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AFRICAN JOURNIES WITH SEEDS OF AFRICA

Greetings and love, one and all.

On our journeys we, at Seeds of Africa, met a lot of interesting people, people that are as passionate about this work as we are and here we want to shed some light on these brothers and sisters and share some of their stories. As you can imagine we have to be obscure about location and identities but we wish to take you on our journey with us.

We have compiled a short questionnaire so as to compare differences and similarities in the lives of people from different areas of this continent. As you can imagine to reach  the people and fields that bring you these potent buds and seeds takes planning, time and more time! Trust needs to be built; there have been running battles with the authorities in some of these hard to reach villages and there is an understandable mistrust of strangers. There have been stories from growers were the police come and take their stash and money but don’t take anyone to court! So the people stand up and say NO... You can take either my plants or my money but not both. The people rise and actually ambush the authorities, which does stop the total abuse of power for a time. Can you imagine for a moment (it may be a bit tricky) a mistrusting police force that want

some extra pounds in their pay packet coming up against a group of people with more purpose than anyone in "Anonymous"! Guns are drawn and the people have so much desperation that they pull those guns away. Yes you are right it would make an amazing movie and that is the only place most of us would ever witness such an event.

People, we must not underestimate the strength and determination of these farmers, the endurance that they have to cope with in their everyday lives is unimaginable for must of us. Many of us have been to Amsterdam where we taste Durban Poison or Moroccan hash or our 'ole reliable' African Weed and don’t think of the hardships the primary worker goes through never mind the packer and shipper. Some of these farmers are adding a few seeds among the maize crops to add a few more pennies into their pot but some are experts that have even created their own strains and have their Year Planner down to a fine art. Unfortunately in some countries the authorities have other tricks up their sleeves which has been funded for years by a well known US corporate pesticide/seed company. Helicopters are used to spray crops with pesticides. They are not careful where and what they spray so people and animals are caught in the dosing which burns and causes respiratory problems. Other crops are also sprayed which then leaves the people food-less as well as penny-less. Yes my friend there is no logic to their madness, the cruelty is beyond measure but the persistence of the people is stronger and they will dig out a new patch and continue this work. We have met growers that are totally new and fresh that are still learning the difference between male and female plants, we have met some that stick to their landrace and without realising are doing us all a wonderful favour, we have met some that have access to international seed and grow primary outdoor bud for the rich city folk and we have met some that really don’t care what they throw in among their food crops. So as we do our travels we bring you snippets of our trips and the people we meet through our pictures and interviews.

PLEASE NOTE WHERE EVER YOU SEE THE FACE OF A PERSON BE AWARE THAT THEY

ARE NOT GROWERS JUST MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC.

General Questionnaire

.....how long have you been growing?

Youtman... 1st time

Mrs...Yoh, since i met Mr in 2003.

Mr...Since i came out of jail in 2000. I wanted to stop transporting and

grow for myself.

 

.....How many strains?

Youtman...2

Mrs...usually 3-5

Mr...all depends on weather and seeds available 4-5

 

.....What do you have in this crop?

Youtman...Pondo and Kush

Mrs...Exodus Cheese, Strawberry Haze, Buba Cush

Mr...Pure Cush own seed, harvesting OJ and cheese

 

.....How many crops per year?

Youtman...as many as possible

Mrs...This year is near all year round.

Mr...2-3

 

....Do you grow a landrace?

Youtman...yahman, Pondo

Mrs...no they all cross, some of our strains are crossed with Landrace.

Mr...no more, it is always available but High Grade is better business.

 

.....Do you use pesticide and fertiliser?

Youtman... No no no man!

Mrs...my smaller personal garden is 100% organic, i use marigold leaves as pesticide. Commercially we use minimal pesticides, sea-grow fertiliser.

Mr...Minimum pesticides, 90% organic.

 

.....Do you use for medecine? what for

Youtman...yes to relieve anxiety and stress depression and inflammation.

Mrs...yes as tea, oil and smoke.  Cough, pain and Asthma.

Mr...obviously yes ....haha

 

.....Is it used culturaly?

Youtman...Ya

Mrs...Since childhood its been used as tea for cough and pain. I remember the old papas would give their horses ganja to smoke before a long journey. They would make fire in a funnel and let them smoke.

Mr..Ya as a Rasta in the community we use it.

 

....How does it help you and your family?

Youtman...Yes it helps us to pay when we are sick.

Mrs...It helps us with everything that we need in family. Even granny says she is only here because Mr gave her spliff when she was very sick, it put her right and she still has a small spliff before breakfast and bed.

Mr...Everything and anything

 

....Is life good?

Youtman...life is better

Mrs...yes it is

Mr...Life is super good but still troublesome as popularity brings its own

set of problems. You become a bit of a target, as I prosper enemies grow.

 

....What else grows in your garden?

Youtman...many veg to fed the family; sisters, mother and grandmother.

Mrs...butternut, pumpkin, squash, corn, lettuce, Chinese cabbage,basil, peppers.. some new fruit tress and coffee. I enjoy my garden.

Mr...during the winter, lots of veg

 

....What do you do with your trim?

Youtman..i use it in the garden.

Mrs...hash and compost

Mr...until 2 yrs ago it went on the garden. Now i know more about other options such as hash.

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 121

Posted in Cannabis News

Belladonna: A foxy beauty with strong mental powers

What do you expect from a strain called “Belladonna”? Well, those aware of the fact that this name means “beautiful lady” certainly think of extraordinary gracefulness and highly attractive female cannabis plants with shapely sexual characteristics - which in this case means voluptuous flower clusters...

In addition to that, botanists will also know that (atropa) belladonna is the botanical name of the deadly nightshade plant, an extremely poisonous drug. So to them, this strain name promises a very high degree of potency as well. Yes, “Belladonna” is full of positive connotation, undoubtedly a very well chosen strain name. However, put to a cultivation test, would this Paradise Seeds variety be able to live up to this big promise?

Belladonna is one of Paradise’s original old school strains: To create it, they combined the legendary Super Skunk with a secret mostly sativa strain which resulted in a 60:40 sativa/indica genetic profile. Introduced in the late 1990s, Belladonna instantly earned itself a strong following in the USA, Spain and the Netherlands, also becoming a multi award winner over the course of the years, thanks to its favorable qualities: a flowering time of 60 days allows for a quick harvest of thick tight resinous buds with a high calyx-to-leaf ratio, producing a strong sativa high that provides the smoker with an effect that is euphoric and mind-blowing (even hallucinogenic); it smells and tastes delicious, fruity and pungent; very easy to grow and a versatile plant too, Belladonna requires only a little maintenance and also distinguishes itself through excellent mould resistance, with its reduced foliage acting as a natural defense. 

Indoors, Belladonna harvests of up to 450g/m2 can be expected, and Paradise particularly recommends it for Sea-of-Green setups. Outdoors, Belladonna ripens around mid-October and will be at her very best in warmer climates, e.g. Southern Europe and California. But also gardeners in more Northern regions such as The Netherlands, England and Germany will appreciate her reliable top-notch performance under natural light. Under optimum outdoor conditions, up to 800 grams per plant are possible, which makes it a favorite with commercial growers.

For our test grow we ran with two feminized Belladonna plants, which were grown together with three fems of Paradise’s White Berry strain. The small grow chamber, a customized broom cupboard, was illuminated by twelve SANlight M30 LED modules. They were in a vegetative for 25 days, growing to a height of 41 and 46 cm in height. before being induced into flower. These two plants grew very easily, branching out early, with the sativa gene not causing too much stretching. The side branches grew upward rather than sideward, making for quite a slender plant profile, making it very obvious why this variety is recommended for Sea-of-Green cultivation.

During the course of their flowering, the two plants almost doubled in height, reaching a maximum of 86 and 95 cm respectively. However, it was the proliferation of big fat buds spurting from all over the plants that really caught the eye. From flowering week five, the buds started to fill up massively, until they were big and dense. Laden with these tight XL-sized buds, Belladonna proved to be a heavy producer, in the best tradition of Super Skunk. In addition, the calyxes and bud leaves also had a rich gooey resin coating which gave off an intense fresh ‘n fruity scent.

The two plants were harvested after 62 days of flowering at which time there were about 75 percent withered stigmas. Once chopped down there was ridiculously little trim - literally just a little snip here and a little snip there was all that was needed. When the buds were dried and cured weeks later, they had retained their very appealing fruity aroma that now had a slightly minty note as well. And how about the weight? These two sultry ladies weighed in at a healthy 81 and 89 grams.

