Most standard gardeners will tell you to put your seed in a Jiffy cube or directly in dirt, then water the dirt and wait for the sprout to poke its head out and whala you have a plant right?
As the first few days and weeks are the most important time of a plants life, We don’t like to let chance take part in the sprouting process!
Our Best recommendation is to “soak” your seed for anywhere from 3-24 hours in a solution of either 300EC RO/Clonex Gel OR RO/Orca. Once this is done, take a napkin or paper towel and fold it in half & allow the seed(s) to set inside the crease of the napkin or paper towel. Put the napkin or paper towel inside of a Tupper ware and use the same solution you soaked them in to wet the napkin or paper towel(You don’t need much, just enough to wet the current medium). Now you will need a heat mat(or warm area)to put the Tupper ware on top of. We like to use a heat mat with temperature sensor probe and keep the heat mat at 80F. Check the seeds every 24hrs or so and watch for the seed to crack and a white exploratory Radicle(root) extruding from the seed.
SEED CRACKING METHOD: Our main breeder for our House Strains has started a new method when he encountered some younger seeds. After the soak with younger seeds, you can see some seeds that take longer to crack. Seeing on another breeders(Twenty20 Mendocino!) podcast where Adam had mentioned having this issue and Adam over at Twenty20 even came out with a seed cracker! SO THE METHOD IF YOU DONT HAVE A SEED CRACKER: Take the seed and very gently put it between two teeth, very gently squeeze your teeth together(not bite as you can damage the embryo!)….squeeze until you hear a little “pop”…then put that seed back into the Tupperware and back onto the heat mat! You should see a radicle within the next 24hours! THIS METHOD HAS INCREASED GERMINATION RATE UP TO 100% thus far!!
Prepping your grow medium:
With Coco you will want to pre-buffer your Coco coir with Cal/Mag! With Soiless you will want to pre-wet the medium with your feed of choice(recommended 400EC) and use your finger create a nice little home for your new seedlings roots to flourish!
At this point, you can carefully remove the seed(s) from the napkin or paper towel and either use a Soil/Soiless/Coco medium, or Stone Wool such as from Gro-Dan and submerge the seed carefully into the medium of your choosing. With Soiless or Coco(we do not recommend plain soil) you will want to put the seed about 1-2 knuckles down and cover it up with the medium. When using Stone Wool, (CAUTION stone wool can irritate skin and eyes etc.) take a tiny piece off the block and use a toothpick to stuff it in the top of the hole of a square cube OR place your seed in the middle of a Stone Wool Cylinder.
To clone a plant, take a sterilized razor or scissors and cut enough to be able to remove the bottom few leaves and still have a couple or more at the top of your new clone. There are several methods to the cutting, some say a 45 degree angle is needed or to shave the side skin of the clone where you want it to root. This can be misleading as the cloning can take place with neither of these things being done. We recommend either dipping your new clone into Clonex Gel and submerging the clone into the growing medium of your choosing.
If you are using an aero cloner, you will want to use Clonex Solution and Hydroguard or Clearez. Follow the instructions on the product label for best outcome! Usually we see clones take root in two weeks or less(again depending on strain, some are harder to root and can take longer). The environment needed for either of these is no different than what you need for a seedling, high humidity and decent heat(refer to the vegetative section and flowering section for further details on heat and humidity). With a decent LED light and a small pump inside of the aero cloner, you can keep the temp right around 80F. Leaving the clones in the aero cloner until they have sufficient roots is very helpful when transplanting!
During early vegetation, you will want to keep the Relative Humidity(RH%) between 65-75% depending on the strain being grown. The temperature should be in the mid-high 70’sF. Feed strength will vary(again depending on strain) but usually 400EC is a good starting point! Typically you will see the second set of leaves with a normal five fingers on each. If you don’t see five fingers on the leaves, we recommend increasing the feed strength by 50-100EC at a time, usually leaving two or three days to allow fresh growth to appear and then if needed, rinse and repeat. If you are mixing bigger batches, this can be hard to accomplish. The best way we have found to overcome this obstacle, is to take some plain RO(reverse Osmosis)water and dilute the mix down to the proper feeding EC. However if an increase is needed, you will not want to add nutrients to your current mix as this will change NER(Nutrient Element Ratio) but instead should mix a new batch with a higher feed strength while maintaining NER and this can then be added to the first mix to bring up the EC to the necessary level. If a plant is happy and getting enough food for the microbes to munch their little hearts out(bless them) we have seen up to thirteen fingers on one fan leaf.
During the first two weeks of 12/12(or close to, some strains will flower at 15hours of light)you should maintain a vegetative feed regiment. Once you are into the third week, you will want to start using the blooming formula from your nutrient manufacturer. As far as time frame for flowering, you will see many breeders say a certain amount of weeks or days. The biggest misconception of this breeders statement, is that most think this means that when you change your light schedule to 12/12 the plant will be done in said time….This couldn’t be further from the truth! We highly recommend getting into the habit of letting your plants grow, until you see pistils all change and no new white pistils are coming out or if so only a couple here and there. Also you will want to inspect the buds under a scope and check out your trichome cloudiness, color & hue. Generally you want all milky or cloudy at the least, ideally(depending on strain) you should see about 15% amber trichomes before harvesting. (BE AWARE)Some strains will not turn amber and should be judged based on pistil growth & maturity, as well as the opposite..the strain may not change pistil color and may only change trichome color.
Harvesting, Drying & Curing:
Taking down a plant can be a daunting task if they are large, and really who doesn’t like large plants?. That being said, this can be accomplished in many ways. We find that taking the individual branches and leaving a hook shape in the end where the node split, is a solid method! The use of a trimming machine on larger crops may be necessary to avoid a lengthy amount of time with scissors in hand. However, most prefer a personal trim as opposed to a machine trim which can vary depending on the machine and the strain, some being much more leafy than others. Depending on the strain, you may not have a big trim job at all.
Hanging your plant(s) to dry requires the ability to keep a relative humidity level stable for optimum conditions. We recommend a 2-3day flush with 48hours of dark before harvesting to exhaust as much chlorophyll before harvesting. Once you have hung your plants to dry, you will want to maintain a low temperature(65-68F works well!) and a steady RH% around 60%RH then dropping the RH by 1%/d until you reach 55%RH. Leave the RH here for the last two days as you don’t want the flower to be dry. Curing your flower requires a low light location and a jar(preferably glass or stainless steel). We highly recommend using a humidity controlling device such as a Boveda to bring the RH% of the flower back to 62% where it should stay. If RH% lowers, you can bring back the RH% by cutting an apple and placing half of the apple or quarters of the apple into your curing containment space(CAUTION DO NOT LEAVE THEM THERE FOR MORE THAN FIVE HOURS!). Once the RH% is back up to 62% and stabilized, remove all pieces of apple and the flower can now be kept in this condition for some time. For more information or if you are having issues in your garden, you can contact our on Staff Consultant (RM-Consultants) here:mailto:RM420consulting@gmail.com