So, if you have gotten this far, chances are you may have purchased or want to know how best to pop or start seeds and help them on their way to becoming full plants. It is really very simple. Make sure before you begin this process your air pots are ready, filled with the soil mixture I gave you earlier and that they are waiting to accept the seeds you germinate, because once the pop from their shells (germinate) you will need to put them into their 7-gallon air pots right away! You can spray a few burst of water from a spray bottle and afterwards release a few predator bugs in each pot once you are ready. Remember – predator’s equal insurance!
To begin. You want to make sure you have some nice clean water on hand. I actually just use well water, but I know my Ph is perfect for growing – 6.5 – and so yours should too be perfect and between Ph 6.5 to 6.8. I advise against using tap water. The chemicals used to treat the water have an adverse effect on seed pods and they might not even pop if there is a lot of chlorine used in your potable water supplied by your water company. I’d simply use distilled water, which is easy to get in a hardware or grocery store. If you are stuck using tap water, let it stand for two days so the chemicals gas off before starting any of this.
I use big glass trays to start seeds (because I grow a lot and the trays are useful for other purposes when growing), but you may use a dinner or desert plate.
I begin by soaking the seeds overnight. I count out how many seeds I want to germinate beforehand and place them into a cup of room temperature water. Over this I normally jam in a balled-up paper towel to force all the seeds down under the water’s surface.
You don’t need to rush the next day. After breakfast and after soaking for about 12 hours, remove the paper towel from the cup and drain the seeds into a simple coffee filter (if you have one) or a small clean towel or cheesecloth. Take the wetted seeds and place them on a pre-wetted paper towel placed on the bottom of a plate or glass tray. Once the wetted seeds are placed on the wetted paper in the tray or plate, put another wetted paper towel over them and place the tray and seeds in a warm dark area (I use a cupboard) between 70-75 degrees. Some recommend putting a warming pad under the tray but I have not experienced better germination rates from any seed doing this and in fact you don’t want to overheat the seeds.
Leave the seeds in the dark cupboard or shelf area for at least two days. Check frequently to make sure the paper towel does not dry out. Make sure you use clean water. Many of my genetics pop after staying in the tray only for 24 hours, so you should check at least 24 hours after putting them into the tray in the dark. Do not soak the seeds. Do not let the paper towels dry out either. Just keep the paper towels wetted.
After two days, and for as many as seven days if you have a stubborn seed, you will see seeds start to pop from their shells and a small tap root will emerge from each. Congratulations! They are now ready to plant! Now comes the only tricky part in the process.
Take the sprouted seeds and proceed to your grow or tent where the pots filled with earth are waiting. Use a pencil to push into the soil in the middle of the top and create a small hole big enough to just drop each seed into each hole tap root tail first. If you want you can use tweezers or wet a Q-tip (use a Q-tip and dab up a seedling and gently place it tap root facing down into the hole). Don’t cover the seedling up with soil. It is not necessary and it doesn’t need this. It now needs water and light. The first thing to do is water around the seedling using just fresh water. Do not water the seedling directly. No nutrients need be added to the fresh water at this point either. Any light given to the plants can be ambient room lighting with only a minimum amount of supplemental lighting. I start my plants on a mostly blue weighted spectrum after the first 5 days. I feed their first feeding at ½ normal strength 3 days after they sprout. Again, I do not water the seedling directly. You won’t actually do this until the plants are at least 6 or 7 inches tall and even then, you should not spray them directly. Just use a spray bottle to soak the soil adjacent to the seedling at the beginning.
Inside a week, you will begin to see a lot of vegetative growth in the plant. Remember, Autoflowers will force flowers very quickly, so you want to force as much vegetative growth out of the plant as you can without stressing it. I adapt and bring the plants into full light (no UVB) after the first week sticking to a mostly ambient lighting in the room and vegetative blue spectrum on my 550s (blue at 70 – red at thirty) and adjust it to 50/50 in week four and then 60/40 in week five to week 7 and then pop on the UVB as you finish the remainder of your flower cycle over the next few weeks.
You will want to veg the seedlings with lights on for 18 hours a day up until week 7 as well and then cut back the light back to 14 hours on, ten hours off and lower temps during lights off times (make sure to keep that humidity low, use that UVB for the last three weeks and try wilt stressing your plants). This has worked well for me with nearly very Auto I work with. No mold or mildew, just nice tight resinous premium grown Cannabis buds. Follow my instructions exactly and you won’t fail.
Good luck with your grow!