There is no doubt that we are living a very productive period in the present cannabic world when it comes to breeding new varieties. We now have strains with very attractive and striking colours, but also an extensive range of aromas and effects that turn the growing of this beautiful plant into something even more engaging and exciting.
I’m not going to use this article to focus on all of these changes. One or other plant, that will appear later in the article, will show some of these reddish noteworthy colours. But I will focus on something that, in my opinion, is where the biggest and most significant developments are taking place: the autoflowering strains. To anyone unfamiliar with this type of Cannabis plant, their distinguishing characteristic is their capacity to flower regardless the number of hours of light they are subjected to. They are not photo-dependent and since they are germinated they have a predisposition to flower and die, which makes it impossible to keep them as mother plants.
As we know there are 3 varieties of Cannabis. Two of them being photo-dependent (needing 12 hours of continuous and complete darkness everyday to start flowering) and psychoactive (containing high concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids). These are known as Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. The other variety is Cannabis Ruderalis, which is very low in THC and known for a low psychoactive effect. But nevertheless there was something in Cannabis Ruderalis that captured the breeders’ attention. It was the capacity to flower regardless of the hours of darkness per day that the plants are subjected to. These plants are not bothered with light contaminations during the night cycle and they even produce bigger flowers if we give them a longer light period, like for example 18 hours of continuous light and 6 hours of darkness (per day).
To create these first autoflowering strains the breeders crossed Cannabis Ruderalis plants (neither photo-dependent or psychoactive) with Cannabis Sativa or Indica plants (photo-dependent and psychoactive). With time, the levels of psychoactive effect have been increased in autoflowering plants and only the specimens with the highest psychoactive levels are used for breeding new strains.
It should be pointed out that Sweet Seeds has performed great work throughout the years, working with consciousness to create top quality, autoflowering plants. In which the taste, effect and growth pattern can be very similar to that of feminised plants, shortening the fine thread that separates them, year after year, generation after generation.
This year Sweet Seeds surprises us with the recent 4th Generation Autoflowering strains, finding ourselves in the presence of a quantitative and qualitative advance in this kind of plant. This advance can be really significant and gratifying if they are grown under ideal growing parameters that allow them to show all their potential. They are voracious plants and show a much more vigorous growth pattern when compared to their previous generations, making it important to use a good soil mix. But even more important than that, they should be allowed to receive as much hours of direct light as possible.
To create these new strains the breeders introduced genes from very tall, mostly Sativa plants, something that provides them a more vigorous growth. This allows for larger sized plants that are more productive than their previous generations. With structure and final results very similar to photoperiod plants. As a matter of fact, growing the new 4th Generation Autoflowering strains together with photoperiod plants, the “harvest per day” ratio tends to be higher with autos as, in only 8 weeks from germination, you will be getting multiple high caliber buds. While with photoperiod plants you would need to add an extra month of growth before you flip them to flower.
Now I’m going to talk about and show pictures of an indoor grow that I recently finished with Sweet Trainwreck Auto. I’ll also share some pictures of a grow from a friend of mine who harvested some beautiful flowers of Ice Cool Auto, Bloody Skunk and Devil Cream. All of them 4th Generation Autoflowering strains from Sweet Seeds.
Sweet Trainwreck Auto is a marvellous 4th generation autoflowering strain that develops a branchy structure, strong enough to hold the tight and dense buds produced. All this with very fast growth, exceeding the previous versions of autoflowering strains in height and production. Sweet Trainwreck Auto is a very easy to grow strain that is perfectly adapted to indoor and outdoor growing, with some plants reaching more than a meter in height.
In order to obtain this genetic, jumping from 3rd to 4th generation, the Sweet Seeds breeders crossed tall structured autoflowering genetic lines leaning to the Sativa side with a Trainwreck elite clone that is very famous in dispensaries across the USA. The result is a very fruity and sweet taste, with citrus hints. It features a very well balanced Indica/Sativa effect. Production is very substantial and the plants can be harvested only 8 weeks after germination.
