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An autoflowering strain that changes your mind: Think Different 

Autoflowering strains keep on improving in performance quality, meanwhile competing with traditional ones in terms of potency and yield. Dutch Passion is leading in this field, and with one of their latest AutoFem strain releases Think Different, they aim at setting a new standard that stands out of the crowd. For creating this very special easy-to-grow strain, the Dutch Passion breeders used a strain from their genebank named AK420 which is a very productive AK47 hybrid with an extremely high THC content. It was hybridised with a carefully selected ruderalis plant to yield a superior autoflowering variety that would even outperform Dutch Passion's AutoFem bestseller AutoMazar. Think Different’s pedigree consists of approx. 60% sativa, 20% indica and 20% ruderalis. Dutch Passion promises good homogeneity, with the plants achieving heights of 1-1.5 metres and yields of 250-300 g per plant when grown under optimum conditions. Indoors, even harvests of up to 500 g/m² have been reaped by commercial growers in The Netherlands. Thanks to a short life cycle of only nine weeks from seed to harvest, also impatient growers will feel comfortable with Think Different, and they’ll surely also appreciate its stunning THC content measured at 18%.

It was a cultivator called “Growulff” who put Think Different to an indoor performance test. He hadn’t cultivated any other autoflowering strain before as he was very sceptical, not convinced of that whole autoflowering thing, but the description of Think Different caught him, raising the expectation of a good first time autoflowering experience. Out of a bag with seven pieces, he germinated five Think Different seeds that quickly sprouted within three days, placed into Jiffy pots. At first the plants, together with other strains, were maintained in a separate grow box (equipped with a 600 W HPS bulb) in Growulff’s grow room for two weeks under a light regimen of 18 hours per day. The young seedlings, soon planted into 11 litre pots filled with coco ground and automatically watered by drip irrigation, developed very well and after two weeks, the first single female flowers were already visible at the top of the plants. Growulff had to move them into the actual grow room then, as he needed the grow box space for starting other strains. This meant that the Think Different plants would receive 18 hours of light per day only for two more weeks, because at that point of time, Growulff would have to induce the flowering period (12/12 light cycle) of some regular strains already present in the grow room. However, merely twelve hours of light per day are suboptimal for autoflowering strains, but Growulff hoped that the rich amount of light available in his grow room (+600 W/m²) would compensate for this to a certain degree. 

After four weeks, the plants were between 40 and 55 cm tall and extremely bushy, having produced plenty of side branches beset with many closely spaced internodes and leaves that expectedly were more on the sativa side. There already were nice little buds along the main stem and branches, flowering production was notably increasing pace now and Growulff was very confident the outcome of his first autoflowering grow would be great. Another two weeks later, the plants still kept on growing into height a bit while flowering, but height growth seemed to come to an end very soon. Proper resin production meanwhile had effected an attractive silvery bud appearance, and the flower clusters were becoming pretty dense now. Their highly pleasant smell was sweet, but also revealed a tiny hint of ruderalis. When another two weeks had passed, about fifty percent of the flower pistils had withered and Growulff expected that the flowering time of nine weeks as stated by Dutch Passion would prove to be the case so that there was still about one week to go. The plants were 55-75 cm tall now which was considerably lower than expected, but had produced a big fat main cola and several thick long side branch colas that were looking quite impressive and raising the hope of a very good yield. After 62-64 days, Growulff could harvest all the five Think Different plants that, by the way, hadn’t revealed any male flower. 

18 days later, the pretty resinous Think Different buds had been thoroughly dried and slightly fermented, so it was about time for Growulff to find out the weight of the dry outcome and he put the beautifully looking nuggets on the scales. He determined a yield of 52.5 grams on the average which was absolutely excellent – Growulff could have placed nine of these plants on one square meter and his total yield then would almost have equalled the 500 gram mark accomplished by those Dutch commercial growers. He wondered what would have happened if his Think Different plants had received 18 hours of light or more throughout the whole cultivation cycle, arriving at the conclusion that this light scenario most probably even would have let his plants surpass the 500 gram mark. 

So as for productiveness, Think Different had fully satisfied or even exceeded the expectations of Growulff, now it was the question whether the same would happen in terms of potency and flavour. When test smoking a decent Think Different joint, his first impression was that this autoflowering strains tastes surprisingly mild, there was no hint of ruderalis in the taste at all and instead a yummy clear sweetness. Think Different’s turn rushed over him quickly, providing a strong sativa up-high effect with a vibrant happy bright feeling in the head and crystally clear optical perception, combined with a small bit of simultaneous indica stonedness also. Growulff is rather a heavy than a light smoker, requiring a certain high amount of THC in order to really get high, but Think Different easily did that job for about 1.5 hours and gave him what he needed plus a bit more – Altogether, Growulff was highly satisfied with the premiere of an autoflowering strain in his grow room. Also, Think Different really lived up to its name and, indeed, made him think different: About autoflowering strains and their potential. In the future, he will surely give other such varieties a try – well, Dutch Passion’s soon to come AutoFem release StarRyder certainly does have good chance to make it onto his agenda…

Words and pictures by Green Born Identity

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 100

Buy seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

MackTown Diesel Hash Report

2017-02-14 12:05:10

MackTown Diesel Hashish by Spirit Extracts

We are quick to lavish praise upon the star; the one unafraid to go it alone.  However, greater impact is often made when a mastermind of brain power is set upon a concept and it is the pursued tirelessly.  Such is the case with MackTown Diesel, a collaboration between a dedicated farmer and a team of unstoppable resin collectors.  What has been produced is mind-bending Hashish with the most glorious flavor.

MackTown Diesel was bred by Graham of Graham's Brand based out of Humboldt, CA.  An AK-47 and Sour Diesel cross, this high yielding Sativa produces lanky-but-chunky buds with an impressive 28.6% THC content.  MackTown Diesel was grown indoor in a no-spray, hydroponic environment.  It was dried and cured for two and a half weeks before being carefully handed off to Thomas (IG: @solventlessmind) and Amber (IG:@shesbubbly) of Spirit Extracts.  The duo washes their high quality material by hand, assuring higher yield and better quality of the resulting resin.  Graham's top choice flowers along with Spirit Extracts' unique approach to hashmaking has been a positive collaboration which has accumulated a few plaudits including:

2015 San Jose 420 Hempcon Dab Cup - Best Nonsolvent - La Tabula Rasa Rosin

2016 Trim Scene Competition  - People's Choice - MacTown Diesel

I would expect that such a high degree of skill, care and talent would have been discovered and nurtured by a dedicated mentor.  However, in the spirit of DIY learning, Thomas learned how to make bubblehash from watching on YouTube the videos of pioneer Marc "Bubbleman" Richardson.  An avid Butane Hash Oil maker for 11 years, Thomas made the switch to bubblehash when he came to the realization that he could make cleaner, better medicine that had powerful and pleasurable effects.  Besides making bubblehash, Spirit Extracts produces rosin, isolated terpenes, capsules and a line of edibles  which is forthcoming.  For months, I have visually appreciated their creations.  Honored with the opportunity to finally write about it, I looked forward to an amazing adventure.

