How to make Seed Sprout Tea (SST) for cannabis plants
What is Seed Sprout Tea or SST?
Despite forming part of Chinese cuisine and medicine for centuries or even millennia, it’s only been in the last 30 or 40 years that the western world has really woken up to the health benefits of eating seed sprouts, or germinated seeds. These days it’s widely accepted that adding some sprouted beans or other seeds to our daily diet is highly beneficial for their high content of protein, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But did you know we can get some great results by adding seed sprouts to the diet of our cannabis plants too?
Yes, it’s true! Our plants can make the most of the beneficial properties of sprouted seeds and enjoy a natural boost in growth and plant health. Seed sprout tea (SST) is an easy, economical and environmentally-friendly way in which we can irrigate our garden with our own homemade plant growth stimulant, rich in phytohormones, enzymes, minerals and nutrients, and is suitable for use on cannabis plants in vegetative growth as well as during the flowering period, depending on the seeds being used.
Barley grains sprouting in a jar
What seeds can we use to make SST?
Seeds or grains will sprout when we expose them to air, water and warmth. This sets in motion a series of biochemical reactions that alter the composition of the seed, during which process the macronutrients are broken down and the bioavailability of micronutrients is hugely increased. In short, the sprouted seeds are far more nutritious than either the grown plant or the seed itself, and it’s this vitality that we want to capture and apply to our organically-grown cannabis plants, whether we’re cultivating outdoors, in greenhouses or indoors using grow lamps.
There are a few types of seed that are most commonly used for this purpose, these are primarily maize, barley, alfalfa and lentils. These are used at different times, depending on what stage of life our plants are in, and the desired effect.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare)
Sprouted barley grains contain are very high in enzymes and gibberellins, as well as many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and nutrients. As well as the growth-promoting effects of gibberellins, barley SST is principally applied in order to establish and maintain the enzymes in the substrate. These enzymes help to digest dead roots, keeping the substrate and root zone in good health, as well as potentiating the soil food web and improving nutrient uptake. Some of these enzymes, specifically chitinase enzymes, have been shown to have an inhibiting effect against fusarium, a pathogenic fungus that causes great losses in agriculture as well as in cannabis gardens.
If whole barley grains are difficult to find then malted barley is a good substitute. Because the grain has already been sprouted as part of the malting process, this is a much faster method and will only need to be steeped, or “bubbled” in water for a few hours to make a natural enzyme tea, although freshly-sprouted seeds will always be more effective. To use malted barley add 2 tablespoons per gallon of water. Apply this or Barley SST once a week during vegetative growth and then give a top-up application roughly halfway through the flowering period.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
Rich in enzymes, vitamins, proteins and, most importantly, triacontanol, a potent growth-boosting plant hormone which increases photosynthesis by raising chlorophyll levels, increasing root mass, alfalfa seed sprout tea is a powerful plant stimulant that’s perfect for the transition into flowering, when it helps to maintain close internode spacing and increase root mass. It can also be used in combination with Corn SST during vegetative growth and flowering as a general growth booster. More care must be taken with alfalfa as it is very powerful indeed and we recommend to either start the process with half the amount of seeds or to dilute in double the quantity of water before application.
Alfalfa sprouts are rich in triacontanol
Corn (Zea mays)
Corn or maize sprouts are high in enzymes, minerals and nutrients, and also very rich in cytokinins, a plant growth hormone which promotes lateral budding, branching and the development of thicker stems leading to improved nutrient transport and the capacity for heavier crops. It can even be used at twice the strength to control height, resulting in really squat, bushy plants, perfect for growing spaces with reduced headroom. Organic sweetcorn grains are the most common source of corn to use for sprouting, but all maize grains are easy to germinate and some growers even seek out heirloom varieties like Blue Corn to ensure their SST is GMO-free. Corn SST is best applied in late vegetative growth and up to the fourth or fifth week of flowering.
Lentils (Lens culinaris or Lens esculenta) and other legumes
While alfalfa is, in fact, a legume, here we’re talking about other legumes, not only lentils but also larger seeds such as peas, beans or chickpeas. The sprouts of these seeds contain high concentrations of auxins, producing an SST that makes a great rooting stimulant as well as working to boost growth in general. Lentils are a great choice because, due to their relatively small size, they will germinate faster than the larger legumes.
These are the most commonly used seeds for making SSTs, but it doesn’t mean that other types of seed won’t work equally worth experimenting with. For example, an SST using sprouted hemp seeds ought to be an excellent growth booster for cannabis plants, while sunflower seeds are well known to be high in phytohormones, and many others such as rice, fenugreek, pumpkin have been recommended as well.
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It’s important to always use seeds from organic agriculture for our SSTs, to avoid the possibility of introducing any trace of chemical pesticides and other undesirable compounds into our garden. The organic aisle in the local supermarket or health store is often the most convenient place to source seeds for sprouting, usually providing us with all the seeds listed above, alongside a range of other seeds that we could try out for ourselves at home.
