Starting seeds hydroponically

feldon(z7 WA)March 26, 2007

I have a question which I will try to make as brief as possible. I purchased an ebb & flo system, it's by SunSystems. I have also got MH lights in 400 & 250 with ballasts. And HD ballasts in 400 & 1000. That's the basic set up I have to play with. My intent is to start growing herbs, basils, tomatoes, veg & possibly flowers. Now, the question.. Do I simply drop a seed in rockwool cubes to start the germination process? also which lights should I start out with, and work up to what? As a novice I would appreciate a little insight from all you experts out there if you have the time.

Thanks feldon

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Hi Feldon:
You can start placing the seeds directly in rockwool cubes as follows:
1. Place the Rockwool cubes in a shallow tray,throughly saturate the Rockwool cubes with 1/2 strength Grow nutrient solution, adjust pH to about 6.2
2. Sow 2-3 seeds into a small hole in each of the Rockwool cube.
3. Water the cubes with 1/2 strength Grow Nutrient, keep them moist all times.
4. Set the tray under the MH lights for 18 hours per day until the seedlings are 4-6" tall.
5. Transfer the cubes with the best seedlings to a depression in the pre soaked Rockwool slabs, puncture two holes near the bottom of each slab, place them in Ebb and Flo system .
6. Fill the reservoir with adjusted Grow Nutrient Solution to pH 6.2
7. Turn on the Pump manually and let it saturate the Rockwool slabs, then turn it off .
8.Using the pump's timer, adjust it to irregate the plants three times a day during light hours.
9.On daily basis make up the loss of the water due to evaporation.
10.Change the nutrient solution of the reservoir every 10 days. Make sure to flush down the system with plain water between Nutrient change to get rid of the accumulated minerals in the Rockwool.
11.Switch to HD lights at Blooming phase and also switch to Blooming Nutrient Formula at this time.

I hope I answered your questions.

Safwat Zaki

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 6:23PM
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feldon(z7 WA)

Thank you so much for the help Safwat. A couple of questions. What strength MH lamp should I use, & do I put them under the lights before they germinate? Can I use fish fertilizer with kelp, & when I switch to the HD lights, what strength light & what time on/off? Oops sorry that's more than 2 questions. If you have the time, I would appreciate your input.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 6:46PM
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You should use 100- watt MH lamp, for 18 hours of light, which provides 1200 lumens, suspend the lamp 22" above the plants, this will cover 2'x2' area.
Germination can be done under same light.
I assume you are growing Hydroponically,Fish fertilizer and Kelp are organic matters and I don't recommend it in growing Hydroponically. I would stick with 1/2 strength of inorganic hydroponic Grow Nutes. If you pefere to use Fish and Kelp you may do so only for germination.
As I mentioned before you switch to HD light after the plants reach their maximum vegetative growth, this usually begins 1 and half to 2 months from transplanting.
You may use HD lamp at 1500 Lumen,for 12 hours of light by using 250 watts at 3' above flowering plants, and this will cover 3'x3' area.
Good luck


    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 7:03PM
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fredn(Nsw Aust)

Is there anyone out there who is growing outside
Cheers fredn

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 11:49PM
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yep, I got several hydro systems going outdoors. The only hydro I'm keeping indoors is for the lettuce which can't stand the heat here in central FL most of the year.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 2:00PM
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fredn(Nsw Aust)

hi tclynx
what are you growing at present and where abouts in the world are you
cheers fredn

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 11:36PM
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I live in central Florida, USA. In hydroponics outdoors I currently have cucumbers. I'm using them to test a couple different types of media in a modified NFT system. I also have some strawberrys and a few other things rooting in hydro outdoors.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 7:58PM
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fredn(Nsw Aust)

Hi tclynx
what is your temperature outside in summer in celcius
cheers Fredn

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 5:20AM
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I'm not currently growing outdoors, But do grow in south facing windows using hydro. temperatures here are in the 40°s (F) and less at night. you can convert on your own. I believe in only using light to supplement the short days of winter by only running either early morning, late afternoon, or splitting between both. if your plants recieve 8 hours or so of natural light daily, they'll grow well enough. not as well as 18 hours of electric light, but then, price per fruit will be a lot less too.
I've never understood using rockwool slabs. I can appreciate using the little cubes as starters, but all that adjusting the rockwool to pH and flushing seems too tedious. Just use rocks and don't sweat it. river gravel is better than granite gravel, as granite will affect your pH.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 9:27AM
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