It is summer in the Bay and, quite unusually, the weather is very hot.  I get a call from my beautiful model friend Sarah Jain (IG:@sarahjain420) and we arrange to hit the beach.   I am very eager as I have only enjoyed the sand a few times since moving from South Beach, Florida, two years ago.  Besides, from her Instagram page, I can tell that Sarah Jain really knows how to enjoy fun in the sun.   Driving to the beach is a white knuckle ride as Highway 1 clings to the edge of the Marin Headlands and precariously dangles off of the west coast of California.  I have a vague notion of where I am headed and, without cell service, all I have is hope.  I am running late and nervous that I will miss the opportunity to sunbathe and enjoy the Hashish in this most anticipated environment. Somehow, like a lone fishing line in a pond, she manages to snag my attention by jumping up and down on the side of the road.  She and her friend Juliette (IG:@juliettefaer) had gone down without me and now, having come back to guide me, were antsy to get back to watching whales. 

I hastily gather my things, making sure to pick up my rig, food, towels and purse. Totally encumbered by the multitude of bags and hindered by my flat soled sandals, I make my way gingerly behind the two of them.  The small path winds along the cliff, crowded over by prickly and snagging bushes, wildflowers and loose gravel.  The Pacific Ocean pulls my eyes to stare into the distance, but the danger beneath my feet keeps me concentrated on not dying.

Climbing over sharp rocks and avoiding a treacherous ravine has been almost too much for me to handle and I am grumpy by the time we finish our half mile trek.  I am completely sober as the trip here was nerve-wracking and I really could use some THC. I can hear the water pounding into the sand and, though I cannot yet see the water, the sound alone is beginning to lift my spirits.  Sarah Jain offers encouragement as she nimbly skirts the boulders standing in our way.  Squeezing through a narrow passage, we emerge on a strip of rocky sand about 200 feet long.  Bluish-black rocks standing 30 feet tall jut into the ocean in utter defiance of the thundering waves.

As the sun blasts down upon us, we consider whether the blistering heat will dampen our good times as we have no protective canopy.  In any case, we are here, so we have to make the best of it.  And how bad could it be? South Beach, my beach haunt for 13 years, is top optional, but this secluded beach is a favorite of nudists. 

So, when in Rome...

We slide off our suits and bask in the loving glare of the sunlight.  Dabs in nature are great, but naked dabs on the beach will be insane.

We set up our blanket on the craggy rocks and begin to take out our various concentrates and flowers.  Having been honored as a High Times Cannabis Cup Solvent Judge a few weeks back, Sarah Jain has lots of delicious OGs that she wants to share.  Juliette has some flowers, and I have the MackTown Diesel.  We have all brought a variety of fruits to enjoy as well.  Taking out her Silika glass dab rig, Sarah Jain wastes no time firing it up.  I look around at the few other sun worshippers and they seem not to care that we have lit a butane torch out in the open.  Sarah Jain explains to me that she never goes to any beaches in California that are not 420 friendly.  That's my kind of woman.  After taking a bite of a juicy strawberry, she scoops a hefty dab of OG cake batter and takes a long pull.  Her lips turn up at the corners and as exhales, she proclaims that the OG is so much sweeter with the flavor of strawberries lingering in her mouth.  I have not matched foods with concentrates before.  I had brought the cherries and blackberries to enjoy while we lounged on the sand, but Sarah Jain assures me my experience will be all the better for it. 

I am dying to take a dab and I reach under my towel to retrieve the jars that I have kept hidden from the unrelenting sun.  In the split second that I turn away, I hear a roar of exclamation - a whale has been spotted blowing air out of his spout.  I quickly turn over, peering at the undulating blue sea.  Before long, a large, dark figure emerges from the water and in a grand gesture flops into the water.  This is my very first time seeing whales in the wild and I am mesmerized.  What follows is 15 straight minutes of oohs and ahs as the newbies like me and the locals alike delight in the show of playful dolphins and whales  unfolding before us.  

The whales take a breather (no pun intended) and we refocus on our dabs.  I would love to have some of her OGs, but I know the MackTown Diesel Hashish just might be even better.   As I wait for my turn to use the torch, the whales begin their show again.  It is like they can feel our admiration and appreciation.  A man walks up to us asking for a light and he mentions that someone says we are smoking a bong.  He goes on to compliment us in a decidedly non-creepy way and exclaims that we are the beach's good luck charm because they have never seen the whales behave in such a fashion.  I wonder if the whales can feel us coming into communion with everything around us. 

I am still holding the jar of Hashish in my hand from 20 minutes before and I worry that excessive warmth may have ruined the look.  I glance down and the oily balls of resin wrench my attention from the spectacular scene out in the ocean.  Gazing into the small jar, I marvel at how the globes of the trichome heads look absolutely perfect.  It is not lost on me that in the presence of whales skyhopping and breaching, I hold in my hand what looks like the most precious caviar. 

In the heat, the aroma of the MackTown Diesel rolls out thickly.  A delicate sweetness is followed by fuel and the sharp pang of citrus; my mouth waters recalling the particular bite of the MackTown Diesel Hashish. I have had dabs of this Hashish before and am curious about the flavor combination with a fruit.  Sarah Jain suggests eating a blackberry first.  I choose a plump, almost overripe berry and chew thoughtfully while Sarah Jain lights the trough.  I do not have any parchment paper at my disposal, so I simply dig the dab tool in to scoop.  Unlike the individually uncased resin on the top of the jar, the middle has fused together into a thick taffy that struggles to pull apart.  At this rate, I will only get two humongous dabs out of the jar.  I have the choice to try to chill it, or heat it further.  I opt to allow the sun to melt it more and Juliette takes my place sucking in the delectable concentrates that Sarah Jain has to offer.  Two or three minute later, the resin is very soft, like well chewed bubble gum.  I messily eat another blackberry, allowing the juice to run down my chin.  It's my turn to dab and I am ready.  Touching the resin to the trough, it dissolves almost instantly.  Amber liquid dances all over the surface in a crazy jig.  Contrary to how I experienced the smell, the first flavor I get is sweet oranges followed by fuel.  It is like a 'creamsicle' soaked in gasoline.  Finally, at the end, I can taste a hint of berry goodness.  I exhale and the sensation is all gas - my mouth tastes like the business end of a tailpipe.  Interestingly, it isn't unpleasant at all.  The blackberry  juice which had coated my mouth provides a very sweet aftertaste which I was not expecting.  I look up at Sarah Jain and she says, "I told you so."  Although the dab was fairly large and very intense, I am not coughing.  I am merely patiently waiting for my turn again.  I do have my own rig, but somehow it seems that I will be breaking the circle and the sacred cycle we have created.   We watch the whales, take dabs in turn, and allow the peace to overcome us.  Soon I am ready and I decide to try a fat, purplish cherry.  Playing with the pit in my mouth, I notice the softness of the pulp, the smoothness of the skin, and the soft clack of the pit against my teeth.    Taking another dab, my eyes water and warmth begins to radiate from my core outwards.  The mouthfeel is thick and almost chewable.  Blowing out, the bluish smoke dances before me before rolling out to sea.  The cherry does add a delightful twist on the Hashish, but I think I prefer the blackberry.  The slight tartness is perfect to counteract the powerful diesel flavor.  I am not sure I can simply take dabs anymore.  It is all about the combination.

