Tall and wide
45-65g per plant
White Pearl is a hardy feminised strain that geminates well indoors. All 10 seeds hatched. The seedlings raced in height from the start. Some showed longer nodes than others. The overall structure of White Pearl (in veg) was tall and slim for a "White" strain. As WP matured she was super-cropped by twisting the branches, and removing the tops to control height. The removed tops were cloned. WP is feminised, so plants were placed into large pots early on - giving them a good start. WP developed a nice healthy root system. As cuttings WP works really well using Sea Of Green method. The result is single cola plants that need little trimming.
In bloom WP is very slow to start, with little difference in bud growth between 21 - 28 days. At 30-40 days 12/12 WP starts to flower-up and grows fast buds. Two plant types were noticeable. A sativa type with thinner leaf-blades and an indica type with wider fan-leaf (our favourite). All the seeded plants were about the same height (4ft tall). Each plant took up lots of water. Some of the sativa type WP didn't like too much heat and started to "fox-tail". To combat this a 600w lamp was removed from the garden to reduce temps.
The smell of WP when growing is quite strong (especially when rubbing against the plants). The flowers fill out well and there are few gaps in the structure. The buds form long carrot-like colas covered in THC. The hairs turn deep red at harvest. Seeded plants yielded around 50-60g on average. Cloned plants slightly less.
Drying and curing, WP gives off an unpleasant ammonia smell (typical of the "White" strains). The indica types smelt sweeter than the sativa types. All improved bouquet after curing in mason jars (giving a musky honey/orange scent). WP has a medium to high resin content with average size trichomes.
To smoke White Pearl has a musky flavour with sour undertones. The buzz is quite heavy - ideal for hangovers, vaporising and generally getting stoned.
G ROW El
Dutch grower Foppe
Outdoor fun in Friesland
By Bart B
Every year the Frisian grower Foppe succeeds in transforming his outdoor garden in to a veritable paradise. He packs his garden full with marvellous, unusual native and foreign cannabis varieties, from tiny blooming clones to strapping, broad ladies as tall as a tower. All of this does not happen with a fair amount of toil and sweat, but Foppe's green fingers somehow manage each time to make sure that the whole enterprise comes to a flower-rich ending. Soft Secrets spoke to him about how he manages it.
"I have been growing successfully since 1995. That is when a friend of mine starting growing hemp in the small garden at his parents' house. I was immediately impressed by the appearance of the three metre-high weed plants. A year later I began growing myself. I got hold of some hemp seeds from the feed tray of my parrot, and planted these in a small pot. I put this in front of a South-facing window, so it was nice and sunny. In that first year I made pretty much every wrong decision it was possible to make, but I did still manage to get a few plants to bloom. But the harvest was sickly, overrun and crawling with insect life. So the end result in October was pretty abysmal. After that debacle I started to work more seriously to raise proper cannabis varieties, though still with the seeds I had discovered in my buds. A year later I started out using clones and good quality seed from proper seed companies."
"To date I have already raised 35 different cannabis varieties, and I have even made some cross-fertilisations between seed plants and clones. I did this by spreading the male pollen from the seed plants onto the flowers that developed on the clones. My all-round favourite is an Amstel Gold (Passionl)
Pheno that I got hold of in 2001. Other varieties that I value highly are the German-made cross of Early Durban with a female White Widow, and an Alpine Rocket from seed that I came across in a seed swap with a friendly Swiss grower. All these varieties gave me a very 'up' (active) high that I just love.
In the outdoor season of 2003 I grew Swiss Miss, Black Domina, Shiva Shanti 1, Jackfizz (Citral x Jack Herer), Alpine Rocket and a number of my own crosses, and as I have every year, attempted to get these to bloom into plants that gave me cracking buds, smothered with resin and nice and fat.
The first seeds I germinated between wet paper towels in Petri dishes; that would have been around the beginning of February. After germination all the seedlings were put into small pots that were filled with ordinary potting soil. The grow room was a small cupboard with two 18 Watt bulbs inside, which ensured enough light hours for a respectable growth, and a timer to control the whole light cycle. The benefits of regularity - plants just love it! The long, thin fluorescent light bulbs are very weak compared with the systems like high pressure sodium, but the are efficient enough for a small home grower. Some of the good qualities of them are that they produce very little heat and the energy costs remain very low. The seeds I had germinated came from a few friendly growers I had met online on one of the many cannabis forums, and thanks once again for those. The Black Domina
110 litres, but growing in full earth is less of a hassle. This is mainly because it costs much less time with watering. Also, the plants grow more healthily, they are more powerful and they yield more. With a few crackers in my outdoor garden growing in large pots in one particularly roasting summer I was having to give each plant about 100 litres of water per day. During the flowering period I feed the plants with an organic liquid nutrient, such as bio-bloei from Biobizz, which I give them twice a week or so, depending on the weather.
Other varieties that I value highly are the German-made cross of Early Durban with a female White Widow, and an Alpine Rocket from seed that I came across in a seed swap with a friendly Swiss grower.
clones were obtained from a clone farmer, and the seed for the Swiss Miss was bought in a local grow shop. In order to be able to raise the plants well it is important that you use nutrient-rich soil that drains well, so that the soil does not remain wet and has enough air in it for a rapid root development. As well as that it is also vitally important to water regularly and to use as large pots as possible. I use pots of between 50 to 110 litres.
