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Seedlings and Hydroponics

Ideally, plants that are to be grown in a hydroponics system must first be rooted in a sterile substrate like rockwool. This would be the puritanical hydroponicist way of doing things and the correct way, however, you can bend the rules as we in our experience have discovered. Although not recommended, seedlings can also be raised in the traditional method and transferred to a hydroponics system. If you are to pursue this method, it is a good idea to wash the majority of dirt from the rootball and to dip the remaining roots and dirt in a weak hydrogen peroxide solution. Due to the differing strengths of H2O2, it is advised to refer to the manufacturers’ instructions for the dilution ratio.

The benefits of using a sterile substrate is just that! It is sterile, therefore, you will not introduce any bacteria, disease or pests into your hydroponics system. This objective is sought after when building and maintaining a hydroponics system. The less variables to influence the system, the less chance of failure, disease or pests.

There also presents itself another favoured technique for raising seedlings and that is the use of Jiffy-7s. These are compressed peat pellets that when submerged in water expand to around 4 times their original size. These are preferred due to their ease of use; just add water and you are ready to go. However, although many do use these little wonders in hydroponics systems, they can contain disease, bacteria and even pests.

Using good reliable seeds normally results in an approximate 90% germination ratio. If you are going to store your seeds, then this is best done in a light-tight and waterproof container and stored in a cool or even cold area. If you have the space, a fridge is a great place to keep your seeds at optimum freshness. Out of the approximate 90% of the seeds that have sprouted, for the most part, as you are now dealing directly with nature, you will normally get a mixture of super strong seeds, strong seeds, average seeds, weak seeds and not forgetting the runts of the pack.

This is nature’s way and to be honest it obviously works or we would not be here talking about it. This is the one drawback from raising seeds is that you will get inconsistencies and varying growth rates. However, all hydroponicists should know and experience how to germinate and raise seeds. Stock plants and mothers are not normally shared, so to be able to raise your own is fundamental, and this starts with the germination of seeds.

An excerpt from Hydroponicist - Indoor Horticulture


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