by Alex Robles
Choosing the right seeds for your cannabis garden doesn’t have to be that intimidating, but you should know what you want and what you’re looking for. The first thing you should do is always purchase your seeds from a reputable seed company. A quality seed company representative should have no problem taking the time to answer all your questions about their products. Think of it this way, since seed are the most important and possibly expensive part of your garden, good customer service is important. Another thing you need to think about before you buy seeds is this. Most experience growers will say that “all cannabis seeds can be grown indoor or outdoor”. That’s true for the most part, but if we want the best chance for a successful cannabis garden we need to think about what the breeder intended. Some varieties might do better indoors than they do outdoors. We also have to remember that the different strains ( indica, sativa, ruderalis) will have different flowering cycles and be ready for harvest on different schedules. So if a seed descriptions says it has a “flowering time of 9-11 week”, that means it should be ready to harvest 9-11 weeks after it starts flowering.
Next let’s talk about some of the different types of seed you’re going to find out there. The first thing you notice when go on to a cannabis seed companies website or take a look at their glossy magazine ad is the different variety of seeds for sale. Here are a few basic things we all need to know before we buy our seeds.
Regular seeds are seeds that are made by the male plants pollinating the female during the flowering cycle. Those seeds will typically be 50% male and 50% female. Meaning you have a 50% chance of the seed is either male or female. Regular also means they will make regular “photo-period” plants, not auto-flower, not feminized.
Growers Note: Photo-period plants move through different phases of growth depending on the day/night light cycle of the season. Indoor growers have learned how manipulate this trait to force the plant to flower under artificial light.
Auto-flower seeds are hybrids with Ruderalis genes. That means these strains will produce plants that have a shortened veg and flowering cycle. These strains will also mature according to calendar days and not according to photo-period (light cycle). So these plants will complete their life cycle in 8 to 10 weeks, from seedling to harvest. See Plant Strains for more information.
Feminized seeds are seeds that have become very popular in last few years. These seeds have a 90% to 95% chance of coming up female. The tricky part is making feminized seed, there are three main ways to do this.
- Rodelization: This type of feminization happens when the female plant is left in the flowering stage long past its ripeness or prime harvest time. The plant will feel the lack of fertilization as urgent situation and start to make its own pollen at which point it can pollinate other females. When both the pollen and eggs have only female genetic material there is a good chance that the majority of the seeds that are made will be female. This is a natural way to feminize, but it is easier said than done and there are a lot of techniques that a breeder will use when feminizing in this way. Genetics of course always plays a role in anything we do with these plants and familiarity with the strain always helps.
- Colloidal silver: This method involves spraying a female plant during flowering with colloidal silver( pure silver particles suspended in distilled water). The solution will stop the female plant from making ethylene which it needs to make flowers. This will force the plant to make male pollen sacs. Once again, since there is no male genetic material, the pollen and the seeds that are made will only have female genes. Even though this method is a more successful way of feminizing seed, there are special techniques that a breeder uses to accomplish this.
- Hermaphrodite : An irregular light cycle, water cycle of drastic temperature swings are just some of the stresses that could make a female plant turn hermaphrodite( having both male and female organs). This is not good and an easy way to lose a whole crop. The plant will stop using nutrient for flower production and instead will begin to make pollen sacs. If it’s not caught in time it will pollinate nearby females. Now if the female is pollinated by the hermaphrodite the seeds that are made will not have any male genetic material and are considered feminized seeds. But there is a very high likelihood that the plants grown from those seed will switch from female to hermaphrodite at some point during flowering and pollinate other female. And the cycle continues. You have just breed
Well, you are now more prepared to make and informed decision and hopefully buy the right cannabis seed for you garden.
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