I don't buy ready mixed earth but prefer to put my own mixture together. This consists of a good quality compost and / or 50 percent coco fibre, 30 percent Perlite, 15 percent self-made compost and 5 percent premix. During the whole process of mixing the soil I add Maerl-chalk to it in order to stabilise the pH, and bone meal in order to enrich the whole thing with extra phosphorus. Once it has been well mixed I spray the mixture with water and leave it to ripen for two to four weeks in plastic sacks. Before I actually use the soil mix, I give it all a final vigorous stir. By the way, I use rain water to quench the thirst of my plants when it is to hand. Nevertheless, I do prefer a nice dry sky during the outdoor season. Once a week I make sure they are given additional nutrients by using liquid fertilizer, such as Biobizz groei during the growth period. As I said earlier, I use pots of between 50 and
Most varieties begin to bloom around the beginning of August, or a week or two later. Early bloomers such as Amstel Gold / Purple / Durban Poison / Hollands Hope finish their bloom around the end of September. The majority of indoor varieties such as Shiva / Citral / White Widow / Skunk only finish their bloom around the middle or end of October, when there is a large chance of bad and wet weather, thanks to which the chance of getting smaller yields or being struck by moulds and other annoying pests are increased quite a bit. In the critical last weeks of blooming I used to put the gorgeous ladies under a covering, in order to give them a bit more protection in this vital period. I would do this only when rain had been forecast, or when a particularly nasty-looking looking cloud came nearby. Prevention works."
"The spring and summer in Friesland are favourable for the plants to put on growth, but sometimes we do have to put up with severe hail storms or heavy rains with strong winds. Last summer it was very hot and dry, and that also created its own problems. The biggest of these where I live was botrytis infection, which strikes when the outdoor air is particularly moist - as it was during the second half of September and the first weeks of
An Alpine Rocket. Gorgeous!
A lovely bud from the Alpine Rocket.
A few Swiss Miss clones also provided a decent supply of smokeables.
An Alpine Rocket. Gorgeous!
A lovely bud from the Alpine Rocket.
A few Swiss Miss clones also provided a decent supply of smokeables.
October. Periods of mist, rain, wind combined with mild temperatures are a disaster, especially for the larger buds because these soak up moisture from the air, and get rid of this moisture more slowly than the smaller buds. I have noticed that it can be worthwhile treating your plants so that they develop lots of very small buds rather than fewer, larger ones. During this dangerous period I check the buds every day for the presence of mould, by carefuly inspecting the leaves on the hanging buds for discolouration. If any is discovered the infected buds are immediately removed completely.
In order to be able to raise the plants well it is important that you use nutrient-rich soil that drains well, so that the soil does not remain wet and has enough air in it for a rapid root development.
I did have a few problems during growing some Jackfizz variety that had been started off in a relatively small pot. I had to transplant her from a 50 litre to a 200 litre pot, because the 110 litre pot was too small. But this was not the biggest problem by any means. Half way through the bloom period I decided to stick the plant in the middle of my garden, and so give her the opportunity to enjoy an abundance of sunlight. Thanks to a bit of inattention, I had not taken any notice of the weather forecast that had predicted a chance of heavy gusts of wind in the late afternoon. When I came home it was already too late, because the Jackfizz was broken in two. And I had used several bamboo poles for support, but these were all snapped by the storm. I tried to save this Jackfizz, but she could not be repaired and I could not do anything except get what early harvest I could off half of it.
The summer heat waves also led to all my male plants, that I had raised to do a few crosses with, drying out. It was difficult for my brother to keep these plants moist, because the top later of soil had become really hard after a full day of beaming sun and gusting wind, thanks to which the water ran off too quickly through the cracks in the pot and was not given enough time to be taken up by the plants. I should have pointed out to him to give them water more slowly. So the plants actually had been getting very little or no water, and were total write-offs. So keep your soil good and moist and water them in the mornings so that they have enough water for the whole day."
"When after several months the harvest finally comes around, then I'm usually busy for at least a month gathering it off all my plants, and I spend two to four hours a day trimming. After a certain length of time trimming I get
a feeling that I could trim the rest of the buds without even looking at them, since I have already trimmed several hundred and the shape is pretty much the same. Most of the work I do myself, but my brothers also help out from time to time. I usually start by removing all the large leaves, quickly after this I run my scissors over the smaller leaves. The buds are hung up on fishing line and given a good four to six weeks to dry out, before I finally trim off the smallest leaves around the buds and remove them from their branches. The buds are then put in a dark cupboard laid on newspaper, which I check every day. Because even after the harvest there can still be some problems and your well-earned buds can be snatched away from you at this final hurdle.
The plants showed quite a bit of variety among them. From the small Black Domina clone that gave ten grams (thanks to letting it bloom too early), to the autumn harvest in which a Jackfizz after a full season in a 110 litre pot gave up to 400 grams a plant. Most plants yielded between 75 and 300 grams of excellent potency. Sweet outdoor ganja; classy smoke too. The biggest yield I ever had was around the 700 to 800 grams mark, and that could have been even more had not some of the buds been stolen. It was my first and biggest harvest from a plant grown in full earth. She reached a height of four metres. This was in 1996 when the weather had been outstanding with lots of sun right into mid-October. The plants had a lot of pleasure that year, as did I, and in retrospect even more during the harvest. 2002 was also a good year, maybe even the best I've had to date. Then I grew two Durban Poison plants that I had bought as clones. In a 50 to 65 litre pot they eventually yielded a combined 700 grams. In the same year two Amstel Gold clones gave me a little short of 600 grams. The taste and high were excellent and got given very good reviews from my mates.
To end, I'd like to say that if you ever get the chance, grow your own to guarantee your supply of smokables! Everyone can grow this plant. Buy or download a good growing guide and just go for it, with clones or seeds! Go one: just grow it if you've got the time...And greetings from Foppeland."
Did you know that many growers make the mistake when they're raising a K2 variety of harvesting it too early? Especially in the last weeks, this variety forces the blossoming enormously and the lady begins to make her buds develop explosively. These buds will be bone-white and good and fat!
'Scrog': growing with chicken wire
In his series on growers from outside the Netherlands, Bart B. talks this time to Trichomes, an English grower. Trichomes tells all about his growing techniques and his vision of what cannabis growing is all about.
"Ever since I was born I have been surrounded by cannabis. My father has always smoked. Which is fortunate, because he was a bit of an aggressive person and a nice fat spliff always calmed him down. So I had already established at a fairly young age that cannabis had great advantages for certain people. Whether this was down to stress reduction or lessening pain, I noticed that the green herb had many qualities. Logically then, I began smoking cannabis pretty early, together with my father and my brother. That was pretty cool. I once lived for a while quite close to the Spanish border, where the hash you got was always of good quality. Given that I was from England, where the hash was very poor quality, I really enjoyed those seven years living down by the Spanish border. During that time I got used to the high quality and learned to tell the difference between the good stuff and the garbage.
