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cannabis seed growing

Cannabis seed growing
Fresh-frozen Hash or live resin is an upcoming phenomenon among hash makers. It can be another option with a few advantages in comparison to the classic ice-water method. It’s so successful because it can produce similar amounts of hash from the same amount of plant matter but in a much better quality. The flavours are closer to the original aromas of the plant because one uses freshly harvested plants, in the case of live resin for instance. By only cooling the flowers to about 4 °C, and not freezing them, ice crystals won’t build inside the plants cells. With no ice crystals that can bust open cell walls, which leads to a release of great amounts of chlorophyll in our final product, we can observe a much purer quality, and better taste. Here is a link to a blog that provides more information on live resin.

Cannabis Concentrates and Extracts: A Quick Introduction

Cannabis is a plant full of highly valuable terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavourful resin. This blog describes different ways of extracting the desired compounds.

Cannabis extracts and concentrates provide highly efficient ways to get stoned, or medicated, if you prefer to put it this way. There is proof that mankind used cannabis extracts since the 18th century but humans used cannabis as a medicine way earlier in earth’s history.

It’s a fact that cannabis tinctures were often used by the royal upper class. Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom and Ireland for example, used cannabis extracts to treat various medical conditions, and, to rule the empire in a laid-back and relaxed way, of course. Her majesty would have been one of Royal Queen Seeds’ best customers if we would have launched our genetics and CBD-Oil a few hundred years earlier. Anyway, we thought, better late than never.

One can observe the upcoming of various new types of concentrates, since the legal marijuana movement in the US allowed an industry to flourish, and yes, to literally grow. This blog is meant to give interested cannabis enthusiasts a quick introduction to different kinds of cannabis concentrates.

WHAT ARE CANNABIS CONCENTRATES IN GENERAL?

It may sounds like a silly question but why not define what we’re talking about before diving into the details. The technical process of extracting active ingredients, like THC or CBD for example, from the cannabis plant, is often more or less the same with different types of concentrates. Most of the time, temperatures play a superior role, meaning that the plant matter is often exposed to low or high temperatures, in order to collect as much trichome heads or -glands as possible.

There is a big variety of concentrates because all kinds of carrier materials, and different kinds of extraction methods are being used. The chosen carrier material, along with the specific method, gives the cannabis extract a certain texture, flavour, potency, and appearance.

BRIEF DIGRESSION: TRICHOMES

It makes sense to talk about trichomes in the context of extract production. It’s a wise decision to buy a good magnifying glass online, to observe the building and development of trichomes on your buds. The small ones that jewelers use to examine the quality of diamonds seem to work fine.

Back to trichomes, there are basically three different kinds:

1. Bulbous trichomes

They are the tiniest among trichomes, only 25-30 microns tall. The stalk and the head are both formed by only 1-4 cells. When plants are getting closer to reach their point of full maturity, they usually form a tiny little bubble with some resin in it.

2. Capitate-sessile trichomes

These trichomes can be found in much larger numbers than the bulbous trichomes. It appears as if these trichomes don’t really have a stalk, like if they would sit directly on the plant. The gland often consists of 8-16 cells, giving this trichome a total diameter of about 25-100 microns.

3. Capitate-stalked trichomes

These trichomes are also known as glandular trichomes, and are perfect for any kind of extract or concentrate production. They are the largest in size, with 150-500 microns, and are responsible for producing the majority of cannabinoids. Extract production usually works from the phenomenon that heads of capitates-stalked trichomes, can be easily separated from the stalk. The reason for this is a layer of cells, separating the head, and the stalk of a trichome. This layer of cells gets broken down, and trichome heads are collected in some kind of carrier material.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONCENTRATES AND EXTRACTS

1. BHO (Butane Hash Oil)

Butane Hash Oil or BHO is the generic term for things like shatter, wax/budder, crumble, and pull-and-snap, things we ‘re going to talk about later. What sounds delicious and potent usually is delicious and potent! So called “dabbers” commonly use BHO’s to get the desired effect, without having to smoke vast amounts of bud. The organic compound butane (C4H10) is being used to extract terpenes, CBD, and THC, from the plant matter. Butane is highly flammable what makes a certain expertise necessary to produce BHO’s. Obstacles are there to be overcome though. THC levels of more than 80% should be motivation enough.

