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Stuck in the pines seeds

In The Pines

From Aficionado Seeds comes In The Pines, a sativa-dominant strain bred by crossing Pineapple Thai, Master Kush, and Pineapple. Tropical fruity flavors activate on the inhale and usher in this sativa’s invigorating, active effects. Clear creativity comes alive as the senses sharpen, making In The Pines the perfect companion strain for hobbies and productive afternoons.

From Aficionado Seeds comes In The Pines, a sativa-dominant strain bred by crossing Pineapple Thai, Master Kush, and Pineapple. Tropical fruity flavors activate on the inhale and usher in this sativa’s invigorating, active effects. Clear creativity comes alive as the senses sharpen, making In The Pines the perfect companion strain for hobbies and productive afternoons.

How to grow Japanese black pine from seed

Growing Japanese black pine from seed isn’t the easiest way to make a beautiful bonsai. It requires a variety of skills and it takes a long time. That said, the process of starting bonsai from scratch can be very rewarding – whether or not you end up with a masterpiece.

The basics of growing pines from seed are simple – place seeds in planting medium, water, wait for seedlings to appear.

As bonsai enthusiasts, however, we can refine this process a bit. The first step begins with selecting the right parent tree.

Selecting pine cones for bonsai

Not all pine cones are created equally. Some are large and healthy, others are small by comparison. We want the big, healthy ones for bonsai – smaller cones are less likely to have viable seeds inside.

More important is the parent tree itself. Does it have good bark? Are the needles straight and dark green? Are the branches compact? If so, you may have found a good parent tree. Make note of it and return in September or October when it’s time to harvest the cones. They should look like this.

Japanese black pine cones

Waiting until the cones are brown and open will be too late. Aim to collect the green or purple cones that have yet to open.

Typical pine cone – Japanese black pine

After bringing the cones home, give them a quick bath in a highly diluted lime-sulfur solution to kill any fungus or pests that might be living among the cones. Then set the cones out to dry.

Cleaned and dry

Soil sifters, it turns out, make great cone-drying trays. Place the cones in the sifter, then cover them with an additional screen to keep the birds away. Don’t place the cones too close together as they’ll expand when they open up. Keeping the cones dry will speed up the time required for them to open.

Protected from birds

I recommend collecting more cones than you think are necessary. While some produce a handful of viable seeds, others produce none. I also start many more pines than I want to end up with. Even when growing seedlings from an outstanding parent tree, it’s not certain that all offspring will be as impressive as the parent. Starting a few more than you need is a good way to hedge your bets.

Collecting the Seeds

Within a week or two the cones will turn brown and open. Here is what this looks like.

Open pine cones

Now that the cones are open, it’s time to get the seeds out. The seeds are nestled into the base of each scale (scale bract) with the wing (seed bract) facing outward. As the scales open – an action promoted by dry air – these wings, not unlike maple seeds in design, can catch the wind and help the seeds travel when they detach from their cone.

If you look carefully, you can see the ends of the wings to which the seeds are attached.

Pick up a cone and tap it on its end. If the cone is fully ripe, some seeds will fall out.

Tapping the cone to release the seeds

Not all seeds detach so easily. A few taps on the tip of the cone can release most of the seeds inside. Several more taps may coax reluctant seeds away from their cone.

Not always satisfied by what comes out after tapping, I’ve dismantled more than a few cones to make sure I didn’t miss any good seeds inside. This has proved more work than the effort merits. While I’ve pulled a few good seeds out of cones in this fashion, I haven’t found enough to make this a regular practice. Most of the good seeds develop in the middle of the cone – where it is thickest – and these are the seeds that are most easily released.

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After forcing open the cones

How can you tell good seeds from bad seeds? Crack them open to see – they are usually light colored, dry and hollow.

Viable seeds are darker with brown and black stipples. They’re also heavier, though this is tricky to discern in one’s hand. I usually crack a few open while I work to recalibrate my understanding of which to keep and which to discard when I begin sorting seeds each year. After cracking a few good ones, I catch on fast.

Viable seeds – keepers!

Once the seeds are free from their cones and the good ones are separated from the bad, place them in a cool, dark place until spring when it’s time to sow them.

Preparing the seeds for sowing

Seeds, as we know, are best planted in spring – somewhere between February and May, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere. When you notice temperatures rising – or snow subsiding – get the seeds out from storage.

About 75 pine seeds

The next step is to soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. The idea is to “wake the seeds up” and cull any remaining duds from the bunch.

Some seeds will sink immediately – others will sink over the next 24 hours. If any seeds are still floating after a day, they are likely sterile.

After putting the seeds into a glass of water – many are still floating

One day later – all but a few seeds have sunk to the bottom

I’ve used hot water for the soak in order to scarify the seeds, but haven’t always found that this makes much difference. Try both approaches and see which works better.

Black and red pines do, however, benefit from brief stratification. Stratification can be achieved by refrigerating seeds before planting. Place the seeds in a plastic bag with a moist paper towel or some shredded white sphagnum moss to preserve humidity.

