Seeds starting 101
The goal here is to have seeds germinate and get to a stage where they are healthy and strong enough to survive the transition to the Nutritower.
Step 1: Clean the plastic tray and clear dome thoroughly - this will eliminate any chance of molds, bugs and other problems from creeping in.
Step 2: Prepare a mild blend of nutrient. I use a half strength mix of the new Nutritonic formula. You’ll need about 3 to 4 liters of it.
Step 3: Break off the desired amount of rooting cubes and place in the seedling tray.
Step 4: Soak the cubes thoroughly with the mild nutrient blend. Don’t be afraid to over water, they are designed to hold just the right amount of liquid.
Step 5: Drain off any excess liquid in the bottom of the tray.
Step 6: Place 1 seed in the hole of each cube. We will get into different techniques for doing multiple plants in one pot in a different article. If more than one seed is placed in the cube, don’t worry about it at this stage - we’ll deal with it later :)
Step 7: Pour a little extra of the nutrient mixture over the cubes to fully saturate. You don’t want to have them sitting in a pool of water, but a little bit in the bottom of the tray is acceptable.
Step 8: Place in a dry area, cover with the clear dome and place the light in the allocated slot on top of the dome (if you do not have a light with your starter kit, place the tray in a well-lit area, preferably by a sunny and warm window)
Step 9: Turn on the light and leave on for 14 to 18 hours a day. (24 hours is ok as well in the initial stages)
Step 10: When you see the plants starting to sprout if you notice more than 1 seed has germinated, remove the smallest ones, only leaving the strongest looking plant in the cube.
Step 11: Make sure to keep the cubes damp. If you leave the vents closed on the dome tray, enough moisture should stay in the starter kit environment to get them past germination. Misting them with water is the best approach to re-hydrate when needed.
And there you have it - covering the tray initially, and a few other techniques that can help speed up the process and grow stronger seedlings, but we’ve found that the first few times it creates more problems than positive results, so these are the official steps to follow (until we learn new tricks and update)
You’ll want to let these grow in the tray for 10 to 15 days before transferring to the tower - I’ll send out another update on how to do this once you are ready.
Hope this helps!