When you’re planning to create your very own hydroponic garden, one of the most important aspects is getting plants. There’s plenty of talk on nutrients and pH levels. However, these aren’t appropriate for new gardens unless they have been established beforehand, which can take months or even years.
There is a whole lot of difference between an up and running system and a germination area. With how quickly some plants grow, it is essential to germinate seeds constantly, which will keep your garden filled with new plants.
The best way to ensure the success of your gardening experience is by not skipping on planting seeds. You will be able to grow plants that are suitable for growing in hydroponic systems.
This is because they were raised from non-sterile sources and have been inoculated with beneficial bacteria, fungi or pests (or all three.) This means you can guarantee greater genetic diversity, which results in healthier plants overall.
Another aspect most growers fail to remember is that they will be able to get more seeds for what they pay for seedlings.
With that said, germinating seeds or seedlings is quite simple. However, there is some equipment you’ll need, certain steps you’ll need to follow and some terms you’ll need to be aware of to get positive germination results.
Equipment You Need to Germinate Pot Seeds for Hydroponics
When you first start to germinate your own seeds for hydroponics, it is most likely to be a little bit pricier at the beginning. This is because you’ll need to purchase more equipment and material in later years.
Seeds require light, water, heat, and oxygen to grow. There isn’t a need for anything extravagant for growing your seeds. You can construct an ideal environment for your miniature greenhouse by using a grow tray along with a dome.
In case you plan on germinating your seeds in a cool area, you’ll need to get a heating pad that you can put underneath the grow tray. This way, the seeds will be kept warm, a necessary setting for the seed to start sprouting. Also, light is a great addition as it helps with seed sprouting.
Inside the grow tray, you can make use of a pot which will be beneficial for the seeds during their growing stage in your hydroponic system. Furthermore, you’ll need starter cubes, like those made from Rockwool (stonewool.)
Here, the key is to make use of something that’ll be able to hold out against getting immersed in the water without dissolving. If not, it’s likely to clog up the setup after transplanting.
Steps for Germinating Seeds for Hydroponics
First and foremost, you need to soak the starter cubes for around one hour in clean water. After soaking, put some seeds inside the hole of the cube. Take a note to add more than a few in case some seeds do not germinate.
Once the seeds start sprouting, remove the weak plants, giving the stronger ones the chance to grow.
Next, start preparing the grow tray with approximately one inch of clean water/ nutrient solution. Step up the heating pad and light source as required. You may keep the lid on to keep the moisture and heat inside the tray.
Then, put the planted starter cubes in the grow tray and put water or the solution once the level starts going down in the tray. In four days or so, you will start to notice some sprouts shooting out.
In some cases, some people use Ziploc bags instead of growing trays for seed germination as it works similar to a greenhouse.
All you need to do is seal the bag with some air inside and keep it in the dark area for approximately four days for the seeds to sprout. After that, you may put the sprouted starter cubes inside the grow tray.
Transplanting into your system can be done after two to three weeks of germination. You can even check if it’s ready to be transplanted by checking the bottom of the starter cubes. If you see roots starting to shoot out from the bottom, you can start transplanting.
This is actually a great sign because if left for an extended period of time, they may start root bounding in the cube since it’ll be their sole moisture source.
After reaching this stage, clear some space in your hydroponic setup to grow your new plants. Because the rooting system of the plant has been depending on the starter cubes for moisture, it must find another source of water naturally. Therefore, for this, you’ll need to topwater the seeds for the initial few days.
It may seem there is a lot of information to comprehend in regards to germinating seeds for hydroponics. However, in practical, it is rather simple and straightforward as long as you follow the instructions and requirements.
Once you start growing your own seeds, you’ll realize that apart from it being cost-effective, you’ll find it gratifying when completing every growing stage of your plants.