Female Plant Producing Seeds

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Breeding for Connoisseur Quality

New growers usually start from seeds. When a gardener decides to maintain an ongoing garden, the first step toward consistent results is to make a mother plant or plants (this is covered in chapter 2). Once a quality mother is chosen, a gardener can propagate plants by taking cuttings for each successive garden. Since the cuttings or clones are identical to the mother, they are all females. The gardener can concentrate on getting the conditions and harvest time right for optimum results.

When I pick a female for a mother plant, I always choose something that I just adore to smoke, the type of marijuana that one hates to run out of. The thing is, sometimes pot thats great to smoke is a low yielder or takes too long to finish. That's when the breeder's creative energy can put a magic touch on the cannabis plants.

Gardeners also decide to try breeding when seeking a more ideal high and flavor. Whether the goal is enhanced qualities of the high or improved growing characteristics, breeding takes time, space and patience.

Breeding & Phenotypes

In order to reproduce an already-great female, all you need is a mother to clone from, but in order to breed you need a few good males, too. Actually, one male can be sufficient to pollinate hundreds of females.

In my opinion, the best way to breed is to start out working with quality genetics. Then you can enjoy the experimental nature of the whole thing. Breeding is an exercise in imagination. Start off with something you like and then think about what would make the plant better to grow or smoke.

It is necessary to start with plants that have already exhibited different desirable qualities. For instance, maybe one variety has a terrific flavor and high but is a finicky grower or takes a long time to finish. Another variety might be a hardy plant and finish quickly, but the high isn't as mentally stimulating or the flavor isnt as tasty as it could be.

Once the gardener decides which plants have traits that would make a good combination, one variety becomes the donor parent (male) and one the recipient parent (female). These two parents are known as the PI generation.

The female is the plant whose traits you like but want to improve. The male is used to add traits to the female in order to improve a certain characteristic, such as finishing time. In other words, the male is used to "donate" new characteristics to the female.

The best way to identify a good male candidate is to experience a female from the same strain. After a suitable strain is identified, the most vigorous male is chosen. Sometimes it can be difficult to get a male plant of the variety you want. It may require obtaining additional seeds of the variety. If you think you might undertake any breeding, this is one reason to preserve seeds or possibly even males from the varieties you are working with.

When different varieties are crossed, the resulting plants are hybrids; that is, they are a genetic mix of the two parents or PI plants. This cross is the F1 generation. When grown out, the Fl's have only subtle variations. Significant variety in this generation probably means that the parents were not completely stabilized strains. The F1 generation is like a big family of siblings. They are similar but none are precisely the same. They will exhibit slightly different combinations of their parents' characteristics, but will still be more alike than they are different.

The first time you cross two different kinds of cannabis together, you get a phenomenon that's called "hybrid vigor." F1 plants often exhibit impressive vitality. When F1 plants are made into mothers, their clones possess a near super strength.

It is now possible to go in two directions with the F1 generation. If the desired characteristic is present, the best F1 males are selected and crossed back to the female parent or clones taken from this parent. This is called backcrossing. Usually breeders backcross a number of times to introduce a desirable characteristic to a strain. Eventually, successful backcrossing results in a stable strain.

The other possibility is to cross F1 males and females with each other. Plants grown from the seeds of this cross are called the F2 generation. Whereas the F1 s were fairly uniform, the F2s are heterogenous. This cross increases diversity. The plants will exhibit a wider range of characteristics from which to select.

I basically get three dominant phenotypes and one recessive phenotype in the typical F2 generation. One plant will be like the father, one like the mother, one a combination of both and one a recessive phenotype that may exhibit some non-dominant genetic traits.

Selection is key in winning breeding programs. The hallmark of selection lies in the human ability to choose the best from a cluster of many. Selection is pardy talent and partly understanding the plants. It necessitates that the breeder knows what to look for and also knows his or her plants and their needs.

Selecting Winning Plants

Cannabis breeding allows a gardener to come up with an endless number of combinations.

When I choose strains I always select for medical potency first, yield and finishing time second. When assessing cannabis plants, I look for a few main things: the length of stem between nodes, the profuseness of THC trichomes, the finishing time, the aroma, and last but certainly not least, the effect.

