I recently had the chance to visit Soma at his house in Amsterdam. I've had the pleasure of knowing Soma for more than 15 years, and he was the first person to show me how to hand-trim buds when I first moved to the Netherlands. I thought it would be interesting to get Soma’s top five tips on breeding and find out how he got his start.

Soma got his first taste of breeding in Florida in 1974. He had been smoking for the last 10 years and decided to try growing a few marijuana plants outdoors. Due to Florida’s warm climate he put his plants out in early spring. In those days he mostly had seeds from southeast Asia and was able to save a few different seeds of Thai, Laotian and Cambodian weed as well. He would occasionally get seeds from Afghan. After planting the four varieties, he had noticed that the Asian plants started to hermie. In those days there was no Mel Frank books or Internet so information about cannabis was almost impossible to get. It was all trial and error.

The following spring Soma planted the seeds he made the previous year, and was amazed by what he saw. The previous summer the Southeast Asian strains had grown to be 22-foot trees, but these new plants were much shorter. Having taken on the characteristics and structure of the Afghan plants, they became stockier and finished quicker. The first thing that impressed Soma was that by crossing two plants, the resulting progeny was even stronger and more potent than the parents. Even more important was that the plants yielded huge buds that were super frosty. All this was due to hybrid vigor.

This happy accident gave Soma his first view of what could be when you cross two plants. This would be the beginning of the adventure that would lead to Soma starting up his seed company and becoming the world famous breeder he is today.

Echoing his first adventure with breeding, this summer Soma once again put some plants in his rooftop greenhouse. In the mix was male True OG, he was happy that the great weather in Amsterdam led to his first springtime seed crop. Normally he would have to wait until August to see results, but this spring was unseasonably warm so the True OG flowered early and pollinated the SoGouda, So-G-kush and OG Kush.

Breeding is the most addictive part of growing, and it was such a pleasure to see roots of possible Cannabis Cup winners growing for the first time in history.

Here are Soma’s top five breeding tips.
1. Go with what you see
When someone gives you a pack of seeds or you buy from the internet, always look at the plants to determine when they will be finished. The timeframe on the packaging is usually just an indication, so be sure to have some wiggle room.
2. Don’t over water
This common beginner’s mistake should be avoided at all costs. Pick up your pots to get a feel for what heavy is and then water accordingly.
3. Don’t over fertilize
Always have the amount recommended on the packaging and always use an EC meter. Over fertilizing can ruin a perfectly good seed crop.
4. Use a Ph of 6.0
This is a hard and fast Soma rule: He says it always led to the best results both with making buds and with seeds.
5. When it looks ready, let it flower for one more week
Soma says he can’t count the times he has seen buds that were picked too early. Always go one week over for the maximum yield and flavor. This is also important when making seeds, as you really want the seeds to harden up and ripen.