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Ask Erik: RAW! - Seed Sourcing: Empty Promises or Better Beans?

Buying the right seeds can make you the best hydroponics grower in your area by ensuring high quality strains of your favorite plant. Buying the right seeds can make you the best hydroponics grower in your area by ensuring high quality strains of your favorite plant.

Q:

Getting clones isn't a problem where I live, but frankly, I am sick of the "same old". And even more importantly, my customers are feeling the same way. In fact, I have been losing the odd one lately because everyone around is growing the same strain around here and a lot of consumers appear to be buying mostly on pricing criteria. I don't want to play the price game because I know that ultimately it's not going to work out in my favor over the longer term.

I figure injecting some new genetics onto the scene is going to be my ace-in-the-hole, so to speak. Reviews from grower buddies regarding mail order seeds have quite the range: some get delivered what they were promised, others get inferior genetics that were a waste of time, and some have received nothing at all, including no response from the supplier.

What's your take on this, and what are some ways I can reduce the chance of disappointment in my quest for unique and stellar cropping genetics?

A:

The nature of seeds themselves is a roll of the dice. In nature, every plant is a little different. Throw humans into the mix, and things can really begin to get dicey. However, seeds are wonderful things. They allow growers and breeders to improve or "build" new genetics from proven favorites, and the result is tidy little packages that can be transported just about anywhere and allow crops to be started at any time that is convenient or advantageous to the grower.

Selecting a variety is a big question unto itself; however, once you have an idea of what it is you are after, getting your hands on it can be a project too.

Besides ensuring that you are getting exactly what you paid for, you will have the unique opportunity to speak with the breeder.

If you decide to go the mail-order/internet purchase route there are some things you can do to improve your chances of success. Do a search in growing and breeding forums of prospective suppliers and see what kind of reviews they have been getting in areas like seed quality, delivery and any follow up service that might become necessary.

Send an email to the supplier before you purchase, perhaps with a straightforward and low time consumption type of question for them to answer. If you don't hear back from them after this, would you be confident that they will respond to you once they get your money? Caveat emptor - buyer beware - as the old adage goes.

If you are really serious about it, take the pilgrimage and go visit the breeder in person. Even if a trip like this costs you a couple of thousand dollars, it can easily be worth it when you are rewarded with unique, high quality genetics that offer both you and your clients exactly what they are looking for. Holland has always been a great place to visit for seeds, however, a lot of seed production is occurring in Spain these days too.

Besides ensuring that you are getting exactly what you paid for, you will have the unique opportunity to speak with the breeder. This means you can save lots of time (and profits) avoiding trial and error by getting the straight dope, so to speak, on exactly the types of conditions to provide your new strain, as well as what to avoid, for best results.

Investing extra time and money to secure the best genetics possible can make a real difference in the level of success you have as a professional grower as it sets you apart from the pack.

Cheers, Erik Biksa

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Because growers need to know all about roots and seeds, here’s The Roots performing “The Seed.”
Last modified on Friday, 17 August 2012 18:47

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