Big Serious Seeds cultivation showdown:
AK-47 regular vs feminised!
Text & Photos: Green Born Identity – G.B.I.
There are a couple of classic strains in the world of extra potent marijuana that have been around for a very long time, permanently fascinating both growers and smokers with their superb qualities, and having reached a legendary status. Serious Seeds’ AK-47 for sure is one of these outstanding evergreens. For Simon, owner and breeder of Serious Seeds, finding the unique AK-47 genetic profile was the rare case of a “lucky punch” every cannabis seed breeder dreams of. Back in 1992 already, after having tested thousands of experimental plants of different breeding lines, he finally achieved his goal of creating a high-quality sativa/indica strain with excellent overall properties and a lot of charisma - the legendary AK-47 was born. Although Simon keeps the exact pedigree of AK-47 as a secret, like the composition of Coca Cola, he reveals that it was bred from Colombian, Mexican, Thai and Afghani seed stock, resulting in a 65:35 sativa/indica hybrid with predominating sativa traits.
In the course of time, AK-47 has won an impressive total of sixteen(!) prizes at several kinds of cannabis cups. The most recent of which were the victory of AK-47 in the sativa category of the Treating Yourself Expo 2010 in Toronto and the third place in the category Hybrid at the High Times Cannabis Cup 2011 in Amsterdam. The Treating Yourself Expo Cup was a seed company cup and was judged by a panel of 24 exemptees (patients with a governmental license to grow their own medical marijuana) using 12 Digital Volcanos. Another outstanding appreciation of AK-47: It was chosen “Plant of the year 2003” by High Times Magazine readers in December 2003. But also in the form of hashish, AK-47 yielded big success for Serious Seeds, for example when it took the first prize at the High Life Cup Barcelona 2005 in the hash category.
Simon describes AK-47 as follows: “This easy to grow plant is a living legend and our most popular. Medium height, produces good yields quite quickly. Extremely strong odour (take extra care!) and long lasting indica dominant high. AK-47 plants have a short flowering period for a sativa, producing compact, not too leafy buds gleaming with a coat of resin crystals. The name was given not out of any idea of violence, but more in association with its “one hit wonder” effect. An independent lab test showed 21.5% THC in the samples at the Cannabis Cup 1999, the highest of all entries that year. Medicinal plant.” Simon recommends a 5-10 days vegetative clone growth period. AK-47 delivers yields of 350-500 g/m2, has a flowering time of 53-63 days and reaches maturity around 15 Oct. under natural light. It has a sativa typical high calyx-to-leaf ratio which means lots of flowers and only a few leaves. The single AK calyx size tends to be unsually large, resulting in fat clusters grouping together very decoratively and densely, contributing to the trade-mark appearance of AK-47. These compact nuggs ooze copious amounts of glistening trichomes and break up nicely, leaving plenty of resinous crystals on your fingers, unleashing an unusually strong, sweet and fruity aroma. There’s so much resin on AK-47 it could also carry the attribute “white” in its strain name.
As Simon says, the AK`s name shall by no means be understood as being intended aggressively or following any military tradition, but rather express the special effect that sets in when one smokes the AK, sometimes proving as a real “one hit wonder”, made possible by that extraordinarily high THC content mentioned. AK-47 is also famous for outstanding results on hydroponic mediums, as reported by many international growers, and has also been very successfully grown outdoors in Spain in the past.
Since last year, AK-47 is also available in the form of feminised seeds. That made famous grower Mr. Power Planter curious, and he decided to run a great project: A head to head comparison of both regular and feminised AK-47 seeds. Never before such a direct comparison has been reported about in any magazine, so here it is, Serious Seeds facing the challenge of letting their own regular and feminised seeds competing with one another! Would the feminised AK-47 seeds prove to be likewise brilliant as their long established regular counterparts?
Mr. Power sowed a full package of eleven regular AK-47 seeds and five feminised ones. Germination proceeded very well, and after four days, all of the seeds had sprouted and reached the soil’s surface. Right from the start, they were grown under three 600 W ‘Green Bud’ metal halide lamps equipped with adjust-a-wings reflectors (without spreaders), so they had abundant light to thrive and prosper. One week after germination, the plants were transplanted into 11 litre containers filled with Plagron Standard soil mix. All of the 16 plants did very well, growing very compact with a quick onset of side branch development and dark green leaves. Also, they were very homogeneous, both in their own plant group and also femi and regular plants compared to one another. Three and a half weeks after germination, Mr. Power Planter induced flowering by reducing the light cycle from 18/6 to 12/12 hours of light, at the same time replacing the metal halide lamps with three 600 W Osram HPS lamps. Within ten days, all of the plants had revealed their gender, with five of the eleven regular AK-47 plants being males that were removed. And as expected, the five femi plants did present only female preflowers. In the first weeks of flowering though it was the case that the femi AK plants obviously reacted a bit slower to the flowering period, the regular plants were getting somewhat faster into vivid flower production. Otherwise, from a growth pattern point of view, both the regular and femi plants still had the same appearance. And soon all the eleven plants were about building very fat main colas, but also many impressive side tops in addition. The femi plants were about one week behind in their flower development, but also flowering in a most promising way. A very strong sweet odour took possession of the grow room, arising from the richness of massive resin layers on both the femi and regular plants. All the eleven plants were literally oozing with resin when getting near to maturity, having appeared whiter and whiter every single flowering week. Also the flower structure was of outstanding quality, these buds had an extremely high calyx-to-leaf ratio, very few flower leaves, with the fewest leaves on the top colas of each branch. The buds consisted of many thick, dense and rock-hard, chubby round flower clusters – that trademark AK-47 look - and also those many smaller side buds along the branches were made like that, giving Mr. Power Planter any reason to expect a true heavy-weight harvest.