When I eventually got back to England it soon became obvious that if you wanted anything decent to smoke here then you had to have good contacts, or you had to be content with a bit of skunk. It is quite rare to get hold of any decent Moroccan hash. For at least ten years I have smoked a pretty good skunk variety in the UK, and just as in the Netherlands, growing cannabis indoors is the best way of ensuring a supply of good quality smoke. Our drizzly, rainy climate is not really suitable for outdoor growing. But if you really have nowhere you can grow then, you have no other option than to buy it, and the stuff is still quite expensive here.
The first growing method that I became familiar with was growing on water, or hydroponic growing as it's known. A friend of mine who back then was older than I am now gave me a book, 'The Marijuana Horticulture Bible' by Jorge Cervantes. I was about 15 years old and a heavy smoker. Growing cannabis had always appealed to me, and now I have succeeded in finally getting my own grow room together in which I can grow a reasonable quality of cannabis for myself. I've still only been growing a year, but enjoying picking it up. I'm just really going for it as best I can, to the maximum of my own capabilities.
Skywalker and White Russian
There are a lot of varieties of cannabis on the market. To date I have succeeded in raising from beginning to end some Skywalker and White Russian. Unfortunately, I started out growing from seed, and that held me back in my progress. It took a few months before I had enough clones to start growing seriously. The Skywalker is a very congenial, mellow smoke; the White Russian by contrast looks a hell of a lot better and is also a bit stronger in its effects. I will not be growing the Skywalker again, I reckon. In any case not for the time being. In the meantime I have had the good fortune of meeting a good friend on the 'overgrow' web site. He was so kind as to load me up with various clones of top varieties. Some of the varieties I'm busy with now include White Russian, White Widow, Jack Herrer, Jamaican Pearl, Armageddon, Critical Mass, Skunk 1, Durgamata and Blueberry. Variety is the spice of life, isn't it? These varieties will soon all be grown up and ready for testing.
Watering of the plants is by a 'drip-to-waste' system. I have a 200-litre reservoir that is used to give them water once a day.
'Sea of Green'
The grow system that I'm using at the moment is actually very simple. I use the 'scrog' method ('screen or sea of green'). The 'scrog' method consists of a piece of chicken wire fixed about 40 centimetres above the soil in your pots. You use this wire gauze to guide the plants where you want them to go. Of course, this requires a bit more work than other techniques, but the increased yield speaks for itself.
We do not allow the plants to grow through the gauze before they are covered with hundreds of potential buds. So we are going to repeatedly tie the side branches to the chicken wire gauze and train them into positions
where they can develop lovely buds. Once the gauze is about 80 percent filled, then the light cycle is switched over to 12 / 12, that is to say they are started in their bloom. This method allows you to create a thick leaf cover of mostly buds, and so get a large crop from a small number of plants.
I use a 'drip-to-waste' system for watering the plants. I have a 200 litre reservoir that is used to give them water once a day. All the plants are growing in 10-litre pots. I wanted to keep things simple in the beginning in order to first take the time to get to know the plants and to see how they grow and bloom, and then just draw on my experience. I really like the basic idea of 'aeroponics' because you avoid having a medium you have to haul about, and so you also have no rubbish problems. I reckon I will probably give it a go sometime in the future. Aeroponics is the art of raising plants by spraying the roots with a nutrient solution, using sprinklers for example. The roots of the plants hang in the air, and thanks to the huge amount of available oxygen they grow really fast. I have found a fantastic summary of how to build an aeroponic system for 150 plants. Simply brilliant, and it saves you a whole load of money if you do a bit of research yourself and then build a system yourself. In my opinion, the internet is the best place for information for growers. You can find everything you want or need to know.
With the 'scrog' method I managed to get 0.9 grams per watt. I recently managed with a slightly smaller space to grow more than 1 gram per watt. I don't grow in an especially large grow room; it's only about 3.5 m x 2.5 m. In here I've hung 3600 watts of lamps and an extra 600-watter that I use in an extra smaller space by the window. In total then, I use 4200 watts. And my last harvest was 3800 grams.
The time that I allow the plants to spend in their growth period is between two and three weeks. When I use clones though, it can take up to a month before they are nicely well rooted. I like to get the clones quickly rooted so that I can begin again with a new planting immediately after the harvest. My last average yield per plant growing with a 'scrog' was 155 grams.
Since I began growing I have become intrigued by special bud-stimulators. I have now tried Dutch Master Superbud, but was not overly impressed. The quality of the cannabis was not so good and I don't particularly enjoy using chemicals. Another time, I used a new British product, called Triple F. It is made by Hydrotops, and is supposed to be 100 % organic. To be honest, I doubt whether good growers would really need these so-called budboosters. Although I have never conducted a side-by-side grow to determine whether or not these products really work or not.
In order to keep the odour problems down I have a large carbon filter attached to my ventilator. It is the most important piece of material in the space. Without a filter, there'd be no grow.
The nutrient that I am using at the moment is Canna's Coco A & B nutrient. I find this to be really good, but nevertheless I am thinking of switching over to a nutrient that consists of three parts, so that I have more control over the whole thing. I think that if you can determine the exact quantities that a plant needs during the whole cycle this can strongly influence the quality of your harvest. I don't think that I do anything especially different than any other growers. I just look at the growing techniques of other growers on the internet and compare all the good grows that I see there. Then I try to apply this information to my own growing practices. The growers are always very friendly and helpful in these online communities. And there are lot of people doing a lot of experimentation that they are willing to share, along with their knowledge and ideas.
Up until now I have not had any really major problems during any of my growing attempts. The only problem is the heat that is given off by the lamp. To combat heat problems you need a reasonable extractor fan. As a rule-of-thumb, when you think you have sufficient ventilation, double it. I use a 1700 m3 extractor in a small space that makes sure that the temperature of the space is kept under control. I have stayed loyal to the same system that I started out with, and it is always getting better. I always try to find adjustments I can make that will make everything work even better and to help keep the climate even more firmly under control. Essentially, the more efficient everything operates, the less work you will have to do.