2. Ice-Water Hash (Bubble Hash)

This is the most common way for hobby growers to produce delicious, high-quality hash. You can buy many different kinds of kits online, all working by the principle of exposing buds and trim to very cold water, with ice cubes or crushed ice in it. The very low temperatures help to strip the trichomes from the plant matter. By filtering the cannabinoid-infused liquid through bags that have different sized mesh material at the bottom, one can produce home-made hash. Ice-water hash is also something that can be a good alternative to cannabutter, when large amounts of trimmings need to be processed after harvest.

3. Fresh-frozen Hash (Live Resin)

Fresh-frozen Hash or live resin is an upcoming phenomenon among hash makers. It can be another option with a few advantages in comparison to the classic ice-water method. It’s so successful because it can produce similar amounts of hash from the same amount of plant matter but in a much better quality. The flavours are closer to the original aromas of the plant because one uses freshly harvested plants, in the case of live resin for instance. By only cooling the flowers to about 4 °C, and not freezing them, ice crystals won’t build inside the plants cells. With no ice crystals that can bust open cell walls, which leads to a release of great amounts of chlorophyll in our final product, we can observe a much purer quality, and better taste. Here is a link to a blog that provides more information on live resin.

4. Kief (a.k.a dry sift)

The extraction method to produce kief is rather simple and works mechanically, without any kind of carrier material or solvent. It’s the stuff most grinders have an individual compartment for, at the bottom. By running dry plant material through screens with different sizes, trichomes are forced mechanically to fall off the buds or trimmings. Having some natural “angel dust” in your stash box, to spice up a spliff from time to time, is definitely nice.

5. Wax (or Budder)

Wax is a wonderful thing to smoke. The name derives from the fact that those extracts have a waxy and soft consistency. Butane is getting pushed through the plant matter with the result of extracting large parts of essential oils and active ingredients. After evaporating the remaining butane, one gets this highly potent wax, with THC levels of sometimes over 90%. Potheads and patients who experienced problems with a high tolerance to THC because of frequent consumption, only need to smoke tiny amounts of wax, to reach the desired effect.

6. Shatter

This type of Butane Hash Oil uses the exact same extraction method that is being used to produce wax or budder. The big difference is the glass-like consistency in the stable form of the final product. It can be broken into tiny pieces, just like shattered glass. Shatter is made by applying higher temperatures at the end of the BHO process, resulting in more moisture being released from the wax, leaving highly potent shatter behind.

7. CO2 Oil (often CBD Oil)

Using CO2 to extract the desired compounds of cannabis from the plant is also very common. CO2, together with a good amount of pressure, forces compounds like THC, CBD, and terpenes, out of the plants cells. Royal Queen Seeds is offering a premium 4% CBD Oil that is made by experts, constantly quality-checked and monitored, just to ensure to maintain the highest quality available on the European market today. This can be a good option when you came to the conclusion to try some CBD Oil, before investing large sums in technical equipment to make your own. Queen Victoria would have done the same!

Toward the end of the vegetative and budding phase, you’ll be able to sex your plants. Males have two pollen-filled sacs that are easy to see and females have a pair of white V-shaped hairs. One male plant is enough to pollinate all your females so they produce seeds. I didn’t grow for seeds, so I quickly yanked all the male plants. Male plants are low in THC, are harsh-tasting and give many people a massive headache. Unpollinated females produce more flowers, buds and THC.

How to Grow Your Own Cannabis Plants From Seeds

Takeaway: Back in the last millennium, before cloning swept the country like the hula hoop, people actually grew cannabis plants from seed. Primitive, huh? But where there’s a will, they’ll surely find a way. While that’s all changed now (hello, cloning!) you can only clone so many times before you have to buy more plants or get back to basics with seeds.

Growing from seed is all about the quality of your seeds. Plants will never be better than the seeds they grew from. Back in the day, there weren’t any seed shops, so seeds were saved from exceptional buds, but it was all a crapshoot with a lot of trial and error. Luckily, now we know better.

