Starting Weed Seeds With Led Lights

Find out how to germinate cannabis seeds with our different techniques and quick & easy guide. You might be surprised to know… Making the switch to LED grow lights can be as intimidating as it is exciting. Here are 5 tips all new LED growers should know. Optimize your cannabis harvest with LED grow lights place at the proper distance from plants during all growth stages.

How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds (Quick & Easy)

Getting cannabis seeds to sprout is known as germination. In nature, this happens underground, but it isn’t an entirely reliable process in a well-organized grow-op.

In the case of cannabis, it is often better to germinate a seed before planting to ensure that the plant will indeed grow and eventually lead to a successful harvest.

Duds are a common issue, even with quality cannabis seeds. Taking care to rear these fledgling plants in a more controlled environment than dirt can help reduce the amount of non-sprouting seeds and save the grower from some amount of disappointment.

There are a few techniques to consider when germinating cannabis seeds.

The 3 Common Methods to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Cannabis seeds only need three ingredients to be able to grow: heat, water, and air. Anything that provides those will result in a sprout, as long as the seeds are viable, so some precautions should be taken when storing seeds in warm or humid climates.

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The following methods are all tried and true alternatives to the direct planting of the seeds. However, growers should take note of the color of their seeds before attempting any germination, as immature seeds will not be successful.

Always avoid seeds that are light green, as they have not aged long enough to sprout. More mature seeds are darker in color and almost brown.

1. Paper Towel Method

This technique is really popular and recommended even for the most novice of growers.

Simply take the seeds and place them between a couple of wet paper towels. Next, take the towels and put them between two plates to create a sort of protective, dark dome. Finally, make sure it all stays relatively warm (70F-90°F) and after several days the seeds will begin to sprout.

They may end up soaking up more moisture than expected, so be sure to check on them throughout the process and add more water if needed. Not too much though, just enough to keep the paper towels damp.

2. Soaking Overnight

When older, dried out seeds need to be revitalized, a good soak can wake them up when done properly.

Place the seeds in a glass of warm water, move them to a dark environment, and within about 24 hours, the taproot should begin to poke through.

If it has not, the seeds should be moved to a different environment as too much water can drown them. 24-36 hours is the maximum recommended time for this and is only needed on seeds that have dried out for a long period.

This is slightly riskier than the paper towel method because of the aforementioned risk of drowning, but it has the potential to revitalize older seeds.

3. Peat Pellets

The concept here is to use a piece of growing medium, such as widely available peat pellets, and to plant the seeds directly into it.

Soak the pellets in warm water and then poke a small hole into them, about a half-inch deep and just big enough for the seed to fit snugly into. Here, they can be watered, kept warm, and even begin to take root. The whole pellet will eventually be transferred to wherever the germinated plant will be grown.

Setups involving many pellets on a warming rack are colloquially known as “germination stations” and are very commonly used in both amateur and professional grows. Very little trauma to the seed can occur here, and the trauma of transplantation becomes a non-issue.

Transplanting Seedlings

  1. Once the seeds have begun to split the seed and the white taproot begins to reach out from within, the seeds are ready to be planted.
  2. Small pots are recommended for this stage; these should be prepared with soil before transplanting.
  3. Poke a hole into the soil, about a half-inch down, and gently place the germinated seeds into the ground. Tweezers work well here since they are very delicate at this stage.
  4. If using the peat pellet method, that can be planted with the seed, which reduces the risk of any mishaps during this process.
  5. Once transplanted, the soil should be watered with something like a spray bottle or mister to gently saturate the ground, as too much moisture can be detrimental to the seeds.
  • See also:5 Best Soils for Growing Cannabis – Reviews & Top Picks

After a few days of being kept moist, and at the correct temperature, a sprout should poke its way out of the ground that is ready to be grown.

Make the Most of Your LEDs: 5 Tips for Cannabis LED Growing

The growing prominence of LED grow lights in the cannabis community is undeniable. So we have put together a few tips for anyone wanting to give them a go.

