A good beginning is half the task…
by Andreas Marcus
Like everything in life, in cannabis cultivation the good start ensures the smooth course and the efficiency of the plant, or otherwise it could prove to be fatal. Ensuring the right conditions and choosing the right technique guarantees the viability of the seed and the successful transition of the newborn plant to the development stage. So let’s look at the different ways in which we can plant the seeds of cannabis, as well as the optimum conditions in which they must be, regardless of the technique used.
Wet Napkin Method
The classic method we all tried when we were young, with lentils and cotton. On a wet napkin, on a plate, put the seeds and cover it with another wet napkin to create greenhouse conditions. We can close the napkin dish with a sandwich bag to keep the moisture sealed. With this method we can see the seeds break and the root emerge within 1-7 days. We make sure the napkins do not dry-off, as this would damage the root, but also not to be too soaked, as that would delay the growth of the root (if it has permanent access to water it doesn’t grow, because it doesn’t have to look for water). When we see the root coming out, we transplant them into the chosen material to be grown (soil, mineral wool cube, coconut, etc.).
Immerse in a glass of water
Pour a glass of warm water and put the seeds into the glass. Leave them for about 24 hours and then place them in the growing material (soil, mineral wool cube, coconut, etc.). The healthy seeds will sink into the bottom of the glass. Those that float, are likely to have air inside, which means they are probably dead. Leaving the seeds in water has the effect of softening the shell and thus making it easier for the plant to open it. With this method we have more success, one that can reach up to 99%, if the seeds are fresh or well preserved. Then place the opened seed with the visible root, into the material it will grow, with special care so it won’t get injured.
Directly into the growing material
You can place the seed directly into the growing material (soil, mineral wool, coconut, etc.), to avoid the possibility of injury during the transfer. Thus, unlike the prior techniques, the seed grows and becomes a plant inside the growing material it was born in. Put the pointed tip facing down and the rounded one facing up, so that the seed will not spend energy trying to reach the surface. For the same reason, place it at a depth of 1-2 cm and cover the hole, so that its environment remains wet. In deeper depths, it would spend energy trying to reach the surface and might not be able to do so, while at a lower depth it would dry faster and might not open at all. That’s why we cover the hole as soon as we place it, but without too much pressure.
With ready-made Jiffy seed-pellets or mineral wool cubes
These methods have been very popular in the past decade and many companies have produced similar products, resulting in a wide range of them existing today. Jiffy pellet is a compacted special material surrounded by a net, which, when wet, it swells and holds moisture, creating an ideal environment for the newborn plant. Then it is transplanted into the flower pot that will grow the plant. Peat pellet is only used in soil and coconut, while it is avoided in hydroponics, aeroponics and other cultivation systems. For these systems there are mineral wool cubes and Rapid rooters. Mineral wool has, usually, a very high Ph, so it must be rinsed and watered with a low Ph mixture, before it is used. This is why it is avoided and also for environmental reasons, as it’s not easily decomposed. It also has the property of retaining a lot of water and, consequently, is choking the seed on several occasions.
With Rapid Rooter
Rapid Rooter is the product of a well-known American company that collaborated with NASA and is known for its innovations in farming. It is made up of a special material that can take any form and retains the right proportion of air-moisture, needed by the newborn plant. All we need to do is place the seed in the Rapid Rooter and water it. This method offers the best results and can be used in all cultivation material (soil, hydroponics, aeroponics, etc.). It is, today, the most successful method for seed-birth and also the simplest.
With Seedling Incubator
Regardless of the material chosen as a substrate, field professionals choose to place it in an incubator, so that there is permanent moisture and desired temperature inside. This is achieved by using a heated floor and a transparent plastic dome in which ideal conditions for the growth of seedlings are created. Some models also provide the ability to adjust atmospheric conditions, using a climate chart to provide absolute control over prevailing conditions. This is the most modern way chosen in greenhouses and large indoor units.
Whichever way and method we choose to use, there are some common rules that must be followed, in order to ensure success:
- Seeds should be fresh or stored airtight in a dry environment
- The temperature that is ideal for their birth should be between 20-25⁰C
- The temperature of the water to be added, should be at most 23 ° C
- The moisture in the chosen material should be sufficient for the seed to open but not too much, so it can grow its root.
- The depth at which the seed is placed should be between 5 mm – 2,5 cm, depending on the material chosen to be used.
- The seed should be born in darkness, but when the first set of leaves comes out, light must be directed to it, in order to allow its development.
In the next issue: Early stage of development (from the birth of the seedling to the beginning of its development as a young plant).
The Green Greeks Magazine