Guaranteed Weed Germination and Planting

Amazing little weed seedling, grown after reading my guaranteed weed germination and planting guide.

Weed germination and planting from seed can be very frustrating at times, as seedlings are very temperamental. If you don’t do it just right, they can shrivel up and die within a day, or fail to root completely. Keeping the seedling nice and moist, but not over watering the soil is a hard balance. There are cool tools which can help us on our seedling growing journey though, which work well.

The above pictures are beautiful examples of prime seedling growth. The picture on the left is great, the seed’s shell is still hanging off the leaf, after it has busted open and grown a stem and leaves. I love seeing that, it’s a cute sight and lets you know that the plant is more or less safe. After it gets to that point, it’s easy cruising.

So, let’s start off with actually germinating the seedling. You want a nice taproot, maybe around a quarter to half an inch, before you plant anything into the ground. This will ensure that all the systems are primed before you plant, giving a higher chance of coming through.

Germination

  1. Place seedlings in a cup of lukewarm water. This step is going to get the seeds saturated with water. You just drop them in, and I like to poke at them repeatedly until they go under the water. Around half of the seeds will stay at the bottom, just come back later and play with it some more, until all the seeds are submersed.

    Make sure the water is filtered, you don’t want the seeds sitting in chlorine for any period of time. Put the cup into a dark, warmish place, and leave it there for around 24-36 hours.

  2. Now that the seeds are filled with water, we can proceed onto getting the root started. For this process, I like to use a container, lined with a wet piece of paper towel. I find this the best technique, because the container keeps all the moisture inside, and so you never run the risk of drying out. Especially if the seeds are in a warmer place, as they should be, drying out is an issue. The container keeps everything sealed up, so it’s perfect.

    For the paper towel, don’t over-do the wetness. It should be moist, but when you lift it up, no water should be dripping off freely. Too much water at this stage would only slow the growth of your root. At the same time though, don’t wring all the water out of it, just make it damp not wet.

    Once you place the seeds in the container, lay the paper towel on top, creating a wet blanket for the seeds. Come back and check on it every day, see how it’s going

  3. In no more than two days, you should see your first little tap roots growing. I usually don’t need to add too much water to the paper towel, although sometimes, I will add a few more drops to keep things moist. Wait until the roots are quarter to half inch long, and then you’re ready to plant them in the soil.

  4. For planting, I like to use the little red solo cups. They are easy to take the entire chunk of dirt out of for clean transplantation, they are cheap, and plentiful. Put a decent amount of soil in there, and then pluck your pinkie in the dirt, creating a shallow hole. I like to make it no more than three quarters of an inch. It’s really only necessary to more or less get the seed submersed in soil.

    Make sure not to compact the dirt onto the seed, as then it might break the sensitive root, or make it really hard for further development to squeeze through. Keep the top layer light.

Caring for a Seedling

At this point, you need to keep a really high humidity level by the seedling. These little things grow best at around 70% humidity, and that’s really really hard to maintain in a tent moving 200 cubic feet of air a minute. To get around this, I like to use domes; just spray the inside, and place it over the seedling.

This will ensure that the inside is always moist, without having to actually water the plant. Don’t over water! You may feel the need to baby these things by constantly spraying them, but that’s not going to do you any good. Keeping the ground wet will prevent root growth. Roots need an incentive to look for water, so if you keep it abundant, there will be no reason for the little thing to continue.

This will essentially kill the seedling, as it will stay stagnant while it should be establishing a root system and making baby leaves, and will run out of energy. So, when it comes to humidity, keep the topside environment very moist – with the dome technique – while keeping the underside soil environment relatively dry.

If you have the right tools, it’s not really that hard, but I need to stress the dome approach. For me, getting the seedlings through the first two weeks was often a nightmare. After I adopted the dome approach, my survival rate is way up. The underside of water bottles is a good choice, anything that’s clear and keep the humidity in. Don’t forget, seedlings still do need fresh air, so make sure there are a few little holes in the dome.

Keep the dome going for a week or two, until the little seedling isn’t so little anymore. Once it gets to a few inches in height, you can relax and be pretty sure that it’s going to survive. It’s at this point that I start adding a little bit of nutrients, to get that growth going.

Propagators

If you’re going to be popping a lot of seeds quite often, and you want a good solution for high survival and flexibility, a propogator might be a good choice. It’s essentially a tray which has many holes in it, each one for a seed. The whole thing is domed, and has adjustable breathing holes, so you have full control over the seed environment.

Some of the really nice ones have heating mats, as seedlings do like a nice warm environment to grow in. They are quite nice, and I do recommend them. Think about it, if you’re buying 5 seeds for $50, let’s say, and this thing increases your survival rate by even 20%, that’s at least $10 saved every growing cycle. After 4, you’ve already paid off the cost of this contraption, and that’s a worst case scenario.

If you’re popping 20 seeds, I bet you propagators thing will save you at least a couple per grow. Anyways, take a look at my prime propagator purchase guide, to get my opinion on some of the best propagators on the market.

Best weed germination and planting takes place in grow domes.

12 Cell Seedling Starter Tray

I think it’s absolutely necessary to employ a propagator, especially in a tent. With the blower fan, all the humidity gets sucked out so quick, even if you have a humidifier. I’ve had all my seeds die multiple times from lack of moisture in the air. If you bought 5 seeds for $60 or so, that’s a big loss! Ever since I got my propagator though, my survival rate has went up to 80% at least, from seed to seedling. That’s an amazing rate which can only be attained with a nice little propagator like this one. Instead of losing $60 every few months, it’s very worthwhile to drop $20 on this once.

How Much Light?

For seedlings, you really don’t need too much light. I think it would be overkill to use your 600W HID to grow some seedlings, for example, although I have done it before. If you want to save a bit of energy, be a bit more practical, you can try CFL bulbs, or T5 lights. These will produce enough light to encourage the seedling to grow, but won’t be overkill.

Seedlings will show you when there isn’t enough light, mind you. A good sign is if the stems are getting really tall and lanky, and the entire thing starts leaning to the side, ready to fall. This means that the little plant is desperately growing as fast as possible to seek out light. This is not good, and so if you’re seeing these symptoms, increase the light for sure.

This picture is a pretty good example of not enough light. The desk lamp is not cutting it for these little guys it seems, as they stretch to get more photons. Although they might survive, the growth will be slowed down dramatically, and also they might just fall right over. At this point, you could try bringing the light closer, adding more, or getting out the bigger guns. 

Conclusion to Weed Germination and Planting

I think misunderstanding the process of germination and planting has been the most costly mistake I have made while growing. I’ve probably lost $300 in seeds from just not knowing how to perform Weed germination and planting correctly. I hope that through this article, you have gained a little bit of insight into how to do it right.

Like I said, if you get to the point where 80% of your seeds are surviving through to the actual seedling phase, you’re doing good. I started off getting 40-50% survival rate, which is quite horrible to be honest. If you follow these steps closely though, you should be able to start off a lot stronger than I did.

I wish the best on your growing adventures, thanks for reading!

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