Sweet Seeds – Growing two autoflowering classics indoors by Tommy G

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BLACK JACK AUTO® & CREAM CARAMEL AUTO®

More than half a decade has passed since the autoflowering boom in the cannabis seed market took place and time proved that Sweet Seeds is one step ahead when it comes to the development of high quality autoflowering hybrids.

A while ago I had the opportunity to grow two of the most well famed autoflowering strains from Sweet Seeds: Cream Caramel Auto® (Sweet Seeds variety SWS22) and Black Jack Auto® (SWS21). These are two strains that can easily change one’s opinion about autoflowering strains even for the growers that are still skeptical about this type of plant. In this article I will explain the reasons why almost everyone ends up changing their mind about it after giving these beauties a try.

I first started by sprouting 5 Cream Caramel Auto® seeds and 4 Black Jack Auto® seeds. A total of 9 plants because I chose to grow them in 7 litre pots and in the grow area I use there is enough space for 9 of these pots. For the first 10 days I left them under 2 tubular CFL lights with 18w each and then under 400w HPS from the 10th day until harvest. Always with a 18/6 light schedule from germination to harvest. Well, almost until harvest, but later on I will explain what happened. The soil used was Canna Bio Plus, with 15% of perlite mixed in it and liquid fertilizers also from the Canna organic range, alternated with the use of Guanokalong liquid bat guano. A 100% organic grow.

The plants developed very fast and with great hybrid vigor from the first stages of growth and then, between the 22nd and the 28th day of life, they started to produce the first flowers. Flowering was ultra fast, which at that time surprised me due to my short experience with autoflowering strains. I was not expecting such a fast flowering that got me fully mature plants just 65 days after germination. Well, 2 or 3 of the Cream Caramel Auto® plants could have been harvested even a bit earlier, because at day 60 from germination they were already showing a grade of maturation that could be considered enough for a lot of growers who prefer to harvest with just a minimum of maturity in order to obtain a more energetic and psychoactive effect. As we can see in the macro pictures that were made close to the harvest day, there are lots of trichomes (more than 50% of them) with amber to red coloration. This means that even by harvesting them at day 65, I got very mature plants and with the physically relaxing effect that I seek when I grow cannabis.

With a very short flowering stage of around 35 days, the flowers grew as big and fat as the photoperiod-dependent strains that I’m used to growing in this same grow area with exactly the same parameters. Taking into consideration the size of the pots (7 liter) the flowers are excellent when it comes to size and quantity. Cream Caramel Auto® plants were always ahead of Black Jack Auto®, with bigger flowers. But in the final stage of flowering, Black Jack Auto’s flowers fattened up big time and there was a moment when it was not so easy anymore to differentiate both strains from each other. Well, it was not easy with few lights, because once properly illuminated the Cream Caramel Auto® plants show their majestic beauty with some amazing red and purple flowers. The 5 plants of this strain ended up with very beautiful tones, turning them into ultra-photogenic plants. Because a big, compact and colorful flower, always allows for the most beautiful and successful pictures.

On the other hand, the beauty of Black Jack Auto® is in the huge amount of trichomes produced, which is not a surprise as this is the autoflowering version of the famous ‘Queen of Resin’. Besides that, in the development of these autoflowering strains, Sweet Seeds breeders worked very hard to produce plants that are very similar to their photoperiod-dependent versions. From the Ruderalis ancestors we can find only the two desirable traits: fastflowering and the capacity to flower regardless of the photoperiod they are submitted to. The quality of the aromas, effect and production are very similar to what we can get from their original photoperiod-dependent versions. Even though, I managed to get bigger flowers than the ones I’m used to get with a lot of photoperiod-dependent plants that usually need around 100 days to be ready when grown from seed, with the electricity costs for an extra 30 days that it implies.

The 9 plants produced a total of 237.7 grams of dried and well trimmed flowers. An average of slightly more than 26 grams per plant. In another grow room with a bit more space, even with the same pots and the same light potency, I’m sure that the production would be even better, as well as in an outdoor grow with adequate conditions. Besides being very compact, the flowers are truly thick. Everything was going perfect, but about 8 days before the expected harvest date the weather forecasts indicated that my plants would have to face one last week of rain and very high humidity levels. With fat, rock hard buds, the fear of mold became a reality but given that the humidity % never went further than 55% with the HPS lights on, I had an idea: experimenting with the lights always on (24/0) for the last week. This, in theory, would keep the humidity levels constantly low. Autoflowering strains are not sensitive to photoperiods and can flower equally well with 18/6 or with 24/0, or any other photoperiod between these two. As I was only 1 week away from harvest, it seemed to me that nothing else could happen besides the normal maturation of the plants. And it really went that way, with eveything as expected until the harvest day arrived, without any kind of stress signs and no traces of mold, while the final ripening allowed for even bigger flowers.

The humidity was favorable for the drying procedures, creating the ideal conditions for a drying process as slow as every grower should wish for, so that the flowers have time to get rid of the undesired remaining traces of chlorophyll. It took them 15 days to get properly dry, which is the ideal timing. Once they already were in the glass jars, one or another Black Jack Auto® plant that was still showing visible traces of humidity were taken out of the jars for 2 or 3 hours in a few afternoons with sunshine and clean sky. For the other plants the usual 20 minutes per day of jars open over 2 weeks was enough for an ideal curing. But always with extra attention to avoid opening the jars on high humidity or rainy days, when it’s better to leave the jars closed so that the flowers don’t absorb the humidity present in the air, which would very likely carry away a good amount of aroma. A while after, like with 2 months of cure, it reached its full organoleptic potential. There are no notable traces of chlorophyll anymore, making it a very pleasant smoke as the tastes and aromas are pure in all their splendor.

This article originally appeared here in https://www.weedworldmagazine.org/2019/07/10/sweet-seeds-growing-two-autoflowering-classics-indoors-by-tommy-g/

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