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By Ayad Maher and Andrew Gordon
Germinating marijuana seeds means “activating” the seed,. which is the first step to start growing your weed (or technically the second step after building your grow room). The seed contains not just the embryo, but also the food the that plant will use during its very early stages of life. When exposed to moisture and warmth, the seed will naturally “activate,” and begin using its stored food to develop a taproot and push up from the growth medium. In order to achieve successful germination and rapid early growth, it is crucial to maintain ideal conditions for your germinating seeds.
Marijuana seed can be obtained from many sources (online and offline), the quality and the and genetic diversity can vary based on where you're getting the cannabis seeds from. Online seed banks are your best bet if you’re not located in a region with recreational legalization established. There are many reliable outlets sell high quality seeds, here is list of seed banks that ship to USA, The Best Online Seed Bank for Feminized Seeds in the industry. These seed banks have strong reputations and are known for providing high quality genetics.
If it’s your first time growing, it also pays to get feminized seeds. Dealing with identification and removal of males is an additional complication that inexperienced growers can avoid simply by purchasing feminized seeds. The extra cost is, in my opinion, worth the assurance that your best plants, or in some cases entire crop do not turn out to be impotent. To give an example: if you purchased five seeds, lost two to natural causes or mistakes, and had the remaining three turn out to be male, you would be completely out of viable plants. Now the extra few dollars per feminized seed would have guaranteed you three females to choose from as a potential mother plant, with two remaining to flower right away. The choice is always up to the grower, but I strongly believe feminized seeds are a justified expensive and recommend them for any new grower.
Once you get your marijuana seeds, you will want to check if they're matured. Matured marijuana seeds shell tends to be very hard, darker brown or deep tan, with lighter accents (stripes). If they look fresh and green, it means they didn't reach full maturity, they're pretty much useless.
Before you plant the seeds, you need to germinate your cannabis seeds, and to do so, you will need three main things; water, heat, and air, like every living being on earth. There are a few common methods for germinating seeds, and some seed banks provide detailed instructions for how to germinate the seeds you purchase from them. Some banks also provide a guarantee on germination rates, and will provide replacements or refunds, but only when their instructions have been followed. Although we recognize a number of methods as being successful means to achieve germination, always follow your provider’s instructions when applicable, particularly so that you may take advantage of any guarantees included with your purchase.,
Now, how to germinate marijuana seeds; the following method (paper towel germination) is the most common, and one of the most simple. Here is what you need:
And here is the method:
Check your germinating marijuana seeds at least once a day. You will probably need to add more distilled water as they begin to dry out. You don’t need to completely drenched the paper towel, but it should always be damp to the touch. Once the seeds split, you will see a single taproot coming out (see the picture below). You will know that your beloved cannabis seeds are successfully germinated.Once the tap root is approximately 0.25-0.75 inches (0.6-2.0 cm) it's time to move them into a starter medium (rockwool cube, peet moss plug, etc.) or soil and straight to your grow room.
Related article: How to Build the Perfect Indoor Grow Room (For up to 6 Plants)
Important tips to ensure successful germination for the marijuana seeds:
As the seeds begin to split, do not, I repeat, DO NOT touch the seeds or the tap root. It's very important to keep this area clean and sterile.When you are ready to transplant them to the medium, use sterilized tweezers if possible.
Related article: Top 7 Online Stores for Marijuana Growing Supplies and Equipment
Due to the limited root system the germinated seeds have, best practice is to plant the germinated seeds in small containers. This will increase the plants' accessibility to oxygen and nutrients by avoiding overwatering. When plants are initially placed in large pots, they cannot use all of the water and nutrients around them very quickly. This results in damp conditions that facilitate the growth of mold and certain pests. Thus, we prefer to start our seedlings in small containers like solo cups, then transport them to a bigger container when they start developing a larger root system (once they hit the seedling stage).
Here is what you need to do:
Place the small pot(s) in your grow room, and turn the lights on. The seeds technically don't need the light at this point, but they immediately do once they pop out of the soil. Having the light on and waiting for the plant will assist the young plant to develop better and faster. You can leave a fluorescent light close to the surface (couple of inches away) from the plant since fluorescent lights don't emit a lot of heat, but HID or LED should be at least 24 inches away, if not further. Refer to the light manufacturer’s instructions to see if they provide a recommendation for distance from the canopy at various stages of growth.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind for germinating your seeds:
Andrew Gordon is from the northeast USA, currently resides in Vermont with his wife, and has over 5 years of experience with cannabis cultivation. General interests include cultivation, extractions, skiing, reading books and playing video games. Professional experience includes mostly laboratory work in biotech. For any questions, you can reach to Andrew through his email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ayad Maher is a Cannabis Industry Entrepreneur, Blogger & Activist. eCommerce Specialist and Owner of a 420 Life Style Website; Monroe Blvd, an online smoke shop; 421Store, and an online CBD store; GoodyCBD.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in Jan 2018 and has been revamped and updated as needed for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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