In some circles, there has been more excitement about automatic cannabis plants than about the Mars Rover. Yes, a robot on Mars is very cool, but weed that will grow from seed to bud without a lot of fuss, removing males, or changing light cycles is a revolution. If you’ve always thought guerrilla growing was too much risk for too little reward, think again – automatic ganja is ideal for covert grow ops.
Tip 1: Start with the right seeds.
Weed Seed Shop has a fine selection of four automatic strains: heavyweight Big Bud, eternal favorite Skunk, classic sativa Haze and powerful hybrid AK-48. All are reasonably priced - Weed Seed Shop describes themselves as “amazingly affordable” and are a good quality, no-frills outfit, a bit like the IKEA of cannabis seeds - but the AK-48 Automatic at €17.50 for five seeds is a real bargain.
Tip 2: Location, location, location.
Find a secluded, south-facing slope (most smartphones have a compass) preferably near a natural source of water, provided there’s soil, and little foot traffic will do. Anywhere that stinging nettles grow well will usually work; for extra stealth points, plant seedlings in the middle of patches of emerging nettles.
Tip 3: Wear gloves.
They protect your hands from nettles.
Tip 4: Give your plants a good start.
Don’t plant your seedlings too close together. Automatic strains normally stay more compact than the regular versions, but in free soil they can get pretty big. Dump dead leaves and/or vegetable peelings in the holes you dig for your seedlings, and pour in water before you plant them as well as watering them after.
Tip 5: Map your location, then stay away.
Your grow op won’t be very covert if you keep going back to check on your plants. It’s even less covert if you can’t find them when you do go back and have to wander around for ages trying to work out if you’re in the wrong place or if they’ve been eaten by rabbits.
Tip 6: Guard against natural predators.
Keep rabbits off your young plants by making cylinders of fine chicken-wire around them (paint it dark green for camouflage). Growing among nettles as mentioned above may also help. Deer are a different matter; don’t even bother trying to grow in areas where they roam. Roaming people should be rare in your chosen location, and few folk bother to scrutinize every plant they see.
Look bored and carry a dog-lead in plain sight when going to check on your plants. Few people will bother to scrutinize you either.
Tip 7: Harvest earlier rather than later.
The other category of predator is people who will recognise your weed, and want it for themselves. Although it may pain you to harvest before what you consider to be the perfect moment, it will pain you more if someone beats you to it!