First Time Growing White Widow Auto:
A grow journal is very much like an online diary. However, instead of keeping it a secret, growers share the journey of cultivating marijuana with other like-minded people. Apart from sharing experiences, it is also a means to seek guidance. Such was the case with ReMoLu when he grew White Widow Autos for the first time.
As is the case with any adventure, first-timers often feel apprehensive and uncertain. ReMoLu indeed is no exception. Fortunately, not only was the ILGM community of home growers and experts supportive but they also provided invaluable tips that led to a successful grow.
ReMoLu’s White Widow Grow
White Widow has been in the Dutch marijuana scene for almost three decades. It is, in fact, one of the most recognized strains worldwide. Its popularity is due primarily to the energizing high it delivers before complementing it with full-bodied relaxation. Not only is it an excellent choice for recreational use, but it also brings a plethora of medical benefits as well.
For his first grow, ReMoLu could not have picked a better choice. White Widow itself is a sturdy and resilient plant by nature. Furthermore, in deciding to go with auto-flowering seeds, it should not take long from germination until it is ready for harvest.
ReMoLu took the first steps toward what he hoped would be a successful grow. A day earlier, he soaked 5 seeds in water. Today, he placed these seeds in paper towels.
Germination went without a hitch as all the seeds sprouted. He prepared dixie cups filled with FFHF soil and used 6.2 pH water to moisten. After planting the sprouts, he placed these cups in a grow tent under vegetative LED.
It appears that at least four of the seeds popped and broke through the soil. Both temperature (77°F) and humidity (RH 61%) levels are slightly higher than the previous day. At the moment, he runs a 600w LED 24/7.
All five plants have grown to about 2 inches above the soil. A day before, it was 1 inch. The temperature is at temperature is at 75°F while humidity is hovering around 50%.
A few days after sprouting the seeds, he moved the plants to 3-gallon fabric pots. Also, he set the light cycle to 20/4.
The move prompted more discussion among the members of the ILGM community.
“Actually, you should not start autos in solo cups,” Familyman420 commented. “Since an auto flower has a predetermined lifespan, stress that slows growth at an early stage is taking a chance at reduced yield and smaller or stunted plants.”
“We can’t predict when a plant’s genetics will trigger it into flowering,” Usmcjojo chimed in. “So, if you let the plant reach 4-6 inches before transplanting, then you run the risk of stressing it and accelerating the cycle.”
It is not that ReMoLu has no clue on what he is doing. For sure, he has done plenty of research on his own. However, there is a community of people ready and willing to help.
Among the things he wanted an affirmation was the amount of water that he should be using. In the meantime, he has FoxFarm Big Bloom, Grow Big and Tiger Bloom.
The first sign of trouble became evident when spots started showing up. ReMoLu is still using FoxFarm Happy Frog potting mix in 30-gallon fabric pots. pH level seems fine at 6.3. Nothing has changed with the lighting schedule too.
Still trying to find the cause of the spotting, someone suggested it may be due to nutrient burn. However, the grower has yet to feed the plants. It also does not appear to be a problem caused by improper pH level as he had been diligent in ensuring it is in the optimal range. Also, he felt that the growth rate slowed.
“It looks like a nutrient burn but not with Happy Frog,” Myfriendis410 commented. “Maybe windburn? Getting water on them under lights can burn them too.”
As it turns out, ReMoLu did spray the plants under the 600w LED. At this time though, it would be difficult to determine if it was the cause.
The White Widow Autos have recovered and appear to be doing good. ReMoLu did feel that some seem to be doing better than the others. Just a day before, he fed them with 1/3 strength nutrients and they seem to respond well.
Like many beginners, at some point during the grow, it is inevitable for many to purchase a new set of grow light system. Because the actual wattage of the LED he was using is 150w, he decided to order a larger one on the advice of many people in the ILGM community.
It has been 12 days since he germinated the seeds too. After preparing a mixture of 4 tsp each of FoxFarm Big Bloom and Grow Big in a gallon of pH 6.2 water, he fed each plant with about 2 cups.
Mistakes are bound to happen especially with a first-time grower. ReMoLu realized he was using the wrong mixture of nutrients. Instead of having 4 tsp of each, he should be using 2 tsp for one. To rectify, he fed 2 cups of water to each plant in the hope of flushing or diluting the stronger mix.
