Stealth Box - The Importance of Genetics
The Importance of Genetics
The Stealth Box will take care of the environmental needs for your grow, so you know you’ll be set up. You now have to decide what you want to grow. Genetics play a very important role in the final outcome and quality of your grow. Cannabis genetics have been shepherded by man for a very long time. It has adapted and evolved as it moved along trade routes from Asia to the Middle East and beyond. Changing slightly and adapting to its environment and the needs of the local population. Some varieties were bred specifically for hemp for rope, or seeds for nutrition, many others were bred for their particular effects when consumed.
Until recently most Cannabis in the world was cultivated at point of origin for hemp, flower, or hash. These varieties became completely adapted to the region in which they were developed. If a strain is believed to have originated in a particular area it is known as a land race. These genetics are very well suited for their particular region but need to be coaxed through multiple breeding generations to become viable in other locations. You can’t expect something that has been growing for thousands of years in a tropical location to adapt to the Canadian climate overnight.
Thankfully many dedicated breeders have been doing just that over the last 40 years. Originally seeds were brought or smuggled directly from the country of origin or inside the buds themselves before sinsemilla or “seedless” became popular. These were the days of “wild” Sativa genetics that were more difficult to grow. During the 1980s things changed as the wars in the Middle East triggered the discovery of Indica or broad leaf varieties. These were the primarily hash producing plants of Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq etc. Once these varieties were brought back to the West they were grown out and crossed via pollination to the tropical Sativa's. The result was the first Hybrid strains of Cannabis. This allowed gardeners to grow Cannabis plants indoors that had a wide spectrum of effects. This discovery catapulted indoor cultivation into the future, now strains could be easily tamed and grown in much less time than straight Sativa’s. This is truly a great time for obtaining quality genetics but there are a few things to be aware of and ask yourself before choosing.
First, off you should know that most any strain by any reputable breeder is going to produce something you are going to be proud of, once you start to understand your preferences you will know what you like. While this is an important decision don’t let it cause paralysis by analysis. While Cannabis is now legal in Canada we are still in a bit of a grey zone when it comes to genetics. For reasons that aren’t fully known, seeds are technically still black market. Currently, there are many seed banks operating in North America that will be glad to help you out, however.
If this is your first time selecting genetics here are some things to consider. What kind of high do you like, or what are you hoping for effects wise? What is the plants structure like, or how it looks physically while growing? Short and squat or tall and spindly. Many strains have been around for a while and have reviews online, try sifting through all of the “This is dank!” reviews to find something with a little more substance. These are the Main categories strains fall into:
Pure Sativa – Malawi, Panama Red
Sativa leaning hybrid (75% Sativa / 25% Indica) Sour Diesel, Chocolope
50/50 Hybrid GSC, Juicy Fruit
Indica Leaning Hybrid (75% Indica / 25% Sativa) Romulan, Sweet Tooth
Pure Indica Afghani, Hindu Kush
CBD Harlequin, Cannatonic
Sativa being typically a more upbeat, happy, electric, energized, mental and potentially hallucinogenic high. While Indica is generally a more body focused, deep muscle penetrating, mind clouding high. Hybrids can feel exactly down the middle, with good offerings giving you the happy, upbeat attitude of a Sativa, with the relaxing body and mental calm of a good Indica. This is a good party or social type of Cannabis that will have something for everyone.
CBD is known for it’s anti-inflammatory and mental relaxation qualities, you can obtain strains with high or low amounts of CBD. It’s recommended you look for strains that have a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio of CBD to THC, so something that has 7% CBD and 7% THC will give you a more full spectrum effect than a purely CBD product. CBD also counteracts the mental euphoria and energy received from THC to a degree and can really help those who find that Cannabis excites them a little too much and causes anxiety.
It’s important to remember when reading information about seeds that the % of Sativa or Indica is generally a best guess scenario based on the breeder's personal reactions to the effects of the finished product, along with their knowledge of its ancestry and general growing style and structure of the plant. A high Indica percentage also doesn’t necessarily mean they will all be couch lock sleepy time strains. There are many cerebral Indica’s as well as deep relaxing body focused Indica’s.
