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Modular Scrog

2017-01-27 12:58:47

The Modular Scrog

Canopy control and management has always been of utmost importance to me.  I started out as a closet grower with not only a small footprint to work with, but limited headspace as well.  Controlling the height of my plants was not only preferable, but also essential for me to have any success what-so-ever in supplying myself with some homegrown Dank.   Within a few weeks of getting started on my first grow, I watched in horror as my plants happily grew into my lights, I was faced with the reality of learning some serious LST (low stress training), bonsai, and SCROG techniques...and fast...

I learned an awful lot throughout that first grow, and if memory serves, harvested a Q.P. of some pretty high quality head stash. But in retrospect, the knowledge I gained while having to severely bond, torture, and control my little plants were of even greater value.  First off, I gained a huge amount of respect and incredible appreciation for what the cannabis plant is capable of enduring. Secondly, though I didn't know it then, started me on what would ultimately become a serious obsession...the quest for the Perfect Canopy!

The problem was, I never was a big fan of a fixed scrog screen, especially in a small confined space. I prefer to move my plants in and out of my flower room or greenhouse, so I can give them a thorough inspection for potential problems under natural light.  I am also a photo nerd, so I need to be able to move my plants into the studio for their “glamor” shots!  I was after the perfect canopy, but it became quite clear a traditional fixed scrog was not going to work for my scene.  I wanted the benefits a scrog would give me, yet the added bonus of mobility.  What I needed was a modular scrog!

I wanted something tight, tidy, self-contained, and light enough that I could shuffle around.  I had recently been gifted with some Vortex seeds from Subcool and I learned from the detailed description on TGA's website, this ultra fast, delicate little Sativa would be a perfect candidate for my new set-up.  It was described as a real “flopper”, lots of bud sites of heavy, dank fruit, hanging on delicate stems!  It was going to need a lot of support; it was looking like I had the perfect candidate the challenge was on!

The only real difference between a traditional scrog, which is often attached directly to the walls of the room and my modular unit, was that my screen had to be attached to my pot.  Originally I thought I would just screw some “legs” onto the sides of a thick plastic nursery pot, then build some sort of frame for the screen and attach it to the legs.  Seemed easy enough, but I wanted to use a fabric pot like a smart pot, so the new challenge became attaching this contraption to a flimsy, soft sided container.

I scratched my head over the design for over a week, strolling the aisles of the local hardware store, mentally cobbling together pieces of steel and wood, nuts and bolts.  I needed it to be light, so it wouldn't get too top-heavy when it was packed with buds, and it had to be inexpensive.  I wasn't too excited about dropping a bunch of coins on an “experiment”.  I was just about to give up on the whole idea when a few days later I was cleaning up the farm for “dump day”, when I came across an old galvanized hog panel laying in the weeds. This was the missing link, I could build the whole unit out of the long thin galvanized rod cut out of the panel with a bolt cutters, all I had to do was figure out how to clamp it all together.

A hog panel is essentially a long fence panel made with vertical and horizontal pieces of ¼ inch rod lightly tack welded together. In an hour, and a few very large blisters later, I had the whole panel clipped apart with the bolt cutters and the 32 inch diameter hoop bent and wired together with 12 gauge coated electrical wire.  I then discovered the galvanized rod had an added bonus, every 8 inches or so along the perimeter of the hoop was a little “nub” left behind from the crossing member that was clipped out, perfect to wrap and hold the coated wire when weaving the actual screen. (insert photos)                     I decided three legs would be sufficient and used a table vice to bend 3 inch “feet” on the ends of them to provide an “anchor”, and to prevent them from pulling out of the soil, or worse, poking through the bottom of the smart pot.  From there I added a short 90 degree bend at the top of each leg to provide a space to use some cable clamps to attach the legs to the hoop.  Then it was just a matter of finishing the lacing with coated wire, and I was ready to transplant my little main-lined Vortex into her new home.           

I main-lined my little Vortex to have 32 leaders and kept her bonded low and tight to the smartie with Velcro strapping to allow her to fill out horizontally. The entire unit, to the top of the screen measured 28 inches tall, and I figured once the colas filled the perimeter of the hoop, it would end up about 36 inches wide. The days were long in June, so I just left her outside to veg until she was just a few inches above the screen. Then she was moved in and out each day between the greenhouse and the attached office (dark room) to give her 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness.  After a few weeks, I had a perfectly filled scrog full of some beautiful young flowers. I was really happy with the design; it was strong, light, and provided excellent support for my Sativa Dominant hybrid. It became clear by the third week of flower that I was on to something good!   By the first week of August, I was harvesting about a ½ pound of some killer Dank...mission accomplished!

Words and pictures by Nugbuckets

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 102

Posted in Cannabis News

Mendo Grape Kush

2017-01-27 12:43:05

Mendo Grape Kush from Ultra Genetics

The colours of a rainbow in a single pack of seeds


 Mendo Grape Kush is one of the first seed drops from UK born breeders Ultra Genetics and its promo pictures certainly show her to be one incredibly eye catching lady boasting colours of purple, pink and green. The breeders info says Mendo Grape Kush is capable of producing some of the prettiest colour plants on the market with yields and flavour to equally impress which is a pretty big claim. They stress that not all phenotypes produce shades of purple so I will have to wait and see if my pack of seeds includes one of these special looking ladies.

After a quick soak in water I put the seeds into Jiffy pellets and popped them under a 250w cfl bulb. Within 48 hours I was the proud father of ten new little seedlings which did not stay little for very long. Once the MGK's were put under a 600watt lamp they went crazy becoming big bushy monsters within weeks. I also potted some up and put them outside to soak up the hot Spanish sun. The MGK is not a compact growing plant but more of a multi branched beast! If it flowers with the same power it shows in Veg i'm going to be one very happy man when they are finished. The quick growing nature of this strain makes it wise to pinch and bend stems to keep an even canopy for indoor growers to maximise yield. Outdoor growers do not need to do a thing but let the sun do its job. Once switched to 12/12 the plants kicked into flowering very quickly including the outdoor plants I was force flowering at the same time. A couple of weeks later I noticed the first signs of purple on one of the outdoor plants which put a smile on my face. The colour is definitely from the genetics and not a result of cold temperatures as the temps here in Spain have not dropped below 25 degree's for weeks now. If anything its too hot in Spain for perfect growing and protection from the midday sun is highly recommended.

One thing I noticed with the MGK is that the lower branches seem capable of yielding almost as much as the main cola keeping up in size very well even indoors making me think its perfect for a SCROG grow. Outside the plants were showing massive flower production on every branch thanks to that giant grow light in the sky which did not let up for a single day whilst I forced flowered the plants. Its pretty easy to see early in flower that Ultra Genetics were not exaggerating when they called MGK a high yielder as she certainly packs on the weight quickly along with the resin. Under a microscope the MGK can keep you entertained for ages especially the multi coloured phenotypes with their shades of green and purple tones. The Mendo Grape Kush's quick and powerful growing traits could make her more suitable for an experienced grower than a beginner grower with space issues. All the phenotypes appear to yield very well and taste very similar making the colour of plant not important so if you do not get a plant that turns pink and purple colours you will still get a very large bounty of sweet resin coated Kush.

The flavour is quite unique and stands out very clearly from many of the strains available today. Its nothing like any old dutch strains I have smoked and I can not think of a strain I could compare it to. Its certainly in a different taste bracket to most. All my phenotypes appear to carry a similar smell and taste with some green phenotypes having a hint of sweet pine or sweet fruit to the deep almost perfume like aroma. Opinions on the main flavour between myself and friends vary between a Deep Grapefruit and Mango. When I say Grapefruit I mean real shake your head bitter grapefruit juice but this is not juice and instead a similar taste in a very smooth smoke. I feel often people mix up Grapes and Grapefruit when they talk about flavour forgetting Grapefruit is a sharp bitter tasting fruit. I personally like the taste of Grapefruit juice but dislike the intense bitterness so find this strain really enjoyable. It captures a nice unique taste and delivers it in a very pleasant way. The hint of pine and fruit alongside keep the taste rich and pleasant on the tongue. The purple tinted phenotypes certainly leave a pretty mix of colours in your grinder. Words that come to my mind when I think of MGK are big, different, strong and pretty. I think every smoker friend I shared a smoke with and showed a bud to smelled it and said 'wow that's different'. Its not a knock your head off your shoulders head high but more of a body relaxing high that leaves you pretty clear headed for thinking, getting creative or just going about your daily life so could be great for those patients who are looking for a body relaxant but still need to appear fairly with it in public. Its got OG Kush in it so you know it packs a punch if you push it. Overall I have to say I enjoyed growing and smoking the MGK. It was a nice change to the grow room and the lungs.