Fortunately, the wrong nutrient mix did not cause any trouble at all. Quick thinking and flushing with water seem to have done the trick. All the five White Widow autos also have 3 nodes.
Although he feels that the plants appears to like the nutrients, another member of the community threw caution to the wind. “You don’t need or want to feed your plants at this point,” Myfriendis410 said. “They are too young and the reason you planted in HF was to reduce the nutrient load on the seedlings. Wait another month.”
The new Viparspectra 700 arrived. Instead of dumping the old one, he thought of using both at the same time. Its use though is a little bit different so he would want to know what other people think.
It has been a little past two weeks, and the plants seem to be having a blast racing to maturity. ReMoLu did notice some yellowish color in #5.
“The lighter color is because its new growth,” ILGM Mentor Countryboyjvd1971 replied. “From what I am seeing, everything is healthy. They will get darker after they are out in the air for a few days.”
From three, there are now four nodes. With a more powerful light than before, the soil feels dryer. He gave each plant some 2-1/2 cups of pH 6.4 water.
The new PAR 700 is between 24 inches above the plants. Compared to the old one, it has more white and blue light, ReMoLu observes. It also has variable controls. The temperature remains stable at 72°F in the last days.
With the new light, the temperature had risen to 82°F. RH level is a little low at 41%. It could be getting too warm, so he adjusted the height to 30 inches above the White Widow Autos.
The temperature had risen to 90°F. Already, some leaves have shown signs of curling. ReMoLu placed a fan inside the grow tent hoping to bring it down.
The grower never disclosed his exact location. However, it is a fair assumption that he lives in a warm place. In fact, he seemed resigned to the fact that there were circumstances that are beyond his control.
Already, he has a plan in mind. Install an aircon next to his grow tent. Then, he could build a box and connect it to the shelter using ducting. It would allow cold air to come in and lower the interior temperature.
Meanwhile, most of the White Widow Autos have been growing remarkably well. In particular, an extra node seems to be popping out of #3. It also appears the flowering is imminent. Unfortunately, one has remained a runt, and now it has some spotting. Puzzled, some of the things that crossed his mind are light or nutrient burn.
As per schedule, he is also supposed to water the plants. However, moisture in the soil seems to be good still. Perhaps by midday, he could do so.
“If the soil is still wet, do not water or feed,” Countryboyjvd1971 advised. “Hold off until it is dry. I never use a schedule as far as how many days and instead go by soil moisture levels.”
Interestingly, another member has a possible theory on the cause of the problem of that one runt.
“Based on the photo and comparing to the symptom checker,” merlin44 offered. “It could be a phosphorous deficiency. But it seems weird that the others are not showing the same symptoms.”
In the course of discussing his White Widow Auto grow, other members of the ILGM community were also asking some questions.
“Usmcjojo. is it necessary to transplant?” ExcitedMuch asked. “Can’t you plant seed straight into a big pot/bin?”
Of course, merlin44 was only too happy to oblige with these four tips:
1. For auto’s, you should plant them in their final home. Auto’s are particularly sensitive to shock that can cause the plant to have difficulties.
2. For photo’s, planting in a smaller container and working your way up to larger ones gives you better control over how much water the plant is getting. In larger pots, many folks have a tendency to over water the young plants.
3. If you plant directly into large pots, be very careful not to knock the new plant/seedling down with a torrent of water.
4. Large pots require a proportionally larger amount of water (and nutrients) than small pots to get and keep the soil moist. But, too much moisture will drown your seedlings and can cause difficulties with larger plants. Be careful not to over water.
Everything is running smoothly for ReMoLu. One of the things he may have done in the last days was overwatering. Thanks to helpful people, there was plenty of advice.
Looking at the plants, he could not be any more pleased. The fifth one has been stable so far while the others have shown no signs of trouble. In fact, he thinks the fourth one is growing the best with possibly a sixth node popping out soon.
He did put stakes to help keep the plant growing straight up. Although they were sturdy enough, a couple bent just a little towards the light. He will have to rotate the pots in the next days.
