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First time growing autos

cannalush

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I've grown regular photos outdoors the past several years but this will be my first time growing auto-flowering genetics.

Up until recently I've had zero interest in auto flowering strains. I always had the impression that autos lacked aroma, flavor, and potency compared to most regular photos. I also enjoy the long growing period of regular photo plants, getting to see them grow large and getting to see them transition into flowering during late summer. For many reasons autos never appealed to me.

But several people on some other forums I'm on have convinced me that autos have improved these days and are basically on par with regular photo plants in regards to aroma/flavor and overall "dankness". And since I won't have all summer to grow this year (i will be moving across the state later this summer), growing some autos seems to be my only option for getting a harvest this year.


I have some Mephisto seeds on the way (Mango Smile, Skywalker, Creme De la Chem) and I'm considering getting some seeds from Twenty 20 as well. I'm hoping to have the seeds sowed by the end of this month, they will be sowed basically as soon as I receive them.

The plants will be grown in 30 gallon fabric pots in organic/live soil, and I will likely grow a couple plants directly in the ground in the rich/fertile native sandy loam soil we have in my area (those plants will be vulnerable to gophers tho).

The spot where they're grown receives direct sunlight almost the entire day from sunrise to sunset. Temps will be around 80f to 90f during the first several weeks, then around 90f to 100f towards the last few weeks before harvest.

I've looked around for some good photos and reviews and grow journals of people growing autos outdoors and didn't really come across much at all. I've been super curious how large and good looking an auto can get outdoors and I couldn't find a single quality photo of an auto plant grown outdoors.....If all goes well, and if these genetics are as good as the hype, then I should have some stellar looking plants & flowers in a few months.



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Bill.de.Cat

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Welcome, glad you found us. You could be the picture poster of a massive out auto.
 

cannalush

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Welcome, glad you found us. You could be the picture poster of a massive out auto.
:cheers:

Me too!

I've been around here for only a few weeks now but I enjoy the forums around this place. Seems like one of the better cannabis growing forums around these days in general, not just in regards to autos.


And I don't want to get too ahead of myself or "cocky" lol....but yea, I feel that I should be able to grow some rather large and great looking autos outdoors if everything goes to plan. I'm looking forward to seeing what I'm able to do with autos. I reside in an ideal climate, lots of warmth & low humidity and nothing but sunshine all day.

I'll likely make a thread for my grow specifically once I get things going.



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Mañ'O'Green

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You probably should have a barrier under your fabric pots if they are on the soil. Them damn gophers will chew right through a fabric pot. Been there done that!
 

cannalush

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You probably should have a barrier under your fabric pots if they are on the soil. Them damn gophers will chew right through a fabric pot. Been there done that!

I'm going to do that this year for sure.

I've grown in fabric pots the past 4 years (regular photos), and last year was the first time the gophers found their way into the fabric pots. They didn't go all that far deep tho and didn't do much of any damage to the roots, about only 6 inches up into the pot. A couple others had been chewed through just enough to make a hole in the bottom.

These gophers drive me nuts though! I'm one that tries to not kill anything unless necessary but these damn things make me want to take a pellet to each of their heads lol...I get rid of several on my property each year (mostly relocating them to "natural" habitats outside of neighborhoods) but their population/#s are persistent around my yard every year.

If they weren't such a big threat I would absolutely have all of my plants growing directly in the earth, the soil here is amazing all by itself with out any amendments needed. I grew two regular photo plants in the ground last year. I took the risk/gamble with the chance of them being taken out by gophers and they actually made it to the end (they almost got taken out by mites tho). I gave those plants nothing but water all spring & summer & fall and they turned out fantastic! Even with being bent down and topped many times they still turned out nearly 7ft tall and easily as wide, dozens of chunky tops each.

I will definitely be putting at least one or two autos in the ground this year, will likely try to create some sort of barrier to protect the main root ball from gophers.



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LearningMore

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I'm going to do that this year for sure.

I've grown in fabric pots the past 4 years (regular photos), and last year was the first time the gophers found their way into the fabric pots. They didn't go all that far deep tho and didn't do much of any damage to the roots, about only 6 inches up into the pot. A couple others had been chewed through just enough to make a hole in the bottom.

These gophers drive me nuts though! I'm one that tries to not kill anything unless necessary but these damn things make me want to take a pellet to each of their heads lol...I get rid of several on my property each year (mostly relocating them to "natural" habitats outside of neighborhoods) but their population/#s are persistent around my yard every year.