My eyes are still wet and everything looks a bit wavy, like the visage of an oasis in the distance.  I lay back and allow the dreaminess to overtake me.  I feel like I am definitely present, but somehow slightly removed, as if I am watching a movie of people on the beach.  I languidly follow an Ultimate Frisbee game as the geriatric players prance about and dart around like children.  I laugh out loud for no reason and Juliette gives me a knowing smile.

Hours pass and our conversation slows and we enjoy each other's company without saying a word.  We feel completely in sync with our environment and even the cacophony of the  furious ocean dies down to a purr.  Sarah Jain breaks the quiet to comment that she always has a pleasurable time at the beach, but together, we have made it an absolute blast.  Plans are made to continue heading to this beach accompanied by more cannabis industry women.  As a group, we will have a mind-blowing time.

On the way back, as if to put the final punctuation on the idyllic landscape, we spot an adventurous climber steadily making his way up and across the cliff face.  He pauses to turn his head to the left, spots us and smiles.  Then he turns to the right,  drinking in the endless expanse of the Pacific ocean and the golden glow of the afternoon sunshine.  We stand still watching him in his reverie and then we nod to each other.  Walking gingerly up the gravelly and sandy terrain we make plans to visit this wonderland again very soon.

Though each element of a wonderful experience has its own merit, their combination can create something truly spectacular.  Just as enjoying the beach, the dabs, the exotic marine life and new friends are much more charming together, so does the joint effort between Graham's Brand and Spirit Extracts elicit Hashish that is greater than the sum of its parts. And we are all the better for it.

Words and pictures by The Dank Duchess

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 124

Posted in Cannabis News

Dutch Passion Special offer!

2017-02-14 11:49:24

White Widow Special Offer from Dutch Passion!



Dutch Passion have announced their first 2017 Special Offer.  Buy any pack of White Widow or AutoWhite Widow and get double the normal number of seeds absolutely free.  You can buy as many packs as you wish, and you will get twice as many seeds as you paid for.  If you buy a 3-pack you will get 6 seeds.  Pay for a 10-pack and you will receive 20 seeds

It’s a generous offer from the Dutch Passion team on one of their top selling THC-rich genetic lines. The offer runs during March and April 2017 for all orders placed on the Dutch Passion website.  Additionally, many seed retailers will run this offer online and in high-street seed stores. Customers are advised to check if their existing retailer is participating in the offer.

Posted in Cannabis News

Three Ways To Make Your Growroom Greener

How do you make your growroom more eco-friendly? Something that is often a cause for concern among many fans of cannabis – perhaps because we tend to be more conscious of the importance of plants and the beauty of the planet we live on – is the environmental impact of indoor growing. Here Sensi Seeds presents three tips for creating a greener growroom.

Have you ever thought about the carbon footprint of the cannabis you’re consuming? Apparently, "a single [lamp grown] cannabis cigarette... is equal to running a 100-watt light bulb for 25 hours of average US electricity." It might seem a daunting task to reduce the environmental impact of your grow, when frankly there are so many other factors to worry about, but by implementing a few changes you can make a significant difference.

Lighting – switch to LEDs to lower heat emissions and electricity use

The discussion about whether HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lights can be surpassed by LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights has been ongoing since the introduction of the latter onto the market as viable room lighting. There is still vigorous support for both types of lighting among cannabis growers. Many online platforms, including the Sensi Seeds forums,  host passionate debates on which is best  in terms of yield and quality. It is true that LEDs did not exactly take the cannabis world by storm when they first became available, with lack of standardization, and prices that were out of reach for most home growers. This is no longer the case. The most recent impartial report  (The carbon footprint of indoor Cannabis production by Evan Mills, 2011, which also provided the statistic above) concludes that HPS results can be matched by the most top of the range LEDs. These do still require a bigger financial investment than either HPS or cheaper LEDs. In terms of energy consumption, however, they are certainly more efficient. This makes them cheaper for the grower in the long run, and better for the planet as soon as you turn them on.

Lower electricity usage and lower heat output

The other major environmental benefit of LEDs is the far lower amount of heat that they produce. This makes them less of a contributing factor to climate change both directly and indirectly, since extractor fans to control growroom temperature are unnecessary – a further saving on electricity consumption (and an added bonus for avoiding heat detection sensors). In addition, they last a lot longer than HPS bulbs, and do not require ballasts and reflectors, so overall fewer materials go into their use and less waste is generated. Both LEDs and HPS lights (also CFLs) can and should be recycled. Most shops that sell these bulbs will also accept old ones for recycling if you return the old ones when you buy a new one. There is also a company called Recolight which provides collection points for bulbs, with a handy page on their website for locating the nearest point to you: http://www.recolight.co.uk/. Of course, you may find it more useful to locate a point further away from you if you wish to err on the side of caution!

2 Substrates – go coco, avoid peat and clay beads

Mineral wool, also known as stonewool and more commonly as rockwool after one of its manufacturers, has been a favourite of indoor growers for years. It does have undeniable practical advantages. It’s lighter than soil, easy to obtain and work with, plus it comes in those handy pre-formed cubes. Some claim it is a natural material, since it is modelled on Pele’s Hair. This mythical-sounding substance is formed when volcanoes erupt (Pele is a volcano-dwelling Hawaiian fire goddess) and tiny droplets of molten basaltic glass elongate and solidify into long, fine, hair-like strands. In order to recreate this, a blend of chalk and rock is heated to around 1600 degrees centigrade and then has air or steam blasted through it. This is an extremely energy-intensive process which uses non-renewable components; both factors to be avoided if you’re concerned about climate change and environmental welfare.

Reusable substrates have to be practical, or no-one will re-use them

Theoretically, rockwool can be reused. In practice, this writer has never met a cannabis grower who actually does this. The roots of cannabis, whether seedling, clone, or mother plant, run deep and strong and fine. The same qualities that make hemp ideal for aerating and improving soil cause cannabis to bond almost inextricably with rockwool. Algae and mould often grow on top of it, and must be completely eliminated it if it to be re-used. Removing all old root matter and thoroughly cleaning a substrate that is brittle, prickly and irritating to the skin is, understandably, too labour-intensive for all but the most dedicated of growers. Used rockwool tends to end up in landfills, on dumps and even at the side of roads, where – since it is basically candyfloss made of rock – it won’t biodegrade.

So what are the alternatives? Plain old soil is obviously the simplest environmentally friendly substrate. Disposing of it is also far more low-profile, as it can be simply ploughed back into your garden if you’ve got one, or spread around any handy public green area if you haven’t. It’s easy to re-use for subsequent grows. It should be thoroughly flushed (but of course you should be doing that anyway!) and clumps of roots should be broken up and evenly mixed through to avoid ‘hot spots’ of decomposition.  You may need to add some extra nutrients but as the roots will release valuable nutrition back into the soil as they decompose, you are making the most of your previous crop rather than having to separate it out.