At this time, most of the plants already have between 4 to 6 nodes. So, ReMoLu decided to start FIMing soon. Earlier, he had already trimmed some of the lower leaves of plant #5.
After FIMing the plants for the first time, ReMoLu did not think he did an excellent job as there was more growth than what he cut. In reality, it would take a little bit of time before he sees the results.
He FIMed the plants for the second time and decided to leave it as it is.
It has been a few days after FIMing. And, it looks like the plants are responding well to the trim off the top.
Six days after FIMing, the new growth has been quite impressive. Plants #3 and #1 seems to be doing better than the others. Meanwhile, #5 remains small and has some spots on its leaves. One of the things that he thought about was to perhaps FIM it again.
Today marks a glorious day for ReMoLu. Checking the plants, he saw that they needed water. But more important, he thought they had started flowering.
Already, new questions keep popping in his mind. Are they flowering? If they are, should he change lights or wait a little longer?
Plant #5 may be lagging behind, but that does not stop it from going at it together with the others. They are all flowering. Not only that, ReMoLu installed a carbon odor-filter to eliminate the scent spreading in the whole house.
Plant #5 is doing so much better. Looking at the rest, the grower still finds it surreal and unbelievable. His first time is coming along nicely and turning out to be a smashing success.
Because he felt that the current light he used was not adequate, he added back the old one to help with the coverage.
Noticeable during this time is that lust for more water. Of course, that is expected when plants enter the flowering mode. It does tend to consume twice as much than during the vegetative period.
Still adjusting to the explosive growth of his plants, ReMoLu needs to water more.
Meanwhile, the little runt has not yet shown any buds. But all the others are already causing an excruciating excitement. It has been 36 days, and the flowers are showing beautifully.
HornHead has the following advice. “You’re going into the flowering stretch. It’s going to start shooting upwards fast, and now would be the time to give a little bit more nutrients. Since it’s an auto and they flower and grow at the same time for the first 3-4 weeks. You want to give growth nutrients (not only for flowering) too so you don’t stunt the plant.”
At least one of the plants showed signs of drooping. Not only that, but it also has purple stems. ReMoLu thinks the problem is overwatering.
Some of the suggestions he received were to put a fan, and that should help in promoting evaporation.
Another problem that looms is the vertical space. As the plants have continued growing, the height of his tent is becoming problematic. In other words, he will have to figure out how to hang the light fixtures to maximize the growing space.
While the other White Widow Autos are doing well for days already, it looks like #5 has started to flower too and stretching towards the light.
With such a helpful community, ReMoLu did something he should have thought of asking first. Thinking that #5 was flowering already with a few preflower pistils, he FIMed it once more.
“Hopefully it wasn’t too late,” Countryboyjvd1971 said. “In the future, you shouldn’t top or fim autos after they show signs of flowering. It takes a week or so before they fully recover and this can stress the plant.”
The vertical room is now a big problem for ReMoLu. As the plants stretch towards the light, there is not much room for him to adjust the height of the lighting fixture. Four days ago, the plants were about 4 to 5 inches below the lights. Now, he now has 3 touching the lights.
One of the suggestions floated by merlin44 is to use LST. And, he explains:
“As I understand LST (Low-Stress Training), the stems are bent (without damage - don’t kink them) and secured with twine or some other method that will not cut into the stems. The idea is to expose inner and lower potential bud sights to more light without stressing the plant. It is also very effective for controlling plant height.
Super Cropping, on the other hand, involves slightly crushing the limbs and bending them. It causes the plant to need to repair the damage and sends extra nutrients to the site of the damage. This is stressful to the plant so I believe should be avoided with auto’s which are sensitive to stress.”
“LST IS THE ONLY method I recommend considering these are autos,” Covertgrower agrees. “If you try to super crop them (if this were a photoperiod) then you would be likely to snap a branch. Since we are 2 weeks or more into flowering, the branches get quite stiff.”
After LST, the plants appear to be good. Even better, some leaves showed good recovery by turning upward as opposed to downward.
So, White Widow #5 has been having a bit of trouble with growth. One thing, though, is that she is indeed a fighter to have kept hanging on and doing its best.
