How to Germinate your Seeds
This is Part 2 of an 8-part series on becoming a Hydro Pro:
- Part 1 – How to Choose Your Indoor Growing Setup
- Part 2 – [You are here] How to Germinate Your Seeds
- Part 3 – How to Transfer Your Plants
- Part 4 – Know Your Plant's Nutrient Needs
- Part 5 – The Vegetative Stage
- Part 6 – How to Clone your Plants
- Part 7 – The Flowering Stage
- Part 8 – The Harvesting Stage
Welcome back to the second part of our series!
We hope you had fun setting up your very own indoor grow room.
Now that your grow room ready, we will now make magic happen and turn your seeds to seedlings!
Germination is the most essential step in growing your precious babies. In order to successfully germinate, you would need to consider various factors such as oxygen, water PH levels, temperature, and humidity.
Sound like a lot to handle?
Do not fret because we will walk you through the step by step process of germinating successfully.
So let us start growing!
Tools in Germination
First stop, you would need the following tools to properly germinate your seeds. So make sure you have these materials ready:
- Seeds - Of course, there would be nothing to plant if you don’t have them.
- Medium - This is where we are going to plant the seeds. There are a lot of available medium to choose from depending on the crop you wish to plant. (Find out the best-growing mediums in this article: Should I Use Soil in my Indoor Garden?)
- PH Testing Kit - To test the PH levels of the water you are going to use.
- TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) Pen - This measures the mineral content of your water.
- A seedling tray - This is where we are going to place the growing medium with seeds
- Humidity Dome and Seedling Heat Map - We will use these two to achieve the ideal temperature for germination.
Or you could simply buy a complete germination kit!
Conditioning your Growing Medium
When we talk about conditioning your medium, we mean pre-soaking it with suitable water. For example, if you have chosen to use rockwool as a medium, you would need to soak it in water with the ideal mineral and PH levels.
Steps in Conditioning your Growing Medium
1. Get a water sample from your water supply.
2. Using a TDS pen, measure the mineral content of your sample. Watch if the mineral content is too high as it may result in excessive salt build ups which may block your plants from getting the nutrients it needs and raise toxicity levels in your growing system.
Here are the acceptable mineral range in your water:
0 - 50: Acceptable Water
200 - 400: Marginally Acceptable
400 - 500+ : Unacceptable Water
3. Next is testing the PH level of your water sample. Ideally, your sample should have a level of 5.5 to 5.8 or a nice yellow color. If your water does not have the ideal PH level, you can use a PH solution to reach the correct level.
As a rule of thumb, if your PH is too high, use the Acidic Solution and if it is too low, use the Base PH solution instead.
Below is the PH level guide:
4. Now that your water is successfully conditioned, you can go ahead and soak your growing medium. There is no need to soak it for 24 hours. Just make sure your growing medium is soaked thoroughly.
5. Place your soaked growing medium to the seedling tray. Make sure your medium remains porous in order for the sprout and the roots to grow.
Inspect the quality of your seeds.
Here are the qualities should look for in picking your seeds:
- Look for seeds that are not too small.
- It must have the right color.
- The texture must be smooth.
- Check the surface for any cracks or abrasions.
- Pinch the seed to check if it's brittle or dried out on the inside.
Plant your seeds!
In planting your seeds, make sure it is not placed too deep in your growing medium. Ideally, it should be from a quarter of an inch to an inch and a half below the earth’s surface.
Create the ideal environment.
In order for your seeds to germinate their environment should be ideal. The characteristics of a desirable growing environment should include:
- Moist, dark place
- 78 to 84F Temp
- High Humidity
You can use a humidity dome and seedling heat map to increase humidity and temperature. This will help you ensure that your seeds have the ideal environment to thrive and grow.
Also, do not forget to always check if your growing medium has dried out already. If so, just soak it again with a 5.5 PH pre-conditioned water.
Wait for your seeds to germinate.
It normally takes 2 to 3 weeks for the seeds to sprout. So while waiting for mother nature to run its course, you can sit back and relax!
Share your successes (or questions?) on germinating your seeds in the comments below!