Shiva Skunk grow story Northern Lights #5 x Skunk #1 was the first High Times Cup winner ever in the mostly indica category. Later on, Sensi Seeds renamed this strain as Shiva Skunk. For me it went along with an almost holy feeling to put this legend steeped in history to a cultivation test, on the occasion of its 30 years Cup victory jubilee.
The year is 1988. In Amsterdam, the very first High Times Cannabis Cup ever takes place, back then with only a small circle of US Americans and Dutchmen.
Among the winners is Northern Lights #5 x Skunk #1 from „The Seed Bank“, brought to market in 1987. The judges chose this combination as best strain in the mostly indica category.
Renamed as Shiva Skunk for good reasons
Which didn’t come as a surprise as both parental plants were already enjoying a great deal of popularity back then and had been winning harvest festivals on the US West Coast for many years. In those early years, the term “Amsterdam genepool“ was coined, which included Northern Lights #5, Skunk #1 and Haze.
Essential strains that served as genetic building blocks for countless other varieties, thus playing a crucial role in modern cannabis strain breeding. In 1990, The Sensi Seed Club took over the genetics from The Seed Bank, calling itself “The Sensi Seed Bank” from there on.
Shortly after that, Cannabis Cup champion Northern Lights #5 x Skunk #1 was renamed as “Shiva Skunk” – a somewhat cumbersome, technical working title is replaced by a catchy strain name with a mythical appeal. Sensi Seeds chose the name “Shiva” for good reasons of course:
Legend has it that Hindu god Shiva discovered the mind-expanding properties of cannabis when he meditated in the middle of a ganja field. And out of the many bynames of Shiva, “Lord of Bhang” (bhang is an Indian cannabis preparation) and “The Destroyer”are particulary matching in the context of cannabis.
While Shiva’s byname “The Destroyer” should not be taken literally when it comes to Shiva Skunk, it illustrates very well how potent and powerful this hybrid with 85% indica genes is.
The weed’s effect may vary depending on users though, often causing an indica-typical knockout, but sometimes also a state of deep contemplation and meditation and then again making people giggly or even energised and adventuresome.
“You can almost throw those scissors away”
Shiva Skunk manages to produce copious amounts of buds within a swift flowering time of only 45-55 days. Seedlings develop into compact growing plants with fat and highly resinous buds, courtesy of infamous resin monster Northern Lights #5.
And the buds are especially low in leaves, i.e. very “hairy” – in former Sensi catalogues, there still was a sentence “you can almost throw those scissors away as very little manicure is required.”
Shiva Skunk also performs well in a greenhouse, reaching maturity in the second half of October under natural light. Its rich aroma is characterised by a musky spiciness, countered by sweet citrus notes which add even more complexity. Experiences users describe its thick smoke as “creamy”, whereas novices tend to perceive it as “heavy” and “oily” rather.
An almost holy feeling
Although I am not a Hindu, it felt like an almost holy experience to put this history-charged variety, the first High Times Cup winner ever in the Mostly Indica category, to a cultivation test, on the occasion of its 30 years Cup victory jubilee. Another epochal strain legend in my grow room – that sends a pleasant shiver down my spine!
But would Shiva Skunk after what seems like an eternity still have those outstanding qualities that once made it so popular? Well, I wanted to check it out…” And so he made two feminised seeds germinate. It took the seedlings less than 2.5 days to rise above the ground and reach towards the LED light.
I kept them in the vegetative stage for three weeks, and this period saw them grow to heights of 23 and 26 cm and show a very stable performance.
The two plants looked the same: six internodes, stocky bush-like growth with an early onset of side branch development and dark green leaves that turned out to be more thin-fingered than expected. So far so good! These two Shiva Skunks are giving the impression of being very vigorous and a sheer joy to grow.”
The two Shiva Skunks put the flower pedal to the metal
Two weeks after the photoperiod switch to 12/12 (the plants had transitioned into flowering within ten days), it became evident that one of the plants had a stronger instinct to stretch, leaving the other one behind in terms of height.
Flowering got going equally fast with the two though, after three weeks, numerous white pistillate hairs protruded from the young buds. One week later my two Shiva Skunks are putting the flower pedal to the metal, they seem to pursue a mission called ‘flowering like hell’.
