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Nico’s Nuggets: Home Breeding Basics

Nico Escondido

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Hello Nico, Thanks in advance for your help and great grow posts. I harvested a number of seeds from a plant given to me last year. They are growing now and my question is twofold;

  1. Should I save one male and one female to (hopefully) create seeds for next year? And,
  2. If I do so, should I grow any remaining females indoors to keep them away from pollen?

Joel T. – via NicosNuggets@hightimes.com

Greetings, Joel. Thanks for reading and writing!

You have now entered into the truly miraculous nature of this dioecious plant! As we all know, cannabis plants – like humans – have distinctly different male and female plants that procreate via pollination, which then forms seeds. In my opinion, this is one of the coolest aspects of cannabis plants – next to THC production, of course.

Breeding is not only a very rewarding aspect of cannabis horticulture, but it is also one of the more advanced projects a cannabis grower can undertake. Starting small and doing a home breeding project is a great way to start. Not to mention, you are wise to be thinking ahead to next year’s crop!

To get to your questions, the short answer to both is certainly “Yes!” If you have both a male and female plant of the same strain – and it is a strain you like – then you are quite lucky. These days it is becoming increasingly harder and harder to find good males. With that being said, I would certainly recommend holding onto that male and using him to make seeds for future use.

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Male pollen sacs, ripe and ready to open.

The second part of your question addresses the need to separate the males and females to prevent unwanted pollinations. This is a smart and necessary step in any breeding program. It is up to you as to how you will separate them or which ones you will bring indoors. If you plan to keep the male into the future so that you can always reproduce seeds of your favorite strain, then you might want to consider keeping the male indoors, making that space it’s long-term home. In regards to breeding, your male plant is the most important asset.

Before starting your breeding, remember a few key points:

Always keep males separate from females, in a wind and draft free area.

Females are viable to produce seeds between weeks two and six of flower, but remember it can take between four and five weeks for them to produce fully mature seeds.

Males are carry viable pollen as soon as their pollen sacs are formed. Once the first sac begins to open you can either move your selected females into the male room, or collect the pollen to apply manually by hand.

Water is a great tool for preventing unwanted pollination. After pollinating your females, wait a few days for the flowers to grab the pollen then, before moving the ladies back to their female garden, spray the rest of the plant thoroughly with water and shake. This will prevent stray pollen from contaminating the other female plants.

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Making seeds at home for your favorite strains is rewarding in many ways.

Remember, pollen sacs can be cut and stored for future use. Freezing pollen is a great option. Juts cut, dry, and then vacuum seal your pollen. Moisture, oxygen and temperatures fluctuations are pollen’s worst enemies.

Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

Got questions? Email ’em over to Nico at NicosNuggets@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line!

Follow Nico on Social Media: @Nico_Escondido (Twitter) & @Nico_High_Times (Instagram)

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