HOWDY TO ONE AND ALL OF YOU OUT THERE IN SKUNK-LAND TODAY; I’m The Rev, and I’m gonna throw a little landrace and landrace/cultivar growing info at you. These types of cannabis plants have various specific conditions (environmentally speaking) that need to be handled for them; if you hope to actually pull off some landrace herbs coming to harvest near their genetic potential regarding potency and flavors. I’m going to be talking growing in containers, using living soil and no bottles, just all naturally with various elements from nature.
Many of you know I grow using my TLO (True Living Organics 2nd Edition) methodology where I recycle everything, including my soil. This article is not TLO specific, but it is specific to using living soil with a bottle-free approach. Landrace genetics loves them some living soil and consistency. They are highly adaptable, yet don’t really do sudden changes well. I have grown strains from all over the world in my half century of growing cannabis and I know a thing or two here of which I write. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and away we go…
Getting landrace or landrace cultivar seeds is fraught with fraud everywhere commercially if you ask me. There are some good sources, but they are sort of off the beaten path normally. The very best source is from the country of origin. Like, if you are getting some Red Malawi seeds let’s say, from Africa (from Malawi or close to Malawi even better) you are way ahead of the game already. If you are lucky enough to get some imported buds from someplace awesome like Jamaica, Afghanistan, Cambodia, or Thailand etc. and you find out there are seeds in these buds (potential big score) always select your seeds from the lowest parts of the buds, as these seeds are far less likely to have been pollinated by any hermaphrodite plants, as these seeds were pollinated early in the flowering cycle. Okay? Okay.
A landrace strain is a strain that has grown and evolved for a long time in specific geographical locations and evolved to those local environmental specifics via natural selection and no selective breeding by people. A landrace cultivar is the same as above, except its evolution has been selectively inbred by people. As examples: a Malawi Gold is a landrace cultivar that has been inbred and farmed by people since way back when, whereas something like a Panama Red is a straight landrace jungle strain. Per me here, for the purposes of this article.
Germinating Landrace Seeds
This is pretty straight forward here; old-world cannabis plant seeds always pop (germinate) best for me straight into soil, in those little flats that have cups about the size of a large Shot Glass. Just use good well aerated soil here, plant about ½ inch deep and water gently with bottled spring water—I use a turkey baster here for this purpose so I don’t move the seed around in the soil while watering. About 3 days after planting seeds (before they have actually sprouted) I recommend you inoculate your germinating soil with some soluble mycorrhizal fungi product to assist the roots in the living soil.
Lighting for landrace and landrace cultivars should be both, intense and have a spectrum as close to the sun’s spectrum as possible. I would also recommend keeping the light source, spectrum, and color temperature as consistent as possible during vegetative and flowering stages. Even germination should be done under intense lighting—remember, keeping things consistent is key here to successfully pulling off a wicked landrace harvest.
Sometimes super old-world seeds will suddenly become available to you and they are often pretty old, like 10 years or 20 plus years old. The good news here is since these seeds were likely produced all naturally they will have a long shelf life and if they have been properly stored will likely still be fairly viable. I like to use a germination-heating-mat for sprouting (especially landrace) seeds, and I recommend you do as well.
Sativas and Indica strains can best be described by comparison to canines. Sativas, would be the wolves, while Indicas would be the dogs. Sativas were the first, the oldest, and many different subspecies evolved via natural selection, and others with human selection playing part. Indica was the results of human selection for thousands of years, targeting resin production, potency, and yields—mostly for making hashish, originally.
Landrace Sativa Genetics
Let me start out here by saying that I have met, in my whole lifetime, very few and far between, people that could actually grow true old-world sativa to anywhere near its genetic potential at harvest. This requires a very specialized skill-set, and there are some hardcore rules when it comes to landrace and cultivar sativa growing—especially indoors. Here’s some bullets for you…
- Do not over-love sativas. Trying to fix every little issue by adding more stuff, or overwatering.
- For the greatest part, sativas prefer lower pH ranges, and many of them (like jungle sativas) are pretty good even down around 6.0 but aren’t very happy up above 7.0 too much.
- Long IBLs (inbred lines) of sativa that are very high caliber resin producers also usually suffer some weaknesses when it comes to resisting parasites, like Powdery Mildew, Spider Mites, Russet Mites, and Thrips, as several examples. There are some serious exceptions here, normally with wild-types from jungle origins like Vietnamese Black, and some Columbian and African varieties.
Consistency of environment including water source and lighting. Landrace sativas can get very stressed out if things get too confusing for them, like photoperiod disruptions/inconsistencies. These plants are survivors and will use hermaphrodites to try and propagate if they get too stressed during flowering.
- Overwatering will easily kill sativa landraces from dryer areas like South Africa, while underwatering can kill landrace sativas from wetter locations like jungles.
- You will find individual landrace sativas have special abilities, like being almost mold proof in some cases, or can survive a freeze etc. so watch for the special ones.
Landrace Indica Genetics
Ye olden Hashplants is what most of these Indica types are, and they usually come from the Middle East but also from The Bhutan and other locations. These strains usually give some people problems due to their need for higher pH ranges and higher mineral intake; and like the sativa landrace types, you don’t want to over-love them, and they usually handle drought or underwatering quite well, but really don’t dig on overwatering at all. Here’s some bullet points…
- Preferred pH ranges are above 6.7 and they love it closer to 7.0 and can even handle up around 7.5 quite well. They grow slow and sad in lower pH ranges but are straight up fast-growing thugs in their preferred pH ranges.
Failsafe way to grow these is using bottled spring water on them, or well water diluted to around 60-90 PPM using rain, R/O, or distilled water. You could use dechlorinated city tap water diluted as above as well.
- When I build my soil a few days ahead of time before transplanting my indica landrace types I add an additional 1 tablespoon of ground oyster shell per gallon of soil, make sure the soil stays moist not wet for a few days after mixing and you are golden. 6 gallons of soil equals 1 cubic foot of soil FYI.
- Often these Hashplant types will have decent resistances to parasites like Spider Mites and Aphids, but they are not so good with mold and mildew, so humidity control at flowering will be uber important.
Basic Road Rules
If you don’t have a soil measuring pH meter don’t worry, just make sure to have your water contain a decent level (PPM) of minerals like Ca and Mg and the water pH should be right around 7.0-ish keeping the soil pH buffered. Also, when growing indoors or outdoors, in containers, always use clones to flower and not actual seedling plants. This has a two-fold advantage: 1—since any clones, or clones of clones etc. are the same age as the seedling plant would have been, you will be flowering plants at least 90 days old from sprouting assuring you maximum genetic resin production potential. 2—clones do MUCH better in containers, as far as yields go especially. Seedling plants are always superior outdoors in the ground, but not in containers, that’s where clones rule.
Last but not least—OH PLEASE GOD… LET THEM FINISH! Harvesting many of these types even a little too early will cause them to be far-far less potent than they actually should/could be. Make SURE when flowering that your darkness cycles are pitch black and uninterrupted. Small light leaks can cause hermaphrodites or cause them to just keep seeming to flower well past their expected due date. Alright then, adios for now man—REvski out.