Once the lights are up, you can begin the process of germination. Germination essentially entails taking the marijuana seed and coercing it to sprout. If you don’t provide it with the right environment, then the seed will just remain a seed for the foreseeable future. There are several methods that you can use to germinate your marijuana seeds, and every grower recommends something different.
For the most part, the options are limited to either using soil (or other growing medium) or using a wet paper towel.
Just by looking at these options, soil seems like it would be the most natural way of germinating a seed. Indeed, simply place the seed about 3 mm deep into the soil, and then keep the soil moist for about 7 days. This usually has around a 75 to 80% success rate in terms of getting seeds to germinate, also depending on seed quality.
|The Germination Process|
The wet paper towel method is relatively simple and requires that you place the seed on a damp paper towel and fold it over the top. In theory, the success rate with this method is around 80 to 90%, but it is more common for breakages to occur during transplanting. The seedling clearly won’t be able to thrive in a paper towel, so transplanting is a necessity that should be performed with great care. Other options for germination include “propagation kits,” which is just a fancy and more economical way to say “growing mediums for seeds.” These include rockwool cubes and have a similar success rate when compared to the paper towel trick. You can find these devices at many garden centers. Even so, perhaps the easiest method for any beginner is to just use soil. Transplanting will not be necessary, and it really is the most natural way to get your seeds to germinate adequately. When transplanting the seedlings at such an early age, you run the risk of “shocking” the plants. This will either stunt their growth or kill them altogether, so it makes sense to just stick with using soil until you get comfortable enough as a grower to use something else.
This brings up an obvious question: “What kind of soil should I use for germination?” At many garden centers, you will find soils that are marketed specifically as "germination soils.” Nothing really separates these soils from more conventional soils except that they have certain nutrients and won’t contain any composted material. ook for soils that have an NPK (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) ratio of around 5:1:1 or 8:4:4. Really, any soil composed of more nitrogen than the other two nutrients will be adequate for germinating marijuana seeds. The containers you place the soil in are also relatively important. It’s common for growers to use buckets that can hold up to 2 to 5 gallons because the root system in a marijuana plant can become quite extensive. Smaller containers will work for the germination and seedling period, but the plants will need to be transplanted later. Thus, it makes sense to plant the marijuana seeds and leave the plants in a single 2- to 5-gallon bucket for the majority of their lives. This gives the roots adequate room to grow and thrive while also providing a perfect environment for nutrients and a satisfactory reservoir of water. In addition, leaving them in buckets makes them easily transportable.
|Seed cracks open||Leaves come out||Ready to grow…|
Depending on the intensity of the lights that you use, the plants will need about 25 to 35 watts per square foot. The seeds won’t need light to germinate right away, but it’s common for growers to turn the lights on after sowing the seeds to warm the soil and promote germination. It’s also a good idea to keep the lights on and ready for when the first sprouts appear out of the soil. A few more things you should also take into account are the pH balance and the actual texture of the soil. You can feasibly use the same soil throughout the life of the plant if you ensure that it can drain properly (texture) and it maintains a good pH balance (between 6.0 and 8.0). The texture is particularly important because soils should neither be too dry or too moist. Moist soils that have an almost muddy consistency reduce the amount of oxygen that can reach the roots. As long as the roots can “breathe” and still maintain adequate water uptake, the soil should be fine.