In this series of articles we’re going to introduce seed banks, breeders and their most popular strains. Get to know them a bit better, how, when and why they started, what they’re about and what makes them going.
Green House Seeds
Established in 1985 in Amsterdam, Netherlands Green House Seed Company have become one of the biggest and best known cannabis seed banks in the world. At that time Amsterdam was regarded as the capital of cannabis with a booming coffeeshop culture. With a passion for cannabis and a keen sense of business Arjan Roskam opened a chain of coffee shops which he was running a few years prior to starting the seed bank. Providing buds for the coffeeshops at first, business soon took off with the help of legendary breeders such as Neville and Shantibaba which helped put GHS on the map.
Winning numerous High Times Cannabis Cups, they became synonym for quality genetics, releasing award-winning strains year after year. Neville and Shantibaba left GHS and founded Mr. Nice Seedbank with Howard Marks while GHS continued to breed and release new strains as well as expand their business empire. They now own and operate 4 cannabis coffeeshops in Amsterdam, one cannabis club in Barcelona, a cannabis nutrient company and several other cannabis businesses.
Another important chapter of the Green House Seed story is linked with Franco Loja, a passionate and talented grower who was a head breeder responsible for making many great strains. With Franco at the helm of the genetics department, GHS started another seedbank called Strain Hunters, whose mission is to source, conserve and breed rare and unique landrace cannabis strains and make them available to wider masses. Going in places that are traditionally known for cannabis growing, they’ve documented their missions in a series of popular, award-winning documentaries available on YouTube.
Strain Hunters have also started a foundation dedicated to helping people in the regions they visit by building roads, houses and similar projects. Unfortunately, during one such project Franco contracted malaria and died while working in Congo, but his legacy and love for the plant will always be remembered.
Green House Seeds have been featured in many news articles, television and internet documentaries and are one of the biggest and most award-winning cannabis seedbank companies in the world with more than 40 High Times Cannabis Cups, 17 Highlife Cups and numerous other awards in their possession. Their coffeeshops are well known and are frequently visited by numerous movie, TV or music stars and other celebrities.
Some of Green House Seeds’ most popular strains include:
Jack Herer is probably one of the most famous cannabis strains in the world. This uplifting Sativa-dominant hybrid is a cross between Haze and Red Skunk and winner of more than 10 HT Cannabis Cups. It has a flowery smell and taste with earthy undertones and THC levels over 21% that will leave you in a creative and relaxed state. Yields go up to 500-600g/m2 or 1200g per plant.
Super Lemon Haze is one of the staples of GHS, a cross between Lemon Skunk and Super Silver Haze. Known for its sharp terpene profile, with a citrusy aroma and flavor. It offers a balanced high starting with the head and slowly making its way to your body. Retaining the characteristics of its Super Silver Haze parent, this Lemon Skunk cross is a favourite for all who try it. Yields go up to 800g/m2 or 1200g per plant. It’s used medicinally to relieve pain and stimulate appetite.
White Widow is one of the best known cannabis strains that has had its place in every Dutch coffeeshop since the 1990s. This Indica-dominant (60%) hybrid finishes in just 8 weeks indoors with yields up to 800g/m2 or by the end of September outdoors with yields up to 900g per plant and usually tests at around 18% THC. Effects are strong, fast hitting and long-lasting – happy, euphoric and uplifting, leaving you relaxed and stress free. Its flavors and aromas are not among the strongest or most pungent but give away a stinging, ammonia-like scent with hints or pine and earth with incense-like undertones.
Barney’s Farm story starts in the 1970s when Derry, the founder, went on a trip to discover and learn about cannabis landraces. His journeys took him through Afghanistan, Tibet, India, Thailand and Pakistan until he settled with a small group of growers high atop the Himalayas. For years, the group cross-bred and experimented with various cannabis strains collected from every corner of the Middle East and Asia.
Derry then decided to return to Amsterdam and put that knowledge to practice, bringing the impressive genetic library with him and founding the Barney’s Farm seedbank in 1992. Gaining more and more reputation for their quality genetics, Barney’s opened the first coffeeshop where they featured their strains, which became an instant success. Evolving from a small team of dedicated growers, they now own several coffeeshop locations and operate sophisticated high-tech labs with an army of lab-technicians, growers and breeders all across Europe, America and Middle East, working together in creating top-shelf cannabis strains.
Barney’s Farm have since won critical acclaim as well as numerous awards and cups for their work. Despite being in the business for nearly 30 years, their popularity and high quality of the seeds and genetics has never never diminished. New strains are being released on a regular basis and Barney’s now offer anything from Sativas to Indicas in both photoperiod and autoflowering varieties, as well as CBD rich cannabis strains.
Some of Barney’s Farm most popular strains include:
Critical Kush is a cross between Shantibaba’s legendary Critical Mass and OG Kush. This highly potent Indica-dominant hybrid is smelly and pungent, typical Kush with focus on yield and potency. It finishes in 8-9 weeks with yields going up to 550-650g/m2 or 700-800g per plant, usually testing at 20-25% THC and 1-2% CBD. Smells are very pungents, earthy and woody with citrusy and lemony undertones. Flavors are mild, spicy and peppery with hints of lemon. Effects are fast hitting and long lasting, typical Indica – body buzzed, relaxing and calming. Great night time strain used for treating chronic pain.
