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How To Start Cannabis Seeds For Your Grow

Video #1 is principle based and discussing seed starting.

Video #2 is me actually sowing seeds with my Go Pro on.

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September 08, 2020

What’s So Cool About Super Soil? The Super Soil Recipe Breakdown.

If you have been reading about cultivating indoors with organic soil then you’ve heard of SubCool’s Super Soil. I admit to starting with this mix and thought I was really doing something special when I first went for it. I bought all the stuff and was really excited to use it.

My results were actually pretty good, but I’ve since moved on I think you should too.

Besides the “base soil” being purchased instead of made from scratch, I have many other issues. All in all this taking bagged soil and adding worm castings and nutrients isn’t a bad idea, but it can be improved upon and money can be saved.

How to Start Seeds in Peat Moss or Potting Soil

Starting seeds in containers with peat moss or other appropriate medium will allow you to start the growing season early and offers you greater control over the germination and seedling environment. Selecting and preparing the containers and medium for sowing the seeds is very important and greatly influences the degree of success you will have with sprouting and young plant development. The ideal germination medium should offer a fine texture, excellent drainage, good aeration and low fertility. It will also not contain weed seeds, pests or disease pathogens.

Select and disinfect, if necessary, a flat or other shallow containers that offer plenty of drainage holes. New, never-used containers are typically sterile, but previously-used trays or pots could contain debris that is hosting pathogens or pests. Wash all debris off of the containers and immerse the container in a solution that contains 10 percent bleach for five minutes. Let the container air dry before using it.

Choose or prepare an appropriate germination medium. Sphagnum peat moss alone can be used to start seeds or you can blend it with vermiculite, sand or perlite. Potting soil or loamy garden soil by itself is often too heavy for seed starting, but a mixture of two parts soil, one part peat moss and two parts sand or vermiculite is acceptable, especially for large seeds. Use only sterilized potting soil to avoid problems with diseases, pests and weeds or sterilize soil prior to using it by placing damp soil no more than 4 inches deep in an oven-safe container covered with aluminum foil and heating it to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep it at that temperature for 30 minutes, then let it cool and keep it covered until you are ready to use it.

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Fill the flat or other sterile containers most of the way with the chosen or prepared germinating medium. Gently firm the medium down as you place it in the container and fill the container to about an inch from its top.

Moisten the germinating medium thoroughly and evenly. Wet the medium enough so that excess water begins to exit from the container’s drain holes.

Sprinkle the seeds over the surface of the prepared medium or press them lightly into its surface. Recommended spacing between seeds varies depending on the plant species. In general, sowing seeds about an inch apart in rows about 2 inches apart is often acceptable. Thinning later can address any overcrowding.

Cover the seeds lightly with germinating medium. The appropriate amount of medium to apply varies between seeds. Do not cover very fine seeds like petunia with any medium. Otherwise, as a general rule, cover seeds with an amount of medium equal to about two times their diameter.

Mist the newly-planted seeds lightly but thoroughly. Cover the container with a clear glass or plastic lid or enclose it in a bag to maintain a high level of humidity around the seeds. Mist the surface of the medium as needed so that it remains constantly moist but not wet.

Place the container with the germinating medium and seeds in a warm spot that receives bright, indirect light. Most seeds germinate best when temperatures remain between about 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Starting Seeds Indoors
  • The University of Arizona Master Gardener Manual Reference: Starting Seeds
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Starting Seeds Indoors
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Starting Plants from Seeds

Angela Ryczkowski is a professional writer who has served as a greenhouse manager and certified wildland firefighter. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in urban and regional studies.

How can you prevent weed seeds from germinating in your garden?

Cover crops differ from ‘regular’ crops in that they are grown solely so the soil is covered, rather than for harvestable things. Cover crops are used by lots of folks – grain farmers, vegetable farmers, flower farmers, and they offer lots of soil benefits, as described in this blog. But they can also help control weeds! Let’s explore how.

