Maybe you have leftover seeds from years gone by.. How can you tell if your seeds have gone bad? Use these tried and true tricks to find out! Find out how to tell if your cannabis seed will be a winner or a flop. Here is how to distinguish between high-quality and low-quality seeds. If done incorrectly, germinating cannabis seeds can be a struggle. Luckily, we're here to help! Check out 5 germination mistakes you need to avoid!
How to Tell If Your Garden Seeds Have Gone Bad
Maybe you have leftover seeds from years gone by or maybe you tried to salvage some seeds from produce over the winter. How can you tell if your seeds have gone bad? Use these tried and true tricks to find out!
How to Tell If Your Garden Seeds Have Gone Bad
If you save seeds from year to year, or save and store seeds over the winter months for spring use, you may have to inspect them before planting.
This can ensure that your seeds are still fresh and in good condition, ready to bloom in the months ahead. But how can you tell if your garden seeds have gone bad?
Luckily, there are some tell-tale signs to check for so you can be sure you only plant the good ones. Look below at how to tell if your garden seeds have gone bad, so you can insure a healthy garden in the growing season to come!
How to Tell If Your Garden Seeds Have Gone Bad
1. Observe the color.
One of the first visual clues is the color of the seed. Most seeds will have color variations of white, yellow, even black. However you should confirm that the seed is the correct color for its type. Look for seeds that have turned either speckled black (which could indicate mold) or green which could indicate some type of mold or decay as well.
2. Smell them.
Most seeds will have a woodsy or earthy scent. That is normal. But just like you can smell rot on fruit or vegetables, you can smell it on seeds as well. Smell the seeds to make sure they don’t stink or smell like mold or mildew. If they do smell, it’s probably best to toss them.
3. Check for signs of mold.
You may notice mold when checking the colors or smells, as mentioned above. However, mold can also take a textural form as well. You may notice raised bumps, a furry coating, tiny hairs, or raised speckles. These are all signs of mold and can indicate that the seeds have gone bad.
4. Check for signs of excessive drying.
While discoloration and mold can be an indication of the seeds experiencing moisture, there are also signs to look for that could show the seeds have dried out beyond use. This can happen if the seeds are left in an area that is too hot or packaged and stored incorrectly. Look for brittle shells, slivering, or even a withered appearance to the shells.
5. Look for splits, holes, or cracks.
There are numerous reasons why splits, holes, and cracks can happen to seeds, but whatever the reason you shouldn’t try to use a seed that has these characteristics. While some seeds need to be nicked prior to planting, being stored all season with nicks and cracks can cause the inside to dry out or rot.
6. Do the water test.
Take your seeds and put them in a container of water. Let them sit for about 15 minutes. If the seeds sink, they are most likely still viable. If they float, they probably will not sprout.
This planting season, give a once over to your seeds. By looking for any of the traits above you can remove the seeds which are most likely damaged and won’t grow. This saves you time and frustration in the long run, and can help you grow a more productive garden.
Remember, the best medicine is prevention! Prevent your seeds from going bad by storing them properly.
When storing seeds, a cool and dry space is always best. Keep them in an air tight container, such as a baby food jar or mason jar, and mark all containers clearly so you know what the contents are. You may wish to layer seeds over paper towels so any moisture left in them can dry out.
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How To Tell If Cannabis Seeds Are Bad
Published: June 28th, 2019
Categories: Cannabis Info
If you want to grow great cannabis, you gotta have great seeds! Start your grow with poor seeds, and not only will you miss out on that top-tier harvest, but you’ll have wasted a lot of crucial time and energy. Given how important the distinction is between seeds of high and low quality, it’s vital you know how to tell the good ones from the bad. So, just how do you recognise a high-quality seed?
WHY IT MATTERS WHERE YOU SOURCE YOUR CANNABIS SEEDS
Before we offer our tips on distinguishing the winners from the duds, you should know that where you source your seeds is probably the most important variable in your entire grow. The best case scenario is to source your seeds from a legal, reputable seedbank. If you buy from industry leaders like Zativo, not only will you know that your seeds will germinate, but you’ll be able to view information about strain characteristics such as flowering time, height, and effect once smoked.
On the other hand, not all would-be cannabis cultivators have access to seeds of this calibre. It is not uncommon for smokers to receive a seed (or several) in the bag their dealer threw at them before racing away with a wad of cash. Here is why planting these seeds is probably not a good idea.