By crossing Himalayan Kush/Afghani with Utopia Haze, a Brazilian Sativa landrace, Barney’s Farm have created Red Dragon, a truly unique Sativa-dominant strain. Finishing fast, staying short and requiring little to no care, makes this strain popular among new and experienced growers alike. Aromas are woody and sweet with hints of herbs or spices. Flavors are sweet, berry, reminding you of sweet Guava with spicy undertones. Effects are creative, uplifting and motivating, leaving you happy and relaxed. It’s used medicinally to treat stress, anxiety and chronic pain. Yield is around 500-600g/m2 or 500g per plant and the buds usually test at ~23% THC and 1-2% CBD.
LSD is one of the most popular and best selling strains from Barney’s catalog. This Indica-dominant hybrid is a cross between original Skunk #1 and Afghan Indica. It’s easy to grow in all environments and setups even by complete novices with yields going up to 450-700g/m2 or 600-750g per plant. Usually testing at 20-24% THC with 1-2% CBD it provides for well balanced effects, going from couch locked, body buzzed and cerebral, uplifting and euphoric. Smells are strong, pungent and musky with earthy, floral and herbal undertones. Flavors are earthy and sweet with hints of chestnut and citrus.
Positronic Seeds are cannabis movement pioneers that paved the way for the industry it is now. Starting in the early 1980’s by squatting a closed down bakery, the group around Wernard Bruining called the “Green Team” started selling weed in a makeshift bar, operating what was a coffeeshop before legal coffeeshops opened. Once the Dutch government legalized coffeeshops, Wernard opened the “Mellow Yellow”, one of the oldest coffeeshops in Amsterdam, which he ran until it caught in fire.
Wernard opened the Positronics grow shop in Amsterdam in 1985, which was one of the first of its kind, selling specialized growing equipment and offering tips to many cannabis growers that flocked the shop from all parts of the world. The shop offered lamps, fertilizers, clones and seeds, all made by themselves and was considered a place to visit if you were interested in cannabis growing. The shop operated until 1997 until it was closed down, reportedly because of the high-scale employee thefts.
Green Team were among the first growers that used cuttings or clones as a starting material for their plants and had collaborated with many legendary breeders such as Sam the Skunkman, Ed Rosenthal and others. Leaving the Dutch scene Wernard went to the USA where he visited local growers that familirazied him with different genetics and growing methods, such as growing sensimilla – or seedless cannabis.
After coming back to Amsterdam, he decided to take the breeding to a new level and offer his genetics to a wider audience, starting Positronic Seeds. Doing great work and having access to many different and unique genetics soon positioned them as one of the best breeders in the world. They were among the first to offer feminized cannabis seeds and they won numerous awards for many of their strains. But, their activism and in your face attitude brought down the police to hit them hard.
After being forced to close shop, Wernard moved to Spain in 1996 and started the business there with most of their genetics still intact. They now operate from Malaga and offer a wide array of unique and special strains with a special attention on the medical use of cannabis. They are also among selected partners for Uruguay’s cannabis program, providing genetics for their government licenced cannabis growers.
Some of Positronic Seeds most popular strains include:
Blue Rhino is an Indica-dominant cannabis hybrid, a cross between two legendary strains – White Rhino and Blueberry. It finishes flowering in 9-10 weeks with yields going up to 550-600g/m2 or 500 g per plant. Usually testing at 16-20% THC with up to 2% CBD, its effects are strong – vibrant and euphoric, leaving you happy and relaxed. Some users have also reported increased anxiety and cottonmouth, when taken in larger doses. Its flavors and aromas are fresh, sweet and fruity with skunk and berry undertones.
By crossing two of the favorite, classic US strains – Jack Herer and NYC Diesel, Positronic Seeds have created a true gem called Jack Diesel. This Sativa-dominant cannabis hybrid finishes in 9-10 weeks with yield going up to 500g/m2 or 600g per plant. It usually tests at ~22% THC and provides for a nice creative, energetic and uplifting experience but may cause sedative effects to new users, not accustomed to high potency. Effects are strong, almost psychedelic. It’s a strong and vigorous, fast-flowering plant with complex aromas, a mixture of floral, sandalwood, cedar and eucalyptus. Plants can be a bit demanding, especially to inexperienced growers so it’s important to use a large container, allowing the root system to properly develop and have a close eye on the PH levels and irrigation.
Critical 47 is an Indica-dominant cannabis hybrid, another mixture of legendary old-school strains, a cross between Critical Mass and AK47. It usually tests at around 15-18% THC and provides yields that go up to 400g/m2 or 500g per plant. Its effects are perfect for night time use and provide for a nice calming and relaxing body-buzz, leaving you hungry, sleepy and happy. Its flavors and aromas are exceptional, sweet and fruity with strong hints of tropical fruit like peaches and mango with sweet, almost vanila like undertones. Having a carbon filter is highly recommended because the smells originating from the grow room will draw attention to themselves but once dried and cured will provide growers with some top-shelf cannabis buds.
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