As we finished up last time, the gang was just starting to show their sex. Within a couple of days of submitting the last article the rest of the crop sexed. Unfortunately, the numbers were quite disappointing. In fact, they were upside down from what they should have been for a typical crop. The average female to male ratio is around 68% female to 32% male, depending on who you read. This batch is way off that average, ten of the sixteen plants are male, that’s 60% males. This probably means that the majority of seedlings that died were probably females. The good side of all this is that there appears to be decent diversity amongst the females. If testing doesn’t provide the three phenotypes expected I will run another dozen seeds later on to look for the missing one. I am pretty sure there are three, but we will see.
Just to give us some reference, here is where we were at week thirteen. All sixteen Balkhi plants are present here.
As you can see, there is not enough room here for everyone to stay healthy as size increases. Since 10 of the 16 decided to be boys, this next decision was made easy for me. The males have really gone into overdrive with producing pollen pods, so before they opened I had to move them out.
Fortunately, I have an abundance of tents to work with, so I just had to find a spot away from the girls to allow these boys to do their thing. The girls were only just beginning to show sex, so I needed to allow them a few more weeks to get some flowers on before exposing them to the males. I still have not decided how I will do the pollination, but I may do it by hand. This is a whole mess of males to keep around and I did take cuttings. If at least one cutting of every plant survives then I can just collect pollen from the adults for hand pollination of individual branches, then cut them down. This way I will be insured of maximizing diversity and at the same time accomplish the first stage of isolating the phenos.
Fast boys, slow girls…
As you can see the males of this genotype are fast to pollinate compared to the females. With this being the beginning of the waiting period that we all hate, I don’t have much to go over with you, so I will show you photos of the females and discuss my observations.
Balkhi Plant Inventory
# 1 Week 16
Let’s start with #1 in her 3rd week of flower. She really took off and had to be trimmed to keep her out of the light. There is a lot of spacing in her nodes, so I will guess by the initial stretch that she will have some Sativa traits. You can see in the close-up the recent cuts to lower her top. She has strong red striping on the stalk and some of the darker red leaf stems. Since trimming, she has selected one of her lower branches as the new top, this shows you the vigour of this strain. One cannot help but feel the power of these girls when you are in their presence.
#3 Week 16
# 3 was the first to show flowers, along with #15. Her growth has slowed a little but she is still the one I am rooting for to be special. There is very little striping on the stalk and her red stems are a little lighter than some others. Her flowers are larger than most of the others but not the biggest. She is the tallest in the group but only because #1 had to be trimmed to keep her out of the lights. Her nodes are slightly more spaced than her closest competitor, #15.
#10 Week 16
#10 is a nice plant but her stems show sparse red colouring compared to the others. Her flowering is lighter than the rest but that isn’t necessarily bad at this point. It is possible that she might be a CBD pheno, but I am speculating based on the flower size. I hope to get in some testing before my next posting. Her leaves are a little thinner but still bear a resemblance to those of her sisters.
# 12 Week 16
#12 is a bushy, short girl with some nice colour. Her red striping on the stalks seems to be around the nodes for the most part. The red on the stems is deep in colour but not on all stems. Her flowers are small and she seems to be a couple of weeks behind most of the others.
#15 Week 16
#15 is the most promising of all the girls for potentially being a black pheno. There is a male that matches her colouring but the boys are losing a lot of their colour now, probably because of less light. Maybe we will get a look at him during the pollen collection. Her stalks show dark and heavy striping that border on purple. The same can be said for the leaf stems with the red moving well into the leaf veins. She is the heaviest stalked of the plants and looks like she is built for weight. Despite my hope that #3 is the best of the bunch, it is likely that #15 is going to be something really worth talking about. I plan to make a lot of seeds from her. I will show you a comparison of these two in a bit.
#16 Week 16
#16 is flowering a little heavier than everyone else. She has lots of inner flowers by the nodes. Despite this her stalks are not as heavy as the others. Her colouring is a lighter red and there is very little striping on her stalks. However, as you can see in the third photo, from a few days ago, her little popcorn flowers really stand out in the crowd. She was in the shorter group with a bushy appearance, but has taken off in the last week. It will be interesting to see her finished. If her flowering keeps on like it is, I will have to support her thinner branches. Her leaves seam to be a little longer and thinner than the others, possibly a sativa trait.
Comparing # 3 vs #15
Let’s take a quick look at these two so you can see the difference. #15 has tighter nodes and looks more dense. The leaf structure is almost identical, but #3 has more spacing. There is little similarity in the red colouring. I cannot wait to see what this pair produces. The red tones on the leaves are from the specialty 660nm light.
What to look forward to
I know a lot will happen in the next three weeks. I pointed out in some of the photos that there is a lot of deep red and purple in the stems. My research points to a possible black phenotype in this gene pool. Experience tells me that the dark red/purple stems means we might get lucky. One of the males is very promising too.
By the time the next article is ready for publishing, there will be some real progress to report. I should have the details worked out on collecting pollen and the females will be six weeks into flowering. The girl on the right (#3) of the photo was stretching but I think she will be ok for now. It is really bad to mess with the plant’s focus at this stage. If I shorten a primary top it will probably stunt the plant while it picks its new focus points, like it did with #1.
To scrog, or not to scrog
Scrog nets really help with this but I have not decided if I want to use one for this group. I normally would use a net by now but we are taking photos for your benefit and it is easier to do selective pollination this way. I may add a net in after pollination.
Until next time
As you can tell for yourself, the girls are doing very well with the Earth Juice Seablast, with some Epsom salts to supplement. You can barely tell now that ten males are missing from the group photo at the beginning of this article.
I did a bit of lollipopping to save trimming a bunch of trash during harvest. I highly advise indoor growers to do this with plants. These lower branches are usually stunted and die off. They take up plant energy that can best be used elsewhere. Don’t worry, your plants will put those flowers elsewhere. Besides, leaves from these plants have a pretty decent kick to them, just in case you need something to tide you over.
Our next article will probably be the last before the harvest article. We will be pollinating the girls. We will also see what happened with the clones. AND…we will be starting the next round of seeds…hmmmm. What will I pick this time…maybe something from Pakistan,Buy X18 Pure Pakistani Regular Seeds from DNA Genetics at Seedsman, or maybe Thailand, Buy Mango Thai Regular Seeds from The Real Seed Company at Seedsman, or maybe… well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
Be safe… Johnny