Royal Automatic - Royal Queen Seeds
By Steve & Sexy Dawn
Royal Automatic is a feminised 'auto flowering' variety from Royal Queen Seeds, and this report covers the staggeringly fast grow/bloom period of this amazing strain.
Four Royal Auto' seeds were put in 'Root riot' blocks and placed in the 1metre x 1 metre x 2.1/2 metre-high veg area, which had just had some new shiny Mylar put on the walls. They sat under a 400 watt M/Halide lamp fixed to a freshly- polished curved alloy reflector at a distance of 24' inches. For the next 63 days, this would be their home (along with various cuttings that would come and go over the next two months).
The plan for the grow was this: three of the plants were to grow in a base of B'Cuzz (kilomix), and 1 would grow in a normal 'cheap' tomato grow bag mixed with Perlite in a ratio of 70/30. By day three, all seedlings were up, so I put them in their base mixes in 3.5-inch pots, and watered in well.
Over the next ten days things went without a hitch, and I moved the baby plants progressively closer over the next few days, until they were about 10-12 inches from the lamp. On day 14, I gave a 2 ml dose of Nitrozyme (an organic growth enhancer) to two of the plants in the B'Cuzz mix.
On day 16, I nipped the top off one of the plants (in the B'Cuzz mix) and re-potted all four plants into five-inch pots. I also gave the 'nipped-out' one another 2 ml of Nitrozyme. The reason I didn't pot straight into their final ten-inch pots is because of the restricted size of the veg' area, and the fact that it was, at that time 'bursting' with soon-to-be-moved clones.
Day 22, and the 'nipped-out' plant was showing her first flowers; whether this was down to the two doses of Nitrozyme or not, I can't be sure. But the other plant I 'dosed' wasn't flowering, just getting taller! The third one that had had nothing was looking the sexiest in her growth structure, and the one that was in the cheap mix was doing. if I'm honest, badly.
Day 25, and the tallest plant started to flower. Day 27, and the third, 'sexy' plant started to flower. The one in the cheap mix just sat at four inches tall doing nothing much at all, but she was still very much alive.
By day 30, the temperature in the room had got quite high due to a real hot spell we were having. When it got close to 30 degrees I had to add another 12-inch fan to the two that were already in there, and another 24-inch fan blowing air in from another (cooler) room. This resulted in a grand total drop of 1 degree! So I moved the lamp in the veg room up six inches, this created a temperature at the top of the plants of about 27-28 degrees: much better!
By day 35, all four plants were flowering, two of them (the Nitrozyme ones) were flowering really well, and the third was a bit slower. As for the four-inch high one in the cheap mix, it was looking, completely bizarre! A miniature flowering 'pot' plant, very weird! Round about this time, the plants start to smell quite strong, especially when the light is out.
Day 36, and I pot three of the four plants into a fresh mix of B'Cuzz', in 10-inch pots. By day 38 it was becoming very apparent that these plants were going to become a problem because of their smell - they really stink. I've had some stinkers in my time, but these were something else! I don't have filters on my veg room because... well basically I've never needed them. Even though some plants can smell a bit in veg, I haven't found it too much of a problem. It's not just that I have 4 'budding' 'babes' in a place that isn't suited for 'budding' smells; it's the fact that these four plants smell like 40!
Day 43, and the smell is out of control. All four plants are doing really well (even though one is just a four-inch bud on a stick!) The 'fan' leaves on the plants were turning a slightly light yellow/green, (as you would expect to see at the very end of a bloom, except this wasn't!)
As I had no idea what sort of feeding regime to follow with these plants, I decided early on, only to feed them if it appeared necessary, and as it did, I obliged them with a 10 ml dose of Canna Terra Flores. I always think if you don't know the plant/strain you're growing, then be as 'stingy' as you like with the nutrients, and only go for higher doses when you've got to know the plant/strain better.
By day 47, the smell was so strong that I could smell it outside in our garden - shit! Every room in the house stinks, the smell is in fact bloody lovely; a really heavy, coffee/spice/hash/skunk smell. If you're going to grow this strain, I can't stress enough the importance of a first-class filter system.
Day 50, and all the plants are flowering like mad (including the 'bonsai'). The resin production wasn't huge at first, but now seems to be flowing well. And the smell is as strong as ever. Day 52, and the leaves on all the plants are suggesting I should have fed them more, but at this late stage I've decided to carry on with just water, and no nutrients.
Day 54, and all the plants are at that 'fattening' stage. The floral 'rush' of the last few weeks has slowed, and now the individual flower bases are swelling like mad, and glistening resin can be seen spreading. The smell is now at it's peak. I can honestly say I have never smelt anything this strong, I'm wondering if the M/Halide' is contributing to the production of the ''smell''. I do know that different ranges of the colour spectrum are responsible for, amongst other things, resin production, and so perhaps also smell. It would be interesting to see if they smelled as much grown under a Sodium.
