Tag Archives: seeds

Germinating Seeds

Germination is the first step to start a run. If you start from seed I would count the moment you put the seed into moisture to activate it as Day One in the vegetative state (D1V) of the grow. This is important to know, to keep track of your grow. After you have chosen the right genetics for your operation and a working setup its go time!

How to germinate Seeds

It does not seem very important how you do it. Do it the way you are the most comfortable with. Success depends on the age, storage properties and quality of seeds.

The Pros way: Paper towel method

The paper towel method is a good way to keep an eye on your babies while having full control over the properties. The items I am using include:

  • Paper towels (kitchen paper, toilet paper, handkerchief…)
  • Seeds
  • pH-measurement device (cheap option or reliable stripes)
  • Water
  • Depending on you water: carbonized water or lemon concentrate to alter the pH value. Tap water is usually a bit basic. Change that!
  • The lid of an old jam glass as some kind of petri dish.
Items used for germination
Germination Kit: paper towel, some pH regulated water, a jam glass lid, pH meter

Unfold the paper, and place it into the lid. Sprinkle some water in there. place the seeds in the middle and fold back the paper towel. Thats it! Keep the petri dish in a dark and warm (about 25°C – 28°C) environment and wait. The lid is a great way to keep the paper towel moist. Do not wet it too much! The initial root needs some motivation to search for moisture and will grow better that way.

Advantages of the paper towel method

You have full control over the process and you can look at the seedling soaking up moisture and grow every day, and more important you can check seeds that don’t germinate and sort them out from the start. You are also able to use a lot of different grow media with this method. The seedling could be placed into a hydroponics setup aswell as soil-like media.

Disadvantages of the paper towel method

You need to interact more with the seed. Once its sprouted you need to place it into your grow medium and this could potentially be very risky. Im always using a pincette to do that. It is better to not have to interact with the plant at that stage. 
It is also possible that the small root hairs that grow out of the main root will get stuck in the paper towel fibers. If you remove the paper towel to hasty you could rip apart the whole root. So be careful!
You will also have a hard time distinguish strains, if you have only one lid available.

root with root hairs
Germinated seed with visible root hairs in a jiffy cup.

Jiffy pot method

This is also a great way to do it! Jiffy pots are small pellets that get soaked with pH regulated water. Once it reaches it maximum size you can just put in a seed and wait. Keep the pot moist at all times until the seed sproutes. The material of the pot is actually designed for root penetration. Once you see roots coming out of the sides you can put the seeds with the pot into a bigger container.

jiffy pots

Advantages of the jiffy pot method

You can actually distinguish different strains by putting name tags into the pots. You also dont have to interact with the seeds after putting them into the pot, that reduces the risk of killing them by transplanting. Its also possible to use the jiffy for different grow media. Hydro and soil alike. Do not use jiffys in high pressure aeriponic setups. 

Disadvantages of the jiffy pot method

If you are not sure that the seed is actually germinating you cannot look at that easy. That way you might wait for a seedling to sprout that is not even germinating. This could cause frustration. In high pressure aeroponic setup debris from the pot can fall into the water circulation, clogging your system. Use rockwool instead.

Method 3: Put the seed right away into its final container

Thats also possible. Considering the timeframe from activation to sprout to first green it can take up to 14 days until something is happening. Since you should NEVER EVER look for the seed in your medium this could potentially be a game of luck considering that a cannabis seed is inherently more valuable than a tomato seed if bought from a breeding company. You just keep the medium moist and wait, until you see it sprout. I would suggest you turn the lights on AFTER the seed shows itself. 

Advantages of method 3

No interaction with the seed reduces the risk of loosing it to poor handling. Less transplantation means less stress which is good for the plant.

Disadvantages of method 3

As stated before, this is potentially a game of luck: You never know if the seed just took its time to get sprouted. You might even end up with two plants in the same pot if you decide to use another seed in there. It is also more difficult to dial in the right amount of moisture to get everything done. Keep in mind that moist is better than wet in that case… 

Cheap Hydroponic start

IKEA offers a 4$ starter kit for seedlings. It works great if you add some air stones to keep the solution oxygenated. Rockwool and hydrostones are also available dirt cheap there. If you want to germinated in rockwool and still want to be able to change the environment of the plant, this could be your choice!

Germination Tips & Tricks

The Cookie Box

Place your seeds in an old cookie box, or something similar thats opaque and can be sealed. It keeps the moisture in there, and you do not need to remoisture it every other day.

