Cannabis Seed Development

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Everything you need to know about the 6 stages of cannabis growth. From selecting seeds to determining plant sex. Marijuana Cultivation/Producing Seeds 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 Breeders focus on plant characteristics when breeding cannabis seeds such as their potency, flavor, yield, smell, resistance to pests, color, growth stature and other characteristics.

The Stages of Cannabis Growth

Cannabis growth is made up of a series of stages that plants undergo during their lifecycle. Each stage during the cannabis cultivation process requires its own unique demands, including different levels of light, water, and nutrients. It can take anywhere from 4 to 8 months to grow a cannabis plant, this varies based on where you’re growing. With an indoor grow room, you have total control over environmental conditions and your plants are able to flower after only a few weeks!

The quality of your plant depends on your knowledge of the cannabis growth stages and the lifecycle of your plants. Grow room air filtration protects plants throughout each stage of growth, providing mold and bacteria prevention, putting a stop to stagnant air, and producing clean, filtered air 24 hours a day.

Utilizing grow room air filtration is the process of drawing in and capturing airborne contaminants and other grow room threats by using a specialized filtration system and filter media. When you implement air filtration while cultivating cannabis, it ensures that plants are given the ultimate in clean air from the first stage of germinating seeds to the last stages of harvesting, drying, and curing.

Before we dive right into the different cannabis growth stages, let’s cover a few important details about cannabis seeds. You may have heard the very common question, can you tell the sex of a cannabis seed?” While there’s currently no way to determine the sex of a seed by examination, there are companies that produce feminized seeds which are bred to provide a 99.9% chance of growing female.

Cannabis seeds remain inactive until they are exposed to water and light. They are relatively strong and survive well in dark, cool places such as refrigerators. It’s important to note that if temperatures are too low or fall below freezing, cannabis seeds can become damaged or die. Cannabis plants are generally dioecious meaning that male and female reproductive organs are in separate individuals. However, sometimes cannabis plants demonstrate intersex characteristics and are referred to as hermies.

Females are the only cannabis plants with the ability to produce buds that can be harvested to smoke, vape, dab, and ingest. Male plants and hermies must be removed before the flowers open to ensure that your cannabis retains it is quality and remains free of seeds. When male or dual-sex plants grow together with females, they pollinate them causing the females to stop using their energy to feed buds and start focusing on producing seeds which results in reduced and sometimes ruined bud harvest.

Now that there’s a more clear understanding of cannabis seeds and how to properly care for and maintain, lets talk about the stages of cannabis growth!

Cannabis Growth Timeline

1. Germinating: 1-7 days
2. Seedling: 2-3 weeks
3. Vegetative: 2-8 weeks
4. Pre-Flowering: 1-2 weeks
5. Flowering: 6-8 weeks
6. Harvesting

Marijuana Cultivation/Producing Seeds

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 Edit

There are numerous myths surrounding feminized seeds. Feminizing seeds are 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.

Feminized seeds are bred to contain no male chromosomes, which will be able to produce the crop of resinous buds sought by most growers. For gardeners who require a quick and easy cultivation process, feminized seeds are the ideal choice. Some medicinal cannabis users may be deterred from growing their own supply because of the perceived difficulty of growing or of identifying the different genders and removing males early in the blooming period. Feminized seed-strains offer a simple solution to these issues, as there is no need to spend time in the first weeks of flowering checking for male plants.

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 auto-flowering 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.

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The first ‘auto-flowering cannabis seed’ which came on the market a few years ago was the Lowryder #1. This was a hybrid between a Cannabis 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. Not very attractive.

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. To grow plants indoors, a growing medium (e.g. soil or growing Potting soil, irrigation (water), fertilizer (nutrients), light and atmosphere need to be supplied to the plant.

Auto-flowers have been rising in popularity fast and there are now auto flower growers communities. These Web properties allow users to get information on how to grow these non photo-sensitive plants and what are the best practices when producing and germinating auto-flower seeds.

Selecting Suitable Parents Edit

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 Pollen Edit

In 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. Filtering the pollen through a silkscreen, drying, and freezing can extend viability for decades. At least one reader indicates success using pollen treated in this manner and stored at -30 c for 17 years. The chance of viability does decrease with time, even in the freezer, so the more fresh the pollen the better. Wrapping the pollen in a layer of aluminum foil and then a layer of plastic should help to protect it from freezer burn. Additionally, oxygen evacuation such as with a heavy gas like nitrogen or vacuum sealing should provide additional assurance of preservation.

Pollinating a Plant Edit

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

Male Isolation Edit

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 Feminized Seed Edit

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 (with seed).

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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) Edit

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 9-12 v 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 so cheap 925(92.5%) Stirling 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 8 oz). Let this run for 8-24 hrs (until the liquid reads 12-15 ppm) 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. It is safe to handle without any special precautions. [ citation needed ] 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) Edit

Silver Thiosulfate is a substance that has similar principle, application and results of CS, but is more difficult to make. STS is more difficult to acquire, but it can still be obtained directly from a chemical supply company. STS is not an expensive or controlled substance.