They are puffing up more and more and already at this early stage are very shapely. Such a prolific blooming scenario after a mere four weeks of flowering arouses high yield expectations of course. Also, the buds are already bestrewn with plenty of resin glands and smelling sweet and spicy.
Nuff respect, the time-honoured Shiva Skunk lady behaves like a young racy hottie bursting with fruitfulness!
A magnificent head of curls and a „fattie“ with ample yields
Six weeks of flowering had passed when Tthe taller plant is insanely hairy, looking like a magnificent head of curls, such an extremely high calyx-to-leaf ratio I’ve most rarely witnessed in my grower career.
Sensi Seeds’s saying of almost throwing those scissors away could really come true here. Its splendorous elongate fat head bud is towering from the center, surrounded by ten likewise voluminous side buds, all of them adorned with attractive sticky trichome formations. The smaller plant displays a similar blooming pattern, boasting large-sized resinous buds with little foliage.
The difference is that its shoots are exhibiting tighter internodal stacking, making it look like a true “fattie”. Dense and hard are two other attributes applying to the buds of both plants. These are two veritable flower factories! The aromatic odour given off by the buds has become penetrant meanwhile, there’s a heavy musky scent in the air that, just as described, is spiced up by a touch of citrus. Delicious!
Ripeness was achieved at the end of the official harvest window, after 54 days the taller plant had fully matured, followed two days later by the “fattie”. Final heights were 76 and 58 cm. Just as expected, I could trim those buds in next to no time, especially the ones of the “head of curls” – snippety snip, and they were done!.
For this plant, the scales’ tongue indicated a fabulous dry yield of 104 grams, the smaller one weighed in at 79 grams – a likewise excellent outcome, given its relatively low height. Drying and fermenting the buds resulted in a more fine-tuned aroma, with increased prominence of those citrus notes while that basic musky nature had declined a bit, still contributing a great deal of piquancy to the mix though.
Vaporising Shiva Skunk: The Doc is sent into a trance and takes a trip down memory lane
Being in a festive mood, I then took the first hit of Shiva Skunk from his “Mighty” vaporizer. Which was very inspiring, feeling as if I’d suck the entire 30 years strain history of this plant in. That sent me on a trip down memory lane, I started to recall my own long grow career.
So it was only fitting that the intense taste of the weed was pretty much oldschool, primarily sweet on the inhale and very condimental on the exhale. The taste in my mouth is just like patchouli oil smells, ergo earthy, woodsy and mossy. Definitely wonderfully organic! Already the first cloud of vapor had put me in a meditative mood that after a few more hits segued into a kind of trance.
I closed my eyes and indulged in a colourful world of cannabis images passing through my head:
For example, Jamaican ganja fields I once visited, my own giant outdoor plants from the early 1980s, hashish sieving with local farmers in the Moroccan Rif mountains who allowed me to assist, going on a seed search tour in Nepal, the faces of old, meanwhile deceased grow and smoke pals and the crazy cannabis-related adventures I shared with them, and so on.
This gave me the happy feeling of already now having lived a fulfilled cannabis life. Yes, I sensed those deeply contemplative effects typical of Shiva Skunk. After I travelled back in time for about an hour, I suddenly heavily got the munchies and raided his fridge. The effect lasted on for more than another hour, leaving me in a state of deep relaxation and blissfulness.
Closing words: Shiva Skunk: This is what winners look like! Then and now. This strain is a true green fountain of youth and strength, simply fascinating how sappy and highly potent is has remained until today. I am absolutely sure that also in the next 30 years, Shiva Skunk will have its firm place in Sensi Seeds’ range of strains!
Green Born Identity – G.B.I.
|Genetics||Shiva Skunk (Northern Lights #5 x Skunk #1)|
|Vegetative stage||three weeks (after germination)|
|Flowering stage||54 and 56 days / 45-55 days in general|
|Medium||Plagron Grow Mix soil, 11 litre pots|
|Light||up to 12 x SANlight S4W = 1680 watts|
|Fertilisation||Organic Bloom Liquid from Green Buzz Liquids|
|Additives/stimulants||Living Organics, More Roots, Humin Säure Plus, Big Fruits, Fast Buds und Clean Fruits from Green Buzz Liquids|
|Height||58 and 76 cm|
|Yield||79 and 104 g|