do I start my seeds?
is always a good idea to soak seeds over night. This will
make sure that the seeds absorb enough water to germinate
quickly. If seeds are left to soak for too long they will
begin to germinate; this can be dangerous for the seed as
the radical (root) can be damaged when planting the seed.
If the radical is damaged then the seed will die.
the seeds have soaked for 8 - 12 hours they can be planted
out into either peat pellets, rockwool cubes, rapid rooter
plugs or oasis cubes. Be sure to soak the peat pellets in
water before planting the seed. This will only take a few
minutes. Rockwool needs to be pre-soaked at a pH of 5 or treated
with Rockwool Soak before planting seeds into it.
the seed has germinated and the cotyledons (first pair of
leaves) have emerged the seedling will require light. Fluorescent
lights are the best for this purpose. A grower can use either
an Envirolite T-5 Cloning Kit, a 2 - two bulb T5 fluorescent
fixture, a 4 - four bulb fluorescent fixture with 6500k
bulbs or a compact fluorescent 150w or 200w daylight bulb
to supply light for the seedlings. It is not recommended that
a HID light be used for young seedlings or clones unless it
is positioned high enough above the plants so as not to dry
and seedlings should only be given water until the first true
leaves have developed. Once the first true leaves have expanded
out then a mild strength (¼ strength) grow nutrient
solution should be given to the seedlings. Giving seedlings
too strong a nutrient will cause the seedling to go into shock,
burn the young developing roots and possibly kill the seedling.
Once the grower has started feeding his seedlings with a mild
strength nutrient it is advisable the grower use a root enhancer
such as Rhizotonic or Green Fuse Root. It is also a good idea
that the grower use Hydroguard or SubCulture to protect the
new developing root system against root pathogens. This will
help create a strong, healthy seedling.
seedling is ready to be planted out when it is 2-3 inches
tall and the roots are coming out the bottom of the rockwool
cube or peat pellet. When transplanting a seedling it is important
to plant the seedling with the least amount of stress as possible.
At transplant the grower should use NutriBoost. This product
has a mixture of vitamins, hormones and auxins which help
the stressed seedling produce new roots and fine feeding root
hairs. The sooner the root system is rejuvenated the sooner
the plant recovers from transplant shock. From this point
onwards the plant is in vegetative stage.
the seedling has been transplanted it then enters the vegetative
stage. This stage is to ensure the development of a strong
and healthy root system while the leaf canopy begins to expand.
A healthy, well developed root system is required for fast
growing, high yielding plants. Most of the plants nutrients
and water is taken up through the root system; the plant also
stores sugars in the roots. Without the support of a good
root system the plant will not be able to perform at its peak.
create a healthy root system, a grower should ensure that
the ppm levels and the pH of the nutrient system are correctly
balanced. Over-feeding by the grower to try and push the plant
or to try and get a bit extra out of the plant will only result
in a damaged root system and a stunted or slow growing plant.
For soil growers, a pH of 6.3-6.5 is ideal. The ppm of the
nutrient solution should be between 500 - 700 for early vegetative
growth and 800 1000 for late vegetative growth. Soil
growers should also use Rooters Mycorrhizae in the growing
medium. Mycorrhiza needs to be mixed into the soil prior to
planting. Mycorrhizae fungi works well with organic nutrients,
as conventional nutrients can damage this fungi, especially
if the grower tries to push his plants to a maximum. For hydroponics
growers the nutrient solution should be balanced to a pH of
between 5.8 and 6.2; pH 6 being ideal. Rooting enhancers such
as Rhizotonic or Green Fuse Root should be used through out
the vegetative cycle. Fast growing roots require phosphorus
so a nutrient with good phosphate levels should be used. Looking
after the plants root system also ensures the maximum development
of the leaf canopy. A healthy disease and insect-free leaf
canopy will make maximum use of the lighting system it is
growing under. For plants that are phototropic, such as strawberries,
the plant will remain in vegetative state as long as the light
duration is long days short nights e.g. 18 hours of lighting
and 6 hours of darkness. Some plants e.g. Tomatoes, will begin
flowering once they have reached a specific maturity. Tomatoes
will flower after being in the vegetative state for about
two months. Plants that are phototropic will begin flowering
once the day length shortens or when switching from an eighteen
hour light cycle to a twelve hour light cycle.