Choosing your parents
The place for breeding to begin is with choosing the parent plants,
called the P1 generation. For best breeding results you use
true-breeding stabilized strains as your P1’s. Different breeders
have different standards as to what qualifies as a P1. I have very
high standards for my P1 generation. For me, the P1 must be either a
fully acclimated, region-of-origin land-race variety, or no more
than one generation removed, and crossed with itself or another
highly similar, region-of-origin land-race variety.
I used three P1 strains to breed Blueberry, Flo and others. They
were the Highland Thai (also called Juicy Fruit Thai, a
first-generation Thai seed grown in the Pacific Northwest); a cross
called Purple Thai which was a first generation land-race Chocolate
Thai crossed once with a first generation land-race Highland Oaxaca
Gold; and an Afghani Indica which came to me one generation removed
from Afghanistan via the California/Southern Oregon growing
The Highland Thai was a joy to grow and behold, despite its
hermaphroditism. This plant grew fast, filling in any empty spaces
with lush, green growth. It was a very slow finisher, 12 to 16 weeks
and beyond in the bud period for most. It had the longest and
skinniest leaves out of all the plants I have worked with. Thick
side-branching is another characteristic of this variety.
The plant only periodically produced any kind of “tight” bud
structure. Most of the buds were very loose, with some sporting
long, slender shoots of widely-spaced single female flowers in a row
(especially when grown hydroponically under halide lights.)
This bud structure is known as “spindly”. Many of these spindles
resemble threads protruding from a semi-formed bud. Each single
thread averaged anywhere from five to ten inches long, some even
longer, and consisted of a row of evenly-spaced female flowers and
their corresponding bract leaves, anywhere from a quarter inch to
one inch apart, alternating bract and flower in single file.
The entirety of the “thread” and bud structure was coated with
sweet/fruity aromatic resin glands.
The overall plant color was dark, while the bud structures matured a
lighter shade of green, sometimes green/yellow.
I was never able to get a Juicy Fruit Highland Thai to “over
mature”. I took one to almost twenty weeks into its flower cycle and
she just kept pumping it out. Outdoors, one was taken in early-mid
December from a greenhouse. The only difference was that the later
harvest was a more stony, body high.
The finished product from the Highland Thai was an all-around
champion herb. Though difficult to trim and cure, the outcome was
fully worth the effort. It was a powerful, long-lasting and
exquisitely flavoured herb with little or no ceiling. The high could
last up to seven hours! The flavour, aroma and taste were a totally
sweet tropical punch – tutti-fruity all the way.
The Purple Thai was the other sativa in my repertoire. This was a
first generation cross between the Highland Oaxaca Gold and the
Chocolate Thai. This cross grew medium/tall and was very symmetric
in structure. The side branches were shorter and, if left alone
(untopped) the main stalk (meristem) remained the dominant shoot.
The entire plant of the Purple Thai was very dark-coloured and would
express a deep royal purple colour at the slightest exposure to
cold. It did not exhibit any of the spindly bud syndrome of the
Juicy Fruit Thai, and the finished buds were a medium and compact
sativa type. The finished product was equally as fruity and strong
as the Juicy Fruit, also without ceiling.
For whatever aesthetic reason, I preferred the Purple Thai to the
Juicy Fruit Highland Thai. I believe that the Purple Thai was
emotionally kinder or gentler than the Juicy Fruit. At larger doses
the Juicy Fruit could evoke quite a terror, especially when combined
with psychedelics. Though no less potent, the Purple Thai seemed
easier to handle, including when tripping. The Purple Thai was one
of the first to show resin gland production in the early bud cycle,
at roughly three to four weeks into the cycle. It also matured at 10
to 12 weeks indoor, and early to mid November outdoors.
The Afghani Indica plant is short with large, wide leaves, stout and
thick-stemmed. It has early to very early maturation, producing
large, dense buds that smell earthen to skunk, with a strong smoke
that is generally sedative or “down” in effect. Though consistent in
its growth and overall effect, its appeal is somewhat limited in my
opinion. I believe more indicas should be made into hashish, which
is where the finer qualities of the indica appear.
Blueberry x Afghani
The sinsemilla Afghani Indica first showed up on the market in 1979.
They were huge, green, stinky, sticky, dense buds of potent, pungent
herb that smelled like a skunk and produced a narcotic-knockout
stone that was tremendously novel, when compared to all the sativas
that had come before. This was right after sinsemilla herb hit the
market with big appeal.
The triad of sinsemilla, indica, and the advent of high powered
halide and HPS lights, all wreaked havoc on the breeding programs of
most pot-entrepeneurs. Few people maintained their sativa lines, and
the strains virtually disappeared from the commercial markets. The
short, dense, early-maturing and body-powerful indica has dominated
the scene since 1983 – a matter of disjointed economics.
Such were the three main P1’s I used for my breeding lines.
The f1 cross
The f1 cross is the first cross between two distinctly different P1
parents. The “f” stands for filial (child). I cannot overstress the
importance of the two P1 parents being as genetically different as
is possible. It is this initial genetic diversity that leads to the
most possibilities in succeeding lines.
If the P1’s are sufficiently diverse, then the f1 will be a true
hybrid, expressing a near total uniformity and great vigor. It is in
the crosses beyond the initial f1 (especially the f1xf1=f2 cross)
that specific traits are sought. There will be a tremendous amount
of variance in the f2 crosses of f1’s obtained from a female pure
sativa and a male pure indica.
The Blueberry (among others) was discovered and stabilized from an
f1 cross between the P1 parents of a female Juicy Fruit Thai or a
female Purple Thai and a male Afghani Indica. Thus there were two
possible routes to essentially the same finished product. Blue
Velvet and Flo seem more accessible via the Purple Thai route, while
Blue Moonshine seems more accessible through the Juicy Fruit
lineage. That is, there is a higher probability of occurence of the
specific traits which I’m seeking, and so they’re easier to “find”.
Oddly enough, the opposite cross (female Afghani indica crossed with
pollen from male Thai sativa) was not nearly as interesting. The
f1’s from this cross were more leafy and less desirable. They were
also more hermaphroditic and subsequent breeding revealed them to be
less desirable. It has been my observation that in a successful
cross, the (usually female) sativa contributes the type of aroma and
flavour, while the (usually male) indica contributes the amount of
aroma and flavour to the prodigy. So far this observation has proven