When discussing seeds, you may have heard the terms F1, F2, F3 and so on yet may never have truly understood what these mean as far as breeding and lineage is concerned. Below is better explained how to make first generation seeds and what you need to know.
By Stoney Tark
What Does First Generation Mean?
F1 stands for first generation lineage, and represents the offspring created by the original mother and father. The term is also an expression of a hybrid made using regular seeds. Female seeds are referred to as S1 and involve a completely different process than working with regular stock.
Desired Traits Over Non Desired Traits
Before you begin a breeding project, you should always plan ahead and think of the real reason you are attempting to make a new strain in the first place, or at least a first generation cross that may be more dominant of a certain phenotype you desire. The different characteristics that a breeder may wish to focus on are growth structure, leaf pattern, flowering time, wind resistance, aroma, effect, resistance to pests and bugs, as well as resistance to plant disease and pathogens.
Matching plants together that are more compatible based on the above, is one way to promote hybrid vigour without too much variation when sifting through a large number of plants. If you are breeding for commercial reasons and plan to make a certain strain a bigger producer, or narrow the flowering time down to better fit in with the maximum number of growing cycles in a year, then the main characteristics can be down to how the plants look visually, instead of more hands on and actually testing each flower during the phenotype hunting.
What Should I look For?
Once you have established the end result on paper and what traits you are bringing forward, then the way to sift through your regular seeds should be to look for those traits in the plants you will select from. Some breeders may only be able to work with a small space and growing over 20+ seeds at a time to find one keeper is not practical or logistical.
If you already have decided which female is the best plant in your grow room, then the stage of smoking all the potential females and testing each for quality, quantity, flavour, appearance, aroma, taste, effect, bag appeal,terpene profiles and cannabinoid profiles is not required. Otherwise this is the part where you can discover what is special and worth keeping, and which phenotypes do not express the characteristics you are looking for.
Step By Step Guide
This guide is written on the basis that we are crossing two different strains with one another, to make a new variety. Starting with regular seeds you will label each seedling to make the catalogue process simple and easy from the very start. You will be looking for a particular female that aligns with your criteria, as well as looking for male plants that from appearance, look similar in height, structure, leaf pattern and so on.
By growing the plants under a vegetative cycle of 18/6, you will now wait until the point of the plants revealing their sex. This is usually after the 5th week of the growing stage, as male plants can often show male preflowers before female plants. Take clones of the numbered plants and number the clones the same. This way you can keep on producing more seeds without losing the original male and female.
Begin to flower the plants and over this next 7-10 days, the plants will show their pre-flowers and you will be able to clearly see which of your regular seeds are male and female. This is the stage where you can identify by eye which plants will be keepers based on appearance alone.
Isolate the male plants from the females and label the plant dependant on the sex. At this point you will want to select the females you find the most appealing and pair them off with the male that you have chosen. If you have multiple males you will either need a second tent to perform the breeding process, or you must wait until the first male has flowered and begin new with a clean and sanitized room, at a later date.
Allow the male pollen to reach the pistils of the female plants. This process only takes a moment to happen, which will be indicated by the white hair turning marron brown almost instantly. Successfully pollinating can be done by hand or in an open room. From this point on, the hard work is done and now the plants will spend all their energy, producing strong, viable seeds.
Harvesting the seeds should be done with a professional approach with correct labelling. If you are producing a small batch of seeds for testing reasons, or aiming for thousands of seeds then make sure you have labelled the final storage bag with what male was used with what female. When reproducing first generation lineage, you must have an identical copy of the original stock that was used, otherwise compatibility and variation may differ.
Test the new F1 seedlings that you have made, with the mindset of mass producing them with the clones you have of the original mother and father. Once you are happy with the germination rates, stability of the plants, quality of flower and all of the other important factors, then you can now replicate another breeding room using a large number of female clones with the father.
What to consider: If you are unable to keep genetic copies of the original father or mother used, it is not possible to replicate that same lineage. The closest you could get is to make a F2 which is second generation cross. Here is where the most desired traits and the most undesired traits will express themselves. In terms of phenotype hunting, this can be more complicated that creating a more homogenous and stable line. Try and keep your genetic copies alive and easily accessible as it is the difference in regenerating that genetic replica.