Our Promise To Our Community
Here at Northern Leaf Seeds we use many processes and take great effort into producing the most viable best growing seeds possible for your collection. We want your experience with us and our seeds to be the best possible. Depending on how well a plant is treated and cared for during it's lifetime in turn it translates these traits to it's offspring. That's why we take every measure possible in our toolbox to give these plants the best life possible.
The germination of cannabis seeds can be relatively simple. To achieve the highest germination rates possible here are some simple tips
1. The best germination temperatures we've found are between 75-80 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Use only Non-Chlorinated water from reverse osmosis, distilled, bottled spring or if you feel confident in your local waters sources such as rivers, rain or springs you can use that and we've found that works best for us, but be sure to find it from a well oxygenated water source in which the water will be much cleaner and will work better all around.
3. Soak your seeds in water for no more than 24 hours. 12 hours generally being the ideal amount of time for soaking before applying the papertowel method.
4. You'll need paper towel and resealable plastic bags or transparent sealable containers. Fold the paper towel in half. Place the seeds on one half of the paper towel. Allowing 1/2"+ space on towel and cover with the other half. Gently pour freshly oxygenated room temperature water onto the paper towel allowing it to soak the paper towel entirely. Pick up the paper towel with the encapsulated seeds and allow it to drain any excess water off before putting into the resealable plastic bag or container. This works as a cheap humidity dome. Place your seeds in a warm low intensity light area. Check your seeds by parting the paper towel and peeling back to examine every 24 hours. Germination can take up to 7-10 days until tap root is ready.
5. Once the small fragile white tap root sprouts use a utensil of some sort such as a clean spoon or fork and use the small handle end to gently place the seed with tap root in soil or media. This is to ensure no contaminants get on the fragile tap root and helps to not damage it as well. Once seed is in place cover with 1/8"-1/4" of soil just enough to block the light. DO NOT COMPACT SOIL WITH YOUR HANDS. ONLY COVER SEED AND ALLOW YOUR SPRAY BOTTLE OF WATER TO COMPACT THE SOIL OR MEDIA.
Understanding Cannabis Nutrient Changes,
Soil Structure, Buffering, Soil Mixes and Blending
CEC or Cation Exchange Capacity or put another way Positively Charged Ionic Compound Bonding Capacity is the measure of the total quantity of negative Anion charges on the surface soil that are available for the Nutrient Cations to attach to.
I highly recommend learning about this in depth. You can find an oasis of information on Khan Academy: "If an atom gains or loses electrons, the balance between protons and electrons is upset, and the atom becomes an ion—a species with a net charge."
If an atom has more protons than electrons it is constituted as a Cation, but if it has more electrons than protons it is constituted as a Anion. Some particles of the same elements can be Anions or Cations. Hydrogen is one that's that way. In water though they are Cations.
This is an excellent video explaining this process.
CEC is a basic soil property that's used to project plant nutrient availability and retention in a soil or media. The composition of your soil is how CEC is analyzed. In which clay is the primary focus. The higher the CEC number of a soil the high the amounts of Cations it can hold. These are known as cation exchange sites. More specifically they are negatively charged sites (An-ions) with positively charged ionic hydrogen particles (Hydrogen Cations) attached when wet. Anions (An-Ions) in soil are negatively charged ionic particles. Cations (Cat-Ions) in soil are positively charged ionic particles. Opposite electrical charges attract and alike electrical charges repel. Common Cations or ionic compounds related to growing with a positive charge or multiple charges are better understood when referenced in mind by their Cation Formula ++Calcium(Ca+2), ++Magnesium(Mg+2), +Potassium(K+) and ++++Ammonium (NH+4), etc... The bonding process is the work of an electro-static magnetism process. This is also how buffering works. Buffering helps to prevent nutrient leeching aka bonds the nutrients to the soil or media to prevent them from washing out quickly and easily. Opposite electrical charges attract and alike electrical charges repel. Hydrogen only contains one positively charged ion as seen by the Cation Formula H+. Cation Exchange Sites always contain positively charged hydrogen cations.. The exchange takes place when another Cation or an alike positive to positive charge pushes or repels the +Hydrogen (H+) particle and exchanges it for a particle with equal amount of positive charges. Certain Cations have a certain number of positive charges. The more charges a Cation contains the more single charged H+ particles will be exchanged. The higher the exchange that takes place the stronger the bond will be and the longer the nutrients will stay. +Hydrogen(H+) only contains one more proton than it's electrons or one positive charge and so does +Potassium(K+). So that would be a direct exchange, but ++Calcium(Ca+2) or ++Magnesium(Mg+2) on the other hand have two positive charges. Therefore two single charged hydrogen (H+) particles are exchanged. Soils are generally composed of Mineral Particles, Living and Non-Living Organic Matter, Water and Air. The main Anions (An-Ions) in soil are negatively charged ionic compounds or nutrients. Cations (Cat-Ions) in soil are positively charged ionic compounds or nutrients. The bonding process is the work of an electro-static magnetism process. Opposite electrical charges attract and alike electrical charges repel. Base ionic compounds that pertain to CEC are Calcium (Ca+2), Magnesium (Mg+2), Potassium (K+) and Sodium or Salt (Na+). Soils are generally composed of Mineral Particles, Living and Non-Living Organic Matter, Water and Air. CEC testing examines mineral particles and organic material. Out of the minerals of sand, silt and clay in CEC's main focus is clay due to it's high number of Cation Exchange Sites. In which is because clay is the smallest particle of the bunch. That means clay will have much more capacity in the same size volume container.
