I recently had the chance to visit Soma — the dreadlocked American expatriate who has guided his company, Soma’s Sacred Seeds, to the top of the industry — at his house in Amsterdam. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Soma for more than 15 years, and he was the first person to show me how to hand-trim buds when I first moved to the Netherlands. I thought it would be interesting to get Soma’s top five tips on breeding and find out how he got his start.
Soma got his first taste of breeding in Florida in 1974. He had been smoking for the last 10 years and decided to try growing a few marijuana plants outdoors. Due to Florida’s warm climate he put his plants out in early spring. In those days he mostly had seeds from southeast Asia and was able to save a few different seeds of Thai, Laotian and Cambodian weed as well. He would occasionally get seeds from Afghan. After planting the four varieties, he had noticed that the Asian plants started to hermie. In those days there was no Mel Frank books or Internet so information about cannabis was almost impossible to get. It was all trial and error.
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The following spring Soma planted the seeds he made the previous year, and was amazed by what he saw. The previous summer the Southeast Asian strains had grown to be 22-foot trees, but these new plants were much shorter. Having taken on the characteristics and structure of the Afghan plants, they became stockier and finished quicker. The first thing that impressed Soma was that by crossing two plants, the resulting progeny was even stronger and more potent than the parents. Even more important was that the plants yielded huge buds that were super frosty. All this was due to hybrid vigor.