With today’s article I wanted to talk about selecting seeds and how to start them. This isn’t a very technical subject, but it is one that I still get many questions on. Many people believe that all marijuana seeds, from the same plant, are created equal. In my experience, this is just not the case, and I’ll explain why.
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When you are looking at a pile of seeds, aka hundreds of seeds, there are many different physical features that you can see immediately. There are obviously size and color, but there are also the “tiger stripes” on seeds from certain strains.
When I am selecting which seeds to plant, I always choose the biggest seeds first. In my experience, the bigger the seed, the better and faster the plant grows. I have run multiple trials where I have planted multiple seeds and labeled them based on size. Time and time again, the bigger the seed, the faster it grew.
If we think about this in terms of nature, typically the bigger the specimen (plant or animal), the better chance the specimen has for survival. Therefore logically, if you choose to plant the biggest seeds, the better your chances are of growing a very nice healthy plant.
The second thing I am looking at, when selecting seeds, is the color. When a marijuana seed is developing inside its seed pod on its mother plant, it starts out as a very light almost white-colored seed. So, you can assume that the darker the seed is, the longer it had to develop and would be closer to full maturation.
The last factor in my selection is the tiger stripes on the seed itself. Not all strains produce seeds with tiger stripes, but most do. And the more pronounced the stripe is, the better the seed.
So in summary, you want:
A large seed
That is dark in color
With tiger stripes if possible.
This very small step before you plant can speed up your plant’s development process by a few days and even produce better buds as an end product.
Germinating & Planting seeds
There are almost as many ways of starting your seeds as there are strains of weed on earth. Each grower generally has their own method they prefer, and usually all the methods work very well.
If you go to your local grow shop, you will even find countless products that claim to help you germinate your seeds. In truth, you don’t need any of this to achieve a near 100% germination rate.
First, I’m going to go into the general method I use to germinate seeds where the grow medium you are using doesn’t matter in the least. The only things you need for this method are paper towels, water, a ziplock bag, and a dark space.
All you need to do is take 2-3 paper towels and soak them with water. Then fold them over to where they are many layers thick, and place a few seeds in them on just half the paper towel. Be sure not to overload the paper towel with too many seeds because when they sprout, they will grow a root that will become entangled with others if there are too many seeds in the paper towel.
Once you have your seeds on half of the paper towel, you need to fold it over and cover the seeds so that the entire seed is in contact with the wet paper towel. You then take the paper towel with your seeds in them, place them in your ziplock bag, and seal it. Then find a nice cool dark place and put the bag there for 36-72 hours. You will have most of your seeds germinated by that time.
The purpose of this is that we are trying to replicate what a seed experiences when it falls from its mother plant onto the ground and tries to sprout and grow. The seeds need dampness and dark just like they would experience in the dirt in the wild.
You can check on the seeds every 12 hours or so without doing any harm. Once they have popped open and sprouted their small white root, you can go ahead and place them root down in whatever grow medium you are using. You must be delicate when you do this so as not to tear the root from the seed.
In my next article I’ll be going more in depth into how to plant your newly germinated seed.
If you want to simplify this method and you’re using soil or soilless mixtures, I often skip the paper towel and just place the seed directly into the container that the plant will use for its entire life. This is something I only do if space or planting medium is in great supply, since sometimes you will have seeds that don’t sprout.
If you have limited space or supplies, this is why the paper towel method is so easy and great because you don’t waste space and time with seeds that don’t germinate.
In addition to these two methods, I have tried the seed-germinating mats that you can buy at grow shops, and they do work well. But in my opinion, they don’t work any better than the paper towels or planting the seeds directly into the grow medium.
When growing in hydro, I have often used rockwool cubes to start my seeds. These work very well, since the plant will take root in the cube and can be transplanted directly into your hydro system, no matter the type and hydro medium used.
The key to using both of these methods (rockwool and seed-germinating mats) is to keep them moist and in a high humidity environment. At your local grow store you will find special humidity domes that are designed for this exact purpose.
Germinating seeds is a very easy and simple process. It would actually be harder to cause seeds to not germinate than it would be to germinate most, if not all, the seeds.
That being said, there is no worse way to start off a grow than by waiting weeks for your seeds to come in and having half of them not germinate. (I personally don’t recommend using feminized seeds.)
You could lose half of your intended plants in the first few days if you aren’t using feminized seeds. Then if half of your seeds don’t germinate and most of them turn out to be male, you could be left with 1-2 plants when you were planning on having 4-6 from your original 10 seeds.