Try not to get too caught up in strain hype. Most genetics fall into the above categories or blend between them. You don’t necessarily have to try growing every OG Kush or Cookies derivative on the market to find the “best” one (although you could). They are all related and all have the potential to produce excellent smoke. Just make sure you can trust in their provenance. Beware of very generically labelled seeds such as OG Kush for example. OG Kush has unknown origins and therefore not many have the real OG Kush, as it is a clone, that does mean that there are many versions on the market. If a seed company is advertising that they have OG Kush this usually means that they made up their own version of it. The building blocks to create these strains are accessible and common, so it’s not a total crap shoot but some research into particular breeders offerings will pay off in the end.
Most all breeders will list a flowering time with their information. This means how long the plant will take to be finished flowering once you switch it into flower by inducing it with 12 hours on, 12 hours off light cycle. This is where you will begin to see the major downside of growing pure Sativa genetics. Many of which take 12-14 weeks or longer to finish, as opposed to 8 for Indica’s. This is because these varieties are from regions near the equator where the Suns cycle does not fluctuate as it does in Northern latitudes. Many varieties have been bred to finish in about 8 or 9 weeks and this is a good starting point for a beginner. Watch out for outlandish claims of very low flowering times as they are usually dubious. If you do want to grow Pure Sativa’s it is possible in the Stealth Box and has been tested. It just requires a bit more attention and nutrition along the way, as well as the patience to wait it out. However, if you are a Sativa lover it is worth the wait!
Regular or Feminized seeds
Because Cannabis can be either male or female and both are required for reproduction, regular seeds are just that, unadulterated seeds made from a male and female plant. That will, in turn, produce seeds of both sexes. These seeds are usually less expensive than feminized and offer you the ability to make more seeds if you desire. The downside of regular seeds is that you have to grow out your plants and either wait for 6 weeks for them to show their sex or induce flowering to speed up the process. Once they show their sex most growers will remove all the male plants from the garden and dispose of them. This is because a single male plant will easily pollinate all your female plants, resulting in a crop of seeded bud. While you can still consume this, your yields will greatly suffer. On the upside, you will have all the seeds you could want. This is the choice for breeders or those looking to work their own lines or make their own seeds.
Feminized seeds are the other option and have a small amount of controversy around them. They are more prone to being hermaphrodites as the process to make feminized seeds consists of either stressing a female plant to the point that it creates male flowers and pollinates itself in a last ditch effort to survive. Or by using various chemicals to cause a female plant to turn into a male plant, usually by spraying on one branch. Feminized seeds offer the convenience of knowing that your plants are female, there is no sexing of plants and in a small grow with small plant count numbers this can be very advantageous for the home grower. This is a large and growing part of the market as many don’t have the time to search through regular seeds. You can clone a female plant and keep the cutting to grow on your next round, or buy a new strain and try it out something new.
Auto-flowering seeds have become increasingly popular in recent years. Specifically in Europe where people have less space available and low amperage electrical service to their apartments and homes. These seeds do not require a change in light timing to initiate flowering and will automatically flower on their own after a few weeks. Most of these genetics are feminized to further facilitate ease of growing. The only drawbacks of these types of seeds are that they don’t leave much room for error, if a problem happens in the first three weeks it is tough to fix as you cannot keep the plant in a vegetative state forever. They also generally produce less yield but this is dependent on the size of pot used. It’s a good idea in the stealth box to grow fewer plants in larger pots if you desire optimal Autoflower growth. Autoflowers also don’t lend very well towards topping or training because they don’t stay in vegetative growth very long so the benefit of doing so can be lost. Many breeders are focusing on this segment of the market however and the offerings continue to improve. The main benefits are that the total time to a complete plant is about 2 months and they are less maintenance once established.
It’s important to choose your genetics based on your goals and criteria, these days it’s not too difficult to get quality genetics. Grow what you want to grow and what you think will give you the effects you want based on some research. The Stealth box was tested to grow all varieties of strains and anything is possible. If this is your first grow or you are a beginner it’s advisable to grow something that has some more heavily leaning Indica genetics, Afghani or Northern lights have been blended into many strains to aid in easier growing. Indica plants are generally slightly slower growing during vegetative state but are a little more bombproof and resistant to any pathogens. Kush varieties do well in the box as do modern hybrids. Avoid strains that specifically note how much they stretch as they may easily overgrow your space if you are not diligently training them, especially if this is your first grow. Other than that rest assured that the Stealth Box will take your choice from seed to flower with ease.