The dried chubby Belladonna nuggets, with their thousands of stigmas having turned orange-brown, looked like they were wrapped in a fox fur coat (fake of course!) like some kind of Super Skunk Deluxe! The smoke (in a spliff) tasted sweet, felt refreshing on the palate and pleasantly mild on the lungs. Within a minute the blood was pumping from the chest straight to my head, a prickling sensation spreading over the face, an immediate effect that energized and deliciously stimulated.... A few more hits, and the corners of the mouth could not help lifting into a permanent broad smile! And yet there was something else too... after a while, a creeping sense of the psychedelic kicked in too, as if a picture book of the subconscious was being drawn by the sultry Belladonna. So this is definitely one to stimulate those creative juices or to sit back and see the world a different way... but never fear, Belladonna does not take herself too seriously and it wasn't long before this special lady showed off her happy-go-lucky effects with an uncontrollable attack of the giggles!

Needless to say, Belladonna is a plant to capture the heart in terms of quality and quantity. She turned out to be a foxy lady with big perfect curves and strong mental powers, a cannabis supermodel with no airs and graces – who wouldn’t want that?

Words and pictures by Green Born Intent (G.B.I.)
Plants grown by Ellis D

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 121

Buy Belladonna seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Purple Princess Hash Report

2017-02-06 13:19:37

Purple Princess by Billie of Emerald Alchemy

Just as every plant is different, so is every batch of Hashish, and hash makers come in as many flavors as their products.  I have had a lot of icewax over the last year, but the Purple Princess really stands out, partially because the hash maker, Billie of Emerald Alchemy, has struck her own path and is following her heart.  With an unconventional approach to processing cannabis, Billie’s hashmaking style is different, reflective of her lengthy experience, 8 years, and her unique perspective on the process. Unlike most, she uses only cured material.  She creates icewax that is full spectrum, rather than individualized microns.  And the biggest difference is her Hashish making method. Most Hashish makers, myself included, make bubble hash using a machine.  Billie, however, completes the collection process by hand. When I ask her how she can handle the physical demands and the strain put on her body, she positively remarks that she is saving herself a gym membership.   She happily explains why she eschews the use of mechanical instruments to facilitate making bubblehash and why the workout is one of love.

“My philosophy is to let the resin tell me what to do with it. I like to be in control of every detail of my hash making process thus doing everything by hand allows for me to be involved in an intimate relationship with every batch. When I am processing I constantly stop and take note of what is is happening in the wash. I look at how the plant material is holding up in the agitation process I look at how saturated the water is with resin.”

Billie considers her hash creations to be ‘soul extracted’ as she put all of her heart and soul into her work. Describing her work as magical, she appreciates the privilege of not only processing, but growing cannabis. I listen to her detail, with passion, the other products she makes with cannabis flowers and Hashish - floral and CBD tinctures that feature 40 other medicinal herbs.  An avid nature lover from her youth, she marvels at each experience and I am eager to find out if her affection translates into unforgettable Hashish.

Created by The Doc, a Santa Cruz area grower and breeder with 40 years of experience, Purple Princess is an indoor grown, Indica dominant hybrid cross of Pre-98 Bubba Kush and Lavender.  The Hashish was meticulously processed from high quality sugar leaf, heavy with ripe trichomes.  Though the flashiest Hashish these days is golden, gooey, and greasy, true to Billie’s off-beat style, Purple Princess is sandy and ecru-colored; comfortably unassuming like a pair of Toms Hemp Shoes. Opening the jar allows a funk body odor aroma to escape, quickly followed by robust, citrusy sweetness. Drawing the jar closer, pink grapefruits come to mind as the Hashish continues to express herself.  I am reminded of warm tropical Miami nights punctuated by short gusts of sea air which sting and tickle the nostrils.  
I rip a small piece of RAW parchment paper and pour the Purple Princess Hashish onto the surface, carefully folding it in half.  It seems very dry and I am unsure if the beach sand will fuse together.  Applying my heated hashpress, coarse grains press smoothly into a translucent film; thick enough to support its own weight yet easily pliable.  The smell of citrus rind wafts upward and I fire up my torch and blaze my Halen Honey Hole knowingly.  If presses, it will most probably dab, and I am in the mood for a fat dab.

As the Hashish touches the quartz, it bubbles only momentarily before practically disappearing.  My clean, full melt is fully appreciated as I take a puff and welcome the smoke into my mouth.  Like the aroma, on inhalation, the funky and aggressive flavor announces itself brightly and then is subjugated by a delicate floral mouthful that tastes like a bowl of orange honeysuckles.  I take another dab, low temp, and delight in the mouthwatering mix of fruit, candy and the tart, musky flavor of overripe lemons.  Sliding coolly down my throat, the Purple Princess Hashish gathers steam and thickens, creating a full mouthfeel.  The exhaled smoke is robust, playful, and hazy; diffusing the bright sunshine streaming through the windows. 

My mouth tingles like I just swished mouthwash  and my chest feels somewhat stretched. I feel little else in my body, though a mental change overcomes me almost immediately.  A cheery focus urges me start trimming plants from this season’s harvest.  Trimming can be tedious, but feeling eager to keep my hand busy, I sit down and trim steadily for more than 2 hours.  Gingerly holding fat OG colas, I snip at fan leaves and think about the care that went into the soil, the light that nourished it, and the grower that fawned over it.  I manicure the buds anticipating the Hashish that will be made with the sugar leaf.  I poke and prod at the tiny leaves, revealing the beautiful buds beneath and revel in the inherent beauty of cannabis.

Time passes and feeling a little cramped, I decide to take a much needed break.  In appreciation of Billie’s dedication to plants and flowers I change my set and setting to the lovely outdoors.  The Bay Area is enjoying an extended ‘Indian Summer’ and Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland is the perfect place to enjoy more of this Purple Princess.  The 7 acre garden is home to more than 5,000 rose bushes, quiet, sun-dappled paths, dramatic stairways and several gorgeous water features.  I hop into the back seat of my car and, using my three-hole pipe I take a few more hits of the Purple Princess Hashish.  The thick, silver smoke slides out of my mouth and curls alluringly, like the smooth swish of a Chinese painter’s brush.  The smoke hangs expectantly, trapped by the raised windows and unable to dissipate.  Time and again, I am reminded how the sensual qualities of Hashish keep me mesmerized.  Purple Princess is headily intoxicating and I love it.  I notice that while in the first session, I felt the Hashish mostly in my head, after four or five puffs, I now feel an intense body high as well.  My neck throbs, not unpleasantly, while my chest feels weigh upon, warmed, and expanded; like resin being pressed and fused into a mass of Hashish.  I envision my brown skin like a river of chocolate heated by the sun.  My legs are heavy; almost immovable, but I am not bothered.  A calm and pleasant positivity has settled upon me and I smile in anticipation of the luscious garden. Pausing momentarily, I slowly open the door; letting in a stream of cool, crisp air. The confined smoke, still swirling, drifts upwards lazily. 

With THC and the myriad of other cannabinoids coursing through me, I exit my car and walk over to the garden.  The formal garden is nestled in a small canyon, pine trees tower along the sides recalling nature’s heavenly cathedral.  I walk leisurely, allowing myself to be overcome with the beauty and the quiet majesty of the environment.  Though easily accessible by car, the glorious flowers and proud trees whirl visitors into an enchanted cove seemingly far from city life.  I breathe in deeply, savoring the scents of thousands of mature flowers, unwavering in their mission to beautify, even as their dying leaves stretch in vain for the ever-shortening rays of the autumn sun.  

My legs are starting to feel weary and as I pass a large, tiered fountain, I stop to watch the soothing cascade. Like the cool water,  pleasant waves of content continue to wash over my mind.  I sit on a bench surrounded by a dozens of roses and I am very happy.   The air is filled with the animated chatter of birds high up in the tree canopy.  I pay attention to the call and response of different groups of birds before I focus my attention on the lush floral banquet everywhere I look.  Some of the body high has worn off and I energetically  skip through the rose bushes, taking pictures, and taking time to sniff a few.  I particularly like two hybrid tea roses that remind me of the Purple Princess - Magenta, a dusty purple rose that smells of crushed lemons and honey, and Barcelona, a dark reddish, purple beauty with a loud, bold, and showy fragrance.

Though my body high has mostly subsided,  my mind is still going as the Purple Princess continues to infuse the mundane with an ethereal quality. Everything about these moments is precious.  Similarly to when I was trimming the cannabis, the little peculiarities of each flower stand out to me briefly, popping forth like  photographs before receding into the background.  I begin to spin in place, turning  slowly at first, peering at the varied green pallette dotted with pinks, whites, and purples.  Whirling like a dervish, bushes become a solid green mat, streaked with undulating splashes of intense color.  This Purple Princess has whisked me off into a fairytale and I do not wish it to ever end.  As the sunlight fades,  I slowly walk back to my car,  grateful for the experience and looking forward to the next.

