted neighbour to water in the heat of the summer—and wildlife. In particular, deer. “They’ll mess around with your plants until the plants are quite large,” warned Belton and Iarocci. (Will the deer get stoned? Eat brownie batter and listen to Sublime? Sorry. We couldn’t get any zoologists to weigh in. We. Tried.) 

In any case, you’ll definitely need to deer-proof; a tall fence—minimum 2.5 metres high, because deer are spectacular jumpers—is usually the most reliable method. 

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