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 102

Posted in Cannabis News

Cold Creek Kush strain review

2017-01-27 12:28:07

Cold Creek Kush from T.H. Seeds: Kush reloaded - MK-Ultra meets Chemdawg 91

Thanks to possession of the “legendary Colorado heavyweight Chemdawg  91”, the famous mother to both OG Kush and East Coast Sour Diesel, T.H. Seeds of Amsterdam are in a position to create exciting Kush varieties that stand out of the crowd. In the case of Cold Creek Kush, they married their highly popular MK-Ultra strain (G-13 x OG Kush) to Chemdawg 91, resulting in a super potent and good yielding, which is mostly indica Kush hybrid that turns your Kush bloom habit expectations upside down, as it tends to considerably stretch during flowering (60-67 days) and up to more than two times their height after having entered into the flowering stage. Plants grow to a final height of 110-130 cm, delivering yields of 350-450 grams per square metre.

Cold Creek Kush pocketed an early applause when it took second place in the indica category of the High Times Cannabis Cup 2010 and also medical marijuana users have reported on its outstanding effectiveness against: chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea and insomnia.

The Doc, an ardent lover of Kush genetics, was eager to convince himself of the qualities of Cold Creek Kush and germinated a full package of regular Cold Creek Kush seeds, placing them between moist sheets of paper towel. When the radicles had very quickly emerged from the shells, he gently transplanted them into three litre pots filled with seedling soil. Only one of the seeds seemed to take much longer to germinate, but The Doc decided to give it all the time it would need. Put in a small grow box under two Secret Jardin 150 W high-efficiency CFL lights, the nine fast seedlings arrived at the surface in no time and straightened up. After one week of growth, they measured about three cm, already exhibiting three internodes, so they were going to grow very compact in the beginning and also very homogeneous. In the meantime, that slower tenth seed had sprouted too. The Doc moved all the plants into the actual grow room, where the young Cold Creek Kush plants received plenty of light from a 600 W Planta Star HPS lamp, 18 hours per day. They did appreciate that, having grown to a height of about 10-12 cm another week later, with 5-7 internodes, while that tenth plant was clearly behind. The Doc repotted the plants the plants into 11 litre pots filled with Plagron Standard Mix soil to which he had previously added 5% expanded clay and horn chippings and left them in the vegetative stage for ten more days. Then, after about 3.5 weeks of growth, he induced flowering by cutting down the daily light cycle from 18 to 12 hours, at the same time installing two GIB Lighting 600 W HPS and one 400 W Osram Son T plus lamp for an excellent bloom performance.

At that point of time, the Cold Creek Kush plants had developed into stout bushy plants with lots of well developing side branches and amazingly big broad fan leaves, measuring about 35-40 cm. The Doc was aware that, despite the considerable stretching effect that was to be expected, a somewhat longer vegetative period would have been advisable probably, but he also had two other, sativa-dominant strains growing in his room and therefore feared space problems. Nevertheless the first five plants revealed their gender after already four days, turning out to be all female!

“What a sensational female rate so far and I hope there are more to come yet…”, The Doc noted.

And, indeed in the following days, three more plants were producing female preflowers, while there were only two male ones, so there was a stunning female plant rate of 80%. After two weeks into flowering, The Doc reported: “However, the plants meanwhile seem to divide into two different height phenotypes, four of the female Cold Creek Kush plants have substantially stretched in the first two weeks of flowering, while the other four haven’t stretched very much, obviously subjected to a stronger indica influence which is also expressed in the form of wider leaves.”

While that different stretching behavior would last on in the following two weeks, all of the eight plants put much energy into the vivid production of female flower clusters and resin glands, after four weeks already. Cold Creek Kush came up with lovely dense white trichome carpets covering the prospering buds and bud leaves, spreading a deliciously blended odour consisting of a floral sweet body paired with fuel undertones. After five weeks of flowering, the stretching effect had come to an end, with the three largest plants having arrived at heights of 100-115 cm. Four of the plants measured 75-95 cm and that one late-start plant still nibbled at the 60 cm mark, but was growing very wide, with lots of side branches and already respectably big buds. Those five shorter plants were growing so densely that The Doc decided to remove some of the big shade leaves, to encourage the flower production of lower side branches.

Now it was all about building thick fat resinous buds, in the remaining weeks of flowering, all of the eight Cold Creek Kush plants were tapping their full bloom potential. The three tallest plants, with obviously more sativa influence produced a remarkably high calyx-to-leaf ratio, but also those shorter, more indica-dominated plants did exhibit a very attractive budding pattern with lots of flower hairs that turned orange near the end of flowering. After almost eight weeks of flowering, all the buds and bud leaves were frosted with tons of resin glands.

The Doc reported “What a pleasure to look at - The plants from the bottom to the top are laden with tight chunky buds, some of which could be ripe on a few plants in about 4-5 days, while others will obviously take a little longer.”

The first three plants were harvested after 59 days of flowering, while the other five needed 62-65 days to ripen. In the end, the Cold Creek Kush plants had grown to heights of 85-122 cm, solely that late-start plant had notably stepped out of the line, achieving a height of only about 65 cm, however, that was compensated by plenty of tremendous buds.

After the harvest had been dried and weighed, The Doc found himself in possession of excellent 730 grams (= about 91 grams per plant on the average, the heaviest plant had yielded 118 grams) of chunky Cold Creek Kush buds that looked, felt and smelled terrific: Highly resinous, rock-hard and giving off an exquisite bouquet of a floral and also fruity sweetness combined with a certain fuel note coming from the Chemdawg 91.  As for the taste, the floral sweetness came over very distinctly also in the smoke, while that fruity aspect gave fully way to the fuel note now that lingered on the palate for a longer time after having exhaled. Cold Creek Kush’s turn was hitting The Doc very quickly, after a few tokes already, a mighty strong sativa buzz rushed into his brain and body, affecting a bright cerebral up high. But that crystal clear sativa effect wouldn’t reign unaltered for very long, as it was soon accompanied by a certain degree of indica stonedness, too. Overall a very strong and pleasant turn that kept The Doc both physically deeply relaxed and in a euphoric state of mind, lasting for about one and a half our.

“Kush reloaded - This is definitely another superb Kush strain from T.H. Seeds”, The Doc concluded, “with unusual qualities in the high, easy to grow and very rewarding in terms of both quality and quantity.”

Words and pictures by Green Born Identity

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 101

Buy Cold Creek Kush seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

To Fem or Not to Fem?

2017-01-27 11:56:22

“To FEM or not to FEM?” that is the question.

In this article I would like to look at some of the pros and cons of feminized seeds, discuss methods of feminization and the nature of hermaphroditism. It is important to remember that cannabis has the potential to be both dioecious (having the male and female reproductive organs in separate individuals) and monoecious (having both the male and female reproductive organs in the same individual; hermaphrodite) and one must be careful when inducing hermaphroditism, or sex reversal, not to end up with whole populations of plants that herm out.

     Recently I learned that 90% of seed sales internationally are feminized seeds. So far in my breeding work I have been predominantly opposed to feminization. I have always selected away from hermaphroditism and towards plants that are stable and dioecious. I have never used colchicine to try to induce polyploidy, or gibberellins or silver compounds to try to induce hermaphroditism or sex reversal. I have made feminized seeds through intentionally stressing plants and causing them to “herm out” and then putting them into a room with healthy non-stressed flowering clones and letting the stressed plant pollinate the non-stressed plants. We call this method top-crossing. Similar techniques are used when chemically inducing sex reversal. Plants treated with gibberellins or silver compounds are caused to turn hermaphrodite or from female to male and they are placed with healthy female plants that are in a state of pistillate peak fluorescence (ready for pollination) and the feminized pollen pollinates the female plants. In theory this works well, 98% or more of the offspring theoretically come out female and in theory there should be little or no hermaphroditism in the offspring of the healthy non-hermaphrodite plants. Now in practice this doesn’t seem to be the case. I hear more and more stories of growers who bought guaranteed feminized seeds for their medical gardens and all of their plants “morphed out”(turned hermaphrodite). 