Purple Princess is the breathtaking result of unwavering dedication to quality and an unforgettable expression of love.  Like royalty,  she is utterly enchanting, not quite what is expected, and full of much more richness than she readily shows.

Words and Pics by The Dank Duchess
First Published in Weed World Magazine edition 120

Posted in Cannabis News

Sensi Star (Paradise Seeds): Still one of the brightest stars in the cannabis sky 

Sensi Star, a mostly indica hybrid, came out in the year of 1995, one year after Luc had founded his seed company, Paradise Seeds, and earned himself a good name with his (back then) small-but-fine seed collection. Sensi Star set off like a rocket, becoming highly popular worldwide as a “one-hit quitter”, a strain that makes you stoned with just one toke. It became the flagship variety of Paradise Seeds, greatly contributing to their story of success. Nowadays, Sensi Star is considered a modern classic amongst marijuana strains; a timeless evergreen that still enjoys a big global following. It has pocketed tons of diverse cannabis awards over the years, including an especially fruitful Cannabis Cup 1999 participation that brought Sensi Star a triumphant double championship by winning both the Bio and Indica categories. In addition, it was chosen as the “Plant of the Year” by High Times magazine (2003) and Soft Secrets Spain (2009). The exact pedigree of Sensi Star is kept secret, but Luc has confirmed that quite a high percentage of Afghani genetics is involved, plus a bit of sativa. Thanks to its mighty genetics and extraordinarily rich amounts of resin, Sensi Star has a reported THC content of well over 20%, even 24% where measured, so it's no wonder that Luc promises that “it is one of the strongest indicas you will ever encounter.”

Sensi Star produces dense compact buds in 8-9 weeks of flowering, delivering 350-450g/m2 on the average. According to Paradise, it is very suitable for a sea-of-green setup with 20 plants per square metre closely grouped together. Given this scenario, they recommend to let them remain in the vegetative stage for only two weeks (before switching to a 12/12 light cycle to induce flowering), as Sensi Star tends to exhibit strong side branching. Thus one can also grow fewer, bigger plants very well on one square metre, with more space between the pots. In temperate climate zones, with a ripening time of early October, it can also be grown outdoors successfully, producing an average yield of 400g in a good season, and up to 500g can be achievable. Sensi Star buds have a lemony/metal odor and flavor, strong and pungent, and smoking them basically causes an extremely strong indica body stone that may go along with an energetic cerebral sativa effect as well, smokers have gained different experiences here. Due to its outstanding potency, Sensi Star is a popular choice not only for common smokers, but also high-tolerance medical marijuana patients.

The Doc was very keen to test-grow such a superb strain that has proudly managed to stay on top for almost two decades. He germinated a package of three feminized Sensi Star seeds between moist paper sheets and planted them into 11 liter pots filled with Plagron Standard Mix soil to which he had previously added 5% expanded clay and horn chippings. Placed under two 600 W MH bulbs and one 400 W HPS bulb together with Ice Cream and Dutch Dragon plants, the seedlings quickly developed into vigorous young plants with strong stalks and very vivid side branch growth, indeed. Their shade leaves were medium broad in the beginning, but becoming more and more slender, sativa-like in the course of growth and later on when in bloom. At the age of 4.5 weeks after germination, The Doc switched the lights from 18/6 to 12/12 to induce flowering. The three Sensi Stars were growing remarkably homogeneously at that time (height 40-45 cm, 9-10 internodes), with profuse, wide side-branching and close internodes shaping a very compact bushy look. Revealing their first female pre-flowers took seven days. After three weeks into flowering, The Doc reported: “The plants are wasting no time, busily producing flower clusters. I’ve removed some of the large fan leaves from all the three plants, to bring more light to those long side branches and their buds. In the first three weeks of flowering, the plants have strongly stretched, now measuring 65-70 cm (still very compact though), an excellent indoor height, easy to manage.”

Two weeks later, he continued: “The plants have slowed down stretching in the past two weeks and now stopped, remaining at heights of 75-80 cm. One of them exhibits a more indica-style blooming pattern with a bigger share of leaves in the buds, while the other two are more on the sativa side. Tons of nice buds along the main stems and side branches, and their resin content is as copious as expected at that stage of flowering, the plants are already majestically glistening with silvery-white trichomes.”

After six weeks of flowering, it had become obvious that the sativa-dominant plants would yield a bit more than the indica pheno, due to their numerous expansive side branches (which were growing more temperedly on the indica pheno) and countless buds on them. However, the indica pheno was producing the fattest main cola. The Doc: “The buds are still getting thicker and denser, and the same is true for those impressive resin gland formations on them.”

When seven weeks of flowering had passed, he reported: “During the past week, the withering of flower hairs has set in, indicating that the buds now have more or less reached their final volume, while the calyxes will keep swelling a bit in the last weeks I guess. Without a doubt, the plants have entered the road to maturity now.” And would finish it about one and a half week later: With 59 days of flowering, the two sativa-dominant plants (type 1) were a bit faster than the indica-dominant one (type 2) which took 62 days. Type 1 also spread a somewhat different odor than type 2 - while both were predominantly sweet, type 2 was milder than type 1 which exhibited that metal note to a stronger degree, paired with traces of Haze. Type 2 had a certain fruity undertone instead. But both scents were delicious and highly appreciated by The Doc. One of the sativa-dominant plants proved to be the most resinous one in the end, even its flower leaves looked entirely sprayed with resin. It was closely followed by the other two though, which were regarded as heavily resinous by The Doc, so his high expectations towards Sensi Star in this regard were fulfilled.

Weighing the dried buds then revealed the final result: Altogether, the three Sensi Star plants had produced 335 grams of sticky green-white nuggets, almost 112 g per plant which – with regard to their fairly low height – was a stunning, super-fat yield. The Doc happily test-smoked the indica-dominant pheno first, and really, after just one toke, had that “crash-boom-bang” feeling, his THC receptors instantly came under continuous heavy fire, being flooded with THC molecules. He took a few more pulls, but then had to stop as he felt stoned-as-Hell already, and there wasn’t any uplifting cerebral sativa effect that maybe would have enabled him to move or catch a clear thought. So he waited almost an hour until that paralyzing, but at the same time very relaxing, effect had faded, and then test-smoked the sativa-dominant pheno. It heavily rang the bell likewise promptly but, right from the beginning, The Doc sensed that this time a cerebrally energizing sativa effect was getting into the act as well, very well balanced with a simultaneous intense indica body stone. That more complex buzz was extremely strong too, but now The Doc was deeply relaxing while having a clear, highly excited head which led him to busily making plans for his next cultivation cycle. He finished this joint and thus was under full effect for almost two hours. Later on, before going to bed, he smoked the second half of the first joint, and as desired, that mighty indica hammer soon put him to sleep. “Both those kinds of bud are of absolutely smashing, far above-average potency, I guess their THC content is well over 20 percent, indeed”, The Doc reported. “Their flavor also was splendid, a true pleasure to smoke. Type 1 offered more complexity and a slightly pungent spiciness under a sweet aroma coating, yielding a lasting full-mouth flavor sensation. Type 2 was less pungent, milder and even sweeter, a very welcome refreshing aroma variant.”

“What more can one desire? Sensi Star is a super-potent tasty plant with tremendous yields delivered in a moderate period of time. For me, there’s no doubt after this fabulous grow: It’s still one of the brightest stars in the cannabis sky!”, The Doc concluded.

Words and pictures by Green Born Intent (G.B.I.)
First published in Weed World Magazine edition 119
Buy seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

The Science Behind Hashish

2017-02-06 11:57:27

The Science Behind

This series of articles is a quest for factual knowledge, and hopefully a trendsetter among Hashishins. We have to question and study every step of traditional and modern sieving techniques with the science available to eliminate misinformation and start an educated course toward progress.

To facilitate this discussion, let me first define exactly what a sieve is: “a device with meshes or perforations through which finer particles of a mixture of various sizes (as of ashes, flour, sand, etc.) may be passed to separate them from coarser ones[i].

The definition of the word obviously implies the importance of keeping these perforations absolutely clean at all times for the separation to be effective; less evident is the importance of not overloading the tool with a thick layer of material so that the finer particles fall directly on the sieve and through the perforations.

1st Controversy: The Workbag

The first point of contention between modern ice-water sieving techniques, and an adaptation of traditional dry sieving processes like mine, resides in the use of a 220 microns workbag filled with trim, and often with ice in the machine as opposed to having the material floating freely in water.