Cannabis growing, cannabinoids, terpenes, lifestyle

Contents:

  1. What to look for when choosing an led grow light
  2. Main types of led grow lights
    1. Spread-style led
    1. 1. led lights are more energy-efficient
    2. 2. they run cool
    3. 3. with led, you can move your plants closer to the light
    4. 4. led lights reduce your watering schedule
    5. 5. you need less nutrients
    1. A) led lights and seedlings
    2. B) led lights during vegetation
    3. C) led lights for flowering
    4. Autoflowers and led
    5. Led compared to hid grow lights
    6. What is your budget?
    7. Heat produced by hid lamps can be a pro or con
    8. Which light grows better (and more) buds?
    9. How to avoid problems when growing with led

    With LED technology rapidly advancing in recent years, more cannabis growers are now switching to LED for their indoor operations. Merely a novelty just a few years back, LED grow lights are now performing as well, if not better, than HID lamps, and have also become more affordable. Due to the many advantages of LEDs, from consuming less energy to being more robust and having a longer life span, they are now a great choice for indoor cultivators of different skill levels. If you grow cannabis with LEDs or plan to make the switch, here are some tips for you.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING AN LED GROW LIGHT

    Before you go buying an LED grow light, it helps to know what’s available. Currently, there are three main types of LEDs that you can use to grow cannabis, each of which has its pros and cons. The type of LED light you should choose will depend on what exactly you’re looking for, and how much money you’re willing to spend.

    3 MAIN TYPES OF LED GROW LIGHTS

    These standard LED light fixtures were the first type available for growing, and today, they’re still widely available. These lights contain a lot, sometimes hundreds, of small to medium wattage LEDs (3–5 watts per single LED) in a compact fixture. Cannabis growers sometimes refer to these as “purple” lights, as they often comprise a mix of red and blue LEDs that combine to emit a purple hue.

    The biggest advantage of these standard LED lights is their price point. Most are manufactured overseas, and you can find them aplenty on eBay and other places online. A disadvantage is that their quality is often lacking; they can be less than reliable, and their light output is often lower than other types of LEDs, leading to lower yields. To remedy this, we’re now seeing standard LEDs begin to include COB LED lights or UV LEDs in addition to the red and blue, which can help with yield and bud quality.

    These standard LED light fixtures were the first type available for growing, and today, they’re still widely available. These lights contain a lot, sometimes hundreds, of small to medium wattage LEDs (3–5 watts per single LED) in a compact fixture. Cannabis growers sometimes refer to these as “purple” lights, as they often comprise a mix of red and blue LEDs that combine to emit a purple hue. The biggest advantage of these standard LED lights is their price point. Most are manufactured overseas, and you can find them aplenty on eBay and other places online. A disadvantage is that their quality is often lacking; they can be less than reliable, and their light output is often lower than other types of LEDs, leading to lower yields. To remedy this, we’re now seeing standard LEDs begin to include COB LED lights or UV LEDs in addition to the red and blue, which can help with yield and bud quality.

    COB means “chip on board”. A COB LED is made of many hundreds of tiny LEDs on one single small chip, as opposed to differently coloured LEDs spread over the entire fixture (as is the case above). COBs are among the most efficient LEDs. They produce a very intense white light that is similar to the natural light spectrum of the sun. One advantage of COBs is that they have good penetration into the plant canopy due to their intensity, resulting in a final yield approaching that of quality HID lamps. They also have a light spectrum that is optimal for healthy growth, and are very energy-efficient.

    The drawback can be that a quality grow light with COB LEDs is quite expensive compared to cheaper purple lights. Some grow light manufacturers combine several COB LEDs into one fixture, often equipping them with lenses and reflectors. There are also lights available that are comprised of only one single COB. These single-COB fixtures can be a good choice for larger growing spaces, as you can space a number of them evenly for light distribution across the entire area. Most growers use COB LEDs with a light spectrum that works both for vegging and flowering, but you can also find those with a spectrum (“colour temperature”) tuned specifically to vegging or flowering.

    COB means “chip on board”. A COB LED is made of many hundreds of tiny LEDs on one single small chip, as opposed to differently coloured LEDs spread over the entire fixture (as is the case above). COBs are among the most efficient LEDs. They produce a very intense white light that is similar to the natural light spectrum of the sun. One advantage of COBs is that they have good penetration into the plant canopy due to their intensity, resulting in a final yield approaching that of quality HID lamps. They also have a light spectrum that is optimal for healthy growth, and are very energy-efficient. The drawback can be that a quality grow light with COB LEDs is quite expensive compared to cheaper purple lights. Some grow light manufacturers combine several COB LEDs into one fixture, often equipping them with lenses and reflectors. There are also lights available that are comprised of only one single COB. These single-COB fixtures can be a good choice for larger growing spaces, as you can space a number of them evenly for light distribution across the entire area. Most growers use COB LEDs with a light spectrum that works both for vegging and flowering, but you can also find those with a spectrum (“colour temperature”) tuned specifically to vegging or flowering.

