Chapter 19

      Successful growers plant marijuana seeds about a half inch deep and then cover them. Seeds placed in substrates are pushed into the material so that they are totally surrounded. Once the seeds are planted, the medium is watered again to help the seeds settle in place. The direction that the seed faces is not important. Using gravity as a means of sensing proper direction, the seed will direct roots downward and the stem upward.
      Marijuana need not be planted in its final container to start. Even a plant which is destined to be a giant can be started in a 2 inch pot or block. The advantage to starting small is that the plants do not take up unneeded room. However, plants must be given more room soon after germination or they will become root bound, which stunts the plants. Seedlings are transplanted using the same techniques described under cuttings.
      Germination begins when moisture seeps through the seed coat and signals the seed to start growing. Heat regulates the rate of germination and growth until the seedling reaches light.


      The planting medium is kept moist until germination is complete. If the surface of the medium tends to dry out, plastic wrap is placed over it to retain moisture.
      Seedlings have tender root systems which are easily damaged when the medium dries out so the medium is kept moist at all times.


      Marijuana germinates rapidly when the planting medium is kept at an even temperature. Room temperature, about 70 degrees, is best. When the medium is cool, germination slows and the seeds may be attacked by fungi or other organisms. With high temperatures, seedlings grow thin and spindly, especially under low light conditions. This occurs because their growth rate is sped up by the heat, but the seedlings are not photosynthesizing enough sugar for use as building material.


      Once the seedling breaks ground and comes in contact with light, it starts to photosynthesize, thus producing its own food for growth. When the light is dim, the plant stretches to reach it. In the wild the seedling is in competition with other plants which may be shading it. By growing taller it may be able to reach unobstructed light. However, a stretched seedling is weaker than one with a shorter but thicker stem and has a tendency to fall over. Seedlings with ample light grow squat, thick stems. Seedlings can be started in constant bright light of the same intensity that is to be used for their growth cycle.
      Some growers recommend that seeds be germinated in a napkin or on a sponge and then placed into the growing area. This method risks damage to the seedling in many ways; the delicate plant tissues may be damaged by handling or moisture problems, the seedlings are more likely to be attacked by infections and they maybe subject to delays in growth caused by changes in their position in relation to gravity.

DAY 1: Germination. The cotyledon, the first leaves of the plant open, and start photosynthetic food production.

DAY 2 - 3: The first set of true leaves appear.

DAY 3 - 5: A second set of leaves has opened and the third and fourth sets have opened. Vigorous growth is about to begin.


      Many growers populate their gardens with cuttings rather than seeds. Cuttings have several advantages over seeds. These are discussed in Chapter 23, Clones. Transplanting cuttings is very easy.
      Cuttings which have been rooted in a substrate such as floral foam, Jiffy rooting cubes or rockwool are easily placed in a larger rooting area. If the cuttings are being transferred to another substrate, the small block with the rooted cutting can be placed firmly on top of the larger substrate. Growers rub the two blocks together so that there is firm contact between the two materials. The roots will grow directly from the smaller block into the larger one.
      Growers report that it is also easy to transplant substrate rooted cuttings into a soil or soil-less medium. The cutting is not held by the leaf or stem, because the pull of the heavy block may injure the stem or tear the roots. Instead, the block is held and placed in a partially filled container. After placing the block in the container, mix is placed around it so that the block is totally covered. The medium is tapped down firmly enough so that it is well packed but not tight or compacted.
      When transplanting plants grown in degradable containers such as peat pots or Jiffy cubes, growers report best results when the containers are cut in several places. This assures an easy exit for the roots.
      Cuttings growing in individual containers are transplanted before they are root-bound. First, the rootball is knocked from the container. To do this, growers turn the plant upside down so that the top of the soil is resting between the index and middle finger of one hand with the stem of the plant sticking through the fingers. The container is held in the other hand and knocked against a hard surface such as a table. The rootball is jarred loose from the old container and rests in the gardenerís hand. The rootball is placed in a larger container partially filled with mix. Then mix is added to bring the medium to within a half inch of the top of the pot. When plants have a long bare stem, growers sometimes place the plant deeply in the container, burying part of the stem.

      Paper cups are sometimes used as containers. They are carefully opened using a utility knife or scissors. Rootballs sticking to styrofoam cups sometimes release if the cup is rolled tightly between two palms before knocking. If the rootball still sticks, the cup is cut open.
      Once the rootball is out it is placed in a container partially filled with medium. More medium is added packed firmly around the rootball, until the top is covered.
      Transplants sometimes take a few days to adjust. Then their growth spurts with renewed vigor.

Step By Step

  1. Seeds are usually planted one half inch deep and covered.

  2. Growers often start seeds in small containers. They are transplanted as they grow. This way small plants do not waste unused space.

  3. Seeds are kept moist at 70 (degrees) to encourage fast germination.

  4. Growers transplant cuttings easily by placing the the rootball in a partially filled container. Then planting medium is added until the ball is completely covered.


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