Tag Archives: Hybrid

Producing Feminized Seeds

22 Jan
Gibberellic Acid

Gibberellic Acid

Sooner or later every grower is going to want to produce marijuana seeds. Developing a new stable strain is beyond the scope of this discussion and requires the ability to grow hundreds or even thousands of breeding plants. However, just about any grower can manage to preserve some genetics by growing f2 seeds where they have crossed a male and female of the same strain, or can produce a simple cross which would be referred to as strain1xstrain2 for instance white widow crossed with ak-47 would be referred to as a WW x AK-47. You can produce some excellent seed and excellent marijuana this way.

To Feminise or not to Feminise

There are numerous myths surrounding feminized seeds. Feminizing seeds is a bit more work than simply crossing two plants naturally. However it will save you a lot of time in the end. If you make fem seeds properly then there is no increased chance of hermaphrodites and all seeds will be female. This means no wasted time and effort growing males and it means that all your viable seeds produce useful plants, since roughly half of normal seeds are male this effectively doubles the number of seeds you have.

Other times you will have no choice but to produce feminized seed because it will be a female plants genetics that you want to preserve and you won’t have any males. Perhaps you received these genetics via clone or didn’t keep males.

The new thing on the market for commercial Cannabis cultivation are Autoflowering feminized strains. By crossing of the Cannabis ruderalis with Sativa and Indica strains many cultivators have created interesting hybrids which boast benefits from both sides of these families.

Although Sensi Seeds already created the Ruderalis Indica and the Ruderalis Skunk crossing, the first variety to be marketed specifically as ‘Autoflowering cannabis seed’ was the Lowryder #1. This ‘hybrid’ was a crossing between a Ruderalis, a William’s Wonder and a Northern Lights #2. This strain was marketed by ‘The Joint Doctor’ and was honestly speaking not very impressive. The genetics of the ruderalis was still highly present which caused for a very low yield and little psychoactive effect.

Despite these first disappointing results for the grower and user, the interest of the cannabis community was most definitely caught. After the Lowryder #1 the Lowryder #2 was introduced by ´The Joint Doctor´. See also the article:”What are autoflowering cannabis seeds” about auto-flowering seeds.

Auto-flowering cannabis and the easily distributed seed have opened a whole new market in the world of the online grow-shop, making it easy for home growers with shortage of space to grow rewarding cannabis plants in many different varieties.

Selecting Suitable Parents

There are a number of important characteristics when selecting parents. First are you making fem seeds? If you are then both parents will be female. This makes things easier. If not then the best you can do is select a male with characteristics in common with the females you hope to achieve from the seed.

Obviously potency, yield, and psychoactive effects are critical to the selection process. But some other important traits are size, odor, taste, resistance to mold and contaminants, early finishing and consistency.

Collecting and Storing PollenIn order to collect pollen you simply put down newspaper around the base of the plant. The pollen will fall from the plant onto the newspaper. You can then put this newspaper into a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator or freeze it. Pollen will keep for a few months in the refrigerator and can be used on the next crop. The freezer will extend that to up to six months but gives the pollen a lower chance of viability that increases with time.

Pollinating a Plant

To pollinate a plant you can brush the pollen on a flower with a cotton swab or you can take the plastic bag and wrap the flower inside it and shake. In this way you can selectively pollinate plants and even individual buds and branches.

Male Isolation

A male plant or a plant with male flowers will pollinate your entire crop rendering it seedy. You probably don’t want THAT many seeds so how can you avoid it? Moving the male to another room might work but if that other room shares an air path via ducting or air conditioning then pollen may still find its way. One technique is to construct a male isolation chamber.

A male isolation chamber is simply a transparent container such as a large plastic storage tub turned on its side (available at your local megamart). Get a good sized PC fan that can be powered with pretty much any 12v wall adapter, by splicing together the + (yellow or red on fan, usually dotted on power adapter) and the – wires (black on fan, usually dotted power adapter) just twist with the like wire on the other device and then seal up the connection with electric tape. Then take a filtrate filter and cut out squares that fit the back of the pc fan so that the fan pulls (rather than pushes) air through the filter. Tape several layers of filter to the back of the pc fan so all the air goes through the filter. Now cut a large hole in the top of the plastic container and mount the pc fan over top of it so it pulls air out the box. You can use silicon sealant, latex, whatever you’ve got that gives a good tight seal.

This can be used as is, or you can cut a small intake in the bottom to improve airflow. Pollen won’t be able to escape the intake as long as the fan is moving but you might put filter paper over the intake to protect against fan failures. You can also use grommets to seal holes and run tubing into the chamber in order to water hydroponically from a reservoir outside the chamber. Otherwise you will need to remove the whole chamber to a safe location in order to water the plant or maintain a reservoir kept inside the chamber.

