Critical+ 2.0 AutoFlowering Grow Report
A story From Seed to Harvest
Hey there and welcome (back) to Free The Tree! Since this round is coming to an end we decided to recap our Grow Journals into this Critical+ 2.0 Auto Grow Report.
This was a very short grow since our plants started flowering without us even wanting to! This cut down the time of the vegetative stage very short, but the buds are still pretty nice! More on that later 😉
Critical+ 2.0 Auto Grow Report – Table of Content
We are going to cover each step of their lives, what a ride it’s been.. This run was short but full of learning here’s what we’re going to go over in our Critical+ 2.0 autoflowering Grow Journal.
Grow Report Info
- Strain: Critical + 2.0 Auto Flowering
- Seed Type: Pre-Feminised / Auto Flowering (what is that?)
- Seed Bank: Dinafem
- Grow Medium: Non-enriched soil
- Nutrients or Additive Used:
– Master Grower NP and PK solutions, at the most 10% under the dosages on the bottle.
– 2 Applications of Master Grower’s Massive Bloom solution
– Master Grower’s Root booster starting on the 2nd watering and ending after the stretch.
- Grow Lights:
– Vegetative Stage: 400MHz MH (Metal Halid) Blub
– Flowering Stage: 400MHz HPS (High Pressure Sodium) Bulb
- Grower Experience: 3rd indoor culture
- Presentation of Critical+ 2.0 AutoFlowering
Critical+ 2.0 Auto Strain Info
We did a full Guide on Dinafem’s Critical+ 2.0 Auto Strain if you want to know more, but here’s a recap of the main characteristics of this weed plant
|Growing location||Indoors and outdoors – As long as the temperature stays above 16°C|
|Cross||Critical+ Auto x Critical+|
|Total life cycle||70-80 days|
|Grower difficulty||Easy to grow with resistance to environment changes as well as nutrient deficiencies, good for all levels|
|Taste and Aroma||Deep flavour and aroma with hits of lemon.|
|Effects and high|
|Potency of odour||During the flowering stage this plant smells very strong, we recommend the use of a air filter as well as cover-ups.|
This culture is actually our first time trying out Autoflowering seeds and our 3rd culture over all, so we made some mistakes, were surprised by a couple surprises (no spoilers) and learned a whole lot!
Let’s get started with our grow guide of Dinafem’s Critical+ 2.0 Autoflowering marijuana strain
The Vegetative Stage
Week 1 | Germination and sprouting
Germination of Critical+ 2.0 Auto Seeds
The germination of these seeds was pretty simple. We used the wet towel technique to germinate our 2 seeds.
It took about 3 days for the taproot to brake through the shell, we kept it in the towel about a day extra in order to it to grow a bit.
After this we planted them about 10mm into the medium then set a light about 20cm (7.8inch) over the soil.
First Plants Breaking the Ground and Reaching for light
About 2/3 days after planting the seeds the seedling started breaking the ground.
That day the seedling stood up and started reaching towards the light.
We covered all this in one of our first posts, check it out here but as you once she breaks the ground it goes real quick.
Those 3 pictures are taken in less than 24 hours. We actually waited a little too long to get them into the grow room so they started stretching to the light a little too much.
Placing the Sprouts into the Grow Room
Within the first couple days we got these babies into the grow room.
Our issue during the early days is heat, for some reason when the plants are so small it gets sooo hot in there. In our previous run it actually had killed one of our seedlings that didn’t handle it (natural selection right..). Next run we’re going to get a CoolTube to place around our 400MHz light bulb.
With this CoolTube we can expect a drop of about 3°C which is just what we need.
Week 1-2 | Early Vegetative Stage
Day 8 – Growth of first leaves
By the start of the second week the first leaves started growing. As you can see the stem was way to thin to be able to hold up the weight of those newly formed leaves, meaning the plants kept falling over.
In order to to keep the plant up we placed 2 stakes. In the case this happens to you be careful when planting the stake, the roots are right under there!
