The first few weeks of the cannabis sprouts are fraught with dangers. They are in their most delicate stage. Having made most of the mistakes one can make (I hope!) in the years of growing, here are a few pointers.
Start the seeds according to the moon’s cycle. The Farmer’s Almanac gives the best planting days. I usually start my first batch of seeds right after the new moon at the beginning of March or at the end of February. This year that was very early. Pick a day during the waxing moon when it is in a water or earth sign. Later, try and do the same at each transplant.
Put the seeds in a sprouting flat with a clear plastic top. Line it with brown paper towels or unbleached Melitta coffee filters opened out. Group the seeds together with a label, and cover with more unbleached paper. Some people put the seeds in their mouths to jump start the sprouting. I put a drop of sacred Ganges River water on each seed to begin the blessings.
Get the paper quite wet, then put on the plastic cover and cover that with a dark towel. Put the whole thing in a warm place with plenty of daylight.
After 3 or 4 days each seed will begin to show a white tail. Some seeds take longer; some won’t sprout at all. I’ve had the best luck transplanting when the tails are about an inch long, but somewhere between 1/2 and 1-1/2 inches is good. Too long and they can be difficult to stick far enough down into the soil, to short and they might not come up.
Now is time to transplant into soil in little pots. I think the 1 pint pots are best. Punch a deep hole into the soil with your finger, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of Microrhizome into the hole. Gently pick up a sprout, put the white tail deep in the hole so that the seed husk is 3/8ths to 1/2 inch below the surface, then cover with soil. Any good potting soil will do. Some people use soil from their garden pots or beds in this first transplant, but I wait to use the garden soil for the next transplant to the 1 or 2 gallon pots. Don’t forget to put a label in each pot.
While I am transplanting, I chant the Ganja Ma mantra to the Goddess of Cannabis. When all sprouts are transplanted, I give each one another drop of Ganges water along with repeating the mantra again. Next put the 1 pint pots on a table in a pop-up green house. If there is danger of frost, put heating pads under each group of pots. If they don’t get enough sun after they pop out of the soil, their stems can get too long and lanky and you may have to prop up the little starts with sticks (such as barbecue shish-kebab sticks). Some people use grow lights indoors at this stage, to protect the fragile starts from frost. Once they have a couple of tiers of leaves they don’t mind a light frost, but too many days of frost or grey will inhibit their growth.