Making Feminised Seed

To make feminized seed you must induce male flowers in a female plant. There is all sorts of information on the Internet about doing this with light stress (light interruptions during flowering) and other forms of stress. The best of the stress techniques is to simply keep the plant in the flowering stage well past ripeness and it will produce a flower.

Stress techniques will work but whatever genetic weakness caused the plants to produce a male flower under stress will be carried on to the seeds. This means the resulting seeds have a known tendency to produce hermaphrodites. Fortunately, environmental stress is not the only way to produce male flowers in a female plant.

The ideal way to produce feminized seed through hormonal alteration of the plant. By adding or inhibiting plant hormones you can cause the plant to produce male flowers. Because you did not select a plant that produces male flowers under stress there is no genetic predisposition to hermaphroditism in the seed vs plants bred between a male and female parent. There are actually a few ways to do this, the easiest I will list here.

Colloidal Silver (CS)

This is the least expensive and most privacy conscious way to produce fem seed. CS has gotten a bad name because there is so much bad information spread around about its production and concentrations. It doesn’t help that there are those who believe in drinking low concentration colloidal silver for good health and there is information mixed in about how to produce that low concentration food grade product. Follow the information here and you will consistently produce effective CS and know how to apply it to get consistent results.

Simply construct a generator using a 9-12v power supply (DC output, if it says AC then its no good) that can deliver at least 250ma (most wall wart type power supplies work, batteries are not recommended since their output varies over time). The supply will have a positive and negative lead, attach silver to each lead (contrary to Internet rumors, you aren’t drinking this is cheap 925 silver is more than pure enough) you can expose the leads by clipping off the round plug at the end and splitting the wires, one will be positive and the other negative just like any old battery. Submerge both leads about 2-3 inches apart in a glass of distilled water (roughly 8oz). Let this run for 8-24hrs (until the liquid reads 12-15ppm) and when you return the liquid will be a purple or silver hue and there may be some precipitate on the bottom.

This liquid is called colloidal silver. It is nothing more or less than fine particles of silver suspended in water so it is a completely natural solution and is safe to handle without any special precautions. The silver inhibits female flowering hormones in cannabis and so the result is that male flowering hormone dominates and male flowers are produced.

To use the silver, spray on a plant or branch three days prior to switching the lights to 12/12 and continue spraying every three days until you see the first male flowers. Repeated applications after the first flowers appear may result in more male flowers and therefore more pollen. As the plant matures it will produce pollen that can be collected and used to pollinate any female flower (including flowers on the same plant).

Silver Thiosulfate (STS)

Only mentioned for completeness. Silver Thiosulfate is more difficult to acquire and works on the same principle as CS. Its application is similar to CS and achieves the same results.

Gibberellic Acid (GA3)

This is probably the most popular way to produce feminized seed. GA3 can be purchased readily in powdered form, a quick search reveals numerous sources on e-bay for as little as $15. Simply add to water to reach 100ppm concentration and spray the plant daily for 10 days during flowering and male flowers will be produced.

Article: Marijuana Cultivation/Producing Seeds http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Marijuana_Cultivation/Producing_Seeds


The Truth About Feminized Seeds

22 Dec

Barney's Blue Cheese

We explain how “feminized” seeds are made, why the plants are more likely to turn males, and how to use normal seeds to get a large all-female crop.

The idea of “feminized” seeds is heralded as a new wave of breeding enabling you to grow only females, but in reality it is a less reliable and less effective method than simply cloning your favorite plant. Feminizing seeds is nothing new; in fact, it’s done from a process that used to be called “hermaphroditic breeding” or “Breeding with Herman”.

During the 1970s and ‘80s it was often the case that the seeds you grew came from a bag of good bud. The bud usually had a name, but it was often made up by the local dealer trying to make his stash sound more exotic. In truth, you knew nothing about the parentage of the seeds that your bag contained. Sure, the female was great smoke – but you knew nothing of her size, shape, yield or genetics. The male involved was a total mystery; there was no way you could guess what the genetics of the pollen donor was. These seeds generally resulted in a range of plant genetics, which made one believe that there were a variety of males around when the female was budding

As is often the case when genetics are mixed, you get failures and successes. More than one great breed was founded on a bag of random seeds. You would plant a hundred or so of the seeds you had, wait to see what Mother Nature – and your local dealer – had handed you, keep your fingers crossed hoping for a super-breed, and watched as some of the seeds came up. A few of the seedlings were sickly and didn’t live long, while others were strong, vigorous, and grew like weeds (pun intended), so you culled the sickly, nourished the healthy, and picked your favorites.

