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When to transplant seedlings to system. New to hydro


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  #1  
Old 06-14-2013, 06:01 PM
JibbaJoe0129 JibbaJoe0129 is offline
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Default When to transplant seedlings to system. New to hydro

So this is my first time trying to grow with hydroponics (or really grow anything at all) and I started simple with Basil and Parsley. I started with 1.5" rockwool cubes and seeds. Now the basil has started growing leaves and so has the parsley and i have the cubes under a grow light for half of the day. One of the basil plants JUST started poking a root out of the bottom of the cube. Im finding mixed opinions online, some say transplant to system now and some say wait longer.

My plan is to use the floating raft method. So should i transplant the cube to the raft with the cube just below the raft touching the water, or should i wait until the roots are longer and the plant is larger? the leaves are very small still, maybe 1/4inch at most. Any help and advice would be awesome

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Old 06-15-2013, 04:05 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello JibbaJoe0129,

Quote:
One of the basil plants JUST started poking a root out of the bottom of the cube. Im finding mixed opinions online, some say transplant to system now and some say wait longer.
Both opinions are accurate, it really depends on the grower. Though some factors that will affect having healthy plants are things like if you keep the cubes growing until the plants get bigger, but being able to keep the roots that hang out of the growing media moist so they wont dry out. Like keeping them in a enclosed container that holds humidity from water inside. And/or allowing the cubes to hang just above the water line so the roots that extend down through the cubes get moisture from the water below it (again so they wont dry out).

Another factor to consider is the type of system you will be transplanting them into. In an NFT system you will need the roots to be long enough to reach the bottom of the tubes so they can get moisture. A flood and drain system will flood the roots regularly, but why use all that nutrient solution to flood the full system while the plants are so small? With a water culture system like your planing on putting them into, as long as the roots are long enough to reach the water line they should be fine. But again your filling the reservoir for tiny plants. However you could easily build a small version of the water culture system to raise the seedlings in before transplanting them into the full size system. That will also help your system be more productive by rotating the crops. When you harvest plants from it, you will already have plants large enough to replace it with the same day. You can also use the same small water culture (seedling starter) system to raise seedlings tell they get large enough to transplant into any type of system.

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So should i transplant the cube to the raft with the cube just below the raft touching the water,
Again here you will find varying opinions. With a water culture system you you can do it both ways. Either by having the bottom of the baskets or cubes just touching the water so it can wick up enough water. Or you can place them so they are about a 1/2 or so above the water line. If you have enough bubbles from your air pump, the tiny bubbles breaking on the surface of the water should splash enough tiny droplets on the bottom of the cubes/baskets to keep them moist until the roots drop down into the water. Another option is if you design your water culture system so the water level is adjustable, you could start with the water just touching the bottom of the cubes/baskets, then when the roots get long enough, drop the water level down below the cubes/baskets a 1/2 inch or so.

However each different type of growing media holds moisture differently, and will affect the plants. As an example, your using the rockwool cubes as your growing media. Rockwool sucks up water easily and will become saturated if it sits in water. Therefor I wouldn't let the bottoms touch the water line, otherwise it could easily lead to stem rot for your plants. So if using rockwool cubes, I would have the cubes raised above the water line by about 1/2 inch or so regardless if the roots were long enough to reach down to the water level. I would also keep an eye on how wet the cubes are, and if they are still to wet, I'd lower the water level even farther. Just until their "slightly" moist to almost dry on top, and slightly moist on the bottom. That would be ideal.
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Old 06-16-2013, 04:14 PM
JibbaJoe0129 JibbaJoe0129 is offline
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Thanks for the reply thats a ton of awesome information.

If the cubes are above the water will they get enough moisture just from being near a water source?? because the way my raft is sitting i dont think the bubbles are really getting to each cube very well, they are just sort of gathering on the underside of the raft.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:24 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Like I said you can always adjust the water level so their getting more moisture. Also you may need to increase the amount of air bubbles if it's not sufficient, and/or change or add more air stone locations to reach the positions that are harder to reach (even coverage). Once the roots reach the water they will wick up water into the growing media above it provided you don't have a large gap between the two. It doesn't take much moisture for tiny roots.

Your problem may also be that if your cubes don't hang down below the raft, the hole opening may not be large enough to allow much splashing from the air bubbles to get to the cubes. In which case there are two options. One increase the amount of air bubbles. Second raise the raft above the water level far enough to allow the cubes to extend below it so there is more surface area for the bubbles to get to. But not so far below the cubes contact the water.

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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 06-17-2013 at 04:26 AM.
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