By Rick Pfrommer, Director of Education, Harborside Health Center
Amazingly enough, spring planting season is almost upon us. Last fall's harvest is already firmly in the rear-view mirror. We're still enjoying the bounty, as this season was a prolific one. A grower's life isn't easy; while some may be off in Costa Rica or Hawaii, others are preparing their seeds for the spring, when it seems like they just finished trimming!
True, old-school growers ALWAYS grow from seed. The belief is that seed-grown cannabis plants are more vigorous. Growing from seed also allows a grower to choose the plants they want, based on observations of them growing, rather than having uniform clones. Many also believe seeds are a more natural method of propagating cannabis.
Five years ago, Harborside Health Center (HHC) became the first collective to start actively promoting seeds. At the time, the selection of seed genetics available in the Bay Area was quite small. Occasional packs of Dutch or Californian strains would pop up in dispensaries and then just as quickly disappear. There were very few California-based breeders producing seeds for the commercial market. Legendary breeders DJ Short and BOG (Bushy Old Grower) were the first two to start producing and distributing to HHC. Short's infamous Blueberry--an impressive hybrid containing two types of Thai crossed with an Afghani--as well as BOG's Sour Bubble, and future High Times Cup winner Boggle Gum, were some of the first strains to grace the shelves of HHC. But after initial public interest, these strains struggled to sell. The stage was set for some up-and-coming breeders to make their mark.
Creator of such strains as Space Queen and Jack the Ripper, Subcool upped the stakes in the seed game.
TGA Genetic were next to the dance. Many California medical patients are familiar with Subcool's award-winning work. Creator of such strains as Space Queen and Jack the Ripper, Subcool upped the stakes in the seed game. He used professional packaging and high-quality seed. Many of his strains soon became best-sellers. During this period he published two books, Dank: The Quest for the Very Best Marijuana and Dank 2.0, both of which helped boost sales and educate a new generation of growers about the advantages of seed-grown cannabis.
Our next popular breeder, Cali Connection, arrived on the scene claiming to have seed versions of previously clone-only strains. When "Swerve" first showed up in my office claiming to have seeds for SFV OG Kush, Tahoe OG, Deadhead OG, and Larry OG, I was skeptical. But Swerve was a young, enterprising breeder who'd cross the OGs with an Afghani male, and then back-crossed them many times to isolate the OGs' distinctive characteristics. I took a chance on these seeds and had them tested. Lo and behold, this was OG in seed form! We started stocking the seeds at HHC, and Cali Connection began winning cannabis cups from California to Amsterdam. A new legend was born. Growers from all over now come in and ask for them by name.
Some growers have never grown from seed. Clones have been readily available in the Bay for close to 10 years, making cultivating high-quality cannabis easier than ever. Yet there's something magical about beans. They are one of nature's ways of reproducing herself. It's a rewarding and awe-inspiring experience to watch a tiny seed sprout and then push itself up, first two petals and then the first set of leaves, gaining strength as it grows under the wonderful California sunshine. HHC currently stocks dozens of different seed varieties, offering our patients access to an extensive variety of strains, many of which are not available in clone form. Every cannabis grower should try seeds at least once.