To start, the fact that your dealer sold you seedy weed immediately points to issues in quality and processing. It’s likely your weed was accidentally pollinated by a male, otherwise it shouldn’t have any seeds at all.
Moreover, these seeds likely won’t germinate as they will be immature or of poor quality in general. Weak genetics means your mature plant and final yield are bound to suffer, no matter how great of a grower you are. And unlike seeds sourced from seedbanks, you’ll have no way of really knowing what you’re about to grow. Any seed company worth its salt will guarantee germination rates well into the 90% range; bagseed, on the other hand, all comes down to chance.
HOW TO SPOT QUALITY SEEDS
Regardless of where you source your seeds, once you get your hands on some, how can you ascertain their quality? Here’s what to look out for:
Just by glancing over your seeds, you can already get a fairly good idea of their quality. Colour is probably the first thing you will notice, with healthy seeds normally having a darker shell. High-quality seeds may also have some natural “tiger stripes” or speckles, and can range between dark brown, grey, and almost black.
On the contrary, immature seeds literally pale in comparison, with green or light-grey-coloured shells. Some almost appear ivory white. If your seeds look anything like this, it is likely they will not germinate. Even if you’re able to germinate some immature seeds, it will take much longer, and your cannabis plants will probably not turn out as great.
Good seeds will normally have a shiny coat as well. To verify this, bring your seeds under a light. You should see a glistening, shiny effect on the shell that makes your seeds look like tiny pearls or marbles. If your seeds have a rough or dull appearance, they are normally of lesser quality.
• Hard and smooth surface
Good seeds should be quite resilient and firm to the touch. You can test your seeds by taking one between two fingers and giving it a slight squeeze. Under normal duress, the shell of the seed shouldn’t crumble, break, or bend. If the shell doesn’t feel solid, but instead easily breaks or feels soft to the touch, it is old and will probably not germinate. Likewise, if the shell isn’t smooth and shiny, but instead has cracks and holes, the seeds are probably bad as well.
HOW TO TEST YOUR SEEDS FOR QUALITY AND GERMINATION RATE
If you’re still unsure if your seeds are duds or not, or if you’re ready to just get started with your grow, you can always go ahead and get germinating! Checking their appearance is one thing, but these tests will tell you if your seeds actually pop or not.
• The water glass float test
A classic! The float test isn’t exactly rocket science, but it yields consistent results. Here is how to do it:
1. Fill a glass or jar with bottled or distilled water. Clean tap water also works.
2. Put your seeds in the glass with the water. There are only two outcomes for your test: sink, or float. Those that hit the bottom of the glass are likely of good quality, while those that remain afloat are probably not going to germinate or be all-star performers.
3. Now it’s time to wait; give your seeds at least two hours before coming to a conclusion about their quality. The reason for this is that good-quality seeds with a more resistant shell can take a while to soak up the water, causing them to float for a short while at first. So make sure to be patient when performing this test—you don’t want to act too soon and toss out otherwise healthy seeds!
Important tip: Only do the float test once you’re ready to plant your seeds. Once they’ve soaked in water, you can’t put them back in storage. You need to germinate them. So, if you have a whole bunch of seeds, only test as many as you can actually germinate and grow.
• The ultimate test: just plant your seeds
Maybe you don’t feel the need to do any testing, instead throwing caution to the wind in hopes that your seed will sprout. In this case, you can go ahead and plant your seeds in soil and wait to see a tiny stalk of green appear. High-quality seeds like those from Zativo will likely germinate in 2–3 days this way. Some strains, such as certain sativas, could take a bit longer, up to 7 days depending on the strain. But the bottom line here is that quality seeds will pretty much always germinate. Planting them in soil and seeing them break through the surface is a good sign you have some quality seeds on your hands!
HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP CANNABIS SEEDS?
If you’re like most hobby growers, you may at some point end up with more seeds than you can actually grow at one time. As such, longer-term storage becomes a priority. But how long can you even store them? Do cannabis seeds go bad?
Stored properly, you can keep cannabis seeds viable for a very long time. However, moisture, exposure to light, and high temperatures could spoil your seeds and shorten their period of viability significantly. If you buy from a good seed company, your seeds will often come in a vial with a lid that also contains desiccant; this way, your seeds can stay good for a long time. To properly store your seeds, it’s best to keep them in a dark and cool place, such as a cupboard. In this setting, seeds can potentially stay viable for years.
CAN YOU TELL THE SEX OF YOUR SEED?
