SAFC Asteroids: AK Auto & Night Queen - My First Grow
This is my first time ever growing cannabis, and I am very excited about it!! For managing my grow from beginning to end, I will only be following the methods and practices outlined here, on CocoforCannabis.com, as well as in the book Coco For Cannabis: A Grower's Guide. Tips and advice from fellow CfC growers is also always welcome!
I just dropped my seeds earlier this morning, on 4/20! I will be growing in a 2' x 2' Mars-Hydro tent, so I am just growing two plants this time around. They are both auto flowers. The strains are AK Auto and Night Queen. I germinated the seeds by scuffing them, soaking them in water for 3 hours, and then transferring them onto paper towels. Currently, they are inside Pyrex glasses and covered with a towel to protect them from light. I also have a seedling heat mat underneath them. I will check on the seeds again tomorrow around noon to see if their radicles have begun to emerge. Can't wait!!
Looks awesome! Keeping things nice and sanitary 🙂
The first grow? Awesome!! Be sure to keep mental notes along the way to avoid repeating mistakes; and when failures occur, be sure to remember that you’ll be better and more efficient the next time around. No use crying over spilled milk so to speak, haha.
Great idea to incorporate scuffing the seeds. I’ll admit I was a bit surprised the first time I heard Dr. C talk about it on GrowCast, haha.
I like the direction you’re going with the Petri dish setup as well, however I have some bits of caution for you. I suggest making sure there’s a gap for air exchange if you are placing them on a heating mat. If they’re completely sealed, heat and pressure may built up inside from the heating mat - acting like a small pressure cooker even with relatively low sustained heat.
Also, once the taproot emerges, it’ll need oxygen which may not be in abundance in the sealed/heated container.
Best of luck and hope you see something crack soon! Happy growing
It has been 4 days since I dropped both of my seeds on 4/20. There was a minor setback yesterday. One of my seeds, AK Auto, germinated successfully in the paper towel and was ready to be transferred to the Jiffy pellet. The other seed, Night Queen, didn't fare as well. The seed split open, but the radicle never emerged from the seed casing, as pictured below.
I was worried that maybe I did something wrong and was pretty disappointed that Night Queen didn't germinate successfully. It was tough to toss the seed out. However, the AK Auto seems to be doing very well so far, which makes me think it wasn't a mistake I made after all. Below, you can see the seed head of AK Auto flush in the Jiffy pellet. By the end of the day yesterday, it had already begun to push upwards.
I dropped another Night Queen seed as a replacement yesterday. I am soaking it in the water longer this time before transferring it to the paper towel. AK Auto looks good as of this morning and continues to grow. Hoping that this new Night Queen seed will have a successful germination!
The seedling phase is always the most stressful for us.. Lol
I was going to ask about 3hr soak? Did you think it may have had somethin to do with the germ? Im just thinkin aloud.. Hell 1 plant will sufficiently fill that space if more issues arise..esp with training!
Great to see you jumpin in Jordan , Happy Growing!
The second Night Queen seed germinated successfully! I took some advice from another grower’s grow journal (Thank you, @Cannerd 😉 ) and soaked the seed for 12 hours in water with a little bit of hydrogen peroxide added in this time around. I then transferred the seed to a paper towel and sealed it in the prepared Pyrex container I had waiting on my heating mat. By the end of the evening that day, the seed was ready to be placed into the Jiffy pellet.
By the end of day 5, the seed casing on the AK Auto had still not come off fully yet. So, I took some advice from Dr. Coco and gently removed the seed casing while carefully holding the stem with my thumb and index finger in order to avoid pulling the plant out of the Jiffy pellet. It’s cotyledons opened up right away once the seed casing was removed.
Both seeds have become sprouts! They are doing well under 24 hours of light inside the humidity dome. Night Queen is already taller than her sister, AK Auto, despite being nearly 2 days younger! Dr. Coco told me that this strain in particular grows like crazy!
Last Wednesday, I transferred the seedlings to their second containers. They were moved into fabric seedling bags filled with 100% coco. I was debating on adding in perlite, but decided to follow the Coco for Cannabis grow charts compiled by BerkshireBud, which recommends pure coco at this stage. I will add perlite into their next containers for sure.
Everything was going well. I began twice daily fertigation using 25 mL of the Coco for Cannabis seedling mix and slightly increasing the EC with each fertigation event. Then, tragedy struck. While I was fertigating, I placed small sauces underneath the plants to collect the runoff. I didn't realize that one of the plants wasn't fully stable on the saucer. I left the room, and when I came back, the AK Auto plant had tipped over. I tried to fix it and gently angle the stem back up straight, but I accidentally pushed too hard and snapped it. It didn't come completely off, but it didn't look good either. I read that it was possible to still save the seedling if this happened. I created a small cast out of toilet paper dipped it in filtered water with a tiny bit of rapid rooter, then applied it to the damaged stem.
