Male cannabis plants look just like female cannabis plants when they are young. But as they enter sexual maturity the differences become obvious. The photo below is of a mature male cannabis plant. It is vital that you remove the male plants from your female plants as soon as the males begin to shed pollen, or you’ll end up with poor quality, seedy bud. Cannabis flowers are wind pollinated, and the male cannabis plant produces abundant pollen. Be kind to your neighbors, and their female cannabis plants! I’ve heard that cannabis pollen can travel up to a mile if the winds are brisk. If you want to do some selective pollination of your female plants – you can! This is covered in The Cannabis Gardener, p. 96.
It’s early March, and that means Spring is coming — at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. For the cannabis gardener, that means getting your seed game on. You may have heard “Time to pop your seeds” or “Let’s crack some seeds”. What’s up with that? These are just different words for sprouting your seeds. I just LOVE this time of year. It’s all about potential – and seeds are the embodiment of potential. A seed is a tiny nascent genetically unique plant folded between two food sources, covered by a protective seed coat. Seeds are alive, and are quite aware of their surroundings. They will stay put in their little seed coats until they sense that conditions are right for them to sprout — they’re waiting for just the right combo of warmth, soil and moisture. The sprouting process could hardly be simpler! Just place your seeds into a small pot of seedling mix, cover 1/4 inch deep with soil, water, and set in a windowsill (keep the temp around 70° f). The seeds should all sprout within a week. Then give them nice, strong light, temps around 70° f and they’re off to a good start. I cover this in detail in The Cannabis Gardener.
One common question I receive is “Where can I get good cannabis seeds?” followed quickly by “Why are cannabis seeds so expensive?” The answer is that because cannabis is still (ridiculously!!) Federally illegal in the US and in much of the world, seeds can be scarce and tricky to find. You’ll need to buy your seeds either online or – my preferred way – at a local dispensary. A couple of things to consider:
- Standard or Feminized: Both are good, but standard seeds will contain both female and male seeds — generally, you want to grow just the girls.
- Harvest date: Good growers will list the date that the seed was harvested. Make sure your seeds are fresh — especially because they are expensive (like $10 per seed expensive)
- Call before you go to a dispensary! Be sure you know what’s in stock before arriving to avoid disappointment.
- Genetics matters – sort of. If you’re not too picky about your cannabis, and someone has free seeds — go for it! I’ve had great results from unknown crosses. If you’re interested in more particular weed, it’s a good idea to do your research before purchasing seed. My go-to is Humboldt Seed Company. They are an excellent source for quality genetics and healthy seeds, sold at many dispensaries.
- Trade! Most seeds are sold in packs of 10. But few home gardeners need that many of one cultivar. I recommend that you and a couple friends go in on a couple of varieties and then trade. You’ll be able to grow a couple different sorts and save cost overall.
I am delighted to announce that The Cannabis Gardener is hitting the shelves! This beautiful book is the culmination of years of learning, growing, enjoying, and cooking with my home grown cannabis. I’ve taught about cannabis as I’ve explored this plant’s amazing healing properties through the company I co-founded, Let’s Sesh for the Cannacurious. And now? Let’s Sesh co-founder & friend Kaisha-Dyan McMillan will interview me on IG Live @letsseshworkshops101 on February 2, 2021, 4:00 pm to 4:30 pm PST. Everyone is invited to join in the fun! I hope to see you on IG live this Tuesday, 4:00 pm PST.
The sun sets early now, and the seeds of my cannabis plants are safely tucked away in jars. They, like me, are waiting for Spring. Welcome to the beginning of the 2021 Growing season! I hope you’ll grow your own cannabis victory garden this Spring.