Starting a cannabis-growing operation can be pretty exciting, as it’s the perfect time to join this lucrative industry. However, while you may be focused on harvesting and processing your new plants, you need a strong foundation to build your new operation. We’re talking, of course, about marijuana seeds.
Simply put, if you want the best weed strains, you need to buy the best seeds. Fortunately, you can buy marijuana seeds online, but how can you ensure you’re getting the right ones for your needs? Let’s dive into the world of purchasing and growing seeds.
Step One: Determine Your Grow Operation
First and foremost, how will you grow and harvest your cannabis? You’ll need quite a few supplies and likely some substantial real estate. While there are tons of details to consider before planting any seeds, here’s a quick overview of the core elements to figure out first.
- Indoor vs. Outdoor Growing – Marijuana grows best in temperate climates, between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Indoor operations are often easier to control, but they require more startup and operational costs. For example, you have to invest in more UV lamps, and your electricity bill will be much higher. However, if you live in a temperate zone, growing outdoors is a cheaper alternative.
- Laws and Regulations – Although weed is quickly becoming legal for recreational use, the laws are not universal across state lines. So, be sure to read up on the various rules you’ll need to follow to keep your operation above board. Also, consider the costs for permitting, licensing, and inspections.
Step Two: Find the Best Seeds
Typically, the best place to get cannabis seeds is from a marijuana seed bank. However, not all seeds are the same, so you need to know the different options. Here’s a quick rundown of the types of seeds you can buy:
- Regular Cannabis Seeds – As the name suggests, there’s nothing special or unique about these seeds. They’re plentiful and easy to find. However, the challenge comes from pollination. Regular seeds have a 50/50 chance of being male or female, so your crop might not be as plentiful as you might think. For example, if you get a lot of male plants, there are fewer females to pollinate.
- Feminized Seeds – Female weed plants can pollinate themselves under specific conditions. The subsequent seeds will be “feminized,” meaning they’ll all be female. These seeds are harder to get, but they deliver a better yield. You also have to maintain those conditions to ensure the plants can self-pollinate. Overall, these seeds require more care and attention.
- Autoflowering Seeds – These seeds are an excellent choice if you want a fast and efficient growing operation. These plants grow faster and smaller, making them ideal for indoor operations. The downside, however, is that you get fewer buds for harvesting, and these plants are not as potent as full-sized varieties.
Step Three: Germinate Your Seeds
Once you have seeds in hand, you need to germinate them so they’ll grow properly. There are three primary ways to germinate cannabis seeds, including:
- Soil Germination – We recommend putting your seeds in potting soil since it has the proper pH balance and fertilizer already. Make sure to keep the soil damp and at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the seeds start sprouting, you can move them into your regular soil for growing and cultivating.
- Water Germination – This option is the simplest, and it has a pretty high effective rate. All you have to do is put your seeds in room temperature water for a couple of days. From there, you can move them into fertilized soil. Just make sure the water is fresh (change every day) and between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Paper Towel Germination – You can use either cotton pads or paper towels. Keep them damp and place the seeds inside. If using paper towels, make sure they’re single-ply so the seedling doesn’t grow into the paper. You’ll also want to sandwich the seeds with two towels and place them between two plates (or in a plastic bag).
Overall, germination should take a few days. If you’re a beginner, you might want to try each method to see which one works best for your operation. For example, the water method is the simplest, but you have to be careful when moving the seedlings into the soil because they’re so delicate.
Step Four: Identifying Your Marijuana Plants
Unless you get feminized seeds, you’ll need to know how to identify male and female varieties. Here are a few tips on how to tell the difference:
- Stalk Width – Males grow taller than females, so they need thicker stalks to hold themselves up.
- Leaf Density – Females have more leaves, which are also thicker and denser.
- Pollen Balls – Fittingly, male cannabis plants will have small pollen balls at the joint between branches.
In most cases, you can identify your male plants within seven to 10 days. For females, it can take up to three weeks. The purpose of sexing your plants is to isolate each one. If you let them commingle, the males will pollinate the females, leading to more weed seeds. However, if you want to sell buds to dispensaries or manufacturers, your female plants must be unpollinated. When unfertilized, females put more CBD or THC into their buds, so separating the plants is crucial as soon as possible.
Step Five: Harvesting Your Marijuana
You can tell when your plants are ready to harvest when the leaves start yellowing, and the buds are nice and plump. The stalks may also begin to tilt because of the weight. You should also pay attention to the tiny spikes on the buds, called trichomes. When these pieces are cloudy, it’s time to harvest. If they’re still clear, the plant is still immature. When in doubt, wait a little longer to harvest since that will yield better results.
Autoflowering plants are harder to identify since they don’t always show the same signs. Instead, you can go based on a timeframe, such as 12 weeks. To be safe, you can wait a week or two after the deadline to ensure you get a high-quality yield.
You can either cut the whole plant down or remove it in sections. The latter option makes drying and curing easier and lets the bottom flowers plump up before harvesting.