Use excess heat

Your PC, TV or is creating a nice amount of heat. Place your seedlings on there to make it nice and warm for them. If you do not seal the seeds in a some kind of enclosure this kind of heat will dry out paper towels. This is why I am using the glass lids: You can create a pool of water in there that will take a lot longer to evaporate!

24 hours in water

This is done by alot of growers: Just submerge the seeds 24 hours in pH corrected water. The seeds will soak very effective in that time. After that you just use one of the methods above and make sure that the environment is more moist than wet.

Rougen up the surface

George Cervantes is one of the godfathers of growing weed. In one of his books he describes his method of preparation: Put the seeds in a match box and shuffle them a bit. The surface will be roughed up and can soak up the moisture better. I never did that tho, but George knows his shit obviously!

FAQ

When is my seed ready to get potted?

Assuming you used a method, where you just watched the seed germinate you will notice that the initial root coming out of it. Since its possible to place it right away into a grow medium it really does not matter when you put it in. 

Half sprouted seedling
I would wait a bit longer for that root to come out …

I WOULD WAIT AT LEAST UNTIL THE ROOT HAS A LENGTH OF 0.5 cm to 1 cm TO GET STARTED!

This way you can maximize the probability of success.

Seeds that are ready to go
These are more than ready!

What is so important about the pH, can’t I just use tap water?!

I could and probably will write lenghty articles about the importance of pH values in growing weed. In short: Cannabis loves a slightly acidic root environment. This means 6.0 to 6.5 for soil and 5.5 to 6.0 for hydroponic setups.
This is a question of optimazation, and a pH meter plus some additives to regulate it are a meaningful and cheap resource of optimazation.
If you do not care pH lockouts of several important nutrient sources are the result. Spend the ten bucks for some pH-down and some pH test stripes and never care anymore.

I did everything you said, but I some seeds just don’t wanna sprout 🙁

Dont worry! There is not a 100% success rate on germination. This can have several reasons. Bigger seeds tend to be more sproutable than smaller ones. If you have problems sprouting seeds a good breeding company will replace your order with new ones. Just write them a nice email, instead of flaming their product in the reviews and you are fine.

I put my seeds into the towel yesterday and nothing happend!

Dude, relax! The first virtue to develop while growing your own weed is PATIENCE. You cannot imagine how often you will get tested on that. It can take up to seven days for a root to show from the seedling. And another seven days from planting the rooted seedling into a medium until you see the sprout! Give it some time and be rewarded later. ITS WORTH IT!

Choose wisely! – A closer look on seeds & genetics

Let me introduce this chapter with one of the most asked questions for growers:

What is the best strain?!

To be honest I dont really know what this question is all about. Most people in the world are still not able to choose from different strains where they live so they take what they get.
For me as a grower this is totally different. Its like going to the liquor store and asking the clerk:

What is the best alcohol?

Strains nowerdays are vastly different from each other. In this chapter I will take a look at it from a growers as well as the consumers perspective and try to resolve some controversial opinions about it.

The three types of Cannabis

Right now, there are three types of seeds available that are relevant for homegrowers:

Regular Cannabis seeds (regs)

Regs are created through the natural way of plant reproduction. Male Cannabis plants produce the pollen, while females produce the counterparts. The female trichomes are pretty sticky to catch any flyby pollen. This process will create seeds on the female parts which is used to multiply the strain with male and female genes. A new strain is born!
The big disadvantage to this for homegrowers is that these seeds have a 50% probability to be male. A cannabis plant takes a lot of time and preparation to produce flowers in the vegetative state. So the pro wont recomment to use regs as a useful way of growing cannabis flowers at home.
Controversial: Some oldschool growers tend to the opinion that regs contain the more stable genetics and will produce better products.Regs are mainly used for breeding at home. This is a way to get seeds for free. The process is very time consuming and needs alot more knowledge which is not posted here.

The Pros First Choice: Feminized Cannabis seeds

Femnized Cannabis seeds are the way to go for a homegrower who likes plant manipulation and high yields. A Feminized Cannabis seed can be created in various ways. The main advantage is, that these seeds are 99% female. And a homegrower only wants the female in his/her tent! Feminized seeds need to be introduced to articficial change of seasons to initiate flowering. This is helpful to get the most of a plants potential but adds another level of complexity to a grow.

mainiling training cannabis lst
Feminized plants need to be sent into flower. You can manipulate them as much as you want. This tech is called “mainlining”.

