One of the trickiest parts for beginning growers is just getting the plant to germinate! This refers to the first roots that come out of the seed. When germinating, it is important to understand the more you move your plant around, the less likely it will germinate. In other words, an ideal method of germination would not require the seed to move at all. Your plant can sense when it is being handled and does not like it, so it basically commits suicide. Avoid Jiffy cube #7 and peat cubes as they may stunt plant growth. You can use any combinations of the below methods to increase your chances of germination, just do NOT touch your seed! Once it first starts to root, you will see the first tiny root come out which is the main root…. touching this root will end the life of your plant immediately.
The first two leaves to appear after germination are called the cotyledons, which were already formed in the shell prior to help the young plant collect nutrients. The next pair of leaves are the first true leaves made by your seedling.A great grow medium to use for this is vermiculite which retains water yet supplies your roots with plenty of oxygen at the same time since it drains out quickly and leaves air pockets. This way, your seed can immediately be in the pot that it will spend its life in and you do not risk killing it by moving it around.
- Rockwool is popular because it can be safely used with a hydroponic set up, but be sure that it is treated to have a pH level of 7, since the level is naturally too high for cannabis. Changes in pH also will shock your plant in to not germinating. Rockwool can be difficult to use if you do not have experience thus has lower germination rates than say the starter cubes, but it is relatively cheap and easy to find. Also, rockwool is bad for the environment since it is unnatural material that does not break down and you must wear gloves and a face mast when using it because it is very bad for your lungs. You can even buy starter cubes or seedling plugs with precut holes that you simply drop your seed in. One brand is Rapid Rooters by General Hydroponics, a company used by NASA. The downside is that you can only buy these in about 50 at a time and once you open the package, they expire in about three days.
- Jiffy pellets are reccomended for soil or coco coir grows and are used similarly rockwool with better results. They are dry and can be held aside in storage for a long time, but are not suitable for hydroponic set ups and must be soaked to expand prior to use.
- These methods have a high chance of workability, however one much more common method which is even used with kindergarteners and green bean plants is to place the seed in between wet paper towels. There is about a 50% efficiency rate which can be increased by doing things such as blocking the seed from any light and wrapping the napkins in ceran wrap to keep them moist. Your seed is okay for light once it is sprouted and properly planted.
- For increased chances, soak your seeds in a high phosphorous or rooting and germination formula in a glass before and during, but be sure that the formula is diluted with distilled water at 1/3 of the strength recommended on the label. Make sure that the water is of ideal temperature the entire time. You will be able to sucessfully wake up older seeds in about a 12 hour soak. You can even leave your seeds like this for germinatin to easily see when roots have popped out. At first, seeds will float, but with time, they will sink. If they never sink, they are bad seeds.
- You can also gently sand the outer shell off the seed to make it easier for roots to pop out, which can be done by putting some sand paper in a tiny box with your seed and GENTLY shaking.
- You do NOT want your seeds temperature anywhere outside of 72-80 F so use a reptile heating pad or something similar if necessary.
- Check your seeds every 12 hours or more and plant once 1/16th an inch of root has grown, but do NOT touch it! Use tweezers to move your seed. When planting in soil, only a knuckle deep is necessary.
- Be sure that your plant is ROOT DOWN. This isn’t fatal, but your plant has to spend extra time to reorientate themselves. Your plant can sense the difference between up and down and will never grow up unless forced to.
- Generally, dark seeds germinate, but green and white ones do not. Any seeds that float permanently won’t work, either.
- Try using a rooting fertilizer or a humidity dome for increased chances. You can even purchase compete germination kits if you are feeling froggy and have the money to do so, but I wouldn’t do that unless you plan on growing weed repeatedly.