Uncle Ben's pollination method

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Contributed by: Uncle Ben

You have several choices for collecting and using pollen. Males will show as a football-like "ball" on a small, short petiole (stem) at the node sites. Once the pollen pods form, they will elongate via a stem, droop, and the flower bracts will open. After about one week after pollen pods first start to form, or upon complete opening of the male flower bracts, the male anther's will shed pollen which will appear as pale, yellow dust.

Males do not take much light to survive once they reach flowering stage. Leave your male plant(s) in the grow room until the first male pollen bracts just begin to crack, and then move 'em into another room with a typical 12/12 schedule, this can be simulated with light thru a window or a fluorescent light fixture.

You have a choice of placing this plant in a very quiet room with no air movement, set on clean paper, or, you can cut the branches off, making a clean slanted cut with a razor blade, and place the branches in a vase of water over paper. Collect the pollen once it begins shedding by placing a glazed ceramic plate or paper plate under the flowers and gently tap the individual branches. Pick out any flowers which tend to drop once in a while.

The pollen will be like dust, so don't visit the garden until you have taken a bath, or you may end up pollinating plants you didn't intend on pollinating.

Collect the pollen over time and place it into a clean vial like a film canister. I really like using a paper plate held under a group of flowers, and then gently thumping the stem. After collecting the pollen, the paper plate can be creased, held over a vial, and the sides and edges thumped until all the pollen is shaken into the vial. Shape the paper plate like a creased funnel.

For a pollen carrier, heat about 2 or 3 teaspoons of flour in an oven set to 180f for 20 minutes or in a small pot set on low heat, let it cool thoroughly, and mix with the pollen to dilute it. I use a ratio of about 1/4 teaspoon pollen to 3 teaspoon flour and have very successful pollination rates. Store in small containers like contact lens cases or film canister, excluding as much air as possible and store in the refrigerator for long term use. Remember, it only takes one male to fertilize one female ovule, and there are millions of pollen cells in a 1/4 teaspoon of pollen so be sure and dilute it.

Use a small artist brush (my preferred method) or toothpick to pollinate a few of the lower branches which have fresh, white pistils, label the pollinated branches, and harvest your seeds in 3 to 6 weeks. I just cure the seeded branches with the rest of the crop, and tear apart the seeded buds with my fingers. You'll find the seeds close to the stem. Store the seeds in the fridge or freezer, labeled of course, with a little dessicant like silica gel or heat treated (sterilized) rice for long term storage.
  Last modified: 17:13 - Apr 28, 2001 

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