Interested in growing hydroponic plants? We’re going to explain everything that you need to know and how you can grow your plants hydroponically from seeds.
A lot of people decide against growing their own seeds when they make a hydroponic garden, but it’s definitely not something you should pass up on. The main reason for this discouragement is that it takes time, effort, and some are scared. Many people worry that they’ll mess something up and as a result, their plants will die early on or they won’t grow at all. Realistically, though, as long as you know what you’re doing and are patient with the process, there’s nothing to worry about.
Why Grow Plants Hydroponically from Seeds?
You might be thinking, “But it’s less stressful and easier if I just buy the seedlings”, and you’d be right, of course. However, there are lots of benefits to growing them on your own which outweigh the extra effort.
No Insects. Insects can cause a lot of problems when they start eating your plants and the seedlings in stores are often in open areas. This opens the doors to a lot of insects that can interfere with the growth of the seedlings whereas this is unlikely if you grow seeds in a hydroponic garden.
No Damage. When you buy seedlings from a garden centre or a store, you don’t know how much damage has been inflicted on them. Remember that store-bought seedlings are grown in bulk and when they are transported to the store, there’s a good chance that they get damaged.
Full Control. You have full control over your plants from the very beginning. How they’re grown, the nutrients that they receive, and the environment that they’re grown in. Each plant will be under your supervision from the moment they’re planted.
Save Money. Let’s not forget that buying seeds is significantly cheaper than buying seedlings. This means that you can grow more plants without spending nearly as much as you would if you had bought seedlings.
These benefits alone should be enough to convince you that if you’re going to start growing hydroponically, seeds have more benefits than buying seedlings.
A Few Things to Remember
We want to make sure that your expectations aren’t too high (or too low), so here are a few things to keep in mind.
- This isn’t an overnight process, it can take weeks before you see any results.
- Some seeds won’t grow, this doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.
- A lot of extra work is required for growing seeds than is needed for seedlings.
It should go without saying that different seeds will sprout at different rates, but nonetheless, you have to be patient and we promise that your patience will pay off.
What You’ll Need
Long-term it is cheaper to buy seeds, but if this is your first time of growing seeds in a hydroponic system then you’ll have to spend some money. If hydroponic gardening appeals to you and it becomes a hobby, think of this as a cheap investment.
You’ll need a few things to get started. Nothing too expensive is needed but seeds require light, heat, oxygen, and water to start sprouting. Ideally, use a grow tray that can be covered with a dome for growing your seeds inside of. This will completely isolate the seeds and prevent external interference. Following this, you also need to have the seeds stored in a warm area where they grow, otherwise they won’t grow properly.
Lighting is also essential. You can buy lights that are designed specifically for growing plants in grow trays although any light source will do.
Finally, stone-wool starter cubes will be needed. These cubes will act as the pots that seeds are placed inside of to grow and due to the fact that they’re made of stone-wool, there’s no risk of them dissolving and leaving you with a cleaning job later on.
Now that you’ve got everything ready, here’s a quick checklist and then you can move on to the setup!
- Grow tray
- Warm area (or a heat source)
- Light source
- Stone-wool starter cubes
Setting Up Your Seeds in the Hydroponic System
After preparing an area for the seeds to grow in and once you’re ready to get started, follow our guide below.
Step #1 – Prepare the Cubes
First, you have to prepare your starter cubes. Soak the cubes in a bowl of clean water for at least an hour (if possible leave them for longer).
Step #2 – Adding the Seeds
Once the hour is over you can remove the starter cubes from the water. Take each cube and place 2-3 seeds in each of them.
It can be tempting to place a single seed in each cube but as we said before, not all seeds will grow so it’s ideal that you group seeds together.
Step #3 – Using the Grow Tray
Next, add about one inch of water into the grow tray. If you know how to prepare a nutrient solution, then this is the best time to add it to the water.
Step #4 – Place the Cubes in the Tray
Now that you have the grow tray ready, put each of the seeded cubes into the water. Make sure that you store the tray in a warm area and that there’s a light source above it; light will speed up the growth.
And just like that you’ve successfully planted your seeds in a healthy environment and within no longer than a month, you will start seeing growth. In no time at all, they’ll be in your hydroponic garden alongside the rest of your plants.
So, it’s been a good few weeks since you planted your seeds in the starter cubes and you think that they’re ready to be moved into your main hydroponic garden? Fantastic! Before proceeding, make sure that there are actually signs of growth – there will be roots growing through the bottom of the starter cube and there will be sprouting too.
When you see these signs, it’s as simple as taking the cube out of the grow tray and placing it into your hydroponic garden. Don’t attempt to remove the starter cube because this will kill your seedlings.
From this point onwards, you can treat them like you would any other plant. One thing that you’re going to notice is that the plants you have grown from seeds will live for a lot longer and when you notice this, you can take pride that you are responsible for that.
This isn’t an expensive job and if you have a few hours that you can set aside, it’s not something that’ll take days to prepare either. Taking into account all of the benefits that there are with growing plants hydroponically from seeds, it really is something worth trying out. Not only will you reap these benefits, but you can get a lot more enjoyment out of your hobby while spending less money. With just a little patience and the willingness to learn, you can improve the quality of the plants you grow.