Germinating Cannabis Seeds, Growing Cannabis Seedlings.
How To Start Your Marijuana Plants with Seeds
Growing cannabis seeds can be a fun and rewarding experience. Starting your crop of buds from seed gives you lots of choices for variety in the garden and ensures that each crop you start is free of pests or problems, so there is NO NEED to think about spraying anything if you keep your garden clean after starting from seed.
At OldSchoolBA.com we get a lot of people asking us what's the best way to start seeds and ocasionally hear people describe to us what they have attempted and wondering why they were not more successful.
First off, let us say that starting cannabis seeds is easy, especially with quality genetics--which we GUARANTEE! However, that oldd addage of everything being easy once you know how certainly applies here. We would also like to acknowledge that germinating cannabis seeds can be done many ways with success; we just happen to know that this Step By Step method (below) is very reliable and forgiving without costing a lot of money.
Stuff You Will Need:
-10" X 20" plastic propagation tray and lid (around 5 dollars)*
-propagation pellets, like Jiffy 7's, Rapid Rooters, Rockwool Starters**, etc
-bottled spring water or filtered water
-flourescent light strip (12-20watts per tray is plenty for germinating seeds)
-heating mat with thermostat (optional)
-clean watering pitcher or similar
-something clean to poke a seed sized hole (chopstick, nail, screw, etc)
-permanaent marker and tags if you start more than one kind of seed strain
*a clean and sterilized (bleach and water) Clam Shell package (like baked goods or cakes come in) can work
**if you use rockwool, you need to be able to measure pH and also have pH down (acid)
Step One, Germinating Cannabis Seeds
Find a suitable area to set up your flourescent strip light and propagation tray. It should be clean, out of the way, and easy to keep a stable warm temperature with the light running. a 24 hours ON schedule works great, although you can go 18/6 with a timer (18 hours on). Cold floors or surfaces ARE NOT the ideal place to put your prop tray. Cold and soaking wet starter pellets or cubes will slow germination and may even rot seeds. A piece of styrofoam, cardboard or wood can make a difference if putting your tray on a floor--your seedlings don't like cold feet!
Hang the light securely, it should be Six to Twelve Inches from the top of the propagation dome. Plug it in, and put the tray with a thermometer underneath the light and cover. Check back in an hour or so. If the temperature is 72-85 Deg F you can proceed to the next step, otherwise you may need to relocate the set up, add a heating matt, etc. TEMPERATURE IS CRITICAL***DO NOT OVERLOOK THIS FACTOR OR YOU MAY HAVE POOR SUCCESS***
Step Two, Germinating Cannabis Seeds
Wet down your germination media, ie Peat Pellets, Rapid Rooters, Rockwool, with bottled spring water or filtered water. For rockwool, you will need to adjust the pH of water to pH 5.5 and soak it for a period of 24hours so the pH can stabilize. With other materials, you'll be able to plant right away. Note most propagation pellets or cubes need around One Ounce (30ml) of water each to hydrate fully. Allow the media to drain--NO FREESTANDING WATER SHOULD BE IN THE TRAY. If the water is room temperature to start, move onto the next step, otherwise, cover with the dome and allow the pellets, cubes, plugs, etc to warm up first.
Step Three, Germinating Cannabis Seeds
Using clean hands or working with clean tools, poke holes in your germination media if there aren't any already. The hole should be around one quarter of an inch deep or roughly twice the depth of the size of the seed. Gently push the seed into the hole (a pencil or chopstick is great here). If possible, gently tap down on the media to cover the hole. IT IS CRITICAL THAT THE SEED HAS GOOD CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA SO THE SEED DOES NOT DRY OUT ONCE IT HAS BEEN IN CONTACT WITH MOSITURE. After planting, you can give a light sprinbkle with bottled spring or rain water again, making sure any freestanding water from tray is removed (a clean turkey baster can help with this). Cover the tray with the lid.
Step Four, Germinating Cannabis Seeds
It's a good idea to check each day that the germination media is not drying out and that the thermometer is staying between 72-85 DegF. Typically, when using a propagation dome they will stay moist--DO NOT OVER WATER! If you do need to mositen with Spring or Filtered Water, make sure there is no freestanding water left in the tray after.
Step Five, Germinating Cannabis Seeds
Relax. Different seed strains can have different times to germinate. The range can be anywhere from 24 hours to upwards of 10 days. Usually you should seed seedlings start to poke through the top of the gemination media in 3 to 5 days; if not, don't sweat it or start messing with your germination plugs. Be patient; you bought great genetics here! Some seeds will sprout before others, there can be gaps of days inbetween germination of one seed over another. Again, relax, this is OK.
Step Six, Germinating Cannabis Seeds
Once around 75% of the seedlings have poked through the propagation material, you can take the humidity dome off. It's a good idea to leave it on partially for a day or so before removing fully, as not to shock the tender sprouts. If you leave the propagation dome on for too long, your seedlings can get tall and stretchy, ie soft weak growth. Lower the light to within Four to Six inches from the tops of the emerging seedlings, this will encourage them to grow stocky and healthy. BE VERY CAREFUL YOUR SEEDLINGS DO NOT DRY OUT AND WATCH OUT FOR ANY STRONG BREEZES.
Step Seven, Germinating Cannabis Seeds
Keep watering with Spring or Filtered Water (no additives yet), only as needed (TIP-note the color of the propagation media as it goes from wet to dry, it can be a good visual indicator, you can also feel the weight of the tray as an indicator too)
Step Eight, Germinating Cannabis Seeds
Once your seedlings have their first "True Leaves", which are the leaves that follow the first set of "Seed Leaves", you can start to add a mild all-purpose complete fertilizer. Usually 1/8 strength is plenty, or if you have a TDS tester, it shouldn't be more than 350 PPM. DO NOT OVERFERTILIZE SEEDLINGS, IT WILL STUNT AND HARM THEIR DEVELOPMENT--LESS IS MORE--IT IS EASIER TO ADD MORE FERTILIZER LATER VERSUS OVERDOSING SMALL YOUNG PLANTS--
Step Nine, Germinating Cannabis Seeds
After you have True Leaves poking through the top and some roots poking through the bottom of your propagation pellets or plugs it's time to transplant--and congratulations--you have successfully created cannabis seedlings! From here, they should go into bigger containers, but, don't go too big! You want a container size that will dry out over a few days, rather than staying water logged for a week--keep potting up to bigger sizes as needed. TIP: Plastic beer cups are an ideal size, after you create drain slits at the bottom. They can be filled with your favorite growing media and may also be cleaned and reused for the next time.
Step Ten, Germinating Cannabis Seeds
Your seedlings will benefit from stronger light and more air movement now; this is best applied gradually. If transplanting to stronger light sources like High Intensity Discharge HPS, MH, CMH, etc keep the light source at a good distance and gradually lower closer to the seedlings daily. Keep a close eye on your thermometer--Temperatures should still be 72-85DegF for best results.