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Starting A Hydroponic Garden From Seeds


Growing plants with a hydroponic system can be done in several ways. You can choose a deep water system, like an aquarium, or an ebb-and-flow system. The first step is starting your seeds.

Seed Starting
Seeds must be started in a medium, and the process is the same as traditional seed starting, using a growing tray, which will be included in your purchased hydroponic system. If you’d prefer to recycle materials around your home, you can use a large plastic cake or vegetable container, as long as it has a lid. Two of the most popular mediums for seed starting are rock wool and peat moss. Both of these mediums can be found in convenient pre-formed growing plugs or in bags of loose bulk.

-Spread bulk material to a depth of about two inches. If you choose growing plugs, arrange them in your growing tray. Please note that these mediums are extremely fine and light, so use gloves, nose, and eye protection. Rock wool can be thought of in the same vein as fiber-glass, and peat moss has been known to grow inside people’s lungs if inhaled.

-Soak your medium with water, preferably distilled, between one-half of an hour to about an hour.

-Pour off the excess water, and press your seeds into the medium. Press one or two seeds into each plug. Once they sprout, you can eliminate the weaker sprout. In bulk medium, space the seeds an inch or two apart. Seeds should be planted to the recommended depth on the seed package. A general rule of thumb is to plant seeds as deep as they are in depth, and lay them flat. Fine seeds like yarrow or dandelions for instance, naturally lie on top of the earth, and are covered by fine dust before they sprout, whereas larger tomato seeds should be planted about a quarter-of-an-inch deep.

-Cover the seeds and keep in a warm spot of about 68-70 degrees in indirect sunlight. Open the container every day to give seeds fresh air, and maintain moisture with a spray bottle. They should start sprouting in 10 to 14 days.

-Once the seeds have reached about two inches tall in three to four weeks, they are ready to transplant into your hydroponic system.  Chelated nutrients are preferred, because they are chemically constructed to be available to the plants in a consistent manner.  The pH should be maintained at about 6.0 to allow a healthy range of fluctuation between 5.5 and 6.5. Hydroponic plants will mature about 25% faster than soil-grown plants.

Grow Guide

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