Mothers & Clones
For indoor growing nearly all growers in the Netherlands are reliant on clones or cuttings. There is no land on earth where so many young ladies are shunted from one corner of the room to another, to be repeatedly robbed as a mother plant of her young shoots. This trade is very lucrative in the Netherlands (especially when one knows how to make real top class cuttings), but alas, thanks to the chances of getting caught, it’s also rather dodgy.
In previous times this was quite different, with whole greenhouses full of cuttings the rule rather than the exception. Making and selling clones was often more lucrative than the growing of the weed itself. Particularly when you had a reputation for delivering good quality clones and you had several varieties on offer, you were sure of a large circle of customers and a network of contacts. Alas, those days have dramatically changed for the clone dealer. Whether you’re caught with 100 tiny cuttings or a barn stuffed with 100 mother plants, Justice doesn’t give a toss: you’ll pay. Similarly, the clone dealer is more frequently demonised as the source of all evil these days, and that does not do a great deal to encourage a light punishment. All of this adds up to a heap of stress for the clone business.
It does still happen that a grower ‘forgets’ to pick up his ordered clones, and that doesn’t make things any easier for the clone farmer. By contrast there are also the growers who know how to bring down problems upon themselves, by bringing a veritable plague of insects home with the clones they just bought, for example. Fortunately there are clone farmers who sort this out tactfully and arrange for the frequently disappointed grower to get a free biological method of control. Anyone can make a mistake. Sometimes the clones are sitting there happy as Larry, when less than a week later they’re already infested (with insect larvae), without there having appeared anything seriously wrong. Similarly, it is often the clone farmer who traded his clones trusting in good faith they were in top condition, and above all a bad name is the last thing he or she sat there hoping for.
Be smart and check the clones well before you definitely buy them. In the eventuality
that you do get insect problems after a couple of days, and as the grower you are convinced that they came from the clones, let the person you got them from know as soon as possible. Most growers this has happened to go green with indignation,
then vow never to return. Alas, the damage is already done and maybe there are even dozens of growing sites infested.
Some growers really do have only great clones on the premises, but then the same breeds and varieties every time. For the growers who want to grow something a little different from the usual weed varieties, it is not particularly easy to get hold of another sort of weed, other than the couple available directly from the supplier. For many growers there is no
choice but to build themselves a nice collection of seeds with which to provide themselves with new strains. Happy is the grower who knows how to raise his own top plants from seed! Rare varieties, with exotically high levels of THC, a good yield and even a great taste too!
If you’re successful and you end up with a number of potential mother plants raised from seeds, read in this instalment how we can select a beautiful mother from which you can harvest the clones you need.
Before we can set to making clones, we first have to select a good mother plant. A
good mother ensures that we get good progeny – and that, as a grower, you’ll notice! Important attributes I often look for to choose my mother plants are: a good, tight leaf cover (for optimal uptake of light), a strong stem and side branches (produce far more than pitiful ladies), the grow- and bloom-periods of the (mother) plant (determines the number of harvests per year) and perhaps the most important: the appearance and eventual taste of the (dried) flower clusters. Of course, every grower has his or her own preference and
we will rarely be able to select the mother that fulfils all our expectations. But learning how to make you own clones remains a must-have skill, and as a grower you can do yourself a number of favours by acquiring it. When you make your own clones you can always be sure of young plants, that you know how best they can be raised to become superb adults, and save yourself a pile of cash outflow along the way.
The best clones come from young growth shoots of between five and fifteen centimetres in length. It is vital that the shoots have complete and well-developed leaves in order to develop into a clone. Once we have removed a few shoots from the mother plant, we cut the base of the stem off with a slanting cut from a razor blade (these are ideal because they are so sharp). By cutting the stem at a slant, the stem has a greater surface area with which to take up moisture, and that increases our chances of success. Often, I remove a strip of fibres, so that the cutting powder
(which we apply immediately) can do its work better. Also, the bark of the marihuana plant can hinder the cutting powder from promoting the shoot from forming roots.
Once we’ve got the above steps out of the way, dip the stem into some water and after that dip the sides of the stem into cutting powder. You must make sure not to get cutting powder on the slanted, cut surface of the stem, as the sap flow of the young clone might get clogged up and thereby die an early death.
Air moisture levels
When the base of the growing shoot has had cutting powder correctly applied, I let the growing shoots root in small blocks of stone wool. These blocks are ideal because they hold enough water, and enough oxygen for the young stems when the blocks dry out a little. Oxygen plays a crucial role in successful rooting in growing shoots, and therefore we need to ensure that the conditions for this are made as optimal as possible. So let the stone wool blocks dry out a little once in a while.
When all this has been accomplished, we can best place the yet-to-develop growing shoots in a special germinating tray. Here we can keep the air moisture content high, by sprinkling the clones with water and closing the germinating tray with its (transparent) lid. The young shoots can then take-up water through their leaves, and that will dramatically increase the survival rate of the yet-to- develop clone. Keep the process firmly in hand and don’t go crazy with the air moisture, because clones can also be the victims if fungal attack. When Mr Mould comes a-calling, you can wave bye-bye to a whole generation of marihuana plants.
To give the clones a little extra help in weaning we can place a warming system in the base of the germination tray. The roots of the marihuana plant adore a lightly warmed soil, and by providing this the growing shoots will better develop into clones. Once the germination tray is filled with a large quantity of stone wool blocks with growing shoots sticking out of them, we can place the whole thing under growing lamps. These lights are ideal for letting the clones bed in and root successfully since they do not cause the clones to evaporate too much moisture and yet still provide enough light. Keep the light cycle on 18 hours and the growing shoots should rapidly begin to develop into lovely clones. As a last tip, I’ll advise you to always take more growing shoots (and make clones from them) than you think you’re going to need, since not every growing shoot will take root in the end.