Starting Marijuana Seeds Right
by Ed Rosenthal
Seeds are the distillation of the plant’s essence. They contain the blueprint for life, which they hold in storage until they sense environmental conditions that favor survival of a new plant.
Once they’ve made contact with the requisite amount of moisture and proper range of warmth, seeds start the process of germination. A cascade of chemical reactions results in a rapid groeth of the embryo plant, which has been kept in suspended animation.
Marijuana seeds germinate best at room temperature, aroun 72 F, in a consistently moist environment. The first visible sign that a seed is in germination mode is that it increases in size slightly as it absorbs water. Then a small opening appears along the seed’s seam as the root emerges. The root continues to elongate as the stem makes its appearance. It stretches out in the opposite direction of the root and uncurls, revealing two embryonic leaves called cotyledons. The seed case is now an empty shell, and its remnants may hang onto one of the cotyledons until blown or rubbed off. Only a day or so elapses between the first sight of the root and the appearance of the first set of seeding leaves.
Once the root has appeared, germination is complete. In its first phase of growth, the seedling used energy stored in the seed for fuel, but now it must produce its own food as its roots seek moisture and nutrients. It does this through photosynthesis. The root grows longer and extends branches while the first set of true leaves emerge at the tip or apex of the stem, which is called the apical tip.
Healthy germination is an auspicious start for a successful plant. Again, when the plant’s needs are met, the seedling will grow and prosper. Growers use different methods of germinating seed.
The main problem that people encounter when germinating is stretchy seedlings. This is an indication of insufficient light intensity. To encourage strong, stout stems that don’t stretch, seedlings must be provided with intense light from the start – a minimum of 40-60 watts per square foot. When handled properly, quality seeds should be sprouting in no time.