How Deep Do You Plant Marijuana Seeds

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Farm. Food. Life. Curious how to plant weed seeds after germination? Planting cannabis seeds isn’t that difficult if you use our Step-by-Step guide for beginners! We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know. If you love City Paper , get it every day in our newsletter. Hopefully all of you aspiring growers have been able to get your seeds

How to Grow Cannabis In Your Garden

With weed well on its way to being legal, it’s high time we talk about how to grow the stuff in your garden.

With weed well on its way to being legal, it’s high time we talk about how to grow the stuff in your garden.

The federal government still considers it a crime to grow or possess cannabis, but 30 states have now legalized it to varying degrees. Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Nevada, Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts have decriminalized weed for recreational use, and similar legislation is under consideration elsewhere. Pardon the pun, but it is high time we talk about how to grow the stuff.

The old-fashioned way – outdoors – is easiest. The trend towards indoor cultivation is more a product of, one, a desire to hide what you’re doing (no longer necessary in many locales); and two, to exert total control over growing conditions for the sake of producing enormous buds with maximum market value. But if your sole goal is just to have a bit of decent weed around to occasionally enjoy, you may as well plant it alongside your zucchini and basil.

Growing a successful cannabis crop is a bit more complicated than your average vegetable, but not much. Before you get carried away, familiarize yourself with your local laws – NORML provides a comprehensive list here . Horticulturally speaking, here’s what you need to know.

Varieties

Plenty of mail-order firms have sprung up to fill the demand for legal plant material. There are thousands of varieties, with all the trippy descriptions you would expect. If you want a cerebral high and non-skunky citrus flavor, there is a breed for that; if you want something that is good for anxiety, low in THC, and grows less than 3 feet tall, you can find that too.

Most importantly, purchase seeds for varieties suited to outdoor conditions, rather than those bred for indoor grow operations. Any reputable supplier will specify that information in their varietal listings. Most will also note mold-resistant varieties, which are a wise choice in humid regions, as well as those with a “short flowering period,” an important consideration in northerly latitudes (this is akin to the “days to maturity” listed on packets of vegetable seed).

Understanding Male and Female Plants

Cannabis is one of many species in the plant kingdom that produce male and female flowers on separate plants. Females produce fat flower “buds” rich in psychoactive compounds, while male plants produce spindly little flowers that aren’t worth smoking (or however you choose to partake).

When you plant cannabis seeds, you typically end up with about half male plants and half female plants. It is imperative to get rid of the males before the plants begin to flower, as the male pollen will result in female buds that are full of seeds, which is no good. It’s not that hard to determine the sex of cannabis seedlings – you can find instructions here – and cull the males.

But it can be even easier! How? Look for varieties labeled “feminized.” These are seeds that have been bred to produce only female plants and are highly recommended for novice cannabis gardeners.

Another option is to purchase “clones,” which are rooted cuttings of female plants. This is essentially like buying vegetable seedlings, rather than seeds, which saves you the time and effort required for germination, along with the trouble of weeding out the males.

Starting Seeds

Weed seeds require no special treatment, though they’ll germinate faster if you soak them in water for a few days before planting. As with tomatoes and other heat-loving vegetables, you’re better off starting the seed indoors in a sunny window in early spring, and then transplanting the seedlings outdoors once all danger of frost has passed.

Growing Conditions

To do well, cannabis plants require a minimum of six hours of direct sun each day and excellent drainage. They’ll do fine in a typical raised bed like you’d use for vegetables, though five-gallon pots filled with potting soil also work well for pot (hard to resist the punny wordplay!). Good air circulation is critical for preventing fungal diseases, so space the plants at least six feet apart (closer is ok for dwarf varieties) to ensure that they don’t resemble a dense hedge by the end of summer.

Cannabis plants love their nutrients, so plan to enrich the beds with composted manure, ideally at least one month prior to planting, if not the previous fall. Spread a minimum of 2 inches of compost over the planting area and work it into the soil. If planting in pots, you can rely on fertilizer, rather than compost.

Feeding and Watering

This crop is also a thirsty one, so be sure to irrigate whenever the surface of the soil becomes dry. Adding a layer of mulch once the plants are knee-high will cut back on the loss of soil moisture through evaporation and help to prevent other “weeds” from getting established in your weed planting.