I have a single grow space and harvest all the plants at the same time. If I were to have more spaces then this would definitely delay the harvest, since as everyone is well aware, the trimming of the many plants would be a nightmare someone with just a few plants in a small cupboard who was not using a filter, and he didn't take my advice. One of the neighbours grassed him up to the police, and as a result, as you might expect, he is no longer growing.
Make sure first and foremost that you have a good digital pH- and ec-meter. Your plants will not be happy I they have to cope with too many swings.
thanks to all the work involved. The harvest comes around every three months. In actual fact I would like to see this cycle happen a bit quicker, but I am not prepared to go potting up more plants and so squeeze more grow cycles in. I'm attempting to grow a minimal number of plants and to get as much yield out of them as I can, and so far it's going nicely.
One other point is combating smells. In order to keep the odour problems down I have a large carbon filter attached to my ventilator. It is the most important piece of material in the space. Without a filter, there'd be no grow. It is pretty simple: without a carbon filter it would be just too risky. This year I warned
As the harvest time approaches and the plants begin the last days of their lives, then I stop giving them water for the duration of these last few days. I allow the pots to dry out a bit before I harvest. As soon as the plants have been trimmed, they are hung up to dry. It takes around seven days before they become reasonably dry. After this what I do is pack the buds into a huge, 125 litre airtight tub to ripen for another week - actually, the longer the better. This really benefits the taste. Freshly harvested buds must always be given enough time to become cannabis. Thanks to a shortage of space I have to use the grow room as the drying room too. This is a bit of shame as the grow space can not be used for a further week as a result. Once the buds are well and truly dried, then in goes a new consignment of clones to the grow room for the next round.
What tips do you have for other growers?
1 Make sure first and foremost that you have a good digital pH- and ec-meter. Your plants will not be happy if they have to cope with too many swings in the levels of nutrients they are given, so try and keep these values as stable as possible.
2 Prevention works, so always spray your plants with an insecticide, preferably an organic one - even if you do not see any insects. I always spray my plants twice during their life cycle. Once when they are still clones, and then later before they go into bloom they are sprayed again. I have never had any trouble from insects in my grow space, with the exception of the odd fly now and again.
3 Do not be afraid to experiment. Cannabis is a weed and very resistant to the stress we might give it. I do not advise you to stress the plant, but at the same time, do not be afraid to 'top' your plants so that they grow more in width. Normally I remove the top when the plants have reached their sixth internode. The plants will become wider and bushier, which is a must when you are growing with a 'scrog'.
4 Always use a carbon filter or some other form of odour busting.
What are the laws like in your region and what do you think of them?
Cannabis is illegal in Great Britain, just as in the rest of the world. How can something like alcohol be legal and cannabis not? Everyone knows that alcohol is the real poison in society. I like to smoke because I am a relaxed person, not because I am a criminal or a fighter. I just want to be happy and content. Why do we have to break the law to do something that we enjoy and that does absolutely no-one any harm?
Any observations you would like to share with the readers?
I would like to thank everyone who has been prepared to risk their own security in order to help others. The growing community is the first one I have ever come across that was so ready to help, and sp prepared to share the knowledge they had spent years accumulating. Don't be afraid: 'overgrow the world'.
Landrace genetics with Zamalito
Fashion has it that the majority of cannabis growers these days prefer to be growing varieties of cultivated cannabis indoors. Ultimately, these cultivated varieties descend from a small base of genetic stock - mostly skunk/haze varieties. The collection of landrace genetics is then restricted tojust a handful of dedicated enthusiasts across the planet. Sowing and growing, then reaping and mowing, cannabis seeds from far-off lands, is their passion.
Zamalito is a cannabis-anthropologists and herbal-botanist. Rooted to the earth, his studies are mostly conducted in the field - alongside his plants. Very few people can actually claim to have grown as many pure landrace genetics -collected from all over the world. From the Congo to Kashmir, from Burma to Brazil, the tapestry of cannabis genetics is a vast subject. Soft Secrets UK then arranged aQ&A session with Zamalito to get back to basics.
Whereabouts in the world are you based?
Lately, I've been growing in the eastern Blue Ridge Mountains in the southeastern United States. I've found this area to be capable of producing some truly fantastic herb that in my opinion is far superior to any indoor product. Being different from Europe and the Pacific NW there are very few commercial genetics available that are capable of taking advantage of outdoor growing conditions here. That's the main reason I started getting into breeding landrace genetics. The weather, this year, hasjust been phenomenal. Its been an El Nino year which has eliminated the hurricane and tropical storm related rains that normally plague us in September/October. The flowers harvested so far have taken on a look that I've only seen from flowers cultivated in Hawaii - where after curing you seejust a huge array of color. Many different shades of green, lots of amber and red pigments, it'sjust a stunning crop. I'm the most proud I've ever been. The pure Zamals have yet to finish but when you pack a large bowl of Zamal x Parvati this year's has a strong sweet carrot overtone that I've been trying to get since growing the Zamal. It's always produced wonderful flavors but until now I never understood why locals on La Reunion describe their herb as having a mango/carrot flavor. It's a really nice feeling to know that I've grown a landrace to produce the qualities it has in its native environment.
When did you start growing cannabis?
At the time when I started and even still now there wasn't much quality available except for a locally grown fluffy road-kill skunk sativa that they called "donkey dick". You'd get 1 or 2 seeds in a quarter. Though I didn't have a clue what I was doing I grew some of these seeds in the woods near my parents house. Deer ate most of them, and I harvested the herb prematurely before drying it in the microwave. Quite a few years later a friend who was down on his luck had a hydro-farm lkw halide and copies of Ed Rosenthal's Handbook
Georgia mid-grade. These turned out to grow into wonderful plants. About half were pure Afghans. The other-half were hybrids with some Colombian influence, and a grape taste. One plant had long narrow leaves. The serration's were very course, and resembled alligator tails. The stem was different also. It was a Thai! I'd grown my first landrace sativa.