Gibberellic Acid (GA3) Edit

This is probably the most popular way to produce feminized seed, but at the same time the least effective. GA3 is a plant hormone that also causes the plant to stretch uncontrollably. It 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.

Breeding Cannabis Seeds

You will want to begin by choosing parents for breeding cannabis seeds. Selecting the female plants for breeding is much easier than selecting male plants.

Breeders focus on plant characteristics such as their potency, flavor, yield, smell, resistance to pests, color, growth stature and other characteristics when choosing a female to breed cannabis seeds.

Choosing male plants is not easy since males don’t reveal their characteristics like females do. Some breeders will rub their fingers on the male plants stem to be able to better smell their resinous odor. The best way to test for male characteristics is by a progeny test where the male pollen is harvested and then placed on certain plants.

These plants will create seeds and the next season those seeds are planted then grow up to show off their characteristics. Once a male plant is selected for breeding the other male plants are then cut down and destroyed.

Step #2 Is Collecting Pollen

You will collect pollen from the male plant that you have chosen and strip away all extra male branches to guard against random pollination then isolate the male as soon as anthers show. Before the anther’s open, you will place a plastic bag over the branch and tie it to prevent it from falling.

You will keep the bag over the branch for several days to collect pollen then carefully remove the branch and bag so pollen does not escape from the bag.

Step #3 Storing Cannabis Seeds’ Pollen

You can now either store the male pollen indoors since pollen in a natural condition in the wild will not last for long. Be sure that the storage container that the pollen is stored at low temperatures and moisture since as high temperatures, as well as humidity, will destroy pollen very quickly.

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Pollen that is harvested can be stored for several months when it is stored in a freezer. To store pollen in the freezer you will first need to use a fine screen to filter out the plant leaf matter from the anthers that may have fallen into the bag.

If these are not removed it can contaminate the pollen and cause it to spoil. Before you filter the plant material you will want to lay down some wax paper or place a plate that is clean to capture the falling pollen.

You can then place the pollen in a sterile container, tube or sealed bag to make sure that the pollen for cannabis seeds is clean and sterile. When you are freezing the harvested pollen you will not want to continually freeze and thaw it out since this will diminish the viability of the pollen. Use only what is needed and leave the rest frozen.

Step #4 Using Pollen For Cannabis Seeds

Pollination occurs when male pollen comes into contact with the female pistil. Depending on which plant variety you choose to breed the female flowers will be ready to be pollinated within two (2) to twelve (12) weeks after the flowering cycle has been introduced to the plants.

The more pistils that are visible when pollinating then more cannabis seeds will be created. Female pistils that are turgid and most often white or off-white are the best to be pollinated.

Any pistils that are rust- or brown-color are beyond the point that you can fertilize. To pollinate a female plant, you will first cover the female branch with a pollen-filled bag then briefly shake the bag to make sure the pollen makes contact with the female pistils.

You can leave the bag over the branch for two (2) days to ensure pollination occurs. Many times cannabis breeders will contain the male pollen and pollinated-female plants in a separate room to prevent other cannabis plants from being fertilized.

After a few days in the pollination room, the female plant is sprayed with water to destroy the pollen that remains on the plant before the female plant is moved back into the flowering room. This is to prevent any remaining pollen from fertilizing other plants.

Also be sure to spray any room that you have allowed for pollination to occur. Another way to pollinate a female plant is to use a small paintbrush to ‘paint’ pollen onto the pistils for cannabis seeds. You will simply dip the paintbrush into a container of pollen and gently brush the pollen onto a female plant’s flowers.

Be sure that all fans are off to prevent the pollen from being blown around the room. This method is perfect for growers who want to have cannabis seeds created on only a few branches and leave the rest of the female flowers sinsemilla.

After a plant is fertilized the cannabis seeds will be ripe in about six (6) weeks but could be ready earlier. When seeds are mature they will split the calyxes open and make the cannabis seeds visible.

The seeds that are most ripe are seeds that have a dark brown or grey color and well-mottled (tiger striped) and will set loosely within the calyx. Seeds that are not viable and immature will be green, yellow or white in color as well as will be in sealed calyxes.

If you have seeds that are not mature by the end of the plants life-cycle then you can eat the immature cannabis seeds. Plants that are sativa dominant tend to allow seeds to fall from their small, lightly packed buds and while indica dominant plant seeds tend to stay within the large, densely packed buds.

Seeds are harvested from buds by either manually finger-picking each of the seeds out or by crushing the buds to separate the bud from all seeds. Seeds are often tested for their viability with a simple press between your thumb and index finger to test the seeds firmness.

If the seed splits open with this test it means that the seed is not viable or immature. If the seed is very firm then those cannabis seeds will tend to be viable.

Once seeds have broken the calyx then they are ready to plant immediately, if you choose to do so. Otherwise, the seeds may fall off the plant and germinate below the plant.

These ideas and methods are only a guideline for small-scale cannabis seed production. If you plan on producing massive amounts of seeds you will need to adjust what is done to be effective.

Many breeders will clone a male plant so they have multiple-males within a very large room that are able to pollinate many, many females. It all depends on what you plan on doing.

Let us know what you think.

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