On the pro-side of using a workbag filled only with trim is the level of protection it brings from the grinding of ice cubes spinning in the water. However, this does not apply if the working bag is also loaded with ice, which would logically worsen the grinding due to the confines of the working bag adding to the grinding of the ice cubes spinning in the water.

 

The con is primarily an issue of the continual bundling of the material in the workbag, which hampers the separation of the trichomes from the material inside the workbag as well as the actual sieving process, the resin heads passing through the perforations.

The continual bundling of the bag is caused by the vortex of water created at the bottom of the machine by the spinning element which sucks the floating bag to the bottom, twists it during the rinse to the surface and then sucks it back to the bottom as a mass.

The second important handicap is keeping the workbag clean at all times to facilitate the separation process, which is impossible since cleaning with alcohol can only be done after emptying the bag of the processed material.

On the other hand, the traditional dry sieving adaptation that I use exploits more completely the agitation potential of the machine, I believe. The vortex of water created at the bottom of the machine by the spinning element sucks in the loose material before spinning and spreading it up towards the surface in a widening circle, the trims are then sucked back again to the bottom along the walls of the machine into the eye of the water vortex. The resin heads are stroked off their stalks by the spinning water and washed away with the water when the machine is emptied. The sieving process is done outside the boundaries of the machine whose role is only to agitate and separate as efficiently as possible.

The con of this technique is the amplification of the ice crushing potential; there is no buffer to protect a material that is fragile despite being rehydrated.

The potential difference in production of these two techniques should be studied, and the best methodology should be considered before creating the new generation of stainless steel, FDA approved, agitating/separating machines that will be mandatory in the near future. 

The 2nd Controversy: A Slice of a Spectrum or the Full Spectrum?

The second controversy has deeper repercussions than a loss or increase in productivity; it affects the wholeness and the full medicinal and psychoactive potential of the resin produced by the plant.

The full-size spectrum of trichomes ranges from 25 up to 500 microns. Resin heads ranging from 70 to 120 microns are unanimously considered to be prime however trichomes as small as 25 microns and as large as 190 are collected as well.

Modern Hash makers divide this spectrum into five slices: 

  1. 25 to 45
  2. 45 to 73
  3. 73 to 90
  4. 90 to 120
  5. 120 to 160 microns.

Tradition and experience makes me an advocate for full spectrum resin, in keeping the essence of the plant as complete as humanly possible, and my question is:

Are the parts better than the whole?

The question is simple but far ranging and has to be addressed, especially if we take in consideration the important concept of the Entourage Effect, introduced by Shimon Ben-Shabatt and co-authored by Raphael Mechoulam [ii], which indicates that the interaction of all cannabinoids and all terpenes enhance the therapeutic effects of Cannabis.

The use of water to rehydrate and agitate the leaf matter has great advantages, which I will detail in a moment, and only one con - the drying!

It is mandatory that the resin be chopped as finely and evenly as possible before being spread on drying racks in a climate-controlled room, with temperatures ranging in the low to mid 50’s and a level of humidity from 35 to 40%. Moisture has the power to change the texture of the resin from sticky to waxy and by transforming the resin consistency, which possibly alters potency and the terpenes level.

The 3rd Controversy: Drying Methodologies

The subject brings us to the third controversy, micro planning versus sieving with a fine metal mesh and spoon or chopping with a knife.

Micro-planing frozen resin may well be the most popular method today in the U.S. It offers many advantages that cannot be denied.

The usage of a micro plane is almost unavoidable when working with “fresh frozen” material or extremely sticky resin that is already difficult to manipulate and simply impossible to separate but not as much when working with sandy textured resin. Freezing the resin and grating it on a micro plane produces a very fine outcome that dries evenly and rapidly in adequate conditions.

The con of the process is a personal assessment of the potential repercussions of the use of a micro plane on resin heads. The membrane holding the resin is fragile and is the only protection the cannabinoids, terpenes and phenols have against the outside world and evaporation while drying. The micro plane is very sharp and the resulting product is so fine that the chance for a large percentage of the resin heads to be sliced open is high and a loss of terpenes during drying would be the direct logical repercussion. 

Sieving resin through a metal mesh using a spoon in cold conditions is also an effective way to separate resin and a more gentle approach that retains the integrity of the resin heads, however the effectiveness of this method lowers with the stickiness of the resin.

The blunt knife approach is most certainly the least effective but also the least damaging as well. Nonetheless, as with the metal sieve, efficiency is also limited to a certain types of resin.

Sticky resin requires freezing, and a sharp object like a micro plane or a knife is required most of the time. The knife is less damaging but does not produce as fine an end product to dry as the micro plane.

It is important to generate comparative test results of our drying techniques so that the most effective approach can be learned, applied, perfected and passed down.

 4th Controversy: Dry Sieving versus Ice Water Sieving

An argument concerning the quality of dry sieving versus ice water sieving has been smoldering possibly since the birth of ice water sieving, a disagreement that can be resolved solely with comparative lab tests.

The controversy concerns the retention or loss of terpenes between the two techniques. Retaining terpenes is or should be the ultimate quest for a Hashishin however the best collecting methodology has to be considered as well, which makes the information that much more important.

The use of water to rehydrate trims gives back total elasticity to the dry material so that it cannot be broken down into small particles as when dry sieving; the separation is done by the vortex of ice-cold water stroking the trichome heads from their stalks, which is extremely effective and gentle.

A majority of Hash Makers would agree that the ice water sieving methodology produces a cleaner resin in larger quantities than the dry sieving method. The debate is on the quality of the end product and more specifically on the preservation of the terpenes by the procedure used.

The controversy is based on the smell emanating from the water used to agitate the trim; the smell is undeniable and always present indicating a loss of terpenes. 

The smell is intensified by the confinement of the terpenes in a few gallons of water but is unquestionably there as well when dry sieving; the fragrance of a dry sieving room in a producing country is intense and hard to withstand for long.

Our first question should be: 

Where do the terpenes come from if the trichome membranes are not water-soluble?

The only logical place of provenance, since water does not dissolve the membrane of the trichome, is at the breaking point, where the stalk meets the resin head or from broken trichomes, which strongly suggests that the loss of terpenes will happen independently of the technique applied.

A comparative analysis of all terpenes content by process is mandatory to set the question to rest.

 

5th Controversy: To Press or Not To Press

The “To Do or Not To Do” question is one that everybody should consider.

Is there a scientific justification for traditional pressing methods, since, from a process perspective, pressing is a strenuous procedure that anybody in his right mind would avoid at any cost if it was not absolutely necessary to the final quality of the resin. Is it a step that can be avoided?

Only scientific evaluation of the opposing practices can bring the irrefutable answers necessary to the advancement of sieving and the optimization of resin quality; it is a mandatory step in the evolution and the future of concentrate.

 

Words by Frenchy Cannoli

Photos by Kim Sallaway

Originally published in Weed World Magazine edition 119

 

Posted in Cannabis News

Serious Happiness: First child of the revolution

“Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life” -  a wise saying that everyone should live up to... and not go through one's life full of grumpiness and envy of other people's luck. After all, everybody is the architect of his own future; yes, you can achieve happiness! As the story goes, that little happiness slogan mentioned above, displayed in a picture frame on a cupboard, during a meeting inspired the Serious Seeds crew to name the first strain of their new Seriously Limited line ‘Serious Happiness’. But of course, the second source of inspiration was the smoke itself, as reported by Serious: “The name Serious Happiness came up after smoking this fantastic strain, because that’s exactly how the grower feels, happy while she grows and seriously happy when she is finished."

After Serious Seeds had carried only five outstanding premium varieties for one and a half decades, it was a kind of revolution when they took over Magus Genetics in 2011, overnight doubling their assortment. With the release of Serious Happiness, a second revolution has taken place now in the company of owner and breeder Simon: It's the first time that they put a strain on the market that has not thoroughly been bred to utmost perfection over many years, but been composed in a much shorter time - in this case of two of their own superb established strains, AK-47 and Warlock. But as the name of that new strain line - Seriously Limited - suggests, Serious Happiness has been released in a limited amount only, with 4,000 packs produced. This is simply because the idea behind this new line is to offer new crosses to the customers and let them decide whether Serious Seeds should proceed with these or not. Serious explains: “We give away test seeds at international fairs, later-on getting feedbacks from people who have grown them. Once we see that our Serious growers are satisfied with the new cross, we will start to produce a limited amount of seeds as a limited edition of always only 4,000 packs, each with a unique serial number. Only when we see that our Serious growers are really happy with a Seriously Limited strain, we will start to produce this new strain on a regular basis, adding it to the regular Serious Seeds assortment. This way we can further work on stabilizing the new strain and at the same time ALL growers can try the new variety.”