Japanese black pine seeds – ready for the fridge

If the bag fogs up after a few minutes in the fridge, that’s a good sign there’s enough moisture in the bags.

Condensation in the bag

If you’re preparing seeds from different batches or according to different protocols, it’s a good idea to label the bags at this point.

Red and black pine seeds

I typically leave black pine seeds in the refrigerator for about a week and red pine seeds for 1-3 weeks. I’ve found the stratified seeds sprout faster and more consistently than the non-stratified seeds by a wide margin – try it and see how it works for you.

Planting the seeds

There are two basic approaches to planting pine seeds. Both work well, but the first approach takes a bit more time. Let’s start with the meticulous approach.

Start by preparing a shallow pot with bonsai soil. While a number of soils work for growing black pine, I usually use my regular bonsai mix – lava, pumice, and akadama – covered with a layer of clean sand. I water the soil and poke 1/4″ holes in the sand with a matchstick.

Holes spaced just over an inch apart

Into each hole goes one pine seed.

Placing the seed in the hole with tweezers

After placing the seeds in the holes, I add a tiny amount of sand to fill the holes and water again. The result looks no different than the starting point.

Seeds planted and watered

The alternative to the meticulous approach is to fill a pot with bonsai soil, sprinkle the seeds into the pot by hand, then cover the seeds with a thin layer of fine soil particles. You’ll find this approach can save a lot of time.

Watch the seeds sprout

Depending on the weather, seeds can sprout in as little as a week or as long as a month or more. The taproot emerges from the seed and descends into the soil so it can push the seed up toward the sunlight.

Emerging pine seeds

The first immature needles will appear soon after. As they strengthen, they’ll fling the the seed case aside.

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Almost free of the seed case

Although sunlight and warmth will help the seeds germinate, do note that the seeds will perish if they dry out at this stage. And if you have hungry birds in the garden, it’s a good idea to protect the seeds with window screen or anything that will let light and air pass but prevent birds from grabbing the seeds.

Within a few weeks of the first signs of germination, you’ll have a container full of pine seedlings.

Healthy pine seedlings

Keep them in full sun. Water them just before they dry out. Hold off on fertilizer until the seedlings begin to elongate. Start with gentle fertilizers at half strength and slowly build up from there.

And that’s it – for now. Bonsai work can begin in as little as two months. Until then, enjoy the little ones while they’re young – they’ll grow up faster than you think.

10 Couch-Lock Cannabis Strains to Help You Stay Home

COVID-19 has changed the world as we knew it. For the foreseeable future, we all have to do our bit and stay home to try and flatten the curve and prevent the virus from spreading further. But it’s not all bad news. Try to think of this time to stay home and reset. Why not start that project you’ve been putting of, or earn a new language? Maybe rearrange all the furniture in your house and alphabetize your record collection. Then, once that’s finished, sink into your couch and enjoy one of these iconic couch-lock cannabis strains while you binge on Tiger King.


Named after its geographic origin, Afghani grows in the Hindu mountains, where cannabis was first discovered over 1000 years ago. Afghani delivers a deeply relaxing,mood-boosting high, perfect if you have issues with insomnia, chronic pain and stress disorders.

Girl Scout Cookies (GSC)

A potent mix of an OG Kush x Durban Poison x Cherry Kush mother backcrossed with a prime-looking OG Kush father created Girl Scout Cookies. The winner of multiple Cannabis Cups and packing a powerful 28% THC, GSC is possibly one of the best Northern California strains of all time.

Granddaddy Purple

Delivering a THC level between 17-27%, Granddaddy Purple is not a strain to take lightly. If you’re looking for a mental and body high that will feel like you are floating euphorically, as well as being great for easing pain and relaxing muscles, this distinctively fruity tasting strain is for you.

Perhaps one of the most notorious cultivars out there, the legend of G-13 is that it is an escapee from a breeding experiment funded by the U.S. government. With 22-24% THC level potential, G-13 provides a couch-locking feeling of euphoria.

Northern Lights

Multiple award wins have solidified Northern Lights as another classic indica strain. THC levels range from 16-26% and promise a mellow and pacifying high.

OG Kush

World-renown for its potency and distinct flavour, the legendary OG Kush needs to introduction. Tokers will enjoy equally intense body and head highs from around 20% THC levels.


Superglue brings calming relaxation to the mind and body while leaving you functional and energetic enough for social activities or a productive afternoon.

Sunset Sherbert

Mario Guzman aka Mr. Sherbinski grows some of the finest cannabis you’ll ever smoke. Stress and tension will melt away as a full-body high creeps, delivering a deep physical relaxation.

Super Skunk

Super Skunk delivers a notoriously powerful body high thanks to a THC content of 20% or higher. Consumers can expect a whole-body relaxation that kicks stress to the curb and will have you in full couch-lock mode.

Triple Cheese

Known to consistently reach 22% THC or higher, Triple Cheese by world-renowned breeder Barney’s Farm offers Cheese lovers a very enjoyable high and a unique terpene profile.

