Outdoor Autoflowers

I’ve been veggie gardening for more than a decade, always non-chemical. I am slowly switching to an all natural, no tilling style of gardening. I have been experimenting with how best to get seedlings into the ground in the spring. I started, years ago, by buying seedlings at the nursery and planting them. I usually get really good results. A few years ago I began buying seeds and building a makeshift green house. The results are mixed. It takes a lot of time and effort be sure the seeds sprout, and remain healthy in the greenhouse until they are large enough to plant in the beds. Once the plants are in beds, they generally do alright. The soil is healthy, I spend a ton of time picking bugs off the leaves, making sure the plants have enough water, etc. Harvests are satisfying.

My first grow of cannabis was great. I grew feminized Afghani seeds in my outdoor garden. I planted 3 seeds, they all sprouted and grew surprisingly large (9 feet tall). I harvested about a pound of really nice bud. The following year, I planted the remaining 2 seeds in pots because I was going on vacation and needed to hide the plants in the woods for the 10 days I was out of town (house sitters). I eventually had to plant the girls the the garden because I am not good at container growing. I didn’t have the nutrients to add to the soil. They grew well in the soil. I got about 5 ounces from each plant. Last year I planted Autoflower (White Widow) seeds because it sounded like they would be easier to deal with: they would not grow so tall and get noticed by my neighbors (before the law changed), they’d get harvested earlier. The Spring weather was weird and I was thrown off and didn’t do a good job hardening them off. They grew badly, as did the veggies, too. I harvested about 2.5 ounces from three seeds. The buds are weird, not compact. They are OK to smoke, they get me high so not a total loss.

Never one to give up, I bought Northern Lights Auto for this year. I planted 3 seeds in starter pots (and 1 White Widow feminized). They sprouted as expected. Then the rain began. It rained for days on end. I don’t have the green house any more, so they were outside (I waited until the cold weather was not an issue). Then they stopped growing. After about a week or 10 days, I planted them in the soil. They still were not growing. After about 4 weeks (from sprouting), I planted the remaining 2 seeds directly into the soil. The White Widow is now growing well. One of the autos has begun to grow again. The other two original plants are still stalled after about a month in the ground. One of the direct planting seeds got eaten by slugs, the other is young still, but looks like it’s doing OK.

Anyway, I know this is long winded, but I wanted to express that the Autoflower seeds are not as easy (for me) as the feminized seeds. It seems to me that they would do very well for indoor grows, but outdoors, they are more difficult than standard seeds. We’ll see how the one remaining autoflower seed that I planted at the beginning of June does. If it does well, I might try again with the autos to get an early harvest, but for me, so far, feminized seeds are a better choice.

This is my first season growing cannabis outdoors and I started with a gorilla glue auto. While I lost it to mold due to a dumb mistake in my part, it was nearly ready for harvest and was also airy. Not sure if it’s the genetics of the autoflower that make it finicky or just mistakes that I made along the way. I did start it in mid-April indoors and moved outside about 3 weeks later. The weather was probably too cold when it started flowering but it did warm up and nothing changed.

I’m about to embark on a late season grow and debating trying gorilla glue auto again or northern lights feminized photo. Thinking I’ll go for the northern lights since it will probably get chilly when it’s flowering in late summer/early fall.

Regarding stunted growth, I did read that you want to minimize transplanting autoflowers since they don’t have much tome for recovery due to short veg period.

Before mold

What I would have harvested