If they weren't such a big threat I would absolutely have all of my plants growing directly in the earth, the soil here is amazing all by itself with out any amendments needed. I grew two regular photo plants in the ground last year. I took the risk/gamble with the chance of them being taken out by gophers and they actually made it to the end (they almost got taken out by mites tho). I gave those plants nothing but water all spring & summer & fall and they turned out fantastic! Even with being bent down and topped many times they still turned out nearly 7ft tall and easily as wide, dozens of chunky tops each.

I will definitely be putting at least one or two autos in the ground this year, will likely try to create some sort of barrier to protect the main root ball from gophers.



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One of my livestock guardian dogs has taken to hunting/killing gophers. That boy gets to keep his catch AND gets a treat of smoked pork (no spices) or beef or whatever goodies I have for him when he gets one. He’s becoming a master gopher killer, bless him.
 

Doug58

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I've got autos sprouting from dropped seeds from last year (pollinated most of last years autos to obtain seeds) in my outdoor grow area right now with nighttime temperatures below freezing, 22 degrees last night and snow spitting the last three days. In my region, even in the warm days of Summer, nights are cold. I still have no problem growing some big auto strains (not as big as the photos I have tried) but the autos I have grown outside tend to run 90 to 110 days to finish under natural sunlight.

I am curious how the plants from last years dropped seeds will grow after spending 6 months frozen in soil and having sprouted when I had three days of high 60's and 70's and now experiencing sub zero temperatures and surviving.

I grow in felt pots also and even though I have seen field mice, vole, destructive red squirrels and chipmunks all over my yard I rarely have seen them in my grow area and they have never shown any interest in my plants. I have had toads crawl up into pots and burrow into the dirt occasionally, I may kick them out of the pots but I leave them in the fenced in area as they can eat their weight easily in bugs. They have even been known to eat mice on occasion.
 
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cannalush

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....In my region, even in the warm days of Summer, nights are cold. I still have no problem growing some big auto strains (not as big as the photos I have tried) but the autos I have grown outside tend to run 90 to 110 days to finish under natural sunlight.
What part of the world do you live and/or what sort of climate? Sounds a bit cooler than where I am

Around when do you usually start your autos outdoors?

Do you top or train your autos at all or grown them in a different manner than you do photo period plants? I'm debating between letting the plants grow mostly in their natural form (with some slight "opening up" of their structure and clearing out & removing some of the lower/inner growth), or topping and doing some LST/bending like I usually do with the photo-period plants I grow.



I grow in felt pots also and even though I have seen field mice, vole, destructive red squirrels and chipmunks all over my yard I rarely have seen them in my grow area and they have never shown any interest in my plants. I have had toads crawl up into pots and burrow into the dirt occasionally, I may kick them out of the pots but I leave them in the fenced in area as they can eat their weight easily in bugs. They have even been known to eat mice on occasion.
I haven't had any issues yet from critters like gophers & mice in regards to cannabis, but the gophers around my yard have definitely taken out a handful of different things over the years (melons, sunflowers, poppies).

I already lost several poppy plants the past few days from gophers.

In my area caterpillars getting into the buds are a common issue for outdoor growers. And hemp/russet mites are becoming a lot more common. I almost lost all of my plants last year to russet mites. I'm more prepared this time around...Also they don't seem to be an issue until later in the summer. My plants should be done before the end of July this time around.



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Doug58

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What part of the world do you live and/or what sort of climate? Sounds a bit cooler than where I am

Around when do you usually start your autos outdoors?

Do you top or train your autos at all or grown them in a different manner than you do photo period plants? I'm debating between letting the plants grow mostly in their natural form (with some slight "opening up" of their structure and clearing out & removing some of the lower/inner growth), or topping and doing some LST/bending like I usually do with the photo-period plants I grow.





I haven't had any issues yet from critters like gophers & mice in regards to cannabis, but the gophers around my yard have definitely taken out a handful of different things over the years (melons, sunflowers, poppies).

I already lost several poppy plants the past few days from gophers.

In my area caterpillars getting into the buds are a common issue for outdoor growers. And hemp/russet mites are becoming a lot more common. I almost lost all of my plants last year to russet mites. I'm more prepared this time around...Also they don't seem to be an issue until later in the summer. My plants should be done before the end of July this time around.



