Strain Identification in the Garden

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Introduction

Every once in a while, we come across a concerned customer questioning whether or not they have received the strain they ordered. Understandably, this is an important concern since the consistency of your crop is paramount.
Dark Heart produces a lot of clones and carries more than 30 strains; you would be forgiven for thinking that keeping it all straight is an impossible job. In fact it is an extremely difficult job. Preventing mistakes like this requires organization, discipline, and elegance.
Meeting this standard is one of the small details for which we take great pride. So much so, that we in the garden would be mortified to find that any strain had been misidentified. Not only do we employ several strategies in our routine processes to avoid such a possibility, but if you handed, say a Girl Scout Cookies clone to a DHN propagator and told them to tray it as a Fire OG, well they might have a brain aneurysm. Through our routine work we become intimately familiar with the specific characteristics of each strain. To the point that we can typically identify each strain even in the vegetative state.
Here are a few of the ways that we avoid strain confusion in the garden. We hope that these strategies might be useful to growers with any size garden. (Unless, you have only one plant… then confusion would be weird, right?)

Label the Entire Stable

When labeling the plants in our nursery, we use a color-coded system as well as a concise abbreviation that is unique and unmistakable for each and every strain. Color coding really helps with identification; if you have only one OG variety with a red tag, for example, the possibility of mix up is limited. When and if you need to use an abbreviation, (because these strain names get longer every day) make sure that you don’t have any that are similar upon a quick glance. For example, if you put your Tahoe OG next to the Fire OG in your garden, abbreviating them as FOG and TOG could pose a potential for mix-up.
When delivering clones out to our dispensaries, we always label the entire tray with the appropriate strain name. But listen closely! Make sure that if you purchase multiple strains at a time from a dispensary that you immediately label them; some dispensaries may not label them for you. If you know you are going to be buying several different varieties and less than an entire tray, consider bringing some colored tags with you.

Single-File Line Ladies

Whether we are traying up clones or pruning our stock moms, we make sure never to work on two different strains simultaneously. If we do need to work on multiple varieties during the day, we split off into separate working groups during production. Only when Dream Queen is finished being cut and processed, for example, will we then move onto the next variety. It would be really hard for some Grape Ape or any other strain to jump into the Dream Queen mix because she was never touched during that period.

Treat Them Like Individuals

If this is your first go at growing cannabis, every strain you attempt might look similar as you will be generally distracted by the awe of their beauty. As you become a more experienced grower and attempt different strains, you will notice that they’ll have distinct characteristics. Pay close attention to the ladies and you will observe that they each have very individual features; OG’s like to grow tall and skinny; Indica’s have very distinct node patterns; no two strains are completely alike.
Lastly, while we carry only a single phenotype for any given strain in our garden and we sell a product that is consistent in appearance and quality; alternate methods of growing clones can have a different looking outcome. The biggest factors in variation tend to be: differing light sources, indoor vs. outdoor, growing medium and pot size.
Happy growing!

 

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