     The theory behind feminization makes total sense, if your intention is to grow “sinsemellia” (without seeds) then eliminating the potential for male plants would be ideal. In theory eliminating the y chromosome would insure a population of plants that would express all xx chromosome pairing (xx being female and xy being male) thus all of the plants would be female, however given the monoecious potential in cannabis plants, the lack of a y chromosome does not guarantee a seedless crop. Understand that when you chemically treat a female (xx) plant to produce male flowers you are inducing hermaphroditism, causing a female plant to have male flowers that will give you female (xx) pollen. Something similar occurs in nature. Many Southeast Asian varieties will tend to be monoecious in nature, many breeders such as the “Haze Brothers” from the central coast of California used Cambodian, Thai, Laotian, and Vietnamese sativas in addition to Mexican and Central American sativas to develop their original Haze strain in the 1970’s. In land-race equatorial sativas, especially Southeast Asian varieties, self-pollination or hermaphroditism is a commonly occurring trait. It is something that the plants have learned to do as an adaptive way of survival. My theory is that in equatorial areas the humidity is so high and the rain fall so common that there is not often enough dry pollen to blow from one plant to another. So as a way of adapting, the equatorial sativas became monoecious. It is much easier for the pollen to reach the pistils if both the male and female flowers are on the same branch. In California, indigenous land-race equatorial sativas have been hybridized and selectively bread away from monoecious hermaphrodite traits by growers who wanted seedless herb to smoke. For over 40 years the mothers, fathers, uncles and aunts and cousins of my generation have been selectively breeding away from hermaphroditism. Why is it that in the last 5-10 years it has become such a popular trend to produce or purchase FEM seeds? Is it that the novice balcony growers all over Europe aren’t capable or competent enough to sex their plants? Is it that all of the closet cultivators across America are just too lazy to pull a couple males? In California medical marijuana patients are allowed 12 immature or 6 mature plants, this is to allow for half the plants to be culled, assuming you will get 50% males and 50% females. A good stable in-bread line will produce 90% females from seed without feminization. So if your goal is to grow sinsemellia, why would you choose seed from self-pollinating hermaphrodite plants?

     I have grown plenty of seedless herbs from feminized seeds that I have made by top crossing my moms into my clones. Because I never chemically induce hermaphroditism, I never really have issues with my feminized seeds going wrong. Sometimes I will have a few pistillate male flowers or “bananas” but never so much that they seed out my whole crop. In a lot of the Diesel/Chem Dawg family genetics the “bananas” are common, especially if your growing environment isn’t stress free.  If you want to know how to do it right, I will tell you, but first I want to tell you about one of the horror stories of growers I’ve known who’ve had it come out wrong. The most recent story I have heard is from a friend of mine who is a Dutch-German American. His father is German, his mother is Dutch, and he is born American. My bro, let’s call him “Jimmy,” is a competent grower and collector of fine strains of cannabis. He is the primary care provider for his elderly parents who both have serious medical conditions and a definite need for medicinal cannabis to improve their quality of life. “Jimmy” travels the world and is friends with a lot of growers and breeders across North America and Europe. He samples the finest herbs and cannabis extracts from around the globe and is a person that even the oldest and most posh of the international cannabis connoisseurs and breeders respect as someone who knows his ganja. Recently one of his “breeder” friends gave him some seeds from their feminized line. “Jimmy” graciously accepted the gift and went home and waited to plant the seeds. “Jimmy” lives in California so he can be close to and take care of his elderly parents and he grows a small legal amount of medicinal marijuana to help alleviate the suffering of his mom and dad. He doesn’t boast about the quantity of medicine he grows, but he takes pride in the quality of the herbs that he produces. “Jimmy” has a nice collection of clone strains and is a member of a collective where he volunteers his time to help other patients in need of medicine. In exchange for his time he is remunerated with healthy cuttings from true breeding non-feminized clone strains such as the SFV OG, Fire OG, Pure Kush, Sour Diesel, Chem Dawg, Bubba Kush, Royal Kush etc. etc. The plants come to him free of mites or mildew and are healthy and ready to go. Normally “Jimmy” gets the number of clones he is legally allowed from the collective and takes them to his grow room and grows them into beautiful healthy sinsemellia plants that yield plenty of dank, super heady nugs that keep his parents well medicated until the next harvest. Last cycle he decided to see what all of the hype was about and he cracked some of the FEM seeds he was given to try. His breeder buddy had talked them up tremendously and having mostly grown from clones he was eager to see the results of seed verses clone in a controlled environment. He did everything the same as always, he had the same varieties of strains, from the collective, that he normally grows and used the same nutrient technique he always uses. The room is climate controlled and everything is mechanically sound with his timers and controllers. “Jimmy”, although born in America, is still a portrait of Dutch-German precision, you should see the way he rolls his spliffs, no one on the west coast would mistake him for an American, maybe a Cannuck from Vancouver, The Sunshine Coast, or there about, but no way would you guess LA.

So…  Everything is rolling along nicely and “Jimmy” is in week six of his flowering cycle, all of the clone strains are looking good as usual. The new strain from seed was looking good also. The only thing “Jimmy” noticed that was different was everything seemed to be ripening a week early. To him, early ripening was a good thing. He thought he must have done something just a little bit better than normal and was feeling fortunate that his crop was close to ready until he realized that something was wrong. “Jimmy” started to take a closer look at his crop and he realized the reason his buds were ripening faster wasn’t because of something he’d done right, it was from the seeds that were forming in all of his buds. “Jimmy” lives in an urban area and has filtered exhaust and intake and wasn’t anywhere that he could have brought pollen into his garden. He racked his brain and the only variable he could come up with was the FEM seed plants. He hadn’t noticed any male flowers at all until after he noticed the seeds forming. Upon further inspection he saw the under-canopy of the FEM seed plants was covered in male flowers, “Jimmy” was bummed, his crop was ruined. He asked me if the seeds would be good, I told him “Yeah, for feeding the birds”. He asked me was it possibly his fault, I said, “Often times when stable plants herm-out, it is the fault of the grower, but in this case it doesn’t seem likely.” I asked if he knew the process that was used to “feminize,” or turn the parent plants hermaphrodite, and he told me that they used GA#3(Gibberellic acid). I told him that I definitely would blame his crop failure on the seed-company or “breeder” that gave him the seeds.

More and more I hear horror stories like Jimmy’s. More and more companies are coming up with feminized seed lines, the sad Truth is that most of the companies don’t have an appropriate FEM technique and haven’t mastered the art of feminization and are selling hermaphroditic seeds where the “male” was sex reversed with gibberellins. I have not heard of anyone who has attempted feminization with gibberellins and has successfully produced stable, all female, non-hermaphrodite seeds. There are only a few adept breeders in the world who have mastered feminized seed production, these breeders offer their own strains as well as do the production for many of the other seed companies. Unfortunately many of the masters keep their secrets closely guarded. As with any trade, proprietary information and intellectual property drive product development and achievement of market shares, such is the nature of capitalism and global trade.

I will share some of what I know about an appropriate feminization technique and you can apply it yourself and see how it works. As usual I encourage all growers to make their own seeds so that they know exactly what strain they have and how it will help their medical condition, to only receive seed from reputable sources, and to remember that the oldest and largest seed companies are not necessarily the best sources. Quality control has gone down hill drastically in recent years and some of the oldest companies that had been the most respected do so much volume of sales that they have to out-source their entire inventory. Imagine if your website got 40,000 hits for 10 to 20 seeds every day. How would you keep up with sales?? You may end up buying seed from sources you don’t know that well, just to keep your company from imploding. With the profit margins that some seed distribution houses are looking to make, it is no wonder that they are ending up selling second-rate crap. Often you are paying top dollar for a name but the seeds in the packs aren’t the same as the cup winning strain you ordered. You don’t always get what you pay for. So rather than play Russian Roulette with your next crop, find a strain you can trust, check the blogs and chat forums, and support an independent up and coming company and help to find a new phenotype that will be the next cup winner.