If your beds are sufficiently rich, fertilizer is not required, though it will lead to better results (it’s a must for potted plants). Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer every three weeks until mid-summer, as this will stimulate abundant vegetative growth. Then switch to one higher in phosphorus to stimulate dense and abundant flowers (buds).

Pruning

Depending on the variety, outdoor plants can grow 12 feet or more in height. Most growers prune them, which makes the plants easier to manage and results in far more buds. Professional growers have perfected pruning to a fine art for the sake of maximizing yield, but for the casual grower is sufficient to cut back the most vigorous shoots from time to time. Simply clip off the outer 30 percent of each major shoot every few weeks.

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Pruning encourages a bushier form (rather than a tall, spindly plant) by stimulating the growth of numerous small side shoots, each of which will produce additional buds. Just be sure to stop pruning by mid-summer, so as not to interfere with flower production.

Harvest

Buds will begin to form in late summer and should be ready for harvest during the month of October. You’ll know they are ready when the flower pistils – those wispy hairs that emanate from the buds – turn from white to reddish-brown.

Cut the buds from the plants, leaving 6 or 8 inches of stem below each one, and trim off all the leaves. Hang them from their stems to dry in a warm, shaded place for about a week. The weed is now ready to use. Trim the buds from the stem and store in a glass jar.

How to Plant Weed Seeds After Gemination?

You have finished germinating your weed seeds, and it is now time to begin planting them. Planting weed seeds involves moving a seedling from a paper towel or small container to a larger pot. There are a few items you will need and tips to keep in mind.

Some people intend to grow cannabis plants indoors, and others want to do it outside. Below is a guide on how to plant weed seeds, which works for both methods. Follow these easy steps, and you will end up with quality cannabis plants.

What Do You Need for Planting Marijuana Seeds?

Some seeds may be tricky to plant and grow, but you do not need much regarding cannabis seeds. You will notice that many of the tools are already in your home. If you need to get any additional items, you can find them in a regular store or garden center. The list of equipment includes:

  • Lightproof pot or mug. The first thing you will need is a lightproof pot of 1 to 2 liters to protect the seed from the light. It is important to find a pot or mug that is the right size. If the container is too big, then the young plant might not be able to absorb all the water in the soil. Of course, the roots will have trouble spreading out if there is not enough space.
  • Tweezers. While some people choose to use their fingers, tweezers can make the planting process easier. They help move seedlings carefully.
  • Potting soil. Next, get some potting soil that will benefit the seedling. One of the best options is a light mix for cuttings and seedlings. Growers tend to prefer a light mix because it gives them more control over the plant’s health.
  • Pen or pencil. A pen or pencil from around the house is suitable for planting weed seeds. The tool is helpful when you need to make small holes.
  • Plant sprayer. Many growers use plant spray to nurture indoor and outdoor plants. A plant spray uses water to help keep the leaves free of any dust or dirt that may get on them. Some people use one to keep the soil moist while protecting the seedling from too much water.
  • Germinated cannabis seeds. Of course, the key item you will need is the germinated seed. Each pot will have one seedling.

Once you have everything you need, you can begin the process of planting your weed seeds.

How to Plant Cannabis Seeds in 4 Simple Steps

As beginners learn how to plant germinated weed seeds, they will find that the process is easier than expected. The planting stage only takes four steps to complete, and the results are healthy adult cannabis plants. The steps you should follow carefully are:

Step 1 — Fill a Pot or Cup With Potting Soil

Once you have the best pot or cup for your germinated seed, fill it with soil. After planting is done, the root system should always grow downward as the plant gets bigger. Therefore, you do not want to put in too little. The roots still need enough space to absorb nutrients.

Some cannabis growers may fill the cup about halfway before planting the young seedling. Adding more can be beneficial for the root system. Continue putting soil in the pot until you reach about 1 cm below the edge of the container. You can press the growing medium down lightly, but do not compact it. When you have the amount you need, you can move to the next step.

It is important not to add extra nutrients to the soil to keep the plant healthy. The potting soil already comes with the necessary amount of minerals a cannabis seedling needs to grow. The young plant is vulnerable to a nutrient burn, which causes leaves to lose the meat it requires and turn brown or yellow

Step 2 — Make a Small Dimple

After you are done filling the pot with soil, make a small hole for the germinated cannabis seed. Since the seedling is tiny, a clean pen or pencil can make the dimple the appropriate size. Place the writing tool on top of the soil and push it down to create the dimple. The depth of a hole matters for the growth of a weed seed.