Well, I think that this new marketing strategy of Serious Seeds is an excellent concept: On the one hand - with regard to its regular strain assortment - Serious sticks to its principle to only release a variety after it has been bred to perfection, fully satisfying master Simon's strict demands in terms of stability and homogeneity. On the other hand, the introduction of the new Seriously Limited line allows him to experiment a lot with old and new genetics and include the growers’ opinion in his breeding goals at the same time. Also, he gets into a position to quickly react to new market trends, if considered necessary by him. Another advantage is the close cooperation with the Serious customers who thus potentially develop an even stronger bond with Serious Seeds. And also can enjoy testing a new Serious strain more often than before, which will certainly be much appreciated.

So it’s really a little revolution that has happened at Serious Seeds - and the first child of the revolution was named Serious Happiness, a sativa/indica hybrid created from their legendary AK-47 and their famous Warlock male. Serious promises that this strain “brings happiness twice” – at first, through an easily manageable growth with an ideal indoor stature and lots of big dense buds with few leaves, and then also through a long lasting buzz with both a body stone and incredible head high, delivered by its sweet and fruity buds. Serious Happiness is not a super-fast flowering hybrid, she takes her time, maturing within 60-70 days of flowering. A harvest of 400 - 500g/m2 can be expected if the plants are left in the vegetative stage for 4-5 weeks. Under natural light, this strain finishes mid-to-end October.

At the IC Mag Cup 2015, Serious Happiness received early applause when it took third place in the Sativa category of the Grower’s Cup, entered by a guy called Cloudz. Another grower who recently put the Happiness to a cultivation test was The Doc. He sowed three feminized seeds and (as usually happens with strains from Serious Seeds) got a germination rate of 100%. The three Happiness plants did very well during the vegetative stage, exhibiting vivid compact growth with excellent lateral branching. Also, they were amazingly uniform - from such a cross, The Doc had expected much more instability and diversity. Four weeks after germination, The Doc switched the daily light cycle from 18/6 to 12/12, as it was about time for the flowering stage. The plants were 39-48 cm tall at that point and expected to approximately double their height during flowering, because of their mostly sativa nature.

In the course of flowering, it turned out that two of the plants resembled each other like clones, growing accurately head to head until the very end, even with the same amount of branches and buds, simply amazing. These two Happiness plants, indeed, had almost doubled their height after four weeks of flowering, while the third plant didn’t stretch as much as the others, remaining to look very bushy, almost globated. It was about one third lower than its two Happiness sisters. But all the three plants exhibited an impressive number of side branch buds that obviously were going to become big and thick, arranged around a marvelously prospering top cola on the main stem. “This is a perfect indoor plant growth and bloom pattern. Looking at these plants already makes me happy”, said the Doc with a smile on his face.

During the fifth and sixth week, the plants put on a lot of bud weight, with the flowering tops assuming a fat and bulbous shape. And their calyx-to-leaf ratio was very high, only a few leaves were protruding from dense massive calyx formations, which were encrusted with a myriad of resin glands after eight weeks of flowering, giving the buds a sparkling white appearance. The Doc reported: “The three plants are already looking quite ripe now. Yippee, one of them comes with a big surprise – it smells like wild cherry! Fantastic, that odor I’ve never experienced before. I know that there is this myth of an AK-47 cherry pheno once found by a certain grower… while Simon says that he himself has never come across it. But who knows, maybe it really exists, having come through now surprisingly in this one AK-47/Warlock hybrid plant?” The other two plants also had a very nice sweet and fruity smell that could not specifically be defined though.

Dockie harvested the three Happiness plants after 61-63 days of flowering, early in the harvest window stated by Serious. The two clone-like plants each measured 95 cm in the end and impressed him with nineteen big roundish side tops that felt hard like a rock. Also laden with plenty of fat tight buds, the third plant had arrived at a height of 78 cm. The total dry weight of the buds was 291 grams, so the average yield almost amounted to 100 grams per plant - a proud achievement for a cross that has not yet been bred to perfection, I’d say. After the drying process, that one plant’s rare cherry aroma was unfortunately gone, but much to The Doc’s surprise and delight, the buds of one of the other two plants had meanwhile developed a distinct cherry smell! When he opened one of his huge jars filled with those buds, so that I could convince myself of that phenomenon, heavy cherry aroma clouds came out of it. Most delicious and, of course, I couldn’t wait to sample a smoke. Or rather to sample some vapor hits from the Volcano which caused an intense burst of fruity sweetness in my mouth, still reminding a bit of cherry. What a wonderful taste. And I didn’t have to wait long for the effect which started to set in within half a minute, instantly giving me a precise idea of why they had called this strain Serious Happiness…loads of happiness spread out in my mind and a big permanent grin took possession of my face. I felt a powerful combination of narcotic sensations, uplifting and euphoric in the head and at the same time lighting a warming relaxed indica fire in the body. A really blissful experience that lasted for a long time - that’s what I call cannabis happiness, indeed.

So instantly with the first strain of his new Seriously Limited line, Simon has landed a big strike, the first child of the revolution has proven to be strong and mighty. His Serious Happiness provides happiness to everybody – the Serious Crew, growers, smokers, patients…we just can’t wait for the next Seriously Limited release!  

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 119

Posted in Cannabis News

  Sweet Mix Auto - The most exquisite mix of sweets

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get! Sometimes we get good things and sometimes we get not so good things. But in this mix, we always get a top quality final product. With sweet tastes and aromas, together with the flower and resin production synonymous with Sweet Seeds strains. This is the new Sweet Mix Auto from Sweet Seeds, available at the extraordinary price of 35 euros for a pack of 10 seeds! Expecting a fast and abundant harvest, with distinct aromas from easy to grow plants, there was no need to think twice! I germinated 16 of these seeds for a surprise grow with magnificent results that I’m happy to share with all of you, the readers.

Autoflowering strains have always sparked the interest of a lot of growers. We all remember the classic autoflowering strains like Lowrider or White Dwarf, which had a strong presence of Ruderalis genes. The autoflowering characteristic thrilled a lot of balcony growers. Permitting a harvest almost all year round and not only between September and November, as usually happens with photoperiod strains. These first Ruderalis hybrids decorated a lot of terraces and balconies since the first years of the new millennium. And since then it was very obvious that these strains were of great interest for breeders because of their autoflowering characteristic. But it took a lot of work to get to the present moment where autoflowering strains hold less and less Ruderalis genes and more genes coming from modern hybrids of superior quality.

At Sweet Seeds, the first experiments with autoflowering seeds took place in 2007. Two years later, in the beginning of the 2009 season, the first autoflowering strain of this seedbank was presented: Speed Devil. It was a complete success that surprised a lot of growers for its abundant resin production and a pleasant skunky aroma, with tones reminiscent of yeast and cheese which set her apart from the first experiments with wild populations of Cannabis Ruderalis. After the success of the first Sweet Seeds autoflowering strain and hearing very positive feedback from clients and friends regarding the other new 2010 season autoflowering strains – Fast Bud and Big Devil – the Sweet Seeds breeders decided to set forth on a revolutionary trip. This is how the autoflowering r-evolution was born.

Working with seed populations, generation after generation, the breeders select the best specimens to use for breeding. This engineering allows the offspring to reach a higher grade of expression of its desirable characteristics. With this method Sweet Seeds reduces the presence of the undesired Ruderalis characteristics, getting each new generation closer to the traits of the elite clone used and proportionally deviating from the Ruderalis genes. Using the best strains selected from the previous autoflowering generations and hybridising them with elite clones of photoperiod strains from the Sweet Seeds bank of mothers, the breeders work tirelessly in the continuous development of these genetic lines. At present all the strains from the Sweet Seeds autoflowering genetic collection are available as 3rd Generation versions and, for the 2014 season, two new 4th Generation autoflowering strains were presented: Ice Cool Auto and Sweet Trainwreck Auto.

Over the years I’ve had the chance to confirm the quality of these strains and the improvements achieved generation after generation. I’ve had the opportunity of growing most of the Sweet Seeds autoflowering collection during the last 5 years in both indoor and outdoor grows. Taking in consideration my own experience, but also all the grow reports from clients and friends in the 15 cannabic forums where there is a commercial subforum dedicated to this seedbank, I had no second thoughts when deciding to use Sweet Mix Auto. The truth is that every autoflowering strain from this seedbank produces good flowers, covered with aromatic resin and usually don’t disappoint at any phase of the grow cycle, including harvest, which is generally abundant. There is no doubt that using Sweet Mix Auto is just like opening a top quality box of chocolates. Every one of them is great and the only surprise one can find is discovering the individual characteristics of each one of the plants obtained. A very exciting adventure that allows for a significant seed budget reduction.

