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If you’re using a hood to keep moisture in, make sure there are holes in this too. Lift the hood frequently to allow for fresh air exchange. Remove the hood as soon as your seedling has shed its shell.
Believe it or not, hemp seeds are a major component of many types of birdseed! That’s right; birds love them just as much as you do. But birds aren’t the only critters that would love nothing more than to chow down on your seeds.
For more information on storing your cannabis seeds properly, see our blog on How To Preserve Seeds.
7. NOT ENOUGH MOISTURE
To prevent spoiling your seeds, avoid unnecessary handling. Use clean gloves and some disinfected tweezers or something similar. This will greatly minimise the risk of your seeds being contaminated.
Some growers like to germinate their seeds in a glass of water. While this method technically is viable, there is also a risk that the seeds will drown if allowed to sit for too long. After all, seeds need a good supply of oxygen to grow.
Likewise, if your seeds are too close to the surface, there is a risk they’ll dry out before sprouting, or the seed will emerge but can’t shed off its cap. The happy medium is to place your seeds about 0.5–1.0cm deep and just lightly cover them with soil.
Got a bag of “mystery seeds” from your local source or “bargain seeds” from an unknown vendor off the internet? If so, chances are they won’t germinate. Reputable seed banks like Royal Queen Seeds will always test their seeds for quality and germination rate.
If all else fails, there are still a few more aggressive tricks that should only be used when, after a few days, your seeds have failed to hatch and make their way into the world.
Because of this risk, there are growers who choose another way: germinating their seeds with the help of wet paper towels and dishes. If this method is chosen, you’ll have to grab a plate and place a soaked paper towel on it. After placing your cannabis seeds placed on top, with enough space between them, cover them with another damp paper towel. Although this method is widely used, some purist growers insist that you have to be very careful, because the towels used may contain chlorine and chemicals that could impede germination.
If you have only saved the seeds for a year and a half, they should not give you any problems. After this time period, even if you have stored them properly, germination may be more complicated because the older the seeds are, the harder their shells, so the water used to open them will take longer to penetrate them. Therefore, the first method to try to get the plant’s embryo to develop is to put your old seeds in a glass of water, with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide, for 24 hours. Hydrogen peroxide softens the shell and facilitates the water’s infiltration.
Other good choices for germination
There are growers who prefer their seeds to germinate directly in the soil. In this case, in addition to ensuring that you have light and well-nourished soil, you can choose to dilute 10 ml (a teaspoon) of fulvic acid per litre of water, and use it to water the site where you have planted the seed. Another option is to use slightly carbonated water, as the additional CO2 will help the liquid penetrate the seed, causing it to germinate. It is also possible to use enzymes or germination enhancers, designed to help seeds open and develop in those first stages.
Another good investment, which can be key in the case of old seeds, is Jiffy 7. This product is a compressed pill of dried peat that you need to soak for a few minutes. At this point it becomes a small sack of soil that is specially designed to facilitate germination, because it features the ideal structure, is sterilized, has all the necessary elements to nourish the seedlings during the first week, and is pH-neutral. Due to these characteristics it can be your best bet to get your older seeds to sprout.
First, you have won half the battle if you were careful with the original storage. Seeds must be kept in a cool, dry place. Therefore, the best option is to store them in refrigerators at a temperature between 6 and 8 degrees Celsius, and with relative humidity levels between 20% and 30%. And sheltered from light, of course.
However, over time seeds lose their germinating power. This means that, after a few years, when farmers prepare to plant them, they run into problems getting them to sprout. To prevent this from happening, and to once again enjoy that cannabis you found worth storing, there are a number of tricks.