Another disadvantage of getting seeds from an unreliable source is that you won’t know their sex. Most growers, unless they need males for breeding purposes, will immediately toss out any males after identifying them to prevent pollination of females. This issue can be avoided entirely by purchasing feminized seeds from a reputable provider. These seeds will, of course, only sprout females, which is what you want. But if you obtained a mystery bag of seed, there is unfortunately no way to tell outright if your seeds are male or female.
Top 5 Germination Mistakes To Avoid When Growing Weed
Germinating cannabis seeds is necessary in order to sprout seedlings that develop into mature, healthy cannabis plants. However, complications with light, humidity, heat, and more could result in cannabis seeds failing to sprout. Find out what to avoid to ensure successful germination.
Germination is where the magic begins. Cannabis seeds must first germinate in order to sprout and begin their journey as living, breathing plants. However, if the germination process is done incorrectly, or is thwarted by some other variable, seeds can fail to sprout, leaving you with useless, spent seeds instead. Here are the top five mistakes to avoid when germinating cannabis seeds.
GERMINATING BAD SEEDS
One of the most common reasons seeds fail to germinate is because they are simply duds. Typically, healthy cannabis seeds should look a specific way and be of a specific colour. Viable seeds will appear round, not flat, and should be a beige to dark brown colour with subtle tiger striping. Seeds that have been flattened or are pale in colour may have a tough time sprouting into healthy cannabis plants.
Seeds that have been improperly stored may also fail to germinate. These tiny packages of DNA prefer to be kept in a cool, dark place with moderate humidity. Exposing them to heat, light, or extreme humidity levels (both high and low) could result in seeds losing their viability. As long as you source your seeds from reputable seedbanks and store them appropriately, you shouldn’t have to worry about bad seeds ruining your chances of successful germination.
TOO MUCH LIGHT
Generally speaking, seeds require a dark environment in order to germinate. After all, in nature cannabis seeds find their home in the dark embrace of soil. It can be hard to determine exactly how much light is too much for your seeds; however, err on the side of caution and germinate out of direct light. There’s no need to use your grow lights until after germination has occurred.
It is also likely that the quality of your seeds will affect their ability to handle direct light. Seeds that are already having a tough time germinating will have an even worse time doing so if they are exposed to excess light.
TOO MUCH OR NOT ENOUGH WATER
The amount of water you supply your seeds during the germination process will also affect their ability to successfully germinate. Some growers attempt to germinate by “drowning” them in a glass of water. While this ensures they will not go thirsty, it can actually be more harmful than helpful.
Once they pop, seedlings are very delicate and must be watered carefully. When germinating, your medium should be damp, but not overly wet for best results. On the other hand, a dry environment is basically a death sentence for your seeds. They need a constant source of moisture to sprout, otherwise they’re good as duds.
Cannabis seeds require a specific temperature range in order to germinate. Regardless of the germination medium you are using (soil, paper towels, etc.), the temperature in the environment should consistently sit in the 26–28℃ range. Seeds need to be kept warm during the germination process. At no point during germination should seeds be exposed to temperatures below 20℃.
There are some techniques that can be used to ensure your seedlings remain in this temperature range. Some growers choose to use special warming mats that can be set to a specific temperature and placed underneath the seedling containers. Another strategy is to place a timed heater close to your seedlings to warm them up occasionally. Once your seeds have sprouted, they will be much more resilient to fluctuations in temperature.
GERMINATING IN SOIL
Many people choose to germinate their seeds using paper towels. However, others choose to do so directly in soil. Of course, germinating your seeds in soil isn’t inherently bad, but it can come with its own set of challenges, and is generally not recommended unless necessary.
For instance, the upper layer of soil can dry out within 48 hours, making it more difficult to give your seeds the right amount of water they need without overdoing it. Giving your soil too much water during germination could result in the seed rising up or dropping down further, inhibiting its viability. Moreover, seeds that are planted too deep in the soil could experience a host of complications. They could suffocate before coming into contact with enough oxygen, and be unable to access sufficient light to progress into the seedling stage of their life cycle.
Seeds may also be unable to germinate if the soil they are planted in contains contaminants. Mould and pests can easily kill a mature, healthy weed plant within just a matter of weeks. It should come as no surprise then that they could also prevent a small seed from germinating. If your soil contains traces of these contaminants, it is possible that your seed will never actually open and sprout. This also applies to fertilisers. Even small amounts of fertiliser in your soil can effectively kill your seed, making it completely useless.