Starting from seed isn’t difficult and you don’t need to be an experienced gardener, but the process is a journey in stages, not a direct flight. Cannabis plants are perfect for growing from seed because they have a short life cycle. That being said, be prepared to check your plants every day for moisture, insects, diseases, nutrient deficiencies and light. If you can’t make the time and work commitment, perhaps you should forget the idea. Here’s my list of what I used for my first grow. Nothing high-tech—my grow room was a walk-in closet with louvered doors and a clothes bar to hang my lights.

  • A four-foot table or two sawhorses with plywood on top
  • A piece of thick plastic or a waterproof tablecloth for spill protection
  • Potting soil for seedlings
  • Clean sand
  • Seeds (of desired strain if purchasing)
  • Five-gallon pail for mixing soil
  • A four-foot shop light with chains and S hooks
  • One full-spectrum red fluorescent grow light
  • One regular white fluorescent tube bulb
  • Light timer
  • Five-ounce opaque drink cups
  • Eight-ounce drink cups
  • pH kit
  • Plant flats or trays
  • Plastic kitchen wrap

Best Lighting for Cannabis Seedlings

If you’re on a budget, fluorescents offer the biggest bang for your buck when getting light to you cannabis seedlings. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of electricity and bulb replacement. To make sure all my plants got an equal amount of light, I turned the trays 180 degrees every day. I especially liked the ease of raising the shop light one link at a time as the plants grew. You can maximize your light by using a room with white walls or surrounding your grow table with movable reflecting foil-covered cardboard or hanging sheets of Mylar—mirrors don’t work well for reflecting light.

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Germinating Cannabis

Mature cannabis seeds are dark brown, sometimes with swirly patterns or stripes. Discard immature pale or greenish-colored seeds. I’ve never started seeds in soil, preferring the Japanese method of “proving” seeds first; there’s no sense planting dud seeds. I germinated my seeds in a moistened, loosely rolled up paper towel on a plate in indirect light on the kitchen counter where I could keep an eye on progress. Keep the paper towel moist, but not lying in a puddle of water or the seeds will rot.

Some seeds germinate in a couple of days, while some take up to a week, depending on their temperature. It’s helpful to know that the seeds will produce male and female plants. Back in the Dark Ages, I always started 16 cups of seeds in hope of ending up with four females. That’s no longer a problem if you can buy feminized seeds, which are guaranteed to be females. I planted two sprouted seeds about one inch apart per cup because frequently one seedling will be bigger and stronger than the other. Go with the bigger one and pinch off the smaller one at the soil level.

The beauty of starting seedlings in the opaque cups is that you can see the root growth. Poke some drainage holes around the cup bases. It’s quicker to do the drain holes with the cups in a stack. As you finish each cup, slip it in the other end of the stack or you’ll waste crumpled up cups. Mix the potting soil with enough sand to give the fluffy soil more body. Add water gradually, mixing well to moisten.

Fill the cups with the soil mix and tap each cup a couple of times on the table to eliminate air pockets. Add more soil if needed, tap it down again to leave a half-inch space between the top of the soil and the rim of the cup. Repeat until all the cups are filled. Set up your grow table and lights. Ready? The table is all set. The lights are on. The cups are shoulder to shoulder in rows, waiting to fulfill their roles.

Transplanting Cannabis Seedlings

My tools of choice for planting were a small wooden matchstick and a wooden toothpick. I made two small holes with the clean end of the match about one quarter inch deep and a half inch apart and not too close to the side of the cup. I picked out two sprouted seeds at a time from the paper towel, careful not to touch the sprout, and dropped them into the match holes and used the tip of a toothpick to scuff soil into the holes, then lightly tamped the spots with one finger. Keep the remaining sprouted seeds covered so they don’t dry out. Repeat until all the cups are planted.

Put as many cups that fit into shallow flats or trays and then drape a long piece of kitchen plastic wrap over everything, tucking the ends under the trays to create a mini greenhouse. When this step is finished, the plants get to sunbathe under the lights for the next six weeks or so of the seedling phase.

