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Germination is the first stage of the cannabis growth cycle : the process that brings a cannabis seed out of its hibernation period and starts the cannabis growth process. After all, seeds in a bag don’t spontaneously start developing roots. Also known as “popping” seeds, seed germination begins when a seed receives environmental cues letting it know the setting is perfect to start growth.
The paper towel method is also a common way cultivators pop their seeds. Some even use this method with cotton pads instead of paper towels, but the necessary steps are the same.
What is germination?
Use a spray bottle to moisten the paper towels and then store the cushioned seeds between two plates, under a face-down bowl, or gently place them in a plastic bag. Maintain a temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping the paper towel wrapped seeds in the dark and away from a windowsill. In two to five days, the seeds will pop inside the paper towel sandwich and emit tiny roots, ready to plant when they reach about five millimeters in length.
Germination itself is a crucial aspect of cannabis cultivation. The seed germination process is the foundation of every marijuana plant, and steps can be taken to boost successful popping. For example, some cultivators improve germination attempts by soaking seeds in 1% hydrogen peroxide or a compost tea for 12 hours beforehand to kill any dangerous pests.
The paper towel method also has its risk, as the fragile seedlings can be damaged during the potting process. The tiny roots can also get tangled in the paper towels, so make sure to move the seeds to potting soil before roots grow too long. Use your hands or tweezers to gently remove each seed from the paper towels and place them in a prepared growing medium.
If you don’t have paper towels handy, any sturdy paper product can work. Coffee filters make an excellent substitute, for example.
When you are starting your first garden, the whole process of germinating seeds can seem like a mystery. Do you need to start them indoors? Can they germinate directly in the soil? Can you plant seeds without germinating?
If you want to germinate seeds directly into your soil, there are a few steps you should take and a few caveats you should be aware of.
2. Use a Paper Towel
Many seed starting kits offer a lid to help trap moisture inside the container. When you are sowing directly into a pot or garden, one thing you can do to help the soil retain moisture is using plastic sheeting to cover the bed during the germination process.
Both of these factors can lead to slower germination. Don’t stress out if you don’t see seedlings popping up right away, just be patient!
Best of all, the peat pellets transfer right along with the seedling so you don’t have to worry about damaging the sprout when you move it.
You may want to ammend your soil to make sure it has all of the nutrients your seedling will need to thrive. The best way to know what your soil needs is to test it.