This happened 2 days ago now. AK Auto doesn't look completely dead, but it also doesn't appear to be recovering. I'm not holding onto too much hope at this point. I will keep fertigating it for the time being until it looks fully dead. The Night Queen seedling is doing very well, which I am thankful for!
I think all hope may be lost for little AK Auto. The plant is showing no signs of recovery. The stem feels brittle and dry. I still haven't been able to bring myself to throw her away, though.
Night Queen, on the other hand, appears to be thriving! I have increased her EC inflow to around 820 mS/cm as of this morning. I'm still working on getting her up to the 1100 mS/cm mark. I have also been measuring the pH of the inflow solution to make sure that it stays neutral. The plant seems to be loving it so far! I am considering buying a pH meter to make the testing process easier.
Even though Night Queen is doing well, it truly is sad to see AK Auto go. I have one more seed of the AK Auto strain, and I am considering germinating it once Night Queen moves into her grow tent. I would love to hear any thoughts/suggestions about growing two plants that are on different growth cycles. Thanks for reading, and Grower Love!
Doing well jordan.. I might offer 1 bit of advice.. Dont be in a hurry to raise ec.. I never get to 1100 in that size pot. I mix my strengths based on plant size , health etc., Not on days old. Low ec is fixed in few hours .. High ec ..early on ...can cost us auto growers precious time.
Just my personal observations..im in no way advocating goin against the articles.
Keep up the good farming growmie.
Night Queen has been successfully transplanted into her next container! Yesterday, I saw that she now has three fully formed nodes and her roots were beginning to come out of the bottom and sides of the fabric seedling bag. I decided it was time to pot-up and move Night Queen into a 1-gallon fabric pot. I have been using pre-buffered coco, so I began by rinsing and rehydrating my coco. Then, I let the coco soak for about 5 hours in some of the fertigation water that Night Queen has been receiving. Next, I tested the EC of the run-off water from my new coco. It showed a reading of over 1200 mS/cm, which was too high for little Night Queen! I kept rinsing the coco until the EC meter read below 800 mS/cm, which was well within her acceptable range. Finally, I measured out my perlite and mixed it in with the coco.
Now, it was time to fill the new pot and move Night Queen inside of it. The transition went flawlessly! As Dr. Coco's transplanting article suggested, I used a butter knife to gently separate the plant and its peripheral roots from the fabric seedling bag. Then, I flipped her over and gently pulled off the seedling bag. Next, I put the mass of old coco with the plant in the middle of the new fabric pot. Lastly, I filled in the sides with my coco/perlite mix. She appears to be doing well since then! I still have her in the humidity dome for now, under a bit of a makeshift setup. Soon, I will set up the grow tent and move her inside of it.
Small side note: I took Dr. Coco's advice and used Velcro to attach individual syringes to all of my nutrients. I love this system of organization! It is really convenient.
I have been having so much fun and learning a ton from growing this plant! Over the weekend, I got a Mars-Hydro 2’ x 2’ grow kit with a TS1000 fixture. I was able to set up the tent and move my Night Queen plant inside. I still need to install the ventilation system, but the plant is fine for now since she is still pretty small. I plan to put in the fan later this week. I am also waiting for some larger Carabiners to arrive in the mail. I will use them to properly hang the light. The hanging setup I have will work fine for now until they arrive.
There was one small mishap! I had to mix a new batch of nutrient (fertigation) water for my plant. I made the mistake of reading our “How to Mix Nutrients” article only, without watching Dr. Coco’s accompanying YouTube video. I didn’t wait long enough to test the EC of the solution, so my reading was way off. I ended up adding in additional nutrients at the end in order to raise the EC (not recommended). Luckily, I did this experimental mixing in a separate mixing bowl and not in the entire solution, so my main solution was still usable.
I realized something was probably wrong and decided to watch Dr. Coco’s nutrient mixing video. Then, I realized what mistake I made. I tested my solution again after it had time to settle and got the desired EC reading (1155 mS/cm). It occurred to me that the solution I fed to my plant earlier that morning was improperly mixed and may cause her to experience lockout. I also realized the NER was definitely off for that feeding. So, I decided to do a light flush and gave her some tap water. I’m not sure if this was the best solution, but it was all I could come up with in a moment of panic. She definitely looks “sad” compared to before.
I hope she will perk up soon! Since this is my first grow, I am seeing every mistake/setback as a learning opportunity. I definitely won’t make that same mistake again!