 

Growing Sweet Mix Auto

After all the seeds sprouted I planted them in small 500ml pots and then, at around day 18 from germination, I transplanted them to the final pots. I used 7 litre pots for the 16 plants, but if I had more space I would have chosen 10 or 15 litre pots as they would allow for a higher production. The plants developed with stunning vigour in my favourite soil mix – Canna Bio Plus – and they have been delighted with the bio range of Canna nutrients that I’ve used, even though I only used the flowering nutrients (Bio Flores) between the 35th and the 48th day from germination. Until the 35th day they remained healthy and vigorous just with the nutrients available in the soil mix. Air replenishment is also a very important parameter and the use of a professional extraction system is essential. For this grow I used a 125mm RVK fan. To help I also used a Sunon mini fan and to ensure a correct air circulation inside the room I used a Honeywell fan blowing air in the direction of the top of the plants.

To grow these 16 autoflowering plants I used CFL lights during their first 8 days of life. I then passed them to a 1 square meter grow room with a 400w HPS bulb. For a grow operation with this number of plants in a 1m2 box, it’s also possible to use a 600w HPS bulb, which would help to improve the final production. But on the other hand it is easier to get a higher “gram per watt” ratio using the 400w HPS. The final production of this autoflowering mix was of 328gr, the equivalent to 0.8gr per watt. A very interesting value, especially if we take into consideration that we are talking about autoflowering plants harvested in between 58 and 70 days after germination.

With Sweet Mix Auto the most interesting and exciting part of the grow operation comes when the grower starts to identify some of the strains. For a grower with previous experience with Sweet Seeds autoflowering strains, it is possible to identify some of them after 35 days from germination, starting approximately from the second week of flowering. Bloody Skunk, Red Poison, Devil Cream, Black Cream and Dark Devil, the 5 autoflowering strains from The Red Family, are the first to show up. Although distinguishing them from each other is a bit more difficult. In this grow operation I got five of these purple flowered autoflowering strains, which allows me to conclude that in a 10 seed package it is expectable to get between 2 and 4 of The Red Family plants.

From the five purple flowered plants obtained in this experience, I could easily identify two Red Poison. It was an easy task due to my personal passion for Green Poison and her sweet and fruity aroma, with hints of skunk that make it unmistakable and that are also present in this red version. The other three purple flowered plants were only possible to identify later on. I ended up finding one Dark Devil, with its Sativa shaped flowers, with incense tones and citrus aromas and one Bloody Skunk that in the final weeks of flowering produced a very clear skunky aroma and some amazing red flowers covered with red stemmed trichomes. The last one of the five plants from The Red Family was a bit harder to identify. But the beautiful purple flowers of the plant, almost black, made me think it is probably a Black Cream although I just can’t be 100% sure because it could also be a shorter phenotype of Devil Cream as they both share a lot of genetic traits.

In a previous grow with Red Poison seeds, after sprouting 6 seeds I only obtained one plant without the purple flowered trait. That’s something the grower should expect as approximately 85% of The Red Family seeds will show purple flowers but the remaining 15% sill not show this colour. I could then try the green phenotype of Red Poison and I came to the conclusion that every time they don’t show purple flowers, the final result is very similar to Green Poison Auto. That being said, in this Sweet Mix Auto grow, I have harvested 2 plants that could be Green Poison Auto or Red Poison (from the 15% that in theory don’t produce purple flowers). What really matters is that they performed like champions, producing buds with the shape of a pine tree, very large and dense. I think that in one of the pictures it’s possible to see 2 plants, in the centre of the first row of the grow room and we can see how they differ from all the others due to their vigour and central bud. When you decide to live the experience of growing Sweet Mix Auto, the only thing I can wish for is that you get a couple of these Green (or Red) Poison Auto plants.

Another very special strain in this Sweet Mix Auto package is Sweet Trainwreck Auto. I got one plant of this marvellous 4th Generation Autoflowering strain. She developed a branchy structure, strong enough to hold the tight and dense buds produced. All this with very fast growth, exceeding the previous versions of autoflowering strains in height and production. Sweet Trainwreck Auto is a very easy to grow strain that is perfectly adapted to indoor and outdoor growing, with some plants reaching more than a meter in height.

In order to obtain this genetic, jumping from 3rd to 4th generation, the Sweet Seeds breeders crossed tall structured autoflowering genetic lines leaning to the Sativa side with a Trainwreck elite clone famed in dispensaries across the USA. The result is a very fruity and sweet taste, with citrus hints. It features a very well balanced Indica/Sativa effect and the production is very substantial. The plants can be harvested only 8 weeks after germination and there is no doubt that we are facing a qualitative and quantitative advance in autoflowering plants, making it really significant if the plants are grown under appropriate conditions that allow them to show all their potential.

 

If you choose to grow Sweet Trainwreck Auto, or find her in a Sweet Mix Auto pack, it is advisable to allow the plants to receive as much hours of light as possible as this is a very basic principle to succeed with this strain. It is also very favourable to use larger sized pots, or even to plant them directly in the ground in the case of outdoor grows. But it is also important to always use rich soil mixes, porous and airy to contribute towards fast root development. They are very fast growing and demanding plants, so every extra hand that we can give them will always be more than welcome. The bud structure is typical of the Trainwreck variety, with lots of dense and compact flowers, crowding together with each other, oozing with a dense layer of trichomes that are visible to the naked eye. It’s a very resistant and easy to grow strain that is perfect for SOG systems. One can be sure to obtain some amazingly tasting fruits, with a great quality of effect. The taste is very sweet and it has a very pronounced hashish aroma, together with a peculiar creamy citrus note. It is a very recommendable plant for how easy she is to grow. If you’re lucky enough you can also get this strain in the Sweet Mix Auto.

On the other hand, there are other strains that I could only identify after drying and curing the flowers. Cream Mandarine Auto is simply delicious, with her rock solid flowers all covered in resin and an extra rich citrus aroma that is reminiscent of mandarin oranges. If I didn’t know this strain so well, I could have easily mistaken the Cream Mandarine Auto plant that I got with a Red Family strain, because she developed some magnificent purple tones in the end of flowering. There was also a Sweet Skunk Auto that I could easily identify after grinding a couple of buds and feeling the skunky fresh aroma released by the sweet flowers. It was also covered with resin with the trichomes beginning to turn amber very early, at around day 58 from germination. I’m truly convinced that there was also a Big Devil XL or a Big Devil #2, even though it is not easy to distinguish them. That being said, it could even be a Big Devil #1 that simply performed very well. But the large size and the incense aroma of the flowers leave me with no doubts that the plant belongs to the Big Devil family.

Two more plants I harvested were a Cream Caramel Auto and a Sweet Afgani Delicious Auto. Both easy to recognise, especially the S.A.D. Auto as it is my favourite flavor from the Sweet Seeds genetic collection. The sweet aroma of this strain brings to mind the taste of cough syrup. But there is something about the taste that also reminds me of carrot juice with cane sugar. The orange pistils of Sweet Afgani Delicious Auto are also a very unique characteristic of this wonderful strain. In contrast, Cream Caramel Auto is a very aromatic strain that features a base of earthy aromas with a soft mix of candies and citrus hints. When rubbing the fingers in the flowers it’s easy to identify a molasses aroma with a soft touch of anise and licorice. That’s when I realised I had a Cream Caramel Auto in the group of the 16 plants. Later on, when I tried the smoke and vapour of this autoflowering strain, I could confirm that the taste is as exquisite as the smell, with a remarkable flavor of caramelised sugar that brings to mind medicinal caramels. In the end it leaves a complex universe of sensations in the mouth and nose.

Recognisable, even with eyes closed, there was also a Jack 47 Auto with the traditional lemony notes and hints of incense, intense as poison. But the final confirmation came a couple of weeks after. On smoking some of her flowers, a strong and instantaneous Sativa effect left me with no doubts that it was a mix of Jack Herer and AK47 in autoflowering version. Later on, an exotic aroma with clear resemblances to the smell of a good old Diesel genetic allowed me to identify one Ice Cool Auto plant, with some beautiful flowers and a good resin production. Ice Cool Auto is another 4th Generation Autoflowering strain that you can get in this package. The last plant that I could recognise was a Sweet Cheese Auto because it was somehow similar to the Sweet Skunk Auto. But in the moment I crushed the first flower and cheesy terpenes filled the air, I had no doubt than it was a Sweet Cheese Auto. All in all, it was a very pleasant way to finish this adventure with an authentic box of candies.

