When it comes to hydroponics, you can grow lush gardens without requiring soil. Seed hydroponics is one of the sustainable, space-efficient, and modern ways to cultivate a range of plants from vibrant tomatoes to crisp lettuce, in your backyard or indoors.
There are several aspects of hydroponics, and the best is the ability to start from seeds. This provides you a control over your growing process. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned pro or a novice gardener, keep reading to know valuable insights to embark on the journey of starting hydroponics from seeds.
Can you use any seeds for hydroponics?
Yes, you can use a range of seeds for hydroponics, comprising those for herbs, fruits, and vegetables. But it’s vital to select seeds that suit your hydroponic growing conditions. Don’t forget to consider factors like growth characteristics, disease resistance, and germination rate.
Lettuce, peppers, and basil are some of the popular choices for hydroponic crops. There is a need to go through proper hydroponic techniques. Also, keep in mind environmental conditions and necessary nutrients for successful seed growth.
How to start hydroponics from seed?
1) Choosing Seeds
Select seeds that suit your hydroponic cultivation. Now, look for varieties with disease resistance and high germination rates. Basil, tomatoes, and lettuce are some of the common choices.
2) Select a Hydroponic System
There are several hydroponic systems, like drip systems, nutrient film techniques, and deep water culture. Choose the one suitable for your needs and space. If you’re a beginner, a simple system such as Kratky can work well.
3) Prepare Growing Medium
There is no need to use soil, but you’ll require a growing medium to support the plants. Common options comprise coconut coir, perlite, or rockwool. Make sure that your medium is sterile and pH-neutral.
4) Seed Germination
Seeds can be germinated directly in the chosen growing medium or a separate tray. You can do this by:
- Firstly, place seeds in a small tray or just use your germination dome.
- Keep your environment warm and ensure an adequate amount of humidity.
- Make sure to provide light per day for about 16-18 hours.
You can transplant them into a hydroponic system when your seedlings start developing a few true leaves. Remove them carefully from the germination tray by ensuring the roots remain intact.
6) Nutrient Solution
According to the requirements of the chosen plants, you can prepare a balanced nutrient solution. In case of mixing, go through the instructions of the manufacturer. Don’t worry about the vital nutrients as they can be provided through the water.
7) Maintain pH and EC
The pH level of the nutrient solution should be checked and adjusted regularly. A pH of 5.5-6.5 is perfect for most plants. Even you can monitor the EC to ensure the right nutrient strength.
8) Lighting and Environment
Make sure your plants receive an adequate amount of light. Fluorescent or LED grow lights are two of the common ones. For your specific crop, you must maintain the right humidity and temperature.
9) Regular Monitoring
Always look for signs of diseases, pests, or nutrient deficiencies. As per the requirement, you can adjust the environmental conditions and nutrient solution.
When your hydroponic crops hit the desired maturity and size, they’re ready to harvest. While removing your plants from the growing medium, be gentle to avoid any kind of damage to the roots.
It can be a rewarding way if you’re starting hydroponics from seeds as you can grow your fresh produce. Make sure that you might need some practice to achieve perfection in this technique. So, be attentive and patient to the needs of your plants.