    SPREAD-STYLE LED

    Spread-style LEDs are comprised of a large number of small LEDs that are spread out on a larger panel or board. There are also spider-style LEDs and rack-style LED lights, which are widely used in commercial greenhouses. The spider-style LED lights don’t use flat panels, but spider-like “arms” with LEDs instead.The main advantage of spread-style grow lights is that they are among the most energy-efficient LEDs, which means you can get the most light for the wattage you’re using. A disadvantage is that quality spread-style LEDs, such as the spider-style lights, can be extremely expensive.

    Spread-style LEDs are comprised of a large number of small LEDs that are spread out on a larger panel or board. There are also spider-style LEDs and rack-style LED lights, which are widely used in commercial greenhouses. The spider-style LED lights don’t use flat panels, but spider-like “arms” with LEDs instead. The main advantage of spread-style grow lights is that they are among the most energy-efficient LEDs, which means you can get the most light for the wattage you’re using. A disadvantage is that quality spread-style LEDs, such as the spider-style lights, can be extremely expensive.

    THE ADVANTAGES OF GROWING WITH LED LIGHTS

    We’ve already mentioned that LED lights have several advantages when compared to other types of grow lights, such as HID. Here is a full rundown of why you may want to choose LEDs for your next growing operation.

    1. LED LIGHTS ARE MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT

    Compared to HID lights, LEDs are a lot more energy-efficient. They use less electricity, and will cost much less to operate in the long-run. Although high-end LED lights can sometimes cost a good chunk of money outright, the investment is almost always worth it as your savings over time will make up for the higher initial cost. Likewise, quality LED light fixtures will also have a longer life span compared to HID, the latter of which tends to lose performance over time and needs frequent replacement. A good LED light can last you many years with no maintenance needed.

    2. THEY RUN COOL

    LEDs produce a lot less heat compared to HID lights, which can be a big advantage as you won’t require extra cooling systems in your grow room or tent to keep temperatures optimal. This is especially advantageous if you grow in summer or happen to live in a warmer climate. The downside to this is that if you live somewhere cold, you may now need to consider a heater in the colder months. But as LEDs save you money over time, this can make up for the potential costs of running a heater.

    3. WITH LED, YOU CAN MOVE YOUR PLANTS CLOSER TO THE LIGHT

    LEDs produce less heat, which means less stress on your plants—so you can move your lights closer to your plants without any negative effects. Higher light intensity translates to higher yields!

    4. LED LIGHTS REDUCE YOUR WATERING SCHEDULE

    With less heat produced by lights, the soil in your pots will stay moist for longer, thus reducing the amount of times you need to water. If you’ve just switched from HID to LED and are used to your plants drinking quite a lot, you now need to be careful with your new watering schedule under LED, otherwise you might overwater your ladies.

    5. YOU NEED LESS NUTRIENTS

    When you water cannabis plants, you’ll normally do so with an infusion of nutrients. In addition to watering less, your plants will also need less nutes than they would before. In addition to some nice savings on nutrients, the less-frequent watering and feeding schedule will also decrease nutrient buildup, so there’s a lower risk of nutrient lockoutand plant deficiencies. If your system is purely hydroponic, there is no serious risk of nutrient buildup.

    GROWING WITH LED: WHAT TO CONSIDER FOR EACH STAGE OF CULTIVATION

    As we touched on earlier, many types of LEDs have a fixed light spectrum that works for both the vegetative (growing) and flowering phases of cannabis. This way, you can just use the same light throughout your entire grow from seed until harvest.

    Although this is convenient for most, there are those who want to fine-tune their lights for best results and optimal efficiency in each growing phase. For this purpose, some commercial LED lights have a switch to activate a veg light spectrum or a flower light spectrum. Here are some more factors to consider throughout each stage of growth.

    A) LED LIGHTS AND SEEDLINGS

    As soon as your seeds have sprouted, your soon-to-be cannabis plant will need light to grow. Compared to more mature plants, however, your seedling is much more sensitive to intense light. Because of that, you should be careful when starting out with strong LEDs.