Coconut coir and hemp grow-mats

Coconut fibre, also known as coco coir, is an excellent substitute for those who want the convenience of rockwool in a natural form. It is produced from mature coconuts (so the rest of the coconut gets used too!) by separating the long, tough fibres from the hard inner shell. Coir intended for gardening is generally pre-treated by being soaked in a calcium buffering solution since it is high in sodium and potassium, so all you usually need to do to prepare it is soak it in water, rinse it well and fluff it out.

Not only does coir beat rockwool in terms of its production carbon footprint, it is a lot easier to re-use. As usual, it should be thoroughly flushed for the last few weeks before harvesting. The main root ball separates from the coir quite easily (some growers prefer to let it dry out a bit first) and the very fine roots can be left in there. There are plenty of reports of coir being re-used for as many as six grows. Not only that, but the subsequent grows often perform better than the first one as the coir becomes ‘seasoned’. Environmentally, the only real downside of coir is how far it has to travel from the coconut palms to your local garden centre.

If only there was a coir equivalent that could be produced more locally! Well, there is, and it should be obvious to all of you. Hemp fibre has the same strong, lightweight and water-retaining properties, grows much faster than coconuts, and is outstanding as a sustainable resource. Thus far, needle-punched hemp fibre mats are producing excellent results for microgreens such as cress. A large amount of Europe’s cress supplies are grown on hemp mats from Sensi Seeds’ sister company HempFlax. The much larger root systems of cannabis require bigger, deeper mats, and thus far it has not caught on as a substrate for cultivating it, but it shows a great amount of promise. As use and production of hemp increases, expect to see more of one plant helping to grow another!

Clay pellets – not as innocent as they look

The other substrate commonly used by cannabis growers that should be eliminated from your ‘greener’ growroom is Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate, more commonly known as clay beads, hydro beads, clay pellets etc. Although at first glance they may seem like a natural product, and can potentially be re-used many times, their manufacture is by no means environmentally friendly. They are produced using a non-renewable resource, namely clay. This is strip-mined from countryside, destroying trees, wild land and the natural habitats of many species. Then it is heated to temperatures of around 1100 – 1200 degrees centigrade in giant rotating kilns; as with the manufacture of rockwool, this is an incredibly energy-intensive process that produces tons of heat.

So what can you use instead, since clay beads are a pretty indispensable component of most cultivation styles, from soil to hydro to just the beads themselves? The best substitute seems to be Growstones. Growstones are manufactured using glass taken from the New Mexico landfill site where the processing plant is based (to save on transportation, so at least there’s a small offset there). They are 98% recycled glass which is fired in a kiln at around 860 degrees centigrade, for less than an hour. Full disclosure – I was unable to discover how long clay pellets are in the kiln for (even though I read two chapters of Advanced Concrete Technology, not a book I can recommend unless you’re really, really into concrete) but since the pellets also have to be pre-warmed slowly to about 650 degrees centigrade so that they don’t explode before becoming pyroplastic, it is most likely a lot longer than an hour.

This brand-name product is manufactured in the US, which is a downside since it has to travel a long way, but it is pretty much the only downside. In all other respects, they equal or outperform clay pellets, and should be used and treated in the same way.

Leave it in the ground, for peat’s sake

Finally, stop using peat pellets. Although they are very handy for planting newly-germinated seeds, and are a natural and biodegradable product, they are not a sustainable resource. It takes literally thousands of years for organic matter to decompose into peat, and the exact set of circumstances needed for this to happen are pretty rare. In addition, peat bogs are the most efficient carbon sink ecosystem on the planet, and it takes centuries for them to recover from disturbance. We really shouldn’t be digging them up just to make little discs that do something which – let’s face it – half a toilet roll tube full of potting soil will do just as well. 

3. Grow autoflowering strains

For a lot of you, this might be the easiest change to make since it doesn’t require radical changes to your set-up, or a lot of investment. By switching to autoflowering strains such as Sensi Seeds Skunk #1 Automatic or White Label Northern Lights Automatic, you will automatically use fewer resources (see what I did there?).  The shorter overall grow time means less watering, less electricity, and less effort; the shorter vegetation period means you can switch to a 12/12 lighting cycle in a couple of weeks, rather than months. The smaller size of the plants means less substrates, and relative to their size, many modern autoflowering strains can produce highly satisfying and worthwhile yields. Nowadays there is a wide selection of autoflowering varieties to choose from, so pretty much every taste and budget is catered for.

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step

So, don’t feel overwhelmed by needing new equipment or having to learn new techniques. The best ecologically sound solutions for growers often require only replacing one medium with another. In the suggestions outlined above, the replacement – LED for HPS, coir for rockwool, growstones for clay pellets – will behave in much the same way. It is important to begin with small steps, because as individuals, these are often the only ones that we can take. But every step makes a difference. 

Words and pictures from Sensi Seeds

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 126

Buy seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

AutoNight Queen.  Dutch Passion Auto Kush wins Highlife 2016 cup.

 

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.  And 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.  

 Words and pictures by Tony from Dutch Passion Seeds
First published in Weed World Magazine edition 124

Buy seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Crystal Candy - Finally turning your grow area into a classy candy shop

Some of us growers still remember how special it was to visit a candy shop when we were kids. The colours, the aromas and that inevitable mouth watering sensation produced by our brain while imagining how happy our taste buds would be just a few minutes later, always led to big smiles. I got me with that same silly smile on my face when I rubbed my fingers in some flowers of Crystal Candy (Sweet Seeds variety SWS58) that were in the final stage of flowering. I was really happy while my nose was filled with that glorious fragrance of sugary sweetness, but this time the candy shop was mine. Only mine. Courtesy of Sweet Seeds.

My small candy shop was big enough to allow for nine 11 litre pots on its area of 80 x 80cm and 160cm of height, so I sprouted ten seeds in case one would not make it. In the case that they all make it I would then select the best nine and discard the worst looking one. Eight of the ten seeds sprouted in less than 48 hours and the other two sprouted 24 hours later. This is the usual time frame for germination of fresh and properly stored Sweet Seeds seeds. They were germinated in a wet paper towel, closed inside an hermetically sealed plastic container that was opened for a few minutes every 12 hours to prevent mould formation around the seed shells.

After germination they were put into a 500ml pot with BioBizz LightMix and 10% of worm humus to contribute with some nitrogen (N) to the mix. They were carefully placed about 0,5cm below surface. 36 hours later they started to show their cotyledons and photosynthesis started. They were watered with only 100ml of water in the first week and in the second week the amount of water was raised to 200ml, in order to make all of the 500ml of soil wet. Since the first days they grew with a vigour that was visible to the naked eye. But this vigour was even more noticeable after the second week.

