We are starting seeds for hydroponic growing. However, the principles are the same for all seed starting. At this point the only difference is that we are not growing in soil. Since soil would not work in a hydroponic system, we are using rockwool. If you are starting seeds in soil for transplanting into the ground the information here is still pertinent.
We started just 4 days ago 10 piece of rockwool, in which we placed 2 lettuce seeds inside, which were each placed inside of a net cup. We placed two seeds in each one “just in case”. In the end, 8 of the 10 plantings produced 2 plants in each net pot, so perhaps the double planting is a wise decision.
Plus, lettuce seed is plentiful and, should you be buying your lettuce seed, inexpensive as well.
We did not want to wait until too many roots had been established before pulling the extra seedling. We did this today because it “felt right”. The seedlings were long enough to get a hold of them, but still new enough that all they had were their seed leaves.
I found that each plant pulled up easily and did not seem to disturb the other seedling at all. These sprouts were fed to our house-pet rabbit, Cinnamon.
Watering Seed Sprouts
I mentioned in our first post about growing hydroponically that this is our first time growing plants this way. I feel it is worth mentioning that again because I am mimicking what I have seen done before when it comes to watering. We will, perhaps, try other methods once we have had success on our first attempt.
For now, we are spraying water as a mist across the tops of the plants. It may seem to me to make more sense to pour water into the bottom of the container, but we will try that another time. We are using plain tap water from our county water system. No fertilizers yet.
You can find a small water sprayer very inexpensively. A suggestion: Buy a few of them, you’ll be glad you have extras. We always seem to use one for something special and then need another one.
When you are done, it should look like a morning dew has set in inside of your seed starting tray, not like a thunderstorm just blew through.
Light For Seedlings
As I mentioned in the previous hydroponics article, we are re-purposing an old aquarium light to use as a grow light. It is undersized and under powered.
This is really an amazing thing for me to contemplate. Why does the sun, 93 million miles from earth, let my seedlings sprout right next to the soil, but when I place a florescent light 3 inches away, the plants get leggy (meaning they have longer stems than they should have). Figure that out and get back to me, would you?
Either way, the fact is if we continue to do this into the future (and it is quickly growing on me), we will need to invest in a 4 light fixture. Keep that in mind if you are considering starting your own seeds this way.
Sprouting Seeds Inside
All-in-all, this is going better than I expected. Even though it happens in our garden as well, there was something special about seeing the seedlings sprout overnight. One night, rockwool, the next morning, sprouts. However, these little guys are going to require a little more attention than my garden.
The garden is watered by nature and soaker hoses, these guys need me to do that. The sun provides the right type of light to grow healthy plants, indoors I have to do my best to mimic the sun.
Check back soon when we will start construction on the container we will be using for growing hydroponically using the Kratky method.
J&J Acres buys supplies from Growers Supplies:
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