Submitted by: Uncle Ben
Germinating Cannabis Seeds (for Bio Growers).
Your seedlings will be alot better off if you germinate directly in
soil - less handling and mechanical disturbance means less chance of
physical damage to the plant's taproot (and roothairs) and less food
reserves used to position itself due to the natural hormonal influence
This is my foolproof method for Cannabis Seed Germination in soil:
First, if harvesting seeds from my own crosses, I air-dry newly
harvested seeds for a couple of weeks, and then store them in the
refrigerator with a little rice. Cold-treatment seems to increase
viability and germination rates, especially with indica-dom strains. I
almost always get a 100% germination rate with quality seedstock.
Soak the seeds in plain water for 12 hours prior to planting to
hydrate them, which will speed up germination. In general, good seeds
will sink, bad seeds will remain floating (they contain air, not an
embryo). I first sterilize seeds in a bleach solution (1 Tbsp. bleach/1
gallon of water) for 1/2 hour to kill any fungus residing on the
Sterilize enough *damp* fine soil with heat to germinate all of
your seeds. You can do this by treating the damp soil to temps of (no
more than) 200F for 20 mins in a conventional oven, or in a microwave
oven on high for 2 minutes, while stirring a couple of times. Your goal
is to get and hold the entire soil mix's tempertature at 170F to 180F
for about 20 minutes which can be monitored with a probe type
thermometer. Let the mix cool thoroughly. This will insure that
damp-off fungus spores have been killed in the soil mix. Make sure the
soil mix is light and humusy (not real coarse). You can add a little
sand or vermiculite to aid in drainage and weight. Stay away from
perlite, it has a nasty habit of floating out of the mix (if you do
indeed need to water later).
Buy some white 20oz styrofoam "drinking glasses", commonly called
"Styro-Cups", and punch holes in the bottom (and side bottom) for
drainage. I use a red-hot ice pick for this. These containers are 6
1/2" tall and will allow ample room for the taproot to grow before
cotyledon emergence which will increase your seedling's vigor. The
taproot (radicle) is already at least 4" long at the point of emergence
- don't restrict it (in order to maximize seedling growth rate).
Styro-Cups can be found on the shelf displaying picnic items at your
local grocery store.
Fill the pots almost to the top with your soil mix, water well to
settle the mix, take a pencil and make a small hole about 1/4" to 1/2"
deep, NO deeper, and drop *one* seed in. Cover the seed with *fine*
soil, only enough to top up the hole, firm lightly with your finger,
and lightly water until water runs freely thru the drain holes. Place
in a warm spot around 80F/26C. Do NOT cover the cup with saran wrap or
anything else. The seed has been hydrated from the soaking and will
germinate soon. This container should not require further watering
until the seedling is up and running.
During the first couple of days, mist the top soil surface lightly
(if need be), never allowing the top to crust over, but not to the
point that the medium stays waterlogged which will invite pythium rot.
"Less is more" at this point. Do NOT water this pot any more until the
seedling is up, and only if it needs it at the point of emergence.
Again, no need to cover with plastic wrap as the radicle (taproot) will
grow at least 4" before the cotyledons emerge from the soil. IOW, even
though you can't see it, the plant's root is seeking and finding
moisture at the container's lower soil levels. I cannot emphasize this
enough. The seedling will emerge anywhere from 2 to 10 days from the
time you sowed it.
That's all to it! With good care, your faves will be ready to
transplant within 1 to 2 weeks, and will easily slip out of the "cup"
with a solid rootball that will never know it's been disturbed if
potted up gently and quickly. Move up to a final pot of 3 to 5 gallons
to sex and finish.
An effective transplant solution can be made using (no more than) 1
level teaspoon of a 15-30-15 fert and 10 drops of Superthrive per
gallon of water. Take note regarding the immediate growth spurt after