by Chet Tucker, Arcadia Brands
In my monthly contribution to “Sowing the Seed”, the goal is to share information that moves from seed to the end result of consumption, unless you prefer popping seeds like aspirin and want to bypass all the fun! But seriously, I can guarantee you that I’ll be learning along with you all as we journey through the elements of cannabis growth and consumption. So, what better way to start than to assume the egg came before the chicken and start with the seed before the budding flower.
If you asked 100 growers what the most important element is to their successful cultivation, you might get a myriad of answers but most that understand cultivation, start with good genetics. Of course soil, water, nutrients, light and other variables are key to successful cultivation but without strong genetic strains, the end result can’t be any greater than the strength of what the seed is genetically built to produce. Inferior genos (genotype or genetic code) are susceptible to things like pests, mold, as well as reduced color, potency, smell, terpenes, cannabinoids, and of course overall yield. With that, seeds can grow out of their expected manifestation and be more like what the father contributed which is why the phenotype is a subset of the genotype and just as important to keenly dedicated growers.
So, what do cultivators look for in good genetics/seeds? With the wide hybridization of cannabis there’s so much to choose from and why some growers stick to a few strains that suit their growing style while others prefer a mix for diversification. With so many, it’s important to do research and understand the seed’s lineage and whether it’s a first generation second, third, (F1, F2, F3) etc. Discovering breeders that are dedicated quality over quantity and breeding with an optimal stabilization of their genetics is an important first step of cultivating quality cannabis. With that said, just like a chef knows what to look for in quality produce, there are factors that assist in determining you have quality seeds.
First, are the seeds darker in color, “waxy”, or have a tiger like stripe? Many cultivators see these as a good sign of healthy genetics and this can save months of heartache that may come from planting subpar seeds. Next, is the way they feel and whether they are firm or crack with little pressure. Obviously, the cracking seeds aren’t what you’d want to plant as they’re showing signs of fragility from the onset and you want sturdy genetics that will flourish into sturdy and adaptable stalks. Last, some use a float test to help delineate the robust strength of a sinking seed over the inferior buoyancy of a floating seed.
The key is to become aware of what you’re planting in the ground, the same way you prepare to build a solid home. You need a sturdy foundation in order to frame, brick, and finish out a home. If you’re building with inferior materials or on unsteady ground, time will ultimately illustrate the flaws and your end result is a deteriorating home. And like the costly demolition of a crumbling home, your months and months of hard work will have to be plowed, wasted, so that you can start over again. So whether growing for yourself or for the commercial sale, do your due diligence to research and source the best seeds that fit your preference for cultivation and consumption and then prepare for the numerous care needed to grow exceptional cannabis.