Just 5 years ago most home-growers had never heard of automatic cannabis varieties. Today they account for a considerable pro- portion of the seeds sold by Dutch Passion. Other seedbanks will also tell you that auto- matic varieties have become mainstream best sellers. It’s a surprising rise to fame, especially to see it happen so quickly. On a personal level I have to confess that I was one of those that had my doubts about automatics, especially regarding yields and potency.
But remarkable things have come from the discovery that cannabis could be flowered under permanent light conditions. To some of the old-school breeders it has really been a revelation to be able to work with cannabis genetics which don’t need 12 hours of sleep each night. Being able to flower cannabis under permanent light allows a well-bred modern automatic to achieve spectacular results. Twice the amount of light energy is available for photosynthesis and with that comes the opportunity for the home-grower to get really heavy crops around 10-11 weeks after germinating the seed.
Feminized automatics varieties are sometimes known as AutoFem’s or simply called auto’s. You plant them like a normal cannabis seed, grow them in any system you wish – soil, coco or hydro. You can set the light cycle to be continuous 24-hour light. Or 20 hours light followed by 4 hours of darkness. It doesn’t matter too much, the cannabis seed germinates and starts to flower automatically after 3-4 weeks. After 10-11 weeks they are normally ready to harvest. Many regular auto growers routinely get crops of 100g or more. The most experienced growers can get 200 300g or more from a good auto. One of the reasons for their increased popularity is that they appeal to a wide range of growers.
First time growers. Less experienced home growers like the simplicity of automatics. They don’t need to understand the traditional vegetative and bloom growing cycles of the cannabis plant, nor do they really want to. The reason they grow-their-own is to be self-sufficient in pot and avoid the rip-off street prices. We have seen a huge amount of interest in auto’s specifically from new growers who want to get started with the minimum of hassle. They don’t even need a light timer switch. And if they grow feminized auto’s they don’t even need to understand about the difference between male and female plants. For the new grower auto’s are often considered the simplest and most straightforward way to start growing-your-own.
Loft growers. Many growers like to grow their crops in a loft or garage/outbuilding. These places can be cold during winter months, and for this reason it can be difficult growing traditional photoperiod varieties which require a 12-hour period of darkness. Heating mats or other heating devices may need to be used to maintain adequate temperatures. But we have had lots of feedback from auto growers that run their lights 24-hours a day. Often the permanent heat from a 600w HPS will do a great job of keeping the tent/growroom warm without the need to invest in oil-filled radiators or other heating devices. Many auto growers tell us that auto’s have allowed them to produce a winter crop from growrooms when it would have been otherwise impossible due to the cold.
The other winners from the modern high-potency auto’s include those growers with separate veg rooms for their mother plants and seedlings. Thanks to automatic flowering cannabis they can also bloom an auto or two in the veg room. The concept of producing pot from your veg room still continues to be an unexpected reward for some growers.
Lots of home-growers combine growing of automatics with traditional varieties to get more buds from the same space. They start a crop of automatics and after 6 or 7 weeks they germinate the seeds of their next crop, a traditional photoperiod to grow alongside. The light system can be 24/0, 20/4, or 18/6. It doesn’t really matter. But as the traditional seeds grow vegatively the automatics finish blooming. The auto’s can be chopped after 11 weeks, when the traditional variety in the same tent is 4-5 weeks old. Then the grower flips the light over to a 12/12 cycle and flowers the traditional variety which will be ready 8 weeks later. The result is 2 harvests in 8 weeks from the same tent. And these days most people will tell you that they can no longer tell the difference in smoke quality between a good auto and a good traditional variety. I can’t and I am a veteran smoker (well, veteran vapouriser these days I guess) Perpetual auto growers are another category of growers that have appeared in the last few years. Perpetual auto