The six regular AK-47 plants were harvested on flowering day 63, just in time with the 56-63 days flowering time window stated by Serious Seeds. They had produced tremendously fat main and side colas from the bottom to the top, with some of the huge main colas measuring more than 30 cm in length - really big impressive chunks! The flower structure of these six plants was identical or in parts at least very similar. And the same was true for their rich resin amounts. In the end, they measured between 85 and 102 cm in height, while five of them were almost similarly tall (85-93 cm), only one single lady (102 cm) towered the other plants a little bit.
As for the five feminised AK plants, they did require about one extra flowering week and were harvested after 69 days. They had grown lower than their regular counterparts, measuring between 65-85 cm in height only (with three plants of about 75 cm height), apart from one plant that was subject to a much stronger sativa influence and growing accordingly taller, but it was bent down at a certain early point of flowering. But the femi plants’ side branches were longer than those of the regular plants for the most part, while their fabulous fat flower structure and copious resin amounts were equal to them, with one difference though: The side buds, even the lowest ones, were even somewhat bigger, quite amazing! Both the regular and femi plants had the same powerful aroma, sweet, but quite mild.
The five femi AK-47 plants didn’t show any male flowers until the very end, so another Serious femi strain did pass the fem exam most successfully. All the eleven plants were a quick pleasure to harvest, very little work was involved due to the unusually high calyx-to-leaf ratio of the buds. After the buds had been carefully dried and slightly fermented, Mr. Power Planter put them on the scales, and it was no wonder to him it turned out the femi AK-47 buds had achieved an even higher average yield than their regular counterparts: 86, 98, 99, 114 and 120 grams = 103.4 grams/plant, while the regular buds yielded 73, 86, 87, 95, 98 and 106 grams = 91 grams/plant. This was the first time a deeply impressed Mr. Power Planter experienced that a feminised version of a certain strain really delivered a higher yield than its regular counterpart. Often officially promised, but never the case in practice before. So that extra week of flowering the femi plants took was really worth the wait to Mr. Power Planter.
The deliciously smelling, very silver dried buds were of the highest order, a sheer pleasure to look at and smoke. No difference between regular and femi buds was found by Mr. Power Planter in terms of odour, aroma and high. While AK is a strain that doesn’t have the most intense taste – it tastes mild and slightly sweet, with a slight sandalwood undertone, but not very charismatic – its high proved to be quite a sensation: It was very complex and extremely strong, clearly pronouncing elements of both sides of the cannabis spectrum – at the same time! Under the influence of a good deal of indica power, Mr. Power Planter felt like having to take a seat, but he simultaneously felt clear and euphoric in the head and didn’t get ‘hypnotised’, totally blasted away by the indica stone. That made him a little bit confused at first, but after a while he liked that state a lot and highly estimated that ultra strong and complex effect the AK-47 strain has.
All together, Mr. Power Planter was stunned about the superb outcome of both the regular and feminised AK-47 plants, he considers AK one of the best strains ever bred – and Mr. Power Planter has grown a pretty damn lot of strains in his life. And of course those outstanding femi plants did particularly impress him with their overall quality and even higher yield than the regular ones.
Also ‘The Doc” grew two feminised AK-47 plants by the way, and his results turned out to be likewise impressive, with the two plants looking precisely like the ones of Mr. Power Planter, and also their yield, aroma and high was likewise spectacular.
Like many other evergreens, AK-47 has been adopted many times by other seed banks, and either been used as a component for creating a “new” strain or just been plainly copied. But one thing is for sure about Serious Seeds’ AK-47: You can`t beat the real thing!
Green Born Identity – G.B.I.
|Strain||AK-47 regular vs feminised|
|Pedigree||Mostly sativa (65% sativa)|
|Vegetative stage||here: 24 days|
|Flowering stage||here: 63-68 days, 56-63 days in general|
|Medium||Plagron Standard Mix|
|Container volume||6.5 litre|
|EC||max. 2.0 mS|
|Light||Vegetative stage: 3 x 600 W Green Bud MH Flowering stage: 3 x 600 W Osram HPS|
|Temperature||night: 16-19 °C day: 20-26°C|
|Fertilizers||Canna Terra Vega Canna Terra Flores PK 13/14 (during flowering week 6)|
|Stimulators/Additives||Rhizotonic Wurzel, CannaZym, Bcuzz Blütestimulator|
|Height||Regular plants: 85-102 cm Feminised plants: 65-85 cm|
|Yield||Regular plants: 73, 86, 87, 95, 98, 106 = 91 g/average Feminised plans: 86, 98, 99, 114, 120 = 103.4 g/average|