Aquaponics - Seed raising

I love seeing the first sign of a seed sprouting.

But I don't like how much space an empty pot of gravel takes up, so I came up with a better way.

I've talked before about how I've tried to make my space modular so I can shift plants to places where there is more space when they need it, but keep them packed closely together when they are small, and don't need the space.

My original plan was to use small black plastic pots from my garden store, but now I use plastic cups.

This was partly due to not being able to find a hole cutter that fit the black pots perfectly. The cups are tapered, so will cope with my lack of accuracy with the hole cutter.

They seem to work well, and cost 4 cents instead of 25 per pot.

My original plan was to bury an ice cream container into the main grow bed, and then I could sit the newly seeded pots into it where they would be watered by the flood and drain of the grow bed's cycle.

The problem is, where I would have fit 9 of the black pots, I can only fit 4 of the plastic cups. This means it would take up too much grow bed space to run the intended 18 pots.

The object was to have up to 18 pots with various stages of seed raising from just planted, to a few weeks old. These would be moved to wider spaced holes within the NFT tubes as required, but would take up little space in the meantime.

I own a small seed raising mini-growhouse, so I thought I'd give it a go.

I was hoping that the enclosed design would keep the seeds damp, and keep any pests away.

Sure enough, its a few days later and I see sprouts.

These are all basil, being raised for a new proposed basil section behind my strawberry towers.

Water drips from the roof, and has so far kept all the grow media (scoria in my case) damp. The water that drips from the mini-growhouse ceiling would be basically distilled water, and as such would have no nutrient, but I don't think seeds actually need nutrient for the first few days. I think they live off their stored energy in the seed.

There is around 2cm deep of water in the bottom, and that is probably also contributing to the moisture content as a result of wicking.

I filled the pots nearly to the top, added seeds, then added a layer of scoria. Then I gently watered them in with some water from the fish tank (gently, because it would be easy to wash the seeds away. (no doubt this deposited a small amount of nutrient onto the sroria as well)

My greatest concern was that the nutrient rich water from the fish tank would go rotten because the water was still, but it seems to smell fine after week one, and the seeds are starting to sprout.

I wonder if it's the constant "condensation rain" within the mini-growhouse keeping everything fresh.

Who knows, but it seems to be working.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next two weeks or so when I it will be time to move them to their new homes. If they avoid growing mouldy, and the water stays fresh, I think I may have solved my seed raising requirements.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts