Nature is really quite amazing! Somehow, a little tiny cannabis seed can grow into a mammoth monster bristling with tantalizing THC. I still smile every time I see my young weedlings pop their head into the world and start basking in the light for the first time. So simple yet awe-inspiring as I know it symbolizes the start of a journey towards producing a cornucopia of cannabis.
Marijuana seeds are the founding blocks of your entire grow. It is imperative as a grower to understand what seed traits to look for, where to get top-quality seeds, and how to turn them into a living, breathing (sort of) plant. Then you get to watch as those seeds no bigger than a popcorn kernel grow into an emerald jewel right before your eyes.
Growing weed from seeds is an excellent way to gain a lot of knowledge and experience as you get to know your plants very well from day 1. It also gives you a lot of control being able to grow from seeds because you can buy just about any seed imaginable if you know where to look. However, there is a way to replace this entire seed step through a process called cloning.
Cloning is a more advanced technique that has some nice advantages over using seeds. First of all, it means you can cut 2-3 weeks off your grow because your plant is already somewhat developed. The other, and probably more important reason, is that cloning copies the genetics of the plant you take cuttings from. This means if you have an amazing mother plant, you are going to likewise have amazing clones.
Though cloning is not something I discuss in-depth in this guide because I don’t think it’s as accessible as seeds and I’ve never done it, I wanted to make sure I mentioned it. Many advanced growers do clone regularly and once I have room for a mother, I plan on doing it myself as well. If you want to know a lot more about cloning, I recommend this guide.
Over the past few years of buying seeds, I’ve learned that not all seeds are created equal. When I first started growing, I just Googled “marijuana seeds” and bought from the first seed bank I could. That was a learning experience.
The seeds weren’t germinating half the time and then when I finally got 3 plants to flowering, I find out 2 of them are male (puke!) It broke my heart to have to cut them down; they were just gorgeous.
Now I know what to look for though, and here are the 3 attributes that I really like to pay attention to when I’m getting seeds.
- Genetics – It’s a whole lot easier to make sweet buds with quality genetics rather than bottom-of-the-barrel junk. This means buying from a seed bank is more than likely going to give you better plant genetics than the random guy down the street.
- Feminized – Seeds that are feminized will have an increased likelihood of producing females rather than males (females are what you want for usable green). Some seed banks have a 75-80% female rate while others have a 99%+ rate, though it’s hard to know which ones are more successful without trying them first.
- Strain Info – Another huge mistake I made in my first grow was buying a sativa meant for outdoor grows. The thing was an absolute beast! You should be well aware of how your strain is going to grow before buying the seeds.
Now that I’ve tried 4 seed banks, I’ve gotten a pretty good idea of the range of quality available on the marijuana seed market. Though I’ve never had completely miserable results with any seed bank, I have definitely had better experiences with others. In particular, Buy Dutch Seeds (BDS) is the only seed bank I’ve used for 4 of my last 7 grows and here’s why.
- Germination Rate – I have over 90% success with germinating seeds from BDS. Other seed banks I’ve used had success rates of as low as 50%. In other words, half my order was dead on arrival. Not a wise use of money I thought.
- 100% Females – The other seed banks I used either didn’t have feminized seeds and 1 actually gave me a male in so called feminized seeds. I didn’t pay a premium price for females just to get males still. With BDS, I have gotten only females and I have used them the most so they had the most chances to disappoint.
- Worldwide Shipping – Not all seed banks deliver to the US. BDS delivers in a stealthy package, and they have always gotten to me in about 1 week of buying them.
- Detailed Seed Info – Another very helpful portion of the BDS site is that it offers valuable insight into how the seed will perform as far as size, yield, etc. This allows you to pick the seed you want and make sure it is suitable for indoor grows before you have a jungle on your hands.
Maybe down the road I will try another seed bank to see what other sort of results I can get, but for now I feel like if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. I don’t know if BDS is the absolute best seed bank out there, but I can definitely say it’s the best I’ve worked with.
Once you’ve got seeds in hand and your hydroponics and lights set up, you’ll be ready to start germinating them. Germination is the process of turning a dormant seed into a live growing plant. When the seed is immersed in water, the water will begin to penetrate the outer shell or husk. As the water goes deeper into the seed, it hydrates the nutrient-filled walls and gives the plant a nourishment source for the next few weeks as it makes its way to the surface after planted.
There are many ways to germinate seeds and some will be more successful than others, but here is a method that gives me success almost every time. You’ll need:
- A Mug – Perfect as shield from light and insulator
- Mug Lid/Cover – Prevent light from getting in the top; I use aluminum foil
- Water – The catalyst for germination
- Temperature Control – Temperatures around the mug need to be stable at 70-80 F
Once you have all those things, the process is really very simple.
Fill the mug about halfway with room temperature water. Place the seeds in the water; they should float initially. Place the cover/foil over the mug and place in a stable heat environment (70-80 F).
After about 24 hours, check your seeds and see if they have sunk to the bottom. If they have, this is a signal that the water has penetrated the husk and saturated the inner seed. This is what you want. If your seeds are still floating, try giving them a tap downward and they may sink to the bottom. If not, wait a few hours and try again.
After 48-72 hours of soaking, you should begin to see the taproot coming out of the seed as in the picture above. In the early stages of growth, the taproot is the most important (and only) root the plant has, so be very careful around it. Don’t leave seeds in any longer than 72 hours or you may ruin them altogether. Once the taproot is exposed, the germination process is complete and you can begin planting the seeds.
Once the seeds have their taproots showing, they are ready to be put into their permanent residence in whatever medium you have decided to use. This guide focuses specifically on how I use hydroton, rockwool, and my Bubbleponics setup together to give my seed a hydroponic home it’s sure to thrive in.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get your seed into your system and all ready to start growing. The picture below shows what the plant will look like just a week or so after it sprouts, but I will be adding pictures very soon to better show all of the steps.
- Step 1
Put your seeds into the Rockwool about 1″ deep. You can either cut the Rockwool in half or sometimes they are already cut in half for you. The direction you plant the seed (pointy side up or down) doesn’t really matter I think, but I tend to put pointy side up because it makes more sense to me.
- Step 2
Fill a net pot about 1″ deep with Hydroton pellets. Place your cubes with seeds in them into the net pots on top of the Hydroton.
- Step 3
Connect your water tubing to the Rockwool and make sure that it is getting the Rockwool damp (ie: it’s working).
- Step 4
Once the water is connected and working, fill the net pot the rest of the way with Hydroton to help stabilize the Rockwool and give your plant a stable foundation.
- Step 5
I like to pour just a little bit of water on the Rockwool to get it damp and make sure the seed doesn’t dry. You can also pre-soak the Rockwool cubes to make sure they don’t dry out as well.
1-2 weeks after the seed is planted, you should see it popping out of the Rockwool. Another 2 weeks after that and you will need to start giving your plant nutrients and balancing its pH.
Once you’ve made it this stage with your grow, you’ll be able to start sitting back and relaxing a little. At this point, you have conquered the biggest hurdles of growing marijuana and the rest is mostly just tinkering and testing.
While you wait for your little ones to grow, you should definitely familiarize yourself with the rest of the remaining steps as some of them will apply to all stages of the grow and give you a heads up of what’s to come and what to look out for.
If you have any questions or suggestions, I encourage you to comment below or contact me directly. If I haven’t made it clear enough at this point, I love growing weed and learning from other growers at the same time, so don’t be afraid to say high!
Recommended Seed Bank
Prices: $50 – $250
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