Article by Gooey Rabinski, Merry Jane
One need not spend much time in the cannabis culture before encountering a philosophy of “pot is easy to grow.” In reality, poor or mediocre cannabis can be cultivated with minimal effort. But a top-shelf example of the herbal art—the type of herb that shrinks cancer tumors or makes seasoned users take notice—is decidedly more difficult to produce.
Quality cannabis starts with good seeds and healthy, robust seedlings. A seedling’s primary job is to establish a solid root system to support the plant during vegetative growth and the all-important flowering stage, when medicine-bearing resin is actually produced within the flowers of the plant.
Ensuring the health of a cannabis seedling means creating an environment that prevents the onset of disease. Many of the diseases that commonly afflict cannabis seedlings are fungal in nature. Smart pot gardeners strive to understand as much as possible about the diseases that can so easily kill their delicate newborn plants, but the average cannabis enthusiast should be aware of these ailments, too. Below, we’ve highlighted a variety of diseases that afflict cannabis plants, as well as best practice methods that will help your bud healthy and thriving.
Identifying Viable Seeds
Before worrying about diseases such as fungi and algae, a gardener must be able to identify healthy seeds and germinate them. Viable seeds (or “beans”) are plump, round, hard, and brown (not green), often with white streaks or patches. Larger seeds are typically the healthiest and most likely to germinate into hardy plants.
White and green seeds indicate immature specimens that should be discarded. Surprisingly, good seeds that have been in storage for years are often fully viable. As a rule of thumb, however, the likelihood of a cannabis seed’s germination decreases with the passage of time.
Disease & Environmental Threats
Part of the challenge of sustaining and nurturing a pot seedling from its minute genesis to its glorious trichome-powdered flowery finish at harvest is disease, in general, as well as the environmental threats that commonly lead to such plant ailments. Dealing with disease separates the pros from the amateurs in the world of cannabis gardening. Many master cannabis cultivators consider plant diseases to be a game of prevention in which gardeners must carefully avoid the environmental deficiencies and excesses that commonly lead to the emergence of a disease.
When a disease that strikes a cannabis seedling or plant during the vegetative (“veg”) stage cannot be prevented via the maintenance of proper environmental conditions, it must be identified and dealt with in a timely manner. This is because most cannabis diseases spread quickly, especially in crowded gardens.