Alright then, popping old seeds is the name of the game today. Popping seeds simply means sprouting seeds, or germinating them. I have mentioned some of these tactics in past germinating articles, but I wanted to make sure there was an up-to-date article here. Lots of good stuff to go over, whew.
It always surprises me how many of you out there have troubles with sprouting cannabis seeds. These guidelines today apply to any cannabis seeds really, but especially focused upon older, perhaps very potentially valuable cannabis seeds. I have popped 25-year-old Mexican seeds in the past, as well as 20-year-old Hashplant seeds, to name a couple of several. Follow my lead here and you’ll be good.
The key to my canna crossword puzzle from last week’s article, Cool Cannabis Growing Tools – Skunk Magazine, lies at the end of this article. If you want to try it first, just use that link in this paragraph, and scroll to the bottom of that article. It’s just a cool little cannabis-based crossword puzzle you might enjoy. Let’s rock and/or roll with today’s article…
What Not to Do When Sprouting Cannabis Seeds
As long as your cherished seeds have been organically grown, and stored halfway decently, you should be able to get some to sprout; even after a decade or two. The big enemies to your seeds’ viability over time are heat, and moisture; along with intense light. Sealed up all light-tight and air-tight is the way to store seeds correctly. In the refrigerator is great, but in the freezer, they will last even longer. Seeds produced using synthetic growing nutrients don’t stay viable more than a few years max; no matter how they’re stored.
Never use any kind of humidity dome when sprouting cannabis seeds, yikes! Never seal off germinating seeds from full air exposure. I don’t recommend soaking your seeds in water overnight. Not a huge thing either way probably, but it’s bottom line, not natural.
Don’t ever add anything to your water when germinating your seeds. Nothing! Specially something like bleach! Yes, I have heard of that. No nutrients (or vitamins etc.) should be used for at least the first two weeks they are above ground. Now, you know the bad things, let’s see how we do the good things.
Fundamentals for Popping Old Seeds
The Proper Water, Temperature Modifications, and Air Exposure
- Water: Bottled spring-water, or good quality groundwater, no chlorine. Do not use rain, distilled, or reverse osmosis filtered water.
- Heating: Use a seedling heating mat, absolutely. Always have an insulating layer between the mat itself and the germinating seeds. These mats can make all the difference when popping old seeds, so use them. Excellent ambient temperatures for popping old seeds are right around 80 degrees. Even 90 works well, you just must watch out for seeds drying out (very) fast.
- Air Exposure: It is super important to have both some air exchange, and some air movement, where you’re sprouting cannabis seeds. Never place fans aimed at, or located very close to, your germinating cannabis seeds. Something like an oscillating fan across the room is good. Too much airflow will hyper-evaporate the moisture.
Popping Old Seeds Using Straight-Up Living Soil
This is my preferred method for sprouting any seeds really. Living soil is what the roots will be looking for right out of the gate. The relationships between the plant roots and the microlife begins at once. Your choice of soil here is simple really. Use good quality soil—duh. Ocean Forest is great to use here by Fox Farm. Any G&B brand potting soil is fantastic. Avoid outdoor soil-mixes, or ones that are uber high in peat moss ratios, or that have added fertilizers. My sprouting blend is basically 3-parts Ocean Forest to 1-part earthworm castings. But straight up bagged soil is all good.
Use 3.5-to-4-inch containers here. Fill these containers with soil at least 24 hours before planting seeds in them. Water them well. This allows the soil in these containers to reach a certain level of equilibrium, as far as the microlife, before the seeds/roots enter the realm.
Just make a ½ to ¾ inch deep divot/dent in the top of the soil in each container. Place the seeds in the center of the divots, put about a tablespoon of soil on top of each seed, and press down on top lightly. Water lightly/quickly with a mister on top. Use bottled spring-water or good quality groundwater. Use a catch-tray between the pots and the heating mat. Give it a week or two with older seeds.
Popping Old Seeds Using Paper Towels
I know this is the favorite methodology for many of you, and I totally get it. I used to do it this way for decades man, and it works almost as awesome as straight into living soil. The real keys to this method, especially when popping older seeds, are using spring-water, a seedling heating mat, and three paper towels. You absolutely want a sort of catch tray here under the paper towel, and I like glass baking dishes for this myself. It’s also semi-insulating for the heat mat as well.
Just roll up the 3 paper towels, and fold in half, as shown in the photo above. Then, pour some spring-water on the paper towel, until it is soaked and about ½ inch of spring-water is in the bottom of the catch container. Place seeds in the middle and just fold the top over them. Keep them watered well, and whenever you water make sure and leave about ¼ inch of water in the catch container/tray.
To check on them just gently lift up the top half. Make sure there is no intense light that will shine on the roots. Place your germinating seeds on top of a seedling heating mat. The elevation above any water level in the tray will keep them in primo moisture levels and warmth. Make sure there is air moving around them, gently is fine, but there must be some.
As soon as you see roots more than ½ inch in length it’s time to place them into containers. Do as above with your containers and let them sit out watered for at least 24 hours first. Place them carefully root-down and gently cover with some soil. Water a bit on top with a mister, and you should be all good. Keep these super young plants in warmth and air circulation.
Afterword, the Synopsis
Here’s the really important things you need to pay attention to in order to successfully pop old seeds. You need to understand that if they dry out during the process, even once, even a bit, it’s game over. Keep in mind that a 3.5- or 4-inch pot takes about 4 ounces of water to be fully watered. Always try and maintain a little water level in the catch container/tray during germination.
Air, is huge! Cutting off fresh air or air circulation is a red-carpet invitation to mold. Like when you use a humidity dome. No domes, no coverings, zero! The warmer your sprouting zone is the faster the water will disappear, so be aware of that. Popping old seeds is mostly about added heat, and strong fundamentals.
Okay then my esteemed homeskillets. Pay a visit over at Kingdom Organic Seeds – True Living Organically Grown, and check out a pack of Chunky Cherry Thai. Fast becoming one of my favs! Also, the Fat Tuesday will be back in about 40 days, yay! Get some good genetics so your gardens will be rewarding in a big way. L8r G8rs…
- REv 😊
Rev’s Crossword Puzzle Answers to Last Week’s Puzzle
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.