We are betting that this is probably the biggest cannabis grow you’ve ever seen. In fact it’s not even a grow... This thing is a plantation, and in April over 30 people will spend a month harvesting over 6,500 Paradise Seeds plants.
The Amsterdam based seed bank have been the exclusive provider of seeds for Latin America’s first legal medical cannabis grow for the second year and the results, well they just look like they’ve come straight out of paradise!
These plants are situated in Chile, and form part of a plantation that has been growing since October 2015 (in the southern hemisphere this is the beginning of Spring). The plantation is run by Daya Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to produce medical cannabis for patients across Chile.
“You should see the buds,” says Daya co-founder and director, Nicolas Dormal. “They are phenomenal!” He is looking forward to the harvest next month but is also dreading it a little. “It’s going to be a lot of work,” he grins. “Luckily we received a donation last week of 30 pairs of new scissors. We are going to need them!”
Daya started with 6,900 seeds from Paradise. These were planted directly into soil, half the crop outside and half under plastic (polytunnels). After the great success of last year’s harvest this year the Daya team have been experimenting a little more with agriculture in an attempt to improve growing methods.
Along the way they have lost a few specimens, but Nicolas is not too concerned. “At the beginning our target (with 6,900 seeds) was to grow between a ton and 1500 kilos - of bud to send to the lab for extraction to make the medicine. Approximately 6,500 plants have made it to full growth and, looking at the buds they are holding, we think a 2000 kilo harvest is likely.”
In conversations with Daya growers two themes keep coming through when they talk about the plants – “germination” and “stability”.
Paradise Seeds are renowned for their genetics, a reputation gained over 20 years of producing multi- award winning strains. The photos coming from this year’s Daya grow are proof of the Paradise strength in this area. The uniformity of the plants, near identical growth and bud development will be familiar to growers in the know who have planted Paradise Seeds strains over the years.
Company boss, Luc Krol, has been running his breeding programs for over 20 years. “It is very important to keep a focus on this process. We put a lot of effort into getting things right before we release a strain. We will grow many generations to get the qualities we are looking for and I never settle for second best! Having strong genetics is vital for creating a stable strain. With stability you get consistency and with consistency you get a quality that runs through every seed.”
This is an aspect that Daya were quick to discover. The stability of the genetics means that the Daya plantation is filled with plants that are similar in growth, yield but come with varied percentages of THC and CBD. This is crucial for their development of medical cannabis medicines (oils and capsules), as the harvested bud is tested and processed by a dedicated laboratory which needs consistency of cannabinoid levels.
The second aspect that impressed the Daya growers was the sensational germination rate. When planning a project on this scale the effectiveness of the seeds is a big factor. Being given a government license to import seeds comes with a responsibility of doing things according to the rule book. So, when Daya’s seed shipment arrived from Paradise, customs officials counted every single bean! If the seeds didn’t germinate, there was no way of getting more.
As Nicolas said, after the first Daya harvest, “Paradise Seeds made history when it became involved in the first legal seed import to Latin America. But it was later that we started to appreciate its worldwide prestige for quality and we had that confirmation through our high germination rates of 94%.”
For the 2015 – 2016 Daya plantation, Paradise provided 16 of its top varieties, with strains rich in THC, and CBD medical qualities. As well as CBD rich medical varieties, Nebula ll CBD and Durga Mata ll CBD, Daya wanted a selection of varieties to provide sufficient THC and CBD cannabinoids for extraction and medical development.
Alongside medical varieties, they also chose to plant High Times and High Life cup winner, Sensi Star, hugely popular Wappa, sativa dominant Jacky White, super soaring Nebula and connoisseur’s favourite, Delahaze. They also picked two strains which have a genetic lineage that extends right the way back to the original line (which is why they come with the IBL label) - Original Cheese and Original White Widow.
In 2014, Paradise Seeds got an email from Daya co-founder Nicolas Dormal. He was looking for a seed bank to provide the seeds for a ‘revolutionary’ medical cannabis project. Many seed companies ignored the request as importing seeds into Chile was illegal, however, Paradise Seeds owner, Luc Krol, was attracted to this ‘dream’.
The story of how Daya began and the people involved in the project – from the founders and growers of Daya to politicians, scientists, doctors and medical users who will benefit from the Daya medicine – is told in the documentary Green Medicine: Chile’s Medical Cannabis Revolution which is hosted on the Paradise Seeds Youtube channel and is scheduled to be shown at various expos and festivals this year.
As Nicolas says in the documentary, “He (Luc Krol) was the only one who saw the seriousness with which we were managing the project. He had the vision to see that we were not crazy asking for seeds for a project like this in Chile.”
To cut a long story short, Daya got a government license to set up a legal grow in Chile, and Paradise Seeds became the provider of cannabis seeds that were sown in October 2014. At the time, the prospect of 300 plants seemed big. But of course that was before the second grow began...
The future is looking very healthy, not just for this harvest, but for Daya’s development of a sustainable medical cannabis model for Chile, and possibly Latin America. The goal is to work with local authorities (municipalities) to provide cheap or free medicine for medical patients living in their districts. It’s an exciting prospect and one that is based on strong roots. – Paradise Seeds genetics!