    If your LED has a dimming option, turn your light to a lower intensity. If this isn’t an option, consider moving your lights further up, away from the seedling. On the other hand, ensure that you do not move the lights too far up, as this could cause the seedling to grow spindly and lanky.

    Likewise, if your LED has a switch to activate either a vegging or flowering spectrum, set it to veg, where the light normally emits a “cooler” blueish light, which is optimal for this stage. Set your timer to 18 hours of light per day, with 6 hours of darkness.

    As your seedling grows taller, stronger, and approaches the most robust part of the vegetative growing stage, you can then gradually increase the light intensity. Besides, some studies indicate that you can use full light only if your plants are perfectly hydrated.

    B) LED LIGHTS DURING VEGETATION

    Set your light to 18 hours per day and 6 hours of darkness. Some growers choose to grow with 20–24 hours of light to maximise vegetative growth.

    Monitor your plant’s development; if all goes well, it should grow healthy, strong, and bushy. If it grows lanky and spindly instead, this is likely because your plant is not getting enough light. Increase the intensity by lowering the light toward the plant canopy or turning up the intensity using the dimmer if your light has one.

    How long you want to veg your plant will normally depend on how much space you have available. You can technically let your plant grow under 18–24 hours of light as long as you want, but there will likely come a time when you want to switch to flowering, as the plant would otherwise simply grow too big. Know that some cannabis strains can stretch considerably (up to 2x or more) during early flowering. Take this into account upon deciding when to initiate the switch to bloom.

    C) LED LIGHTS FOR FLOWERING

    Photoperiodic cannabis starts to flower in late summer when the daylight hours naturally begin to diminish. Indoors, the grower is responsible for inducing bloom by setting the light schedule to 12 hours of light and 12 hours total darkness. If your LED light has a flowering switch, turn it to flowering mode.

    When you flower indoors on a 12-12 schedule, it is important that the 12 hours of darkness are not interrupted. So make sure that your tent or greenhouse doesn’t have any light coming in from outside. This would otherwise revert your flowering plant back to veg or potentially cause other issues such as hermaphroditism.

    If your LED has a dimmer, now is the time to turn your light to its maximum intensity, or lower your light to the recommended distance from your plants for the flowering stage. If you are not sure what this distance is, most grow light producers have recommendations available.

    Important: if you change anything with your lights, such as when you increase intensity and/or lower their position, make sure to do so gradually over several days, rather than in one go. Too sudden of a change can stress your plants too much.

    Positioning LED Grow Lighting for All Stages of Marijuana Growth

    Lighting is one of the most critical factors in growing marijuana. Understanding how close or far away to position the light source from marijuana plants is essential to produce a healthy plant and maximum yield.

    Seedling Stage

    For marijuana seedlings, LED grow lights should be between 24-36 inches above the plant canopy (a plant canopy is: the tallest branches of foliage of your marijuana plants). Seedlings are delicate, and placing lighting closer can cause bleaching or stunted growth. Placing the light source at this height also avoids drying out the soil. At the seedling stage, less light intensity is best.

    Vegetative Stage

    When marijuana is in the vegetative stage, it needs more intense light. The marijuana needs to build strong, healthy roots and stems to produce a productive harvest. Grow lights should hang closer to the marijuana plant canopy. The LED grow lights should be between 12-24 inches from the top foliage of your marijuana canopy. Monitor the plants closely to make sure they have enough light and not too much, which can cause adverse effects such as bleaching, discoloration, stunted or irregular growth. These effects can be addressed by adjusting the height of the LED grow lights.

    Flowering Stage

    The flowering stage is the final stage of “growth” for the marijuana plant. It is during this stage that flowering and fruit production occurs. During the marijuana flowering stage, the LED grow lights should be between 16-36 inches above the marijuana plant canopy. To transition plants from the vegetative to the flowering stage, it is best to gradually raise the LED grow lights to the desired distance for your specific marijuana crop height and flowering needs.

    LED Grow Lights and Clones

    Cloning marijuana plants is the process of taking cuttings from mature marijuana plants and re-planting them. These cuttings are not seeds, and require treatment much like vegetive plants. Place the LED grow lights between 12-24 inches away from the marijuana plant canopy. Keep in mind that they do not have a root base yet and need to establish that root base. It is best to start your LED grow lights further away and slowly work closer to establish that root base. Clones need to be observed closely for any adverse effects, as discussed earlier.

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