Germinating seeds for hydroponics has a lot of benefits. Not only do you get more seeds from the same batch by growing them, but your plants will also benefit from being started in a soilless environment because soil-borne diseases can be controlled better and young seedlings are less likely to get destroyed during transplanting.
How to germinate seeds for hydroponics?
Germinating seeds for hydroponics requires some special attention because the seedlings are not planted into a conventional growing medium. Some people may try to germinate their hydroponic seeds in the soil, however, a soilless planting mix should be used instead to mimic natural conditions as much as possible.
Soil-based mediums could trap too much moisture around the young roots of your seedling and lead to root rot, which will eventually kill it. This is why soilless growing mediums are often used for germinating seeds for hydroponics instead.
You can start seeds in an expanded clay or clay pebbles and later transplant them into a more conventional growing media such as Rockwool cubes or grow stones. The expanded clay or clay pebbles are porous and allow for good drainage, while the conventional growing media provide nutrients to supplement what you give it directly through hydroponics.
Keep seeds moist
You must keep seeds moist when germinating them in a soilless medium because they need water to break dormancy. Some people recommend using a spray bottle to mist the seeds at least every six hours. Other sources say that you should keep the soilless medium moist and let it dry out between waterings to mimic soil conditions as much as possible because this will cause them to sprout faster.
You should wait until after about two days after germinating seeds for hydroponics before you start misting the soilless medium. This is because you want to give the sprouting seed time to get its first root growth, which will anchor it to your growing media and make it less likely to fall over when you move it.
You also need to put a humidity dome on top of your germinating seeds to help them sprout faster. The humidity dome will keep the air in your growing space moist, which is critical when germinating hydroponic seed for fast sprouting.
The sprouts in a soilless medium also require high levels of light right from the start because they do not have access to light from the sun. You should use fluorescent grow lights or high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting to provide the required light intensity.
The sprouts will not start growing much until approximately two weeks after germinating seeds for hydroponics, so you may want to wait until they are at least one inch tall before turning on you grow lights. If you use fluorescent grow lights, set them about 6 inches above the sprouts to give them enough light to grow.
If you use HID lighting, put the lamp at least 12 inches above the plants and place it in an oscillating fan that will help circulate air around your plants without blowing too hard or drying out your growing medium. The HID lamp should be about one foot above the fan. If you use a 600-watt lamp, keep it at least two feet away from your plants and eight to ten inches away from any other plants near them.
You can transplant your sprouts into a conventional growing medium after they have grown for approximately six weeks or more because the roots will have grown long enough to support the plants.
Germinating seeds for hydroponics is relatively easy when you use a soilless medium and high light intensity because there will be no soil-borne diseases and little chance of transplant shock, which can cause your seedling to die after it has been transplanted into a conventional growing medium. You may also like to read this article germinating seeds in a paper towel in House I love.