How Wet Should It Get?
The Effects Of Porosity On Soil And Roots:
The soil should stay very wet during the time of planting or sowing your seed. Use your finger or a moisture meter to check soil and remember your only trying to keep the short tap root moist and thriving for transpiration. So until it sprouts only focus on keeping the surface wet with small amounts of water daily or even twice daily (16-32oz. standard potting soil per 3 gallon pot). Once it has sprouted and is growing on to it's second set of serrated leaves reduced water regiments, but increase PPM nutrient feeding amounts. This is where it gets tricky. We can't honestly recommend or make too many suggestions from here due so many variables in nutrients delivery and nutrient line up as well as soil and/or media set up and grow style whether it be hydroponic, straight soil or a high porosity hybrid. Get an idea what nutrient line up your going for, understand your nutrient feed N-P-K levels and how they change drastically from vegetative to flowering, ALWAYS PH BALANCE YOUR WATER! In pure soil grows PH should go no higher than 7 and no low than 6.0 ideally. If it goes below 6.0 in your soil grow it causes Calcium lockout and higher than 7.0 causes a full nutrient lockout. In a hydroponic media setting ideally the range is between 5.5 and 6.2 causing the same issues if over or under. Keep your PH balancing consistent to keep your soil PH where you want it. Plus plants never react well to PH fluctuation. If you wish to test you soil's PH a easy way it to test what you put in with the dip strips and test your run off as it runs out of the bottom of the pot. You've got so many choices whether to go straight salt-based, straight organic feed or somewhere in between. It's a learning process and you've got to figure out what works best for you. It is a system, but it's also an intuitive art of observation and takes conscious planning and a deep understanding and acceptance of the botanical sciences. Determination is your main friend. With that you will learn regardless whether it's through literature or experience. Learning lessons through experience are often times painful with "time wasted" by stunted grow, recovery times or the loss of a plant. Look at it this way even though experiential lessons may be painful they are often times the most powerful and profound process of learning in which you will not be easily told different or taken back and any good experienced self respecting agriculturalist, horticulturist, or bontanist would agree on that. There are many different variables and pathways to be taken from seedling to veggling.
Look into a feeding schedule to get an idea of what PPM for reference such as Fox Farms Feeding Schedule, ILGM's straight soil 3 gallon pot grow or something along those lines. This will help you gain an understanding of what Parts Per Million (PPM) is needed and once you understand your N-P-K needs you'll be able to customize, mix and adjust your personal feeding schedule. Once again that's what makes organic growing so great for beginners is because it eliminates the possibility of deficiencies as long as you have it loaded up and you'll never have proficiencies even if slightly higher in PPM Nutrient Scale. THAT MEANS BEAUTIFUL HEALTHY PLANTS THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE PROCESS. NO NUTRIENT BURN AND GREAT QUALITY WITH ORGANICS AND SUPER LIVING SOIL. It's basically much less of a balancing act and organic non-salt based cation nutrients don't stay attached to Cation Exchange Sites as long as straight salt-based nutrients do. Such as the very common Ammonium (NH+4) Salt based nutrients known as Ammoniacal Nitrogen and Ammoniacal Phosphorus.