Yesterday, I noticed that there was some discoloration on my plant’s leaves. I brought my concerns to the chat room, and received a ton of encouraging advice and support! Thank you to all of the growmies who took time to help answer my questions 😊 Based on the feedback I received in chat, I think that Night Queen is showing signs of Magnesium deficiency or transplant shock. I decided to foliar her with a full dose of Cal/Mag water. I will keep doing this every other day and see if she shows signs of improvement. I also realized that part of the Cal/Mag issue could be stemming from the fact that I am using a pre-buffered coco product and did not re-buffer it before use. The packaging guaranteed that it was properly pre-buffered, but now I’m not so sure. There was also a mix up with my nutrient solution last week, which I tried to correct by doing a light flush. Hence, there are probably several factors at play that are contributing to my plant’s problem. Luckily, Night Queen isn’t in her final container yet, so there is still time for me to properly buffer my coco before the last transplant. I am excited to see how this will impact her growth!
On a happier note, I was able to install the ventilation system in my tent last night! I am really pleased with how it turned out, and I think the plant is happy too. I am wondering, how does new air get inside the grow tent? I opened one of the Velcro flaps on my Mars-Hydro tent in order to get some fresh air in there because I couldn’t figure it out. Now, I’m just waiting for my humidifier to come in the mail (it’s dry where I live), and my tent will be complete! In celebration, I’ve decided to drop another seed this weekend. I have one more seed of AK Auto and will try to use it to replace the plant that died at the beginning of this grow. I have been storing my seeds inside the refrigerator, so I took the AK Auto seed out yesterday in order to bring it to room temperature. The seed will be ready to drop on Friday. I am really looking forward to it!
Night Queen had a very eventful weekend! On Friday, I transplanted her from the one gallon fabric pot into a 5 gallon fabric pot that came with my Mars-Hydro grow kit. Early on in the grow, I noticed signs of Mg deficiency in Night Queen. I was using a pre-buffered coco product and rinsing and rehydrating it before mixing it with perlite and putting it into the pot. After getting feedback from some awesome growmies in chat, I decided I needed to also buffer my coco before the next transplant, as this was most likely the cause of the deficiency. And I am so glad that I did! Night Queen has shown no signs of transplant shock, and her Mg deficiency symptoms are almost totally gone. I also added in a humidifier and have an oscillating clip fan that I will install later on as well. The plant seems to be doing well with twice daily fertigation, a temperature of around 25C, RH about 60-65%, and an 18/6 lighting schedule. The only question I have is, how much coco/perlite should you put into a pot? Should the pot be almost completely filled with the media, making the plant nearly flush with the top of the pot? I feel like I didn’t put enough media into my pot when I transplanted this time.
I also germinated another AK Auto seed over the weekend! This seed was started on May 20th, exactly one month after Night Queen was started on 4/20. This new seed will replace the other AK Auto plant that I lost at the beginning of the grow. Space might be a little tight inside my tent later on, but I really wanted to start another plant in order to gain more growing experience. The AK Auto seed germinated successfully using the paper towel method, and the sprout is doing well inside of the Super Sprouter humidity dome underneath a 17W CFL.
My grow is going well, or at least, I think it is!
Since my last post, Night Queen was enjoying her late veg stage. About a week ago, I noticed the first pistils starting to come from her calyxes. This was a really exciting moment! I finished off feeding her the late veg nutrient mix I had left and started her on the early bloom mixture.
One thing that I was very confused about is a yellowing I noticed on the tips of Night Queen’s uppermost leaves. At first, I believed this to be nutrient burn. So, I took her down from an inflow EC of 1250 uS/cm back to the 1100 mark. It didn’t help with the yellowing. I brought my concerns to the chat room. Someone in chat suggested that this could be an indication of pre-flowering. Someone else commented that it could be light burn. I was getting a lot of different opinions and also finding conflicting information online, so I decided to ask Dr. Coco for his opinion.
Dr. Coco said that the yellowing of her tips was something related to nutrient deficiency or problems with NER, and definitely not light burn. Based on the fact that my inflow EC has consistently been lower than my run-off EC through the course of the grow, Dr. Coco said that this was not a huge issue to be concerned about. Most likely, Night Queen was having difficulty adjusting to the switch over to from late veg to early bloom nutrients. Dr. Coco said that the plant will most likely grow out of this.
Night Queen now has her first pompoms! I noticed them about a day ago, but today they look much more formed. Unfortunately, I also found fungus gnats inside of my tent last night as well. I treated the coco by flushing it with a solution of 1 part H2O2 and 4 parts water. I noticed less bugs in the tent today. Additionally, I ordered some flytraps and Azamax. I will be foliar spraying the plant with a light dose of the Azamax just to make sure all the gnats are dead. I also decided to start adding H2O2 to all my nutrient solutions moving forward so as to avoid facing this pest issue again!
