One of biggest thrills for novice cannabis growers is starting their first 4 plants. Many novice growers are so excited to get growing, they forget where to start! If you’re reading this blog post first, you’ve taken your first successful step. Preparing your mind with knowledge is key.
Before you begin germinating your first 4 seeds, you must have your indoor grow room or grow tent area fully set up, tested and ready to power up. High quality feminized cannabis seeds don’t take long to germinate and if you’re not fully prepared to plant them as soon as they’ve properly germinated, you’ll risk killing them off even before they’ve begun to grow.
When you’re fully prepared and your grow area is ready, it’s time to start germinating your first 4 seeds! Just carefully follow these 5 simple steps exactly as described, and in a short number of days, your seeds will have germinated and be ready to plant!
Check out our blog on the 5 basic elements required for a healthy grown environment to ensure you’ve got your bases covered!
Your seeds will need WARMTH, MOISTURE and DARKNESS to get going, so the first thing you need to do is fill a clean small cup up with room temperature pure spring water.
Drop your first 4 seeds into the cup of water. Most will sink to the bottom. Many experienced growers like to start more seeds than they need because they know not all seeds will sprout 100%. But since you’re new to growing, it’s not a problem if one or two of your seeds don’t sprout. This is normal even when the germination process is done perfectly. Many high-quality seed companies even offer an 80% germination guarantee.
After your 4 seeds have been sitting over night in the cup of room temperature water in a dark well-ventilated cupboard, its time to move them.
On a clean plate or clean Styrofoam tray, lay down several open layers of unused plain brown paper towels. They must be free of bleach, dyes and perfumes. You can get them for free at any gas station.
After they’ve been sitting in the dark warm, well-ventilated cupboard for 12 to 18 hours, carefully pour the cup of water and seeds out onto to the open paper towels. This will thoroughly soak the paper towels in the tray. Pour carefully. Your nice plump seeds will pour out with the water onto the soaked towels in the tray, so don’t “dump” them. Spread the seeds out with your finger so they’re in a line about 1 inch a part on the towels. This will make it easy for you to observe them daily through their germination process.
In many videos, demonstrators use surgical gloves like the pro commercial growers do to eliminate the risk of contamination with pathogens. But part of the fun of home gardening, whether its indoors or outside in your vegetable garden, is rolling up your sleeves and enjoying the tactile feeling of getting your hands wet and dirty! Just make sure your hands are clean to begin with…
Carefully pour out the excess water back into where you got it from (you’ll want this used spring water to keep the seeds moist). Hold the seeds in place with your fingers so you don’t lose the seeds and they stay securely on the wet towels. Fold the towels in half and then in half a second time so your seeds are swaddled in the folded wet towels which, after folding twice, are secure in the towels that you’ve turned into a strip approximately 2 inches (5 centimetres) wide.
At this stage, moist means wet so don’t fret if the seeds swaddled in paper towels are sitting in a small puddle of water on the tray. The dark cupboard you’ll be putting them back into is well-ventilated (your seeds need oxygen too!) so the wet puddle will evaporate quickly leaving the towels perfectly moist.
Put the swaddled seeds in the tray back into the cupboard. Over the next two to eight days until the seeds pop open, check in on them once a day to make sure the paper towels stay moist.
After a couple of days your seeds will pop open revealing an ivory-white baby tap root in a narrow crack in the seed husk.
From this point on, it’s time to watch closely during your daily check-ups. Many newbie growers jump the gun and rush things. It will take two to five more days for the baby tap root to emerge out of the opened seed husk at the correct length for planting.
Many first time growers will plant the seed too early before the baby tap root is long enough to successfully keep growing into the medium. If planted too early, the seed will suffocate and die because its baby tap root is not long enough to “breath” in and absorb the oxygenated moisture of the growing medium.
So how long should the baby tap root be before its ready to plant?
Your sprouted baby tap root MUST between 1/8th to 1/2 of an inch long to plant into the growing medium. Any longer, than a half an inch and you will risk tearing off the microscopic secondary root fibres that have already begun to grow into the paper towels. If this happens, the act of pulling the sprouted seeds off the towels too late, could fatally damage the baby tap root and your new seedling will never see, “the light of day”!
So remember, your germinated seeds will be ready when the baby tap root is between 1/8th to 1/2 of an inch (3-10mm) long. When the baby tap roots are this length, you’ll be ready to progress immediately to the planting stage!
MEANWHILE, BACK IN YOUR GROW ROOM…
While you are waiting for your seeds to germinate, this is the ideal time (if you haven’t already done so) to get your growing medium perfectly ready to accept your brand new baby sprouted seeds!
