It took a while until Serious Seeds jumped onto the auto flowering wagon, with its own auto strain; such things always take a bit longer there, but of course the laudable reason for this is to be found in the high quality demand that Serious Seeds is committed to for the sake of the customer. They never get into a rush; don’t hastily throw poor or mediocre strains onto the market just to follow a current hype as fast as possible.
For a long time now, the auto flowering breeding experiments had been going on in the test gardens of Serious Seeds and it took Simon, the owner and breeder of Serious Seeds, more than two years to develop his very first auto strain, which is Autoflowering White Russian #1 (AWR #1). This legendary strain with 22% THC, is a superb evergreen which ranks amongst the most potent strains there are, being mostly indica cross of Serious Seeds’ own AK-47 and the famous White Widow. Simon chose Joint Doctor’s Lowryder #2 as a breeding partner for White Russian to create Autoflowering White Russian #1 (Lowryder #2 x White Russian). The addition “#1” indicates that Serious Seeds aims at advancing this strain in the future, so Autoflowering White Russian #2 will follow one day and Simon honestly admits that AWR #1 isn’t perfect yet. While its flavor and potency are already excellent, it still produces two different phenotypes, one with a more airy flower cluster formation, yielding less than the second one, which has denser buds and is predominant, luckily. So yields can vary between 10-20 grams according to Serious Seeds, which may sound quite little compared to the auto strain harvest figures other seed banks are promising. But according to my experience, quite a lot of other auto strains do fall into the 10-20 grams category as well in truth… while Serious Seeds doesn’t promise any misleading figures. AWR #1 has a life cycle of 70-80 days from seed (after germination) to end and arrives at heights of between 70-100 cm. However, Serious Seeds puts much emphasis on the fact that using large pots right from the beginning is of the upmost importance for tapping into the full potential of AWR #1. While of course also other factors such as light and temperature have an influence on this, he has found out in two big pot comparison cultivation experiments that for bigger heights and yields, it is crucial to use big pots, e.g. 9 litres and also to directly plant germinated seeds into a big pot and not into a small pot first:
“In one grow we used small pots with soil first, when the plants had a few true leaves, they were transplanted into bigger pots, 9 litres. Final plant heights were around 40 cm mainly, some about 60 cm. But a second test of 80 seeds, which we put into the same 9 litre pots right after germination, yielded plants of generally 80-100 cm with some of 110-120 cm. This led me to believe that the response given from the taproot when it hits an impenetrable wall, (the bottom of a small pot) apparently directly influences the end height of the plant. Also, if the plants are root-bound in a small pot at an early stage already, flowering seems to set in earlier. But I still have to run a direct 50% small pots / 50% big pots head to head comparison to ultimately prove all this.”
The results of a German outdoor grower reconfirmed what Simon had found out, so using pots of at least 9 litres and direct seed planting is a rewarding thing and can be considered an essential factor already.
The more light you give to the Autoflowering White Russian #1 the better the growth and bloom performance will be, so lights on all around the clock is recommended.
As for outdoor cultivation, Simon underlines that AWR #1 may be susceptible to mildew in periods of continuously rainy weather, recommending controlling the plants every day and possibly harvesting a bit earlier if there is mildew found and the plants are close to maturation.
