I have talked to several growers and viewed several videos of grow operations. They talk about growing hundreds if not over a thousand different variants. I find this amazing. Why so many when the market place cannot be that diverse. I see only a couple dozen in dispensaries.
I believe they may be referring to “pheno hunting”, in which case they may grow a 1000 of single cross with numerous variations to find 1 truly excellent phenotype. If I recall correctly from my breeding courses, a solid F2 can have as many as 400,000 variants to find THE ONE (although, likely handful) of desired genetics to move forward.
Dead truth about that Farmer Dan… lets not forget about environmental shifts that effect the same strain, but uniquely independent of each plant. It is a huge numbers game when culling less desirable stock!
I get the hunt by planting as many as possible.
But wouldn’t a smaller population be more effective to actually finding unique flavor and effects? We selected by isolating a few out of 50. Then grew those clones against another 50. Next the clones from each population are grown against each other and the best ones grow against another population of 50 and so on. This way you get to see the characteristics of each selection, how they clone, vegetive grow pattern and flower. Pest and mold resistance and such.
I’ve participated in a pheno hunt before with 1000 plus plants. I’m not sure if all 1000 samples got smoked. The farm gave up after 30 samples and stuck to one, the rest became extract.
Simpler is simpler. It’s really hard to master the unique growing characteristics of a given cultivar without spending some time with her one on one. I like monoculturing within a grow space so I can maximize the genetic potential of each plant…but in order to accomplish this, the grower has to be familiar with what strain he or she is growing and what to expect out of her.
I once worked in a facility where the owner insisted that I grow 30+ strains in each room so that his dispensary shelves could be fully stocked with a variety of flower. This was a hard task to accomplish when he wanted the rooms flipped every 8 weeks. It was even harder to explain to this owner that every strain was different and unique and, like finicky little kids, each required different feeding, pruning and harvest schedules. He always insisted that the rooms be flipped every 8 weeks and always wondered why his buds weren’t always the very best they could be. Guess who bore the brunt of that wrath?
Owners don’t always see eye to eye with growers.
I recommend that your facility footprint help inform the number of cultivars you grow. I’ve had over 100 strains at one time (this is also, consequently, my nightmare manifested in real life) and these days prefer to run between 10-20 for my small building. Generally, my magic number is 30 in a large commercial setting. 30 is a manageable number that a grower can keep in check. If you have enough rooms/greenhouses you can monoculture and have consistency and achieve a high standard of purity every time. As a bonus, if you time your cultivars and room set up according to the ideal finishing times of each strain, you can stagger your harvests to have a crop harvest every few days or once a week. Once you get comfortable with your cultivars, you can really maximize the phenotypical expression of each plant. But that’s my comfort zone. Every grower is different.
What do other growers have to say on this subject?
Left: “Hash Plant” Right: Original Haze
As someone who has always been his own grower, diversity was what appealed to me the most. My current genetics collection consists of over 100 different cultivars, and even more phenotypes of varieties such as Original Haze, because of the amazing diversity found in IBL heirloom lines.
That said, mixed flower rooms can easily become a nightmare, which is why I group plants and dedicate rooms to their production needs.
I guess it just boils down to the space, if you have the space, go crazy. That’s always been my problem. Everyplace I moved into suddenly feel small after about six months.
Currently 46 in 10,000 sq. ft. space. That’s a lot and I agree that it is difficult to get perfection from every strain due to their inherent genetic differences, but this makes my parents happy! In reality, out of those 46 we only have 3-4 that don’t grow well. Typically I believe the problem plants are the ones that have high Calcium requirements compared to the rest. We constantly work to get our root zone pH (I grow in rock wool) under 6.0 and I believe that if I were to go ahead and isolate the problem strains together they would respond to lower root zone pH (max. 5.8 as determined by measuring the runoff not the input) and uptake calcium more readily, but haven’t done that yet. Less strains would be more ideal, but . . .
Makes my Patients happy. lol My parents are seldom happy
Also, thank you Growernick. I learned that cultivar is probably the proper term as opposed to strain.
Exactly. Even though the one is selected out of 1000. Each plant will express different maturity time and amount of food. I agree it’s hard to grow so many strains without knowing how each plant reaponds to elements and a feeding schedule. The pheno hunt we all see online these days seems to be more PR than reality
This guy! Knows what he’s talking about.
Big up Todd!
