Now for the actual guide. I am using pics from the Internet, I don't have any of my own handy.
- It is possible to grow a plant from seed in soil and transplant it in a hydro system by wasing off the soil from the rootball. It will get shocked and take around a week to continue growing but it's achievable.
- If you wanna go with hydro better use rockwool. Peat pellets are not that great for hydro systems.
Let us begin.
Rockwool is alkaline, this means that it has a high pH value which will burn your seedlings if you don't prepare it properly. How do we prepare rockwool? Simple.
First of all find a container deep enough to fit your rockwool cubes.
Fill it with distilled, filtered, spring, rain or even tap water that you have left to sit for a night or two. Then put some quarter-strength veg nute and rooting solution (according to the maker's instructions). That will ensure your plant will start in a good environment.
Tip: Keep some of that solution handy!
Stir well, leave it alone for 15-20 mins and then measure the pH value of the mixture. If its 5.5 to 6.5 you should be ok (you need a pH value around 6).
If your pH is not around these values, adjust it by using some pH up or pH down solutions
You absolutely NEED to get pH correction solutions if you will grow in a hydro system.
pH down comes in either liquid or dry form, liquid form is already acidic, dry form is safe to touch. Just get some doctor's rubber gloves and you will be ok in both cases.
Now after your pH is around 6, sink the rockwool cubes in the solution and let them be for 24-48 hours. This way the rockwool will absorb the pH 6 water, thus changing its pH value to something more friendly for your babies. Get your seedbags poppin', here's the good part.
Hydro tip: I would suggest using dry pH down for hydro, since pH down will be used more frequently, you have a bigger supply this way.
Tip: To be 100% sure all seeds are good you can chose either to germinate your seeds in a glass of water or with damp paper towels, both methods have been explained well in GC, take a look at some other posts.
If you just don't care about that and/or you have enough cubes, put your seeds pointy side down in the small holes of the starter cubes, press them gently so the holes close, don't push too much, we want the plants to pop out eventually but still keep it dark in there. If not, just follow the glass or paper towel method, pick the seeds that have popped with a pair of disinfected and clean tweezers and put them in the cube holes, root down.
ATTENTION: This is the MOST SENSITIVE moment in the plant's life, you dont want to spend a good 100 Euros on killer seeds and destroy your tap roots. Be very, VERY careful! Hence the tweezers.
Lay the rockwool cubes with the seeds down on your propogator tray. Cover with dome, put in sunny place or under CFL/Fluoro tube lamps (must be REALLY close to the top of the dome)
Every day or better twice a day, check the propogator, the dome should be foggy from the moisture, if not, spray the cubes with the water you kept from Step 1 and cover again. In 4-5 days you should have something that looks like that:
Almost there! Every day open the dome so fresh air comes in, spray and close it until the plants reach 1.5"-2" and roots are visible on the bottom of the cubes. Then transfer them to your soil pots or hydro system!
Happy growing! Keep an eye out for more tutorials
Edited by SockPuppet, 12 May 2009 - 01:12 PM.