Top heavy sprout
Balance issues with Cannabis Plants
The balance issues with one of our 2 plants lasted for over a week. It took some time for the stem to be able to strengthen, here’s some tips we found to help it out:
- If possible, place the fan over the Apex of your plant in order for it to move a little.
- Pinch the stem. This early on do this extremely softly, she won’t be able to recover a break
- The radical solution, cutting early leaves. Only use this if the balance issues are threatening the life of the plant itself.
In our case having the stakes and a soft breeze over the Apex was all we could do. With too much with they would tip over pretty quickly which isn’t a good thing.
Once the stem was big enough in order to hold its own weight we took out the props holding her up. No need for a cane if you can walk right? Same goes for her.
Stem isn’t strong enough for the plant to stand
Day 10 – Growth of Second Stage of the plant
During the middle of the second week we started seeing the second stage of the plant starting to sprout up. This is the start of her vertical and leaf growth that will make a nice strong plant!
Day 12 to 16 – Growth of the Next Stages and leaf mass
Within just 4 days these babies grew very strongly. You can see that by day 16 (picture to the right) the plants are growing their 3rd stage and have developed a nice base of leaf mass.
Comparing to the plants that didn’t have any balance issues they’re a bit late, since they had to use a lot of energy in developing a stronger stem.
Another downside to this is that taller plants need use up more energy to get all the nutrients to the Apex. That said, they’re looking good now are ready to get growing!
You can also notice that between the watering on day 14 (middle picture) and day 16 there’s a strong growth.
This is something I’ve noticed, plant watering are follow by strong growths in the vegetative stage. Now I’m not saying go ahead and water them all the time! You’re going to create over watering issues.
Furthermore I haven’t done a clear A/B test where I let one plant get thirsty and water another one regularly so it’s just an unproved hypothesis, although many friends have notice the same type of reaction by marijuana plants.
Watering during the Vegetative Stage
During the vegetative stage we watered our plants every 2 to 5 days, depending on the roots development phase.
Our mix was pretty simple. During germination and sprouting we only used pH’ed water.
Once we got them into the grow room and until day 15 we only added about 1mL of Root Booster for 2L of water.
The rest of the vegetative stage, every other watering our mix was pretty much composed of the following:
|Critical+ 2.0 Auto Vegetative stage Watering mix||Nutrien amount for every 2L of Water|
|Master Grower PK Solution||2mL (2.5 in Case of Nitrogen Deficiency Signs)|
|Mater Grower Root Booster||1.5mL|
Using this mix we saw very little signs of any Nutrient deficiency during the vegetative stage. We had read that this strain of Marijuana didn’t really need much nutrients and this seems to hold true!
Week 3 | The Vegetative Stage
Unfortunately, this is our last week of the Vegetative Stage. Something we didn’t know is the photoperiod change that normally makes the plant go from vegetative stage to the flowering one has bee replace by the moment where the main root hits the bottom of the pot.
Since we didn’t know this we planted our seeds in small pots and let the roots conquer it before transplanting, and that was our mistake. With autoflowering seeds plant right away the seeds within your main pots, or don’t wait too long before you do so!
Our main, and constant, battle is heat heat heat. Generally our grow room is around 29°C (84°F) and a humidity over 50%.
On the humidity side (apart from when we took that picture), we don’t really have issues, but heat wise our 400MHz heats so much that even with a fan blowing on it we can never fully close to room.
We’re thinking about buying a Cool Tube in order to get that under control.
Transplanting the plants
By now we were watering our plants every day or two which is a strong sign that the root system is well developed within the medium and ready to go conquer new soil.
Unfortunately we weren’t aware that autoflowering plants went into the flowering stage once the main root hits resistance. With that in mind we should of definitely transplanted earlier, or even better put them into the main pots right away!
The latter option would of take more knowledge on plant watering but we would of been sure that our plants would have been ready when they started flowering.
