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growing marijuana from saved seeds

Using Your Own Marijuana Seeds From A Previous Grow

Critical+ crossed with Afghan Kush – what will the offspring look like?

We get a lot of questions about cross-breeding your own marijuana strains and saving seeds. Here are a few thoughts on what you can do, and what you can expect.

First of all, saving your own seeds is entirely possible, and really rather easy to do. If you have ordered a non-feminized cannabis strain (maybe this is a reason to finally do so?) all you’ll need to do is keep a strong male plant after you separate males from females (see our post on sexing plants here).

You’ll need to collect pollen from the male plant and selectively pollinate a few buds on a female plant. Of course, I’m assuming that a few dozen sees will be enough for you. If you want lots – and I mean lots – of seeds, then you can pollinate the main buds of a female and you’ll have enough for a major crop.Male cannabis flowers quickly, producing pollen just as the females begin to show their first pistils. In the wild, they would likely become pollinated at this point, generating a few seeds and never growing large buds. This is one of the main reasons that we separate male and female plants as soon as we can sex them! Here’s a female from the wild in the Himalayas near Kuari Pass that was in a mixed wild field with males:

A beautiful view, and despite the extra effort required to pick out seeds, a tasty smoke! Pretty as it may be, this is not what you want when you are growing for bud production.

We can have the best of the both worlds with selective pollination. You simply need to save that pollen for a couple of weeks, and then use a paintbrush to carefully apply the pollen to a couple of buds just below your precious main bud(s). By doing this, you’ll be able to simultaneously produce a nearly full harvest yield and plenty of seeds for a future grow. Keep in mind that you’ll need an extra dose of patience for the grow. If you want viable seeds, you’ll need to let teh seeds fully mature on the plant. This means letting flowering continue until the pistils fully “retract” and the calyxes begin to split on the pollinated (seed carrying) buds. No worries, though, most bud is harvested rather early. The current “wisdom” is to harvest when a majority of the trichomes take on a milky look and only a few are amber-colored. The fear is that too much THC will oxidize or the bud will lose potency. In truth, this “oxidation” will have to occur at some point – at the very latest when you light it on fire and inhale it. Just relax and wait an extra 10 days, you’ll like the results.

If you do this using both male and female from a particular strain, you can expect the offspring to be fairly consistent with that strain. Naturally, you may really dig a few different strains, and are burning with curiosity about what will happen if you cross “Sleeping Dragon Kush” with “Hendrix Sativa”, or similar…

What essentially happens is that you can expect all sorts of traits to appear – anything from either side of the family tree! I’ve generally stuck to seeds from professional breeders, but have recently tried my hand at producing seeds from some of my favorite strains. After crossing Critical+ with Afghan Kush, the following siblings appeared. One clearly Indica-dominant, the other clearly favoring Sativa physical traits. Here is an overhead shot of the seedlings, and then a closeup of some of the vegetative leaves:

Notice the lighter color and wider leaves of the Indica-dominant plant (left) and the darker color, slimmer leaves, and “sharper” serrated margins of the Sativa-dominant sibling (right). Here are some closer shots of the leaves:

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Above, Indica-style leaf, below, Sativa-style leaf. Both plants are Critical+ x Afghan Kush

These plants will now be put outside to grow. Check back to see how they develop.

Wishing you a very green summer!

[Author and Medical Marijuana Grower Glenn Panik’s “How To Grow Cannabis At Home: A Guide To Indoor Medical Marijuana Growing”, is available on iTunes book here, or for the Amazon Kindle . You can also order the ‘stealth title’ of our information-packed ebook for the Kindle here. Protect your privacy!]

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Controlling weeds in home gardens

Every gardener needs to manage weeds every year. Insect pests may or may not show up in the garden. Diseases may be devastating during some weather conditions and absent during others. Weeds will always be part of your garden ecosystem.

All soils in Minnesota contain weed seeds. Weeds spread by many sources, including the wind, bird deposits and last year’s crops and weeds.

They may enter the garden in a load of compost, they could be stuck to the sole of a shoe and tracked in, or they could be in the potting mix of transplants.

Weeds also come into the garden from adjacent lawns, fields or woods. Vining and creeping weeds can grow a small shoot that enters the garden, sends down roots, and flourishes.

Underground stems of creeping grasses and Canada thistle can travel as much as a foot through the soil before emerging in your garden and growing vigorously.

Weeds can invade a very controlled garden, even ones with raised beds, patio containers or areas covered by plastic mulch.

What harm do weeds do?

  • Competition from weeds can reduce yields of the crops you grow in your garden.
  • Weeds make it difficult for your garden plants to get enough water, nutrients and sunlight.
  • They can harbor insect pests and impede airflow, creating a favorable environment for plant diseases.

Strategies and tactics

Make weeding a part of every interaction you have with your garden. Always look for a new flush of weed seedlings or an invasion of plants from other parts of your yard.

