Now for all those who are interested in doing some basic breeding from the stock plants you have been dealing with over the years, we will take a small example and go through it to explain how a good grower can in a short amount of time become a hobby breeder. If you ever visit any countries that had original land races of cannabis and saw the growing plant where the seed was collected from, you can then be sure of the origins, however most people do not go to these destinations and rely on others. This uncertainty is then passed down the breeding chain of events and can end up misrepresenting the name of the species. It is extremely important to note here that most species vary a little due to the parent plants or the starting point of the breeding project. That is why an Afghan plant from one seed company will be slightly different to an Afghan from another seed company... it is all due to the starting point of the parent plants and their genetic make up.
A friend of mine began visiting Africa in the late 1980's and traveled to large plantations of outdoor fast finishing sativas he named African Queen. This species had been growing in the same region by the same tribes for a very long time and had adapted to the region as a landrace predominantly grown from seed. After some years of experience with this strain and since he had searched, found and picked the seed himself it was clear that this was a great seed stock to hybridize.
On another journey my friend made in the late 70's through Pakistan and Afghanistan he had a similar situation occur to him as in Africa. He was invited to spend several harvest seasons in a particular valley of Afghanistan where a very short landrace had been cultivated by these particular tribes for many hundreds of years. The strain was a particularly fast finishing, short, heavy yielding and aromatic plant used to make hash from. He gathered the seed as he had done in Africa, by selecting the plant he decided upon just before harvest. The seed came back to Europe and was stored in vacuum sealed plastic in the fridge for over 10 years before it was used.
We got talking about some different projects and one thing lead to another and he told me about these earlier trips he had made and how he had kept the seed. He came to me to get started on a small project to make a stable hybrid from these two plants. We began 200 seeds of each strain since the seed was old and in that case you would expect that germination would be lower than if it were fresh. As we grew them up we used a small black plastic bag on one branch of each of the 400 plants. After 10-14 days we had identified which of the plants were male or female and separated them. As a general rule from a natural population there should be 50:50 males to females.
As the plants developed into maturity I made a lot of decisions and killed all plants that did not satisfy me based on a series of criteria. To simplify it somewhat I was looking for the female plant from the Afghan origin to pollinate with the male side of the African Queen, but also allowed our project to go the other way and therefore ended up selecting the best 3 females of Afghan seed as well as the best 3 males from the Afghan seed(Af 1, Af 2, Af 3,Af 4,Af 5,Af6). Then we did the same to the African Queen side of the project - we selected the best 3 females and the best 3 males from the same seed stock(AQ 1, AQ2,AQ 3, AQ 4, AQ 5, AQ6). We kept all of these plants as clones in 18hour growing room. This allowed us to harvest clones from each of the 12 labeled plants as we needed to combine them over time. It looked something like this with the female always being referred to first:
Female x Male
Af 1 x AQ1,
Af 1 x AQ2,
Af 1 x AQ 3,
Af 2 x AQ1,
Af 2 x AQ 2 ,
Af 2 x AQ 3,
Af 3 x AQ 1,
Af 3 x AQ 2,
Af 3 x AQ 3,