In this package it is possible to find all the Sweet Seeds autoflowering strains featured in the 2014 catalogue, including the two new recently released 4th generation autos: Ice Cool Auto (Ice Cool x Fast Bud #2) and Sweet Trainwreck Auto. As well as two new Red Family autoflowering strains: Bloody Skunk (Sweet Skunk Auto x Red Poison) and Devil Cream (Dark Devil x Black Cream). If you want to get a package from a recent batch so that you can be sure that it includes all the new autoflowering strains mentioned before in the mix, my advice is that you get the seeds directly from the seedbank at www.sweetseeds.es

In the official Sweet Seeds website you can also find all the other autoflowering strains mentioned in this grow report, as well as a very complete genetic collection of photoperiod strains, famed for their sweet and aromatic characteristics.

Happy smokes and sweet surprises!

Words by Tommy G
Pics by Tommy G and Jaypp

First published in Weed World edition 113

Buy Sweet Seeds mixtures from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Akorn by TH Seeds Train Story

2017-02-03 15:01:12

Akorn: The comeback killer

 

There are strains that come and stay for decades. Other strains come and go, flushed off the market by those flood waves of new strains spilling over the globe every year. And then there are a few strains that come and go, but also return at a certain point – the comeback strains. Such a strain is Akorn from T.H. Seeds. Already in the 1990s, it was part of the early T.H. assortment, before the genetics got lost in Amsterdam around the turn of the millennium due to unfortunate circumstances, and Akorn’s place was taken by another strain for the time being. But it turned out luckily after a while that friends in Spain (who later on became T.H. Seeds Iberica, the Spanish outpost of the company) also were in possession of Akorn’s parental genetics so that this strain could stage a comeback three years ago, exclusively available as feminised seed.

The mostly indica strain Akorn has its roots in the North Western USA, from where it found its way over the big pond to The Netherlands in 1995, being added to the range of strains of a young seed company called T.H. Seeds. Akorn carries the nickname “Snowbud”, because its numerous big rock-hard buds look very frosty, almost like snowbound. Its potency is accordingly heavy. After a flowering time of 55-60 days, growers can expect harvests of 400-500g/m2. In spite of the genetically dominant indica share, Akorn plants tend to stretch so that heights of 125-150cm are possible.

Sensational success for Akorn: 20 years after its arrival in Europe, this T.H. Seeds classic took first place in the indica category (VIP judges) of the Social Clubs Cup in Barcelona at the end of May 2015, entered by Boira Barcelona Club. Not enough with that victory, at the same event MK-Ultra won the Indica Cup (popular jury) for the second time in a row: Spain definitely is a good place for T.H. Seeds!

The Doc loves strains like Akorn aka Snowbud, strains with a long eventful history. So it was a special joy for him to put this comeback strain to a cultivation test. Three feminised Akorn seeds he used for that, and they germinated well, after three days the seedlings had come off the ground and stretched towards the light. In the vegetative stage, the plants performed excellently, after 4.5 weeks (when The Doc induced flowering) they looked absolutely identical: strong, compact, highly branched, horizontally protruding, of exactly the same height. “If I didn’t know that I grew these plants from seed, I definitely would have thought that they are clones, never experienced such a stunning degree of uniformity”, The Doc marveled.

After the light cycle had been switched from 18/6 to 12/12, the three Akorn plants gave a quick response, presenting their first female preflowers already after 5-6  days. Two weeks later, those numerous branches were lined with lots of little initial “rose bud” formations. In the course of flowering, The Doc realised that the plants’ stretching behaviour was not as pronounced as expected, after about four weeks into flowering, they had stopped growing to height, being 76cm tall. “What is yet to come in terms of height now, will solely be caused by the actual bud growth”, The Doc supposed, and he added: “It’s still simply insane, these three plants are so uniform that the difference in height is less than 0.5cm! Also, they are about putting on a lot of weight, and resin production has cranked into full gear meanwhile.”

In the following flowering weeks, the plants kept on developing precisely in step with each other, with the buds becoming thick and thicker and the resin pouring out of countless trichomes in abundance. The side branches of the three plants, heavily laden with buds, had arrived at almost the same height, thus shaping an opulent wide bud plateau around the top cola rising up in the middle. Heavy and predominantly hashy was the smell of the tops, but also a bit woodily, with a hint of conifer. In the last two flowering weeks, The Doc didn’t give the plants nutrients any longer, but flushed them with plain water and two times with “Clean Fruits” solution. The end came just in time, after 8.5 weeks of flowering. As expected by The Doc, those three extremely homogeneous Akorn plants had fully matured on the very same day. He enthused: “Without a doubt, this strain’s nickname Snowbud is well-deserved, as the buds are so richly covered with silvery white resin crystals that they really look like snowbound winter flowers.”

The identical final height of the three plants was 85cm, considerably less than officially forecasted, but The Doc appreciated that sturdy, compact and very handy plant size. The more so as it produced tremendous yields – The Doc read a total of 320 grams of dried rock-hard buds off the scales, i.e. about 107 grams per plant on the average! “Once again, a smashing bumper harvest from a T.H. Seeds strain, after their Darkstar, also Akorn has impressively entered into the 100-grams-league now”, The Doc cheered.

Akorn’s spicy flavour proved to be quite like its odour, tasting hashy on the inhale and a bit piney on the exhale. While it was a full-bodied nice taste, it didn’t possess an unmistakable specific note by means of which one could have recognized the strain in a blindfold smoking test with many other strains. However, only quite a few strains do have such an unmistakable flavour. Smoking the Akorn unleashed brute indica power, with a hard-hitting punch as strong as Thor’s hammer: While The Doc, hard-boiled as he is, was able to enjoy the feeling of most massive stonedness that set in after half a joint, his pal Enzo felt like a temporarily paralysed wild animal that had been shot with a tranquilizer gun, bringing down his bodily functions to a minimum: Akorn, the comeback killer, had done a relentless job... For Enzo who doesn’t smoke cannabis every day, Akorn’s potency was simply too much. The Doc: “Akorn is a mighty strain with a very long lasting, tremendous effect. With this kind of weed, you can smoke beginners and lightweight users under the table. But for me as a chronic pain patient who can take a real lot, it’s just the right medicine. No wonder that this strain was recently chosen as the best indica strain at the Social Clubs Cup in Spain. As proven by Enzo’s case, there are, literally, devastatingly strong arguments for that..!”

Words and pictures by Green Born Identity 

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 119

Buy Akorn seeds from our online shop!

Posted in Cannabis News

Warlock: The return of the conjuring master

It always is a special excitement when a strain has to pass a cultivation test that has been on the market for a very long time already. And had passed through such a test for the first time many moons ago. With many moons, I mean thirteen years: That’s how long it’s ago that the mighty Warlock crossed my path for the first time, back then still under the label of Magus Genetics. During that encounter, the “conjuring master” forsooth exhibited impressive magic powers, in the form of a long-lasting aroma spell, a sensational odour intensity that had been unknown up to that point. Warlock was the strain the pungent aroma clouds of which rushed into one’s face right after having opened the stash box, causing a prickling feeling on the skin and then spreading out in the whole room at lightning speed – This really was what I use to call an “anti-discretion” variety...

At that time, rumours about this strain were afloat that some Illinois state troopers had measured confiscated Warlock plants at 29% THC. But Gerrit, the Warlock breeder, distanced himself from that story, calling it a more than dubious creation of legends by somebody. Right he was, because to date no cannabis strain has ever achieved such a THC content, at least not under objectively verifiable laboratory test conditions. And while Warlock certainly is a very potent strain, it doesn’t get near the limits of what’s biologically possible.

About Warlock’s origin – In the early 1990s, Gerrit found some seeds in Skunk and Afghani buds he had bought in a coffeeshop. He planted them into soil and later on crossed the resulting plants with one another. The outcome of that he liked a lot, in the next step crossing his best Skunk with one of his male Skunk/Afghani crosses. Thus the foundation for the Warlock strain was laid, as Gerrits Skunk x Skunk/Afghani plant turned out to be a stunning lucky punch that he kept on selecting and stabilizing in the following breeding generations. Gerrit also got prominent support for Warlock – In the mid nineties, the popular Amsterdam Coffeeshop Bluebird exclusively sold his Warlock weed, bringing this strain a permanently growing following. The next step on the ladder of success was taken when Gerrit gained third place with Warlock in the Bio category of the High Times Cannabis Cup 1997, it was his first participation. In the following year, Warlock seeds became commercially available, quickly establishing themselves on the seed market.

Although genetically she’s an indica-dominant plant, Warlock’s appearance and effect are more leaning towards the sativa side: Strong branching, long-lasting elongation during flowering, a very high calyx-to-leaf ratio and a high that is more located in the head than in the body, having a stimulating, sativa-driven effect.