At day 15 from germination they were transplanted to their final pots. These 11 litre containers were then filled with BioBizz AllMix, an extra 10% of perlite and one full tablespoon of Guanokalong powder for each plant. The powdery guano was mixed in the lower layer of soil so that the roots only reach to it when they most need it, which is when they are already flowering. Since AllMix is a strong soil mix, very rich with respect to the most important nutrients for our plants, I knew I would not need to use liquid fertilizers for a long time. So, from then on, I only watered the plants with pH 6,2 ordinary tap water every 2 or 3 days.

They grew as real champions, developing firm side branches and stretching the main cola to around 70cm of height when they reached to the third week of flowering. Oh, and the plant that was discarded was also looking great, so it was taken to an outdoor garden from a friend and maybe one day I will share some pics of the plant with you readers. Crystal Candy was recently released (it reached the market in the spring of 2016) but already conquered my admiration and  it is already positively surprising a lot of growers that have some of these wonderful plants in late flowering as I write this article.

Sweet Seeds has been on the market since 2005, so in the last 11 years we have been working with some of the best elite clones in the cannabic scene while continuously improving our breeding procedures. We would not release a strain named Crystal Candy if the trichomes were not a terpene trait of authentic sweetness themselves. All of them. And that is something that starts to become noticeable at a very early stage, by the end of the third week of flowering. The first flowers start to crowd all together giving form to marvellous buds that start to cover themselves with shiny trichomes. So, at this point the plants start giving us a clue about how their final aroma will be.

These shiny trichomes spread into the surrounding areas of the flowers, making all the small leaves around the buds look very frosty. Even the big fan leaves feature an admirable gleam on their stem and near-to-stem areas. They look like lollipops and they smell exactly like it if you break some of them to release their sugary terpenes. This organoleptic complexity becomes clearly noticeable especially in the third stage of flowering, so we will return to that later.

At this point the nine Crystal Candy plants were flowering for 5 weeks and I kept on licking my fingers every time I touched them, just as an inveterate sugar addict. The plants seemed to finally ask for some extra nutrients at this stage. I knew that harvest was still 3 or 4 weeks away so I decided to feed them twice with BioBloom from BioBizz, one dose of 4ml per litre of water at day 36 into flowering (5 weeks) and a second dose of 2ml at day 43 (6 weeks). By the 6th week the structure of the plants was completely defined and with my grow parameters I managed to get at least 4 side branches with a good calibre from each one of them. All the side branches produce flowers that are very compact and resinous.

This grow closet (aka candy shop), with an area of 0,64m2, asks for a 400w High Pressure Sodium lamp, so I used one. On the other hand, the 400w High Pressure Sodium bulb asks for professional range extraction. In this case I used a 125mm RVK extractor, more than enough to keep a constant renovation of the air inside the growing area. I also got 2 Sunon fans blowing air into the top buds area and 1 other Sunon blowing air directly to the bulb to dissipate the heat and drive it to the top of the closet where the RVK tube is extracting the air.

This kind of air renovation and air circulation, together with the fact that High Pressure Sodium lighting tends to lower the humidity levels inside the closet, helped not only to avoid heat stress but also to raise the frequency of the “wet-dry-wet” cycle on the soil. The soil will dry much faster and the plants get to be watered more frequently, benefiting from a dry soil (due to increased oxygen intake) for a few hours every 2 days. So, it is very important to water abundantly, until water comes out of the drainage holes, but then it is even more important to let the soil dry almost completely before watering again.

With about 6 weeks of flowering the pistils started to show the first signs of maturity, turning to a light orange colour. At the same time the aromas became much more noticeable, featuring a sweet and fruity background with tones of chewing gum and fruit jellies, mixed with hints of acid strawberry and mature melon. A strong smell that fills the room. The taste is also amazing, a truly sweet organoleptic experience. Crystal Candy is a big producer of aromatic resin crystals that completely cover the flowers and their surrounding leaves with a very high density of long, large-headed trichomes.

In the last 2 weeks of flowering I only used water so that any trace of fertilizer eventually present in the soil could be cleaned and washed away. All the plants matured at the same time and when they reached to their 9th week of flowering more than 30% of the trichomes were already amber coloured and it was harvest time. They were harvested with 64 days of flowering, when they were already showing some yellow leaves, a proof that the roots were well cleaned from nutrients. And in the harvest day, when I emptied the containers, I also observed how the roots filled all the available space inside the 11 litre pots, a clear sign that the plants were happy and healthy while growing and flowering.

The nine plants produced a total of 340 grams of high grade, dried and manicured flowers, making it a 0,85gr per watt grow operation. Or, for some who might prefer to judge it like this, a 531gr per square meter grow. A very interesting result taking in consideration the outstanding quality of the final product. Hard, compact buds that drop a cloud of trichomes into the air when we brake them. They were dried for 12 days, then cured for 3 weeks and the smoke+vape report was performed with 50 days of ageing in crystal jars.

This superior quality strain from the Sweet Seeds genetic collection is a hybrid slightly leaning to the indica side (60% Indica / 40% Sativa). It features a very well balanced effect that brings about relaxation, calms the mind and spirit but leaves the user with enough energy and motivation to perform physical activities. The effect can even be creative sometimes and tasks that are usually boring can be taken in a very enjoyable way, converting work into play.

It was a long journey but it was worth the wait. After more than a decade dedicated to find, select and improve sweet and aromatic genetics, we can say that Sweet Seeds finally reached to the apogee of sweetness with Crystal Candy. Sometime in the past a kid said: “One day these candies inside the crystal jars will make me happy” ...and I have to agree he was right. That day is now.

Words by Tommy G.

Pictures by Tommy G. and Sweet Seeds

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 124

Buy seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

The Dimensions of Ripeness

2017-02-10 15:38:52

The Dimensions of Ripeness Part 1

I have been collecting resin most of my life and, with the retrospect that age is bringing, I can clearly see the different levels of consciousness and knowledge I have experienced in my relation with the Cannabis plant and its resin. The dimensions of ripeness is my latest finding and possibly the most defining aspect of resin quality.

I was a young passionate lover of cannabis, who wanted to know all the facets of this incredible gift from nature that was the essence of secrecy and myths, coming from the most remote places of North Africa, Central Asia and the Himalayas; today, after a lifetime of travels and dedicated studies, I am considered by some a master in my own right while I actually cannot answer the most basic and most important question there is for a Hashishin:

What makes resin quality?

I have worked alongside Hashishins in the producing regions of the world and shared their lives with no more credentials than a love for excellence, a passion for Cannabis resin and no further goal than making the highest quality Hashish from season to season.

The passion and knowledge of these families, masters of the trade for countless generations, is vast, and was shared without restraint. The learning was an unconscious but natural absorption of a methodology rooted in pure awareness with no scientific or sometimes even logical rationalization.

There are basic natural and obvious characteristics of the resin that dictate methodology and quality, dry sieving for example has to be done in the winter since cold and dry conditions facilitate the processing, and oppositely pressing requires warm conditions. There is also a less apparent procedure, like curing resin three to nine months on the plants before sieving, which is a fundamental factor in the overall quality of the resin, but not the determining element.

I had never truly thought of the question in depth until recently. Outside the fundamental understanding that a healthy plant at the peak of its flowering cycle is optimum to resin quality I had certainly not sought the source of quality.

