How do I cross strains?

With the impending release of “Stankage” at the end of this month their has been an increased amount of interest from our growing membership as to how to cross strains.

For us it is generally making the best out of a bad situation. That is, we always hope for females plants, however always run the risk of getting a male particularly among “regular” seed packs.  “Regular” seeds are seeds which have not been STS treated or what is otherwise known as “feminized”.  They tend to be less expensive and more readily market available since there is a chance of getting a male and generally less breeder farmers. So when setting off on your quest to cross, consider which strain you wish to be your paternal phenotype and buy a “regular” seed pack. In a pack of 10 “regular” seeds you are sure to get at least 1 male. This is your paternal phenotype from which you will draw male pollen.

There is a way which you can determine sex of the seed just by its shape alone. This can be helpful in visually identifying the seeds most likely to be male so that you can quarenteen and sprout separately from the general female population. We will cover this topic in more detail in a separate blog.

Next consider which strain you wish to be your maternal phenotype. It might be helpful to purchase the STS “feminized” equivalent as you are generally 99% assured getting all females. We will also cover how to STS treat your plants in a separate blog, so you can be assured to get a continues stream of seeds of your favorite varieties.

What happens next, is really a matter of personal preference, however be sure that the cross pollination takes place in a controlled environment so as to not contaminate other unintended flowers. Here at High Note Grow we identify the strongest, healthiest  paternal and maternal phenotypes which we intend to cross and make clones of them. The clones are then allowed to develop in a 5 gallon bucket together. The bucket has some grow medium for the clones to root into and is topped off with a plastic bag affixed to the bucket by large rubber band. The microclimate in the bucket is humid and harsh but ideal to encourage clones to root and develop just long enough to cross pollinate.  We offer no assistance in the cross other than periodically causing some environmental agitation (rocking the bucket). Once we see the development of seed pods within the female, we remove the male and destroy him. The pollinated female is then allowed to finish her reproductive cycle so as to harvest the viable seeds. In general, we toss the remaining flowers as our clinical medicinal flowers are “sensimilla” or seed-less. What is left are the seeds of your own custom cross!!! Sprout and enjoy your experiment.

Please note that not all crosses will result in “hybrid vigor” or preferential genetic traits. It could be as with our cross with Skunkage x Dark Star that the end result is exceptional smoke, yet not productively viable. Or that the resulting strain lacks an immunity to local pests for example. Do not give up, simply try it again with another combination of phenotypes and see what F1 genetic traits result. Good luck!

The High Note Grow Blog is produced by High Note Caregivers, a licensed cooperative in California, currently providing care and consultation to members Redlands, Yucaipa, Calimesa, Loma Linda, and Moreno Valley.  Visit us on:

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