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There are many choices when it comes to hole spacings. My spacings vary depending on stage of growth and the plant being grown. When plants are young I space them very tight for the first 3-4 weeks and then spread them out to a final grow out spacing. My seedling rafts have 61 holes in a 2x2 square. My grow out spacings are 4",6" or 8" depending on the plant and the maturity that I want.This is a shot of my nursery trough where seedlings spend the first weeks of life. The plants in the foreground are ready for spreading out to final grow out spacings.

 

This is how I spread the plants out to final grow out spacings. I have a mobile "work trough" that is 4"deep and holds 2 rafts that are 2x2. This grow out spacing is 8" I usually do this work in the shade and next to the stereo.

 

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Hi peter i didn't quite get this comment;

I prefer a tight spacing and a final space and then keep the seedlings in an ebb and flood system till they are large enough to transplant.           

Can you please elaborate?

 

Space use is great this way,  but there is a huge labor problem transplanting.

 

Getting a well established root system back in to the hole is hard, I have been growing in deep rafts for 4 years,

 

You can get way more plants into your system and through your fixed space over a course of time but you really do need to evaluate your labor costs and the time it takes to transplant seedlings several times.

 

I prefer a tight spacing and a final space and then keep the seedlings in an ebb and flood system till they are large enough to transplant

 

peter

So Peter very innovative. I guess this layout is designed for high level production/commercial. What would you suggest If i wanted to do this on a smaller scale. For instance, can seeds be planted directly in rafts? That way we can avoid moving and transplanting. 

Wow Peter you go thruogh a lot of steps. I would like to see some pics of your operation.

I start seedlings in the 2" net pot and space them close for the first 3-4 weeks. I prefer to do a 3 day germ in the shade then place them in a sprouting table until roots pop out of the net pot.  At that point I put then into the water. After the roots are starting to intermingle and I spread them out to final grow out. When I pull a pot out of the starter tray the roots hang strait down weighted with the water dripping off them. This makes it easy for me to place the pot into the grow out tray. My labor is very minimal to do this spreading out and I do this once. I have tried using starter cubes and found them toooo expensive in Hawaii and it adds another step(labor). I have come up with a new sprouting technique and medium which I will post on soon.

Hi Chris, i am liking your approach. So this would mean you have several different raft hole spacings.Although i'm not too clear on what happens with the following 

" prefer to do a 3 day germ in the shade then place them in a sprouting table until roots pop out of the net pot"

Does this happen before putting them in the raft? and if so, do you use AP nutrient water? I guess I'm not sure what a sprouting table is and also what a 3 day germ is. So far I've only set tomato seedlings and that in starter soil, I have grown lettuce but bought the 2" seedlings from the plant shop and transplanted to NFT. I really haven't any experience with germination.


Chris Smith said:

Wow Peter you go thruogh a lot of steps. I would like to see some pics of your operation.

I start seedlings in the 2" net pot and space them close for the first 3-4 weeks. I prefer to do a 3 day germ in the shade then place them in a sprouting table until roots pop out of the net pot.  At that point I put then into the water. After the roots are starting to intermingle and I spread them out to final grow out. When I pull a pot out of the starter tray the roots hang strait down weighted with the water dripping off them. This makes it easy for me to place the pot into the grow out tray. My labor is very minimal to do this spreading out and I do this once. I have tried using starter cubes and found them toooo expensive in Hawaii and it adds another step(labor). I have come up with a new sprouting technique and medium which I will post on soon.

Harold, It usually takes 3 days for most of my lettuce seeds to germinate. During this time I like to keep them in the shade.  There is no need to give them any light until there is a stem reaching up  . I water with AP water. My sprouting table is just a table with sides and some liner in it so it holds water. I can flood the table and water all the seedlings at one time and then drain. Seeds can rot if they are too wet so I only water the sprouting table when needed. I have been using 32 cell trays that the 2" net pots fit into. I have a new sprouting technique which I will post about as soon as I have several generations going.

One of my sprouting tables. My standard trays have 32 cells. I am experimenting with 72 cell trays as well.

Thanks for the info Chris.Almost finished setting up my raft but I'll only be having 10 holes. I'll germinate as you suggest and manually water in a shallow tray until roots develop. I grew lettuce in NFT but the heat had them under duress and they never did well. I also tried them in the media beds but i left them too long and they got root rot,so this will be my third attempt, this time in DWC. With expert advice i'm thinking this time it has to work. Boy you sure are doing this on a large scale in your pics!

Chris Smith said:

Harold, It usually takes 3 days for most of my lettuce seeds to germinate. During this time I like to keep them in the shade.  There is no need to give them any light until there is a stem reaching up  . I water with AP water. My sprouting table is just a table with sides and some liner in it so it holds water. I can flood the table and water all the seedlings at one time and then drain. Seeds can rot if they are too wet so I only water the sprouting table when needed. I have been using 32 cell trays that the 2" net pots fit into. I have a new sprouting technique which I will post about as soon as I have several generations going.

One of my sprouting tables. My standard trays have 32 cells. I am experimenting with 72 cell trays as well.

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