What is N-P-K? Well let's go back to the periodical table of elements for this. N stands for Nitrogen, P stands for Phosphorus and K stands for Potassium. These are your Macronutrients which are the three main basic needs in the plant. In Vegetative Stage it's kind of hard to mess up. Here with organics I run a 7-1-1 Roots Organic Terpene Tea and I load the top of the soil down with Basic Organic Top Dressings 5-5-3 or 4-4-2 Compost Starter. Don't forget your super living soil biomes in the top dressings you get. Biomes like the beneficial Bacillus or bacteria that helps prevent root system molding, harmful bacteria and pathogens from entering the plant. Mycorrhizae Fungi create a symbiotic relationship with the root system. Mycorrhizae Fungi attach to and colonize on the roots. This in itself stimulates root growth and the plant exchanges at the roots carbohydrates in exchange for the Mycorrhizae's atmospherically created Nitrogen. Plus Mycorrhizae stores large loads of nutrients and water allowing for increased uptake and decreased likelihood of overwatering.
Overwatering is a common beginner mistake. Especially with straight soil grows, your top 1/4-3/4" of soil will look dry. So again be sure to use your finger or with straight soil I highly recommend a moisture meter to check the soil. Although with higher porosity soil mixes these rod meters will not work properly for moisture or PH. PH Levels and PPM Nutrient retention in high porosity soils can be easily measured in the runoff in your catch pan or water table. Higher porosity soils are more prone to underwatering and are a bit harder to over water. So this might be a great choice for the overly attentive gardeners. Higher porosity soils if fed properly bring a very nice yeild so if your up to the task of watering more often it might be worth the pay off to you. Sometimes if mixed at a high enough porosity it could be needing watering 1-3 times a day to keep soil/media well wicked with water. For instance my personal 40% Basic No Slow Release Nutrients Added Potting Soil, 40% Coco Coir and 20% Agricultural Perlite requires 1.5 liter feedings daily with 2 days on the feeding; 1 day off in veg and 3 days on the feeding 1 day off in flowering based off of 3-5 gallon pots with organic top dressings and 1 Tablespoon per gallon of roots organic terp teas all the way through. Once again this recipe is what works for me. Dryer and hotter outdoor climates that utilize the full intensity of the sun may require even more feedings at even high capacities. Days off from feedings allows the root system to dry out. This stimulates root growth, cuts down on the possibility of root rot and reduces greatly any risk of mold. These terpene teas will get you there, but I highly recommend to look into bloom boosters and using them carefully, but get a feel for them. They make a really 'big' difference. Pun intended. Your feeding regiment really depends on how and what you blend into your soil. Higher porosity soil/media will require a more frequent feeding regiment due to the airy structure of the soil/media. Higher porosity also drain better and drys out faster. For instance a basic potting soil is lower porosity than Coco coir fiber media. Therefore you'll need to water it much less often. As little as once every 4-7 days at times. This is a trade off though because high yield growers utilize a well aerated high porosity soil/media in which requires feedings more often, but obtains higher yields. Here's a easy saying to remember and in my experience it's shown true unless automation is involved: High Maintenance/High Yield and/or shorter production times; Low Maintenance/Low Yield and/or Longer production times. Quality can be achieved through both regardless.
VPD and Transpiration:
VPD or Vapor Pressure Deficit is the relationship between humidity and temperature and how it correlates to Transpiration. Look into saving to your phone a VPD Chart image or getting a VPD chart to hang on your wall. Transpiration is the process of water and nutrients as they uptake starting at the roots, pushing up through the stem and finally as it reaches the leaves it releases the water vapor through tiny pores called stomata. Once the vapor transpires from the leaf it leaves behind the nutrients it was carrying. This is why the leaves always show the earliest signs of deficiencies or nutrient burn/excess in the plant. The leaves are the last to receive nutrients and they're also where excess ends up if not used. Each stoma works as a throttle valve on these solar steam powered locomotives nutrient railroads. (aka plant's roots, stem and branching) So it's literally like a big steam powered
When to Transfer?
First off Autoflowers should never be transferred from their original container. Never. This is because autoflowers run off of a time instead of light like their photo flowering period relatives. So Autoflowers can't afford to lose time and they take the time lost out of their flowering time. So never transfer Autos or yeild will be lost.
Photo flowering period plants are ok to be stunned and transferred because we choose when to initiate the flowering period by changing the light schedule. This allows us to build a nice root ball and for more roots in a smaller space whilst helping to avoid root bound containers.
