For anyone not familiar with the term “farm to flame,” you might have heard of “farm-to-table” before…a phrase used to refer to the lifecycle of growing crops on local farms and having them end up on your table (or at your local market) as delicious, organically-produced food grown in the same geographical region. And hence the popular “farm to table” movement was started. But here at Oregon’s Finest, we invented the term “farm to flame” to illustrate how the latest batch of Durban Poison you just bought at our store, for example, was first pollinated, planted, nurtured, harvested and then placed on shelves for your consumption and enjoyment.
Sofresh Farm Manager Missy La Guardia recently broke down the Farm to Flame process as followed by her and her farm crew for one of the newest batches currently in the greenhouse: an exciting blend of Hazy Kush from Green Bodhi farms, sofresh 2015 Medical Cannabis Cup winners Durban Poison and Black Betty, and the euphoric Tangelope flower. This new strain will be harvested sometime in 2016 and marks our first collaboration with other Clean Green Certified farm-produced seeds. This is also the first step toward creating a new genetic line in collaboration with Green Bodhi – ooh, weird science!
Step one: Pollinate – pollen is what creates the seeds so the plants can start growing.
To start growing the seeds, we take a paintbrush dipped in pollen so we can control exactly where it goes. The plants that came from these seeds were painted at the tops with Green Bodhi Hazy Kush pollen during the beginning of the flowering cycle. Then we make sure to tag the pollinated cola (group of buds at the top of a flower) so that one is left on the rootstalk after we harvest the rest of the plant.
The male seeds only produce pollen sacks and female seeds only produce flowers. Growers don’t allow male plants into their flowering room – the pollen redirects energy to produce the seeds rather than stacking on the flowers, severely degrading quality for medicinal grade. Sofresh farms uses clones, which ensures that we always have female plants.
Seeds are the result of this pollination. Isn’t it weird how much they resemble dinosaur eggs?
Step two Cut and hang. After harvest, the pollinated colas remain on the plant for a week, and then are cut to dry. You can easily find the seeds by removing the flowers from the cola and crushing them between your fingers. Plink…plink…plink…that’s the sound of them falling into the bin like Mexican jumping beans!
Seeds are gathered one cola at a time to make sure the seeds don’t get mixed up.
Step three: Sprout and grow. Seeds must be allowed to grow for four to six weeks before they can be flipped into flowering – this gives us time to figure out their sex. The seeds are placed in a wet paper towel and tucked inside a sandwich bag, and the bag is spritzed with aloe and coconut water to help initiate the growth faster.
After the seeds pop tails, they’re transplanted into eggshells filled with a 50/50 mix of compost and worm castings. Once the plants sprout their first four leaves, they’re transplanted to five-gallon pots where they stay until ready for the next step.
In Part II, we’ll talk about what happens when the plants start to flower and the really freaky part: when insects get involved. Stay tuned!
To learn more about this process, definitely check out The Oregonian’s recent 5-part chronicle of their stab at growing cannabis, with local cannabis gardener Jeremy Plumb.