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I started growing marijuana when I was thirteen years old and will be turning 55 years young this year. Grown every year of my life (41 years straight). Today, I have an outdoor strain that is a direct descendant of the ganja that a local motorcycle club was growing in 1968 in southeastern Michigan. I was at a member's house and noticed the blue ribbons on the side of his fridge and obtained some seeds in 1977 from him. Later, I crossed two different Indicas from the Ann Arbor area (home of the Hash Bash and the University of Michigan) into it. In 1985, I crossed an Afghan/African (still today most winners of the Cannabis Cup are hybrids, crosses between Sativas and Indicas) that I obtained from the Super Sativa Seed Club. Whenever you cross two pure/stabilized strains (a plant strain is considered stabilized after 6 generations of inbreeding) you get the hybrid vigor. After the Afghan/African cross was when I learned all about trichomes. I was amazed! The last cross I bred into this strain was Super Skunk, that clearly defeated Skunk #1 in the 1991 High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. Super Skunk was best smoke that I have ever tasted. Back in the day, the Cannabis Cup was judged on three categories only. 15-points for trichomes, 10-points for taste and aroma and 5-points for color and condition/visual appeal. Today's Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam seems more geared towards who can get the most of the best variety out there. Sort of leaves out the small farmer. This strain I call A.P.A. (after my deceased younger brother/best friend) was featured in High Times' October 2011 article "Michigan Hangs IN" (pgs. 38,40), has been inbred now for 22 years in southeastern Michigan, and is completely stabilized. Every year I would have three to eight people judge the different varieties on the original criteria.

I have a list of some of the varieties that have been in my contest and lost to A.P.A. (which has still retained that sweet taste of the original Super Skunk). Jack Herer, a lot of trichomes (combination of a few Hazes) with a unique taste, only drawback is that you can see through the colas. I remember the Super Sativa Seed club describing the Haze as a plant that would make you crawl into a corner and piss and defecate on yourself. Northern Light's; Quick mature, but molds easily outdoors, same with White Widow (with mold) A.P.A. is mold and mildew resistant, after three days of straight rain I don't have to worry about mold, and she finishes in six weeks.

Back in 2004, I told Marc Emery, owner of Cannabis Culture about A.P.A. and sent him 24 seeds. Six months later, he sent me a packet Early Skunk-large colas that did not mold but lacks on trichomes and pack, Durban Poision; never did finish by Octobrer 1st, stereotypical harvest time in Michigan. Deer hunters start coming out around then and they do get off the beaten path. Mighty Mite (some Vancouver legend) ? Mighty Mite is quick maturing small Indica that has also been stabilized/inbred for 18 years. Only negative is that it is small, and you cannot get her back into the vegetative state once she starts flowering. The last I heard the U.S. Government eventually extradited Marc Emery from Canada to the U.S. for prosecution and imprisonment. The last varieties I have tried outdoors are Mazar (Dutch passion). Second packet I purchased did not have the trichomes the first packet did. Medicine Man (Mr Nice) Greenhouses original genetic guru. Since Shanti Babba has been released from that Italian prison I hope the germination rate increases! The HOG (T.H. Seeds) Yumbolt; from that infamous Humbolt County, which also brought us the original Skunk. You can hear there diesel generators running at night close to some Yurts (Mongolian Tee Pee's) that went underground. Nirvanas K2 and Ice, both nice. When I was growing outdoors I got a map of the Pinckney/Waterloo recreation area, 36,000 acres of State owned land and looked for the most isolated spots, half of the time I would find myself on a hill where a large hardwood had fallen, there I could find myself some nice sandy black soil. Sometimes I would find a hill that had sparse vegetation, in that instance the soil is usually poor. You just need to walk down the side of the hill to gather up all that good virgin black sandy soil. Security is always #1 goal, #2 water close by (1-gallon of H20=8.35#) and never leave a trail, if you can see a trail developing walk a few feet to the side, #3 Best strain of cannabis for your climate, ideally you would have a variety that has been assimilated to that area. I obtained the Indica winners from the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, mainly because Indicas originated on the same latitude as Michigan.

