If you missed part one go back and have yourself a read. In it, I went over how to pick the perfect strain and how to properly germinate your seedlings. It may seem as easy as those experiments you do in primary school, but these babies need a good deal more care and attention. So go and read how to properly germinate your seeds before moving onto the next stage with me. This stage is all about choosing mediums and how to properly pot your seedlings to give them the best chance of being beautiful healthy plants.
Choosing the medium to transplant your seedlings into is extremely important if you want to give them a good start. But even before the medium you need to select your plant pots. Some people might think it’s a good idea to start your seeds in a medium pot to give it plenty of room. This will actually hinder your plant rather than help it. If the pot is too big the roots will spread themselves too thin and your seedling won’t get the nutrients that it needs. You want a small pot, just your average garden pot that you can get in any shop. However, there is one exception to this rule. If you are using autoflowering plants there is no point in starting them in a small pot due to their quick life cycles. You’d have to move them pretty soon after planting so better to just let them live out their entire life in their final pot.
For others, start in a smaller pot and then move them once they get big enough like you would any other plant.
When looking for the right pot make sure that it has decent drainage holes, you don’t want to drown your plants or let mould grow. If you do want to go fancy on pots then a fabric pot can be a great way to make sure that your plants are well aerated.
You can go cheap on the pots for sure, but whatever you do do not skimp on your growing medium. This stuff is what keeps your baby alive in the early weeks so unless you want to waste a bunch of time and even more money than good soil costs, you better splurge a little. A good growing medium won’t just help your plant grow but it will also help keep pests, mould and disease at bay. All of these things can kill your plants before they’ve even had a chance to grow. As I mentioned briefly in the last article one of the main things you want in a starter medium is aeration. If your medium is too heavy your seedling won’t get the oxygen it needs and it’ll get smothered. You can use loose and airy potting soil from a garden shop as long as you make sure it’s good quality. You also need to make sure you don’t let the soil stay dry for too long as dehydration is also a fast way to either kill your plants or give them severe health issues.
Professionals recommend using 20 – 50% perlite in your beginner soil mix to help the soil retain the nutrients the plants need. This will also assist with aeration. When you come to actually watering please don’t waterlog your medium. Wait for the soil to dry out a little and then only water around the seedling itself. Dehydration can be deadly but so can overwatering so you really need to remain vigilant at this stage. Perlite is great for your babies but don’t start with other nutrients until they have over three leaves. Overloading your seedlings with nutrients could burn the roots and make it hard for them to absorb nutrients when they actually need them.
Once your babies are planted and ready to start their lives the real work begins. Seedlings are so incredibly fragile at this stage and if you give them too much or too little of anything it can completely screw them up. However, the more you stay on top of your seedlings now the more likely you are to create beautiful strong plants that don’t need constant tinkering. The key aspects of creating a good environment for your plants are temperature, light and humidity.
Temperature is so vital to plant health in general, so babies will react even more intensely to messed up temps. If they get too hot or too cold they will wilt and likely die in a matter of hours. Extreme heat will dry up your plants so look out for curling crispy leaves. Overly cold temperatures will lock out nutrients and water causing the leaves to wilt. If you are growing indoors you will need to mimic the warm daytime and chilly night time that they are used to. During the day they want around 20 – 25 degrees celsius and at night around 15 – 20 degrees celsius at night.
Of course, we are using light to mimic the sun. So over exposure can be a real problem for a growing plant. Seedlings are even more sensitive than the regular plants so you can’t just use the same grow lights for seedlings and for adults. However, if seedlings don’t get enough light they will grow taller and taller in search of a light source. The problem here being they won’t be strong enough to stay up and they will flop over, likely dying in the process. It’s a good idea to use blue light spectrum bulbs for the first two weeks. Have them on for 18 hours and off for 6.
Finally let’s look at the ideal humidity for your grow space. Again, like the others, too much is fatal and too little is fatal at this stage. Ideally you want your grow space to sit at 40 – 60%. You can tell if the humidity is too low because your seedlings will not grow. They will also develop small yellow spots on the leaves and will look unhealthy. If the humidity is too high your seedlings will likely get too damp and start to rot or develop mould.
Well that’s all the space I have but hopefully it’s enough to get your garden off to a great start. Happy growing.
Written by Tasha Porritt
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The post How To Raise Healthy Seedlings: Part 2 first appeared on Cannabis Seeds News.