To Grow a Great Garden Begin with Great Genetics!
So you’ve thought about growing your own medicine – the best place to start is at the beginning and that means deciding what you will grow. From MS symptoms to severe pain, the choice of strains is just as large as the pool of problems it can address. To be sure, you will want to grow a strain or strains that provide the type of relief that you are looking for from your medicine, and further than that you will want to make sure that you start with good ‘genetics’.
Knowing where the plant came from, that it is true to what its supposed to be and most importantly that its from good strong genetic stock will ensure that you get the results that you are looking for when it’s time to harvest and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Additionally, starting with strong genetics can save you time and the headaches of battling pests and other diseases that can plague a weak genetic strain. A genetic line can range from 100% Indica to 100% Sativa and everywhere in between and not only do they all possess their own unique composition and therapeutic effects, but they each thrive under different growing conditions and individually flower for varying periods of time as well, so choosing complimentary strains to grow is another important consideration to your garden orchestration. To illustrate this point, if you choose to grow an Indica alongside a Sativa and have only one light under which you flower, you could be in for unanticipated challenges for several reasons; first, you will never be able to get the height of the light ideally positioned for optimum growth of both strains (indicas grow short and bushy and sativas stretch long and thin) and also secondly flowering time of the Sativa can be up to twice that of the Indica so you could be hung up on starting a new flowering cycle.
More on Genetics:
Genetic lines of cannabis all begin with seeds. The Cannabis seeds, like any crop, provide the lifeblood of genetic codes. Each strain is a little bit different and can have characteristics of any or all of the ‘parent’ strains and will vary in the end result potency, flavor and yield. There are many different ‘phenotypes’ of each strain too. The limitless choice of so many unique and varied strains can help a patient address a myriad of symptoms just by utilizing the right strain for the desired effect.
Seed vs Clone:
Most gardeners will tell you that growing from reliably bred seeds is the only way to ensure a strong genetic line. While growing from seeds and keeping strains alive through the breeding process is very important, many if not most growers use the cloning process from genetically proven ‘Mother’ plants of the best chosen phenotypes of the best strains to reliably propagate female cannabis of strains they desire to grow.
If a grower is growing directly from seed, the potency and yield can be 20-30 percent more than if clones were taken from a mother of the same strain, though you may not be able to choose your ideal phenotype without first growing out all of the strains, making mothers of each and growing their cuttings through flowering to see how they perform. The main drawback to growing directly from seed is the chance to get males in the garden, which are not desired. It can take extra time and much effort to identify males from females in a garden, plus the added waste of space and money spent on nutrients and mediums to grow them all out, not to mention the threat to staying in line with your legally alotted plant count!!. Seeds are a fantastic way to store a certain strain for later use, since the life of seeds can last in the hundreds if not thousands of years. If a grower has the space and time to dedicate to growing from seeds, the crop will always benefit, but the fact of the matter is most do not.
Cloning is the process of taking cuttings of nodes from already known female cannabis plants and rooting them. This can be done with cubes, cloning machines and even cups of plain water. After getting these cuttings rooted, the grower can then plant and continue the normal life cycle of a vegetative state, onto flowering and eventually harvesting. An important note when cloning is that keeping a mother is paramount to a strains virility and potency. If you keep a mother plant that is from seed, you provide the closest copy to that seeded strain you can get. If clones of clones are taken, eventually the genetic code is altered enough to lose potency and can give unwanted characteristics of the strain.
Having a strong set of genetics to grow from, whether it be from seed or clone, is more important than any environmental or nutrient issue. If you do not start with a strong and proven strain of cannabis, then the end result could be mediocre medicine, with lack of potency and yield especially. **Having a reliable place to buy clones or seeds is a great asset to any grower. The peace of mind that comes along with having a proven bug and disease free strain is worth its weight in gold, or cannabis! Remember to always check clones for bugs and disease before purchasing and when buying seeds, and do research before you buy to make sure the strain has a good lineage with a proven track record in the growing community. Isolating new clones from your main garden area until you can ensure they are free from pests or mold is a practice always recommended.
**In Harmony Wellness will be hosting a Genetics Connection event for legal Colorado MMJ patients who would like to grow their own medicine on November 12, 2011 between 10am-2pm. Reservations required!! Please call 970-222-5555 with further inquiries or to schedule your reservation. Expert advice and special deals from a local grow store combined with the best genetics will help your garden get off to the right start!!