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:


Should I start from seed or from clones?

Whether one should I start from seed or from clones is really a matter of personal preference, price and your projected time line. From personal experience we at High Note Care prefer to grow from seed and subsequently clone from only the strongest and healthiest of F1 mothers. Here are some considerations one should weight when contemplating growing from seed vs clone, as follows:

1.) TIME LINE: Of prime importance is to understand that if you are growing from seed, then you are going to typically add 2-4 weeks to your harvest timeline in order to germinate, sprout and sex seedlings. That is , an additional 1 month minimum, on top of traditional veg and bloom periods, for a total of production time of approximately 3-6+ months, seed to black. Most beginning growers lack the patience, passion and experience for this approach, but if your time line and budget can afford it, “from seed” is the way to go. One big advantage to using clones it that you do not have to wait the additional 2-4 weeks .

2.) YIELD: If done right, growing from seed tends to produce more yield. This is exceptionally true among commercial hybrid varieties which will exhibit “hybrid vigor”. For a variety of reasons “hybrid vigor” generally leads to increased yields. The same is can be said for most F1 generation strains grown from seed. Over time cloning will diminish the yield curve the farther you get away from this F1 generation. Growers will often keep a F1 mother grown from seed in veg growth so as to continue to produce top quality clones. 

3.) QUALITY CONTROL: When you procure seeds from a reputable seed bank you can be assured that what you see is what you get. When you purchase clones from a dispensary or a “friend” you run the risk of getting heartaches. Not all growers are meticulous in their cleanliness and as a result can innocently conjure and spread disease into your farm. Other vendors are insidious in nature and prefer to pan off multi-generation varieties which have long since peaked productive cycle. Leaving them prone to disease and lower yields. Our “cannaseurs” know that taste, smell and presentation are important to us. As such, our clones are top notch. Ask your patient care specialist about clones varieties available for your farm. Most everything you see on our menu can be custom ordered in clone and juvenile varieties within a 2 week turn around.

4.) PRICE: Often times clones are the less expensive and be produced in large numbers making them extremely price effective when purchased from a reputable source. Seeds on the other hand can be a bit more expensive and time intensive, however the satisfaction you get from farming and the increases you see in yield make those extra dollars spent, pay for themselves.

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:



DARK STAR X SKUNKAGE exclusive hybrid…this top shelf sativa is uplifting, euphoric and available no where else in the world!

In the Summer of 2014 we procured seeds of both Skunkage and Dark Star directly from a European seed bank distributer. The Skunkage were regular seeds, so they had not been STS or silver nitrate treated, as such we were running the chance of getting some males, which we did. We decided that we would experiment and cross pollenate several varieties with Skunkage, Dark Star being one of them. The Dark Star seeds were feminized and consequently very female. In a controlled environment we took F1 genetic of a Skunkage Male and crossed it with a Dark Star Female to produce seeds, which to germinate. We used a selective method to sprout only the female seeds we collected. The result, a rather pleasant sativa dominant hybrid which we grew in-door under 600W HPS.

It carries the pungent stank of it’s Mother Dark Star, so we whimsically decided to name the cross “Stankage”. It’s effects uplifting, euphoric and available no where else in the world!

Given that this  plant was a small producer it is likely that it will be phased out for more productive varieties. We urge our “cannasseur” patients to indulge in this productive day time variety while it is still in stock. Supplies are limited. Available THANKS GIVING-2015!!!  Enjoy, Farm to Table.

What should I take into consideration before I start growing?

In order to successfully grow medical marijuana you must first consider a variety of variables which will ultimately determine the outcome of your grow. Here we list just a few of the major considerations for those just starting out, as follows:

1.) SAFETY LOCATION: Ultimately the space you choose should be remote, secure, private, and capable of order and temperature control. Once you have the location, keep your mouth shut. There is a natural tendency to want to share exciting and new farming revelations…DON”T! It is safe to assume that neighbors and friends will be jealous and/ or further promote what should otherwise be kept PRIVATE.

2.) AREA SQFT: It is imperative that  growers next consider the TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE available to them at the secret selected location. This will determine equipment inventory, budget, yield and ultimately grow style. Growers typically block space into 16′ sqft increments as this is the typical 4’x4′ footprint of most commercial grow lights, for example:

  • 600W HPS/MH will cover a manufaturer recommended 3.5’x3.5′ sqft area or 12.25 sqft TOTAL
  • 1000W HPS/MH will cover a manufaturer recommended 4’x4′ sqft area or 16 sqft TOTAL
  • 700w LED will cover a manufaturer recommended 3.5’x3.5′ sqft area or 12.25 sqft TOTAL

New growers can forecast a minimum of 1/2 pound per 16′ sqft to over a 1 pound as one gains the experience necessary for master farming.  A typical 4’x4′ commercially available grow tent is a great nominal footprint for most beginners to start. Once you master this space you should be ready to tackle larger areas. Be prepared, however, to change design, grow method, account for walking paths and larger environmental control footprints. We will delve further into some these advanced methods in subsequent articles.

3.) BUDGET: Larger collectives, will supplement their expenses across a broader patient base making the overall production costs and yield beneficial to each member, however, the upstart costs can be significantly higher. For those just looking to grow only for personal medication, budget can be a limiting factor. In order to mitigate costs for smaller operators we suggest shopping price, light technology (HID, LED, LEC, etc), wholesale nutrient salts, and considering overseas manufacturers for potential cost savings. Remember, not to let your ego get involved and decide what is best for you. That is, bigger is not necessarily better and broader technological and agricultural considerations should be weighed relative to your budget.

4.) YIELD: Ideally when growing for personal use having a estimate of the amount of medication consumed over a 2 month period allows the operator to forecast usage rates such that you will never have a empty crucible, pending the unforeseen.  As stated above new growers can forecast a minimum of 1/2 pound per 16′ sqft. If you have some prior history growing other garden variety foliage,  then you will likely have a leg up and experience “beginners luck” in this department. As your usage exceeds yield, alternate considerations should be made (weeks in flower, designated veg, hormone enhancers, strain phenotype, lumens etc )  so supply keeps up with demand.

Obviously, this is just a ancillary glance at what a beginning grower should  take into consideration before starting a grow. In the coming months we will explore further more advanced techniques to improve your overall performance and satisfaction in producing medical marijuana.

We also provide a growing consultation service where High Note Care will review your objectives and set a course of action for you to reach your goals.  We can advise you from a closet grow all the way to 5,000 sqft + warehouse operation.  Our team has decades of experience in both residential and commercial environments and is the perfect consultant to any grower who values quality, professionalism and confidentiality (NDA).

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:


From start to finish we only select for the characteristics which best exemplify each strain’s phenotype. Currently our facilities are providing our patients with the following phenotypes; OG Kush, Ultra Sour, Training Day, “Stankage”, Bubba Kush and many more. Please contact us with suggestions. We read all member’s emails, feedback and suggestions. Your comments are very important to us in helping build a better collective.