This is going to be felt in the size of our harvest, but at the same time we’ll be smoking earlier and we can start our (spoiler alert) Cheese strain sooner 😀
If you want to know more on plant transplantation we did a full step by step guide here.
Day 19 – Chillin in the new pots
Transplantation is one of the most stressful times for your plant, and not really a good stress for here, so you may see some stress signs in the following days. Don’t worry about it too much, she’ll be showing great signs of growth in the following days.
Normally you want to water the new soil right away so that the roots go invaded it. We had to run out so we only watered the next day which really isn’t the greatest thing.
You can also see that both plants are starting to show pistils on their Apex, Welcome to the early flowering stage!
The early Flowering Stage
Week 4-5 | Transitioning to Flowers
So the Apex started showing the first signs of the flowering stage as you can see on the picture on Day 19. If you’re not using feminized seeds this is the moment when you’re going to want to identify which plants are males and females. Once you’ve identified this you’re going to want to cut down those males before they fertilize the females and make them males too.
Day 21 – Start of the Flowering Stage
By day 21 we could clearly see the first pistils showing on the Apex of the plant validating our idea that the flowering stage had started.
At this point the plant is going to enter the stretch stage. We’re going to try and keep the vertical growth as short as possible by keeping the lighting as close as possible to the plant and give them room so that they don’t start a vertical race to the light source.
Why you say? Isn’t a taller plant going to produce more?
Well not really, a taller plant will need more energy to get the nutrients to the Apex. A short and dense plant can definitely be better, especially in our situation where the flowering stage started waaaay to early.
Day 26 – Pruning leaves
Since we’ve entered the flowering stage the objective of this pruning was to remove the leaves that shading the buds we decided to keep.
As you can see we didn’t remove many leaves, the main reason being that once the plant has entered this phase she focuses on bud creation and not leaf production and that’s exactly what we want.
With a strong pruning we would risk her starting to produce leaves and reducing the attention to the buds, and let’s just say we’ve had enough issues reducing the size of our harvest.
Leaf showing Light Bleaching signs
During the stretch our second plant started signs of light bleaching during the stretch. This happens when the light is too close to the plant, burning away the chlorophyll in the leaves.
As you can see the 2 main leaves are white at the end (not yellow like the picture of the other plant on day 26) but really white. This is the main give-away of light bleaching.
As you know the chlorophyll is what gives the green color to the plants and, more importantly, is one of the elements allowing plants to do photosynthesis.
Although, as you can see on the image on the side, it’s pretty clear that the issue is the light source we hesitated for a day or two since only the 2nd plant was the only one showing signs.
It does make some sens since that plant was directly under the bulb, receive a more intense light than the first plant.
Once we were sure that this was the issue we elevated the light, after which we stopped seeing any signs of problems on that end
Stretch of Critical+ 2.0 Auto
The stretch lasted about 2 weeks within our growing conditions. We kept the light source as low as possible, the humidity around 60% and kept good temperatures in the grow room.
As you’ll see both plants acted totally differently, plant 2 had a short stretch, taking a lot of time to get going while the first started going right away and stopped a little earlier.
Here are a couple step by step pics of them stretching over this two week period, unrecognizable at the end! 🙂
We’re counting “day 1” of the stretch the day where we started seeing the first signs of the flowering stage. That is the signs of pistils starting to show on the Apex. You can see what i’m talking about better on plant 2, where at the center of the plant you have little yellow/white things coming out of the weed.
Plant 2 | Day 5, Small Growth
As you can see the second plant was much shyer in her growth, she hardly took any height or density while showing possible signs of nitrogen deficiency (on top of the light burn issues..). On top of that she’s only showing pistils out of the Apex and a couple small baby buds on the lower levels.
Plant 2 | Starting to get growing
On her side plant 2 finally started showing some positive signs, our worries of nutrient deficiencies are gone and as you can see she started getting taller and bushier.
On her side plant 2 finally started showing some positive signs, our worries of nutrient deficiencies are gone and as you can see she started getting taller and bushier.
