8 Stages of Cannabis Cultivation: Propagation

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Many young ganjapreneurs, patients, and hobbyists are attempting to replicate the formula for growing top quality cannabis. When Colorado voters approved cannabis as a plant medicine back in the year 2000, it paved the way for legal growing by allowing 6 plants to every medical card holder. This blog post is the first of a seven part series: “7 Cannabis Stages from Seed to Sale,” informing you how we cultivate the finest cannabis from coast to coast. Though there are as many methods to grow as there are growers, DANK-Colorado has been a leader in the cannabis industry since 2009 when licenses were first issued. With license number 11, our model has been implemented by many successful partners throughout the country, such as – Gold Flora in California and Midwest Compassion Center in Illinois. The seed to sale process begins in the mother garden, where quality genetics are cloned, creating genetically identical cannabis plants that are strong, potent and proven.

Stoner Trivia:
What US President placed cannabis on the Controlled Substance Act of 1970?

At Dank, our garden is sustained with a stock of 40 varieties, or strains, for both our medical and adult use customers. Our dedication to premiere genetics keeps us on our toes as we are always on the lookout for the next innovative strain to hit the market, actively banishing those “problematic and weak stains from the garden”. Some of our 40 strains are foundation strains, like Chemdawg #4 and Sour Diesel. Where did they come from? Don’t Ask Nobody Knows, of course, is DANK. (These two females were found in the owner’s basements long before Dank was licensed.) Thanks to a two-week “Origination Period” in 2009 when licensing began in Colorado, licensed facilities were allowed to obtain genetics from unlicensed sources without a violation. Wala, the Dank mother garden was on its way with outstanding genetics, some of which we still have on the shelves today, like Death Star (an Ohio strain thanks to Mike Delvechio, Dank’s original outstanding grower) and Durban Poison (our shining star, a land-race from Durban, South Africa). Others were lost over the years due to a variety of reasons, like Bubba Kush (prone to powdery mildew) and Grape Stomper (tasty buds, but poor on production weight). Always seeking the most cannabinoid and terpene rich cannabis, we are excited about some of the new strains in the garden, like Chemmy Jones (a cross between popular strains Chemdawg and Casey Jones) and OG #18 (although not Ocean Grown, a classic OG indeed).

Walk into our propagation room to see fully illuminated leafy green canopy, 24 hours a day. To ensure our mother garden grows only vegetative growth and never flowers, we provide uninterrupted light source with fluorescent T-5 bulbs and LED technology. This allows for the grow team to access the garden anytime during work hours while relatively low energy is consumed. As the mother garden is prepared for propagation, they are maintained with minimal under story growth to increase circulation and reduce pests. In our indoor facility, our mother’s endure tight quarters, but are happy with 5 gallon pots in tupur mix from Royal Gold. Typically, clones are only taken from the terminal ends of the growth nearest to the light source.

With strong genetics in the mother garden, propagation begins as mother’s are cut and genetically identical 3” cuttings are placed into the cloning system. Our mom’s live  for about year before being replaced with genetic replicas themselves. Over time, prolonged “cutting” during propagation wears out the stock plant, making the offspring weak. Not to fear, off to the flowering room she goes as a rightful end to a long and productive life as plant medicine, provider of relief to thousands. Each mother plant will produce as many as 75 offspring plants, delivering 14 pounds of dried cannabis flower, serving 1,800 customers with eighths in the Dank store. From clone to dome, we cultivate flower for our Park Hill store. If you want to try it, you gotta stop by our one location at 3835 Elm Street.

We don’t just cut any mom to start a flowering block. A lot goes into selecting the strains and although we cultivate 40 strains, only 6-9 stains will enter the flowering room at once. We harvest a “mixed bag,” providing a wider variety to our customers on harvest day. When we take cuttings, we need 54 plants to fill the flowering block, so we will take about 65 clones, allowing poorly established clones to be disposed during the vegetative cycle. The head grower must also decide what strains to propagate based on a well balanced harvest (indica, sativa and hybrid), bearing in mind the cannabinoid profile, terpene profile, production weight, growing conditions, nutrient requirements and plant size. You see, each strain has unique characteristics that have to be anticipated congruently to grow in a production facility. This includes the space required to cultivate as well as the matching flowering periods so that all stains can be harvested on the same day, 4 months from cutting.

Usually, roots will begin to develop in the cloning system after about 10 days, much better than the 14 days we had to wait with the old-school dome in 2009. Once roots are strong, the genetically identical clones are transplanted into 5-inch cups, then transferred to vegetative stage and the cloning system is again prepared for the next flowering batch.

Stoner Trivia (answer):
President Richard Nixon commissioned a study be completed on marijuana to discover if there were medical benefits and if the plant was addictive. Instead of publishing the results, he hide the findings and placed cannabis at the top to allow for incarceration of war protesters.

Sound propagation of a production grow facility starts with strong genetics and should not be overlooked. It forms the foundation upon which all the future steps of the process are built upon: Vegatative, Flowering, Harvest, and Packaging, and even the sale of the final product are all linked to maintaining quality genetics. We hope you enjoy the plant medicine we grow. If there are strains you think should be in our garden, please drop us a line at info@dank-colorado.com.

Proudly serving you by cultivating earths finest plant,

Jay Griffin
Partner