Last week we learned about Germinating seeds for Hydroponics and this lead’s us to the next stage and that is to get our new plants from the germination tray to the hydroponic DWC. Now transplanting into hydroponics is pretty simple, but I want to cover all the steps involved for anyone that would like to follow from start to finish. Also after you do this a couple of times, you may decide that you want to do something different than me and that is perfectly fine. There are more than one way to germinate seeds and their are more than one way to transplant into hydroponics when you have your plant ready for more nutrients.
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Remove the plant and starting plug.
You can see that when you pull up the starting cube, we now have a nice root structure to go work off of. Now all we have to do is get that into a net cup and add a little hydroton. First we have to carefully remove the little guys from the germination tray. The roots grow down through the hold in the tray so you have to be careful when you pull them out that you don’t damage the root structure. The lettuce you can see on the right has a great start here and in about 4 weeks it will be ready to be on my dinner plate.
Place the plant in the net cup.
I like to put the whole plant and starting cube at the very bottom of the net cup. I use a 3″ net cup in all my DWC’s and this size seems perfect for me. The hydroton “clay pellets” fit nicely on all sides of the starting cube and this is a main reason that I like the 3″ net cups. The root mass will lay on the bottom of the net cup and does not need to go through the hols in the bottom. They will still be able to soak up the nutrients and also encourage more root growth from the side roots to reach the nutrient solution once the water level in your reservoir drops.
Add your Hydroton.
Slowly add hydroton around the sides of the starting cube and be careful not to damage the stem of the plant. they are still pretty small and you don’t want to just throw the clay in there and do damage to your new fragile plant. Hold the starting cube with one finger to keep it nice and straight. You can add a layer of hydroton under the cube if you like to raise the plant up a little, but I like to cover the cube with hydroton also to keep the light off the cube and keep algae from growing up there. Some of the lettuce that I start lays pretty flat over the starting cube, so on plants like this, I do put a layer of clay under the starting cube to keep the top-level with my system.
Fill it to the top.
Now I go ahead and fill it to the top and over the cube if possible. I am very careful not to damage the stem of the plant and try to keep the hydroton off the stem. Just let it poke out through the clay unharmed. This one is ready for the DWC, and I can start on the next plant. Remember that these smaller plants are not ready for a lot of nutrients and will get burnt up if you give them too much. So your DWC should be ready for these with a low PPM/EC and water at a neutral PH. It would be horrible to have 2 weeks of growth start to die off because the new home for them was not ready. Start low on the nutrients and add more as they get larger and more resilient.
Transplanting into hydroponics system.
Now here is what all my plants look like in there new home. To make a small dome over them to add a little humidity, just find some clear plastic cups and put that over the top of the plants. This will allow for light to get in and it will keep them warm and happy until they outgrow the cups. This is not needed, but I like to do it for the first couple weeks anyways.
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