The dispensary I work for keeps 12-14 varieties. Over the years we’ve rotated things in and out but that number is pretty typical.
Lately we’ve been trying to cultivate larger harvest batches so that we can save on lab tests. Rather than growing 10-12 different flavors in a 60 plant room, it’s now 4-6. It’s all around better for everything, other than keeping a variety of flavors on the shelf.
From what I understand of a true F1, from the crossing of two IBLs (inbred lines), the offspring will be identical with the only variation being due to the environment. This is helpful when breeding a regionally suited, adapted cultivars.
Thats my understanding as well. I will look for my charts, and see if i can share…
Actually, if the 2 inbred lines or parent plants are closely related (as most of the cultivars floating around California are all under 10 week plants and indeed very similar), then you will not get a true F1, you will get expressions of the recessive genes found in both parent plants, and not the uniformity and hybrid vigor you would get by crossing two distinctly different parents.
For instance, 20 years ago a very popular hybrid that was a true F1 was Northern Lights #5 x Haze. Which was an 8 week female crossed with a 16 week male. The union created a uniform F1 that took 10 weeks to flower, but smelled like, smoked like and got you high like her Hazy father, but was six weeks faster flowering and had a heavier yield because of her Northern Lights mother.
Yes, disparate parents are key to F1 hybrid vigor.
I’d argue that most of the designer cultivars floating around these days are not inbred at all and merely pheno hunted, multi-crossed mutt plants. There is really no way to trust what seems to be random breeding enough to use seed as the basis of commercial production when uniformity is necessary. At least I haven’t seen much of anything with commerically viable uniformity outside of hemp.
I agree with you, and I think there’s a big differentiation between people who are simply mixing pollen from plants they happen to have in their possession, and people who are actually breeding for distinct traits. Such as the example I gave of NL5 x Haze (he wanted a faster Haze like plant), or another example is Kali Mist by Serious Seeds, as it is also an excellent example of an F1 that was bred by an actual breeder (Simon Smitz, also wanted a faster Haze like plant), and not some kid dusting pollen onto a genetically similar female flower in his backyard at night thinking he is making an F1.
Pollen chuckers as I often refer to them, remind me of rappers and DJs who are not really making their own music, they are mashing up some beats or hooks created by somebody else and calling it their own. If they were authors it would be outright plagiarism, if they were in the music industry, it would be obvious and they would be paying royalties to the original musician, but it’s the new cannabis industry, and instead, they’re getting Cannabis Cups and are not looking back or acknowledging the work of the breeders they stand on the shoulders of.
Also, in my experience of growing cannabis over the last 30+ years, I would have to say that unfortunately most growers have chosen to grow very similar plants based on popularity, yield or potency, and not necessarily on unique traits; which is why the Phylos galaxy shows that so many varieties are so closely related. Skunk and OG Kush seem to be in damn near everything they test, and if that’s the case, wouldn’t it mean that most people in the industry are breeding together cousins, which in turn would give them F2 or F3 variations at best?
I laughed at an expo when they were selling F2/F3 for more than an F1. I said that if it was a true F1, those F2s are going to have insane amounts of variation. F5/F6s should be worth the most, and if a breeder knew what they were doing, they would never release those, which is why I distrust seeds claimed to be F5/F6.
A true F1 is a good way to lock down your genetics without a patent, it would take of expert breeding to replicate, and by that point, you’d be so far down the line that few would care if it were recreated.
You touch on a good point about protecting your genetics without a patent, as that was one of the reasons that Serious Seeds only sold F1 seeds, because if you wanted that hybrid vigor and varietal uniformity, you had to go back and buy the seeds from Serious Seeds, because they were the only ones who had those two parent plants and could replicate that particular cross.
I would also like to point out that testing is one of the most glaring differences between breeders and pollen chuckers. I know Simon (owner of Serious Seeds) takes the time to test the cross, and to be sure he is achieving what he set out to achieve in the breeding.
In the European industry, I have seen a lot of seeds coming out of Spain in the past 15 years, that have the name of famous F1’s, but are not F1’s, as the seed growers in Spain do not hold the same parent plants, and cannot replicate the crosses. They just use the name of the most famous parent plant, and put it on some cross of a seed that they bought on the open market. The grower only finds out that they did not get what they thought they were getting, only after they grow it.
IMHO, the new cannabis industry is mostly mixing stuff together and putting it in packages, with very little testing or breeder-intention in their crosses. Buyer beware…