It is desirable for the nodes to grow close together. Nodes are the places where branches come off of the main stem. Internodes is the term for the space between the branches. The less stem between branches, the better. Of course, THC glands are best when they are found in massive clusters rather than sparsely distributed. Most people prefer short finishing times. When growing outdoors, the finishing time is especially important and should be suitable to the region. Aroma and effect are more subjective. Some people like fruity, some pine. Whatever the desire, both aroma and effect will be enhanced

Seed Style Drug

NYC Diesel

This indoor NYC Diesel is nearly ripe and ready to pick. NYC Diesel is a sativa/indica mii It -,: fruit flavor and a sunny creative high with a touch of body stone effect.

Seed Style Drug

Buddha's Sister

This young Buddha's Sister has a healthy profusion of white hairs and a glossy green glow.

Buddha's Sister plants have a characteristic powder-puff-shaped bud. Here the plant has started to ripen as evidenced by the appear ance of orange hairs.

Here

Buddha

Sister bud after being manicured and dried

At 10 weeks, this Buddha's Sister bud is ripe. A photographer's loupe would show glands filled with liquid arid slightly amber in color.

Seed Style DrugWeek Before Harvest Kush

Buddha's Sister

This indica variety has a tart cherry flavor arid a powerful cerebral high. This plant looks quite robust with a week or two left to go before it will be ready to harvest.

Seed Style Drug

Water Hash

The Ice-o-lator® (left) from Mila Jarisen's Pollinator Company, and Bubble Bags® (right) from Fresh Headies are designed to make it easy to process leaf or bud into hash. These products are described in chapter 8. Information about these companies can be found in the resource appendix.

Cannabis Breeding Male Flower ClusterSeed Style Drug

Here you can see that a male flower has formed on a female plant. The plant was flowered for an additional 10 days to 2

weeks beyond ripeness to force male flowers.

When female plants produce male flowers, the pollen creates all-female seeds. Feminizing seeds is described in chapter 10.

Female Plant Producing Seeds

Females qrown lonaer for pollen do not usually form seeds.

they do. This plant has both a male flnuuer anrl a seed in close proximity.

Here you can see that a male flower has formed on a female plant. The plant was flowered for an additional 10 days to 2

weeks beyond ripeness to force male flowers.

When female plants produce male flowers, the pollen creates all-female seeds. Feminizing seeds is described in chapter 10.

Females qrown lonaer for pollen do not usually form seeds.

hut occasionally they do. This plant has both a male flnuuer anrl a seed in close proximity.

Soma Varieties

Here are 4 other Soma varieties: White Willow (upper left), Somango (upper right), Amethyst Bud (lower left), and Lavender (lower right). Stories about the evolution of Soma's varieties are included in chapter 11.

by using organic methods of cultivation and by harvesting and curing properly.

The first thing I typically notice about a new variety is the shape of the leaf and the tone of green it has. Even before harvesting any buds, I can tell by the shape of the leaf if it is going to be special. Flowering out strains is the ultimate way of knowing the full range of a strains qualities. Most strains take 3-4 months to finish a complete cycle, so seeing how each strain grows takes a good amount of time and space. Once you get to know your plants you can organize your garden by grouping plants according to height or similar harvest time. This can be quite helpful for cross-pollination projects that use many different females and one choice male.

It is usually trickier to select a desirable male than it is to choose a female you want to cross. This is a good reason to select several males and cross each of them with the female variety that you like, and then see which produces the most promising hybrids.

Breeding with NYC Diesel

NYC Diesel is a blend of a Mexican sativa and an Afghani. It tastes like ripe red grapefruits. Everyone I smoke it with loves it, so I thought it would be a great male.

I planted several Diesel seeds and got three males, each one showing a slightly different growth habit. I'd read that it was possible to achieve greater genetic depth by breeding with more than one type of male from the same genetic pool.

With this new information, I conducted a little genetic experiment. I placed fifteen different varieties of female plants in my grow room and crossed them to two of the male NYC Diesel's. One of the males had closer internodes and wider leaves, and the other had more stretch between nodes and thinner leaves. I put both of these males in the room with the females, and as the pollen flew, the two of them pollinated all the plants.

I liked the results. While all the crosses had NYC Diesel genetics, i had greater variety from which to make my selections.

