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Grow Your Hydroponics Garden With Smart Techniques

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Grow Your Hydroponics Garden With Smart Techniques

It's never been easier or more affordable than it is today starting seeds in hydroponics easy grow tips this season with homegrown transplants from seed than it is today.  While there are many ways to start seeds, starting seeds in hydroponics is reliable, clean, and produces vibrant and robust young plants that come out of the planting gate charging-often leading to better harvests later on with fewer cropping troubles in between.

Growing your own transplants from seed can be very rewarding.  Besides being cost effective, you have assured a pesticide and fungicide free start-without GMOs, and you can even choose organic seed varieties for hydroponics also. By following the fundamentals provided here, you start a huge variety of plants this gardening season by growing hydroponic seedlings.  So, please follow along in Starting Seeds in Hydroponics Easy Grow Tips. 

Above-“Oasis” is a hydroponic substrate, that is sterile, lightweight and that holds a healthy ratio of air to moisture.  Rockool is also a very popular hydroponic media used for growing hydroponic seedlings.

THE HYDROPONIC SEEDLING SUBSTRATE OR GROWING MEDIA

Rockwool, Oasis, Perlite, and Vermiculite can all be considered “hydroponic” growing material because they are sterile (insert) and they hold no significant minerals for plants.  Nutrients and fertilizers, when needed, are added as competing formulations when watering.  Hydroponic growing medias hold more oxygen than soils typically do, so while requiring more frequent watering (if you don’t use a humidity dome), the advantage is that seeds are typically surrounded with higher levels of oxygen.  More oxygen at seed germination means a healthier start.

A lot of common seedling diseases gardeners have come from using soils that stay too moist.  In hydroponics, these can be easily avoided, also with fewer pests like fungus gnats, etc.  Starting your seeds with hydroponics is great for everybody; and especially if you live in an apartment and grow to maturity on your balcony or terrace. Rockwool requires a little more management because it is an alkaline material, however, maintaining watering and feedings with a more acid pH level (5.5) easily remedies this issue.

All of these materials can be found at your local hydroponics stores and since they are lightweight, they are easy to order online to just about anywhere-further adding to the convenience factor.

TIP NO.1

Pre-treat the hydroponic media with a mild nutrient solution, for example, 1/4 to 1/8 regular strength fertilizer.  Synthetic fertilizers are clean and easy to work with for this purpose and are very reliable. Avoid using organic products during seeding, as the moist and warm conditions may create “funks” that are unpleasant to both YOU and Your PLANTS;)  A mild B-Vitamin solution is an excellent addition to promoting higher vigour in your hydroponics seedlings.

SEEDLING TRAYS FOR HYDROPONICS

Typically, you are going to want to use a seedling tray for starting off your hydroponics transplants. Cash-strapped growers have been know to scrub out clam shell packages used in cakes, etc with a little bleach and water and use these as both combination humidity/dome tray. “1020” nursery trays are cheap and are the growing industry standard.  This means that just about any seedling cell insert or humidity dome you buy should fit perfect.  They are available as “no holes” or “with holes be sure to specify.  Most home growers prefer no holes and water carefully, while larger producers tend to go for with holes as the trays are typically set up in a “flood table/tray” that is plumbed for drainage. 

Seedling inserts or seed cells are available in a lengthy list of configurations, with many being designed to hold your hydroponic media starter plug of choice.  72 cell trays are a good place to start.  they allow you to fit a lot of seeds in a small space and still allow plants to be kept a week or two in the same space after germinating. Inserts are great because we they keep hydroponic medias draining freely, and not sitting in any pooled or puddled water . Humidity domes (optional) come as Tall or Regular.  Tall are recommended the better one's fit really snug onto a 1020 tray and also have adjustable vents at the top to control humidity levels for your seedlings and young plants.  This is great for busy people or medias that dry out fast.

TIP NO.2 

Never over water your seeding medium, but do use faster-draining mediums that allow you to water or mist your hydroponic seedlings more frequently.  When you water, it helps to introduce Dissolved Oxygen into the germination media-super charging plant health and creating bigger healthier root systems faster with fewer troubles.

GROW LIGHTS FOR RAISING HYDROPONIC SEEDLINGS

Typically any full spectrum light source that can provide gentle and even light coverage to whatever number of 1020 nursery trays you seed will do nicely. T-5 Fluorescent lighting is popular, but frequent bulb replacement can add up.  It is recommended that you change the bulbs at least once per year.  Some seed types will require light to germinate while others do not.  A grow light on a timer (for example 16 hours ON, 8 hours OFF) not only helps to provide healthy light for sturdier, squatter seedlings, it also helps to maintain a good temperature in an average space.  Heat mats can be placed underneath trays for especially cold locations.  Usually, a sheet of Styrofoam or thick cardboard insulates the undersides of your trays well, protecting young root systems.  Cold and damp conditions are not favored by most seed types.

Induction Grow Lights and LED's are increasing rapidly in popularity with indoor growers for a variety of purposes including raising hydroponic seedlings-these not only save on power, but they don’t require lamp/bulb replacement. About 1200 lumens of full spectrum lighting is usually a good level to start within germinating most seed types.

TIP NO.3

Make sure you keep all of your seed packs and note if the seed supplier  also has a website to consult. Different types of plants will have different preferences, needs and behaviors this is an excellent point of reference for you to have and keep. However, as a rule of thumb, maintaining air temperatures of 75-85 Deg. F as constant as possible and watering with 65-72 Deg. F watering will provide excellent results in a variety of common garden plants.

TIP NO.4

LABEL EVERYTHING WELL: don’t count on remembering WHAT you planted and WHEN

TIP NO.5

Do not allow your seedling media to sit in puddled or pooled water for prolonged periods.  It's an easy entry point for seedling diseases like root rot, pythium, etc. A turkey baster works great at getting any extra water out-plus if you are savvy, you can check the TDS or EC and pH of the run off to assess and feeding/watering adjustments you may need to make.

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  • Amir Ali Shaikh
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