Soft Secrets paid a visit to John, one of the Dinafem’s testers to see closely how he tested various strains.
John’s testing installation is top in class, with any tools and equipment needed to achieve his primary goal, i.e. to grow first-quality marijuana. The room is tiled to facilitate its cleaning and disinfection. A window is used to monitor the crop without needing to enter.
The lighting system consists of 6 lamps with electronic ballasts all working at 400 V except one at 220 V, which means that the light intensity of lamps is much higher. Both the air inlet and exhaust systems are equipped with filters, to prevent smells from coming out and also achieve the maximum asepsis in the grow room. Ventilation of the room is monitored by sensors connected to a controller unit so as to maintain the ideal temperature and humidity parameters set for each time of the growth cycle. He also uses several thermo-hygrometers in different parts of the room to check if the desired microclimate has been achieved in each area.
In any case, John does not always use the same growing method as is interested in testing how Dinafem strains react to different approaches. For instance, in our interview he explained that he always opted for a more American growing style, with large pots and branchy plants that are periodically trimmed, whereas in the test described below he preferred small pots and non-trimmed plants.
In growing this product, plants are pruned, and trained on stakes and netting to obtain an open structure to be exposed to lighting, with enough room to favour an abundant growth of bud rows. Pots are placed on top of platforms with rollers and can be moved at will to facilitate irrigation and for plants to be exposed to light from different angles. Adhesive plates are fitted below plants to trap any pests infesting them and consequently take remedial steps. Similar plates are hanged from the roof in various points of the room.
Compost and hemp straw are used to cover the upper part of the substrate. With this padding system, pots are kept wet in their upper layer. The use of felt for pots eases the permanent oxygenation of the substrate. This practice is designed to retain a living environment within the pot.
John produces most of the fertilisers he uses. For example he makes his own booster based on alfalfa seeds. For the substrate base, he first places Plagron’s Promix, plus coconut and earthworm compost. His favourites are raw materials such as bat and penguin guanos, algae, bentonite, lithothamnion, aloe vera, molasses or fish meal. With these ingredients, he completes fermentation processes, which add extra life to the substrate. During cultivation, he adds guano and earthworm compost. This procedure is meant to deliver probiotic nutrients to the plants, which will benefit their immune system.
Before use, water is poured through a osmosis filter and stored into a tank, where a mixture is prepared with lactobacillus and effective micro-organisms. Then plants are manually irrigated depending on their individual needs. Humidity probes are stuck into pots, to give an indication when plants need more water.
It clearly appears as a Kush of Sativa origin as it develops into several long branches, in which small rounded, dense buds with an impressive taste proliferate. Plants have generous leaves and broad leaflets. Growth is unfettered and, consequently, this plant can be easily trained and netted. Its fine stems can easily double. In order to obtain a good harvest, this strain needs to be given what it needs on an ongoing basis. With hardships or plagues it may hardly result in a good output.
A large quantity of limonene is measured on this strain by terpene tests. Limonene is of course behind its citric taste. This is why someone calls it a “lemon floor cleaner”, given its pungent taste that hits the palate; its smoke is dense and highly satiating and the plant is sometimes called “creamy lemon”. As a last outstanding characteristic, its aftertaste reveals pine and wood notes. After the first puff, you feel like continuing smoking for its pleasant sense of satiation. These great characteristics earned the plant a “taste-of-the-year” award in 2014. A euphoric and enjoyable effect is assured.
This strain presents all the features of the Indica side of Kush. It is one of the most prominent Indicas ever developed by Dinafem and on which they are still working, with a short inter-knot distance, a not particularly large bud and interspersed leaflets. It is characterised by a dark green colour. At the end of the blooming period none of the plants take typical autumn colours. It is a much more compact plant than OG Kush, with a tendency to form shrubby, average-sized individuals.
Resin is plentiful in the full plant parts, including the leaflets around the buds. You almost see it sweating resin. Bubba Kush is the ancestor of the resin-rich varieties that have appeared in the recent years. If you wish a plant rich in trichomes, you should try it. It is particularly indicated for lovers of hash and extracts, as it has a very high yield. Even small leaves fallen off from plant manicuring produce good hash. Buds have crow-shaped inflorescences in the upper part. It perfectly withstands draught, requires a little quantity of water and is suitable for dry environments. Its taste has notes of earth, coffee and lemon, with a powerful, relaxing and lasting effect.
Purple Afghan Kush
This Indica-dominant plant combines the characteristics of the two elite Kush strains mentioned above (Bubba and OG) with those of Purple. The final hybrid is a Kush with a very marked purple colour that appears immediately. It blooms in little more than 53 days, with large leaves and very broad leaflets. Its robust structure is replete, from head to base, with very compact buds and noticeable colours, which appear chiefly in the upper part. Given its rapid bloom, it should best be germinated earlier in an outdoor environment in view of a nice early growth.
The plant does not need much fertilisation, with tight, non-bulky and highly resinous buds. It is a highly potent strain. On the palate, the Kush-side aroma is prominent, with nuances of grapes and fresh pineapple. Given its distinctive, very intense smell, the use of anti-odour filters is highly recommended.
A very much productive plant, with a bud that stands out for its huge size. It grows with energy and has an abundant and fast yield. It is also easy to grow, with medium-sized, strong branches.
Developed in association with the CBD Crew, it is rich in CBD, which is contained in a higher proportion than THC. For the special method adopted to increase CBD into this strain, its Shark Shock genetics combines with a clear presence of Diesel, which can mainly be felt on the palate. A potent medicinal effect is assured.
One of Dinafem’s classics, known for ‘behaving’ like a huge white killer whale standing out for its output and potency. It combines the genetics of White Widow with Haze, although Sativa features - such as a large structure and generous flower bunches – prevail, it also has a Widow side, which is visible from its abundant resin production giving it a very potent effect. On the palate pine notes are prominent. Its results live up to those promised by its name, i.e. vigorous, productive and potent.
Harvest is made when each variety requires it. To that end, each area of the room is harvested separately. All plants are manicured manually one by one by using scissors, for the bud to stick out noticeably at the end of trimming.
As for the growing method, key parts of the process include an accurate control of temperature and humidity in the room and a focus on the substrate – ranging from its preparation with various natural products right through to the stage of bringing and maintaining life through special formulations added to the irrigation water.
Testing is the final stage of this quality-seed production process. Through testing, seed banks can prove that their seed batches meet the expected parameters. Even the newest Dinafem strains, such as OG Kush, Bubba Kush or Purple Afghan Kush have undergone several tests in various environments before being marketed. In tasting with John the results of his work, the ultimate quality of plants was noticeable with a fully-fledged Kush product family featuring potent and tasty plants for all tastes. These strains are real myths in the US cannabis market, but the original cuttings are now old and unenergetic and present a slow growth. By offering their seed versions, Dinafem has managed to bring new life into this genetics and offer plants with renewed vigour.