Two other German growers, Mr. Power Planter and Ellis D, put Autoflowering White Russian #1 to the test this summer, both under natural light, in the garden and on the balcony respectively. However, Ellis D started his cultivation cycle three weeks earlier than Mr. Power-Planter, on June 2th. At that time he didn’t know about the rule to use big pots and not to transplant from smaller to bigger pots, nor did Mr. Power Planter. So Ellis D started three seeds in Jiffy pots and after germination, he planted the Jiffies into one-litre pots first, filled with seedling soil. As the weather was bad, cold and rainy, he decided to put the seedlings under two fluorescent lights when the weather was cloudy or rainy and only put them onto the balcony when there was sunshine. Also, he extended the photoperiod to about 22 hours by using the lights. He kept it like this for five weeks. In the meantime, after 12 days, Ellis D had transplanted them into 6.5 litre pots filled with Plagron Standard Mix soil. After three weeks, the three AWR #1 plants had grown very compact, measuring 18, 21 and 23 cm in height. At that point of time, all of them had produced their first female pre-flowers, so they were just about to enter into the flowering stage. After five weeks, the weather got much better with lots of sunshine and there was a good stable forecast for the following weeks as well, so the plants were solely grown on the balcony now. Both the flowering effect and sunshine encouraged the plants to keep on stretching a bit in the first three weeks of flowering, but at the age of six weeks, height growth seemed to have stopped, at a height of only 24, 30 and 33 cm, with short side branches, which as we know, was a result of the small pots Ellis D used in the beginning and the white blue spectrum of the fluorescent lights used in the first five weeks probably added to this.
But while the three AWR #1 plants were small in height, they were quite big in bud production, luckily! After eight weeks, i.e. five weeks of flowering, flower formation was already very dense and handsome, with the buds looking very much like indica, however, with a very appealing ratio of calyxes to leaves. And there was also a good amount of resin on the buds, spreading a fruity sweet scent. The medium plant though corresponded to the phenotype with a not so dense flower production, while equaling the others in terms of resin production. About two weeks later, when the plants had reached full maturity after life cycles of 71, 74 and 79 days, the three plants had built beautiful top colas of very respectable sizes, the two fatter ones even were chunky and rock-hard, reminding of the original White Russian strain. Ellis D was very pleased with the resin amounts produced by the three plants and their odor was fantastic, totally sweet and a bit fruity as well. Harvest work was done quickly and after Ellis D had dried the AWR #1 buds, he was not too surprised that the two better plants, in spite of their small height, with yields of 15 and 17 grams were ranging in the upper region of the harvest amount potential stated by Serious Seeds, thanks to an excellent bud structure. The third plant yielded 12 grams. Smoking the AWR #1 buds proved that this first Serious auto strain is amazingly potent, delivering a strong indica head and body turn that lasted for over an hour, not totally paralyzing Ellis D, but deeply relaxing him and in the end, when the effect was gone, also leaving him feeling kind of refreshed. Thumbs up also for the pleasantly sweet and mild taste.
Mr. Power Planter also grew three Autoflowering White Russian #1 plants, but in contrast to Ellis D, he directly planted the germinated seeds into 9 litre pots and he started three weeks later than his test colleague, which proved to be a good decision, as the weather improved two weeks later, getting warmer and brighter. Mr. Power Planter placed the AWR #1 plants into his south-facing garden one week after germination. Where they did very well, soon growing larger and taller than Ellis D’s plants, also with longer side branches. One plant was a bit smaller though than the other two. The auto flowering effect set in after 3-3.5 weeks and in the following weeks yielded surprisingly fat roundish top buds that also were pretty resinous, just like Ellis D’s plants, in fact, even a bit more, leading to a stronger odor but otherwise was very much the same, fruity sweet. Mr. Power Planter’s AWR #1 plants were ripe after 72, 74 and 79 days. In the end they had arrived at heights of 37, 49 and 55 cm, yielding accordingly more than Ellis D’s ones: 18, 21 and 23 grams, so the yield figures stated by Serious Seeds were even slightly exceeded by two plants, and the rule to use big pots and plant seeds directly into the end pot was once again confirmed.
Mr. Power-Planter also was impressed very much by the indica strength of Autoflowering White Russian #1, considering it the most potent auto strain smoke experience he has had so far. Now both Ellis D and Mr. Power Planter are looking forward to Auto Kali Mist (the next Serious auto strain to be released in the future, already under construction), Auto AK-47, Auto Bubble Gum and Auto Chronic…
Green Born Identity – G.B.I.
Originally published in Weed World Magazine 102