Aquaponic Gardening

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Anyone have a system of starting your seeds in your aquaponics system?  

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Thanks, I'll ask about that as well. Great info

Hey Vlad, how deep do you plant the seeds into the Hydroton?  I've thrown some seeds in there before and they will sprout but then it seems they just die after that initial springing up.  

Hi R.K. I doubt that your seedling die offs have anything at all to do with the depth at which the seed was planted. There's a bunch of reasons seedling will die off but depth isn't really one of them (within reason). Depth might effect the time it takes for the seed to germinate (deeper sown seeds generally take longer to break than ones that were sown shallow, but in hydroton, even that may matter less than in a more compact substrate).

The biggest reason for seedling die-offs that I see (both here on the forum, and among fledgling gardeners here where I live) is the result of things being just too darn moist. The seedlings grow fine to a couple inches high, and then just flop over. This can be caused by a number of (any one of about a dozen) opportunistic parasites (mostly either fungal or oomycetic). The damage done (regardless of which of the 'Dirty Dozen' are specifically to blame) is collectively referred to as "damping off disease". Damping off disease can be avoided by maintaining the seedlings in drier conditions. (I also like to inoculate with beneficials).


R.K. Castillo said:

Hey Vlad, how deep do you plant the seeds into the Hydroton?  I've thrown some seeds in there before and they will sprout but then it seems they just die after that initial springing up.  

Vlad, how do you maintain those drier conditions to prevent damping off?  And what beneficials are you inoculating with?

I've had mixed success with using a layer of paper towel to maintain proper seed depth during germination.  Once the seedlings have germinated, the towel gets consumed by mold, leaving the seedlings behind.  Some seeds do better than others in these conditions.

I just don't flood the seeding table often enough to create conditions that are too moist...and the bottom of the seeding rafts (and hence the bottom of the net pots) are kept off the the table/liner so they're never sitting in stagnant moisture.http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/forum/topics/air-drying-roo...

I've tried a gazzilion different things and combination of things/materials and it really turns out that the simplest (with a bit of attention to a few details) really is best. All I do is pre-soak my hydroton in water before filling the net pots with it. The seed just pretty much drops and sticks to the moist hydroton about where it should...and sprouts. It's amazingly simple. That said you do have to be paying attention to pick up on little things like...being able to tell how moist or how dry the hydroton is just by looking at what colour it is...paying attention to the seasons (temps/humidity) and how that plays out against your watering schedule (less frequent in the cool wet season, more frequent when it's hot and dry out)...things like that really pay off.

The only seeds I do differently are "long term commitment" seeds...cultivars that take weeks and weeks to sprout instead of days (like certain hot pepper seeds but even there, there are some tricks you can use to speed thing up http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/profiles/blogs/speeding-up-...)

Everything else (even the very small round seeds like Bok Choi and the different brassicas) goes directly into a hydroton filled net pot. (If you don't pre-soak the hydroton, the seeds just sorta tend to fall through to the bottom of the net pot...especially small spherical ones...which sucks)...



Ben Stallings said:

Vlad, how do you maintain those drier conditions to prevent damping off?  And what beneficials are you inoculating with?

I've had mixed success with using a layer of paper towel to maintain proper seed depth during germination.  Once the seedlings have germinated, the towel gets consumed by mold, leaving the seedlings behind.  Some seeds do better than others in these conditions.

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