Questions to Jorge: Germination and Seedlings
I am new to growing, done lots of reading, and built a small grow cabinet. The cabinet itself is up to par, ventilation, interior painted white, 400W HPS light and the rest. I use sterilized soil, sand, castings, fertilizer and perlite. The temperature ranges from 21-32 degrees C. I have the set-up for some nice plants but I cannot get past germination stage. I bought 10 seeds of a good strain online which came with 10 free seeds. I have no problem germinating seeds but they die once transplanted into 1 liter cups. I have tried numerous techniques, planted deep, not so deep, let germinate an extra day, slightly watered, over watered and others but NOT ONE has lived. I am germinating my last 4 of the 20 seeds and need to get this figured out.
OK, sounds like the little seeds are getting too much water. Change growing mediums to something that holds water and still drains well. I prefer to germinate seeds between two moist paper towels. Lay a paper towel on a dinner plate and set the seeds on the towel and cover it with another towel. Moisten the paper towels with good clean water, bottled or distilled/reverse osmosis water. Pour off the excess and set in a warm place overnight. Make sure to keep the towels and seeds evenly moist. Within 24-48 hours you should see a small white rootlet sprouting from the seed. Keep the seeds and towel evenly moist until the rootlet grows for another day or two, about half-inch long.
Purchase some compressed Jiffy peat pots and moisten them. Once moist the Jiffy pucks grow a couple of cm. tall. Use a chop stick to make a hole about a half cm. deep in the center of the moist Jiffy cube. Use a pair of tweezers and carefully pick up a seed by the shell and gently place the tip of the white rootlet downward. Ever so carefully push some moist peat moss back around the germinated seed in the hole. The top of the germinated seed should be just under the surface of the soil. Lightly water each planted Jiffy cube and set on a rack so water drains off. Set the little Jiffy pots under a fluorescent lamp. Keep the temperature in the mid 20s degrees C for best results.
The first few days they will probably not need any water. To check moisture content of cubes, pick one up and give it a very light squeeze. A drop or two of water should drip out. Just keep an eye on the water and you should have no more problems growing seedlings. Transplant the seedlings when roots stick through mesh netting surrounding Jiffy pot. Leave the netting on pots when transplanting. Removing netting will also remove any root hairs that have grown through the sides of the Jiffy pot.