So, what I know that works and works well for making feminized seed is pretty simple. First you need a strain with enough Southeast Asian sativa that it has a genetic pre-disposition towards stress induced hermaphroditism, but is stable enough that it grows well under normal conditions. I recommend an old clone strain, like the New York Sour Diesel or White Widow, something with some obvious Thai or Cambodian in it. Then all you need to do is take a few big nice mother plants, the more the merrier, preferably more than a year old, but healthy with lots of clones on them, and then cut as many clones as you can. Don’t cut them all the way back because you still need some good bud sites for the flowers to form, and healthy vegetation to support good growth. The next thing you do is take the moms that have been in vegetive growth for a year and cloned heavily and foliar feed with high potassium 1-1-17 soluble sea weed from “Excite”, and the 7% humic acid from “Bio-Flora,” not so much to produce phyto-toxicity, but a strong, dark but not too dark solution, and then throw the moms into a flower room that you just flipped with all of your favorite clone strains. Put the old moms strategically throughout the flower room and let them go. I find putting the mother plants too close to the fans also stresses the plants and induces hermaphroditism, not to mention blowing the “xx” pollen around the room. In 70 or so days you should have a room full of seeded buds like my friend “Jimmy”, only your seeds should be good for something other than feeding the birds. It is very important not to grow the seeds of the self-seeded mothers. They will have seeds also, but self-pollinated herm seeds tend to be problematic. It is ok to top-cross Diesel into Diesel. But don’t expect the progeny to express all the traits of the Diesel… Use the Diesel mom for the “male” and the Diesel clones for the female, and then only grow the seed from the healthy non-hermaphrodite plants, feed the rest of the self-seeded herm seeds to the birds or put them in your pancakes or a smoothie. You can achieve this result with most of the Chem Dawg/Diesel dominant type strains but I still don’t recommend it to most growers, keeping the FEM seeds clean and stable should be left to the adept professionals. Pollen chuckers and greedmongers beware!! Playing with chemicals to induce hermaphroditism is a good way to ruin gene pools indefinitely; it could take years to repair the damage done to a strain in a few short months. Circulating clones from FEM seeds is also taboo; these seeds should be grown to maturity outdoors or in greenhouses only, and never used for mother plants.

So there you have it, “To FEM or not to FEM?” the answer is up to you.


Words by Ras Truth 

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 99

Posted in Cannabis News

Extreme Sports and Pot

2017-01-27 11:15:33

Extreme Sports And Pot - Do Dirt Bikers Sustain the Congruency?

“Are motocrossers merely baked, slang-talking, academic slackers?”  Bend, Oregon comedian Johnny Blade Rinker noisily exhales the query into his microphone.  “Surfers and snowboarders would love any degree of deflection from their pigeonholed posturing.  I mean, what must one be smoking in order to jump four stories high on a motorcycle?”  The flagrant funnyman tilts his head.


Extreme sports participants require melon-sized balls.  Like motocross, surfing and snowboarding carve the unforgiving perimeters of sanity with freeform extremities.  Largely cerebral and physical, the activities demand spot-on timing, mental vigilance, and above-par fitness, each hardly typical of an XBOX geek.  Top ‘boarders Craig Anderson and John Jackson, similar to MX hero Ryan Villopoto,  lace the perils of their crafts with heart-stopping vertical transitions and quantum-claused aerial maneuvers.  Seducing implied disaster, the highly technical paths of these supermen may reduce the feeble to a 911 emergency.

Ironically, apex-related athletes have traditionally been tagged “stoner dudes.”  Sean Penn’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High character, Jeff Spicoli, was not only stereotyped, but validated, save but a few IQ points.  “All I need is a nice wave and a cool buzz and I’m fine.”

At a glance, motocrossers may appear no different.  Jeff Emig, for instance, made MX history in 1999 when he was fired from Team Kawasaki for using pot.  Among the finest riders of his era, sleepy-eyed “Jeffro” had three National titles and a prestigious supercross championship to his credit.  Nonetheless, there would be no second chances for his lucrative factory contract after he was observed exhaling pungent smoke at a major AMA event. Months later, Jeff would retaliate by winning the $100,000 first place purse at the U. S. Open in Las Vegas.  Riding a low-tech, privateer Yamaha opposite high-tech, corporate-backed pros, Emig’s success almost  seemed to advocate for marijuana.

In the flamboyant ‘70s, liberal Maico/Suzuki factory rider Steve Stackable hoodwinked “herbal” support.  Smiling perpetually, the tall rider that was sarcastically labeled “Short Stack” ran a cannabis leaf sticker among his helmet and fender sponsor logos, an exclusive in national/international MX to this day.

Notwithstanding, the motocross/supercross-rider-turned-hang-gliding-instructor emphatically states:  “Marijuana should not be used in any competition under any circumstances.  Sure, I was a rebel, hence the sticker, but I’ve never raced under the influence of THC.  It should only be viewed as medicine.”  Fair enough.

“There are no potheads in professional motocross,” three-time national champion Marty Smith adamantly states.  “Period.  In the 40 years that I’ve been racing, teaching, and delegating motocross, I’ve only seen occasional pot users.  If top local pros in any given area are the regular stoners, it couldn’t possibly say much for the talent in that particular state and/or province.”  As dean of the Marty Smith Motocross Clinic for 30 years, as well as director of Slaton Racing supercross team for the ’11 and ’12 seasons, the guy knows what’s up.

But without question, the one-time surfer dude who rocked Black Sabbath in the Honda pits, bonged-out in the off-season and at parties, no?  “I know I looked the part,”  Marty laughs.  “But I personally have never even taken one hit off a joint.  Other than a drink here and there, I’ve never tried drugs.”

In the epoch of NBA-cannabis-farm jokes, Marty relents.  “I’m not saying pot is a caustic sports-related drug like steroids.  I definitely think medical marijuana card-holders should have rights, but with dispensaries closing in California, the jury is still out.  Society should also be granted immunity for recreational use.  Who’s to say what you should or should not do in your own private life.

“Just keep it off the road and track.”

 Ultimately, in the grand equation of sports (not to mention NFL wannabe drug lord Sam Hurd), it appears that motocrossers loom almost as innocently as a Mormon gal on her honeymoon.  Almost.

Words by S. Brook Reed

Interviews by C. C. Willis

First published in Weed World edition 99


Posted in Cannabis News

Pandora strain review

2017-01-27 11:02:47

Pandora - Lots of green hope unleashed by an autoflowering lady

One of the latest autoflowering releases from Paradise Seeds is called Pandora, with reference to the respective famous Greek saga. Luc, the owner and breeder of Paradise Seeds, chose this name for a good reason: Pandora means "the one who gives all gifts", so in contrast to common perception, this name actually has a positive connotation. That misbelief results from the fact that many people don’t know the end of this saga. This is what happened: Zeus, father of the gods, wanted to punish mankind as titan Prometheus had stolen the fire from the Olympus. So he sent Pandora, looking like a beautiful goddess, to earth, giving her a mysterious box as a gift. After her arrival on earth, Pandora opened the box which instead of salutary gifts did contained various evils and plagues that were released into the world, causing severe devastation. Pandora fearfully closed the box, but later on opened it again, and this time nothing else than healing hope was coming out of the box. This good end to the saga made Luc name his strain Pandora, as she’s expected to unleash lots of green hope in the form positive mental power generated through a THC content of 15-18% - pretty much for an autoflowering strain.

And Pandora shall also yield clearly above average bud harvests, according to Paradise Seeds, 400-450 grams per m2 (i.e. competitive with regular strains) can be accomplished indoors, and outdoors 60-100 grams per plant. Paradise Seeds even praises Pandora as “currently the best automatic in the world.” She basically consists of 90% indica and 10% sativa, but also contains of course automatic ruderalis flowering genes making her an autoflowering plant. Her indoor life-cycle from seed to harvest is only 60-65 days, and outdoors max. 75 days. Luc describes her as “a medium sized plant, approximately 90 cm indoors to 120 cm tall outdoors, with compact aromatic long-sized buds, topped with a big layer of resin, exhibiting a calyx-to-leaf ratio ideal for quick manicuring.” She is expected to bring about an intense stoned effect, long lasting and relaxing, with medical potential. A sweet ‘n’ spicy aroma and taste complete this excellent plant profile. 

This strain is only available in the form of feminised seeds. As he received a small pack of five Pandora seeds late last autumn, The Doc was curious to test Pandora’s indoor abilities at first, with three plants. As at the same time he also conducted a grow with regular strains in his main grow room and didn’t want to interfere with the different (shorter) light cycle required for these, he decided to cultivate the Pandoras, together with three plants of another autoflowering strain, in a small Homebox XS closet with a growing space of 60 x 60 cm, equipped with two 75 Watts Secret Jardin High Efficiency CFL lights. Which are generating very little heat so that one can position the plants very close to them. The three Pandora seeds easily germinated and three days after having sowed them, they had reached the surface of the jiffy pot peat medium. The Doc chose a 20 hour light cycle for growing them, throughout the whole cultivation cycle. Growth was very vivid right from the beginning, and also very homogeneous. Two weeks after germination, the three Pandora plants had developed into compact young plants with a height of about 15 cm and already several side branch onsets having appeared. Leaf colour and shape, expectedly, clearly pronounced indica traits, being dark green and quite broad. Half a week later, after the seedling stage had more or less been passed, The Doc could already detect the first female preflowers at the top of the plants, so everything was going according to plan obviously. In the following weeks, in the course of flowering, the three Pandora plants exhibited a strong stretching effect on both the main stems and side branches. After five weeks, they had arrived at heights of 50-60 cm, still being very compact and having produced a lot of very promising female flower clusters from the bottom to the top, and there already were nice resin build-ups on the flower calyxes and leafs. Also, the plants had started to give off a sweet and spicy smell.