First, let’s think about the life of a weed seed. Better yet, let’s pretend we are a weed seed trying to grow in your garden. We’ll start sitting in or on the soil. One of the biggest threats to a seed is something most people don’t normally think about: getting eaten. Mice, crickets, beetles, ants, birds (including chickens) – these things all love to eat the seeds sitting in the soil. Often the seed-eaters are themselves constantly in danger of getting eaten. A cover crop provides protection for seed-eaters. It’s harder for a hawk to see a juicy mouse running along the ground if there’s a cover crop. The mice protected by the cover crop will eat a lot more seeds.

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Pretend you, the weed seed, didn’t get eaten. It’s time to think about germinating. But you, the weed seed, can only germinate if you get the right ‘cues’. Weed seeds are incredibly smart. A lot of weed seeds will only germinate when they sense ‘pure light’. Light changes as it passes through green leaves. Weeds don’t want competition, so they will wait until there are no other living plants around before they germinate. So, what if you planted a cover crop? The cover crop, alive or dead, is blocking that pure light from hitting the soil, where you and your weed seed friends live. You might never get the cue to germinate.

Another cue seeds look for is large swings in temperature. If the soil gets really warm during the day, then cools back down at night, this is a cue there isn’t anything trying to compete with it. Under a cover crop, the soil is shaded during the warm parts of the day, so the temperature swings are much less drastic. You might sit there waiting for a cue for a long time. But the longer you sit there, the higher the chance you’ll get eaten by one of the seed-eaters.

Let’s say you managed to get all the cues you needed to germinate. Congratulations, you are a weed seedling! But your fight is just beginning. The cover crop is hogging a lot of the things you need – light, water, nutrients – it’s stealing resources. And the cover crop is bigger than you, you’ll most likely just get the ‘leftovers’. The cover crop is making your life hard, so you are not going to flourish. And again, there is the threat of being eaten. Mammals love to eat tender little seedlings, and again they love to hang out under the protection of the cover crop, so your chances of survival aren’t great.

As you can see, using a cover crop can make the life of a garden weed much more difficult. In fact, many community gardens plant cover crops in plots that don’t have an owner, just to prevent weeds from taking over. To recap, cover crops can prevent weeds by:

  • Providing protection for seed-eaters
  • Preventing weed seeds from germinating
  • Competing with weeds for resources
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Are you sold? Here are three ways you can start integrating cover crops into your garden.

1. Fall-planting

A simple way to get started is to plant a winter rye cover crop in the fall (October/November) as you put the garden to bed. Many gardening seed companies offer winter rye seeds. It’s a hardy plant that survives most winters if it gets to be one soda can tall before winter truly sets in. It also puts a satisfying ‘green’ in the garden during months that can feel dreary.

2. Spring-planting

If you are reading this in December, you might think you’ve missed your cover-cropping chance. You’re wrong! You can plant an early-season cover crop such as oats and hairy vetch as early as March. Good garden areas for these include places destined for crops you’ll transplant in the summer (pumpkins, eggplants, tomatoes), or pathways you want to keep from getting weedy.

3. Summer-planting

If it gets to summer and you find you have some empty space, buckwheat is an excellent summer cover crop. It grows quickly, bees love the flowers, and is easy to kill by mowing or pulling.

For all cover crops, you need to make sure the cover crop is dead before you plant your harvesting crop. Some cover crops will die if you mow them, but others need to be pulled (you can place the pulled plants back on the ground to keep it covered), crimped (imagine stomping on the plants to break their stems), or tilled. If the cover crop is still alive, it will compete with the main crop for nutrients and light, which you don’t want.

Some other common cover crops are clovers, peas, tillage radish, mustards, barley, wheat, and Sudan grass. Many gardening companies also offer seed mixes. Once you start using cover crops you might find they are just as exciting as the food-producing plants in your garden. As a rule of thumb if you see bare soil you might have an opportunity to use a cover crop, the quiet weed fighter. Happy cover cropping!

Answered by Gina Nichols, Iowa State University

Please visit our Seed Week webpage for more information.

Read the other blogs in our seed series!

About us: This blog is sponsored and written by members of the American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America. Our members are researchers and trained, certified, professionals in the areas of growing our world’s food supply while protecting our environment. We work at universities, government research facilities, and private businesses across the United States and the world.