How-to sprout and germinate marijuana seeds.
The benefit of feminized seeds is they will usually produce only female plants – few, or no males. Female plants are desirable because they produce buds. Male plants are unwanted because not only do they not produce buds, they produce pollen. Pollen from the males turn the female buds into seed, dramatically reducing the potency and quality of your harvest. Get feminized seeds to avoid male plants causing troubles in your garden.
Even with feminized seeds there is a narrow chance that you might still encounter a male, or a hemaphrodite – a plant that is both male and female. You need to know how to identify pollen pockets and remove any plant that has them. Learn how to tell the difference between female and male plants even if you are using feminized seeds.
To start your seeds, put them in a cup of spring water at room temperature (around 70-80 degrees fahrenheit, 21-36 degrees celsius) for 24 hours, in a dark place. After 24 hours, move on to the paper towel technique.
Put a paper towel on a plate and wet it thoroughly with a garden sprayer. The paper towel should be very moist, but if water is pooling on the plate there is too much water and you’ll need to remove the excess.
Pluck your seeds out of the cup of water using your fingers, or use a strainer. If you use your fingers, be careful not to damage the taproot if one has already started to emerge.
Fold the damp paper towel over the seeds and place another plate on top. This locks in the humidity.
Check on the seeds every 24 hours. On average it takes 48-72 hours before the taproots emerge from the seeds, although they might sprout sooner. Ensure the paper towel remains damp. The seeds need a moist (but not drenched) environment. Do not let the paper towels dry out.
When the taproot emerges approximately a few centimeters, or .1 inch, it is ready for planting and can be moved to soil or growing medium.
Get some plastic cups with holes punched in the bottom, or any other type of small container that will allow drainage. Fill container with starter seed soil. Make sure the soil is starter seed soil and not a brand of slow release fertilizer type soil intended for more mature plants. Fertilizer on seedlings can kill them.
Water the soil so it is evenly moist. If it is dripping out the bottom there is a good chance you’ve over watered. Make it moist, not soaking wet. If you turn the soil into wet mud, the seedlings won’t like it.
Poke a small indent in the soil about up to the first knuckle of your forefinger. Don’t make the indent too big.
Move your sprouted seeds into the indent using your fingers or tweezers, being careful not to damage the taproot. The taproot should face down. However, don’t try to force it into position.
Cover the seed with a very light sprinkle of soil. It shouldn’t be buried too deep. A light covering of a centimeter (0.05 inch) of soil is enough.
We recommend giving your freshly planted seed a final light misting to ensure it is in contact with moisture. Aim your garden sprayer right where you planted the seed.
It is important to keep the soil evenly moist. If the soil dries out, the seed will die. Use a garden sprayer on the soil every day to maintain moist conditions. You can also spray the sprouts with a light mist when they pop up.
The ideal temperature for sprouts is approximately room temperature (around 70-80ºF, 21-36º celsius). A 50% or less ambient humidity is ideal so don’t use a humidity dome.
It takes 3-10 days for the sprouts to appear.
Perlite drains water very well and captures an even moisture that is ideal for sprouting seeds. But with perlite you need to re-water frequently. It holds water very evenly throughout the container but also drains fast. Perlite is all white, helping reflect beneficial light onto the seedlings.
Both mediums will allow the formation of a root ball, which makes transplanting to a hydroponic system less shocking.
Rockwool cubes must be soaked in water for 24 hours in water that has been pH adjusted to 5.1. To test the water you’ll need a pH testing kit or digital pH meter. Use a “pH down” solution or lemon juice to lower pH.
Household items that can be used to adjust pH:
|Use to neutralize acid (raises pH)||Use to lower alkaline (lowers pH)|
|wood ash||kombucha tea|
Safety note: Be careful when working with Rockwool. The fibres are hazardous to your lungs when the cubes are dry. You should wear a mask and gloves when handling. They are also not biodegradable.
Keep the cubes evenly moist, but avoid puddles of water.
Put sprouts under T-5 fluorescent lights for 24 hours per day. The lights can be positioned about 6 inches (15 cm) over top at first. Once the seedlings emerge, you can move the lights closer to the canopy. It is safe to have the leaves almost touch the bulbs since fluorescent lights generate almost no heat.
The ideal type of bulbs are the ones labelled “cool” – referring to the colour temperature of the light. This type of bulb stimulates root growth.
If you don’t add light to your seedlings they will start to stretch as they search for light, the stems will get spindly, and the plant might collapse and die.
Once your seedlings have developed a root system and 2-3 sets of leaves, they are ready to be transplanted to your grow room.