The dimple should be about a couple of centimeters deep. If you are using a pencil, an easy way to measure is by making the tiny hole erasure-deep. Like any plant, you do not want to plant the weed seed too far in the growing medium.

The seed has enough energy to push through a thin layer. The farther down it is, the more likely the soil could hinder the plant’s ability to grow. It might not be able to get the light it needs, and the stem could become weak. If you believe you planted the germinated seed too deep, try brushing away some soil instead of repositioning the plant.

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A shallow hole could mean the marijuana seeds will dry out. If you are planting seedlings outside, shallow holes could introduce the risk of them getting disturbed in some way. An easy way to ensure the pencil or pen goes down far enough is to put it next to a rule. You can mark the correct spot before inserting it into the soil.

Step 3 — Place the Cannabis Seed in the Dimple

The next step of planting a cannabis seed is to move it into a small hole. Gently pick up the plant and place it into the soil. Some growers prefer to use a clean pair of tweezers to transfer it over to the pot. It is critical not to squeeze too hard to prevent the germinated seed from getting hurt. Make sure to plant quickly to ensure the budding roots stay safe from excessive light.

Some growers use the damp paper towel method for the germination process. Sometimes, the newly-formed root of the seed can get stuck to the paper towel. The first instinct is to pull it loose carefully, but the action could potentially damage the plant. Instead, spray it with some water to encourage the root to let go of the paper towel.

When you place the germinated marijuana seed into the small dimple, make sure the root is facing downward. The root part needs to go deep into the hole as much as possible. The skin of the seed has to be at least .5 cm beneath the surface of the soil.

The positioning can help the top of the plant and its roots grow out correctly. The stem could bend and not develop properly, and the roots might sprout upward. The weed seedling might not turn into a healthy adult plant.

Step 4 — Cover the Seed With a Thin Layer of Soil

The final step of the planting stage is one of the quickest ones to do. All you need to do is cover the cannabis seed with a thin layer of soil. About a couple of millimeters should do the trick. The thin layer is enough to block out the grow lights or sun while giving the seedling room to grow.

You can lightly pat the soil to ensure that the plant can absorb the moisture correctly. However, try not to press down on it firmly once it is covering the young seedling. If the soil becomes compact, the weed seed might have a hard time getting enough oxygen. Not to mention, there might be a higher chance of disease from poor drainage.

Finish things off by spraying the surface with a plant sprayer to make the soil moist. Seeds need to remain moist, so you should frequently check the dirt to make sure it has enough water for healthy plant growth.

You can place the pot by the window sill or under a light. Wait a few days, and you will see the plant emerge from the soil.

FAQ About Planting Weed Seeds

Now that you know how to plant cannabis seeds in four easy steps, you might still have some questions about the details. Here is a list of frequently asked questions to answer some you might have:

What to Avoid When Planting Cannabis Seeds?

There are multiple things to avoid when you plant weed seeds. Common tips include not fertilizing or adding extra nutrients to the seedling. As mentioned before, the plants can be vulnerable to too high amounts of minerals.

Try not to cover the pots with plastic or create a humidity dome over them. Air needs to pass through easily, and a buildup of humidity may damage the plant. Besides avoiding the wrong soil, make sure it is not too wet or too dry. Whenever you water the seedling, make sure it does not have the wrong pH level.

How Long to Germinate Weed Seeds Before Planting?

Growers usually germinate cannabis seeds before they plant them. The germination stage is relatively short, and it takes an average of two to three days. Some weed seeds take longer than others due to multiple factors. The technique you used to germinate can influence how long it takes to germinate. For example, the recommended water method lasts roughly 18 to 36 hours for most seeds.

Not to mention, hard seeds may need up to a week to begin sprouting due to a thicker coating. If they have not germinated after two weeks, then they are likely a dud.

When Is the Best Time to Plant Weed Seeds Outside?

Weed seeds can grow indoors or outside, but growers need to pay attention to the time of year before planting outdoors. Cold temperatures can kill a cannabis plant, so you will need to place it outside as soon as winter ends. The recommended period is between April and mid-May. Seedlings require the entire growth cycle before temperatures drop again.

People often start inside before moving the plant outdoors. If you have young female plants, they can be fragile to the environment during the early stages. The seedlings should remain inside for two weeks, or until they grow strong enough to withstand a gust of wind.

What Soil to Plant Weed Seeds In?

