Techniques to germinate marijuana seeds
The process of germinating marijuana seeds is the first step in the life of our plants, the birth of our crop. Compliance with all the rules will lead to the successful germination of cannabis seeds.
This process is probably the most delicate and where most mistakes are made among growers, even some with more experience. Furthermore, failure in the process of germinating marijuana seeds, or the death of the seedling that sprouts from it, is both a waste of time and money.
If we are so concerned with finding the correct, feminized, automatic, regular, sativa or indica genetics, we must ensure that germination is carried out correctly, it is the way to guarantee that investment. In this article, we review the most used methods, the pros and cons of each one, and how to do them correctly, ordered from the simplest to the most complex.
What should I know before starting to germinate marijuana seeds
The main objective of the germination of our marijuana seed is for the radicle to grow, which is the first root that appears directly from the seed. This is achieved by leaving the seed in a humid environment and at warm temperatures between 25 and 28 C, hopefully not less than 20 C.
The radicle is very delicate and has microscopic hairs that are not visible to the naked eye, but it is important not to touch them or expose them to intense light or the sun.
The radicle must find a place to start extracting nutrients and start growing.
After the radicle, the first two “leaves” of our plant will appear, called cotyledons, which are characterized by their smooth, rounded edges. Cotyledons give way to our first two leaves with serrated edges characteristic of marijuana. When we reached this stage, we can say that germination was successful.
If you can measure and control the acidity and electroconductivity of the water that you will use to germinate, it must have an EC less than 1, and a pH between 5.5 and 6.
Some growers add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the water to increase the oxygen in it and for its antiseptic effect. Be careful to exceed if you use this technique.
Now, let’s go over each method in detail.
Best medium to germinate marijuana seeds
Whether in soil or in a purchased substrate (we recommend the latter), the most ancient and most used method of germinating marijuana seeds in the history of almost any type of crop is to place the seed directly in the medium where it will grow.
The roots will begin to grow quickly and directly on the substrate, where they will live the entire process, with low-stress levels. This is simple and saves us from further work.
The soil or substrate must first be ground and aerated. The less compact the substrate is, the roots will have more freedom to grow, have contact with water and get nutrients. You should moisten the soil enough before placing the marijuana seed, but avoiding that a puddle is formed or that the pot is draining a lot of water from its bottom.
Then you must make a hole in the place to place the seed, which must be between 0.5 and 1 centimeter deep. We put the seed and cover it with the substrate without compacting or squeezing. The idea is to encourage growth to be as smooth as possible.
We must keep an eye on the substrate, monitoring the appearance of the seedling, and taking care that the substrate is never dry. Soil moisture is very important at this stage. Dryness can kill our little girl. To control this factor, we can use a Propagator, which maintains a humid environment, both on land and in the air, an ideal tool to germinate marijuana seeds.
Benefits of the method
It is quite simple, does not require practice and works well most of the time.
Being natural, it prevents the seed from going through stress processes. It also saves us the need for subsequent transplants, taking care of both the roots and the top of our plants.
Cons of the method
Being covered in soil or substrate, we cannot make sure that the marijuana seed germinated correctly, and we must wait a week or more to know if everything went well. This can mean a waste of time in case of failure.
Germinating cannabis seeds in peat pellets
Peat pellets, commonly known as Jiffy by its trade name, consist of a small amount of decomposing organic material (peat), compacted into pellet form in sizes ranging from 22 to 44 millimeters. Designed initially to root cuttings, Jiffys are widely used as a supplement to germinate marijuana seeds. Peat is an excellent medium for early root growth.
The Jiffy has a top and a bottom. The top is recognizable by a small indentation in the center. The disc must be soaked in water, where its size will increase considerably. You should soak until the fabric that contains the peat is stretched by the sides (the top and bottom will always have folds). Remember, if you can measure and regulate the pH of the water, try to vary it between 5.5 and 6. Then remove the Jiffy and drain the water until it stops dripping, drill a hole 1 to 2 centimeters with a pencil or wand, and ideally place the seed tip-up.
This process can be done in a Cutter, which brings everything you need to ensure the germination success of your marijuana seeds.
Keep the Jiffy with the seed in a humid place, and try again that it is never dry. When a week has passed, the seedling appears and/or the first sawn leaves are growing, the Jiffy will be ready to be transplanted. For this, you just have to place it in a pot with substrate and try to cover everything with substrate up to the height of the stem. It should be wet.
Note: While designed to allow roots to pass through, some growers do remove the white cloth covering the Jiffy when transplanting to prevent them from obstructing growth. This should be done with extreme care not to disassemble the peat block or damage the roots.
Benefits of the method
The roots initially grow in peat, which encourages their growth. Although you have to buy them, the Jiffy are quite cheap. They protect the sources. They are compatible with advanced cultivation techniques such as hydroponics. It is an artificial method, but very similar to the natural one.
Cons of the method
Just like planting directly in the ground, you cannot be sure of success until the seedling appears, because the seed is covered. Some growers argue that the fabric covering the Jiffy obstructs the path of the roots, removing the fabric is a delicate and potentially dangerous process for the roots.
Germinating seeds in paper towel
This method is a little more elaborate and delicate but has the best results if executed correctly. It allows us to see the growth of the radicle and monitor the entire process.
It can be quickly done around the house with kitchen materials and needs us to be vigilant.
To carry out the process, we must have kitchen paper (known as a Nova towel in Chile), a Tupper or airtight food box that can be closed, and if possible, a water sprayer.
First, we must place two squares of kitchen paper inside the clean tupper. Then we must set the seeds, at least 3 or 4 centimeters apart between each one. If you are germinating different marijuana genetics, remember to leave a mark to remember which corresponds to each seed. Once the seeds have been placed, you should spray the towels with water, emphasizing the seeds. If you do not have a sprinkler or sprinkler, you can carefully wet them with a spoon, the important thing is that it is wet evenly but without puddles and dripping if we lift the towels.
Then we cover the seeds with two other kitchen towels, and we apply water again so that all the sheets are moist. Remember to avoid puddles.
We must carefully leave our box in a warm and dark place. Many growers cover the box with a bag or cloth to prevent light from reaching the radicle, and place it on an electrical appliance such as a router or on top of a refrigerator (outside and in the back, where heat passes, please do not freeze nothing). This ensures an optimal temperature.
We must check our seeds every 12 hours, uncovering the box to change the air. The radicle may start to appear the first day, or 5 days later. If, after a week the marijuana seed has not germinated, it probably will not.
When the radicle of the germinated seed is 1 cm long, it can already be placed on the substrate. To do this, you must take the seed from the “head” without pressing hard and never from the radicle, being careful not to hit it. Place the sprouted seed with the radicle down, in a hole made in the substrate so that the seed head is between 0.5 and 1 cm deep, and the radicle down.
Then cover with substrate or soil and water without leaving puddles.