Plant 1 | Day 11 – Bud Growth
By day 11 we had switched to the Sodium Bulb as the stretch was nearing its end.You can see that height wise the growth has slowed down and the energy is going towards the buds now. The Apex bud is no longer small and shy pistils, they’ve now grown to a nice button, although the lower level bud stops aren’t there yet.
Plant 1 | Day 13 – End of the Stretch
About 2 weeks later our babies have totally transformed! I think of this period a little like our teenage years, the before/after pictures of the plants unrecognizable and the vertical growth is basically finished. From this point on she’ll be focusing on her flowers instead of height and leaf growth.
Within this stretch we also did a quick pruning in order for the plant to focus on a few strong buds instead of a bunch of small buds.
Plant 2 | Stretch Ended but Smaller Buds
Although this plant started growing with a delay she caught up pretty well in size.
That said, the lower level buds are much less developed, you can see that the buds are still pistil like shaped, although the top bud has arrived to the button like shape as she should.
Since we had much less bud sites no pruning was needed, my hopes in this little one are getting stronger, we won’t have the harvest of the year but it should still be alright.
Day 27 – Switching to the Sodium Bulb
About a week after the start of the flowering stage we decided to switch to our HPS light bulb.
We kept the MH (Metal Halide) light during the first week into the stretch during the stretch for two reasons.
The first is that during the stretch the spectrum of the MH light is best for the plants, the second is that the light switch is a small stress on the plant. Since we had transplanted the plants just a couple days before transplanting the plant we didn’t want to re-stress them that quickly
Day 31 – Pruning Popcorn Buds
You might be thinking to yourself “now why would you want to cut off buds, the more there are the better?!”; well actually not really.
Since Pop corn buds grow low on the step generally they don’t have access to light, meaning that they use the plants nutrients without producing much. On top of that at the end of the flowering stage those buds will still be very small and undeveloped, it’s best to remove them in order to let the plant focus on her main buds.
As you can see in this picture we also cut some branches off one of our critical plants. The reason behind this is the fact that this branch was not receiving direct light since it’s being shaded over by a main leaf on top. Now we could of decided to remove the leaf instead, but since we had already done so on the other side for another bud we had to keep this one.
Day 34 – Flowering Stage Watering
Here these little one’s were getting thirsty so we had to get them hydrated; If you want to know more on how to water your plants here’s our guide so we’ll cover the subject briefly.
Our watering mix was pretty basic, we were adding between 3mL and 5mL of PK Grow mix for every 2L of water and under 0.5mg of grow bloom every other watering.
With this mix they didn’t show any signs of deficiencies or nutrient burn, so we stuck with it.
Personally we try to put as few nutrients as possible, so we really just stick to what she needs; although in the second half of the flowing stage we did boost these a little hoping to boost bud size.
Week 6 | Budlets Forming and Signs of Infestation
During the 6th week two main things happened. This first is the transformation of the buds, from couple pistils sticking out to some nice round budlets.
The second is a bit less fun.. the first signs of a pest infestation was showing up through little white marks on the leaves.
Let’s get started.
Day 36 – Budlet formed
By day 36 the pistils have are now forming budlets instead of random pistils sprouting out. This is the second stage of flowering cycle, exiting no? 🙂
You can see that it’s not just the Apex flower that is nice and round flowers but at all levels meaning that the 2nd stage is well under way.
We also decided to pinch the main stem under the second level buds in order to stimulate the growth of the lateral buds.
Since the Apex is closest to the light source it gets the most energy from it and we want the side buds to get as much nutrients as possible.
Day 37 – Trichomes appearing
Do you see all those little white spots all over the leaves and the buds, those are the trichomes 🙂 If you look closer it’s actually a little ball with a stem attaching it to the plant.
This means the resin glands of the plant are starting to pump and she’s going to be producing THC soon hehehe.
At this time some of the trichomes are fully formed, which you can see by a ball shape at the tip of them, but most of them are still forming. While forming you will just see clear hair like under the scope, the top ball will show soon.
