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Raising a seedling, however, requires some patience, gentle hands, and a smidgen of luck. Thankfully pot seeds are remarkably vigorous because they are what’s called endosperm seeds, which means they have almost pre-formed cotyledon leaves before you even add water. Below is a brief guide on the techniques we have found yield the most success when starting seeds and raising your seedling to a healthy plant ready for transplanting.
Perhaps the most exciting stage, your baby will typically come above ground in 1-2 weeks. As your seedling comes above the soil, its shell might take a few days to fall off. It’s best to leave it alone, nature has the job covered. If it does not come above ground after about two weeks, the chance of success is dramatically reduced, and it’s best to try again. Even the best seeds have an 85% germination rate. When your seedling comes above ground, it is going to want to see a direct light source.
Starting From Seed
To accelerate germination, you are going to want to soak your seed in a small container with lukewarm water and place it in a dark and warm place for 12-24 hours, but no longer. By drenching the seed, it absorbs the water thoroughly, activating the germination process. Doing this also helps to loosen the shell as it becomes a little softer making it easier for the embryo to crack it open. When your seed sinks to the bottom it is ready to be planted, and sometimes the seed will pop out a small taproot. A seed can still be planted though if it does not sink.
We like to use seedling pellets that are made of a mix of compressed peat moss and coco husk. To expand, soak it in water for 10 minutes. Once your seedling pellet has absorbed enough water and has expanded to its maximum size, drain off any excess water. The growing medium should be like a damp sponge that would not leave streaks on the table. Dig a small hole about 1/4 in deep for your seed. Use a spoon to lift the seed out of its bath. If it has popped out a taproot be careful not to damage it. Gently place the seed into the hole and lightly cover it with dirt from the pellet. Now that you have started the germination process, your seedling will come above ground within two weeks. The older the seed, the longer it takes for it to germinate.
Seedlings require a medium amount of light in which it has enough to grow but not too much light that it gets burned. Leaving your seedling in direct sunlight will cause the leaves to curl, while too little light will cause the seedling to stretch. If growing outside, seedlings want to see a direct light source to stop them stretching. If inside, a sunny windowsill with more than half a day of sunlight works wonders. Otherwise, 18 in away from a growing light works excellently. Your seedling should not stretch more than 6 in at most. We’ll cover lighting in more depth in a later blog.
Without light, weed plants die extremely quickly. They depend on light to create vital carbohydrates, which are required as an energy source. As photons hit their leaves, small organelles known as chloroplasts convert light into energy-rich sugars.
For this reason, growers must provide the right amount of light for their plants. Too little, and the growth and yields of your plants will suffer. Too much, and photoperiod strains won’t flower (plus, your energy bill will spike if you’re growing indoors).
This is usually done when growing hydroponically. Soak the rockwool blocks in low-pH water and place them in a plastic tray with a lid. Place your seeds in the hole of each rockwool block. Seeds should germinate in a few days. Place the rockwool blocks with your seedlings in their soil pots when roots start to come out the bottom.
HOW TO TELL WHEN TO HARVEST
Cannabis is generally an easy plant to grow, but this doesn’t mean that mistakes don’t happen. As a matter of fact, even experienced growers get things wrong from time to time. But, by learning about common growing mistakes and how to avoid them, you can look forward to plenty of fat buds waiting for you at harvest time.
Don’t use dirt from your garden or any other soils of questionable quality, including old, reused soils from your previous grows. These may contain contaminants such as fungi or pests. Good-quality potting soils from trusted brands don’t come with these risks.
Overwatering is much worse than occasional underwatering, as plants can almost always recover from slightly dry conditions. But when they’re constantly overwatered, this deprives the roots of oxygen and will lead to all kinds of troubles like fungus and root rot. Always allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Less frequent watering is better than overdoing it!
Good soil for cannabis has a light, airy structure, preferably with some perlite mixed in. This ensures adequate drainage and allows roots to grow unhindered. Cannabis won’t do well in soil that is too dense.