 I had solely sought perfection in resin ripeness while hand-rubbing Charas in India and Nepal. The maturity of the trichome heads is quite apparent when caressing live flowers to collect resin; it is sticky and smelly when ripe and your senses bear witness to the fact.

My experience in Hashish producing countries on the other hand had mostly been with dried and cured material, as tradition demands, and I had never thought truly of the reasons behind the different resin qualities at the time. The different grades that are dictated by the different levels of resin cleanliness were the key factors of quality in my eyes then.

As all craftsmen, the quality of my work is entirely defined by the knowledge of the material I work with and the tools I use; I had a deep knowledge and a number of years of experience with various sieving methodologies but I knew next to nothing about the biological processes of the material I was collecting, the trichome and the resin within.

Hashishins have the privilege to work with the most amazing compounds crafted by Mother Nature, the Cannabis resin; eighty plus cannabinoid compounds created by the bounding of the two most common molecules found in the plant kingdom, terpenes and phenols. A process so complex that Nature’s secret behind this transformation has yet to be fully understood.

As much as the knowledge of the secretory development of cannabinoids in the resin heads is vital to my quest in understanding the mystery of resin quality, my whole approach was changed by a simple fact of nature unknown but one that I had experienced every time I touched a dry Cannabis plant: mature resin heads fall at the slightest touch.

A resin head is made by nature like a fruit or a leaf, and as such falls at the end of its life cycle. Or to put it in scientific terms: “An abscission zone develops at the base of the head where the stipe cells attach to the disc cells resulting in abscission of glands upon attaining maturity”

This simple piece of evidence was a revelation! Judging ripeness while harvesting fruits from a tree is not too complex, a first light shake of the tree will bring down the ripest fruits, a second shake a little harder will bring fruits that are slightly less ripe and so on until the tree is bare.

My ice-water sieving technique is an adaptation of dry sieving methodology, as well as a maximization of the characteristics of a sieve. The most basic principle of sieving is that the harder you shake the more product falls through the perforations of the sieve. Therefore, I had unconsciously collected different levels of ripeness all my life but had been focusing only on the cleanliness of the resin, an inherent necessity to sieving dry material that breaks into fine particles at the gentlest touch.

The preservation of the resin purity is not such a concern with the ice water sieving process; re-humidified leaf material that has regained all its flexibility can be shaken thoroughly without breaking apart. I agitate my material within a vortex of water that applies a constant force, and so the strength of my “shaking the tree” is defined in fact by the length of my washing cycle, as for many things in life timing is primordial to success or quality in our case. 

I wash one batch of material an average of eight to twelve times. My first wash is hardly longer than a minute. The following washes are a minute or two longer than the precedent and, as such, each wash shakes a different level or dimension of ripeness from the leaf matter, from the ripest to the less mature resin heads.

The resin collected in those washes varies in color from a dark amber to a milky color, the first wash holds the ripest resin and always has a darker shade of amber which, washes after washes, lightens to a creamy golden colored resin.  

As with all fruits there is what we could call a color scale of ripeness, each color exemplifies a dimension of the maturation of the resin, an easy approach to judging and selecting ripeness.

The resin we collect is the bibliography of the plant’s life, the Book of the Hashishin.  

There is plateau of maturity that defines quality within the dimensions of ripeness; the geography, the climate, the genetics and the knowledge of the grower dictate this.

The window of optimum development of the resin is relatively small. While the formation of the trichomes start early in the life of the Cannabis plant, like the fruit nature designed it to be, initially, it has a slow growth ending with a swift ripening.

A cannabis plant harvested one or two weeks early will produce flowers showing high level of cannabinoids, however the collected trichomes will hold very little resin and will be impossible to press into Hashish or even hard press into resin sometimes.

On the other end of the spectrum, a plant harvested too late will produce a concentrate of lower quality in the first one to three washes; it will show a fair amount of resin when pressing but the degradation caused by over ripeness is apparent when compared to the following washes.

Between these two extremes, a different plateau of quality is found, and in the middle stands perfection, the full resin development in every dimensions of ripeness which can only be produced by a plant brought to the peak of its flowering cycle. The resin may not offer the same melt as the ripest trichomes but to the last wash the resin will have formed fully and will press beautifully.

What is happening during these final two weeks of resin development that is so central to quality?

That is a question that I will strive to answer in Part 2 of the Dimensions of Ripeness.

Words and pictures by Frenchy Cannoli
First published in Weed World Magazine edition 123
Posted in Cannabis News

Everyone loves a new twist on an old classic and Paradise Seeds has released a strain which does exactly that! Dutch Kush is a super heavy hitting indica that combines awesome genetics from two continents to produce a Kush with enhanced super powers! 

The excellence of the Paradise Seeds genetics are recognized by experienced growers around the world who appreciate the high germination rates of seeds and the stability of the plants they produce. The Amsterdam based seed company has been in the business for 21 years and has a history of being an innovator on the cannabis scene. It has 30 strains in its product range and has won a truck load of cups and awards over the years.

The power of the Paradise Seeds brand can be seen in one of the world’s biggest legal medical cannabis plantations, which was recently harvested in Chile by the Daya Foundation, a non-profit organization. The legal grow’s 6,500 plants have been grown from 15 Paradise Seeds strains and are expected to bring a harvest of 2,000 kilos.

Dutch Kush: The Word from Paradise

This is a cannabis plant for couch lock surfers and medical users seeking ultimate relaxation - a powerful and relaxing indica that grows big and finishes quick.

The popularity of the Kush has seen many varieties come to the market. However, as our customers appreciate, Paradise Seeds do not rush into things! We have taken our time to develop our twist on the Kush, which combines this classic cannabis landrace with Afghan power and the potent special powers of Dutch genetics.

The result is a plant that comes with all the force you would expect from two, resin rich, land races famed for their hash producing qualities. Into this mix we have added a genetic accelerator, bringing the grower a cannabis seed that achieves rapid growth and a quick finish harvest after 8 – 9 weeks.

Growers will notice the distinctive growth of these plants. They are characterized by multi branches with exceptional calyx development – growing on the stem with little space between them to produce full sized and very compact colas. Once in flower, the aroma really bursts through, strong and pungent and a reminder to check the carbon filters.

This plant is short and bushy and easy to manage. It is good for growing in an indoor setup and the cola development makes this plant well suited to alternative grow techniques such as SOG and SCROG (Sea of Green and Screen of Green). The buds it produces are super dense and the resin content is super high, with the result that a bad case of sticky fingers is waiting for the end user!

In an outdoor setup, this plant will also thrive. The big bud yield and nugget density means that Dutch Kush loves the warmth and the sun that dominates in southern regions, although the quick finish will also offer some guarantee of great results in more northern regions of Europe, the USA, Canada and parts of Russia.

Once dried the flavor really flows with the taste of earthy caramel and coffee bouquet with undertones of citrus and sweet skunk. The effect is a swift lift off with an increased sensory awareness, particularly in the audio and visual departments. Soon after, a mighty indica veil descends over the user, submerging the body into a state of deep and wonderfully euphoric relaxation.