Two weeks later, after about 50 days, bud formation had become quite dense and tight already, and could also convince The Doc with a high calyx-to-leaf ratio, with fairly few flower leaves coming out of the buds that were densely packed with lots of small calyxes. That marvellous bud structure did impress The Doc, he had expected the plants to express some more indica flowering traits, but these Pandora buds did rather look like 50/50 indica/sativa which The Doc considered a great breeder’s achievement. However, another two weeks later, he realised that his three Pandora plants would take somewhat longer to fully ripen than stated by Paradise Seeds. While at the end of the harvest window indicated by Paradise, after 65 days, one could have harvested the plants, as about 50% of the flower hairs were withered meanwhile, The Doc wanted them to reach full maturity and thought that another week at least would also yield even more bud weight. And, indeed, after 72 days, two of the plants were considered fully ripe and harvested, with about 80% of the flowering hairs withered and most of the calyxes thickly swollen. The third plant – which was the fattest one - remained for another three days and was harvested after 75 days. All the three plants had produced very attractive long and thick top colas, and also the side branches were laden with nice dense buds covered with proper amounts of sticky resin, spreading an intense sweet smell that also had a spicy note. In the end they had become 70, 73 and 80 cm tall, not exhibiting a single male flower, so once again a feminised Paradise strain had proven to be very reliable. The Doc was quite impressed by the excellent performance of his three Pandora plants that also turned out to be remarkably homogeneous so that he felt the fact that they took a little bit longer than described was quite negligible.

After he had harvested and slowly dried the Pandora buds over about three weeks, he put them on the scales and happily read amounts of 31, 33 and 39 grams from the display - which by far was the most productive result he had experienced with an autoflowering strain indoors so far. He looks forward to growing Pandora also outdoors next spring, due to his fruitful Pandora indoor harvest believing that those 60-100 grams per plant stated by Paradise Seeds should easily be achievable then.

And also the high provided by Pandora proved to open up a new dimension of autoflowering strain potency to him. Her strong indica effect had a very quick onset, already after a few puffs from a fat Pandora joint, The Doc was wrapped in enduring stonedness that provided a pleasant warm “fluffy” feeling to him, raising some kind of green hope, indeed, causing deeply relieving relaxation in both body and mind, but not totally paralysing so that he was still able to move if necessary – and necessary it was very soon, as he heavily got the munchies from having smoked some Pandora and stood up to search around for sweeties in his kitchen, finding three 100 g chocolate bars that soon were a thing of the past. That effected lasted for about one and a half hour which The Doc regarded as pretty long for an autoflowering strain. He was also highly satisfied with the Pandora flavour that came over very sweet and smooth, the smoke was a sheer pleasure to inhale, not at all harsh or rough, with too much ruderalis influence, like it was the case with many autoflowering strains available on the market at the beginning of this trend a few years ago.

So altogether, The Doc was full of praise in any aspect about Pandora which, indeed, he considers one of the best autoflowering strains available on the market – while for him personally it was the best autoflowering experience so far.

Words and pictures by Green Born Identity

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 98

Buy Pandora seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

S.A.G.E. strain review

2017-01-27 10:43:57

T.H. Seeds strain story - S.A.G.E.: The Queen is back!

“If you love to smoke, grow S.A.G.E.!” - said famous cannabis scientist Robert Connell Clarke about S.A.G.E. twelve years ago when this strain came out. Well, not many, not to say no other, strains get such a testimony from the world’s leading cannabis expert, and Rob Clarke certainly wouldn’t have staked his good name for a mediocre strain. No wonder S.A.G.E. won early applause at the High Times Cannabis Cup 1999, when it took first place in the hash contest, and then secured second place in the blind test of the 2001 Cup. T.H. Seeds reports that in addition to Rob Clarke, also Cypress Hill, The Fun Lovin Criminals and Pharcyde used to swear by S.A.G.E. - much prominent praise for this classic sativa/indica hybrid the THC content of which was once measured at over extremely strong 20 percent. The strain name S.A.G.E. stands for Sativa Afghani Genetic Equilibrium, but also describes its specific aroma. T.H. Seeds reports: “To achieve the best of both worlds, a fantastic sativa punch and huge indica yield, we coupled the old-school Cali sativa with our chunkiest true Afghan breeder to produce a flavor and power packed plant.” That Cali sativa is a famous Haze line named “Big Sur Holy” that according to Rob Clarke “came to Amsterdam via an independent introduction from Big Sur, forming the basis for the Sage lines developed by T.H. Seeds.” That breeding strategy of crossing a pure sativa with a pure indica strain usually results in the so-called hybrid vigor effect which means that the resulting next generation plants exhibit particularly strong and vivid growth and blooming, outperforming their parents in any aspect. S.A.G.E. is expected to reach maturity within 70-77 days of flowering, achieving a height of 120-140 cm and 300-350 grams per sqm. T.H. Seeds promises: “High THC and low CBD make this plant a perfect head stash variety. Spicy sandalwood flavor combined with a long lasting and uplifting high make this the plant for those who must have the best. Longer flowering time is rewarded with large buds that will seem to double in size in the last few weeks.”

Mr. Power-Planter had grown S.A.G.E. for the first time in 2001, very well pleased with the results. One of the S.A.G.E. plants back then became especially magnificient in terms of both quality and quantity so that Mr. Power-Planter called her “The Queen”. Ten years later, he wanted to find out whether this classic strain has kept its outstanding quality level and used a full package of ten regular S.A.G.E. seeds for his cultivation test. Those ten seeds were sown into jiffy pots and healthily sprouted, after three and a half days reaching the jiffy surface in good shape. The S.A.G.E. seedlings were grown together with lots of other plants, in a room with three 600 W ‘Green Bud’ metal halide lamps equipped with adjust-a-wings reflectors (without spreaders). One week after germination, the plants were transplanted into 11 litre containers filled with Plagron Standard soil mix. Under 18 hours of light per day, the young S.A.G.E. plants seemed to really exhibit that beneficial hybrid vigor effect, vigorously growing with elegantly shaped sativa dominant leaves and an early onset of vivid side branching. And Mr. Power-Planter noticed another typical effect of that pure sativa x pure indica breeding constellation which was uniformity: The ten plants grew pretty homogeneously, growth was very compact in the vegetative stage, with the plants having about eight internodes three weeks after germination, at heights of 45-55 cm. At that point of time, Mr. Power Planter induced flowering by cutting the 18/6 light period down to 12/12 hours of light, at the same time replacing the metal halide lamps with three 600 W Osram HPS lamps. Within 7-9 days, all of the ten plants revealed their gender, six of them turned out to be female and four male, the latter were discarded.

Flower production soon turned out to be as vivid as the plants’ previous vegetative growth, after four weeks of blooming, there were many budding sites allover the main stems and branches, with the blooming pattern being more or less the same on all the six S.A.G.E. plants, typically sativa, many small calyxes with thin flower leaves. There was a clearly noticeable stretching effect also, raising the expectation of end heights of easily more than one meter. More and more resin glands were emerging on the calyxes and flower leaves, effecting a nice hazey smell. Bud formation became abundant and very tight in the following weeks of flowering, with all the six plants exhibiting a high calyx-to-leaf-ratio and big long tops. One S.A.G.E. plant was doing particularly well, adopting a classic christmas tree growth pattern, producing the biggest buds of all the plants. “The Queen is back!”, Mr. Power-Planter cheered, as that plant resembled very much that tremendous S.A.G.E. plant he had called “The Queen” ten years ago. 

That fresh hazey-sagey odour given off by the plants naturally wasn’t overwhelmingly strong, not penetrating, which could be considered a beneficial factor for stealth growers, Mr. Power-Planter thought. It turned out that “The Queen” tended to flower much longer than the other five S.A.G.E. plants that reached maturity between day 74 and 80 of flowering, matching the description of T.H. Seeds. Mr. Power-Planter happily harvested those duly five S.A.G.E. plants that had arrived at heights of 125, 127, 130, 135, 140 and 145 cm which was impressively uniform. Just like a pure Haze strain, the S.A.G.E. plants didn’t have abundant amounts of resin on their flower leaves, but their sugary calyxes looked silvery white and most promising.  Mr. Power-Planter was curious how long The Queen would keep on flowering, at the point of time when the other five plants were harvested, she only had a very few withered flower hairs, while the production of fresh new white hairs was still going on. Mr. Power-Planter was fascinated by her gorgeous beauty and many terrific long thick buds, expecting a real bumper harvest, so he certainly didn’t lack patience - which was helpful as The Queen really took quite a while to ripen, after 99 days of flowering, she was finally finished, exhibiting huge thick buds from the bottom to the top.