Which method do you use?
For a number of years now I've had the outdoor growing bug. Since I mostly grow landrace sativa and do not live in the tropics I have to use a few tricks to cause the plants to mature more quickly. The first is that I start my plants very early either indoors or in a cold frame. If I start them indoors I run them under 24 hrs of light to make them more sensitive to darkness. I'm fortunate enough to have a growing situation that allows me to grow very large plants in full sun and still have them camouflaged into their surroundings. Full sun is crucial to getting the landrace herb to finish as fast as possible. Though I really love the
We need more breeders in the sweet spots where the environment produces amazing cannabis with little helpfrom man. In Brazil we can maintain the African, Mexican and South American genetics without worrying about changing the lines to the degree that say an indoor or temperate latitude grower would and Mel Franks 'Growers Guide'he was selling. I'djust gotten my tax return and took him up on the offer. He had been growing for a couple years and had obtained some Shiva Skunk seeds before Sensi stopped shipping to the States. He gave me a nice cutting, but for the most part the mad scientist in me was more interested in growing bag-seed. Once a year this sweet piney skunk from Oklahoma came to town. I hit the dealer up for seeds and this became the first staple strain I worked with. It produced a nice yield and purple pistils. Over the years I had collected a glass cigar tube filled with seeds partly from fresh skunky compressed North concept of building the soil with some of the more extreme sativa strains. This year, I grew them in grow bags. With many varieties especially those from the very lowest latitudes the root binding helps trigger the plants to flower. The plants still root into ground out of the bottom of the bags, but that doesn't seem to lessen the advantages of using containers. I then cover the bags in a large ball of straw and lignin grasses. My theory is the lignin grass increases the presence of beneficial fungi in the soil, but also the high concentration of spores in the grass ball inoculates the plant. I fertilize with 5-year-old chicken manure. I'm also a huge fan of compost and teas.
What is your favourite type of plant to grow?
It's hard to pick a favorite. I've always been partial to the pacific Mexican landraces. The problem with the Mexicans (that I have!) is that they don't produce anywhere near as high a quality herb indoors as they do under sunlight. Naturally I love the Zamal and its hybrids. I like all landrace for the most part. What I like the least are the Dutch indica-types. It seems that almost all of the ability to produce accessory cannabinoids has been bred out of the modern indica gene pool. Which is odd since hashish traditionally has very high CBD levels. We must not forget that CBD is medicinal also and crucial to the buzz of the older hashish varieties.
Do you prefer landrace or cultivated genetics?
Since I've started growing almost solely outside there aren't many cultivated lines that are appropriate so I'd have to say landrace. I definitely understand the value of cultivated lines but the level of diversity with landrace genetics is so nice. I also believe that when more chemotype work is done we are going to find there isn't much difference between the heavily cultivated lines be it sativa or indica. Maybe there's something wrong with me but I don't notice a huge difference between a 75% sativa Skunk #1, a Cinderella and Northern Lights. Whereas, you can take Kashmiri Resin Factory and Deep Chunk (both 100% indica from central Asia) and they're worlds apart.
Please explain a little about the genetics in your collection?
My three staples that I love and could never lose are my Zamals, the Ghanaian Accra Skunk, and the heritage Mexicans. Currently I'm working with getting these Congolese and Senegalese seeds and the wamm Malawi (wo(mens) alliance for medical marijuana) reproduced. Recent acquisitions include - Kona Gold, Columbian Punto Rojo, Brazilian Cabega de Negro (blackhead), Angola Red, Columbian Black, a few Thais, a Sri Lankan, some wonderful Paraguayan landrace, and a very old un-worked Vietnamese line. I also have a Burma Jam female that was the only plant that germed from some 25-year-old seeds. At this moment my main breeding indica is the Parvati. It's as close to being a perfect pollen receiver for landrace hybrids I've seen. It has a huge variance of accessory cannabinoids, so when it is used in a landrace cross, the accessory cannabinoids of the female are usually carried to the fl. Dr. Greenthumbs Kashmir, Pine Tar Kush, and Deep Chunk are also being tested for breeding qualities. As you can imagine this is a lot of work. Thankfully my wife and best friend are into this as much as I am. Right now I'm looking into a new greenhouse facility and hopefully I can find something that fits.
How and why did you gather all these strains together?
The obvious answer is preservation and that is a large part of my motivation.
However, since reading Terrence McKenna's 'The Archaic Revival' I've been developing my appreciation for what indigenous cultures have to offer (?) Many of what I consider to be the finer things in life come from indigenous people - the finest cannabis, music, coffee, food and tobaccos. Being from the more "civilized" world we often consider the lives of those in the third world as hard, bleak and filled with suffering. I feel that the cannabis varieties that have been with a given culture for a substantial length of time tend to invoke the moods, attitudes, and philosophies of that culture in the user. Jamaican, Ghanaian and Hawaiian herb are great examples. The people of these cultures are laid back yet active, happy yet spiritual, and these paradoxes are certainly present in the herb. After growing and trailing my first landrace varieties I found that they had so many distinctive qualities. I was stunned to see that herb of incomparable quality has been in existence for thousands of years. In many instances it is nature that helps people lucky enough to live in certain sweet spots to breed some of the highest quality herb available. This is what motivates my collecting.
Has securing landrace genetics from across the globe become a hobby?
Yes, very much. If not a hobby, then a way of life! I've filled a kind of niche in my community where about 20% of the people who smoke what I produce are those that had long given up on cannabis because what's commercially available has no appeal. We have this product in the States from Canada, which is the blandest product one could imagine.
When and why did you start breeding your own seed lines?
When I first started breeding I didn't have a choice because I was growing from unlabeled bag-seed. I wanted to make more seeds many times, but I couldn't be certain what the males were. They could've come from somewhere totally different as another seed that was female in the same bag. It'sjust the nature of commercial bud. Needless to say my original breeding experiments were slow going. Eventually I tried Dutch genetics and they produced excellent bud - very different from what Id grown before indoors. However, in my environment the indoor varieties would mold and the outdoor varieties would flower too small and too early. I knew from reading marijuana botany that breeding is best when done with stable varieties. Eventually through the travels of myself, my friends and family and searching through seed catalogs I'd gathered together an assortment of mostly tropical heirloom varieties, landraces, and ibis.