Dutch Kush has fantastic medical qualities too. It is a great antidote to insomnia and stress and is also an excellent choice for medical patients who are looking for a natural treatment to manage pain and bring relief.

Our early test results and trial grows have resulted in very favorable reports, so we are very much looking forward to the feedback of new Dutch Kush growers out there. We wish you a very happy season in the garden – indoor or outdoor – from Team Paradise!

Words and pictures from Paradise Seeds

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 123

Buy seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Blow Mind Auto, a trip through the Sweet Seeds’ labyrinths.

I’m very glad to tell about my experience with Blow Mind Auto (Sweet Seeds variety SWS57) with all the readers of Weed World magazine by sharing this grow report. When 2016 started I already had nine seeds germinated from this strain that was recently released into the market by this great seedbank specialized in top quality feminized and autoflowering seeds.

In 2015 I was lucky enough to grow Cream Mandarine XL Auto (SWS55) with amazing results, obtaining plants that yielded more than 130 gr. of high quality dried flowers. Outstanding taste and effect. I’m sure this strain will also be a big champion due to the genetics used as parentals. S.A.D. Sweet Afgani Delicious Auto® (SWS24) contributes with a slightly more homogenous and stable structure to the other strain used in the cross, the Amnesia Haze, “Cordobesa” clone. The taste, effect and growth pattern of this plant totally surprised me as it is absolutely equal to the best plants from feminized or regular seeds that I tried before.

Now I’m going to tell you with a bit more detail about growing this magnificent and beautiful plant in which I fell in love with.

Nine and a half weeks

For growing this variety the chosen soil was Kilomix from Atami, which contains enough food for one month. Then I used BioCanna nutrients in every moment as the plants demanded it and realized that Blow Mind Auto is definitely a plant that needs a lot of food. All the plants were grown in Airpot containers with manual watering and without adjusting the pH from the nutritional solution.

For lighting I used a 400W Metal Halid lamp for the first 10 days, changing it then to a 600W HPS after the 11th day which was used from then until harvest.

The ventilation and extraction worked 24 hours per day, everyday. To control the temperature I used a heater with thermostat so that the temperature never went down under 17ºC when the lights were off, because they were grown in the winter.

One of the most important steps, as you might well know, is the germination of our seeds, because we expect to germinate 100% of them as we payed an amount that ensures us that they are fresh and that they will deliver a good final quality. In my case I always use the same method with outstanding guarantees of success and, except when the seeds are extremely old or badly stored, the germination occurs in 100% of the cases.

It is very simple. I fill a glass of rested water, then drip a bit of hydrogen peroxide and finally I drop the seeds (they should float in the water). Later I put the glass on a warm place, always making sure that the temperature does not go above 22ºC. I also like to use the package of the seeds to cover the glass, helping to preserve as most humidity as possible. I keep it closed for 24 hours and, after that, I uncover it to check how the seeds are doing. Although it is also easy to check if the seeds have sprouted by simply looking through the glass.

If at this point they still don’t show signs of germination, I change the water to avoid mold problems that could affect the seeds. All the seeds sprouted in less than 48 hours and then I planted them in Jiffys, previously soaked in warm rested water.

At this same moment I usually put the Jiffy inside a small pot with a bit of soil, so that the plant can wait for at least one week before it is passed to its final pot. In this case I used three 20 L. pots and six 10 L. pots.

In the first week we should pay constant attention to the plants to make sure that they don’t dehydrate. I kept a daily watering routine with the nine plants under a 400W MH light. They were under this light until I transplanted them at day 8, when they were taken to the flowering room with a 600W HPS light and their final pots.

Setting the ventilators to a moderated speed and then pointing them directly towards the plants was also very important as it helped the plants to grow strong since the beginning and not stretchy at all, as it happens in many cases. To avoid this, as you might well know, it is advisable to use an adequate light that was not used too many times before and to add a continuous air flow to it. This invites the plant to develop more cellulose and consequently a stronger structure and main stem. With this, the plants will also need more water so you should pay close attention to it.

At this stage all the Blow Mind Autoplants developed almost equally, with great vigour and a lot of health. Still no need to feed them with liquid fertilizers until this moment because the rich soil was still enough to satisfy the plants’ needs.

They were transplanted to the big final pots and, at the same time, they were put under the 600W HPS light. It is very important to keep track of that day in your calendar because it may help you to know until which point the plants can get all they need from nutrients present in the soil. If you follow this rule and, for example, the soil that you have bought has nutrients for one month, you can relax because you know that during that first month the plants will be correctly fed. Which does not mean that some plants may not need a bit more feeding and other plants a bit less. But in general cases it is a very good guideline if you use good quality soils.

You can add a biostimulator as long as you do it with moderate doses and only when the plants need it. For example, it is adequate to add root biostimulator during the first 15 days and then keeping with it in low doses until almost the final stage of flowering.

One thing that will help us to get fatter flowers out of our dear plants is adding a flowering biostimulator since the first days of flowering, which usually coincides with their third week of life. In this grow I used BioBoost as flowering stimulator from day 21 to harvest.

At day 31 after the last transplant some plants were already showing signs of nitrogen deficiency, with a yellowish tone in some big older leaves of the lower branches.

In my case there was no need to use any growing fertilizer because when this happened the plants were already almost in their fifth week of life, a moment when fertilizers rich in phosphorus and potassium are more important and necessary for the plant. These fertilizers help the plants to produce a higher quantity of big flowers, while the fertilizers rich in nitrogen tend to accumulate and generate problems in the flower formation.

In this moment almost all the plants are taller than 70 cm. And in some of them I had no alternative but to do a bit of LST in order to lower their height, or else the smaller plants would not receive the same light intensity as the taller ones. Lots of leaves and exuberant production of side branches make it possibly one of the most sativa autoflowering strains that I ever had the pleasure to grow. Something that is very noticeable since early stages of growth of this amazing genetic from the Sweet Seeds collection.

Between the fifth and the seventh week I used a bit of organic bloom fertilizer, in this case it was Bioflores once every two times I watered the plants. All the plants responded well and none of them showed signs of overfertilization.

At this point we are at the moment when the plant starts to show all its potential, finishing the vegetative stage but at the same time fattening up and maturing its flowers. The shape of the flowers is clearly characteristic of sativa strains, with a long appearance and tremendously covered with aromatic resin that invades the room with floral, citric and very scented aromas. Also at this stage, we can see that all the pistils are still white and no mature pistils can be found. But what is more interesting to see is how all the leaves that surround the flowers are totally covered with trichomes!

In this moment it was easy to appreciate that two plants stopped growing to focus their energies in fattening up their flowers. These were placed exactly under the lamp because otherwise the other plants that were still growing could partially block the light.

Now I’m using the maximum dosage of flowering fertilizer, the flower biostimulator and half dose of root biostimulator. This helps me to compensate the acidity of the nutrient solution and to keep the roots in optimal conditions.

Using Cannazym once a week for a while, also helped the plants to correctly use all the nutrients that they were given, because it helps a lot when it comes to keep a clean and biologically active soil.