THC: 17-20% CBD: 1% CBN: 0,2%
Indoor/Outdoor Harvest: 8 weeks from germination
Light cycle: 20 hours ON / 4 hours OFF, from germination to harvest
Power of light: Vegetative phase with 200w CFL / Flowering phase with 600w HPS
Number of Plants: 9 plants in 1 square meter (3 plants in 20 litre pots and 6 plants in 10 litre pots)
Total time: 8 weeks
Nutrients: Bio Canna range + Magical during flowering
Soil mix: Kilomix by Atami
1 – From the jiffy pellet to the small pot. First week of life.
Light: 200w CFL
All the seeds were sprouted in a glass of water with a few drops of H2O2 added. Then they were passed into jiffy peat pellets soaked in water + CannaStart and remained there for 3 days. Before I even saw the roots appearing, I transplanted them to 4x4cm pots where they then remained until their 8th day of life. I also provided them with continuous air renovation and a fan to stir the plants a bit helping to avoid spindly growth.
2 – The beginning of flowering. 2nd week from germination.
Light: 600w HPS
The plants responded well to the last transplant. It was performed on day 10 from germination and the plants remained in these pots until harvest. I would also like to mention that I introduced a change in my grow parameters and I think it was a good choice. This time I used Airpots and I could observe how beneficial they can be when growing autoflowering plants. Mainly due to their ventilation system, getting more air into the soil mix and allowing for very healthy and fast growth in plants.
I often advise the use of big pots but always together with the use of rich soil mixes that are light and airy to help with fast root development. Sweet Trainwreck Auto is a very fast and demanding plant in that sense, which means that every helping hand we can give her will be more than welcome by the plant.
This time I used two different pot sizes to compare the final height and production. I had 6 plants in 10 litre pots and 3 plants in 20 litre pots.
3 – Flowering time. 5th week from germination.
Light: 600w HPS
Nutrients: Bioboost + Rhizotonic + Magical + Cannazym
The growth pattern of this strain is very interesting to watch, they grow very fast, showing a lot of vigour and the changes are visible in a very short space of time.
Around the 24th day from germination I started to stimulate flowering with Bioboost using the maximum dosage and kept on until the 7th week. From the 5th week on, it became necessary to add Magical in some plants that were in the 10 litre pots and already consumed all the nitrogen available in the soil. Using Calcium and Magnesium between the 5th and the 6th week is a good way of helping a plant that shows signs of yellowing, weakness or loss of brilliance when flowering is starting. With this and adding also a bit of bloom nutrients, we can ensure that we will have a healthy plant until harvest time.
It’s convenient to use enzymes on a weekly basis to decompose the traces of dead roots and convert them into nutrients that can be used by the plant. I like to use it simply mixed in the water.
4 – Flower ripening. 7th week of life.
Light: 600w HPS
Nutrients: Bioboost + Rhizotonic + Bioflores + Cannazym
Plants developed a lot of branches with multiple dense buds, all covered in resin. In fact the trichome production is copious and the aroma produced by them is incredibly sweet. It features some citrus and liquorice tones that will make you wish to be around the plants all the time. In the end your nose ends up sticky from the resin and you’ll be able to take part of that aroma with you.
The last 2 weeks were crucial for flowers to ripe properly and get that extra dense look to them. To help I used another additive, an organic bloom liquid nutrient solution named Bio Flores, from Canna. While reducing the Magical dosage, I increased the EC value with this liquid nutrient until it reached 1400ms and the plants absorbed it very well. As this fertilizer lowers the pH considerably, I used Bioboost and also added Rhizotonic to raise the pH value and leave it at around 6.2 – 6.6.
5- Harvesting the fruits. 8th week of life.
Light: 600w HPS
Nutrients: Cannaflush and Cannazym
We arrive at the 8th week from germination and most of the plants are ready to be harvested. A phenotype may need an extra week but as a compensation it will produce more and larger flowers.
Originally published in Weed World Magazine 112