If you are planning to cultivate your own cannabis seeds, there are things that you need to know in order to stabilize your stock. The process involved in stabilizing your own cannabis seeds mean that your seeds will become homogenous. This also means that any seed coming from that strain will breed with quality. By nature, landraces are stable. A seed coming from one plant will ultimately grow the same way as with another seed coming from a different plant from the very same crop.
Stabilizing naturally happens through time, with a crop that is big enough. Day length, climate, soil quality and altitude contribute to the overall genetic makeup of your cannabis plants. By giving them enough time, your seeds will become homogenous. For this very reason, landrace strains have been used for breeding because they have known characteristics which can be bred to new strains.
When it comes to stabilizing strains, here are 5 useful tips that you can take into consideration:
Give Attention to Variability and Predictability
Both variability and predictability refer to the different types of phenotypes, as well as the assumed distribution ratio of different phenotypes, respectively. Expert cultivator suggest that breeding with stable parent seeds will naturally produce high quality produce.
The offspring plants will be relatively distributed evenly across all of the seeds in the batch. 25% of the plants will be mother-dominant, 25% will be father-dominant, while the rest of the 50% will result to hybrids with features that are combined.
Note that this is true across all of the produced seeds. A random selection of four seeds does not necessarily result to the variations predicted. In fact, they may be of one phenotype or another. This is one of the reasons why breeding on a smaller scale coming from a small seed range may not really produce the predicted variations. Most of the seeds have to be planted in order to observe the variations predicted in phenotypes.
Stabilize by Backcrossing
It usually takes several generations in order to breed a stable strain. One method, known as selective homozygous breeding, referring to breeding from within the same strain, results to less variations. Siblings crossed from stable parent seeds generally produce more predictable results.
Desirable traits can easily be isolated, while traits that are quite undesirable are eliminated gradually. Unstable parent seeds have the risk of producing offspring that are heterozygous. This poses a risk of more variation, which means that unpredictable and undesirable traits can easily emerge.
For this reason, some growers ‘backcross’ with one of the primary parents. It is not really needed to backcross just to achieve stable plants, because selective breeding will just do this through time. Still, the process of backcrossing can easily hasten the process of stabilization, thus reinforcing preferred dominant traits.
Outbreeding Your Seeds
One problem posed by inbreeding is that it can result to genetic depression. This refers to a genetic diversity which can turn out to be risky to the overall sustainability and health of your seeds. Unwanted traits which can impact a strain negatively are more likely to be passed easily when both of the parents are carriers.
When this happens, the recessive traits become even more dominant and will also be passed to all offspring afterwards. Outbreeding is the solution to this problem. When the breeding population is relatively small, inbreeding may happen faster. This solution, therefore, is to introduce a quality father into the pool in order to strengthen the strain even further, and thus the genetic diversity.
Husband the New Strain
Without certain genetic assays which can give exact information regarding the characteristics of plants, experience usually plays a huge role. Cultivators depend on growth pattern, appearance, leaf shape, potency and color for new strains. They choose a number of plants for cultivating from the same batch of seeds which come with similar characteristics. These plants are usually interbred, with the plants resembling the desired strain bred together again.
Crossbreeding four chosen males and females may result to 10,000 combinations of the hybrid targeted. These variations can turn out to be subtle, but it can distinguish quality from reject.
Adjust the Lighting Period Accordingly
Naturally, cannabis plants respond to light quite strongly. However, having more light is not necessarily better, especially when you are interested in maximizing the production of your flowers which contain very active chemical ingredients such as THC, CBD as well as other cannabinoids.
If your plants receive more than 12 hours of complete daylight, they will remain in the vegetative phase. With this extra light given to your plants, they will grow fast, as sunlight stores energy into the leaves and stems of the plants. With this, you can expect huge plants. When you finally want your plants to flower, you can now turn the lights off.
Creating Your Strain
Cultivating your own cannabis strain can turn out to be fun. Some really amazing strains have been crated through the process of selective breeding. Whether you are using modern classics or landraces as parents, with good eye for high quality weed and patience, you can easily produce weed that has never been discovered before.