Shantibaba’s grow tips

Some basic rules and definitions for selection of a seed strain to suit the needs of an individual 

Genetics is not only a word used by scientists to identify the invisible world that makes up people, plants and every living organism around us, but it is a word and concept that helps us explain where we come from and what to expect and so very much more of a life cycle. As our tools to identify and measure minute traces of chemical and elements on a living entity become more sophisticated and accurate, we begin to see how things are made up and how things combine to make us and our living world!
So let’s take a small look into the world of genetics to see how it may explain some things we see in our gardens or from seeds we sprout or from anomalies that occur during the course of growing plants. The plant kingdom differs very much from the animal kingdom, but there is a common link to it all…genetics. When you grow a plant from a seed in your garden you will see slight differences between the same batch of seed this is due primarily to the genetic expression come about by the parent plants and the environmental factors acting upon the plant. Understanding climate: temperature, humidity and air flow, will allow the environmental factor to be similar to all plants but it will still never be exactly the same.

Let us spend a minute to define a few terms commonly used with plant growers. The PHENOTYPE are the observable characteristics of a plant or the results of genes acting within the cells of a plant. If a single gene controls a trait we call that monogenic traits and if a series of genes operate in combination to form a trait we call that polygenic traits.These are the things acting on a plant that allow us to identify the phenotype.

The GENOTYPE is the genetic content that is attributed from both parents that results in a particular phenotype…basically the genetic constitution.As like people receive half their genes from each parent and cause us to look like this or that so too is it affecting plants similarly. However genotype is not so easy to identify as genes can be present in a cell but can also not express themselves in each generation.

This leads us to dominant and recessive genes. Dominant genes show them selves in each seed generation, while recessive genes may skip a generation only to reappear in a second generation or when other recessive genes come together from other parent plant. Some recessive traits especially those coming from polygenic traits have the potential to reveal a particular phenotype that maybe seen very rarely like 1 in 1000 plants. It is not only through mutation of a species that rare, possibly valuable plants occur but also through the way genes from both parent stock combine and this is only apparent if you grow out lots of seed of each type.This is not always possible and can explain why a seed company shows beautiful photos of a particular strain but you never get anything that looks like that from the same parent seed stock. If you can grow out a large sample of a seed type your selection will be greater and therefore you may have the chance to see a lot of slightly different combinations or phenotypes that may not be apparent if you grew out a small seed sample. Human intervention can create new phenotype by selecting and recombining existing genetic variety, but only nature can create variety in the gene pool itself, through the slow process of random mutation.

Cannabis contains 20 chromosomes (diploid number) in its mature state and receives 10 from each parent (haploid number).When protein strands from each parent combine to form the diploid plant, the dominance and/or recessiveness of genes contained on these strands act upon each other to cause genotypes which manifest themselves as phenotypes.

For example, when a grower plants a batch of 100 seeds of the same type and germinates them all to the stage of a vegetative plant, he or she needs to begin selection of a particular plant.The reasons are easy to understand since it will take up time, effort and space to keep 100 slightly different brother and sister plants alive and productive. So the main principle of seed companies who work breeding plants and selling seed is to allow growers the ability to select from a range of possibilities that suit their particular needs. Since most people have different requirements this suits the majority of growers as long as they understand how to select to satisfy their needs. Having a good idea of what you would like the plant to do for you is probably the easiest way to approach selection. Considering most growers only are interested in sinsemilla (without seed) plants killing all the male plants are considered normal.This will leave you with roughly 50 % or say 50 different females to select from.

Now the time for serious selection is here and most people find this difficult. My suggestion is to cut 2 or 3 clones from each plant and flower out one of these plants. Flowering out 50 females is not so ridiculous since probably another 30 will be easy to dispel due to one reason or another. It is necessary to be firm but fair when selecting by discarding average or under average plants. What you will be left with is probably 5 or 6 female plants that you will find very difficult to know which the best is for you.The answer is there is no best plant or worst plants so do not be afraid to make a decision. If you really are not sure then keep that plant alive until you are. Or alternatively give it out to a friend to try to flower and hear what the feedback is or share the selection with a small group of like minded people so you can discuss the positive and negatives of a plant from all aspects. At this point of the selection process for a female plant suited to your growing arrangements and needs as a medicine you will need to be sure and the only way to be sure is to test flower each of these 5 or 6 females under the same flowering conditions calculating which plant best suits your personal needs. Facets such as yield, flavor, effect, plant health/vigor, disease resistance, fragrance, resin production, form and ease of flowering ultimately are reasons for you to select a single female plant from these 5 or 6 plants then you will need to be fair to all plant candidates which will mean growing them all out under the same conditions. I suggest you narrow it down to your favorite 2 or 3 females and do 2 or 3 flowerings of each of these, taking notes and comparing them to each other.This is not a short process but it will be something that will create for you your own personality and needs in the plant you spend a lot of time nurturing. Eventually you will be able to find that particular plant from the 100 worth cultivating as a mother plant to take clones (identical genetic replica of a mother plant) from so you can consistently and continuously keep cultivating that strain for as long as you like.There are plants in my grow rooms that went through this process over 20 years ago and are still doing the same job they did back then.

Many growers ask me why a clone, grown outside and inside or even between indoor rooms differ from each other so greatly.The main principle acting on causing these differences is environment. So it is common between all types of growers to see variation of a plant grown from a clone. An example of this is present in the coffee shops of Amsterdam. Most growers use the clone to grow, but since some prefer to grow on soil or coco fiber or Rockwool along with the multitude of slightly different plant foods the end product can look so different it can even resemble a different plant, at times. If the food cycle or the light cycle or the air movement or the humidity or the temperature is different even slightly in each growing space the plant reflects this in its end result. As a grower gets to know what the plant likes or what it responds to and when to feed it, the flower produced will be a consistent product. Until then the flower varies from grow to grow even with the same grower on the same medium… it will usually take 2 to 3 attempts before the grower of a clone in a particular grow room begins to reach consistency. You will begin to become a competent grower of this strain when you reproduce the same quality and reach a maximum yield with this particular plant you grow. Along with the genes of the plant,your approach to growing will be the single most important aspect of becoming a competent grower.

It is difficult to think of a flavor or effect you would like to have from a plant or flower until you have it in front of you. It takes a lot of thoughts, projections and creativity to even consider creating your own customized living entity. But in this day and age and with laws as they are there is really very little else you can do to find that medicine that fits you. Considering there really is no rules determining right or wrong in genetics, this is one field where a layman can be equal to the most advanced professor.


From Dolce Vita International 3