The Queen rewarded Mr. Power-Planter’s patience with 142 grams of dry S.A.G.E. buds, and the yield of the other five plant was 73, 82, 102, 111 and 123 grams. With an average yield of 105.5 grams, S.A.G.E. had made it over the 100-grams-per-plant mark, thanks to The Queen. With their densely packed clusters of filigree resinous calyxes and fragrant hazey-sagey sandalwood smell, the dried S.A.G.E. buds made Mr. Power-Planter’s mouth water and he was quite excited when it came to test smoking those lovely sativa buds. After having inhaled a few tokes from a fat S.A.G.E. joint, Mr. Power-Planter quickly experienced a mighty strong clear sativa buzz, highly cerebral, uplifting, both physically and mentaly stimulating - S.A.G.E. did easily fulfill and even exceed the high expecations he had had. After an hour or so he noticed that a certain slight indica influence was simultaneously taking effect, his thoughts blurred and a more relaxed and cosy mood took possession of him. The whole S.A.G.E. high lasted for about two hours, leaving Mr. Power-Planter highly pleased. The same was true for the taste, the S.A.G.E. buds did provide a wonderfully mild and sagey sweet flavour. Mr. Power-Planter concluded: “Ten years later, to the fullest degree S.A.G.E. still has kept all its outstanding qualities, it was a sheer pleasure again to grow and smoke this legendary strain that provides a great authentic old-school feeling.”

 Words and pictures by Green Born Identity

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 97

Buy S.A.G.E. seeds from our onine store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Lemon Skunk strain report

2017-01-26 12:57:03

Lemon Skunk (DNA Genetics) - A true aroma sensation super-packed with Limonene


For many growers and smokers alike, fruity strains are the pinnacle of cannabis enjoyment. It’s absolutely amazing how versatile the cannabis plant is when it comes to producing different distinct fruit flavours such as lemon, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, blueberry, strawberry, pineapple or mango. Made possible by so-called terpenes, aromatic hydrocarbons (C5H8) produced by cannabis and lots of other plants.  But terpenes are not only strongly involved in defining the odour of cannabis flowers, they also serve as important building blocks for e.g. hormones, vitamins, essential oils and even cannabinoids. In cannabis, more than 120 different terpenes have been found so far. The one most responsible for the emergence of fruity cannabis flavours is limonene. As the name already suggests, limonene produces a citrus smell which, in combination with other terpenes, can yield most different fruit aromas.

So Lemon Skunk (60:40 sativa/indica) from DNA Genetics is obviously expected to have an especially high limonene content. Which was to be proven, not every strain on the market with a fruit name lives up to its promise. DNA Genetics describes Lemon Skunk as “a cross between two Skunks, the chosen phenotype selected for its lemon characteristics. The Lemon mother has been kept for over 20 years in Las Vegas and the father was chosen here in Holland. The male was donated by Eddie, formally the owner of one of the oldest and most prestigious seed banks in the Netherlands. This original prize male was selected and used in many breeding projects throughout the years. The Lemon Skunk will grow tall and is a good yielder.  She has great smelling buds. Her buds are light green with thick orange hairs. She has a high calyx to leaf ratio. This strain is the tastiest and sweetest if she is cut down between 50 and 56 days.”

The official flowering time is 7-8 weeks. According to DNA Genetics, yields of 400-500 g/m2 can be expected. Lemon Skunk has won several awards, taking first place at the Indoor Hydro Spannabis Cup 2008 and the Outdoor Highlife Cup 2007, plus second place at the IC420 Breederscup 2008. It was also chosen by High Times Magazine to be one of the top ten strains of the year 2009. German grower Raztazotti happily took care of Lemon Skunk, and of course he hoped for a super refreshing lemon taste experience. He tried Lemon Skunk at at time when it was still available as regular seeds also, while it’s currently only offered in its feminised form by DNA. Raztazotti sowed eight out of thirteen regular seeds contained in the package. In single Jiffy pots, they germinated quickly and, together with plants of two other strains, were grown under a couple of fluorescent lights in the beginning. One week after germination, the plants were transplanted into 11 litre containers filled with Plagron Standard soil mix and moved to the actual grow room equipped with a 600 W ‘Green Bud’ HPS lamp. Given 18 hours of light per day, the young Lemon Skunk plants did exhibit vigorous growth right from the start, growing compact and with lush green leaves. Growth was very uniform, with almost all the plants having had the same height two weeks after germination. And there was an early onset of lateral growth also, with every new node, two side branch tips were emerging on the plants and quickly elongating. Raztazotti left the plants in the vegetative stage for four weeks, then he induced flowering by reducing the light cycle from 18/6 to 12/12 hours of light, at the same time replacing the vegetativ growth version of the 600 W HPS bulb with a one suitable for flowering. At that point of time, the Lemon Skunk plants had achieved heights of 58-66 cm and produced lots of well-built side branches. Within eight days, all of the plants revealed their gender, with four of them turning out to be female and four male – mother nature did provide an equitable 50:50 gender ratio.

With the beginning of the flowering stage, Raztazotti also installed a fully automatic ‘Gardena’ drip irrigation system, because his grow room was so small that he couldn’t enter it and water the plants by hand any longer. The four female Lemon Skunk plants did exhibit an instantly high willingness to bloom and quickly started to produce those first little bud “roses” along and on top of the main stems and branches. Four weeks into flowering, they had built top buds of very respectable sizes already, with a flowering pattern that was going to develop quite a high calyx-to-leaf ratio, and most promising early resin production. Raztazotti detected a still subtle fruity citrus smell which raised his hope for getting a true lemon smell and flavour in the end. The Lemon Skunk plants showed a strong stretching effect in the course of flowering, after seven weeks of flowering they had increased their height to about 90-100 cm. Flower formation proved to be very copious, the plants had developed big and tight top colas with swollen calyxes and similarly gorgeous side branch buds so that Raztazotti was looking forward to a great harvest. On the calyxes and flower leaves, resin was around in rich abundance, thick layers of tons of super sticky, silvery white resin glands, he hadn’t expected Lemon Skunk to become THAT resinous! But what made him almost even happier was the fact that the plants really gave off an intense, absolutely yummy lemon odour, totally living up to their name, yippee! That kind of smell wasn’t very penetrative though, ideal for stealth growers. 50-60 per cent of the flower hairs had withered after seven weeks into flowering, and Raztazotti expected the Lemon Skunk plants to reach maturity (with about 70-80 per cent of withered hairs) in more or less one week.

There was a big surprise in the course of flowering by the way, as all of the four plants did exhibit most beautifully looking, partly purple coloured buds and flower leaves, although that special colour potential wasn’t mentioned by DNA Genetics and although they weren’t grown in a cold climate. Lots of yellowed shade and flower leaves further contributed to a most colourful appearance. Just as expected, Raztazotti could harvest terrific four fully ripe Lemon Skunk plants on flowering day 56, fully in line with the description of DNA Genetics. The plants had arrived at heights of 91, 94, 94 and 98 cm in the end, so they were amazingly homogeneous, too. In any case, Raztazotti wanted to make sure that delicious lemon smell would be fully preserved in the dried end product, so he dried the buds very slowly and carefully, over almost three weeks, having to suppress his strong impatience though to finally test smoke that super resinous lemon wonder. When the drying process had been finished, Raztazotti weighed the Lemon Skunk buds and the outcome was a total of 187 grams (39/45/49/54), a very satisfying result fulfilling his expectations, as Raztazotti could have easily placed ten of these plants on one square metre.

The dried Lemon Skunk buds had wonderfully preserved their intense lemon aroma and were almost smelling like real lemon fruits. And also the flavour was impressively just like this, Raztazotti deeply enjoyed that very refreshing sweet kind of citrus taste, his beautiful Lemon Skunk nuggets were super-packed with limonene, indeed! The high effected by Lemon Skunk was a mixed sativa/indica experience, with an approximately even percentage of sativa head to indica body effects. At first an uplifting sativa turn came about, providing a great deal of euphoric freshness which matched that intense fresh lemon flavour very well, but after about 45 minutes changed into a calming indica stone that lasted for approx. another 45 minutes. So Lemon Skunk proved to be some pretty potent stuff also, and altogether, Raztazotti was quite ravished by this lovely connoisseur fruit strain.