When deciding what to breed for, another factor to consider might be what other people want. For instance, many outdoor growers are looking for a fast finishing strain. For some growers, fast finishing strains may be desirable even though they are often less potent. Medicinal users may also be looking for specific characteristics in a strains effect.

How to Cross

Having enough space to breed is important. When working with cannabis you may have to produce hundreds of plants before you discover the winner you have been looking for, so patience is a virtue. The more plants you are able to grow out and select from, the more likely you will find something unique or precisely to your liking.

I put the females under 12/12 lighting a week before the males are added. This gives the female plants a head start, so they have more time to produce flowers. Also, after harvest when all the seeds have been removed, the leftover material makes excellent water hash.

It takes the male cannabis plant about 3 weeks to start throwing pollen. It continues for about 3 weeks. Female calyxes that are the first to get hit make the first seeds. The females continue to make new calyxes. As they become ripe, the male pollen touches them and seeds start to form. The last calyxes to get pollinated usually don't get a chance to finish, and the seeds come out white.

In my quest for the best medicinal genetics, I am constantly trying new techniques and genetics, constantly learning about this sacred plant and all the gifts she holds. Spreading quality seeds around the world has brought me many new friends and adventures, and I truly think that it changes not only the topography of planet Earth, but her soul as well.

For so many years, I grew only seedless ganja because it smokes the best, but sometimes I have daydreams about what would happen if every ganja smoker grew one seed crop and spread them around

The Soma Way of Female Seeds

Making cannabis seeds is an art. As in any art, there are different methods of application. I have tried using gibberilic acid, pH stress, light stress, and fertilizer stress to force my female plants to make seeds. All of these methods are harsh on the plants, and some, such as gibberilic acid, are not organic.

In my search for cleaner, more earth-friendly ways of working with the cannabis plant, I have found a new way to make feminized seeds. This method of making female seeds is Age Feminization Technique (AFT). I like to call it "Rodelization," after a friend who helped me realize and make use of this way of making female seeds.

Stressing for Seeds

Female seeds happen from stress, not genetics. That's right. I am saying that all cannabis varieties have the capability of making male flowers on 100% female plants. Stress is the cause of this phenomenon. In the 32 years I have been actively growing cannabis, I have come to know every form of stress a cannabis plant can experience.

It takes many harvests before you really get to know a type of weed. Just like getting to know human friends, it takes time. Some strains prefer a higher pH, some a lower one. Some like a lot of food some like much less. There is quite a lot of variety in marijuana genetics, and you cant treat every plant the same way.

I have grown the same strains now for close to a decade, and am truly getting to know every bit of body language that my plants exhibit. I can recognize them now from a distance.

After growing crop after crop of the same plants in the same conditions, I noticed that if I flowered the plants 10-14 days

First, match the female plant with the pollen from the same female in the previous crop. Turn off all of the fans in the room. With a fine watercolor brush, remove some pollen from the bag and paint it on the female flower. This is repeated for each variety. I have done this successfully with up to ten strains in the same room.

I pollinate the lower flowers, leaving the top colas seedless for smoking. This method requires two crops to produce seeds, but it is completely organic. It also lets you have great quality smoke at the same time and from the same plant you are using to make female seeds. If you have never grown seeds for fear of not having something good to smoke, you will love this method.

You can also use the collected pollen to make new female crosses by cross-pollinating. This is a great solution when you want to use a variety you like as the "male" part of the cross, but you don't have access to seeds or males.

The second way is less controlled, or may be used when you are gardening a single variety. Rather than drying and saving the pollen, the females with male flowers are brought directly into the room with a second group of females that are 3 weeks into the flowering cycle. The circulation fans are turned to high and the little particles of pollen circulate around the room for several days. Six to seven weeks later you have ripe 100% feminized seeds. This method does not produce as many seeds as crossing with a genetically male plant, but it is productive enough to keep a variety in circulation.

Feminizing methods can be extremely valuable in the effort to preserve strains, as well as being useful for any breeding program. Having been a farmer who moved my genetics far away from where they started, I know the value of seeds. My friend Adam from TH Seeds in Amsterdam has a motto that I love to borrow: "Drop seeds not bombs."

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