We recommend novice growers “keep it simple” and start their first grow in a peat moss growing medium. This is the most forgiving growing medium there is. It’s almost impossible for novice growers to over-water it. Over-watering is the biggest mistake of first time growers.
What makes a peat moss mix such a great fit for beginner cannabis growers is that it replicates the kind of soil cannabis plants prefer in the wild: moist, sandy, well-draining soil. While its well-draining, peat moss is also paradoxically awesome for holding water. This curious paradox will be explained momentarily. Popular brand names that even many large-scale commercial growers still use are “Sunshine Mix” and “Pro-Mix”. The better of the two is Pro-Mix and its little more pricey but the extra cost is worth it.
“Contains mycorrhizae, that will help to stimulate plant growth and enhance root system for increased nutrients and water uptake. It will result with bigger and healthier plants.
Ideal for gardeners demanding an all purposed quality product adapted to their needs for watering flexibility with the added benefit of a fibrous peat moss and perlite.
- Canadian sphagnum peat moss (75-85%)
- Dolomitic & calcitic limestone (pH adjuster)
- Mycorrhizae – PTB297 Technology”.
An added bonus of Pro-Mix is that it’s all you need to grow awesome Buds and it’s completely re-usable. In a future blog post, we’ll show you how and why its re-usable, but for now just know that you’ll never need to buy any exotic fortifying medium ingredients unless you want to experiment later by designing your own growing medium.
OK, so what do we mean when we say, “While its well-draining, peat moss is also paradoxically awesome for holding water”? To answer this question, we will show you at the same time why you’ll want to prepare your medium while your first 4 seeds are germinating.
When you open up your first bail or bag of peat, you’ll be surprised to find its very dry, fibrous material. Water will drain right through it. It will take several waterings before you can get it moist. It’s so dry that it might create clouds of dust as you’re filling your planting pots. This is why it’s also a good idea to fill your pots inside your grow tent or room with the ventilation running to get rid of the dust!
Before you begin filling your planting pots, place them in your drain pan as far away from each other as the size of your growing area permits. Many grow shops sell drain pans to perfectly match the size of your grow tent. For example, if you select a 4’X4’ grow tent, you can buy a 4’X4’ pan with 6 inch sides that will act as a second floor for your tent. It will contain the drain water so it won’t wreck the real floor in your residence.
But they come in all sizes, and you may want to consider first if you want to step into the pan while you tend your plants or purchase a smaller pan or set of pans so you can work around your plants without having to step into the drain water.
If you elect to make your own grow room, you can get 2 Rubber-Maid plastic storage containers that are 1-1/2’X4’ with 4 inch high walls. You can place two pots in each storage container and they will catch the drain water while still giving you plenty of room to walk between and around your 4 plants as you tend to them. You can also use this same strategy if you choose a grow tent.
Once you have your 4 pots positioned in their drain pans, fill them with the grow mix up to 3 inches from the lip of the pots. 5 gallon pots are great, but many growers prefer 10 gallon pots. Depending on the strain of plant you’re growing it will grow tall, medium or short. Combined with this is the height of your grow tent or room’s ceilings, so the choice is yours…
Fill your pots and prepare your medium without any stress and mess!
The peat moss is super dry and won’t absorb the water at first. It will pool and overflow the lip of the pots if you let it. Don’t let it! Add the water gradually. For this first watering to get your peat wet, you can scoop the drained water out of the pan and pour it right back into the mix until the mix is nice and thoroughly moist.
Never do this after your seeds are in though and when your plants are growing because re-using your nutrient solution from the drain pan to water your plants, will cause a salt build-up that will eventually kill your plants.
But since this your first watering just to get the peat moist without any nutrients added, you can keep pouring it in and scooping the water out to pour it back into your filled pots until the peat moss mix is uniformly moist.
How do you know if your peat moss medium is uniformly moist?
Stick your bare hand and forearm in and feel it! Another reason why growing your own 4 is so much fun: it’s a very tactile, sensory experience!
This whole process will take some time and you can’t rush it. This is why we recommend getting your peat moss growing medium prepared and evenly moist in the days while your seeds are germinating. You won’t be caught off guard if your first 4 seeds germinate in only 3 days! So remember, when your seeds’ individual baby tap roots are between 1/8th to 1/2 of an inch long they are ready to plant.
You’ll also want to read our next post with this one BEFORE you experience the quiet thrill of germinating your first 4 seeds. Planting those seedlings correctly is both an art and a science. Reading and understanding these two posts together before you germinate and plant, will kick-start you into your personal exciting new journey where you will feel your “Green Thumbs” growing.