Words and pictures by Green Born Identity

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 96

Buy Lemon Skunk seeds

Posted in Cannabis News

Prevention and Treatment of Powdery Mildew


Powdery mildew is one of the most widespread plant pests. It tends to affect flowering plants and fruit trees or bushes (roses, apple trees, etc.) as well as cannabis. The spores are in the air or on contaminated plants in the garden and can easily be drawn into your grow room by ventilators. In warm, dry climate powdery mildew spreads widely. But we have also observed heavy infestations particularly after a long and wet winter. The symptoms even disappeared occasionally during a heat wave. It is therefore unlikely that powdery mildew only affects cannabis plants during a warm and dry weather period.

Powdery mildew can be detected by the white-coating on leaves and shoot tips, which succumb to the infestation by atrophy and eventually die. Only the surface of the leaves is contaminated by the fungus. Very heavily infested plants often cannot be saved. Plants affected by this disease and wilting plants should be removed from the garden if you don't want the spores to spread. If the infestation of powdery mildew arises during the last few weeks of flowering it is possible to control an infestation until harvest. A good fungicide can fully combat powdery mildew, but the treatment is often lengthy and takes several weeks. Mother plants and cuttings should be treated preventively so that valuable genetics are not lost.

Mildew is a surprisingly aggressive fungus taking second place only to bud/ grey mold (Botrytis). If you not only require a fungicide for preventive means, but also to combat an infestation, you may need to alternate between several products for the total period of treatment. In the instructions for use it is stated how often a specific compound can be applied per crop. Since fungicides allowed in organic agriculture can be less effective than synthetic products, all preventative management measures to reduce the primary infestation and to improve the microclimate should be exploited optimally. Fungicides are applied at the crucial stages in the development of the plant and the epidemic. Specific traits of the products must be taken into account for outdoor applications (such as rain fastness and hazards to plant health under intense heat or sunlight).

In internet forums and cannabis cultivation books you may find lengthy lists of possible treatments that look temptingly promising for a complete recovery at all stages of mildew infestation. But the authors have rarely tested these products themselves, and the compounds are never differentiated between those applicable only for growth, and those also safe to use during flowering. This guide is therefore specifically orientated towards publishing some first-hand experiences with a variety of fungicides, and a review on the specific utilisation of products during growth and flowering in cannabis plants.


Buying Fungicides

To begin with, it’s important to distinguish the criteria according to which fungicides for organic produce intended for human consumption should be purchased. These criteria ensure not only safety measures for humans, but also for the environment: such as for beneficial insects, animals, and aquatic life. Secondly, the fungicide must be safe to use on a soft-leafed plant species such as cannabis and flowering plants in general (if required for the flowering period). Therefore, the first step when purchasing a fungicide is to check the product information on potential hazards for specific plant species or flowering plants, human consumption, and the environment.

A fungicide should be purchased according to the following criteria:

good plant tolerance

not harmful to flowering buds

effectiveness for medium to heavy infestation

effectiveness as a preventive product

not toxic for humans

environmentally friendly (pets, water sources, honey bees, etc.)


Fungicides to avoid:



synthetic fungicides and all other products not suitable for agricultural crops

fungicides that will desiccate the leaves or flowers such as horticultural oils and salts


Enhancing Plant Defences

 With less new fungicides coming on the market due to environmental concerns, more scientific effort is now being put into the use of the genetic potential of plants for pathogen resistance. In addition, scientists are focusing on exploring the development of induced or acquired resistance as an environmentally safe means of disease control. In our breeding projects at Mandala Seeds the immune system and resistance of a strain has always belonged to one of the high priorities. In the Outdoor Guide of our website you can also check which Mandala strains have been tested for mildew resistance and this helps in selecting the appropriate strain for your region. We use several methods to ensure plant resistance is maintained or optimally enhanced in the Mandala strains:

arge-scale and strict selection of plants in parental lines

reinforcement with specific genetic strengths of landrace varieties

creating varieties with a heterosis effect so that they have vitality, stronger plant tissue, and increased defences (i.e. resistance against pests, temperature fluctuations, wind, light stress, etc.)

breeding under intense grow conditions that enforce the survival capabilities of the plants

methods of plant care with the objective of supporting systemic acquired resistance (SAR), which is a "whole-plant" resistance response that occurs following an earlier localized exposure to pathogens


Introducing Effective Fungicides

We have tested several products available on the market in Europe as well as easy to use home-based recipes. One of the most promising are lecithin-based products. Commercial products based on lecithin have become very useful tools in powdery mildew control in central Europe since the product does not cause any off-flavours. It is also harmless to fragile young plants and, most importantly, to flowering marijuana buds. In North America the ECO SMART Garden Fungicide is one such product ( HYPERLINK ""

NEUDORFF Neudo-Vital was developed using the concept of "induced resistance" as a pesticidal strategy. Plants release a range of volatile organic compounds in response to pests and pathogens and some of these compounds have been used to induce a resistance response in laboratory tests. A number of plant extracts have been shown to possess such activity. Neudo-Vital is based on three naturally occurring fatty acids and ethanolic plant extracts. There are two versions, one for roses and one for fruit trees and berries. Both will work for cannabis plants during all stages of growth and flowering. The product is available online and in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, France, Italy, Czech Republic, etc.

Is milk the answer?

In an outdoor garden we have also found a diluted milk solution effective during vegetative growth when combined with other products. The idea to use milk as a biological fungicide came from the Brazilian scientist Wagner Bettiol. He experimented with different mixes of fresh milk in order to combat powdery mildew on greenhouse zucchinis and published his findings in 1999. The Australian scientist Peter Crisp from the University of Adelaide tested this method among 40 different alternative methods to combat mildew on grapevines. He discovered that milk or whey showed the best results. The microorganisms in the milk combat the mildew. In addition, the natrium phosphate strengthens plant defences. Diluted milk has been reported as surprisingly efficient in the agricultural sector in Australia, but under central European conditions it is used only rarely on cultivars due to the poorer weather conditions. There is, of course, a big difference between zucchini, grapevines and cannabis plants. No matter how promising such results look like, they must always be seen in the context of which cultivars require treatment. Since milk contains proteins and sugars, infection by grey mold (Botrytis) may be promoted after treatment. That poses a serious risk to flowering marijuana. For this reason it is only recommended to treat cannabis plants with a diluted milk solution during growth and preflowering. 

For maximal effectiveness the treatments should be alternated weekly with another fungicide. Mix milk and water in parts of 1:9. Spray the plant thoroughly on a sunny day. If no other fungicides are available apply 1-2x weekly.

Extract of Giant Knotweed (Reynoutria sachalinensis) 

Knotweed extract induces phytoalexins which infer resistance to powdery mildew and other diseases such as Botrytis. In other words, the extract helps the plant fight the mold rather than attacking the mold directly. We have not tested Knotweed products yet and therefore the information presented here is only based upon scientific studies on a variety of other plant species. However, these results do indicate promising effectiveness for cannabis too since a large variety of cultivars respond favourably to the treatment.

There are two primary products on the market: Milsana® and Regalia®. Milsana® is available in Europe. The technical grade active ingredient (TGAI) consists entirely of the dried and ground plant material from harvested Giant knotweed plants grown for this purpose. The end-use product Milsana® is classified as a “Bioprotectant concentrate”. It contains 5% of the ethanolic extract of Reynoutria sachalinensis. Milsana® is recommended as a spray on greenhouse grown plants for the purpose of boosting their natural defence mechanisms against certain fungal diseases. The product should be used as a preventive application mainly for the control of powdery mildew and is used for vegetable and fruit plants in Europe for outdoor/greenhouse cultures. No unreasonable adverse effects on humans or the environment are anticipated from exposure to Milsana®. According to several studies plants such as cucumber, tomato, salad, potted herbs, and strawberries treated with Milsana® were significantly less infected than controls and this protective effect against powdery mildew was maintained over time. When topically applied to various ornamental, vegetable and fruit crops, this product will induce increased amounts of naturally occurring phenolic substances within the plant, which prevent the attack of plant diseases such as powdery mildew and grey mold (Source: Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology - Volume 61, Issue 2, August 2002, Pages 121-132). On ornamentals and strawberries it is also effective against Botrytis or grey mold. It remains to be seen if it has the same effectiveness for marijuana. Available in Europe at and

