How To Hydroponics: Top Hydroponics Starting Seeds and Practices
Hydroponic is the act of raising plants without using soil, but rather in a water medium with nutrients.
The plants are placed in a hydroponic system that supplies the required nutrients to the roots with the help of the water medium.
This means that the choice of your hydroponics starting seeds determines a great deal how your crop yield will be.
The use of hydroponic has helped farmers to evade serious seedling diseases and pests like fungus and gnats, which mostly attack in moist soils.
Additionally, it is recommendable to start your seeds in a hydroponic system.
Mediums like coconut fiber, plugs, and peat pots have the necessary nutrients and ensure that the seeds have a healthy growth.
Rockwool or oasis can serve as a medium, but the seedlings should be transplanted to a complete hydroponic system later.
All systems that raise hydroponics start seedlings require some equipment, for example, grow lights are commonly used.
Alternatively, the medium can be watered at the bottom especially in systems that supply nutrients and water.
There are areas where these systems are tested by first raising old seedlings in rapid rooters. For a simple setup, florescent light that fit in any place can be used instead.
Rapid rooters are mostly used mediums as they have large numbers of important microbes and Mycorrhizal fungi that help in colonizing the root thus maximizing uptake of nutrients by the plant and evade serious diseases.
In addition, they are easy to work with for they are bought with tray thus the work of the farmer is just to add seeds and water.
Hydroponic seed starting has many advantages to farmers who wish to transplant their seedlings to another garden.
These benefits include; ease of use and a good medium that helps your plants to evade serious soil-borne diseases like damping off.
You can get your rapid rooter from many manufacturers, Quips Doug Miller, the hydroponics’ sales and marketing manager, etc.
Other than rapid rooters, there are other hydroponic options you can go for like, rock wool, coconut fiber, peat and oasis cube.
While the rapid rooters retain a lot of water, oasis and coir retain very little water.
Rock wool, on the other hand, is a natural material that is a bit complicated to new users.
It has a high pH that needs to be taken care of, as it will give seedlings a hard time to grow if untreated.
If it treated, then it is the best medium to use as it is good in retaining large amounts of both water and air.
Setting up the rock wool cubes
They are made up of volcanic rocks and are necessary for raising seeds because the cubes retain much water.
The rock wool has a high pH concentration; therefore, the cubes should be rinsed in the solution of both water and vinegar to neutralize the pH before putting the seeds in the cubes to grow.
Mix a teaspoon of vinegar with half-filled cup of water and dip the cubes into the resulting solution shaking off the excess.
Rock wool needs more attention because it is alkaline in nature.
This can be made easy by ensuring that the watering’s and feedings are of high pH level (5.5)
Add a small amount of tap water to a small container and immerse the cubes inside the container.
Plastic food containers are the best to use (3×5×3).
The seeds are placed at the top center where the cubes have a depression.
They attract water, and this ensures the seeds grow in a moist environment.
In case the cubes become too wet, minimize water in the container.
The seeds take the same time to germinate in a rock wool as they would have germinated when planted in a seed starter soil mix.
The container should be placed where it can receive maximum light.
If you choose to grow your seeds in the house, the convenient places are like on a table or near a window where there is partial light either in the morning or in the afternoon.
In case you want to grow outside, then you should select a partially sunny location like a porch.
The container should be away from heavy rainfall and winds.
Since the container is small and portable, it should be moved from one place to another to protect it from bad weather.
Water should be added only when the cubes start to get dry.
This is because; much water favors the development of molds on the rock wool.
On the other hand, if there is no water for a long time the seeds will not germinate; thus the cubes should be moist but not wet or dry.
When the seedlings reach 2 inches in height, add 3 drops of nutrients to the water in the container.
This will greatly boost the root growth.
Transfer to a Hydroponic system
The seedlings are ready for transplanting to a hydroponics grow system when they reach 3-4 inches in height.
Fill the net pot with clay pellets until it is half-full. Then, place the seedlings at the center of the pot with the rock wool cube.
Fill the base of the hydroponics seedlings with quality clay pellets to completely fill the pot.
Now you can transport and install the seedlings in the pot to the hydroponics system.
Seeds can be grown in a hydroponic system up to harvest, or you can first raise them in a hydroponic garden and then later transplant to a normal garden when they reach a certain height.
Technology is moving fast especially in the agriculture sector. My advice to you is simple, don’t be left behind.
Today, studies show that hydroponics is the best way to go. In fact with the right hydroponics starter seeds and seedlings practices you will love your harvest.
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To your farming success.