By Robert Bergman, ILoveGrowingMarijuana.com
High-quality cannabis starts with good genetics. If you know what you’re hoping to get out of your buds, then you’ll want to do some research on available strains to make sure you maximize your chances. As a bottom line, you want to make sure that you are using healthy viable marijuana seeds, otherwise you won’t get any crop at all! The best place to start is with a reputable seed company.
The first step for most new growers is to extract seeds from large commercially purchased bags of cannabis. This is likely the easiest way to get seeds, but be warned— the cannabis has already been heavily processed and packaged. Huge quantities of bud are dried and cured together en masse, and then snipped and stuffed into big vacuum-sealed bags.
Throughout all of this, they might go through a lot of rough handling and questionable environments. Since the legality surrounding cannabis cultivation is hazy in most parts of the world, there aren’t very many regulations that need to be followed. Instead of leaving it to hope that you might find quality seeds in your stash, read this guide first. If you want to make your own feminized seeds, read my article How to make feminized seeds.
What are quality marijuana seeds
What this means for the consumer is that it can be difficult to get good seeds. Seeds are, in fact, considered undesirable by most commercial growers, and many of the seeds that sneak into the end product never reached full maturity before being harvested. There’s just no good reason for commercial cultivators to ensure that each and every bud has reached maximum maturity and that the seeds are robust and healthy.
The only reason you’ll be able to find marijuana seeds at all is the difficulty growers have in finding and removing all of the seeds. Commercial growers have nothing to gain by offering free seeds to consumers. Another factor that can come up is freezing seeds, especially in northern latitudes. You won’t know if the seeds have been frozen when you get your cannabis, but if the seeds have in fact been frozen, they are far less likely to produce viable plants.
Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link for more growing tips
With moderately healthy stock, you’re likely to see about one in every three cannabis seeds actually sprout. Although relatively robust, there are many factors which can prevent sprouting: seeds with damaged husks, immature seeds, or seeds that have been damaged by environmental extremes. Additionally, seeds won’t last forever. If the seeds are too old, they are also very unlikely to sprout.
There are a couple steps to take when culling seeds to make sure you are saving the best candidates for sprouting. While you’ll never reach a perfect success rate, you can learn to discern good seeds from bad ones. Mature cannabis seeds are a dark brown, often marbled through with lighter shades or stripes. In general, you’re better off avoiding seeds that are pale green or white since these probably aren’t mature. Big fat seeds are ideal, and they should have a fairly rounded shape. You can use smaller seeds too, but as a rule of thumb, you’re more likely to develop a healthy sprout from a bigger healthier seed.
How to find the best seeds
Cannabis seeds grow underneath the buds themselves, sandwiched in between the plant matter and the parent stem. They’re difficult to see because of these and have a cushion of protection to guards against all of the drying, curing, processing, and packaging that they’ll go through before they get to you. This is why seeds manage to survive at all.
Young marijuana seeds are also protected by a white-green cellulose sheath that will wither and fall away as the seed matures. To remove them from the plant itself, the best method is to simply find them and gently nudge them free of the stems with a little finger or thumbnail. Feel free to discard any seeds with damaged or scratched surfaces. The same is true for any immature seeds with white seed coats.
Veteran growers might want to grow a mix of both male and female plants, but this is not recommended for most growers, especially inexperienced ones. There is a high risk of inadvertent fertilization, which can ruin the yield of an entire crop. Unfertilized female plants produce the biggest and best yields.
Fertilized females can still provide a crop, but the end yield will inevitably be much smaller and the buds filled with seeds. Mainly they can provide the seeds necessary for the next generation. Multigenerational breeding is extremely complex, however, and extends beyond the scope of what we’ll talk about here. For now, consider purchasing feminized seeds from a commercial distributor. This will simplify the process, and make it much easier to get started if you’re new to cannabis cultivation.
Keep in mind that if you do end up purchasing feminized seeds, you will get only female plants. With no males in the area to pollinate the female plants, you won’t get very many seeds if you get any at all. Over the long-term, this can be something of a drawback for a home grower since it’s impossible to harvest seeds for the next crop. It also means you won’t be able to reproduce the same crop, which can be frustrating if you find a strain that you really like. Read more in the article What are regular, feminized and autoflowering marijuana seeds
Buying top shelf seed
It takes a lot of trust to buy cannabis seeds. There’s no way to know what strain you’re getting by looking at the seeds themselves. You won’t know anything about the genetics, except the information you’re given by whomever you’re purchasing from. This is one of the biggest reasons why you’d want to purchase your seeds from a reputable company or seed bank. Random dealers won’t necessarily know any better than you what strain they have.
When you buy seeds, try to choose a seed bank or company that offers some client support. Cultivating cannabis isn’t too difficult, but because of the nature of the plant, you can’t just ask friends and family for help and support. Usually seed banks and commercial companies will be available for some troubleshooting since it’s in their best interest to help customers and maintain a positive reputation.
It takes a lot of experience and expertise to produce high-quality seeds. The entire process of selecting, testing and producing a batch of seeds can take up to a year or more. Still, it’s worth it to know you have the right strain, and in a feminized form.