Cannabis Canada, spring96 – Growing With Norm
Growing With Norm
For my first column I would like to begin with the question which I am most commonly asked.
Why is my crop going to seed?
It’s usually followed by the question,
What can I do to prevent this?
Once seeds have begun to form it’s too late to stop them, but this in itself is not such a bad thing. The seeds should produce between 60% to 90% female plants.
Flowers that have gone to seed will have the resin in them from before they started producing seeds. These are usually not the best buds, but should also be far from the worst smoke ever.
Thai and Indica strains are commonly known to unexpectedly produce seed. This is because for the past two thousand years cannabis was cultivated to produce the trait of hermaphroditism. By cultivating hermaphrodites a farmer is able to ensure that the whole crop will be ripe at the same time.
Modern cannabis farmers will see their plants exhibiting more hermaphroditic traits if they are stressed. This could be from nitrate imbalance or other shocks. It might also just be a genetic throwback. Regardless, the pattern of male staminate growing out of female pistillate will be with us for a few more generations to come.
There are however, at least two things that can be done to help prevent a sinsemilla crop from going to seed.
The first is simply to watch closely for the male staminate to begin developing, and then manually prune them out before they mature.
The second is to use a hormone called ethylene, which inhibits the development of male pollen bearing flowers. Ethylene should be sprayed upon the leaves and flowers of your plants, and is commonly found in plant shops as a flower boosting agent.
Ethylene has been in use for the last twenty or more years, and comes in many brand names and concentrations. Check with your local plant shop on brands and methods of using flowering agents.
As I mentioned before, seeds are not necessarily a bad thing, as without seeds we’d have no plants at all.
Another common question, often asked of me, is
How do I make sure my seeds will all germinate?
This is an important question, because every seed that fails to germinate is a potential plant gone to waste.
A sure fire technique to kick-start germination is tricking the seed into thinking the long cold winter is over. You should find a small container that can take a night in the freezer, such as a film canister or a shot glass. Place some paper towel or other absorbent material in the container, then put your seed in. Place some paper towel over the seed, and then dampen the contents with a germinating solution.
The germinating solution should be made from lukewarm water with a neutral pH of seven. Catalyst altered water with the brand name of Shock Resist should be added to this neutral water, along with a nitrogen hormone called Nitrozime. Both products come with instructions that detail the amounts to use.
Don’t soak the paper and leave large amounts of water in the container. You should just make sure that the bottom packing is moist and the top cover is damp.
Place the container in the freezer overnight. Take out of the freezer in the morning and let stand until it reaches room temperature. Take your seeds out and soak them in a dish between two layers of paper towel or cotton rags. Cover the dish with plastic cellophane food wrap and keep it in a dark, warm (not hot) place.
Check daily for a crack in the seed shells and the first signs of roots. With some strains from Vancouver and the Gulf Islands the germination time can be quite long. Seeds requiring up to fifteen or twenty days are not unknown, but on average you should start seeing a shoot within the first week.
As the roots grow to one inch or so, be careful when transplanting into cubes or soiless mix. The root is weak at this point and easy to break. However, even if the root is broken, the plant will still repair the damage. It will take a little extra time to grow the roots, but they should come back.
If you are having any problems with your crop, or are just curious about some general growing question, then send me a letter through Cannabis Canada, and I’ll answer you in a future column. If you want a personal response, then you must enclose a self addressed, stamped envelope.