The Pros Second Choice: Autoflowering Cannabis seeds

Autoflowers are the new shit on the market. Autoflowering cannabis seeds are crossings with the unknown little sister of the great sativa and indica: Cannabis Ruderalis. Crossing a strain with this small, bushy landrace with poor THC levels has an awesome effect: It ignores light cycles. Autoflowers have an internal timer when germinated and will flower after a set amount of time. So you can actually have flowering plants and vegging plants in the same room! This is a great chance for home- and microgrowers who have small spaces but still don’t want to miss out on great harvests.
Controversial: Autoflowering plants tend to have less dense buds and less THC contents, but the breeders did a great job in the last years and today we can enjoy bigass autoflowers with THC contents exceeding the 25% !

A typical autoflower – Royal Creamatic by Royal Queen Seeds. You can see the ruderalis background: she is compact and small – the buds are often less dense and the THC content is lowered but you safe time growing them and you can harvest more than once per year even if youre an outdoor grower! They are also much more usable for a perpetual setup.

Grow trees or grow bushes – sativa vs. indica types

There are two main types of cannabis landraces plus the ruderalis one which is used solely for creating autoflowers. The other ones are cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. (Controversial: there is actually no indica, but there is a phenotype that grows in India, that have alot of different properties than the landrace called sativa.)
Every modern strain is an abbrevation of these landraces and contains parts of both of the two. This is called a hybrid!
Modern seedbanks try to tell you in what parts sativa and indica genes are included in its strains. This can help to determine the plants shape. But since the genetics are so complex its better to look up the strain from a certain breeder in a grow diary or grow report.

The relevant datapoints as a grower are: projected yield, indica/sativa proportions, flowering time, flowering stretch.

Things to check before the grow:

  • Dont mix strains with vastly different flowering times, if you need the tent for drying!
  • Dont mix high stretch and low stretch plants. The lights height and resulting power output is determined by the lights distance. Higher buds will develop great, lower buds meh.

difference indica sativa chocolope critical
Two different strains. Two different heights. The stretch is a feature every strain has. Sativa dominant plants tent to stretch heavier.

The Pros choice: Look up several grow diaries and reports before choosing a strain. Dont grow strains which tend to hermaphrodite or long flowering times if you are a newcomer. Patience is the number one virtue to have while growing and long flowering periods encourages silly moves. Indica dominant phenos are more easy to grow indoors: You dont have to care about the flowering stretch and different strains tend to stay at the same height. They also have awesome yields, because the buds are more packed at the branches.

Consumers Perspective I – THC content

As a consumer I have other needs regarding my weed. I think the effect is a highly subjective field but is also part of a heated discussion. Everyone has heard about “sativas makes high” while “indicas makes stoned” kind of arguments…
In my case its more like “high effect” and “low effect” regarding different THC contents after i tried about 50-60 different strains in the last decade. I appreciate a high THC content, but since i keep my THC tolerance low i can also work with lower contents. THC should be a part of your decision, but not the sole one.
There are strains out there containing more than 30% THC. But since you can just roll a smaller joint or hit a smaller dab these numbers arent worth alot from a growers perspective. It can save money in the eye of the consumer.

Consumers Perspective II – Terpenes

One last point: The taste! Cannabis contains a vast number of smells! Strawberry, Diesel, Tangie, Garlic are only a few to be named here. It seems that breeders will never get tired to bring out new variations of taste in their strains. The “terps” are the elements that give the plants its unique smell, taste, psychoactive and medicinal effect. The most common ones are Limonene, Carophyllene and Pinene.
For example: A high quantity of Limonene will give your plants the typical lemon flavor, while Pinene will make the flower smell foresty.

The Pros choice: I dont have answer on what my favourite weed is. I never really disliked what i have grown. That being said you can mess up at drying and curing and will have nasty hay intead of deliciously fermented nuggets. Sometimes i like the clear high of my Chocolope (DNA Genetics), sometimes i want to hit the couch with a fat torch full of Critical (Royal Queen Seeds). The liquor store clerk also will look very puzzled if you ask him about the best “alcohol”. Just make sure it fits your needs.
I personally love to smoke fruity flavors with a moderate to high (18-25%) THC contents and a nice head effect. For Example Kosher Tangie Kush (Amsterdam Genetics). You can lookup my Grow Diaries for an honest opinion on strains as a grower and a consumer.