Which strain(s) do you prize most and why?
That's a hard one because there's a few strains that I couldn't live without that I could replace easily - then there's a few that I love slightly less that could
In my environment the indoor varieties would mold and the outdoor varieties would/lower too small and too early. I knewfrom reading marijuana botany that breeding is best when done with stable varieties.
never be replaced. Right now the Wamm Malawi is very high on my list, simply due to the fact that its a Malawi inbred to finish in a temperate climate. It has it all - painkilling properties, anti anxiety, mood enhancement, and it is simultaneously energizing. The Zamals and Zamal x Parvati when grown properly make the highest quality herb possible. The Ghanaian is an all round fantastic herb that is one of my most potent yet is incredibly natural strains. Ghana has a close relationship with some countries in the west that have a strong African influence like Guyana and Jamaica. It's a very natural earthy herb with strong Malawi and Congolese influences. Last but not least are my two favorite Mexicans - the Acapulco Gold and the Oaxacan Pelo Rojo. I believe the high of these two cannot be improved upon.
Which advice would you give to fellow breeders landrace genetics?
If you're a person who whishes to see a line preserved contact Rahan over at www.strainguide.overweed.net. The site is mostly in French, however Rahan speaks English also and there should be enough English on the site to find your way around. Another important aspect to remember is that genetics aren't static they're extremely dynamic and the environment must be replicated to that of the region of origin (or as close as possible). If this is not done you could be changing the line you're working with quite substantially. One way to combat this is to use the best seed storage techniques available to you and to breed as few generations as possible. When breeding the seed there's two aspects I try to consider. The first is the percentage of the gene pool preserved from generation to generation. This is accomplished by using a large population of plants. The second aspect is the frequency or occurrence of the genes (particularly the desirable genes). When I say desirable I don't necessarily mean potency, flavor, bag appeal etc. I'm mostly referring what makes the line unique. Since the female offspring tend to mostly resemble the ovum donor, I select one very desirable female for representation of each phenotype. Then pollinate with a larger amount of males - with a good level of hardiness and disease resistance being the main selection criteria. The most important part of preservation is to use any opportunity to return the landrace to the region of origin. At the very least try to distribute tropical varieties to the tropics if at all possible. Returning indica to an appropriate environment is tricky since north India and Afghanistan are difficult places to get to. Fortunately some parts of north India at least from what I hear Pakistan are quite welcoming and it seems quite possible to return some of these lines to their home.
What projects do you have planned for the future?
I'm working on bringing Brazilian Seed Company back. We need more breeders in the sweet spots where the environment produces amazing cannabis with little help from man. In Brazil we can maintain the African, Mexican and South American genetics without worrying about changing the lines to the degree that say an indoor or temperate latitude grower would. Luiz from BSC is a great guy. Together we have an unprecedented array of landrace genetics to make available to growers. We have about a dozen African strains spanning the whole continent, a dozen Brazilian strains, half dozen Colombians, a couple amazing thought to be extinct Hawaiian strains and many-many more. Unfortunately Luiz has become ill recently and had to sell his breeding facility to support his family. I'm working on getting him a new one and within a couple years we should have everything together. Anyone who has any questions regarding the status of BSC can contact me Zamalito on the international forums anytime.
Silver Calyx - Indoor Gardening in the UK
Once upon a time, cannabis growing in the UK was a hobby restricted to the outdoor "gardening community". Nowadays it is possible that almost anyone is capable of cultivating his or her own cannabis indoors. All said, it's not always possible to draw a clear division between 'cultivator' and 'gardener', the line between is sometimes thin. Some of the best gardeners don't cultivate, while some of the best cultivators' sometimes garden. Soft Secrets then arranged to interview a gardener in the UK that chooses to cultivate cannabis indoors.
Silver Calyx is a dedicated enthusiast of cannabis culture from root to flower. He also likes to grow species suited to neutral rainwater, because he's an ecologist at heart. Mind-you, mention the word "bubble-hash" and his ears stand to alert. Silver Calyx's "mumble-crumble" has been known to,,, well make people mumble, well into the early hours of the morning. To find out how he magic's the hash from the plants he so obviously loves, we did a pen to paper and listened for a change rather than talked.
Silver Calyx: "I started growing cannabis plants as a teenager. My first experiments were with 'Pet City' hemp seed. I'd go down to the pet store, grab a handful of bird feed, pick out the cannabis seeds, and then plant them into some fresh soil. This is how I first learnt how to grow weed plants. At one stage me and my buddy had 100+ hemp-city seedlings growing under a bunk bed using fluorescent lights. One
By Lazystrain of these seedlings, I remember, turned into a really nice plant, since we nurtured it like one of our own. At this point we only smoked hashish on bong so finding nice seeds to plant wasn't always easy.
Then one-day I collected some bag-seed from some S. Indian weed that a local dealer was smoking. An Indian plant was raised in 'Miracle Grow' soil outside, and bought into a greenhouse at night for safekeeping, and to maintain temps. It grew so big that a relative had to chop the plant in half while I was on holiday, to keep it low-down. It grew taller than me in the end, and yielded about 2 oz by harvest. At this point I went out and bought the 'Marijuana Grower's Guide' by Mel Franks. This helped me get used to different types of cannabis and instructed me on how best to grow plants in different places. I ended up swapping/ loaning the book to another dude for a packet of 'Misty' seeds from Homegrown Fantaseeds. Then, one-day, I saw a flyer for a local hydro-shop. I visited the shop the same day and came home with an Aqua-farm grow pot, a 400w lamp system and a bottle of PK13/14. Into this system I placed one lone 'Misty' seedling and watched it grow.
