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Cannabis Seeds - Selection
THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 450 CANNABIS SEED VARIETIES on the market today. Out of the 450 Cannabis seed varieties, 200 are worth considering and out of the 200 about 50 are truly outstanding. Each variety is either a pure species strain (two plants of the same species that have been crossed) or a crossbreed of two species (two plants from different species that have been crossed).*
Before we go on, let's clarify what we mean by hybrid and strain.
A hybrid is the offspring of two different strains. A strain is simply a stock line with common parents. Stable strains have stable genetic traits, which means that the offspring will all be very similar. In fact, most strains are called strains because of their uniformity in growth and reduced variations in the offspring. Hybrids tend to be unstable, or genetically unpredictable, because of their 'newness'. A good stabilized hybrid eventually goes on to become a strain.
Out of the 450 Marijuana seeds varieties we said that 200 were good. This leaves 250 that
We have disregarded. Those 250 are usually very unstable hybrids. These hybrid plants are so unstable that they cannot be properly classified as either Cannabis Sativa or Indica species because the variations they exhibit are too wide ranging.
Most unstable hybrids do not find their way into the market and are found only among breeders who are experimenting with plant genetics. Cannabis Seed producers tend to only produce strains in the following categories:
• Pure Cannabis Sativa (pure species)
• Cannabis Sativa (mostly Cannabis Sativa species with some Indica)
• Pure Indica (pure species)
• Indica (mostly Indica species with some Sativa)
• Indica/Sativa (50/50 cross between an Indica and a Sativa species)
• Ruderalis (pure species)
Ruderalis is a problematic plant. It does not produce large quantities of THC or flower like the other species. Ruderalis is considered substandard by most growers because it flowers according to age, not according to the photoperiod. This means that the Ruderalis cannabis plant will flower when it is mature enough to do so and this flowering action of the Ruderalis plant is Kout of the grower’s hands', so to speak. Ruderalis is grown in countries that experience cold weather conditions — Russia, Eastern Europe and Alaska are places where Ruderalis grows wild. It is an extremely sturdy plant for outdoor growing — however the auto flowering properties of this plant make it hard to control. Trying to clone a Ruderalis plant is nearly impossible because it is extremely hard to force the clone to remain in the vegetative growth stage of the plant's cycle. Photoperiod manipulation — the way growers control cannabis flowering with Indica and Cannabis Sativa plants — does not work with Ruderalis plants. Photoperiod, an extremely important part of cannabis cultivation, is further explained in Chapter 7. The only reason to grow Ruderalis is if you must grow outdoors, where the photoperiod is of no concern to you.
Pure Cannabis Sativa is a total head high. Pure Indica is a total body stone/couch-lock. A 50/50 cross will give a 50 percent head high and a 50 percent body stone. If an Indica plant is crossed slightly with a Cannabis Sativa plant it will give a 60 percent body stone and a 40 percent head high. A Sativa plant that is crossed slightly with an Indica plant will give a 60 percent head high and a 40 percent body stone. The 60/40 ratio is the most common but breeders can also alter the ratio.
Equipped with this knowledge, you are now ready to choose a plant that fits your needs in terms of height, potency and high. Your choice of Cannabis seeds will also depend on whether you will grow indoors or outdoors, as well as other characteristics of your grow space. There is no point trying to grow an eight-foot Saliva indoors if you don't have the space and a two-foot Indica plant may not survive outdoors if other plants compete with it for light. As a rule, we can always shorten the plant through pruning, but it is impossible to double the plant's height if the plant's genetics only allow two or three feet of growth. Indoor and outdoor grow spaces will be discussed more in later chapters. The rest of this chapter will focus on selecting, acquiring and handling quality Cannabis seeds.
SELECTING CANNABIS SEEDS
Now you have an idea of the species and strain of plant you want. The next step is to verify if the Marijuana seeds are for indoor or outdoor use. There is a saying that all cannabis seeds can be grown indoors and outdoors. This is true, but for the best results, growers should consider what the breeder intended. If the breeder created a plant that does well indoors then it is suggested that you only grow these seeds indoors. If you grow outdoors and the plant does not produce that well, then you know that you should have followed the breeder's advice. Of course, there is nothing stopping you from experimenting, and some growers have produced excellent results this way, but if you are new to growing it is best if you follow the advice you're given.
When selecting a seed, check to see if it is pure or if it has been crossed. Most seed sellers will have this listed along with their seed type. When you look at strains that are crossbreeds you must understand which species the plants lean toward. Along with the cross, you can expect the plant to look different. Some Saliva plants may be shorter because of their Indica genetics and some Indica plants may be taller because of their Saliva genetics. In Chapter 15, we will see that as breeders, we can control the plant's appearance and growth and can influence height and particular features. We can also harvest the plant in a specific way to produce a different high. The later you harvest the plant, the more you'll help produce a couch-lock effect. Harvesting just before peak growth will induce a more cerebral high. If you are working with strains that are for either cerebral or couch-lock highs then you can use harvest time to augment these properties.
Both of the above marijuana pictures, show a mostly Cannabis Sativa strain: one growing outdoors and the other indoors. As you can see, this would probably be labeled an outdoor strain because of its size. The grower has been able to grow it both ways.
The next thing to look at is the flowering period. Each strain's flowering period can vary. It is toward the last days of flowering that you should begin your harvest. If the seed bank says Skunk#l, flowering time seven to nine weeks, then you should be able to know roughly when your plant will be ready for harvest. In this case it will be seven to nine weeks from the time your plant starts to flower.