Warlock is well-known for its trademark “popcorn bud” look, consisting of plenty of unusually evenly rounded calyx clusters. With 55-60 days, her flowering time is fairly moderate – Not just suitable for hectic people, but certainly also not over-taxing people’s patience. The more so as they get rewarded with excellent yields of 400-500g/m2. Already at an early stage of flowering, that typically intense sweet odour of this variety is noticeable, out smelling anything else in the grow room. Quite often, Warlock also has a sourly fruity note, and with a little bit of luck, you may encounter the rare raspberry Warlock phenotype, as experienced by Mr. Power-Planter some years ago. Warlock is also popular as a medical plant (for example in British Columbia, Canada), causing a positive prevailing mood and focusing of thoughts which is good for patients suffering from ADHD or slight depressions.

So thirteen years have passed since my first encounter with Warlock, the conjuring master. The world of cannabis strains has undergone a drastic change since that time, the global supply of strains almost cannot be counted any longer and a huge number of new players has entered the seed market while only a few have left it. Like for example breeder Gerrit from Magus Genetics did, who said good-bye to the scene in 2011, passing his strains on to Serious Seeds, of course also including Warlock, the mighty flagship of his small but superior strain assortment. It was a nice coincidence that 2011 also was the year in which Warlock scored another coup at the High Times Cup, taking second place in the “Best Concentrate” category. And thus proving that it could easily keep pace with those many new school strains and even leave them behind. Warlock proved this again in 2015 by winning the third place at the Dab-A-Doo in Barcelona with the most wonderful fruity  Warlock water-hash.

The Doc almost felt a kind of reverence when he put the legendary Warlock to a cultivation test last year, almost twenty years after its creation. As usual, a package of five feminised  seeds was sown into jiffy pots, yielding a germination rate of 100%. Soon repotted to 11 litre containers, the five Warlock plants exhibited strong early growth, with dense internodes. Four weeks after having put the seeds to germination, The Doc induced flowering by reducing the daily light cycle from 18/6 to 12/12. At that stage, the plants were pretty homogeneous, about 35-40 cm tall, but already having seven or eight internodes, resulting in a very bushy appearance that matched the regular growth pattern of a mostly indica strain. “They’re cutting a fine figure”, The Doc praised.

After two weeks of flowering, he reported: “Switching to flowering happened in no time, one can already see the first little flower roses on top of the branches, that’s pretty damn soon!” Two weeks later, he continued: “Awesome! These are five super fat globose bushes, looking as if I had pinched them back, but that’s not the case. In the first four weeks of flowering, there was a noticeable stretching effect, but not as strong as expected. The flower tops are about to join the “thick & dense” category, already now, there are tons of nicely shaped buds protruding from the plants, with many resin glands on them. And that intense sweet smell in the air unmistakably comes from those five Warlocks.“

Six weeks into flowering, they had kept on gaining a lot of weight, as reported by The Doc: “Magnificient fatties these are, like straight out of a picture book - chunky, corpulent and heavily sweating, in the form of countless resin drips. Meanwhile the first flower hairs have turned brown. I guess that the official flowering time of 55-60 days will come true here. In the last two weeks I won’t give the plants any fertilizer, but only flush them with Clean Fruits from Green Buzz Liquids.” Three of the five Warlock plants The Doc then could harvest after 59 days of flowering, the other two remained two more days in the grow room. “I am stunned by the homogeneity of this strain, as all these five plants are incredibly fat and compact, each of them crowned with 10-12 top colas that look like beams, and they are hard as beams, too! Not to speak of the fact that the final heights were 75-82 cm, only a scope of 7cm difference in height for five plants from seed – most amazing. And the buds look like densely sprayed with resin. Warlock has very finely proportioned resin glands that spread out over the entirety of flower leaves, too.” 

While The Doc was amazed by the invariable abundance of flowers, one thing made him marvel even more: Two of the plants distinctively smelled like raspberry – There it really was, that very rare Warlock raspberry pheno, present with two plants even! “A particularly delicious sort of fruit aroma that I haven’t encountered so far with any other cannabis plant. The other three plants also have a fruity touch which, however, is more sourly, as described by Serious Seeds”, The Doc enthused.

So Warlock, the magician, this time also carried “poisonous” raspberries in his richly filled harvest basket (the total weight was 485 grams, i.e. almost 100 grams per plant).  Thus he could put The Doc under his spell already olfactorily, but the true glamour was yet to come as The Doc had yet not tasted those sweet fruits…. But a few weeks later, after the buds had been dried and cured, Warlock’s magic show was ready to begin. Unfortunately, that raspberry aroma wasn’t that distinctive any longer with the dried buds, more a sort of associative thing now. But it still was a highly alluring sweet and fruity aroma, and the same was true for those buds with a more sourly fruit fragrance. The Doc filled his Volcano vaporizer with about a quarter gram of Warlock bud, and the wonderfully sweet tasting balloon vapor instantly made him feel like floating above the ground, a strong sativa turn spread out its wings, quickly carrying The Doc into Warlock’s magic kingdom. Where he would stay for a long time in a very good mood, fairly exhilarated, but also pretty stoned at the same time. Then Warlock’s spell diminished bit by bit, in the end setting The Doc free again.

His concluding remark: “Warlock really left nothing to be desired. What a return of the conjuring master - Impressive, how fresh and vibrant this strain from the 1990s still comes over nowadays. Fat yields after a moderate flowering time, a fantastic aroma and high: What more could you ask for?”

Words and pictures by Green Born Identity (G.B.I.)

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 118

Buy Warlock seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Killer Grape by TGA Genetics Grow Report

Killer Grape = Killer Queen x Querkle

Breeder: Subcool

Subcool recently acquired Vic Highs clone only Killer Queen and paired it up with his infamous Querkle stud to create an amazing new hybrid he's calling Killer Grape. By adding the Querkle to the mix the intensions were to tighten node spacing, and new flavors and also providing some color to sweeten the pot

Once the seeds were planted I found the Killer Grape to be quite uniform through out the veg cycle staying relatively short and stocky-topped only once early in vegetation provided me with 2 main cola's pr plant. The leaves were of medium width and length with a rich forest green color. I have them in 4" pots for the 1st 3-4 weeks then I'll re-pot them to 3 gallons’ for an additional 4-6 weeks. At 10 weeks old from seed I placed them into the flower room to let them do their thing and I was gifted with 6 ladies from a 10 pack.

 

Stretch was about 2 times but I like keeping my day and night temps within 10 degree's to help control the stretch during the 1st 2-3 weeks of budding. By the 4th week I was gazing upon 2 variations of flowers once the onset of budding was underway. At about 6 weeks in the Querkle dominant pheno's were dense and chunky but had a slight spear shape while the Killer Queen versions kept there spear shaped cones and a little lighter and fluffier. I fell in love with the aromas eminating from them by week 4 with grape's, sour grapes ,citus's, spice's hashy tones, it was heaving as soon as I opened the door.

The flavor's and aroma's shine on this line. I love how the taste's just linger in the pallet like your favorite food. You can realy smell and taste the Grapiness from the Querkle dominant versions with some added spice's, citrus's as well as the earthy tones. The Killer Queen samples however seemed to have retained most of their original flavors and the grape is on the back side. I personally would invest in a 10 pack for the variety of females to choose from

Killer Grape can be some pretty serious medicine and could be a little to strong for the inexperienced. Two of the samples I tried in particular hit me pretty hard after just a few hits in the Sublimator. I was so high I couldn't keep my eyes open but my mind was tripping and my body to lazy to move. It lasted for 20-3o minutes then leveled off to cruzing speed. The remaining 4 samples were very well balanced both body and mind which is good for the sole but yet still were strong enough to keep me well medicated for a couple of hours before re-loading.

Resin, what can I say about the resin's, I'll let the photo's speak for themselves how’s that.

Best way to grow: Topped 2 or more times to form bush's or in a sea of green

Pheno Type: Querkle dominant chunky fat clusters and Killer Queen spear shaped and both expressing purple and maroon/burgundy colors

Height: medium to tall

Yield: Medium to Large yields with lots of resin for your concentrates

Recommended for both Indoor and Outdoor's preferably organic (IMO)

Harvest: 8-9 weeks

Sat/Ind: 50/50

Hybrid: Killer Queen x Querkle

High Type: Very fast and hard hitting leaving your face and head reeling and your body to numb to move

Taste/Aroma: Grapes, Sour Grape's, Fruity, Spicy and Hashy, Earthy

Words and pictures by Ocanabis

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 118

Buy seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

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