Cannabis genetics improving

In the world of cannabis genetics, there are legends like Ben Dronkers, the Dutchman whose Sensi Seeds company is known for decades of research and quality marijuana seeds.
Or DJ Short, a mysterious figure whose whereabouts are always unknown, and yet somehow he manages to breed and ship seeds of highly-respected “blue” varieties such as Blueberry.

In British Columbia, where marijuana is the leading industry, dedicated specialists like Jordan and Reeferman spend their lives collecting pollen and working it into the sticky, receptive flowers of primo mother plants.

Reeferman visited BC recently to talk about Prairie Fire seeds, which he founded several years ago, and about the successor to Prairie Fire, Reeferman seeds.

Prairie Fire was known for specialty varieties featuring “landrace” (original seeds) seeds from exotic countries of origin, as well as for reliable Canadian varieties.

Now, Reeferman is offering an expanded catalog that includes even more exotic genetics along with old favorites.

“We’ve got a good reputation with growers, and with seed rating sites,” Reeferman says. “Our seeds have a very high germination rate, a high female to male ratio, and our website offers more information than most seed producers provide.”

The Reeferman website indeed features a practical approach to providing information about seeds. It includes a guide to the “variability” of seeds offered; variability is a measure of how reliably a set of seeds sold as one variety will display similar characteristics. The site also tells growers about growing characteristics, including shape, and about the type of high provided by specific genetics.

“One thing we’ve heard from growers is that they want more information and more honesty from seed producers,” Reeferman says. “That’s been one of our primary goals, to always provide accurate and helpful information. So if we have a variety that can produce super-strong weed, but that variety is also hard to grow or has some instability, we want the growers to know that ahead of time.”

Cannabis genetics are big business, Reeferman admits, but he says that for him the effort goes beyond business.

“People know our reputation- they know we love all types of cannabis and that we are honest businesspeople- so they send us seeds from all over the world,” he explains. “We get seeds that people have had for many years, including heirloom varieties like Colombian Gold and Panama Red. Sometimes, we take old school genetics and combine them with newer genetics, but we also seek to preserve, not just to change, heirloom varieties. Because of the drug war, the world is in danger of losing a lot of varieties of cannabis. We grow and archive far more varieties than we sell, because we want to preserve nature’s diversity.”

Seed breeders have a difficult time in their endeavors. Breeding marijuana is not as easy as growing seedless marijuana, and Reeferman says he’s had his heart broken by agricultural failures and police actions that stole from him some of his favorite seed types. Nevertheless, he and other breeders keep working, behind the scenes, unable to publicly reveal themselves, searching the world for a new strain that grows exceptionally well, or produces a fantastic, unique high.

“I’ve got my favorites,” Reeferman says, referring to the dozens of genetics in his catalog. “Right now, I enjoy the up high of a Vietnamese variety. We’ve also got Burmaberry, Gypsy’s Kiss, BC Mango, Willie Nelson, and many other varieties that will cut right through the predictable effects of commercial Indicas. People should look on our site and post questions on our forums to find out what seeds will work best for them.”

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