Regalia® is also a patented formulation of an extract from the Giant knotweed plant and sold in the USA. Regalia’s unique mode of action switches on the plant’s natural defence mechanisms to inhibit the development of major diseases, including powdery mildew and grey mold. Research shows after treating with Regalia®, plants produce and accumulate elevated levels of specialized proteins and other compounds known to greatly inhibit fungal development. For example, Regalia® will induce a plant to produce cell strengtheners, antioxidants, phenolics, and PR proteins, which are known to fight pathogens that infect plants. Additionally, Regalia® causes an increase in the production of phytoalexins, the “antibiotics” produced by a plant under attack. These act as toxins to the pathogen such as mildew. More info under

Potassium Bicarbonate

Baking soda has been one of the basic fungicides in use to compbat powdery mildew but it has disadvatanges too. A much more effective product is GreenCure® - a potassium bicarbonate-based fungicide that has been proven to cure and prevent powdery mildew, fusarium and many other fungal infections. GreenCure® is being used with success by growers in the USA but there are a couple of restrictions for applying it on cannabis that need to be considered. Potassium Bicarbonate is a naturally occurring compound that is widely used in food and is an integral part of humans, animals, plants and virtually all living organisms. It is environmentally friendly and recommended for use on over 150 different flowers, trees, fruits and vegetables. It can be used in organic vegetable production and even indoors. It was found that potassium bicarbonate is 25- 35% more effective than sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). In addition, an effective "spreader-sticker" was needed to evenly spread and stick the potassium bicarbonate over a leaf surface to give it the ability to be a powerful fungicide and have lasting and preventative characteristics.

GreenCure® can be used as a good preventative control of powdery mildews by applying 1 tablespoon per gallon of water every 1 to 2 weeks when environmental conditions are ideal for the disease. In cases of moderate to severe infestation GreenCure® can be used to eradicate plant disease by spraying plants completely with a mixture of up to 2 tablespoons of GreenCure® per gallon of water weekly for 3 weeks followed by the preventative program thereafter. GreenCure® kills mold/mildew spores within seconds of contact by causing an immediate dehydration of the spores and destruction of the cell walls. In a greenhouse it is important to spray at times when the sun is not shining as this can cause burning on recently sprayed, wet leaves. For indoor gardens with high intensity lighting it is best to turn lights off after spraying in order to let GreenCure® air dry to avoid burning from hot, intense lighting. Infected plants should ideally be moved to a separate and shadier area after treatment. Lamps can also be hung further up for a few days as an alternative. Potassium bicarbonate is not suitable for treating seedlings and should not be sprayed directly on flowering buds. Therefore, you have to treat leaves carefully with a hand-held spray pump and avoid contact with the buds. Treated leaves should not be smoked. More info under:

Garlic Extracts

Garlic is cheap and readily available. This has made it a favourite “home-grown” pest control, especially among organic gardeners. The volatile antimicrobial substance allicin (diallylthiosulphinate) is produced in garlic when the tissues are damaged during crushing or chopping the garlic. Allicin in garlic juice inhibits the germination of sporangia (in which the spores develop) and thereby acts as a fungicide. You can buy readymade garlic extracts that are very effective in three ways: as a natural insect repellent, as a fungicide, and plant strengthener. Alternatively, you can make your own juice by using a homemade recipe. Garlic extracts are not suitable for seedlings and should not be applied under direct sunlight.

Garlic GP Ornamental Fungicide is a commercial product available in North America.

To conclude, it’s important to note that plant-pathogen interactions are a rapidly developing area among the plant sciences. There are constantly new results being published on this subject. Here a few promising selections of products in ongoing research studies that are easy to purchase:

Silicon: increases plant resistance to pathogenic fungi possibly through an interaction with defence responses. Silicic acid may play a role in systemic resistance. Several organic products are available containing soluble silica such as Humisolve (more info at, or you can make your own home brew fertilizer with nettles to treat outdoor plants during growth.

Vitamin B1: induces SAR when applied to vegetable crops and increased resistance to fungal, bacterial and viral infections.

Riboflavin or Vitamin B2: induces systemic resistance on tobacco and could perhaps work with cannabis too.

Preventive Measures

For ensuring plant health any preventive measures can be extremely important. Obviously, it is much better to prevent an infestation from the start – especially when the disease is so aggressive and easily transmitted from plant to plant. These recommendations are based on practical gardening experience from our expert breeders.

choose cannabis strains with a high resistance if you live in an area prone to mildew infestation

ensure a good climate in the greenhouse and indoor (ventilation, electric or gas heating required)

avoid the use of nitrogen-rich manure (like fresh manure or unripe compost), avoid fertilizers high in ammoniacal nitrogen such as pure guano in powder and pellet form

prevent white fly and aphid infestations and treat plants thoroughly if diseased, the sticky secretions from these pests cover the leaves and facilitate mildew which in some cases turns greyish-black

do not grow too close to damp areas (riverside, etc.)

use garlic teas and garlic sprays

treat plants regularly with lecithin-based sprays

remove or treat all infested weeds and ornamental plants on your property; cut away infested twigs on fruit trees at the earliest signs of infestation

spray down leaves with clean, chlorine-free water if they are covered in pollen after pollinating buds for seeds (wait a few days after pollination is completed), stale pollen residues easily turn moldy under high humidity and attract mildew

Tips for treating mildew

keep enough distance between plants to prevent overcrowding

use nitrogen rich fertilizer only sparingly and when absolutely necessary

separate or isolate infested plants from healthy ones

start treatments on time and repeat them regularly

switch compounds so that no resistance occurs (follow product instructions!)

preventive treatment is important for high risk areas (especially on mother plants, cuttings, young plants)

do not spray outdoor plants during strong sunshine; apply fungicides indoors shortly before the dark period

when using a new or innovative product do a test on one or more plants first to check if the product is plant friendly – this is especially important during flowering to avoid unnecessary damage to the pistils, and for young plants with their tender leaves

Health Warning

Infected leaves or buds should not be smoked or used for cooking!

Words and pictrues by Mandala Seeds

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 94

Posted in Cannabis News

Nebula Strain Report

2017-01-26 11:52:01

Nebula From Paradise Seeds

 Nebula was first introduced by Paradise Seeds back in 1996 and has won several different Cannabis Cup awards over the years and still to this day sits in a different galaxy to many of the other varieties of Cannabis seeds released into the market over the years since.

 With an impressive THC content of between 16-20% Nebula is a heavy hitter when grown to its full potential and will also impress you with a sea of large tricome-covered buds by the time its finished flowering. A Sativa dominant plant related to the classic White Widow strain which grows with perfect spacing for the light to penetrate and create those picture perfect large colas you see and dream of growing yourself.

 Nebula is available in Feminized and Regular seed packs and I decided to grow from the regular stock to see how stable the variety really is. I was very happy a couple of days after popping the seeds into soil to find that I had 100% success germination and lots of new little green babies to take care of and watch grow up.

 From start to finish the plants grew in a very uniformed pattern with nice large Sativa fan leaves soaking up the 600 watts of light sat above them. It took a couple of weeks for signs of flowering to show after turning the lights to 12 hours but once in flower it never showed signs of stopping making every trip to water and feed them a visual delight! In the end those couple of plants that appeared to stretch a little provided the biggest colas of the bunch with the stretching allowing extra light to penetrate through the foliage of the plant and onto those otherwise shadowed buds. 

 Nebula certainly appears to be a very stable variety with a good mother plant being very easily selected from only a small amount of seeds making this an awesome quality plant in my eye's. Paradise really have created a strain still worth shouting about over 10 years after being introduced.

 In the Big Book of Buds Nebula was said to be nicknamed the Honey Pot for its sweet honey scented smell and flavour and once you cut these plants and hang them to dry you will soon understand why. I would suggest drying them with a carbon filter running to avoid the insanely strong smell of honey scented weed escaping out possibly causing you trouble. 

 Nebula does not just look amazing but also smells amazing! You will have to wait a little longer than some varieties before you get to taste the sweet honey flavour as this mostly Sativa dominant plant will take a couple of weeks longer to finish than the quicker flowering Indicas on the market but I think its well worth the extra wait as the yield and strong Sativa uplifting high more than make up for a couple of weeks patience.

 Fifteen years on and Paradise Seeds Cup Winning Nebula is still shining brightly above most of the competition delivering not only an easy to grow beautiful looking plant but also a great tasting large yielding resin packed gem loaded with a high THC content making it great for the medicinal Cannabis community.

 If you love your Sativas and you love growing, then do yourself a favour, and reach for the skies and pick out a pack of Nebula. It will take you to the moon!

Words and pictures by Skunkboy

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 93

Buy Nebula seeds

Posted in Cannabis News

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