Day 39 – Cannabis Buds growing
The flowering stage is well under way now, the buds of the plants are starting to fatten up nicely which is really cool. A faint smell is starting to come from them also when you get close, or by touching them and smelling your fingers. The smell is faint but sweat, can’t wait til they get fatter!
Day 41 – White Marks all over the leaves
Day 41 was a marking point in our fight against our first pest invasion. For the past couple days we had been noticing white spots on one of our leaves. Reading around, the most comparable thing was spider mites invasion, I started to get worries.. How the hell did I get such a thing!?
A couple days later I also discovered the existence of Thrips, which just confused us more, since the symptoms were so similar.. thankfully the remedy is also, although we do have an this issue, we’re too far along it the flowering stage to use anything and not risk leaving a taste in the buds… What to do, what to do.. what to dooooo
We started scouring the web, going to our local grow shops and asking friends trying to figure out how to identify what we had and how to deal with it.
We grouped together all the info we found in a couple guides available here:
Day 41 to 43 – Spider Mite and Thrips Prevention
As we started saying earlier, since we were so far into the flowering stage we couldn’t use any organic or chemical pesticides in order to deal with this infestation. Thankfully we did have some weapons in our arsenal, they come in 3 families:
- Environment: We know that they both enjoy hot, dry and still weather, sooo we’re going to do the exact opposite. We kept our grow room at a nice 24°C and about 55% humidity and some fans blowing in order to get the leaves moving.
This won’t kill them but will reduce the speed of spreading as well as the amount of eggs that will be layed
- Pruning the infested leaves: Identifying and cutting off the first infested leaf or leaves is crucial. This is like their home base, containing the most individuals and eggs, by removing them you will get rid of a large amount of those suckers.
- Spraying the plants: About 15 minutes before lights out, spray your plants with pH’d water. You want to cover all your leaves and stems, on top of them as well as under.
Both on them hate humidity, this will strongly bother their colonies and spreading.
These three actions are prevention one’s, they won’t kill the infestation but they will reduce the effects on your culture, avoiding a full loss.
- Hunting them: Over the next days, after pruning some more leaves and looking at them under the eyeglass we actually saw some Thrips larvae’s, validating the fact that we had Thrips and not spider mites, thank god!
This means, among other things, that they are bigger and a little easier to spot, and looking closely we were able to kill a couple by compressing them on the leaves. We did tear a bit of a couple leaves while doing so, but it’s definitely worth it. Here’s what we ended up doing on top of prevention, first every day, then every 3-5 days (lay hatching period)First we would recreate a nice climate for them, reducing the humidity and increasing the heat.
We would leave those conditions for about 20 minutes, hoping that they would start showing their faces more, and guess what, they did!
Once we started spotting them we would kill them manually and then raise back the humidity and drop the temperature levels.We did this for about 2/3 weeks, after which we never really saw new signs of an infestation.
Thankfully our infestation was a small one, we only killed one adult, about 10/15 larvae’s and who knows how many eggs so we were able to save our babies, thank god! But what a scare it was, although we definitely learned a lot.
Week 7 | Marijuana Buds fattening up
During the 7th week we saw the buds growing nicely, the first round of browning pistils and more and more Thricomes growing all over the place!
They’re starting to invade to room with a nice and sweet smell, we can almost taste them hehe.
We also confirmed the presence of Thrips and not spider mites (thank god) and they seem to be spreading more and more which is a little worrying.
Day 45 – Cannabis Buds Fattening up
As you can see in the two images below in a week these buds changed from a budlet form to a nice and dense bud, they’re starting to look like what we’re familiar to smoking 🙂 Although we still have steps in the flowering stage.
We could say that we’re in the 3rd part of the flowering stage, where the budlets transform to big buds.
On the Apex you can see that they seem to be growing on top of themselves, whereas on the bottom buds are climbing up the stem. If they’re close enough, by the end of the flowering stage you won’t be able to see the stem at all 😉
Day 48 – Trichomes all over the place!