Today, there is yet another problem. Some of its leaves curled. Brown spots have also emerged. More worrisome is that these spots seem to have appeared on two other plants as well. The canoeing and spotting, looking back, happened after watering a couple of days before.
At this point, ReMoLu thought it might be a pH-related issue. However, he did have a new meter that seems to be working fine. Nonetheless, he flushed the plants with pH 6.2 water.
He might have been puzzled, but the community was hell-bent on helping him out on this.
“You might be right about the pH issue with the new meter,” Momtomask commented. “I would trim off those dead leaves as they are just a drain on the plant.”
“If you just calibrated it then go by that reading,” raustin added. “It looks like you have a Ph problem.”
“I would double check the calibration of your meter,” elheffe702 noted. “But the canoeing up top looks like a heat issue to me, or maybe lights too close.”
“Yes, that canoeing can be caused by a potassium deficiency which also causes the leaves to burn,” raustin added. “But I don’t think it’s the light. I think she needs potassium.”
Having people helping out is a good thing. In some instances, though, it can also be confusing. For the record, the new meter ReMoLu bought was the Apera Instruments PC60 that can measure pH, conductivity, TDS, salinity, and temperature. It calibrated fine, and so far, there were no troubling readings.
There is hope though. A day before, the grower fed it with some Tiger Bloom, which contains potassium. For good measure, he also ordered some potassium liquid. One reason that he went light on flowering nutrients is to also focus on growth as recommended earlier.
Meanwhile, Covertgrower does not think it is potassium. He is seconded by ILGM Global Moderator Donaldj who thinks it is phosphorous. Nonetheless, the Tiger Bloom ReMoLu used a day earlier does contain a good amount of this mineral.
It is the second day after receiving Tiger Bloom, and the canoeing issue seems to have improved.
Tiger Bloom did work wonders. Except for one, the other two plants that had issues with canoeing and spottings are recovering well. Meanwhile, #5 appears to have stayed in pre-flowering mode.
“They all have their schedules,” Covertgrower advised. “Keep giving her what she needs, and she will keep going.”
Although recovering, there were still some purple stems with spots showing up. ReMoLu also observes that the new growth appears to have smaller and thinner leaves.
“I don’t know about Tiger Bloom,” Momtomask offered. “But when my Plants showed those so symptoms, I gave them Cal/Mag, and it worked wonders.”
It is likely that feeding was the culprit. However, purple stems remain. As of now, ReMoLu is still apprehensive not knowing exactly what could be causing the purpling.
Also, it is the 49th day. #5 is still in the pre-flowering stage. As for the others, he thinks some of the flowers are sparse and skinny. It would be nice if someone could say if White Widow autos can have purple stems. And, that would be a relief.
One of the best things about doing grow journals is not only the help from the community. ReMoLu used it also to keep track of the history of this grow. For example, he observed how he had issues with drooping and how watering it with the right pH level perked it up.
And, on purple stems, Convertgrower had this to say. “Some can have a bit of purpling if it is in the genes. And, cooler temps can bring out purples, blues, and reds. But if the leaf stems and the stalks are starting out ‘candie cane’ purplish and reddish, then it leans toward needing something.”
As if right on cue, here are the leaves in the upper part of a plant with reddish purple stems.
Convertgrower was right when he said a few days ago to keep going on, and #5 will come to its senses. It must have finally come to terms with the schedule and is now officially in flowering mode. Some of the things ReMoLu did was to give it a good shot of potassium and pinched damage foliage.
Better late than never for White Widow #5. Here is the incredible thing about it though. A tad slow but after getting started, she is now blooming better and bigger than the others. It seems that the Nature’s Nectar Potassium he used has worked wonders. Not only that, the trichomes are turning into an amber color. Even the fragrance is more pronounced and indeed a delight.
ReMoLu is hyped. It is, after all, his first time growing marijuana. All signs now point to a successful and bountiful harvest. But there are still questions. For example, he wants confirmation that the harvest falls on the 10th week. Currently, it is the 8th week. Also, he though the buds from other grows appear to be bigger than what he has at the moment.
As usual, he received an excellent tip.