In a few days, two primary leaves will appear and you can do your happy dance. Soon the next pair of leaves will appear and the first ones will drop off. If condensation forms under the plastic wrap, uncover the seedlings to release the excess moisture and then replace with fresh wrap. During the seedling phase, keep the soil moist but not wet and only water from the bottom from so the roots stretch down long and strong.

Water with a spray bottle until the first leaves appear, and then water from the bottom; the soil around the stem needs to stay dry to avoid stem rot. Fill pitchers or buckets with tap water and let sit uncovered until room temperature and the chlorine has evaporated into the air. Hard water is fine, but don’t use artificially softened water because it contains too much salt and other harmful additives.

I’m an organic gardener. While I don’t object to a little bloom booster to convince some reluctant annuals to step it up, I want everything that goes in my body to be as natural as possible. Plants need nitrogen to grow. When I had access to a mountain of free rotted horse manure, I fertilized with manure tea.

Throw a shovelful of manure in a bucket, fill with water, let it sit a couple of days and water with the tea. It worked fine for me. There are “hot” manures and “cold” manures. Hot manures have the highest nitrogen, but have to be aged. Cold cow manure has lower nitrogen but can be used hot out of the barn. Rabbit manure is cold, but some growers call it nitrogen on steroids. If slogging around in barnyards doesn’t appeal to you, you could use fish or seaweed emulsions or any of the other excellent natural fertilizers available at your local hydroponics supplier.

Check your soil pH regularly. Plants grown in soil like a pH about 7. If your soil drops below 6, add a light sprinkling of ground limestone before watering. If the soil is above 8—too alkaline—sprinkle around a concoction of cottonseed meal, lemon peels and ground coffee.

For repotting, discontinue the plastic wrap when the third set of leaves appear. When you see that the roots have reached the bottom of the cups, it’s time to repot the little darlings into the eight-ounce cups. In my experience, the plants do better stepping up to the bigger cup instead of going directly into three-quart pots. Repotting can be tricky, so take your time here. The plants shock easily with too much jostling or rough handling. Get the larger cups ready, poke the drain holes and fill with enough soil mix so the seedlings will be at the same depth as in the first cups. Before removing from the smaller cups, lightly water them so everything stays together.

Tip the cup upside down in your open hand with the seedling stem between your fingers. Gently squeeze the sides of the cup with your other hand and the seedling will drop out in one piece. Don’t pull it out by the stem! Place the seedling in its new home, filling around it with more soil, and make sure it isn’t deeper or shallower than in the smaller cup. This is important. Compress the soil lightly for any air pockets.

Entering the Vegetative Stage

During the vegetative phase, leave the lights on 24/7 and as close to the leaves as possible without touching. If the lights are too high, the stems will grow weak and spindly. You want the plants to remain compact. When your plants really take off, they may grow an inch a day. Keep a sharp eye on the distance between the tops of the plants and the lights. Fluorescents are cool and won’t burn the leaves, but keep adjusting your lights upwards to stay ahead of the growth.

Rotate your plants so they all get enough light. When plants are starting to bud, rough handling or a sudden change in temperature or light will drive them into shock. When you see your plants are beginning to outgrow the cups, it’s time to pot up again, this time to three-quart containers commonly found at nurseries. Always wash used pots in hot soapy water before reusing.

Sexing

Toward the end of the vegetative and budding phase, you’ll be able to sex your plants. Males have two pollen-filled sacs that are easy to see and females have a pair of white V-shaped hairs. One male plant is enough to pollinate all your females so they produce seeds. I didn’t grow for seeds, so I quickly yanked all the male plants. Male plants are low in THC, are harsh-tasting and give many people a massive headache. Unpollinated females produce more flowers, buds and THC.

For even more plants, remove the unproductive lower stems and leaves on your plants, and then make two or three shallow downward slices on the main stem with a clean blade and insert a graft slip dipped in root stimulant in each cut. Put a small piece of tape around the cuts. The grafts can be other varieties, not just the same as the host plant. Soon you’ll have new growth from all your grafts, giving you maximum yields.