Trichomes are started to pop up all over the place, the buds and near leaves seem to have a shiny dust all over them, it’s just beautiful. It’s really beautiful to watch her grow and evolve like this.
When looking at the trichomes at this stages they’re all fully formed and mostly clear. Some are starting to become milky though.
This indicates that the glands are fully formed at some levels, and have started to produce THC.
With time you will see them shift to all to a milky color, then golden/brownish color.
When they’re milky this means that the THC levels are at their highest. After this stage the glands will start to deteriorate reducing the levels of THC and increase and the CBD levels.
Day 49 – First Browning Pistils Phase (don’t harvest here!!)
As you can see on the image on the side the pistils are browning. As you may have read this is one of the ways to identify the time of harvest but it’s far from the most effective.
If you are looking at the pistils, keep in mind that the pistils go through 2 or 3 rounds of browning, so don’t harvest now! You can loose up to 25% of your harvest by acting too early.
As we said on day 48 here the trichomes are mainly clear, some have started to be milky but it isn’t widespread so we’ve still got some ways to go.
If we would of harvested now, on top of losing a large amount of yield the high wouldn’t be at its max either.
Day 51 – Identification of more Thrips
While harvesting the lateral bud of one of our Fruit Strain plants (covered in this grow report) we confirmed with no doubt possible that our pests were Thrips and not Spider Mites.
Now in our despair we were still happy, between thrips and spider mites it’s much better to have the latter. If you’re wondering why check out our full article here but here are some of the main reasons:
- Thrips are bigger and easier to spot
- They aren’t known to develop resistances to pesticides.
- Although their eggs do hibernate, the length it’s much shorter than the deadly spider mites.
Day 52 – New white pistils and more Tricomes!
So as we’ve said during day 49, and you can see on the image on the right, once the pistils become brown, white pistils will come back out. This will happen at least the first two times the pistils brown, maybe even the third.
So again, base yourself on the status of the trichomes to know when to cut so that you’ll be able to time perfectly your harvest.
Week 8 | Buds Ripening, Milky Trichomes and Darkening Pistils
Second Browning Phase and Purpling for the leaves
By the end of the second month the Pistils had started turning back to purple again, one step closer to the harvest hehe.
We’re keeping real close tabs on the trichomes, checking them our every other day on one of the 2 plants. She’s been ahead the whole way, all her trichomes have been milky for awhile, as soon as we catch a couple turning brown it’ll be time to harvest her.
It’s important to note that some strains should be harvested here, they won’t go for a 3rd round of whitening/browning buds. Keep an eye on those trichomes!
Day 55 – Beautiful and stinky Critical+ 2.0 Buds
These past couple weeks these little babies really transformed, developed a strong, beautiful, smell. Their buds have been fattening up nicely, a huge number of trichomes have developed all over the buds and leaves near them.
Honestly a real joy to grow this Critical+ 2.0 Autoflowering plant, we really regret making that mistake early on.. If they hadn’t gone into the flowering stage so quickly we really would of had some beasts!
Here’s a couple pictures of their beautiful buds and trichomes.
Day 59 to Day 63 – Harvesting&Drying the Marijuana Plants
As we’ve said earlier in the grow report, we made a critical mistake (no pun intended) during the vegetative stage. We didn’t know this at the time but autoflowering strains start their flowering phase once the roots are “comfortable” in the soil, meaning that they’ve grown through it.
Since we didn’t know this, we had them in a small pot, they rooted, and started flowering waaaaaay to early. That said, the flowers we’re still beautiful, and a real pleasure to smoke, definitely going to give these another try one day.
Here’s a couple pics of the harvest
Although the final yield was pretty low (round 50g total) this baby was a real pleasure. I will definitely try her out again without making this huge mistake.
She smokes very well, with a pretty active and sativa sativa high, a real pleasure
That’s it for this one folks, hope you enjoyed the grow report
Until next time, be safe and grow easy!
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