The time for starting seeds for cannabis plants in Northern Ontario is fast approaching once again, Sault Ste. Marie! Starting seeds indoors to be ready for an end-of-May move outdoors is particularly important, as we have such a limited growing season in Canada, especially Northern Ontario. Anyone who is finishing a 10-foot-tall cannabis plant in October, is often starting indoors in early March. While not everyone is looking for such an overwhelming sized plant, starting earlier than later is key for getting a successful yield in Canada.
Cannabis seeds have a much tougher seed casing than an average seed, so soaking them prior to planting is key to soften them up for best germination rates. The same process is common for other tough seeds, like sunflower, cucumber, and speckled pea. I like to soak them in distilled or purified water for 24 hours, and if they are a fresh and viable seed, they will take on water and sink to the bottom. Taking over 48 hours to sink can be signs of an aged or faulty DNA seed, but only as a rule of thumb. Avoid touching the seeds by hand when possible, as the oils from human hands can damage the seed.
After the seeds have sunk to the bottom of the container, they are ready to be removed to avoid waterlogging them and moved between pieces of paper towel. By keeping them in paper towel instead of planting in soil right away, you can see which of the seeds will be aggressive growers, which will be stunted or runted, and plan your best use of sunlight accordingly. I like to put the paper towel into a zip lock bag and hang it up for up to 48 more hours, allowing gravity to pull the taproot straight, for best planting success.
Move the seeds to an inert grow medium (soil) ideally to start, one with very minimal nutrients. When a new seed is born, it is watching life carefully, and modifying how it operates based on the conditions it sees. If a seed sees an environment full of nutrients right away, it assumes it will have an easy life and does not push itself so aggressively, as if it knew it had to hunt nutrients to survive. After a week or so, most cannabis genetics are ready to have their feed schedule started or moved into the organic/living soil mixture.
A south facing sunny window will be necessary to provide enough light for the young plants, or a grow light between 50w and 250w can be purchased quite affordably at local shops, or online as well. These steps are not all 100% critical to follow by the book but are a great place to start if you are looking to give your plants a leg up this grow season. Any further questions, we are always happy to help at Hello Cannabis, 317 Northern Ave!
About the author:
Michael Vandenberg is a Budtender at Hello Cannabis in Sault Ste. Marie and a former ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes) medical grower.