Monday, April 22, 2013

Seeding Peat Pellets and Thinking About Containers

One of the interesting things about hydroponics is that it can be done in so many ways. Most of the hydroponics systems I've done have been NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) systems which take medium-less seriously. Except for the initial rockwool cube there is no medium.

There are other hydroponics systems that have a passive medium, i.e. one that doesn't directly contribute nutrients to the plants but instead serves as a moisture maintainer and some root support. You can use lots of different non-nutritive mediums ranging from rocks to mixtures of sand, vermiculite, and perlite in various ratios and deliver the nutrient the same way that it's delivered in the NFT systems, in a liquid solution of non-organic fertilizers that includes both macro and micro nutrients.

Container gardening can be done this way and I'm thinking of doing just that with at least some of my plants.  The rest I'll just put some potting soil in.  I was looking around at Walmart for good containers and came upon Plant Spa which looks about perfect.  They have a reservoir where you put in water or nutrient and the plants siphon it up as they need it.  Generally the evaluations are quite good and I thought they looked good so I bought a few when I was at Walmart and stumbled on them.

The big advantage of a reservoir is that it means you don't always have to be watering the plants.  You can leave them for a few days and that's great.  So I'm going to have an adventure.  Yesterday and today I was seeding little peat pellets.  I've seeded so far about 37 pellets.  Four are in melons, 12 are in three varieties of tomatoes, and then I put seven different herbs into 21 starter peat pellets, three instances of each.  I'll be waiting for the first sign of germination.  The various seed packets advertise anywhere from about five days to eighteen days for germination.  I'll be keeping watch.

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