What will we need to make SST?
- 28g (1oz) of your chosen seeds, beans or grains
- 1/4 tsp Kelp meal
- Clean water
- Glass jar
- Cheesecloth & elastic band
- Blender/food processor
Everything you’ll need to make a seed sprout tea
How do we make SST?
Thoroughly rinse the seeds in clean water to remove any dirt, dust or contamination. This is best done using a sieve under a running tap. This also helps to remove any abscisic acid, a growth-inhibiting hormone that occurs on the outer shell of many seeds.
Soak the seeds overnight in clean water. Adding a quarter-teaspoon of kelp meal at this point will infuse the water with growth-promoting phytohormones and help to accelerate the germination process. In this case, we’ve used the soluble kelp powder Alga Plus from Jumus.
Drain and rinse the seeds in clean water after soaking for at least 8 hours and put them back into the jar. They should be wet enough so that the seeds will adhere to the sides of the jar, but not sitting in water. Cover the jar mouth with cheesecloth and fix with a rubber band. This gives ventilation while stopping any insects, or dust falling in. Placing the jar on its side allows for a greater surface area of the seeds to be in contact with the air.
Rinse and drain the seeds at least twice a day until the sprouting tails are as long as the seeds themselves. This usually takes a few days. Then blend the sprouted seeds in a food processor along with a cup or so of water. In our experience, the “Nutri-Bullet” type of blender is best, but pretty much any kind of food processor will do the trick to a satisfactory level.
Separate the liquid from the seed pulp using the sieve, straining the resulting liquid into a container. The pulp can be composted or added directly to the soil surface as an enzyme-rich top-dressing.
Dilute the resulting liquid in 10 litres water before using it to irrigate your plants. In the case of alfalfa SST, which is much more potent, use 20 litres to dilute or, alternatively, start with half the quantity of seeds.
What can we do now?
At this stage, some growers like to “bubble” or aerate the SST for 12-24 hours in a bucket with an air pump, while others will add molasses to the tea and ferment it to preserve it for a longer time. Here at Alchimia, we recommend to dilute and use any SST right away for maximum freshness and effectiveness, it’s easy and cheap enough to make a new batch next time you need some more.
If you’d like to boost the SST with more micro and macronutrients, amino acids and other essential elements, you can mix in some more organic, natural ingredients. For example, you could mix in some Nettle Flour, which is ideal for the growth period, or an infusion of dried Comfrey leaves for a nutritional and health boost during the flowering phase.
While SSTs may not be a replacement for the scientifically formulated, high-precision stimulants and boosters used by many cannabis cultivators, there’s no question that, when used correctly, they can be a powerful tool for the self-sufficient organic grower, not only giving great results but also rewarding the grower with the satisfaction of having created their own plant stimulators in a natural way.
We hope this article has been of interest to you, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment with your own experiences, suggestions or any questions you may have.
In this Alchimia blog post, we tell you all about the benefits of Seed Sprout Tea (SST), and show you how to make your own cheap and easy plant growth
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Compost tea should not be applied to cannabis sold as flowers.
- Alfalfa meal makes a great foliar spray when you brew it into a tea .
- If cannabis is grown for concentrate production, studies need to be performed to determine that spraying throughout flowering will not impact microbial counts in analytical tests.
- Alfalfa is also a renewable sourceâ€¦.after you have used it to brew in a tea the left over organic matter can be added to the compost bin or used as a top dressing in container gardening.
- I also experimented with Alfalfa pellets.
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September 12, 2019 I’ve written this guide to help give an overview on how to make aerated compost teas properly using information that has been researched and microscope-tested, and based on my 10 years of knowledge in this industry. Alfalfa comes in two different formsâ€¦.a meal and in the pellet form. Compost is a rich source of beneficial microbes and micronutrients providing a strong immune system for your cannabis crop. Better yet, if your compost tea recipe calls for fungal compost , include a cup or two of soil from a nearby forest. It’s a wonderful fertilizer in its own right. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours, stirring on occasion, then strain and use as a root drench or foliar spray.
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This is what you’re already using, AND SOME. No-Till Soil is the name given to organic potting and compost mix that has been packed full of nutrients to support your cannabis plant throughout its whole life cycle.
- That way you’re always brewing a basic conpost tea and then can decide to add things to make it a nutrient tea when you want to.
- Mar 14, 2019 You can also water your pots or beds with compost tea to help inoculate the mulch with microbes, fungi, and bacteria.
- There are compounds, specifically Triacontanol, in the alfalfa that are most effective applied directly to the meristem, and right as the plant is hitting its growth spurt after being put into flower.
- Jan 21, 2019 DIY Instant Kelp Meal Tea – Coots Hydrated Kelp Meal Trick.
- Dec 14, 2019 The EWC and molasses are the main players in the compost tea so it makes sense.
- It is not something one drinks and it is not created by steeping in boiled water as is tea .
