This week we have some questions concerning a couple of sativas on a UK windowsill. Briz writes.
I didn’t know when to start so have two little plants on the go already. I planted 1 x Moby Dick and 1 x Haze 2.0, both feminized autoflowers from Dinafem, at the beginning of April and they broke through the soil on April 10.
They seem quite small/slow for two weeks growth from what I’ve been reading. They only have one and half sets of proper hemp shaped leaves, and are about 6 inches tall. Although they seem quite happy and healthy is a south facing window in the South of the UK.
I don’t think they’ll triple in size in a week, and I’m concerned that they wont grow enough in veg to yield anything, considering I’ve been reading that many autos start to flower in 3-4 weeks.
Did I start to early?
Also, I have a small greenhouse but it’s still quite cold in the evening, too cold for my chillies! Would you recommend taking them out to the greenhouse where it gets up to 30C in the day, and then bringing them in in the evenings?
Thanks for your help and for the great site. I stumbled upon it tonight and it’s exactly what I was looking for. Just the kind of relaxed “try and see” approach I’m taking to my humble little home grow. Cheers!
Thanks Briz for the great questions. I very much appreciate the kind words and it seems that you are exactly the kind of grower the site is aimed at. There’s a few points I’d like to address here.
I notice that both the strains you are growing are sativa dominant.
In their nature sativas are taller and more prone to stretching, even in good lighting conditions. Growing in the tropics, they have adapted to a steady, strong sunlight and pure sativas can reach very tall indeed. I still managed to grow out an autoflowering sativa under a sunny skylight but never seemed to get the same results I did with an autoflowering indica in the same conditions (see the picture below of a Big Buddha SAS grown under a skylight – needless to say I now stick to indica dominant strains). That said, don’t give up you should still get these babies to flower and learn a lot in the process. You can still get nice head highs from indica dominant strains if that was the reason for your choice.
Maybe start of April is a little early in the UK. I have this psychological thing of always germinating around April 20. Then I always reflect, thinking that I started too early. In fact, I’ve started plants at this time and then another in May and they both finished around the same time. Trouble is, you see the weather getting nice and spring is in the air and it’s just too tempting not to start.
The plants will start to flower when they are ready to do so, so no need to worry about how long it’s taking to produce leaves or pre-flowers. It sounds like you are experiencing stretching as the plants search out light. Try and keep them in the sun as much as possible, support with a wooden stick if necessary or even add more soil around the base to help them not to flop from being too top heavy. When the plant is bigger bamboo canes are useful to keep it from falling over.
Autoflowers do start to produce flowers quite early but will keep growing once they do so. We’re not producing a cash crop here so be patient and appreciate the learning experience along the way – if you get to smoke a few grams at the end then it’ll be the greatest reward ever. It took me a few seasons growing and hours of reading, forum trawling to get good results in a windowsill so hang in there.
When you are growing on a windowsill, under a skylight or on a balcony you can completely disregard the claims of timing when buying seeds. These times are based on ideal growing conditions, for example a professional greenhouse in Spain or indoor grow op. The plant will be ready once it is ready, it might take till September or it might finish in late July but until the trichomes are giving signals that it’s time to harvest then you have to wait for mother nature to do her thing.
You say you have a greenhouse. This will definitely help matters. To get good results you’d be hoping for 6 hours of full sun on the plants. In a windowsill it’s tricky, even if it is south facing. As the sun moves through the sky the light will move through your room. In a greenhouse this is less likely to happen. If you can keep the temperature under 30C that’ll help the plant to grow. Much higher than that could stunt growth a little. A simple fix would be to open a window on very sunny days or if budget permits to setup an extraction fan to expel the hot air and pull in cooler air from outside. You can even get these with temperature controllers to activate when it’s too hot. I wouldn’t leave the plants in there during the night until the temperature stays above at least 12C. Depending on your pot size these sativas could get quite tall, 1 metre plus in a 10 litre pot so you might not be able to move so easily each day.
Another thing worth mentioning but not covered in your comment is the growing medium, you say “soil”. It’s important that the roots have plenty of air around them and are able to dry out a little after each watering. This can be achieved by mixing in perlite and coco husks to create the air pockets the plant needs. Solid potting compost or soil direct from the garden won’t work so well. Another aspect to consider is how the plant will be nourished. It needs food to grow. If the soil mix has compost, or other natural fertilizer then the plant should have everything that it needs. If not, you may need to boost it with fertilizers. You can get bio fertilizers for “soil”, just use half the recommended dosage, give the plant a rest every few feeds with pure water and don’t forget to flush at the end.
Very finally, if you can test the pH of the water you are giving the plant this would be a good thing to discover. You’re aiming for around 5.5-6.5. The right pH allows the plant to take in the correct amount of nutrients from the growing medium.
I hope this information helps. Briz definitely has the right attitude so that’s 90% of the job done.
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