My second grow and harvest had been a total success. So I went out and bought a GT205 NFT tray and started making cuttings from the remaining 'Misty' seedlings I'd grown. Then, one day while out walking, I noticed a petrol station was being demolished. On the forecourt lay several light units. I whistled over a workman and asked him if him and his mates wanted some pints after work in exchange for the boxes they were removing. For £20 the bloke dropped 8x 400watt-ballast units (including bulbs) at my front door. Now I had enough light to start running some experiments. The glass fronts on the boxes meant that I could get them really close to the plants.
At this point I focused my gardening attention helping some old friends. They were growing a commercial crop of 'Big Bud' (in an amateur setting) at the time, using clay-pebbles/hydro-balls. During this whole episode I took a backseat in things. It worked out ok, but I was learning from someone else's mistakes, rather my own."
"You learn better when the mistakes you are making are yours. So long as you learn its all the same thing I suppose, but always try to apply what you are learning to your plants. This way you'll always be learning something new all the way up to your' last days of growing.
After a short period of dormancy, the opportunity became available for me to apply my own skills to my own plants in my own space once again. My passion for gardening never dwindled during this time, circumstancejust meant that my own grow-project wasn't possible. Soon enough I came across some iHaze#I9' seed and some 'Jack Herer' bag-seeds that seemed worth keeping. I started the next round of planting. The surviving Haze#19 plant turned out to be male in flower. But the Jack Herer where all female. So I made some clones from a mother I kept back. Since this I have experimented with different strains from different growers and breeders from seed and clone. If I find something I like the look of I make clones from it and save them for later. Off the top of my head the strains I can really remember doing well (the ones that stick out) include - 'White Pearl' and 'Holland's Hope', two types of 'Californian Orange', 'Grapefruit' and 'Heavy Duty Fruity'. These days as personal I really like smoking bubblehash on bong, so this is what I'm looking for mostly in my plants. Plants that produce lots of resin to make hash from are good. The strains I most enjoy smoking in bud form are 'Blue Berries' and 'Strawberry Cough'.
Capacity doesn't allow me to run too many strains at one time, so I usually hold 4-5 genetics in hand. Some come from seed I've grown myself and others are traded or bought in as clones. Learning to root my own clones from the original mothers or clones I've been given is a valuable part of my method, since I always want to be growing the best quality weed plants in my garden. Ijust got hold of a 'Diesel' clone that produces really nice long flowers. After smoking this strain in Amsterdam it went on the 'to grow' list. A friend of a friend sent the genetics to play with, so I gave it a try in one of my rooms. Another clone I'm tryingjust now is called 'Blue Ice', I'm told it came from a Welsh-Wizard (thanks).
I also like to keep carnivorous plants, not just weed. I pick them up at specialist fairs, from specific breeders (just like people do with weed seeds at cannabis fairs). These plants are as challenging to propagate as cannabis. They need rainwater only to survive, and must not be fed any nutrients. I find these types of plants interesting to watch when I'm stoned and chilling. They catch all manner of insect and keep flies out of my greenhouse, which I sometimes use for veg with my weed.
My indoor garden maximises on space, which isn't always an easy trick because cannabis plants like to grow so quickly. My bloom room is separated into two hubs. The main area uses 2.5 x 3 meters with access space. In this room too many plants often bask on x2 NFT trays under 2x600w (approx. lOplants per tray). The numbers tend to make most strains bloom into a dense canopy. Another tray usually houses another couple of plants in coco to one side. My smaller room is only 1.5 x 2.5m so things can get rather cramped. This space only has front access to water and tend to plants, so sometimes I have to be a contortionist also. In this space 12plants consume 1000w (600w on a light rail, and 400w static) in coco. My main extraction focuses on this room to reduce overall heat. All the walls in both rooms are covered in mylar to aid reflection.
Because my area is internal, a fresh air source is provided by an active 125mm intake-fan. This helps keep my temperature cooler. Each room has its own oscillating fan to maintain an ambient airflow and good circulation. Finally a large 200mm carbon-filter services a 200mm extractor, so that old air is fed outdoors afterwards. Without extraction my overall humidity levels would be too high, which could cause mold in buds.
For the last couple of cycles I have been using coco as my main medium in lOlitre pots. Before this I used soils specifically designed for cannabis plants. I'd like to use bigger pots for bigger plants, but it's all about managing my space and resources. I water by hand, which means I have to irrigate my crop using a 201itre Jerry-can. Watering by hand allows me to keep a close eye on nutrients, mixing a clean load each time. I use organic and chemical nutrients in combination."
"If you're using a substrate like coco then bacteria need to be able to live (just like they do in soil). For this reason chemical nutrients would be no good on their own; the benefits of using sterile foodstuffs are not maximised in cannabis growth. Bacteria fix nutrients onto the plant in a more natural symbiotic relationship than chemical applications alone. I hand feed for this reason since the values used would jam an automated system quickly. To be fair, my feeding regime has been changing for a while now as I test new products. I just find that the right combination, at the right times seem to work. At present I feed House & Garden Coco A &B and H&G Top Booster as basic. A splash of Bio-Bizz Grow & Bloom when needed, and a drop of Super Thrive. I also use Voodoo Juice and Rhizotonic early on at intervals, to promote nice thick healthy root systems. For enzymes, I like to use Canna-zyme, since it breaks down dead matter, and I find it helps my plants. My EC levels are always checked and my pH adjusted to 6.1 to allow for increase feeding into
bloom. With this mixed feed program I can sometimes flush for up to lOdays before harvest to cleanse the plants of any toxins.
I borrow some of my supper-cropping technique from Soma. This involves me squeezing and crushing the fleshier top nodes to thicken them up and removing some of the lower wispy branches while in veg cycle. This allows for nice air circulation beneath the canopy. I like to think that plants suck-up energy as they grow, so all focus is placed into the main branches with the most potential for growth. Using this technique I find that the buds have better form and the plants generally grow bigger in bloom. Another trick that helped me to reduce my maximum temperature, (something I originally struggled with in summer) was to use a light-rail. This produces a more even amount of light in a confined area. When combined with yo-yos to hold down stray branches and a proper ventilation system I'm now possible to get a much more even canopy in the same space as before, and it produces thicker buds. I also like my gadgets like my EC truncheon and pH meter. More recently, I also decided to invest in a laser thermometer to gage specific temperature on individual flowers and leaf parts. Point the red-dot at something (shades/bulbs/soil/plant) press the button and it gives an exact reading. It allows me to then make alterations in my garden to try and get temps evened-out over the canopy of the plants.
