Dear Friend & Subscriber-
If you’ve been following along, you know that late last year, I decided to go on my first true pheno hunt.
I’ve popped a couple beans at a time before. A sort of side-by-side hunt, if you will. But I’d never hunted a whole pack, grown it out, and processed it into hash, and then compared notes on each pheno.
My girlfriend, Jordan, and I have very different terpene preferences.
She likes the old school rancid skunk and gas. I’m more of a fruits and OG’s guy. And, for the large majority of my growing tenure, I’ve been growing genetics that I enjoyed, which has led to a bit of strain tolerance and a desire for something new.
When it came to selecting which genetic to hunt, I gave her the burden of choice, and she chose Ethos’ Temple Kush x Crescend0 #16, or, as we now call it, Apollo’s Altar.
Candidly, I wasn’t as thrilled. Not that I didn’t think it would be fire, but I knew it wasn’t a direction I personally would have gone. That said, it offered a variety of unexpected opportunities.
It was my first time popping a M/F pack and ending up with males, and my first time using mail-in gender testing.
Out of the M/F seeds I had popped previously, they had all been females. With five seeds, I knew, statistically, that I should get at least one male. I also had the opportunity to use this hunt to try out two different labs that do gender testing.
There’s an entire article on my mail-in test experience coming out in Vol. 3 of The Ethos Magazine if you want the full scoop.
Knowing the genetic parents of the cross, and having it as an unnamed cross, also gave me the chance to name the plant that would end up being the selection.
Colin Gordon (Ethos Genetics) said that he intentionally left certain crosses in multipacks and other offerings unnamed. This allows the growers to get creative. And I was able to draw inspiration from the parents and land on Apollo’s Altar.
For those that don’t know, a crescendo is a rising of volume over a period of time in music and Apollo was the god of music, whose temple would likely be home to an altar.
Apollo’s Altar seemed fitting.
On September 24, 2021, I germinated five seeds. All five successfully germinated.
After using a damp paper towel to germinate, the seeds were moved to 5-gallon SmartPots. It was my original intention to flip them in these pots. So, I started them in their final container rather than a smaller option.
Due to space and time constraints, I ended up cloning and culling these original seedlings, and flipping from transplanted clones a few months later.
Part of growing is being flexible. So, as much as I wanted to keep them around in their large pots, the originals had to go. And clones of each plant were transplanted into 5-gallons and put into the flower tent.
By the first week of December, I was ready for flip.
During this time, I used the gender testing kits that I mentioned to confirm what I saw: two of the five plants were males. I culled both males as I was not setup for a seed project nor was that the end game of this hunt.
Of the remaining three plants, I was lucky enough to get three distinctly different plants.
Apollo’s Altar (AA) #3 was the shortest; stocky with big dense , sweet smelling buds.
AA #4 was in between the other plants in height, but with large, pronounced bracts and a gassier, more Headband-like aroma.
AA#5 was the most vigorous and tallest plant, even throwing out some beautiful pink hues late in flower, but her terpene profile was lacking.
Everyone advised that we wait until trying the end products to make our decision.
I was already leaning towards #3. Jordan, on the other hand, had eyes on #4. I had clones of all three.
To make the decision of which cut to keep required both subjective judging as well as objective data.
By The Numbers:
#3 - 68.46 grams
#4 - 64.07 grams
#5 - 63.9 grams
Hash Yields (%)
#3: 2.21% to Bubble; 1.43% to Rosin
#4+#5 (mixed wash, yield is an average): 2.73% to Bubble; 1.87% to Rosin
It was easy to knock #5, out least favorite, out of the mix.
It yielded the least in flower, and none of the phenos washed and pressed well enough to process again for hash. And it paled in comparison to the other two.
The end game of this hunt determined which cut we kept.
The hunt started to find a flavor that Jordan enjoyed in the mix of flavors I’d selected for the garden.
As none of them were worth hashing, any pheno kept would be strictly for flower.
Jordan preferred #4. I liked #3. But would I grow a plant solely for flower that wasn’t in my top flavor profiles? Probably not. At least with my current space and plant limitations.
The decision has been made to call #4 the winner.
I still technically have a single clone of the #3. But only because I haven’t had the heart to cull it. Getting rid of healthy plants is always so hard, no matter how old they are.
The hunt has been a fun experience that yielded a winning pheno as well as added to my learning process as a grower.
If you’re popping M/F seeds, I encourage you to look into different ways to sex your plants, as well as different was to test the capabilities of your plants as they relate to flower and extract yields.
The biggest challenges of a hunt, especially a large hunt, are the time, space, and diligence required to avoid mislabeling and ensuring there aren’t mixups throughout the process.
If you go to all of that work, take all of the cuts, harvest and label separately, and then end up mixing the jars, it was all for naught. Additionally, if you didn’t take enough clones of your favorite pheno, or only took one and it died, you’re stuck having to re-veg or accept that it was a one-time dance with that lady.
My next pheno hunt is of half of a pack of Beach Bums, a supposed hash-specific genetic from New England by Crystal Rose Seed Co.
As I planned out my next cycle, I realized it was leaning heavy on the flower side. Rather than run the same hash cuts I have, I wanted something new. Luckily, I was gifted a few of these beans in exchange for some clones.
Follow along on IG (@cannabenoid) for more updates on this hunt and all that’s going on in the garden.
Until next time,
Ben “Small Batch Pheno Hunter” Owens
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