Germinating Cannabis Seeds
Hey everyone, Sneaky Pete here and today I’m going to walk you through the practice of germinating cannabis seeds. Growing cannabis is easy to do and since I live in Canada, and it's legal here, I’m going to take this chance to walk you through my experiences; hopefully you’ll learn a trick or two from this series of blogs.
Check your local laws before starting
So first, I’m going to guide you through the process of germinating cannabis seeds. This is a Gorilla Cookies Auto Flower Strain, and the company that engineered the seeds I purchased promised an 80% germination guarantee. Essentially, if I start with 5 seeds, 4 should germinate successfully, and 4 is the highest number of plants you're legally allowed to grow in Canada. The seed propagators give you comprehensive instructions on the germination procedure and they only honour the guarantee if you follow their steps. But of course, I'm going to show you how to do that in this video and accompanying blog.
Start With Spring Water
First things first, set up your hydration situation, and you will want to use spring water. I'm using Fiji here, but it just happened to be what I had at home, and you can use whatever you prefer. In preparation of the next step, I’ll fill a small glass cup with water. The amount isn’t really important in this step, I could have used less water, but it doesn't really matter. I chose 5 seeds at random, and the next step is to go add them to your preprepared small glass of spring water. Make sure that they all are completely submerged; I swirled my glass around to achieve the desired effect.
Soak For 14-18hrs Max
Next, I'm going to set a timer on my watch for 18 hours and make sure you don’t let them soak any longer than that. The instructions are pretty explicit, stating to not let them soak longer than 18 hours. Midway through the 18 hours, I'm going to poke the seeds in water with my finger because I like when they sink to the bottom. This is purely preference, they don't need to sink to the bottom, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. Your next step is to prepare two sheets of thick paper towel that need to be folded into each other, and then folded again in thirds, kind of like a burrito.
Keep Moist But Don't Drown Them
Now that the 18 hours have passed, I'm going to pour the water into the middle of the paper towel pocket. As you can see from the spillage, I used way too much water, so I'm going to pour off the excess. After that is sorted, I'm going to fold those sides back over, to complete the packet. Next, my seeds are going to be added to and sit in this paper towel packet. The level of moisture retained in the next step is integral. Don't cover the packet with a plate, or with plastic wrap; make sure it stays moist, but not so moist that it's going to drown your seeds.
Keep Warm & Dark While They Crack
Now that the seeds are in a state where I can leave them alone, I’m going to set up my grow tent, and I will have a full video and blog at a later date on the setup and components that I purchased. Back to the task at hand, you will want to leave your seeds somewhere that's going to be relatively dark and relatively warm as well. Try to avoid extremes throughout the entire process. Think goldilocks: they don't have to be in pitch black, and you don't want them hot. There’s no harm in aiming for the sweet spot, but don’t stress if you’re a degree or so off either way.
4/5 Seeds Cracked In 2 Days
At this point, it's been two days since I first put the seeds in the water and as you can see, the shells have already cracked on 4 of the 5 seeds. I'm pretty happy with that, that is an 80% germination rate and that’s what was promised, and there's still time for the 5th one to crack and it will be planted regardless, even if it doesn’t. When we take a look 1 day later, we can see the primary, or “taproot” has clearly grown from 4 of the seeds, they are now ready to be planted. Sadly, the 5th one still hasn't even cracked yet, but again, I'm still going to plant it and just hope for the best.
Prepare Your Medium (We Are Using Soil)
The next step is to prepare our medium. In this case, we're going to be using soil, and I'm going to plant the seedlings in red solo cups. These cups are pretty much perfect for small plants. I drill 5 holes in the bottom of each cup: 1 in each corner, and then 1 in the middle. Be sure that when you are drilling the holes, the drill (and subsequent holes) goes through each layer of cups that you have stacked. I prefer to number my cups; I just find that is helpful in terms of organizing it and documentation. If you're trying to keep track of when you fertilized, or if there's an issue with a plant, the numbering helps to know identify each plant. Next, I'm going to fill the cups up completely with soil, then I'm going to bang it on the side of the cup to compact the soil a little bit, add a little more soil, compact it a little bit more and so on. The idea is that you want it completely full, but you don't want the soil tight in there super tight. Again, Goldilocks rule.
Poke Hole & Place 1" Into The Soil
For seedlings, it is ideal if you have a syringe available to water them with precision. The soil I have is quite dry, so I'm going to give it a decent amount of water. You want to make sure the soil is fully saturated but not at all too wet. Using a pen, I'll going to poke a hole down about 1” into the middle of each of the cups. I'm going to place each seed very carefully in the aforementioned hole. Ideally, you want that taproot pointing down, but failing that, just put the seed in the hole and then lightly cover it with soil. Again, you don't want to pack things down, because the seeds have to dig their way out of the soil and if you make it hard for them, you just might end up with a seed that doesn't quite make it. If you're doing it with your hands like I do, be very careful. I've never had an issue doing it, but if you do something wrong at this point, it's more than likely that you'll just kill the seed.
A Seedling Heat Mat Can Help If It's Chilly
Now, this next step isn't a necessary one, but I'm using this seedling heat mat. I find I get better germination rates when I use one as it brings the temperature of the soil up just a little bit and that helps with early growth. I picked up an all-in-one style grow tent and here’s a quick tour. There’s the fan, and the carbon filter leading down to the LED light. Down here in the grow area, you can see I have a catnip plant that absolutely loves it in this environment with the heat and humidity. Next, I add a little bit more water on top of the seeds and then I place them in the grow tent. I have the light quite far away and have it turned down as much as it will possibly go, because you don't want to overwhelm these little plants with light, they just need a little bit of it to give them that motivation to start growing.
The Hardest Step…Patience
This next step I find the hardest because I'm always wondering, “did I do something wrong? Did I kill them? Did I let them get too dry at some point?” Well at least in this case, I didn't. It took 4 days, and they all breached the soil on the same date. They're all at a slightly different stage. 1 of them barely broke soil, but all 4 of the plants in the solo cups have breached the surface at this point which I'm very happy about and was definitely a real relief.
Be Gentle With Your Seedlings
Once the seedlings clear the surface, I increase the light a little bit, but not too much as these are still just babies. It looks very, very cool when you get up close to them with a macro lens, you can see just how small and sensitive they are. But once they start growing, they establish a little bit of a root system, and they will grow way faster than you would imagine. I'm going to keep you updated on my grow along the way, let me know if there’s anything you want me to focus on.
I Achieved A 100% Germination Rate
And a fantastic surprise, I put that 5th seed in this little pot and I just left it outside. I didn't think it was going to crack, but when I went out this morning, it had actually cleared the surface! So, in the end all 5 of them did germinate, I am both very surprised and very pleased to see that :)
Thanks everyone for watching and reading.
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