Germination is the process in which a plant sprouts from a seed or a similar structure. It is always the first step when growing a seedling and, in this case, the first step in your cannabis garden. There are various methods of germinating your marijuana seeds, of which some are more effective than others.
Germinating Cannabis Seeds
Cannabis seeds can be acquired from well-known seed banks in countries where marijuana is less restricted, such as Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, and Canada. However, there are legal issues to comply with if you are to make your purchase in locations like Australia or the United States.
Like any other seed, the cannabis seed has its food to sustain it for a few days. It uses this food while germinating where it converts it to sugars and helps in forming its roots.
The seeds can take from 12 hours to 8 days to sprout. The young seedling now depends on its environment for survival. For the seed to germinate successfully, it requires heat, moisture, and oxygen. A taproot emerges first, and other small roots sprout from it.
Preparation of Cannabis Seeds
Cannabis seeds need some treatments to enhance their sprouting. The conditions are:
You may mess things up on this aspect if you are not cautious. It would be best if you balanced between hot and warm temperatures on the seeds. The best time for the process is the spring period of a typical year. Humidity is also a factor. Seeds germinate best when the air is humid. In case you are growing your seeds in cold times or cold regions, you can use fluorescent, HID, or LED to warm up the environment.
It would help if you soaked your seeds for faster development. Hard ones should be soaked for 24 to 32 hours. Be sure not to damage the seeds by over-soaking them. You can also soak your seed in 1% hydrogen peroxide to destroy any disease-causing agent.
Simple Methods to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
There are various ways that you can use to germinate your cannabis seeds. Here are some of them:
1. Germinating directly in the soil
This is the most common and natural method used. It is also the most successful way to germinate cannabis seeds. It ensures that the seeds have the least interference since the soil compacts the roots.
The soil should be of pH 6 with enough minerals to help the plants thrive. Potting soil that has some fertilizer is the best. This type of soil does not need additional nutrients since it has enough to take the seed for 14 days. Adding nutrients will cause nutrient-overdose hence killing the plant.
To prepare the soil, you can use your finger, or 0.6 inches stick to push into the soil and make a hole. Place your seed in the hole and use some loose soil to cover it. Make sure that you do not disturb the seed by pushing it downwards.
Water your pots and place them under a lamp. It is advisable to use a fluorescent bulb to limit the temperatures emitted. The suitable soil temperature for growth should be about 22 °C, achievable at room temperature with lighting. Also, always make sure that your soil is moist, and you will start to notice some stems emerging within a week. You can transplant your seedling once they are 2 to 4 inches tall.
2. Germinating in water
Studies have shown that this method is 90% effective. The fact that there is a lot of water and light can make this process doubtful. Nonetheless, it only takes 32 hours enough for a seed to be in the water and show its tail. All you need to do is to make sure that you do not leave your seeds in water for so long.
The use of water increases the sprouting rate since there is enough moisture for seed growth. It also reduces the time taken by the whole process and make it easy for the shoot to establish.
This method is simplest as you are only required to fill a glass with water and let it reach 18° C, the room temperature. You will then put three cannabis seeds in the glass and keep refueling the water every day while observing the changes. Always maintain the temperature at 18°C.
Splitting of the seeds starts after 3 to 4 days, after which you can transplant the seedlings. The roots should be less than 3mm long. It is usually very risky managing your seeds in water.
Germinating seeds are very fragile and especially the roots. You should, therefore, handle the seeds with a lot of care while transplanting.
3. Germinating with paper towels
According to Crop King Seed, using paper towels is among the most suitable methods to germinate cannabis seeds. The paper towels protect the seeds from external shock and also keep them moist. The towel should be plain single-ply paper as the other cloth-like towel may cause the roots to develop towards the towel.
To get started, put some seeds inside two moist cotton pads. The seeds should be at least an inch apart. Make sure that the area you’ve kept them is about 70-90°F. Ensure they are always saturated and water them anytime they lose the moisture.
The seed splitting will be a sign of successful germination. The splitting should occur between day one and day four, although old seeds may take up to 7 days. The roots should be attended with care as you are likely to damage them when you are transplanting to the soil.
The use of starter cubes or plugs is another method that can be used to germinate marijuana seeds. You are only needed to drop your seeds in a cube or plug, put water, and wait for them to grow. The process is not as successful as the others, but it eliminates the risk of damaging the roots while transplanting.
Materials to Enhance Germination
Below are two starter materials that can help you safely germinate marijuana seeds:
Partially decomposed vegetable materials are compressed to make the peat pellets. Adding water to the pellets makes them enlarge, covering the seeds with the nutrient-dense matter.
Peat has a pH of 5.5 and 625 TDS, which are the ideal conditions for marijuana development. The pellets are prepared by soaking them in warm water. When the roots start to appear, move the pellets are then transferred to soil, coco coir, or rock wool to continue with growth.
Rockwool is simply mineral wool obtained from volcanic rocks and materials like limestone and basalt. The content provides a perfect growth environment though they require to be slightly modified to fit marijuana needs.
Its pH of 7.0 needs to be lower, and the TDS adjusted to about 600ppm. You can lower the pH by soaking Rockwool plugs in water with a pH of 5.5 for 24 hours. Adding fertilizer to the Rockwool will also do magic.
Transplanting Germinated Cannabis Seeds
After sprouting, transfer your seedlings once you see the taproot in the growing area. You will have to do this very gently to avoid any root damage. Place each seedling in a quarter-inch hole made in fertile soil and cover it with loose soil. Water the seedling and pay attention to the temperature.
There are various ways of germinating cannabis, but the most critical thing is caution while handling the seeds and observing the ideal conditions. Seeds with a dark brown appearance and a firm feel are the mature ones, so go for them.