You may also find that a number of similar strains have been produced by different breeders. When you look at the seed bank list you may see as many as four or more listings for the same strain. Take Skunk#l for example. Skunk#l is a mostly Sativa plant but there are about seven breeders who have provided a certain seed bank with Skunk#l seeds. Each breeder tries to develop the best plant possible from that strain, but some breeders are better than others. Make sure that you check with the seed bank and confirm which strains are the best. The reason for choosing the best is that later on you can produce your own seeds from that optimal strain. Welcome to the wonderful world of marijuana growing.
HOW TO GET SEEDS
The best way to get seeds is from another grower who has developed a plant that you enjoyed smoking. This, by far, is the best way because,
(1) you may get the seeds for free and
(2) you know what the high will be like because you have already sampled it.
The next best way is through the Internet. The Internet is full of seed banks that want to sell you seeds, but you may encounter problems. Firstly, some of these seed banks are not legitimate and will rip you off. Secondly, some of these seed banks do not ship worldwide and their products may be unavailable to you. Thirdly, some of these seed banks misrepresent their stock. Finally, seeds can be very expensive. Some seed banks charge anywhere between $80 and $300 for 10 to 16 seeds. There are rip-off artists out there, but there are also seeds that are worth the money because the strain is excellent in both vigor and production. So, how do you choose a seed bank?
Choosing a Seed Bank
After locating a seed bank the first thing you should do is to research what people have to say about that particular seed bank. The best way to find this information is to check one of the more popular sites on the net, like www.seedbankupdate.com www.yahooka.com
Some web sites give listings and ratings on seed banks. You can also do a search on the Internet using a search engine, like Google or Yahoo.
Find a good web site that is used by a number of people. A community of growers is a great place to go for message-board forums and to chat.
Greenman's seedbank update is one the most useful seedbank review sites on the internet. It was one of the first review sites ever established and still remains the most popular to this day.
www.cannabisculture.com is the home of Cannabis Culture magazine—a Canadian marijuana publication run by Marc Emery. It has lots of information on cannabis news and marijuana growing. It is also home to emery seeds and has an on-line message board system aimed at growers who cultivate the good herb.
www.overgrow.com tend to have the largest attendance of cannabis growers currently found on the Internet. Consider maintaining your anonymity by using an email account or ID that cannot be traced to you. Using a proxy will also help you surf safely on the net. www.overgrow.com has lots of helpful information for growers on proxy services, general web surfing and anonymity.
Also confirm that the web site you are buying from has a registered URL, like a Dot.com site. If they use a free web-site service then consider avoiding it because it could disappear overnight. Once you have found a web site, run a search on Cannabis seeds and seed banks.
Next, check out the reviews on each seed bank by the public. Then, visit the URL of each seed bank and check out their prices. Make sure that the seed bank has a quick turn-around time. It should only take up to 30 days for delivery. Some seed banks have been known to create back orders that take over two to three months to clear. I have personally witnessed Christmas seed orders arrive in the following March. This is a problem usually associated with counterfeit* goods. Avoid seed banks that have a large turn-around time gap. You want a snappy service and delivery within 30 days is the norm. Some seed banks have a 1 to 2 day shipping policy as soon are your money has cleared. These seed-banks are generally very popular with most growers.
Some seed banks offer deals on seeds and you will also find that prices fluctuate from bank to bank. Before buying anything, send them an email and inquire about their services, the seeds you like, delivery options, postage, packaging and security arrangements. Wait until you receive a reply. If you do not get a reply then do not use that seed bank. These individuals are salespeople and should communicate with you and answer all of your questions.
Most seed banks sell their seeds in batches of 10 to 20 but anything can happen in transit. A misplaced foot in the postal office can kill the seeds, making them not viable. Quality seed banks should provide good protective packaging.
If your seeds do not arrive in a reasonable amount of time, send an email to the seed bank and ask them what happened. If they do not reply or if your seeds are lost write them a complaint and then post that complaint in one of the web boards mentioned above. If you receive your seeds in good condition then it is always considerate to post a positive review of that seed bank. This will improve your communication with the seed bank the next time you purchase seeds. If you do not have access to the web then you will have to write to the seed banks to request more information. Information about some seed banks is provided in the back of this book.
Always consult the seed bank about your strain — you never know, they may even be able to recommend something better to suit your needs.
You should receive your seeds in a stealth package. You will probably find them inside a clear, heat-sealed and labeled plastic bag. Check your seeds to make sure that none are crushed. If some or all of the seeds are crushed, send them back to be replaced explaining to the seed bank that this particular package was damaged. Do not open the bag if you are sending them back.
If the seeds appear to be in good condition, then the first thing you should do is to remove the seeds from the bag. Make double sure that these seeds do not come in contact with anything damp or wet or they may start to germinate. Once you have removed them from the bag you should place the seeds in a small, clean and very dry film canister. Seal the canister and make sure that you LABEL it. I can not stress how many times I have heard of people storing seeds only to forget what they were and when they were stored when the time came to use them.
The film canister is a short-term solution to seed storage. It will prevent your Cannabis seeds from coming in contact with light, bacteria, moisture and air — all of which can cause either germination or damage to occur. If you are going to store your seeds for more than a year, you should store them in an airtight container in a freezer.
Pictures (click to insert)
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