Monday, August 9, 2010
Trying a different approach
Starting seeds has always been my least favorite activity when it comes to hydroponic gardening. Seeds started in rockwool have a tendency to push out of the medium after having germinated, which is generally not a problem, however, I find it annoying having to push them back in. Additionally, maintaining just the right amount of moisture is always a problem, as I get so involved in other projects that I tend to forget the seedlings.
Finally, I have a method that is, up until now, foolproof. The seeds above are growing in two old AeroGarden units and being lit by a red/blue 90 watt LED. These seeds were placed in a moist coffee filter until the coat split and the radicle began to appear. The seedlings were then transferred to the pods and placed in the AeroGardens with a quarter strength hydroponic nutrient solution. The pumps are running 24/7, and the photoperiod is 14 hours with the light suspended about a meter above the units. When these seedlings have four true leaves and a decent root system I will carefully transfer the medium and seedlings to one of my larger hydroponic systems and replant these systems.
Over the last month or so I have started several batches of seedlings by this method, and the results have been superior to the traditional methods I had been using.
If you run across an old AeroGarden at a garage sale, and can buy it for a few bucks, you might consider buying if for seed propagation. The plastic pods are reusable, and there are any number of alternatives to buying supplies from the AeroGarden folks.