Hello Professor Lee,
I’m sitting in my house looking at a pack of auto-flowering feminized Kush seeds. I want to grow my plants in individual containers filled with Subcool’s TGA recipe for super soil, and I have a 1000-watt HID to raise them in a sea of green configuration. I’ve never grown auto-flower plants before. Is there anything I should never do or should always do? The packet they come with tells me how they take about 65 days to finish and very little else. Also, what is the best light cycle to use?
Thanks a lot.
Hunter, Telluride, CO
Auto Kush is a good strain, and auto-flowering plants can be fun to grow. The lower harvest weights are offset by the phenomenal speed at which the plants finish. With just a bit of advice, I can help you get the most out of your auto-flowering plants. There is a lot of debate about exactly what light cycle to use with auto-flowering strains. To keep things simple I’d say the best light cycles to use are either an eighteen on / six off cycle or a twenty on / four off cycle for the duration of the plant’s entire life. My preference is for the twenty on / four off. Once you pick a cycle, stick to it and don’t change it around. I find that it freaks the auto-flowering plants out a bit.
When growing auto strains for the first time the main thing to keep in mind is that the plants are not going to be around for very long – after all, that’s kind of the idea. So everything you do will be because time is of the essence. For instance, you won’t even have time to transfer the plants from container to container. The time they’d spend adjusting to the transfer would rob them of time to produce buds.
Instead start each seed in the container the plant will finish in. Using the feminized seeds will prevent you from wasting any space and time on males, but if you want to grow this strain again you’ll have to buy more seeds. Also, because auto-flower plants send down a particularly deep taproot an ideal container should be taller than it is wide. This makes the venerable five-gallon bucket an excellent choice.
Next, don’t try to prune the plants into a bushy profile, like you would a regular strain. Instead, allow the plant to grow into its natural shape. Just like with transplanting, the time the plant takes to recover from the pruning will reduce the amount of time it’ll have to produce those sweet buds. At the most, just remove any lower growth that falls below the budding zone of your 1000-watt HID. Because you’re using individual soil-filled containers it will be easy to rotate the plants around to make sure they get their fair share of the light.
These simple steps will make a big difference in the performance of your little plants. The important thing is that you enjoy trying something different.
Have Fun, Hunter!