How best to start seeds for an ebb and flow system?

CBrittDecember 12, 2013

I am trying to determine the best way to start my vegetable seeds for an ebb & flow system. I've got rapid rooter plugs and have started seeds in them before, but the seedlings ended up long and spindly. They were weak and prone to falling over after I transferred them into my system. I've heard it is best to give them light immediately, and also to keep them in the dark until they sprout. I have also heard that perhaps starting them in wet paper towel, then transplanting to rapid rooters works best. Suggestions?

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Are you growing them under a humidity dome?
I started a tomato under a dome and it fell over and died. :(

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 5:53PM
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Uh oh..yeah, that's how I started them in the past, and was going to try that again. Have you tried something else that works better?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 5:58PM
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All my plants i started in Aug outside on under my Gazebo. Mostly shade but i would turn the pans so the sprouts would keep chasing the sun. I started my seeds in Grodan 1.5" cubes and some little chunks they had sent me for free and some in dirt. (Pic) Now the rest were started in 1.5" or 1" Grodan cubes. They worked awesome. I kept them in the pans and would just pour some fish tank water in the bottom of it when it had dried out. The seeds in the Dirt seemed to dry our twice as fast as the grodan cubes. The little chunks worked great and when i transferred the sprouts of into the net pots i would just scoop out some of the chunks and put them in the net pot then clay Hydroton. Same with the cubes. Some of the dirt sprouts i stuck right in the hydroton, others i split a 1.5" cude and wrapped it around the roots. Seem to give it more support and kept it from drying out.

The other day i bought a 2" Dome Tray with a sheet of 98 1.5" Grodan cubes and started some seeds in it today. Not sure if i sill keep the dome on it after the sprouts show up. Thought?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 9:13PM
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Sorry for such a late response! You're probably past this phase now.

I just transplanted my seedlings into my indoor greenhouse the other day, and they seem to be taking well! I will speak from what I just did. Yes, keep the dome on for a day or two after you see sprouts, but no more. Are you using the light you are going to be using with your setup? You don't want them to start reaching for light and get spindly and fall over!

Very nice growth in those trays, BTW! Keep up the good work!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Also see if you can buy low-bolt seeds, lots of lettuce varieties will have a bolt-resistant variety that can help seeding.

I tried lots of folks methods - paper towels, darkness, heat, light etc - for lettuce/kale/chard, I use no heat and just a humidity dome with a T5 light on top, lit for 14hrs a day.
For tomatoes, peppers, and some herbs - I put a heat mat under that part of the tray + humidity dome.

On the day of where I can see sprout, the heat goes off and they're moved to a tray that has a cracked lid, but still under 14-16hrs of T5 light.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 9:20PM
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We start our lettuce in an ebb and flow system then transplant to either the dwc or nft systems. I have pebbles in the bottom and set the rockwool on top. Once they sprout and show the first signs of roots out the rockwool I drop them in a net cup and give them another few days until the roots are healthy and strong.

I set the cycle for twice a day 10 minutes each time.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 7:12AM
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Thanks for all your advice and experiences.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 12:41PM
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