Do not let weeds flower and set seeds. Prevent the number of weeds from increasing by eliminating weeds before they flower.

Every gardener needs a hoe of some kind. It may be a small hand hoe, a short-handled Asian-style hoe, a tall solid-blade hoe or a stirrup hoe.

With your tool, lightly scrape around your plants and in the areas between the rows. This eliminates weed seedlings when they are still too small to pull by hand.

Do not chop or scrape too deeply with your tool, or you may harm the roots of your vegetable plants.

It is difficult to keep underground roots and stems from invading the edges of your garden. Most edging materials only extend a few inches into the soil, while many plants spread by underground parts that can be more than a foot deep. Always look for these weeds.

Almost any kind of mulch can help you battle weeds. Plastic mulches that help warm the soil can also keep weeds from emerging.

If you use plastic mulch, check the holes cut into the mulch for plants, and pull the weed seedlings that may be growing alongside your vegetable plants.

Preparing a new vegetable garden site

Converting a piece of ground from lawn, weed patch or grassland to a vegetable garden can be challenging.

  • A weedy site, such as a vacant lot, may have a mix of perennial plants and annuals.
  • Its soil will probably have an abundance of weed seeds ready to germinate.
  • A lawn area will have a high population of perennial grass species well-adapted to the site.
  • Unless all the perennials are absent, they will continue to emerge in your new vegetable garden.

First, kill the plants

  • Start by using a broad-spectrum herbicide such as glyphosate to kill all the vegetation.
  • If you are trying to kill a lawn, one or two applications of herbicide may be enough to kill the grass.
  • Herbicide applications should be 2 to 3 weeks apart.
  • If the site is weedy or wild, you may have to spray many more times.
  • You can also cover the future garden plot with heavy plastic sheeting, thick layers of newspapers or old carpeting. After an entire growing season, the perennial plants under the covering will have died and you will be able to start your garden.
  • Another option is physically removing the sod with a shovel, be sure to get all the bits and pieces of your former lawn out of your new garden.
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When to plant

  • If you start trying to establish the new garden site in spring, you may not be able to plant anything until at least midsummer, or even until the following year.
  • Planting vegetables too early, before you are sure all the perennials are absent, can lead to a very frustrating gardening season.
  • If you start killing existing vegetation later in the season, hold off on planting the following year until you are sure that you have eliminated the population of perennial plants.

Using herbicides in the vegetable garden

Most herbicides are not recommended for use in the vegetable garden.

Remember that federal law governs the use of all pesticides.

Anyone applying pesticides must use them in accordance with the instructions and restrictions on the label.

  • Some gardeners use a non-selective, post-emergence herbicide, such as glyphosate.
  • This type of herbicide kills existing weeds before planting seeds or transplants.
  • You can use some types of glyphosate in the vegetable garden to kill weeds that have emerged and are actively growing.
  • Keep the spray off the vegetable plants as it will harm or kill them.
  • Check the product label to be sure you can use it in a vegetable garden. Follow the instructions carefully.

Trifluralin and Treflan

  • To prevent new weeds from coming up, some gardeners use an herbicide containing trifluralin, also known as Treflan. This granular product has many trade names.
  • Apply and water it into the soil before weeds emerge, to prevent weed seeds from germinating.
  • It has no effect on existing weeds, and does not control germination of all weeds that could come up in a Minnesota garden.
  • Trifluralin can also prevent vegetable seeds from emerging. Results when using trifluralin will vary, from good control to poor—or no control at all.
  • Trifluralin breaks down through a series of biological processes that depend on temperature, sunlight, moisture and soil type. Normally, it will completely degrade within 3 months after application.
  • It is also possible that the chemical could remain in the soil and prevent emergence of future vegetable crops.
  • Note that beets, chard, corn and lettuce are not on the trifluralin label. Do not use that herbicide near those crops.
  • Check the product label to be sure you can use the product near the plants in your garden. Follow the instructions carefully.

Corn gluten meal

  • Corn gluten meal is a naturally derived, pre-emergent herbicide that contains 10% nitrogen.
  • It may or may not control weeds.
  • A byproduct of producing ethanol from corn, this substance does not contain the wheat protein to which some people have sensitivities. Instead, it is a complex of unrelated corn proteins named “gluten.”
  • In research at Iowa State University, corn gluten meal inhibited germination of many weed seeds. Later studies in Oregon found no benefit from using corn gluten meal.
  • In a vegetable garden, repeated treatments of corn gluten meal could be more effective against weeds. It is also possible that the corn gluten meal could negatively affect vegetable seed emergence.

Know your enemy

It may be helpful to identify weeds that cause trouble in your garden. If you can recognize problem weeds before they establish, you may have an easier time keeping weeds from overtaking your garden.

CAUTION: Mention of a pesticide or use of a pesticide label is for educational purposes only. Always follow the pesticide label directions attached to the pesticide container you are using. Remember, the label is the law.