During the last year I've started to turn my trash into stash. After watching several downloads and videos, I went out and invested in the equipment needed, and oh my god what stash I've made so far!
Harvesting bubble-hash has become a bit of a ritual. All trim minus the fan-leaf and the stalks are placed onto a large clean plastic sheet in a dust-free environment when trimming. When dry, the trim waste is frozen and plenty of ice is prepared. I used a x2 sac system with an extra catching sac to produce two grades of hash. Fine and Ultra Fine. Once collected the hash is squeezed dry through the sac in a tea towel to extract extra moisture. Then the kif is placed onto card and chopped to fine sand. It's important to keep the bubblehash clean at all times. As it dries the appearance darkens and the natural smells develop. Left in this crumbly state, my personal stash I like to call "mumble crumble". If possible I cure this hash for 7days before use. I often smoke this exclusively on pipe in season, the rest of the time I smoke weed spliffs from my budjars.
The first sampling of the season is always an exciting event. My friends usually test smoke some buds and a cocktail spliff with the "mumble crumble" mixed in. Different types of strains produce a different type of mumble, in different people. Heavy Duty Fruity makes really nice bubblehash. If left to mature the buds are full of resin, which makes nice "mumble". Californian Orange plants make very nice bubblehash also with a unique high and smell not found in other plants. The Californian Orange Bubble we made from whole live/fresh plants, harvested early, was like fudge in consistency with a sweet orange oil scent. Until you've tried "bubbling" your own waste into hash you won't believe how valuable the throwaway leaf and buds can become. Like the rainwater I feed my flytraps, I suppose its about using something you'd think is waste. This is one reason why I now like to leave every plant to fully mature these days, to make better bubblehash. It allows for a much fuller flavour in the end product, which is always better for smoking.
Let's Hear It For Choice
At this moment in time in the UK we're looking at the prospect of two major "reforms" to two particular domains of enjoyment and recreation. We're soon to have 24 hour licensing for alcohol consumption, and 24 hour gambling in the shape of super casinos (there is a cannabis-related point to all of this, so do please bear with me).
The reasons given for these are roughly as follows: it all boils down to consumer choice. People should be able to go for a nice quiet drink in a bar in the wee small hours if they so choose. This is bringing European-style drinking culture to the UK and it has to be a good thing as with restrictions lifted on when bars can and can't open, then there won't be any need for people to drink to excess, binge drink and so forth.
Similarly, the new casinos are also about consumer choice. People, so we're told, want to basicallyjust hand over their hard earned money to multinationals, again, if they so choose. This is bringing Las Vegas-style gambling culture to the UK and this has to be a good thing because.. .well, the argument from this point on becomes a bit hazy, but that's getting away from the basic point of this.
dismissing evidence which may obstruct questionable 'reforms'.
So one of the principaljustifications for 24/7 gambling and drinking (other than that they'll apparently bring with them lots of minimum-wage-slave jobs) is that 'they open up consumer choice'.
Any concerns regarding the (potentially massive) negative outcomes are dismissed with the argument that this too comes down to personal choice: nobody is forced to drink alcohol and nobody is forced to waste a weeks' salary looking for that lucky streak in the casino. It's all about personal choice.
And to a degree, this is true, but if it's true of drinking and gambling, it must also be true of cannabis use. Very few people are forced to do it; people do so because they choose to. And of course it's widely accepted that, while cannabis is far from the benign substance it used to be regarded as, the end results of 'chaotic dope use' are still a world away from the end results of chaotic drinking. One doesn't, for example, associate street brawls involving dozens of people and police with cannabis users.
Similarly, one doesn't usually associate betting on roulette wheels or whatever to the point of bankruptcy (and past that point, in many cases) with cannabis users either.
So, the bottom line is that we're told that both of the above are a response to market demand and to some vague notion of consumer choice.
If we ignore the obvious contradictions and stumbling blocks, the arguments for making these reforms would actually carry some water. Unfortunately, I'm at a loss as to how 24 hour drinking and gambling in the UK can be reconciled with issues such as huge upsurges in problematic drinking patterns, booze-related antisocial behaviour, massive increases in personal debt, more people declaring themselves bankrupt, etc.
It's a peculiarity about governments and government agencies that they can get away with on the one hand producing and acting on evidence that supports action against pastimes they don't like (such as cannabis use) while at the same time ignoring or
Let's be quite clear about this. In spite of all the excuses and justifications, these 'reforms' are being considered primarily as a way of filling the coffers of the Exchequer. And it can only be done with booze and gambling because they're legal and are therefore controllable from a fiscal point of view. It's all about the Government screwing people out of their money and lining the pockets of their big business cronies under the guise of choice.
Ifit's good enough for two potentially highly harmful pastimes, it's good enough for a less harmful one, so legalise cannabis. After all, as the Government says, it's all about personal choice.
'Scrog': growing with chicken wire
In his series on growers from outside the Netherlands, Bart B. talks this time to Trichomes, an English grower. Trichomes tells all about his growing techniques and his vision of what cannabis growing is all about.
"Ever since I was born I have been surrounded by cannabis. My father has always smoked. Which is fortunate, because he was a bit of an aggressive person and a nice fat spliff always calmed him down. So I had already established at a fairly young age that cannabis had great advantages for certain people. Whether this was down to stress reduction or lessening pain, I noticed that the green herb had many qualities. Logically then, I began smoking cannabis pretty early, together with my father and my brother. That was pretty cool. I once lived for a while quite close to the Spanish border, where the hash you got was always of good quality. Given that I was from England, where the hash was very poor quality, I really enjoyed those seven years living down by the Spanish border. During that time I got used to the high quality and learned to tell the difference between the good
Was this article helpful?