Night Queen has matured considerably since my last post! Update on the fungus gnat situation: I was able to get rid of the bugs completely after two foliar applications of Azamax and the use of a few yellow flytraps inside my tent. I’m really glad I noticed that issue and was able to address it right away before the gnats’ numbers grew!
I have enjoyed watching Night Queen bloom and flower this last month. It wasn’t long after the pistils came that she developed pom poms. The pom poms turned into buds pretty quickly, too. I am still amazed by how fast this plant has grown! I have been following the CfC nutrient chart and EC guidelines religiously and am definitely seeing the results!
Night Queen’s buds are dense and resinous now. I touched a bud without a glove on the other day out of curiosity, and my fingers were as sticky as touching glue!
I think that the light inside my tent is still too close to the plant. I was able to move the fixture last week and gained a few extra inches of clearance. Before that, I had to dim the fixture to 80% because I began to notice signs of light burn (actual light burn this time – not just the strange yellowing of the leave's tips!). You can see one of the leaves fading and curling in on itself in the background in the picture below.
Speaking of leaves changing, this past week, Night Queen has become beautifully colorful. Her leaves are fading from their original light green hue to shades of dark purples and soft yellows. I love looking at the plant the way she is now. I find myself opening the flap of my tent to peak inside several times a day. One fellow CfC grower told me that the leaves changing is a sign that Night Queen is entering the ripening phase.
I will flush her soon. Any advice/tips/tricks are very welcome! I feel vastly underprepared for the final phase of the grow and the harvesting and curing processes that will follow. But, like a lot of other parts of this grow, I am certain that I will figure it out when the time comes. Thanks for reading! 🙂
Night Queen has been harvested successfully!
Last week, I began Night Queen’s final flush in preparation of the upcoming harvest. Per Dr. Coco and another CfC growmie’s suggestion, I used FloraKleen as a flushing agent, since I have been using the GH nutrient line. I don’t think I was applying large enough quantities of water at first, though. When I measured the EC of the run-off, it was still about 900 uS/cm. Yikes! That was way too high considering Dr. Coco’s recommended EC for the flushing phase is 200 uS/cm. So, I decided to move Night Queen into my bathtub in order to apply larger quantities of flushing water.
When I measured the EC of the run-off later that evening, it had dropped to 146 uS/cm. A huge difference! I’m glad that I thought to move her into the shower. I applied about 2 gallons of water with flushing agent.
Before harvest, I was checking Night Queen’s trichomes daily using a microscope. At the time of harvest, the trichomes were mostly cloudy but still some were clear. I saw little to no amber trichomes. However, many of the plant’s leaves had faded from green to purple eventually to yellow and then started withering and curling in on themselves (even before the final flush began). I took this to be an indicator of the “ripening” phase and the end of Night Queen’s life cycle. The pistils were nearly all orange at that time also.
After initiating the final flush, I moved Night Queen into my bathroom last Tuesday for her final dark period. My bathroom is the only enclosed dark space I have available inside of my apartment. Night Queen stayed inside of there for 36 hours in the dark. Below is the last picture I took of Night Queen before harvest.
Then, last Thursday evening, I began to harvest the plant! I decided to do a 100% wet trim. I cut each cola off one at a time and carefully trimmed each bud. I had a friend helping me. We weren’t able to finish everything in one night. We finished the trimming and harvesting on Friday evening. I would say that it took the two of us working together about 8 hours to trim the entire plant (4 hours each night) as well as an additional 2 hours of me trimming by myself. So the whole trimming process took about 18 hours in total. Wow! I had heard of “trim jail” for a while now, but had no idea it would take that long. It was fun, though. It’s a relaxing thing to focus your energy on. We put some movies on in the background and trimmed on my glass coffee table.
Now, the trimmed colas are hanging inside my bathroom to dry in the dark. I hung all the branches that could be hung, and I put the buds of the smaller branches that couldn’t be hung inside a mesh drying rack. Everything has been drying for the past 5 days. I have kept the temperature between 68-70 F. The RH has stayed at 55% or lower consistently. The nugs look pretty dry now. Tomorrow, I plan to put some of them inside of a glass jar with my hygrometer to see where we are at. I think they are already ready, or very nearly ready, to go into jars to begin the curing process.
Here is the last picture I took of Night Queen after the harvest was complete and a picture of the inside of the 5 gallon fabric pot she was in. Thanks for reading 🙂