If you’re looking to start growing without soil, then hydroponics is for you. While some people prefer to grow their seedlings in soil before transferring them to a hydroponics medium, I feel that starting seeds in hydroponics system itself is a cleaner way to go about it, since soil isn’t introduced to the set up at all. Also, seeds that germinate in a hydroponic cloner from the start will grow faster because they won’t have experienced a change of medium.
The Materials Needed
You’ll need a hydroponic cloner, to begin with. This is a piece of equipment that can increase the cost of getting started with hydroponics but it ensures quality. Other things required are:
- Rapid Rooter Natural Plant Starter
- 2-inch Net Pots
- Aquarium tubing
- Seeds; these are available at any local nursery
- 1 round 4-inch Air Stone
- 2 outlet air pump
Set Up Your Cloner and Air Pump
Start by filling your hydroponic cloner with water. Fill it to the point where the bottoms of your net pots reach. Next, place the air stone in the water and connect it to the tubing. Attach the other side of the tubing to the air pump. Plug in the air pump to an electrical outlet and you’ll begin to see some bubbles in the tank.
Planting Your Seeds
Take out your natural plant starters and soak each one with water before adding it to a net pot. The moist bubbles coming out through the air stone will keep the starters wet and help seeds germinate.
Each starter will have a hole in it; add around 3 seeds to it. You can start with lettuce seeds because these are easier to grow for beginners. Don’t plant less than three because it’s likely that some seeds won’t germinate, and you need to make sure that there are seedlings sprouting from each starter.
Maintaining Your Seeds
Keeping your seeds in good condition is important so that they sprout and it’s easy to do as well. Until your seedlings sprout, use a spray bottle or dropper to keep the starters moist. Repeat this every day until you begin to see some growth. After your seedlings have sprouted, look for the weaker seedlings in every starter and clip them.
After you’ve prepared the ideal environment for your seeds to germinate, you’ll need to begin prepping the water so they can grow better. Using a pH pen, find out whether the water in the reservoir is currently acidic or basic.
Then, based on what you find out, you’ll have to lower or raise the pH. If you used regular tap water at first, it’s likely that the water is a bit basic and you’ll need a pH down solution so you can make it a little acidic.
You can easily purchase a pH up and down pack from any gardening store, or just order some. After that, you can add some hydroponic nutrient solution that provides your seedlings with essential minerals so they have better growth. Now, your hydroponic setup is ready to grow you some great veggies! Happy Farming!