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Cannabis Classification System Announced for 2022 Emerald Cup Awards

February 25, 2022

One of the factors that make the Emerald Cup so important to California’s cannabis market is its continued strive for excellence and innovation. For the 2022 awards, the judging process is undergoing a transformation and with it comes a new cannabis classification system that will classify entries based on terpenes, flavour, and effects for anybody — from customers to budtenders, dispensaries, judges, and cultivators.

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Cannabis Is More Than Just THC

The days of just searching out the highest THC totals are rapidly receding as research has now proven that terpenes are at the base of the entourage effect that customers desire are rapidly fading.

Terpenes, on the other hand, have mostly added to the consumer confusion already caused by overly broad Indica/Sativa/Hybrid terminology, whimsical strain names, irrelevant THC/CBD percentages, and other ambiguous factors that make selecting the best or correct strain a less-than-satisfying ordeal for even the most experienced cannabis connoisseurs.

The Emerald Cup competition will serve as a testbed for a new classification system for cannabis flowers. The event organisers and their testing partners at SC Labs decided to further break down the flower categories based on the chemometrics of each cultivar (better known as “chemovar” — the evolution of the term “dominant terpene”) evolving beyond last year’s flower category sorting by primary terpene content, in order to level the playing field and eliminate as much bias as possible in the blind/anonymous sampling done by Emerald Cup judges each year.

This paradigm-shifting insight sparked months of additional research and discussion, culminating in the Emerald Cup Cannabis Classification System based on PhytoFacts® powered by SC Labs.

The all-new classification system builds on last year’s approach of sorting flower entries by primary terpene content, leveraging a decade of Cannabis phytochemistry research between PhytoFacts®, developed by Napro Research in 2013, and a powerful database of over 250,000 terpene tests aggregated by SC Labs, dating back to their launch of terpene testing on Cannabis in 2013. The key class names were chosen to represent current terminology, are widely used in the business and are familiar to dispensaries and consumers. Each class is further explained using taste notes, effects, and popular strains or cultivars to promote understanding and acceptance.

The New Cannabis Classification System

The classes of the Emerald Cup Cannabis Classification Based on PhytoFacts ® powered by SC Labs include:

“Jacks + Haze” Class

  • Mostly ‘Sativa’-leaning varietals
  • Tasting notes – Fruity, Pinesol, Haze
  • Effects – Energizing, Cerebral, Artistically Inspiring
  • Common Cultivars – Classic Trainwreck, Jack Herer, Durban Poison, Super Lemon Haze
  • Terpenes Profile: Terpinolene, Caryophyllene, Myrcene

“Tropical + Floral” Class

  • Mostly ‘Indica’-leaning varietals
  • Tasting notes – Sweet, Floral, Tropical Fruit
  • Effects – Calming, Soothing, Relaxing
  • Common Cultivars – Super Skunk, Hawaiian, In the Pines, Dream Queen
  • Terpenes Profile: Ocimene, Myrcene

“Sweets + Dreams” Class

  • Mostly ‘Indica’-leaning varietals
  • Tasting Notes – Fruity, Sweet, Woody, Hoppy, Herbaceous
  • Effects – Relaxation, Couch Lock, Analgesic
  • Common Cultivars – Blue Dream, Tangie, Forbidden fruit, Grandaddy Purple, Purple Urkel, Grape Ape, Cherry AK, God’s Gift, Purple Punch
  • Terpenes Profile: Myrcene, Pinene, Caryophyllene

“OGs + Gas” Class

  • True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
  • Tasting Notes – Gas, Fuel, Sweet, Citrus, and Pepper
  • Effect – Uplifting, Stimulating, Analgesic, Relaxation
  • Common Cultivars – Classic OG Kush, ChemDawg, Sour Diesel, Gorilla Glue
  • Terpenes Profile: Any combination or shifting codominance of Caryophyllene, Limonene, Myrcene

‘”Desserts” Class

  • True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
  • Tasting Notes – Deserts, Doughs, Citrusy & Spicy
  • Effects – Stimulating, Racy, Uplifting, Comforting
  • Common Cultivars – Classic Bubba Kush, GSC, Gelatos, Cakes
  • Any shift in codominance of Caryophyllene & Limonene

“Exotics” (Rare Terpene Combinations) Class

  • True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
  • Tasting notes – varied based on chemistry of entry
  • Effect – varied based on chemistry of entry
  • Common Cultivars – rarest terpene profiles entered into the Emerald Cup Competition

This game-changing development in cannabis classification levels the playing ground for the 2022 Cup as well as market competitiveness amongst brands. The system seeks to become an open-source, globally recognised grading solution for Cannabis, with six simple classes/names/descriptions. In the same way that a Chardonnay would not be tested against a Merlot in the wine business, this new system permits strains with comparable profiles to be judged against each other. This new classification system will also be used at the California State Fair Cannabis Awards in July 2022.

The 2022 Emerald Cup Awards will be presented live on stage on May 14th at the Green Street Festival in Downtown Los Angeles, California.