As Blow Mind Auto® produces a lot of side branches, it is advisable to cut the two or four lower branches that will not grow tall enough and where light can never reach. Like this the plant can avoid spending energy on these sites and use it instead in the flowers from the top, while keeping the grow cleaner and better ventilated.

The temperature was stable for almost the whole cycle, never going above 25ºC and never going under 17ºC. This, together with the dryness produced by the Airpots, forced me to water the plants once every two days in the moments of maximum necessity.

When we were about to reach to the 7th week, the height of the plants was of 1 metre approximately. The plants are totally developed with multiple branches and trichome filled flowers. The trichomes are milky, starting to turn transparent in some higher parts of the plants.

I didn’t wanted to abuse from the liquid fertilizer, so after the 7th week I stopped using Bioflores, keeping only with BioBoost and half dose of Rhizotonic. The buds already show a considerable size and it is in these last weeks that this beautiful strain explodes. Literally.

If you are patient, leaving nature to follow its path, when getting into the 8th week you can start washing the soil. With this, the plant will consume all its own reserves and the taste will not be altered by chemical residues that were not clean from the soil.

All the plants matured equally at the same timing and by the 9th week I started to harvest some of them. The yield is amazing but what most calls to my attention is the appearance and the smell of this marvellous autoflowering from Sweet Seeds. I will have to wait for a while until I can taste these precious buds in their maximum splendour, because I usually cure them for around 3 months, but I could not resist to try a flower to make a small smoke report and share with you J

After crushing the bud to pieces the traditional touch of potent high quality cannabis becomes noticeable, with a citric hint, a sour touch, something spicy but sweet... definitely a work for sommeliers with a delicate sense of smell!

In the mouth it features a very complex Haze taste, intense, special, ... exquisite! The effect is very creative, clear, social and brings about laughs, making Blow Mind Auto® an ideal strain for afternoons with friends or for these days when you can allow yourself to be... scatterbrain ;)

I hope you enjoy this autoflowering as much as I do.

Thanks for reading, Sweet Smokes!

Words and pictures by Jaypp at Sweet Seeds
First published in Weed World Magazine edition 123

Posted in Cannabis News

The Simple Joys of Growing Cannabis 

If you've never grown cannabis, your missing out on one of the truly fun, divine, simple pleasures life has to offer.  With a little knowledge, time and tender loving care, you will be rewarded with the simple joys of growing cannabis. 

Whether growing for recreational or medical reasons, it's important for your health to know how your plant was grown, and what it contains. 

Sadly, most people on this planet do not currently have access to laboratory testing of the cannabis they consume. This needs to change.  Until that day comes, the only way to guarantee the quality of the cannabis you consume is to have first hand knowledge of how it was grown.

www.SCLabs.com is a premiere testing facility in California with lots of interesting information on cannabis and testing.  SC Labs tests for pesticides, microbiological contamination, cannabinoids and terpene potency profiles, and residual solvents (chemicals used in extracting cannabinoids). 

The City of Palm Springs, California, requires all cannabis sold by dispensaries to be extensively tested to ensure safe public access.

 

Selecting Seed Genetics

As a novice grower, the first question you should ask yourself is what goals you wish to achieve by "growing your own"?  Thanks to the efforts of many breeders, you have a host of seed options.  Take time to research and choose carefully what genetics you will grow for your first attempt. Remember: you'll be spending your valuable time and efforts, so choose carefully.  

The most (or least) expensive genetics are not necessarily the best match for your personal goals.  Don't be swayed by marketing hype. Kudos to www.Mandalaseeds.com  attempts to "raise the bar" informing and educating potential buyers of their genetics.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_strains

I prefer to start growing with seeds.  Seeds have tap roots, and little chance of carrying diseases (which can happen with clones obtained from others).  Once these plants are a minimum of two months old, you can then clone (take cuttings) from these plants to increase the number of plants being grown without worry of contamination. It's worth noting that there are a number of methods to germinate seeds. 

Google "choosing cannabis genetics to grow", "germinating cannabis seeds" and "how to clone cannabis" for a wealth of further information on the topics.  I personally prefer liquid rooting concentrate when cloning plants.  I've had good success using   www.dipngrow.com

Indoor, outdoor, greenhouse?

Growing indoors requires expertise and expense beyond what a first time grower should normally attempt. However, with outdoor growing you are subject to the elements (weather, insects, animals, diseases) over which you will have little control. 

Personally, I prefer to grow in greenhouse conditions.  You have more control over the environmental growing conditions without the expense or expertise required of indoor growing.  Plants generally love greenhouses over outdoor conditions. 

Greenhouses need not be expensive.  With a little research, and a few simple "how to" skills, you can easily fabricate an inexpensive greenhouse to suit your personal needs, from simple and compact to something larger or more elaborate.

Google "cheap greenhouses" and "greenhouse plastic film".

Growing in Dirt

All of my personal experience has been growing in dirt, be it in ground or in pots.

There are a wealth of web sites on choosing soil types and determining aeration (supplying oxygen) of soil for growing cannabis.  Google "choosing soil for growing cannabis" and "aeration of pots and soil".

I usually grow in 15 gallon plastic pots that I have drilled numerous 1/8" holes about every inch to aerate the soil and stimulate root growth.  I also drill extra holes in the bottom of the pots.  I place the pots about 2" deep in the soil of the greenhouse floor so the roots can continue to grow beyond the bottoms of the pots. 

Earth worms are one of Mother Nature's wonderful natural means of improving/fertilizing your soil for growing cannabis or any plant.  Introduction of these creatures will only increase your growing success.  Google "earth worms".

Fertilizers

When it comes to man-made fertilizers, my motto is "keep it simple" (and inexpensive).

Cannabis has two basic stages of growth (growing and flowering).  In the vegetative (grow) stage the plants require Nitrogen and in the flowering stage they need Phosphate.

I use Miracle-Gro all purpose plant food during the grow cycle www.miracle-gro.com and Scott's Super Bloom during flowering www.scotts.com

Plants in their flowering stage love sugar.  It's the "secret sauce" to many very expensive fertilizers to increase flowering.  I use Grandma's Molasses mixed with water for this purpose.  http://www.grandmasmolasses.com/

Google "how and when to fertilize cannabis plants", and "how and when to water cannabis plants".

Cannabis Pests and Diseases

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) first coined the phrase "survival of the fittest".  If you grow cannabis, sooner or later your plants will come under attack by animals (including Muffy the cat or your dog Trixy), insects, and diseases. 

Inspecting your plants closely every few days is the best advice I can suggest when it comes to pests and diseases. The quicker you react and take measures to correct the problem, the better off your plants will be. 

Google "cannabis pests and diseases" and "natural neem oil insecticide for pests".

Everyone Starts Out A Beginner

When it comes to developing knowledge, skills, or talents, everyone starts out a beginner.

With some personal effort on your part, you'll be introduced to the simple joys of growing cannabis.

Words and pictures by PJ - Discover of Super CBDx  www.SuperCBDxSeeds.co.uk
First published in Weed World Magazine edition 123

Posted in Cannabis News

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