Sometime in late fall or early winter I would put a dollar bill in a sandwich bag and tape it to a tree in the wood's (nice to have a G.P.S. but not necessary) if it was still there in the spring it would be a potential grow spot (Danny Danko, senior cultivation editor at High Times thought this was ingenious). One disadvantage to the woods is the potential of getting a twig in the eye (at 3 am in dark woods its very feasible). Personally, I have scratched my cornea three times, feels like a piece of glass cutting your eye every time you move it for 2-3 days. Probably the second most painful injury that I have experienced is cracked ribs, it only hurts when you inhale or exhale. I was scouting a new territory that had a large pond that was not even on the most recent maps, there was still a thin sheet of ice covering the lakes and streams, I stepped on this sheet of ice that ended up being a deep stream, leaned and jumped to the edge and caught the ice on the embankment in the ribs. By the time we finished scouting the area and made it back to the car my clothes were frozen solid from the chest down and I had a couple cracked ribs, although I never caught a cold. I have also grown in cornfields with a stream close by. I'll never forget the time when some of our equipment fell into the stream and my brother and I went running for it. As I was sliding down the embankment, my brother caught me by the heels right before I slid in head first. I never had to say a word. I remember another time back in 89/92 when I cleared a spot underneath a transformer by the Huron River. I literally had to crawl on my hands and knees to get to it because of the wild roses and rasberries. The damned transformer blew up killing the power to St. Joe Hospital and Washtenaw Community College. Of course, the lineman called the police and they contacted LAWNET (Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team). For my work on that patch, they left me a letter encased in plastic, which said, "If you have any questions please call me, I would be glad to visit with you." What a smart ass!

The best place that I have ever grown and which has never been found by police or bandits (from my experience with gorilla farming about 1/2 of your patches will either be found by police, thieves or eaten by deer) is on a 10 acre bog (if you jump on it, it will roll) in the back yard of the Washtenaw County Sheriff Dept. It has a little standing water, and in June and July, the mosquitos take over (the average day hiker does not carry waterproof boots and mosquito repellent) and go cross country through a bog. Took a machete and knocked down the cattails and used a sharpened military shovel (latter hauled in a post hole digger at 3 am) to dig a well. Once you break through that first 2' of weeds and muck, it was all water year around. My brother and I made a stretcher and hauled in fifty 3-gallon pots and top soil in the wee hours of the morning. I always believed you should be comfortable enough in your patch to work naked, otherwise look elsewhere. Since Proposition 1 passed in November of 2008, I obtained a Medical Marijuana card and now I can grow cannabis legally. I never thought I would see the day. That made for a nice change of pace. My lower back is wasted, probably because of the top soil, soil amendments, plant food, tools and plants that I have carried throughout years, in addition to the construction work I did by day. I used the largest backpack that North Face made at the time, an external frame pack called the Black Magic 2. Thirty years later, I am still using it. I got my medical marijuana card because of my lower back condition, ironically.

Today, I have crossed A.P.A. with nothing but Cannabis Cup winners from Amsterdam and from High Times list of the top ten strongest strains on earth. Here is a short list:
1. Blueberry.
2. Dutch Passion. Michigan's own D.J. Short developed it.
3. S.A.G.E., by T.H. Seeds. First variety on record to reach the 20% THC mark. I was the only individual or dispensary to have 5 varieties at over 20% THC tested by Herbal Elements out of Traverse city and this was before Iron Labs or Arborside testing. And yes, I have had everything tested twice by both labs since Herbal Elements.
4. Bubblegum, by Serious Seeds. One of a few stabilized strains. Most varieties are hybrids.
5. Bubblicious.
6. White Rhino, by Nirvana. The most pure typical Indica plant I have ever grown. With Nirvana seeds, you do get the biggest bang for your buck.
7. Super Silver Haze. The most winning variety thus far in Amsterdam's history.
8. Super Lemon Haze, by Green House. A daughter of Super Silver Haze. #1 2008, #1 2009, #2 2010 and listed by Green House as there most potent variety at 22.09% THC. Green House is the most decorated coffee house/seedbank in Amsterdam.

These are my most recent new-blood additions:
1. Kosher Kush, by DNA Genetics. The most winning Indica in Amsterdam's history and the second most of all time, coming in at 22.6% THC, #1 2010, #1 2011, #1 2012, #3 2014, with great taste, a small plant about knee high at harvest.
2. 818 Headband, by Cali Connection. A cross between Sour Diesel and SFV OG Kush, and father of three of the strongest strains on earth.
3. G-13 (government marijuana) X Blueberry Headband, by Emerald Triangle Seeds.
4. Original Sour Diesel, by Cali Connection.
5. SFV OG Kush, by Cali Connection. The only variety that has made the top ten list for potency and won a Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam.

Looking forward to my next contest! And happy stress free growing to everyone.

Jay