Wednesday September 16, 2020View our Editorial Policy
This content contains third-party advertisements. Click here to view PotGuide's advertising policy
More and more people are growing their own cannabis. Home cultivation is permitted in numerous places, and in some, is the only option for legally obtaining cannabis. This has resulted in a curious conundrum in many places where cannabis is legal to grow, possess and consume, but not purchase. Lacking a system of sales results in a lack of seeds and clones to buy as well. Growers are left with a classic “chicken-or-egg” problem: they need seeds to grow plants, and they need plants to make seeds. So how does an initial grow get started?
Even if a grower does raise a successful crop, growing to harvest flower and growing for seeds are quite different, and typically work contrary to each other. A small accident in pollination could render a crop unusable. For higher quality, consistent, and dependable results, numerous growers utilize seed banks. In this article we’ll explore why growers choose seed banks, and what to look for when selecting one.
Growing Cannabis for Seeds
Traditionally, whenever there’s scarcity in the cannabis space, the community turns to the age-old ethos of, “just grow your own!” While this is often excellent advice for growing plants, it’s not quite so easy for seeds. Growing for seeds is far more specialized than regular growing, and requires more materials and skill.
For starters, you’ll need some weed plants, so if that’s the conundrum you’re trying to fix, it’s already going to be an uphill battle. Traditionally, you’ll need at least two plants, a male and a female. To induce a cannabis plant to make seeds, a male plant is grown to maturity, and then its pollen is collected and placed on a female plant early in her growing cycle. The female plant, instead of using her energy to grow flowers (and thus the coveted cannabinoids that flourish on them) will then divert that energy to make seeds.
Fertilized female plants will not produce the same THC-rich flowers used for making cannabis products.
When those seeds are ready, they can be planted, however the resulting seeds will be somewhat of a mystery. Some will be male, some will be female, and each will be a genetic hybrid of the two parent plants. To get a batch of even potentially viable seeds of unknown genetics, you will likely first have to grow two full plants that produce nothing to smoke. For many growers, that’s a non-starter.
When properly stressed, female plants can be induced to self-pollinate and make seeds on their own. This process then produces almost entirely female seeds, which is where “feminized” seeds come from. Creating the specific circumstances to induce female plants can be achieved through various methods, but most require some chemical solution (colloidal silver being the most common), and familiarity with the process, which many amateur growers simply don’t have.
Many Growers Use Seed Banks as a Solution
If you visit any dispensary in a legalized US state, you’re likely to find flower from a dozen famous genetics on the same shelf. How did a handful of landrace strains from all over the globe make it into your local pot shop? And just months after opening? The open secret for most of the industry is that the majority of those seeds very likely came from seed banks. Growers tend to favor purchasing seeds for numerous reasons, but one of the largest is variety.
A good seed bank can carry dozens and dozens of different genetics, and very good ones will have the up-and-comers on the scene as well. How else is someone going to get that new Blueberry Birthday Cake Haze Kush OG?
Using a seed bank can allow new growers to get their bearings in the cultivation world, and removes the headache of finding or growing viable seeds. While we often call it weed for its ability to propagate almost anywhere with some sun and water, growing high-quality hemp and marijuana can be a complex task in practice. Using a seed bank streamlines and simplifies a large piece of the puzzle in having a successful harvest.
What to Look for When Choosing a Seed Bank
There are a number of desirable features to look for when choosing a seed bank, from selection to service and everything in between. Especially when starting a new grow, it is often best to find a bank that meets a grower’s specific needs, and keeps things as easy as possible, thus giving time to what really matters: preparing for the plants. Weedseedsexpress has all of the features below, so we’ll use them as a good case study in what to look for:
A good seed bank will have a wide variety of genetics to choose from. As most cannabis consumers know, strain traits can be very specific, so you’ll want to find the exact thing you’re looking for. Using a bank can grant access to some of the newer exciting strains emerging from breeders, and will sometimes carry their own new creations as well (for example, check out the marijuana seeds at Weedseedsexpress).
Similarly, something we found particularly attractive at Weedseedsexpress is a wide variety of high-quality CBD strains. CBD consumers have settled for bland, generic flower for far too long. Two years past the 2018 Farm Bill, it’s nice to see this nascent side of the industry getting some more attention as cannabis growers move beyond the pure THC-focus into hemp territory.
Quality and Customer Support
You might be surprised to learn that a lot of people who operate seed banks aren’t necessarily growers. It’s preferable to find a business that knows growing from doing it, from harvesting and propagating seeds themselves, and the kind of customer care that should go along with it. Good customer support matters.
Seed Type Variety
As mentioned above there are many different types of seeds with various qualities beyond what kind of flower they will grow: Auto-flowering, feminized seeds, or just the classics. Each grow can differ, and a good seed bank will have the selection to accommodate any needs.
Seeds are an investment in time, care, and money and no one wants to see their investment disappear before the process even begins. It’s a good idea to check out a seed bank’s delivery policies before purchasing, so be sure to check if they either ensure delivery or offer a refund if needed.
The practice of buying from seed banks is very common, and numerous legal grows likely starting this way, but prospective purchasers should always do their homework first.
It should always be noted that purchasing cannabis seeds can sometimes fall under a hazy tangle of legality, and will vary depending on where one is purchasing.
As of the signing of the 2018 US Farm bill, hemp seeds are allowed throughout the US, and numerous places sell CBD-specific strains (as mentioned, Weedseedsexpress has an excellent selection of them), but the rules regarding the purchase of other cannabis seeds vary depending on location. Remember, before shopping for seeds it is always best to check your local laws and regulations.
What are your thoughts on seed banks? Have you ever ordered seeds from one? Take it to the comments section, and let us know!