Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Journal September 10, 2013 - Seed starting media

Three cups containing purple basil were placed in the aeroponic unit today along with the lemon basil.  When they named this purple basil, they were being serious, as this is about as purple as you can get.

Seed starting media is about the only thing I purchase from local hydroponic dealers; last week I called the local hydroponic shop to make sure they had oasis horticubes in stock before I drove twenty five miles to purchase them.  The guy said they were out of stock and hemmed and hawed when I asked when they would be in.  He told me I was the only person who purchased them;  yeah, like big deal, it seems I have purchased every one you ever had.  He said he would try to order them, but somehow he did not sound sincere, so I decided to sever my ties with this dealer.

The only cubes I could find on Ebay were small one inch cubes, which would cost more, however, they would yield almost three times as many cubes as the sheets from the local hydro dealer. The cubes are fine, as most of what I plant is lettuce, and I am sure larger plants will not be an issue, 

The departure being: it is recommended that the cubes be completely saturated before the seeds are dropped into the dibbled opening.  And, the cubes remain in water with the level about one third of the height of the cube until germination.  Using a domed container is also recommended, which I had been doing all along anyway.

If this works out it will save having to germinate the seeds in moist coffee filters and transfer them to cubes after germination.  The small square in the domed container contains twelve decoricated yellow Swiss chard seeds, so we will soon see how this goes. 

Another benefit of the smaller cubes it that they take up a lot less space under the lights.  The photo below shows a dozen Sweet Valentine lettuce seedlings I am trying under an off the shelf 65 watt 5000k CFL bulb.

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