Guest post by Selex Seeds.
It only takes a minute on google to realize that there are a lot of cannabis seed companies out there. At first glance, these companies all offer what seems like an endless array of strains with trendy names that you have never heard of. They are all colours of the rainbow and their prices are all over the place. So in your search for seeds, how can you decide what is a superior product?
It’s really disheartening when you receive your anticipated seeds and some of them just don’t sprout. Some companies boast a germination rate of only 80%. This means that only 80 out of 100 seeds will sprout. So just by choosing the right genetics with a high germination rate in the first place, you are getting more plants and saving yourself time, disappointment, and most importantly your hard-earned money. It’s best to purchase seeds with a germination rate of at least 90%. For example, Selex Seeds boasts a 95% germination rate.
Roots of a pea shoot sprouting over time
There is definitely a variance of prices when it comes to seeds. Some prices seem really high and some companies are basically giving them away to whoever will take them. It can be tempting to find the cheapest and stock up, which makes it tough to feel justified spending large amounts of money on these teeny, tiny little things.
As with all things in life however, you get what you pay for. This initial purchase to start your grow is such a small, but significant investment. I’m not saying to go out and buy the most expensive seeds, but please do your homework and research into the genetics, and if the prices are a little higher than others, don’t let it sway you. It will even out along the way, either by germination success or with a heavier yield.
What are you medicating for?
Knowing the difference between Sativa and Indica is an important factor in growing your own medicine as they have different uses, characteristics, side effects and their own unique high.
A way that you can tell the two species apart is by looking at the plant and shape of the leaves. Sativas have long and slender leaves that resemble fingers, while Indicas are more broad. Sativas grow to be massive plants with exceptionally larger yields, whereas Indicas are great to grow indoors or somewhere that space is limited, as they are usually shorter and take less time to grow until harvest phase.
Sativas are more stimulating, so they are your best choice for your “wake and bakes” and daytime use if you need to be productive or social. A Sativa strain is the way to go for being alert, creative, to have energy, and to help combat depression, headaches, and pain.
Indicas have the opposite effect. They are best for unwinding at the end of your day as they offer that relaxing body high and are a go-to for pain relief, insomnia, and pain.
To mix things up a little, hybrids are a mix of the two species that can exhibit any size, shape and effect.
Our generation is a lot more aware about what we are ingesting. We are so careful about our food: Non-GMO, Organic, Pesticide and antibiotic free; Why would we not also be careful when growing our own medicine?
The lack of regulations in the industry have lead to a vast number of contaminated cannabis products. A few years ago, Maine’s largest Cannabis dispensary was found to be selling products that tested positive for nine different pesticides.
In California, Sister Mary Weirick, was a pot activist that lead a trimming and packing team for several years. It is said that her mysterious and rapid death in 2005 can be contributed to being in contact with the pesticide Avid, typically used on marijuana plants to combat spider mites. What started out as allergy like symptoms for Sister Mary quickly lead to paralysis and then death, just from coming into contact with her skin.
If you are thinking about using a medicine to heal and promote well being, it is a no brainer to start from a pure and organic source.
Examine your seeds before attempting to germinate them. They should be grey, tan or dark brown with stripes, bands or mottled patterns covering the shell. This shows that you have a mature seed.
If they are pale or cream coloured, then they have been harvested too early and your seeds are not going to be viable. Seeds are ready at the same time your buds are; don’t rush them or pull them from the plant early.
Many growers soak their seeds to encourage germination in either water or a hydrogen peroxide/water mix. This works to clean the seed from any pathogens or mildew and has been said to ward off damping (an early seedling killer). Ensure the seed is rinsed in water several times before moving on. Soaking the seed in water works to soften up the outer casing, signalling the seed it’s time to release all of the stored nutrients and get to cracking! You don’t want to leave your seed underwater though, as roots need oxygen. As soon as the seed cracks, being underwater is no longer fun.
Whether you soak or not, there are several germination methods available to you. You can simply place the seed in your chosen growing medium and keep it moist until it pops, but I like to keep an eye on my seeds more closely. I use the paper towel method-simple and easy.
- Fold over a paper towel and moisten it.
- Place seeds in a fold and place the paper towel on a plate or in a plastic bag. (Keep the bag open, oxygen is needed.)
- Place the bag in a warm, lighted area and in 2-7 days you will have glorious white roots appear.
- Use tweezers to place them into your chosen growing medium.
Hot pepper seeds placed in wet paper towel have begun to germinate
Now you will see the seed pop up through the surface of your growing medium, often with the seed casing still attached. Sometimes you can assist the young plant by gently removing the seed casing to allow the seedling to spread its wings and fly!
The first thing you will notice is the seed leaves spread. These are small, rounded leaves that are called Cotyledon and are not the plant’s real leaves. Once established for a couple days, the first true set of cannabis leaves will emerge above your Cotyledon leaves and your young seedling is well on its way to entering the vegetative growth spurt cycle.
Rounded cotyledon leaves and the beginnings of true cannabis leaves
From seed germination to beginning fast vegetative growth will take several weeks to a month, but things pick up quickly from there, so what are you waiting for? Go pop some seeds!
To learn more about how plants grow and how to care for your plants after its germination phase, check out these articles: