2020 Isolation Grow: Surprise

May 5, 20202020 Isolation Grow Blog

As previously written, I love growing local cultivars. I love trying to grow a cultivar that someone I know has put the time and energy into developing and engineering. These are plants carrying unique information. That these plants are not known, or not widely known, makes them even more special to grow.

When given seeds from others, I understand I might be getting some seeds that are different than what has been described, or expected. For example, when a new cultivar is created, it is, at the very least, the combination of two other cultivars. Sometimes, two different cultivars are combined, only to use that seed for another new cultivar. So, a new cultivar could actually be the product of several different combinations of plants. For example, the cultivar, Ultimate Purple, is the combination of six different purple plants.

There is one local cultivar we like to grow that is approximately a sativa dominant hybrid. We had been given seeds and had grown the plant previously. Two years ago, we cracked open some of those seeds and three of them produced females. Two of the females were clearly the same cultivar I’d grown before. One was obviously something else.

Based on how she grew, we called her the celery plant, because her leaves had this very dark green color and an almost fibrous appearance. It was obvious early on that she was an indica of unknown origin. She was a challenging plant, and I’m being charitable in my description. She was actually a pain in the butt, but because we’d labored through the previously mentioned Granddaddy Purple, we felt better prepared for a complex growing indica. We aggressively pruned this plant, and we had to, because we observed that this unstable cultivar was displaying helical growth to an almost comic degree. Many branches and leaves were attempting to turn in on themselves. You could actually see the twists in the wood of the stalk, as the entire plant attempted to curl inward. Strangest looking cannabis plant we’ve attempted to grow.

We cursed her, we toiled over her. She took a disproportionate amount of time and effort to grow and maintain. But we persisted, and because of our experience the previous year, we developed a plant that eventually had room to flower. Even while she flowered, we pruned more, because she was constantly slamming into herself. We endeavored to keep her largest flowers without restrictions from other flowers, or compromised from within. In order for this plant to flower properly, we estimate we pruned better than 50% of her vegetative growth. It took vigorous training. Sadly, I do not have photos that capture the maze we faced in growing this unknown cultivar. We took a tremendous amount of pride in growing her. As she flowered, she began to develop a spectacular look. Fall colors came out from top to bottom. Dark, dark purple leaves, red leaves, black leaves, and an absolute trichome show. There were days we would spend time just sitting and staring at her. I spoke with the grower about this plant, and after much discussion and the photograph you’re looking at, we finally discovered what she was. This one seed represented the indica portion of this sativa hybrid. This one seed was the combination of two cultivars, Blackberry Kush and Twilight. Based on that, we called her Blacklight.

When we took this plant in for testing, we were surprised with the results. We estimate this is a 90-95% indica plant. It will knock you out, but only after an hour or two of serious, creative bliss.

Her terpene profile was virtually double that of any other cultivar we’ve ever grown. I will discuss the meaning of those terpenes in the next blog. She had 20% THC, 0.88 % myrcene, and with 0.51% of CBG thrown in as a bonus. We dole this medicine out sparingly to family and friends. She is guaranteed to comfortably put you to sleep. It is an awesome feeling to enjoy a plant that is completely unique in the world. 

This plant was the finest example of a surprise that we’ve run across to date. We grew another one last year, and she was not nearly as potent or full of terpenes as the same plant, one year earlier. This would seem to indicate we got lucky with that one seed. The combination of Blackberry Kush and Twilight, however potent, was not very stable, and a near nightmare to grow. If we hadn’t had the experience from one year earlier on Granddaddy Purple, we would not have successfully grown this plant. So pursuing that as a cultivar to develop was dropped once the growers saw the instability. But it was still good enough to serve as the indica end for this sativa hybrid we periodically grow. The funny thing about that hybrid is something we all noticed before we discovered Blacklight: The back end of that cultivar, the indica part, is some serious couchlock. We will not be growing her this year, but I look forward to a possible third attempt someday at Blacklight.

Jeffery Hickey
Oaksterdam Alumni

Jeffrey Hickey is a 2014 IPPY award winning novelist, performing in over 900 Reader’s Theater shows that featured his authorship of adult novels, and books for children. His accomplishments include a program of self-empowerment and effective oral communication, “Find Your Voice,” that he taught in public and private schools throughout Northern California. Jeffrey is the father of twin sons, and is arguably the happiest married man on the planet.