It all starts with germination. This important stage of the growth cycle does not receive as much attention as the longer growing season and flowering period, but it is just as important, if not more important! In the end, if germination fails, your potential crop will never get past the first stage. Some growers may think that germination seems so easy that they drop a few seeds into a growing medium and wait several days. In some cases, this may work, but some many methods and approaches can be used to increase the likelihood of successful germination.
WHAT EXACTLY IS GERMINATION?
But before we delve into these methods, let’s take a quick look at the biology of germination to understand the process better. Each seed is practically a small bundle of genetic material that is the product of plant propagation. These small containers are designed to be dispersed in a variety of ways, such as by wind or by ingestion/dispersal by animals. Hopefully, a seed will be transported to an environment that triggers the germination process. These vital factors are temperature, water and the depth at which the seed will be buried in the soil. Of course, these factors can be simulated and optimized by modern growers to maximize germination chances.
- DESIGN THE IDEAL ENVIRONMENT
Another element to consider before germinating your seeds and giving birth to your plants is the environment to which they will soon be exposed. It would help if you stored them in a range of 22-25°C with a relative humidity of 70-90%. This climate can easily be maintained with a grow tent or indoor greenhouse. You can use humidifiers to maintain high humidity and a heater or fan to raise or lower the temperature. Use a hygrometer to get constant temperature and humidity readings.
- HOW TO GERMINATE CANNABI SEEDS
Now that we have found how to identify viable seeds and create an ideal environment, it’s time to germinate our seeds. There are several methods that growers can choose from, each one as good as the other – if done properly.
- SOW THE SEEDS DIRECTLY INTO THE FINAL SUBSTRATE
One way to germinate the seeds is to sow them directly in the substrate of your choice, either in a large pot or directly in a garden bed. Cannabis seeds are equipped for this – after all, this is how they managed to survive in the wild. The advantage of germinating the seeds directly in the final container is that you avoid the stress of transplanting the seedlings into larger and larger pots. This process can slow growth and damage the roots.
The disadvantage of sowing the seeds directly into the final substrate is that you risk watering and overfeeding them in the early stages of their life. This can saturate the soil and prevent the small roots from penetrating deeper and becoming fully established. In addition, it can lead to stunted growth and root rot.If you choose this method, you will need to drill a hole about 1 cm deep in the soil. Put your seeds in this hole and cover them with soil. Water only around this area, being careful not to use too much water.
- USE KITCHEN PAPER TO GET THINGS MOVING
The use of kitchen paper is a humble, but very effective method to germinate your seeds. Gardeners successfully use this method to germinate almost all types of plants. You will need unbleached kitchen paper, clean water, two plates, a vaporizer, and a warm, dark place to store your seeds to use this method.
Put three paper towels on one of the plates and moisten them lightly. Place your seeds on the moistened paper towels, leaving enough space between them. This will prevent the new roots from getting tangled. Add another layer of three paper towels and spray them in the same way as before. Place the other plate on top; it will serve as a lid that locks in and holds the moisture. Place this makeshift maternity in a warm, dark place. A closet near a heating source will work very well. You can also place a heating mat under the bottom plate to ensure an ideal climate.
The germination rate will depend on the strain you have chosen. Some varieties start to develop a root within 24 hours, while others take a few days to develop. Check your seeds the next day to see how they are progressing and make sure the paper towels are still moist. Once you’ve seen the outline of a taproot in the paper towel, it’s time to transplant the germinated seed into a pot. Make a hole about 1 cm deep in the growing medium and place your seed in it, root downwards. Water the soil lightly and wait for the green shoot to appear.
- START YOUR SEEDS IN A GLASS OF WATER
Germinating your seeds in a glass of water is another easy and inexpensive method, although some growers report low success rates. When you germinate your seeds in this way, you are also testing their viability. Put them in a glass of warm water and place them in a warm, dark place overnight. When you put your seeds in the jar, you may find that some of them float while others sink. The seeds on the surface are actually the most viable and deserve the most time and energy.
You should notice that taproots appear within 24 hours. It is not recommended to leave seeds in water beyond this time, as they can potentially sink. However, this does not mean that the seeds are less viable.
- JIFFYPOTS AND CULTURE CUBES ARE A STANDARD OPTION
Jiffypots and seed cubes are excellent ways to germinate seeds. These products are small pieces of growing medium that provide an ideal environment for seed germination and can be used almost immediately. They are often available in the form of a tray, which allows the grower to save space and keep the germinated seeds well organized. The seed cubes are already moistened, so the grower only has to place the seeds in the holes provided. Jiffypots are made from dried peat and must be moistened before use.
To use seed cubes or flower pots, simply place your seeds in the holes and help them enter with a wooden skewer. Cover the tray and place it in a warm environment or on a heating mat. A great advantage of this method is that the cubes can be planted directly into a larger container or into the ground. This keeps the roots intact and reduces stress on the plants.