Seedling Culture

  • Hydroponic is the act of raising plants without using soil, but rather in a water medium with nutrients.
  • The plants are placed in a hydroponic system that supplies the required nutrients to the roots with the help of the water medium.
  • The use of hydroponic has helped farmers to evade serious seedling diseases and pests like fungus and gnats, which mostly attack in moist soils.
  • Media like coconut fibre, plugs, and peat pots have necessary nutrients and ensure that the seeds have a healthy growth.
  • Rockwool or oasis can serve as a medium, the seedlings can be transplanted along with the cube into a complete hydroponic system later.
  • Rapid rooters are mostly used as a medium as they have large numbers of important microbes and Mycorrhizal fungi that help in colonizing the root thus maximizing uptake of nutrients by the plant and evade serious diseases.

Other options:-

  • Other than rapid rooters, there are other hydroponic options you can go for like, rock wool, coconut fibre, peat and oasis cube.
  • While the rapid rooters retain a lot of water, oasis and coir retain very little water.
  • The rock wool has a high PH concentration; therefore, the cubes should be rinsed in the solution of both water and vinegar to neutralize the PH before putting the seeds in the cubes to grow.
  • Mix a teaspoon of vinegar in a cup half-filled with water and dip the cubes into the resulting solution shaking off the excess.
  • Rock wool needs more attention because it is alkaline in nature.

Location: -

  • The container should be placed where it can receive maximum light.
  • If you choose to grow your seeds in the house, the convenient places are like on a table or near a window where there is partial light either in the morning or in the afternoon.
  • In case you want to grow outside, then you should select a partially sunny location like a porch.
  • The container should be away from heavy rainfall and winds.
  • Since the container is small and portable, it should be moved from one place to another to protect it from bad weather.

Maintenance: -

  • Water should be added only when the cubes start to get dry. Because much water favours the development of molds on the rock wool.
  • On the other hand, if there is no water for a long time the seeds will not germinate. Thus, the cubes should be moist but not wet or dry.
  • When the seedlings reach 2 inches in height, add diluted nutrient solution or fish water to the water in the container. This will greatly boost the root growth.

Transplanting: -

  • The seedlings are ready for transplanting to a hydroponics grow system when they reach 3-4 inches in height. Look for 3 to 4 true leaves.
  • Fill the net pot with clay pellets until it is half full. Which supports the plants.
  • The best time of day to plant is in the late afternoon when the sun is not hot, and the wind has calmed down. By taking advantage of this time of day, the new plants have overnight to acclimate.
  • Strong sun and wind are very hard on new transplants. Unless watered carefully, and in some cases provided with some shelter from the wind and sun, they can severely wilt.
  • This places the plants under stress at the very beginning of their growing cycle and is not a good idea because sometimes they never bounce back and don't thrive as well as they could have.
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