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How Do You Harvest Seeds from the Cannabis Plant?

Bjorn Dawson December 29, 2020

To most in the cannabis community, seed-filled weed usually indicates a bad harvest. Stoners and growers alike have started doing all they can to make sure their weed is seed-free.

But what about those who want a lot of seeds? If you're just getting into growing, or if you've had many bountiful harvests, but want to multiply. Learning how to harvest seeds from cannabis plants is always a worthy skill to have on deck for a home grower.

You may be asking yourself, "how do I get from seed to harvest?" Or, "what's the difference between male and female plants?" Or even "how do I go about the pollination process?"

Keep reading if you want to know how to harvest seeds and more about cannabis cultivation in general.

All About Cannabis Seeds

Taking a closer look at the plant's early stages will help you get familiar with your growth process. During the first few weeks of the flowering period, the plant will show clear signs of being male or female.

Male plants produce pollen sacks that come off and make their way to any nearby female plants. The female plants produce the seeds.

All cannabis buds and byproducts rely on the quality and care of the original seed, clone, or mother plant. Healthy cannabis seeds are dark brown and have deep tiger-like stripes. If your seeds are green, they aren't fully mature yet.

Feminized cannabis seeds are a great option for those who don't want to tackle the sorting of the seeds. These seeds are proof that female plants can produce seeds without males. The plants mature and grow seeds if conditions don't naturally lead to pollination from a male plant.

Below is a brief seed to harvest guide including steps for manual plant pollination.

Germination

All healthy plants, cannabis or not, start with a solid foundation. Cannabis plants grow stronger foundations when their seeds germinate before planting.

The germination process begins when the plant first begins growing out of the seed. The method most home-growers follow to germinate their seeds involves paper towels.

After submerging your seeds in water for several hours, pour the water and the seeds over a paper towel. Cover the seeds with another damp or moist paper towel. Maintaining damp conditions lets your seeds get comfy and sprout taproots during germination.

Once your taproots grow a few centimeters, the seed is ready for planting. Different strains respond best to a variety of blends of soil and nutrients. Research your strain's preferences to give your plant the best foundation possible.

Determining a Feeding Schedule and Grow Conditions

Following the initial transplant, you need to watch your plant as closely as possible. You need to develop a feed schedule and optimize your growing conditions. After doing so, your plants will thank you. 

You should also look for early signs of the plant being male or female. Female cannabis plants will grow pistils on the nodes of the seedlings. Males will produce small pollen sacs which indicate their reproductive maturing.

Some strains may have better nutrient uptake when the water used on them has a certain pH level. Some plants also grow stronger in certain soil and feed blends.

Some growers even choose to go the hydroponic route when growing their cannabis. This no-soil cultivation method gives growers a new way to care for and raise their plants.

Cannabis Photoperiod Growth Manipulation

If you're working with some photoperiodic cannabis plants, you have even more detail to pay close attention to. 

Photoperiodic plants are those that respond and grow differently according to light cycles. Cannabis plants are often photoperiodic and have different growth cycles they phase in and out of while in cultivation.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are auto-flowering plants. These plants are more convenient to grow as they can begin flowering just a few weeks after germination. However, many growers choose to stick to photoperiod growth to have more control over yields and the quality of their buds.

Pollination

Now, we can move on to the pollination process. Proper pollination can make the difference between a seedy or a sensimilla harvest.

In a natural habitat, a single male cannabis plant has the capacity to pollinate hundreds of female plants. Knowing this, you have to avoid over-pollination and cross-pollination when cultivating your cannabis plant for buds.

However, if you want a seedy batch for future growing purposes, controlling the pollination process will yield the best results. 

Female plants are often considered the only useful cannabis plants since they have higher THC content, and they produce both seeds and buds. They can even produce seeds on their own and without the pollination process if the growing conditions don't offer any other method of it. This process produces feminized seeds.

When you're ready, you have a few options with the way you go about completing the pollination process. The natural method that requires the least interference is fine for beginners, but may not offer the seed yield you're looking for. 

Many cultivators rely on an isolation process focusing on one stalk per female plant to reach their seed production goals. After gathering the pollen from the male plants and separating them from your female ones, you can take a cotton swab and dab pollen on one stalk of each plant you want to see reach a high seed concentration.

After dabbing the pollen, cover your plant stalk with a plastic or brown paper bag to ensure the pollen doesn't reach the rest of the plant and reduce its potential flower potency.

And if you want to strictly grow for the sake of harvesting seeds, you can try a colloidal silver spray that stresses the female plant and forces it to produce seeds. This and other silver-based sprays that help with seed production also make your plants entirely unsmokeable. Be sure to only use it if you don't intend to use the buds.

You could also purchase feminized seeds to ensure that all seedlings will grow into female plants. Since feminized seeds get their genetic code strictly from their mother plant, all seeds will also be female.

These are both great options to better optimize cannabis cultivation for your personal needs.

How to Harvest Seeds, Buds, and Your High

After your plant's ripening period following fertilization, you will finally be ready to begin the harvesting process. Before you can get to harvest your seeds, you still have to follow the usual cannabis curing process.

This is a delicate time period for your plant, and drying needs to happen for just the right amount of time. After clipping the stalks you want to use, trim each one of its fan leaves, place your bud in jars, and allow them to cure. Pay close attention to the jars' temperature, humidity levels, and venting points for best yields.

After curing, you will finally have access to your home grow and all of the seeds your plant has produced. While they can still be used in edibles, the hemp buds from your fertilized plant are largely unsmokeable and will let you know if and when you need to flush the plant for over pollination.

Cannabis Seed Removal

Finally, we have reached the act of seed harvesting itself. Your plants still need to undergo the usual cannabis harvesting process before you can collect your seeds.

There are two main methods that people cultivating at home usually follow. The first involves gathering your dried and cured stalks into a plastic bag or covering and beating the bag until all of the buds and seeds have come off.

The second is a trusted fan-favorite among old stoners and young explorers alike. The 'album cover method' relies on gravity and your own efficiency with grinding down the buds. As you crumble the buds over the tilted open album cover sleeve, your plant's seeds should fall and roll to the album crevice, naturally separating from the buds.

To optimize further plant growth, don't jump to germinate and plant fresh cannabis seeds. Allowing them to freeze for a period of time before growth improves the longevity and health of the plant.

Now you're an expert in cannabis cultivation geared towards seed production, so you can go into your next home-grow cycle with confidence.

Growing Your Seeds and Beyond

If you're interested in further maximizing your plants' growth potential, stock up on cultivation gear designed to nurture your plant from seed to harvest to joint. The Grobo brand has all-inclusive seed starter kits and high-tech automated grow boxes for cultivators of all experience levels. 

The Grobo grow box line uses a hydroponic technique called deep water culture to grow your plants, which you can nurture best using their app for cannabis plant grow recipes. Grobo also significantly reduces smell while growing your plants either from a mother clone or a seed. Wirth Grobo, you can expect a 2-3 ounce yield from your plants every 3-4 months.

Take cannabis cultivation into your own hands. No matter your intent to grow, understanding the basics of nourishing and harvesting seeds will take you a long way.

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