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and alfalfa has a “secret ingredient” that stimulates plant growth . Take your gardening to a new level with alfalfa . Oct 17, 2019 Many ROLS growers empty their containers into a pile, bin, tub or trashcan, mix it with soil amendments, add water or compost tea , and give it six weeks or longer for the microlife to find its rhythm. With a wealth of information out there on compost tea , it can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you have never grown cannabis before. A natural living site where you’ll learn about organic gardening, foraging, home medicine and more. Don’t overlook them as a garden and lawn compost or mulch.
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The articles say it is very good to use alfalfa tea in conjunction with compost piles.
- Aug 3, 2019 Mother Earth Super Tea Organic OIM is a complex tea that contains ingredients including canola meal, fish meal, sea kelp, earthworm castings, shrimp meal and alfalfa extract to activate the cannabis root zone and spur plants to higher growth rate and yield.
- I am doing 25 to a small 2×4 tray (crammed in there) as an experiment.
- Apr 14, 2019 Here are 10 great benefits of using alfalfa in your garden.
- When a tea is brewed correctly, it contains only beneficial organisms and nutrients that are essential for the soil and plants well being.
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Sep 12, 2019 The Ultimate Compost Tea Guide. Alfalfa Compost Tea Cannabis what are those black spots on my tomatoes? July 27 or bottom of the tomato. By adding these additional soils, you’re ensuring your tea is inoculated with a wide range of soil microbes. Even if you’re just breaking up alfalfa cubes in your water, keep the resulting water! You can allow that to ferment down into alfalfa tea as well. Ive read good things about the growth hormone triaconatol thats found in alfalfa and I know kelp has tons of good things in it too.
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Beginner’s guide to Compost Tea : The Homemade Cure-All Hello Microgrowers- I have just started a crop of Grape Ape in 6 inch rockwools. If you want to increase the diversity of your compost tea , we suggest adding a cup or two of garden soil. Alfalfa tea for plants can be used on a weekly basis as a good fertilizer. In my opinion compost tea is poorly named.
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Nov 19, 2019 Whip up your own organic super soil with Greendorphin! Our No-Till Soil recipe is the perfect beginner blend for organic cannabis growers. alfalfa is a natural and renewable resource which means it’s use as a fertilizer is especially earth friendly . Related How to Make Compost Tea for Cannabis Plants Alfalfa Meal Tea Cannabis “A really good all purpose fertilizer for preparation and properties of a double-coated slow-release and water-retention urea fertilizer slow release fertilizer rates your flowers and garden veggies. Aug 13, 2019 1) Start by purchasing a macro supplement.
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The articles mention the use of alfalfa tea as a foliar spray and the use of alfalfa pellets as a top dressing which should be scratched into the surface, (NO DEEPER THAN SIX INCHES). If you could only use 1 of our DIY plant tea’s .
- People use molasses, fish hydrolysate, frass, alfalfa , glacial rock, kelp, straw and many other ingredients, but the backbone always starts with a HIGH QUALITY compost or castings.
- Alfalfa meal’s natural properties are unlocked when the alfalfa is fermented, beginning a process of bacterial action that will be fully unleashed as part of compost or as a growing medium.
- Simply mix 5 gallons of water with 1 cup alfalfa meal and add a few tablespoons of LABS or EM1 .
- Jul 5, 2019 This is how i make my organic compost tea .
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You can use it as a foliar spray or a soil drench, as preferred. After the microbiology grows he’s saying to then make it a nutrient tea by adding the fish in towards the end. Not only is this quick and easy to prepare ahead of time, it’s practically instant once you’ve pre-made the Hydrated Kelp meal. As part of our cannabis super soil, it is fully prepared and optimized before being added to our select ingredients. Compost tea is the current growing trend for cannabis cultivators, and the past twenty years have seen more and more people opting for an organic nutritional booster for their plants. Jun 17, 2019 I have some alfalfa and kelp meal sitting around and I was thinking of making a tea for my outdoor vegging plants.
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A great organic tea is Advanced Nutrients Mother Earth Super Bloom Tea , consisting of crab meal, shrimp meal, earthworm castings, volcanic ash, yucca extract, kelp meal, alfalfa , ferminted compost , amino acids, and over 70 other vitamins & minerals. Aerated compost tea making is an active process which extracts microorganisms (breaks them loose from binding spots) into aerated water and provides them with a food source (foodstock) which causes them to multiply. 5 – Compost Tea In the beginning of this section we mentioned the importance of amending soil with compost as a preventative measure in preparing the soil for your outdoor marijuana garden. Feb 7, 2019 A Compost tea is an aerobically-brewed liquid extract made from quality microbial foods. Alfalfa is also a very good feed for your worms if you are into vermicomposting. 3-7 days into flower, and apply the tea as a foliar, as well as soil soak.
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The tomato is a vigorously growing plant with attractive foliage resembling the potato its cousin. Sep 1, 2019 Building a better alfalfa tea with the 3LB There are many benefits to using an old fashioned alfalfa tea on your growing herbs . Organic Fertilizer Sources for the Garden.
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