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I am above the 45th parallel North in the US adjacent to Ontario, Canada. Had snow on the ground this morning again. Often get a big snowfall as late as May. Frost until the last week of June. I start both autos and photos inside around April or May. This year I haven't started any photos as last year the photo strains were all a bust basically when the first snow fell in October and even though the last photo I hadn't chopped was coated with icicles.

Once late September/early October comes around I get aphids pretty bad on any plants outside that I have to blast off plants with a hose. Autos planted in May, moved outside permanently in late June and finished by late July to mid-August don't seem to be affected usually in my location.

On photos I have to keep the plants out of sight behind my six foot board fence as local law requires that plants can not be seen. Because of that I do LST/bending and frequent topping. Because of my climate the photo strains I have tried are hit and miss. In the near future I will be moving back to a desert climate in the Southwest that just legalized recreational marijuana and will have to change my growing style to fit a hot dry climate. Where I am currently I have short humid hot daytime temperatures from July to mid-September that transitions to freezing temperatures by mid-October. Autos do fine outside from June 21st to the first week of September because the hours of Daylight are so long this far North, but the daylight hours don't get short enough for most of the photo plants I tried last year.

Two years ago I grew a Photo strain from Bad Dawg Genetics called Gooey 13 that was from tester seeds and it was great as the breeder is also located in my state and apparently developed it for this climate, but the seeds were not ever available to be purchased and he no longer lists them on his site as freebie tester seeds. I still have some of them and may try growing them out an cloning some for a seed run. I was able to harvest about a pound of huge buds from one plant using a staggered harvest but lost approximately 1/4 pound from the plant when it rained non-stop for 7 days with no sun and powdery mildew and budrot resulted in the part of the plant I hadn't cut yet.

On my outdoor autos I may do some bending and top once or twice. Other times with different strains or when a different pheno pops up I will just let it grow naturally. I've had some strains grow like a Christmas tree anywhere from two to three feet tall with huge colas, others go five feet tall with their fabric pot buried at ground level with a more sativa dominate appearance when left to grow naturally like Fastbuds Mexican Airlines.

I have also had some beetle type larvae that looks like a caterpillar get into buds towards the end of Summer before. I basically check my plants closely and pick off anything that looks like that if I find any. Ladybugs will help with the aphids. If I see a Preying Mantis around my plants I let them be as well as any insects that eat other bugs and if I find toads in my yard I will often relocate them to my outside grow area to keeps pest insects under control.

If I am growing in fabric pots outside I go with a 7 gallon or 11 gallon pot size. I had bought a bunch of 3 gallon fabric pots and for most of the Fastbud strains I have they just didn't work well as the plants got so big outside that the plants either got too top heavy to support the plant or the plant got so root bound the plants started having issues. The larger fabric pots also would not dry out so fast. The 3 gallon pots would have to be watered at least twice a day outside in the heat of the Summer as the wind also blows constantly where I live during the daytime as I am on an island.
 
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Doug58

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What part of the world do you live and/or what sort of climate? Sounds a bit cooler than where I am
I'm in Northern Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes. 33 degrees Fahrenheit right now and snow covered the ground today. Forecast is for rain and ice storm this evening and then temperatures near 60 degrees Fahrenheit by tomorrow. I'm curious whether those seeds that sprouted outside will survive this weather I've got right now. I expect that if they survive this they will be pretty much stunted.

The White Widow hybrid autos I started in a tent in my basement a couple weeks ago in some 2 gallon plastic pots are filling in and yesterday I decided to top them. Looked at them this morning and the topping seems to have accelerated other leaves to grow.

I noticed on some autos I grew outside last year that when you top them the growth can be really vigorous afterwards on some strains and a day or two later you can get rapid recovery and vegetative growth once you top them. Four inches overnight sometimes under long Summer days in the Northern latitudes. Not like photo plants though, the few photo plants I've grown outside grew so fast and large planted directly in the ground grew out of control and filled my outside grow area to the point I had to cut four down and just leave one that I cut back extensively. The grow area was only about 12 feet by 12 feet surrounded by a six foot high board fence.

I have had good luck with Fastbuds autos when growing outside. Mexican Airlines and Pineapple Express did well in the hot humid temperatures I experienced with 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit and very high humidity outdoors living on a smaller island. I believe they are pretty much sativa auto strains but I have also had the Pineapple Express give a pheno that looked more like an indica strain once with a single huge central cola that was prone to budrot when grown indoors in a tent. I think it grew better outside. Fastbuds was running a buy a pack get one pack free when I checked yesterday if you are somewhere they ship directly to.
 
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