When to transfer generally with plain normal run-of-the-mill lowest priced dirt cheap soil you should be able to get 1 foot of main stem growth per gallon of container size. If you have multiple main stems then add them up. Although when you're running high porosity soil such as coconut core, perlite or other grow mediums there will be so much air in the soil and it will make the soil so porous that it will allow an exponentially high amount of roots to grow in the same container size and be able to bring that main stem growth number much higher. Plus cannabis loves airy soil. The more oxygen you can bring to your root system the faster the growth goes and the bigger the buds.
This is why people oxygenate their water with bubblers even before applying to a soil grow. A lot of automatic feeder systems will highly suggest or require the use of a bubbler to keep the oxygen levels high enough to keep the water clean enough to the plants liking as well as feeding your root system oxygen almost directly. This assists in transpiration which is the engine that allows the plant to grow. It's the mechanism that creates energy for them and carries nutrients. Even water spraying at the surface or a simple exchange from one five gallon water bucket to another a couple times will create enough surface agitation to allow for aeration and oxygenation of the water. Depending on the temperature of the water it has been shown that I can stay oxygenated for up to four hours. With this being said if we overwater them a bit it won't hurt them nearly as much as opposed to if it wasn't well oxygenated water. Another plus is a highly oxygenated root system stays much cleaner. This brings me to my simple process of how I make my terpene teas...
Simple Fools Proof Organic Nutrients
The biggest plus of running organics and I can't preach it enough is you'll never have nutrient deficiencies on the same level as salt based. That means easier maintenance and easily achievable top quality flower.
Once I have my buckets laid out I put a small amount of Terp Tea in them as bag recommends and mix with the water. I mix these by transferring from one bucket to another. They get set in a sunny area. It brews throughout the course of 24 hours to sometimes even 48 hours depending on if I make large amounts and have leftovers for the following day. Transferring back and forth a couple times mixes it well and oxygenates the water. Therefore I do this once upon initially mixing it as well as once before every feeding to aerate the water with oxygen.
Simple Terpene Tea Brewing Technique:
I start out by pouring 1 gallon of water in my plastic bucket and with a sharp object I put a little scratch to mark the level for 1 gallon and I continue this process to mark gallon number 2. Now I know my 2 gallon point I will add the Terpene Tea as recommended on the bag. You can pour the bucket back out and dry it out and find your scratch points and mark them with a permanent marker or something you feel that would stick on there or mark it properly. With organic nutrients a lot of times you can use them directly as recommended instead of having to use half amounts and build slowly like with a lot of salt-based.
*Organic Top Dressings: This is a very efficient and simple way to feed your root system. *Attention*I highly recommend though that you spray your top dressings to properly mimic the rain as it was intended to be used and by spraying directly with a bump pump spray or some sort of sprayer you see an increased PPM nutrient availability. Some people blend amend it to the soil and this might help, but not nearly as much as if you amend it to the top layer. It is much more beneficial to have all available nutrients run from the top layer of soil or media all the way to the bottom instead of starting the middle and end up just getting washed away. I've noticed it also creates a much bigger root ball and the roots spread out much further if you do it as a top dressing and do not amend it to the soil. I think this is especially true if you're using a porous leaning media.
The Big Nutrient and Feeding Change
The Vegetative Stage: is fairly simple to get through without too many complications. The true art is when we transition from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage we have to ride the wave of Nutrient NPK ratio changes. Even all organics terp tea preferers find themselves blending their vegetative and flowering tea powders together to ease the shift into flowering stage.
The Flowering Stage: is when things get a bit harder to keep up with. The whole physiology of the plant changes. Everything from nutrient NPK structure change, increased watering/feeding regiments, decrease and eventually discontinue misting/foliar feedings and decrease and eventually discontinue defoliation frequencies. As a good reference the plants usually double in size in this stage. This is an important reference especially with an indoor grower with limited ceiling space.
The Flowering Time: 8-12 weeks is a very general reference. Indica taking 8 weeks usually and Sativa taking 12 weeks usually, but every plant is different so if you want to maximize your yield and quality you must CHECK YOUR TRICHOMES. Trichome comes from the greek word meaning 'hair'. They are small glandular resin sac hairs where the Terpenes and Cannabinoids are produced. Get an inexpensive digital microscope with good reviews. This will allow you to pin point the type of therapeutic effects your looking for through Trichome's color. For instance a Trichomes that are clear can be CBD or THCA. The Trichomes that are cloudy or milky are THC and the one that are amber are CBN. Also you can have a mix of different colors even in the same resin sac. This is how to truly tell if your plant is finished.