Day 57, and all the plants are swelling well. The lower buds on two plants (the Nitrozyme ones) are already starting to brown a little. As this is a new strain to me, I occasionally check the roots on the plants. It appears that this 'auto' strain doesn't produce masses and masses of thick 'hairy' roots, so it looks like the 10-inch pots were big enough to accommodate these fast-flowering babes!
Day 60, and all four plants look ready to finish. The bigger leaves (and some of the smaller) on all plants by now had turned a light yellow/green, so I took most of them off. The smell from the plants had now subsided (thank God!)
Day 63, and all the plants are ready to harvest. They were only 1/3 - 1/2 covered with brown 'hairs', but looking at the resin glands through a 10x magnifier, I could see that quite a lot had already turned amber/milky.
Manicuring the plants was a doddle, as I had already taken off much of the leaf. I hung them in a dark cupboard with a small fan blowing through them; I could tell they wouldn't take long to dry, as they felt, hard, heavy, and dry. After 5 days in the cupboard I put them in a jar (minus its top) and put them in another dry, airy, dark cupboard. After five more days they were good to smoke.
As Royal Automatic dries, you get that super-pungent smell, which fades after five or six days. When the bud is dry it doesn't smell of much, until you break it open. Wow! The smell is a deep, coffee spice/chocolate skunk. When you skin up, you can smell it all round the house within minutes, and that's before you even light it! When you do light Royal Automatic, you are instantly engulfed in masses of thick blue smoke that smells like very expensive cigars, mixed with Afghan Black, with that spicy/coffee smell carrying it.
The stone is at first 'heavy', giving way to a more sociable 'up' stone. The more you smoke it, the more 'socially stoned' you become! After a few joints you get 'dry eye' syndrome. Overall, the stone is long lasting, and 'up'y, in a 'mashed' sort of way. It doesn't leave you with a dull/fuzzy head in the morning, after a heavy night smoking it.
The yield was surprising, as the whole affair was over in just 63 days. The highest yielder was the tallest plant; it didn't look the most, but it had super dense buds giving just over 21 grams dry. Next was the 'pinched out' plant giving a shade under 19 grams, then the medium-sized plant, which had a slightly different bud structure, and that also gave a little over 19 grams. As for the little bonsai, it yielded a magnificent 1.5 grams! So ignoring the bonsai, all three plants gave 59 grams dry, in 63 days. They don't take up much room either, so you could get a lot of plants in.
So: are Automatics the way to go? Well, they do seem to give you super fast, good quality bud, with a fair yield (considering the short time period) and you can get them feminized, and there are an ever increasing number of varieties becoming available, so that's good. BUT, growing with Autos indoors is limiting. If you have a plant that is, maybe, a great yielder, ordinarily you could take cuttings (even in flower), or when its finished you can flip it to 18/6 or 20/4 and push it back to it's veg cycle. But not with Autos, once you've planted them they are set on their Auto cycle.
Also, if for example you want more yield, you would perhaps want to grow your plants in 'veg' for longer. This isn't possible with Autos, as they will flower regardless of your lighting regime. Also, you have to consider that if you are limited for space, maybe having just one area you use for 'veg', on 18/6 lighting and then by flipping the lights to 12/12 for bloom, you can only grow Auto varieties, as your lighting regime must stay (for full effect) on a minimum of 18/6. And any 'non- Auto' varieties will just remain in 'veg' (good for mothers!).
I'm not saying Autos are a bad thing; far from it. I mean, 60-odd days from seed purchase to smoking is just amazing. And even though you are running the lights, fans, etc on a minimum of 18/6 all the time (instead of 12/12) the size of the plant is never huge, so you can really 'cram 'em in, which results in a lot of bud very quickly. I'm certain you could get 16 x 9nine-inch pots in a 1 metre x 1 metre space. With a 400-watt lamp, that should give a minimum of 300 grams (based on this grow) every 60 odd days! In the past I've waited 90+ days for a room of Sativas to finish and give only marginally more!
So even though there is far less control of the grow and its outcome, with Autos compared to 'non-Auto varieties, it must be said that sometimes that outcome (with non-Autos) is not always what we'd hoped for, whereas Autos (and especially, it seems, Royal Automatic) are hardy, durable, (smelly) plants, that do exactly what it says on the packet.
As for a feeding regime for Autos, it would appear that Royal Automatic' needs to be fed a bloom mix from when it starts to show flower (about 21-22 days on soil; maybe in half doses for the first week or so) and can probably be fed at least weekly, (if not, with care, more) until about day 50.
I'm not sure about P/K boosters; the whole grow is so fast, I'm not sure when you'd add them, or how much. If anything, I would get a growth enhancer in them as soon as possible, when they are young, to try and maximize on their short veg stage. Also they need as much light as possible for the first weeks, again to try and maximise on that short veg period. As to whether 'nipping-out' the top is worth it, it would appear in this instance to be of marginal effect.
So, if you want a different grow experience, with a pretty much guaranteed result, (in a little over 1,500 hours), then Royal Automatic (or any of the other Autos Royal Queen Seeds, provide) are the way to go. But if you do, don't blink or you'll miss it!!
Stay cool y'all!
Steve & Sexy Dawn
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