Kyle Kushman is an internationally-renowned cannabis cultivation expert whose breeding collaborations saw him win thirteen awards, including three US Cannabis Cups in the Best Flower category. His awards were earned with the help of Kushman’s Vegamatrix, winner of the Best New Nutrient STASH Award from High Times Magazine in 2014.
Kyle was actually a writer here at High Times Magazine for many years, gaining a huge following for his knowledge, expertise and wit. He was an extremely popular figure in the office—and not just on account of his incredible weed! He left us in 2004 and headed west to California, so he could grow his own cannabis without breaking the law. By 2009 he was teaching advanced horticulture classes at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, the same year he began developing Vegamatrix. He’s taught earth-friendly Cannaculture classes at the OU Oakland Campus, the North Bay Learning Center in Sebastopol and Ann Arbor, Michigan, changing the lives of thousands of eager students.
Kyle has a brand new teaching platform with the Homegrown Cannabis Co. where he is taking his talents to the big screen. Homegrown’s customers have access to hundreds of videos including How To Grow Marijuana – A Beginner’s Guide and some hilarious promotions—did you know Kyle could act, too?
Anyway, enough from us. It’s time to hear from the man himself. This is Kyle Kushman, master breeder and all-round legend, talking about his favorite strain, Strawberry Cough.
Kyle Kushman And Strawberry Cough
I want to talk about a high THC strain that has significantly enriched my life and career, Strawberry Cough. I like to call her the queen of sativas because nothing but the straight Haze of the past, Neville’s Haze or the pure Hazes, nothing comes close to the joy, the clarity, the uplifted feeling you get from Strawberry Cough.
So what’s so special about my lovely Strawberry Cough, and why is my name so closely connected to her? Well, people seem to think that I created the Cough, probably because the Cannabible tells them so. But I didn’t, I just made her popular. I told Jason King (author of the Cannabible) the whole Strawberry Cough story when he interviewed me but maybe things got a bit hazy when it came to writing it up. Probably something to do with the giant, ham-sized bud I left him as a gift.
Anyway, the story goes like this… back in ’99 a pot dealer friend in Bridgeport, Connecticut asked if I could visit his buddy, a big Kushman fan. This guy had a rudimentary garden and I gave him some tips, helped him out with his methods and his overall set-up. When I left he very kindly gave me a small clone in a rockwool cube. The fledgling plant was only a few inches high with just two tiny leaves on it.
We thanked the guy and I left with the clone in a paper bag, thinking nothing more of it. I didn’t touch the bag again until I had driven all the way back to Brooklyn but when I opened her up, I got a face FULL of strawberries. This tiny clone was speaking to me. This tiny clone was Strawberry Cough.
Strawberry Cough is a cross of Strawberry Fields and Haze. Strawberry Fields is actually an indica from upstate New York that was grown next to strawberry fields to mask the odor. According to legend, the cannabis started taking on the odor of the strawberries next door, having grown side by side for so many years. I don’t know by what mechanism this could’ve happened, but it’s sure not the weirdest idea I ever heard. When I moved out West back in 2004, I hid a tray of Strawberry Cough clones in the trunk of my rented Buick. I handed them out in every city along the way where I knew someone and by the time I got to California, the legend was born and my name was permanently linked to the Cough.
An Amazing High
Crossing Strawberry Fields with a Haze was a complete accident, but the offspring, the Strawberry Cough, she was little short of a miracle. A championship strain, a cultivar with class. But what made her so great? How did she get so popular and how has she stayed there? Let’s start with the high…that amazing, soaring, Strawberry Cough high. For me, it’s all about clarity. Imagine staring through binoculars and adjusting the focus wheel, slowly, a little at a time until the image is clear and focused… that sharpness is Strawberry Cough. It adds to you. It improves you. It opens your third eye.
If you want to go ride a bike, you’ll want to ride your bike longer. If you want to climb a mountain, you’ll want to climb higher. If you’re in the mood to get naked, that will definitely go a little bit longer. People have called her ‘ampheta-weed’ because the high is so energizing, so completely cerebral and if you smoke the really good stuff, the Veganic Strawberry Cough, there really is no come-down. She puts you back right where you were before. Happy and raring to go. She is the undisputed queen of the sativa jungle.
A Terpene Sensation
The flavor and aroma are unmistakable because they are uniquely similar. More than any other strain I’ve ever known or heard about, Strawberry Cough has the same smelling flower and smoke. That smell is heavy and sweet, a melange of soft fruit dominated by crushed strawberries. The smoke leaves a delicious stickiness on the throat, a curious feeling you start missing as soon as it begins to fade.
Growing Your Own Strawberry Cough
For a sativa-dominant cultivar, Strawberry Cough is easy to grow and she delivers very heavy yields. When she’s late in flower, almost every inch of every branch will be completely hidden under dense, sweet-smelling nugs. She’s a heavy nitrogen feeder, unusually so that if you cut it out too soon, it’s virtually impossible to bring her to full fruition without seeing necrosis on leaves. I always feed her full strength grow (nitrogen) until the 4th week of flowering. That will get you through the 10 – 11 weeks it takes to really ripen her properly. Strawberry Cough will stretch up to 200% so make sure you flip her into a decent amount of space.
Strawberry Cough: The Mash-Ups
Some cultivars really stand the test of time, and this is evidenced by the number of crosses and hybrids made with their genetics. Just take a look at the volume of White Widow crosses there are, how many OG Kush hybrids, how many Criticals, Amnesias and Blueberries. Strawberry Cough doesn’t have as many offspring, but there are some very interesting marijuana seeds available and some intriguing hybrids on the horizon, especially a CBD-rich version. One of my personal favorites is Brian Berry Cough from SubCool and MzJill – one of the stickiest, tastiest hybrids around. But you’ve also got Agent Frank, Strawberry Cookies, Very Berry Haze… all good hybrids worth checking out – if you can find them.
Although I didn’t create Strawberry Cough, I am very proud of my close connection to this cultivar and will continue to popularize the Cough as long as I can. I want the entire world to grow their own cannabis and what better strain to grow with than Strawberry Cough. Queen of sativa. Queen of my heart.