“You can use a jeweler’s loupe to check trichomes. They will start clear, turn milky, and finally, a few weeks later, amber. Most harvest 50/50 amber cloudy. More amber color than cloudy means more couch-lock. Everyone likes it differently, but 50/50 or 60/40 is a good starting point.” Furthermore, he adds, “The flowers will be as fat as possible before harvest if you add extra 2-3 weeks as it adds a lot of finished weight.”
ILGM Mentor Countryboyjvd1971 also has a fantastic suggestion. “I would trim some of the lower offshoots if my canopy gets too dense. Finding the happy place will come with experience, but you sound like you’re on the right track with your thought process. By removing the lower shoots and as mentioned you could clone them if you have the room.”
And, that makes sense as one batch finishes, cloning a new batch starts the process again. As a result, growers can get a virtually unlimited amount of stash.
As ReMoLu prepares for harvesting, one question popped into his mind. “Why do you need to dry in the dark?”
“It helps break down chlorophyll for a smoother taste, better flavor, and no harshness no matter if you smoke it or vaporize it,” Convertgrower replied.
Because of the lack of vertical room, ReMoLu did a little bit of LST. He does, however, have doubts if he did the right thing. It is something that many other growers have done. In the end, it really depends on the strain itself. As it is, White Widow plants are tough. At any rate, he added splints to help it recover.
It has been past 10 weeks. From the description, it takes White Widow that much time before it is ready for harvest. Of course, many factors come into play. For example, the crimping did not end well and ReMoLu would have to remove the damaged stems. Feeding them with water also perked the plants as it had begun dropping a little bit just a day before.
By the looks of it, it will take at least a few days more because there remains a significant number of white pistils.
An update from the grower shows the buds getting fatter by the day.
Not all plants are ready though. This one, for example, does not have an amber color. And, yes, this is plant #5.
To make it convenient, ReMoLu finally ordered a small microscope. As best he could tell, the trichomes have amber color but for the most part remain milky.
Today also marks a milestone. Previously, he had removed some damaged stems more than a week ago. After drying the buds, he tested it. His first smoke in three decades.
About two weeks had passed since the estimated harvest time of the White Widow Autos. At this point, it is evident that the end is near. The trichomes remain mostly milky, though. One thing that bothered ReMoLu was the discoloration.
In preparation for a coming trip, ReMoLu flushed the plants. The trichomes have more amber color in them, but they will have to be on their own for a few days.
Meanwhile, plant #5 looks to be behind still. The grower though feels it will not disappoint when it comes time to harvest.
Back from a trip and it has been 13 weeks since he started growing. ReMoLu started harvesting some flowers. Plant #5 is still behind, but there is no reason to think it would not produce in the end. Unfortunately, he does not have a weighing scale. The buds he took, though, measured some 3 inches in diameter and were some 6 to 8 inches long.
From the advice of the community, the consensus is to make sure he takes time in drying and curing the flowers. Some of the reasons include ensuring better psychoactive properties and potency, smoothness of the smoke, and retain as much terpenes as possible.
It is a bit early but ReMoLu sampled his stash. It has been some three decades since he last used marijuana. His impression was that the smoke was a bit harsh but had a delightful scent. It also gave a nice buzz.
He also cut the last plant, #5, which as he expected, did produce decent flowers.
Trust the wife to have something useful in the kitchen, or somewhere in the house. She did have a small weighing scale. All in all, the dried buds totaled some 1,200 grams.
Lots of Love from the Community
Growing marijuana for the first time, it is quite a journey that can also be overwhelming. However, with the love and support of the ILGM community, the experience became so much better. Not to mention, the help provided as well as the encouragements all led to a successful cultivation and a generous yield of some 300 grams per plant on average.
Apart from taking the steps in getting started, one thing that the grower had going was the dedication to caring for the plants as best he could. In fact, ReMoLu’s wife even told him she has never seen anyone as fussy as he was in taking care of the weeds.
From his experience, it is evident that he ran into minor troubles. Some were due to overeagerness while others were mostly because of inexperience and knowhow. Yet, he was able to pull through despite the obstacles. For a first grow, one can say he was fortunate not to encounter worse problems. Then again, it also says a lot about the preparations he did before starting.
If there is one takeaway from this journal, then it is the importance of arming one’s self with knowledge and seeking the help of experts and like-minded enthusiasts within the ILGM community.