The best choice of soil for marijuana seeds is a light mix. The light mix does not have a high concentration of nutrients, which can be detrimental to a seedling’s health. Young plants do not need as many nutrients as mature ones.

Beginners might also put seedlings in coco soil. Coco-based soil usually has enough nutrients to last a few weeks. Some cannabis growers prefer it because it is environmentally friendly.

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How Deep to Plant Marijuana Seeds in Soil?

Burying a weed seed too far into the soil can negatively impact its growth. The recommended depth of the hole is 2 to 2.5 centimeters. It is the best length because seedlings have roots that are 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters long. A couple of centimeters ensures they have enough space.

The seed can easily break through the top of the soil without drying out. Again, placing a mark on the pencil can help you see when to stop pushing it down.

The Next Step After Planting Marijuana Seeds

Now that you have planted your weed seed, you are well on your way to growing a beautiful plant. When the time is right, you may want to transfer it outside. As stated previously, you will want to wait two weeks for the cannabis to become strong enough to withstand the elements.

If you need tips on growing outside and want to get started, you can use our step-by-step guide for growing weed outdoors. We also have a guide for growing weed indoors.

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Hopefully all of you aspiring growers have been able to get your seeds so we can move to the next step: germination.

Take great care handling seed and seedling. Most flower and vegetable seeds are simply planted directly in the soil, but because of the value of cannabis seeds, germinating seeds prior to planting is encouraged. Growers can achieve a much higher survival rate by germinating in a non-soil medium and then transferring the seed to soil once the tap root has emerged from the seed.

Here is one of the simplest and most successful methods: Put a double layer of paper towels on a dinner plate, then thoroughly soak the towels with water and tilt the plate to drain off the excess. Place your seeds on top of the wet towels and cover with another double layer of soaked paper towels. Be sure excess water is drained off—you don’t want the seeds to be swimming.

Cover the plate with an upside-down plate or pot lid. A plastic bag or plastic wrap also works. Don’t make the seal tight—you want to leave some openings to allow air flow.

Keep the germinating seeds away from direct light. For best results, keep them at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A radiant heat source, like a heating pad, helps expedite the process. If you’re using a heating pad, be sure to keep the heat setting on low and place a folded hand towel between the heating pad and plate: Direct contact between the plate and heat source can cook your seeds.

Under the right conditions, seeds usually open in one to five days, so check them daily. Do not allow the towels to dry, and add water as needed to maintain moisture. Some seeds can take as long as 10 days to germinate, but if seeds have not opened within 10 days, they are not viable.

When the seeds open, the first thing to emerge is the root. Once the root sprouts it can grow quite fast.

When the root grows to a few millimeters in length, the seed is ready to be transferred to soil. Always take great care not to damage the tap root when handling. The best soil to use for a sprouting baby ganja plant is a “seed starter” or “seedling” mix. These are light neutral blends with very little fertilizer. Heavily fertilized soils will kill seedlings quickly, and cannabis seedlings prefer loose, aerated soil that their roots can easily penetrate. A bag of good starter soil is easily identifiable: When you pick it up, it should feel light and fluffy. Soils that are heavy and compact are not good for seedlings.

Now, on to potting (no pun intended). A healthy seedling will be ready for transplanting into larger container, with richer soil, in about a month. A 16- to 20-ounce container is ideal for a seedling’s first home (many growers use a Solo cup). The container must drain, so punch some holes if needed.

Fill your container with pre-moistened soil and create a hole about a half-inch deep for your seed. The tip of a pencil works well for making the right sized hole. The seed should be about a quarter-inch below the surface.

Place your germinated seed, root down, into the hole and cover lightly. Do not pack the soil on top of the seed; a light protective layer of soil is all that is needed.

Once they sprout in one to three days, new seedlings will need lots of light, and fluorescent grow light works best. Give your baby ganja plants 16 hours of light per day.

It’s very important to have a breeze on your plants immediately. A fan placed at the proper distance and speed should create a breeze just strong enough so your plant “dances,” but not so strong that it’s bent in one direction.

Without a breeze, indoor ganja plants won’t receive the stimulus needed to develop sturdy stems and branches, which the plant will need to bear the weight of big, sugary buds.

The Potanist is written by Bud Baker and Herb Green (yes, those are pseudonyms; yes, they are real people). Reach them at [email protected]

Graphics by Stephanie Rudig

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