Through this lengthy and detailed process you would end up with a number of healthy young marijuana plants, which would be transplanted into large containers and, after ten to fourteen days, introduced to a budding cycle of 12 hours light and 12 hours dark. This causes the plants to elongate and show their sex, so it was easy to quickly find and kill the males and wait patiently (or impatiently!) for the remaining females to develop buds and ripen. Doing this inside grow rooms and greenhouses was easy and effective, but the seed planting and selection
procedure had to be repeated every year, and crops varied from big and dense to small and weak. We also found that after all that trouble of removing males, we sometimes ended up with females that switched sexes when they were stressed, resulting in accidental cross breeding – female plants were pollinated by females that developed male sex organs (hermaphrodites). We decided to grow out those seeds and, to our joy, we discovered that the ratio of females to males was skewed to a greater number of females. This was our discovery of hermaphroditic breeding.

Taking cuttings

Taking cuttings

Around the same time we were re-introduced to the method of cloning – I say re-introduced because while it wasn’t a process we had been using, it was a simple gardening technique my grandmother had shown me years before as “making cuttings”. She would cut off a branch of a plant with a sharp knife and stick it into a hormone rooting solution, homemade from pieces of willow tree branches soaked in water. Growers these days buy rooting hormone, but the process is identical.

I had a crop of 20 young plants of various strain backgrounds. We took two clones from each of the plants, and then used the budding light cycle to force the sex to show. Once we identified the male plants (half of them) we killed them and their clones, which still left us with ten large budding females and their 20 clones.

Now we had ten different hybrid genetics in total with two clones from each to work with and choose from. Even though we were making great strides, we wanted a room full of the same breed with the same size and characteristics. Basically, we wanted many copies of one great female plant so made the decision to play “Breeding Hermans”. We took two clones from one female plant, stressed one of the clones until it developed male sex organs, and then bred it with the other female clone. To our delight it worked – we ended up with seeds that grew into females 85-90 percent of the time and were consistent with the original female plant’s characteristics. We could now plant around 30 to 40 seeds and end up with 30 female plants the same size with the same genetics. We were ecstatic.

However, silver linings often have a cloud attached and it was true in this case. The female plants that developed from hermaphroditic seeds had the drawback of being far more likely than ordinary plants to develop male branches – turn “Herman” – when stressed. More than once, a power, pump or light failure caused enough stress to the plants that they easily went hermaphroditic. Outdoors we had even more trouble; in bad-weather years we could end up with a plant from a feminized seed developing male flowers and blowing pollen all over the other plants, ruining our dreams of a sinsemilla crop. We decided that feminized plants might have a place in our business’ industry, but it wouldn’t be in our gardens.

It was our dream to grow rooms full of females of consistent genetics, and we made our dream come true by going back to cloning. It was so simple that we couldn’t believe that we hadn’t thought of it before. We planted ten normal seeds and nourished them with love and care, but this time we took 25 clones from each plant instead of just two. Then we put the mothers into bud cycle and sexed them; within ten days we identified and killed off the male plants and their clones, and found that we had six large females in bud and around 150 female clones. We continued to bud the mothers as we began to grow our female clones, and finally decided there were two plants that stood out from the crowd – they were bigger, denser, and smelled the best, so we kept their clones and culled the others. We harvested all of the mothers then placed the 50 chosen young marijuana plants into two rooms and switched them to the budding cycle. We had developed a process that made our dream a reality: grow-rooms full of consistent female plants.

It doesn’t take a horticulturist to see that using cloning to procure a room full of female cannabis plants is far more economical than growing “feminized seeds” that easily go hermaphroditic. It is simple to grow numerous female plants with only a few seeds of known genetics. For example, if you get ten seeds from a world-class marijuana breeder/bank, such as Burmese from Vancouver Island Seed Company (VISC), those seeds should become ten seedlings. At three to four weeks, take ten cuttings from each of the plants, then flip the plants to the bud cycle. Kill males as they show their sex and get rid of their clones, and you should be left with about five large budding females (more or less) and 50 guaranteed female clones of the same pure genetics, without any hermaphroditic tendencies.

So, for the price of ten seeds you end up with dozens of pure female plants, instead of purchasing “feminized” seeds only to get an unstable and unpredictable hermaphroditic breed. You can use regular seeds to grow an all-female crop, and that’s
why we don’t sell feminized seeds.

Article by By “G” for Vancouver Island Seed Company and Liberty Seeds:  http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/node/394