Saturday, July 7, 2018

Phase 1: Germination & Planting

And so it begins...

Ahh, germination & planting.  Two relatively easy but daunting tasks for the new grower.  These steps mark the beginning of your journey and are an exciting time!  But it's easy to mess them up if you get overzealous.  There are many ways to skin a cat/germinate a cannabis seed, but I'll tell you what worked best for me.  I placed a healthy looking seed in a cup of lukewarm (not hot!) bottled drinking water & set it on a heating pad for the first hour, swishing it around in the cup to help it sink.  Healthy viable seeds should sink eventually, but don't freak out if it doesn't happen within the first hour or two.  It might just need to be dunked down manually with a finger after a few hours of soaking.

Once the seed has sunk, your germination countdown has begun.  Leave it in the cup for about 8-12 hours in a dark place where it won't be disturbed.  Darkness & warmth are the goals at this stage.  After 12-ish hours had passed, I poured the seed into a plate of damp folded paper towels.  Make sure the seed is sandwiched between the layers, with some towel below & some covering it on top.  Drain off any extra standing water from the plate.  Never let the towels dry out completely!  The seed needs to "breathe" but should never be allowed to dry out.  You can mist it from the top with a spray bottle if you have one or pour/sprinkle more water on manually as needed.  Cover it with a paper plate for an extra layer of protection against drying out.  Again, keep the plate in a dark/warm place where the seed can do its thing.  I chose the top drawer in my closet with the drawer cracked so air could get in.  The seed had cracked before 24 hours had passed but it can take up to 7 days, so be patient.

Put seeds between towels; keep damp.  (Paper towel method)

Don't wait until the white taproot is an inch long--plant the seed as soon as it opens & the root becomes visible.  This reduces the risk of damage.  On the day of planting, soak your cup or container in water for a few hours so the seed doesn't go into a dry environment.  Using clean hands, make a half-inch hole in the soil & plant the seed with the taproot facing DOWN.  Gently sprinkle soil on top, making sure not to pack it down tightly but leave it loose so the seed won't have to fight its way out.  Do cover it completely though.

Finally, use a spray bottle to gently mist the top layer of soil before setting the container under a warm light bulb.  Place your hand on the top of the container to see if the temperature is too hot.  Cannabis generally likes the same temperatures as we humans do.  Your sprout should emerge within 1-7 days of planting if you keep the soil moist & warm.  I like to alternate between "spray & tray" every other day, meaning one day I'll water from the bottom by leaving the cup in a tray for 5 hours & the next day I'll use a spray bottle throughout the day anytime the soil looks dry instead.  But this is totally my own OCD & not necessary.  You can water from the top as long as you are using a spray bottle & being gentle.  Once the seed actually sprouts you should cut back on the watering immediately, as it's easy to drown the little gal.  More on that in the next installment. 


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