Dutch Passions 1st Prize in the 2016 Highlife Cup with AutoNight Queen confirms what a lot of auto growers already knew, autos are just as good as photoperiod varieties for quality-focussed home growers.
AutoNight Queen grows from seed to harvest in 70 days, she is usually grown indoors under 20 hours of daily light, and the original Afghani Kush genetics produce the same potency as a top quality traditional variety. Autos really have become an easy way for the home grower to produce their own championship quality cannabis no matter how small there budget and grow space. One unusual feature of the indica AutoNight Queen is the very low plant hight, its an ideal variety for anyone with limited grow space and restricted vertical hight in their growing area.
As any experienced indica grower will tell you, size really is not everything. Some of the best indica genetic lines produce small, bushy plants. These genetics may not overgrow your indoor tent in the same way that a leggy sativa can, but if you are growing exclusively for quality then sometimes its difficult to beat a proven indica prizewinner. Often these purebred indica genetics will deliver some of the most dense and compact buds, the best genetic lines will combine that with a knockout body stone and a shimmering coating of sticky trichomes.
What makes the purebred gene bank indica Afghan genetics interesting for auto breeding is the instant compatibility they show for it. In the early days of auto breeding it was not always easy to ensure the potency of auto varieties. But in the last 10 years the best seed companies have learned the necessary breeding disciplines required to optimise both potency and yield from autoflowering varieties. Interestingly for Dutch Passion, it was the Afghan Kush genetics that really hit the spot quickly when we were looking to create a hard-hitting indica auto.
Indica varieties from ‘Northern Lights’ genes have also been tried. But so far at least, its the Afghan Kush genetics which have really exceeded expectations when it has come to sheer potency of Indica dominant autos. Some people suggest this is due to an inherent natural geographical compatibility/proximity between the Hindu Kush genetics and the Ruderalis origins of autoflowering varieties. But whatever the reasons, its reassuring for auto growers that some of their preferred varieties are now routinely outscoring traditional photoperiod varieties in blind smoke trials.
Feedback from the cannabis home growing community has thrown up some fascinating observations for those seed companies that are still interested in surveying their customer opinions. Its fascinating to see how attitudes to self-sufficient cannabis growing have evolved over the last few years. One of the main reasons people give for growing autos is the simplicity and lack of growing experience required to get great results. You don’t even have to adjust the light cycle to 12/12 to induce the change to plant hormones that initiate blooming. With autos the whole process of growth, development and bloom is automatically taken care of by the plant. All you do is germinate the seed and add water. Dutch Passion, and the other premium seed companies, have seen first time growers achieve spectacular results with feminized auto seeds. To most home growers the simplification that autos bring has been a welcome relief. And to novice growers auto seeds have been an unbelievably simply path into the world of home grown.
One of the single biggest benefits brought by autos is the emergence of the perpetual auto indoor grow tent. This is simply a tent on a permanent light cycle of 20 hours of daily light followed by 4 hours of darkness. A typical auto will start to show female pre-flowers around 3-4 weeks after germination on a 20/4 cycle. And plants are usually ready to harvest in 10-11 weeks. Many people add a new seed to their grow tent every 2-3 weeks, and harvest a mature cannabis plant at the same time. Because autos grow independently of the light cycle you can have small, medium and mature plants all in the same tent on the same light cycle. Thats a major advantage over traditional photoperiod varieties which require separate tents (with different light regimes in each) in order to have plants at different veg and bloom stages of their development.
And with short, bushy indica autos such as AutoNight Queen you can get a 100g++ harvest from a short plant which will often stay at 50-75cm or less. This means you can confidently grow in small waist-hight closets and tents, and still get top-notch cannabis at the end. Autos make it possible to grow cannabis in new ways, and smaller places, than ever before. Even if you have no experience at all.
Autos are a hit with outdoor growers too. Many people plant a couple of auto varieties outdoors when the night time minimum temperatures start to reach/exceed 10ºC. For some growers in Mediterranean climates that can mean 3 successive outdoor auto crops each year. And for growers in cooler climates, such as Northern Europe it will mean plants going outdoors in May/June and harvesting around August. Remember that autos are easier to hide than traditional 3m+ photoperiod varieties. Autos will often stay smaller than traditional varieties outdoors, making them easier to grow behind your tomatoes and garden plants.
Greenhouses are also a great place to grow autos, by protecting your cannabis plants from the worst of the early and late season weather you can get more crops and bigger harvests.
However you choose to grow your autos its reassuring to know that the genetics are now right up there with the best performing traditional cannabis genetics. With plenty of research going into further genetic improvements you can be confident that the future is only getting brighter for fans of autoflowering cannabis varieties.