Will there be an end at using cuttings?
- Female seed instead of cuttings; dream or (almost) reality? -
- Interview with Cees (mr. XX) from Highlife spring 2000 -
Last year you could read how Cees of No Mercy Supply was successful to produce 100% female seed. The technique had to be refined and adjusted to produce on a large scale, what would take about one year. Cees used techniques described in the seventies by the American Mel Franks. It is strange that after twenty years still no 100 % female seed is available. An Amsterdam seed-company has brought it into the market a few years ago, but had to admit that it wasn’t 100% female seed. It is a pity, because there are many advantages on female seed. In this report we will put the advantages at line with the disadvantages and will again visit Cees to look if his production is in line yet.
In the seventies using seed was common by the handful of people growing cannabis. Smoking weed was not popular and was not done. If you bought some it was common that the biggest part consisted twigs and the buds were full of seeds. Everyone knew people that put the seeds into the ground with always the same result: firewood. But when the American came with their Sensimilia, it was an eye-opener to many Dutch. The most famous one is Ben Dronkers, cannabist in heart and soul and founder of the Sensi Empire. He directly recognized the importance of good seed and while everybody kept himself or herself busy growing, he concentrated on producing seed. After a few years, the cutting, or then called ‘the clone’ appeared. It was a great idea, because it spared a lot of time and success was certain. The prizes in those days were the same as the prizes for seed, but it was common to give you 10% more cuttings. That was to compensate the ones that wouldn’t grow.
When the cuttings grow cheaper, you didn’t get 10% for free, but the advantages were still great, so it didn’t bother anyone. Now we are over a decade further and we have noticed that using cuttings do have some disadvantages. To begin with the supply. In the summertime it is almost impossible to buy good cuttings. This is because most of the suppliers of the cuttings are common family men that are having a holiday with their family. Their earned money has to be spend, and accuse them from otherwise. Once they are back in Holland, it will take some time until the production has reached its old level. Another problem is the varieties that are offered. It is almost for 100% commercial trash like Fairies and bad Skunk. Once blooming it turns out that there are four varieties, all with another flowering time. If a mother-plant is having an infection or is infected with root-rot, the diseases are also into the cuttings. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of interest of the cutting-farmers themselves. They want only one thing and that is producing a lot. Most of the times they begin with a cutting of someone else and they keep on gathering for years. This is at the expense of everything we want of a plant, think of potency, taste and crop. As said, the cutting-farmers only want to get rich quickly, so don’t count on them investing time and money, so they can grow new mother-plants.
Female seed, more advantages then disadvantages?
The disadvantages of cuttings are the advantages of the seed. First the crop of a seedling is higher then of a cutting. They are much stronger and so they are less sensible for diseases and fungi. The assortment is very large and all the beautiful plants of the early days you can get seed of. It is a lot easier to drive with a package of seed in your pocket than with the back seed full of wet cuttings. The grow-shop only needs a little freezer to sell seed throughout the year. But the cutting did not push aside the seeds from the Dutch grower without any reason. This is for three reasons, the prize, the mess with males and females and the speed. Cuttings you will put after a few days under twelve hours and with seedlings it will take longer. How real is it to think that the Dutch grower will take seed and when is it going to happen? Someone that can answer that is Cees and that is why we went to Kapelle where this eccentric manipulator of genes is living.
Highlife: Cees, can you explain once more how you produce female seed?
Cees: you can start treating if you are sure that the plant you are going to spray on is 100% female. This is quite some work and I grow over one thousand of seeds that are all tested on the XX. I let these ones bloom and if this is to my satisfaction, I will spray on the upper part a solution of Gibberellic Acid. It took me over ten years to find the right solution and dose. The only thing I want to share is that the solution per liter is in three figures behind the dot. Gibberellic is not a hormone, I want to stress this, because to my surprise I hear, even of big seed-farmers, that they think it is so. It influences hormone management and forces the XX hormones to change into Y, male ones. These male flowers will fertilize the plant, and because the plant itself is completely XX, you will get only female seed.

Highlife: When will your seed be into the market and what will it cost?
Cees: We grew and tested over two thousand seeds and all plants kept female. The crop was higher than of the cuttings. If I say the crop was over 30% higher, I am very modest and people will experience themselves in a short time. The price is not much higher than the price of cuttings. My endeavor is to be quickly at the same price as the price of the cuttings. The first produce is harvested and will be into the market this summer.

Highlife: Leaves the difference in time. Cuttings you can put into bloom after a few days.
Cees: With seed it is the same, only you have to grow them under a strip-light. You only need a small space and a temperature of 25C. Then you will let them grow for about two and a half week. I use twenty hours, but eighteen will also do. Then you put them into the garden for two weeks and let them bloom in twelve hours. So at the end the seedlings are one week longer into your little garden. Count with this the 30% more crop and the same is for taste and potency.
Highlife: So if I have to belief you, we grow only from your seed in a while and we will get tasty weed from the shops soon...
Cees: The first thing I don’t know, because others will produce female seed also, but that we are going to be growing from seed again is a fact for me. This will mean that there will be better weed and that is in everyone’s favor. I see you look at me in disbelief, and that is why I will give you some seeds to try it yourself.
Highlife: Thanks Cees. I will report in the Highlife if you are right I am the first one to congratulate you because the advantages of this are very high!

This interview appeared originally on Highlife On Line, in the spring of 1999. We thank the publisher and editor for their contribution. Copyright 1999 'Highlife'