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Choose wisely! – A closer look on seeds & genetics

Let me introduce this chapter with one of the most asked questions for growers:

What is the best strain?!

To be honest I dont really know what this question is all about. Most people in the world are still not able to choose from different strains where they live so they take what they get.
For me as a grower this is totally different. Its like going to the liquor store and asking the clerk:

What is the best alcohol?

Strains nowerdays are vastly different from each other. In this chapter I will take a look at it from a growers as well as the consumers perspective and try to resolve some controversial opinions about it.

The three types of Cannabis

Right now, there are three types of seeds available that are relevant for homegrowers:

Regular Cannabis seeds (regs)

Regs are created through the natural way of plant reproduction. Male Cannabis plants produce the pollen, while females produce the counterparts. The female trichomes are pretty sticky to catch any flyby pollen. This process will create seeds on the female parts which is used to multiply the strain with male and female genes. A new strain is born!
The big disadvantage to this for homegrowers is that these seeds have a 50% probability to be male. A cannabis plant takes a lot of time and preparation to produce flowers in the vegetative state. So the pro wont recomment to use regs as a useful way of growing cannabis flowers at home.
Controversial: Some oldschool growers tend to the opinion that regs contain the more stable genetics and will produce better products.Regs are mainly used for breeding at home. This is a way to get seeds for free. The process is very time consuming and needs alot more knowledge which is not posted here.

The Pros First Choice: Feminized Cannabis seeds

Femnized Cannabis seeds are the way to go for a homegrower who likes plant manipulation and high yields. A Feminized Cannabis seed can be created in various ways. The main advantage is, that these seeds are 99% female. And a homegrower only wants the female in his/her tent! Feminized seeds need to be introduced to articficial change of seasons to initiate flowering. This is helpful to get the most of a plants potential but adds another level of complexity to a grow.

mainiling training cannabis lst
Feminized plants need to be sent into flower. You can manipulate them as much as you want. This tech is called “mainlining”.

The Pros Second Choice: Autoflowering Cannabis seeds

Autoflowers are the new shit on the market. Autoflowering cannabis seeds are crossings with the unknown little sister of the great sativa and indica: Cannabis Ruderalis. Crossing a strain with this small, bushy landrace with poor THC levels has an awesome effect: It ignores light cycles. Autoflowers have an internal timer when germinated and will flower after a set amount of time. So you can actually have flowering plants and vegging plants in the same room! This is a great chance for home- and microgrowers who have small spaces but still don’t want to miss out on great harvests.
Controversial: Autoflowering plants tend to have less dense buds and less THC contents, but the breeders did a great job in the last years and today we can enjoy bigass autoflowers with THC contents exceeding the 25% !

A typical autoflower – Royal Creamatic by Royal Queen Seeds. You can see the ruderalis background: she is compact and small – the buds are often less dense and the THC content is lowered but you safe time growing them and you can harvest more than once per year even if youre an outdoor grower! They are also much more usable for a perpetual setup.

Grow trees or grow bushes – sativa vs. indica types

There are two main types of cannabis landraces plus the ruderalis one which is used solely for creating autoflowers. The other ones are cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. (Controversial: there is actually no indica, but there is a phenotype that grows in India, that have alot of different properties than the landrace called sativa.)
Every modern strain is an abbrevation of these landraces and contains parts of both of the two. This is called a hybrid!
Modern seedbanks try to tell you in what parts sativa and indica genes are included in its strains. This can help to determine the plants shape. But since the genetics are so complex its better to look up the strain from a certain breeder in a grow diary or grow report.

The relevant datapoints as a grower are: projected yield, indica/sativa proportions, flowering time, flowering stretch.

Things to check before the grow:

  • Dont mix strains with vastly different flowering times, if you need the tent for drying!
  • Dont mix high stretch and low stretch plants. The lights height and resulting power output is determined by the lights distance. Higher buds will develop great, lower buds meh.
difference indica sativa chocolope critical
Two different strains. Two different heights. The stretch is a feature every strain has. Sativa dominant plants tent to stretch heavier.

The Pros choice: Look up several grow diaries and reports before choosing a strain. Dont grow strains which tend to hermaphrodite or long flowering times if you are a newcomer. Patience is the number one virtue to have while growing and long flowering periods encourages silly moves. Indica dominant phenos are more easy to grow indoors: You dont have to care about the flowering stretch and different strains tend to stay at the same height. They also have awesome yields, because the buds are more packed at the branches.

Consumers Perspective I – THC content

As a consumer I have other needs regarding my weed. I think the effect is a highly subjective field but is also part of a heated discussion. Everyone has heard about “sativas makes high” while “indicas makes stoned” kind of arguments…
In my case its more like “high effect” and “low effect” regarding different THC contents after i tried about 50-60 different strains in the last decade. I appreciate a high THC content, but since i keep my THC tolerance low i can also work with lower contents. THC should be a part of your decision, but not the sole one.
There are strains out there containing more than 30% THC. But since you can just roll a smaller joint or hit a smaller dab these numbers arent worth alot from a growers perspective. It can save money in the eye of the consumer.

Consumers Perspective II – Terpenes

One last point: The taste! Cannabis contains a vast number of smells! Strawberry, Diesel, Tangie, Garlic are only a few to be named here. It seems that breeders will never get tired to bring out new variations of taste in their strains. The “terps” are the elements that give the plants its unique smell, taste, psychoactive and medicinal effect. The most common ones are Limonene, Carophyllene and Pinene.
For example: A high quantity of Limonene will give your plants the typical lemon flavor, while Pinene will make the flower smell foresty.

The Pros choice: I dont have answer on what my favourite weed is. I never really disliked what i have grown. That being said you can mess up at drying and curing and will have nasty hay intead of deliciously fermented nuggets. Sometimes i like the clear high of my Chocolope (DNA Genetics), sometimes i want to hit the couch with a fat torch full of Critical (Royal Queen Seeds). The liquor store clerk also will look very puzzled if you ask him about the best “alcohol”. Just make sure it fits your needs.
I personally love to smoke fruity flavors with a moderate to high (18-25%) THC contents and a nice head effect. For Example Kosher Tangie Kush (Amsterdam Genetics). You can lookup my Grow Diaries for an honest opinion on strains as a grower and a consumer.