I’m planning on germinating my first seeds this weekend and there are still a couple of things I’m confused about.
I know a lot of people pre-soak their seeds in water for 24 hours beforehand, but I’m not sure if that’s necessary with Rapid Rooters and a germination station? I figure the less I mess with the tap root the better.
I’m also not super clear on when to transplant the seedlings into their final growing medium; Fox Farms soil in 3-gallon pots? Also I’ve read that you don’t want to blast the seedlings with light?
Soaking the seeds in clean water for 6-24 hours rarely pops a taproot, and really seems to help with germination rates. Not necessary, but a good idea.
What light were you thinking of using? (Type, model, distance to seedlings)
What type of Fox Farm soil are you planning to use?
I like the idea of repotting multiple times in small increments. Rooted to solo cup. Solo cup to 1/2 gallon. All the way up to 5 gallon. You get the idea. The theory behind that is the roots concentrate around the perimeter of the container, so you end up with root stratification and better uptake. It’s a theory.
A lot of folks swear by soaking their seeds for 24 hours and/or using a wet paper towel and the dropping the seed in soil following the appearance of the tap root. I just drop my seeds one-half inch into soil in a solo cup with a few milliliters of water. I’ve yet to have a seed fail to pop. Once it pops I’ll let it grow for 2 weeks and then transplant it to an 8 or 10" pot. It goes to its final home after recovery from the first topping and before it becomes root bound in the pot. I do it this way so that on the final transplant I can bury the nodes that have been trimmed and I get a short-stalked, sturdy plant.
You are correct about the lighting for a seedling. They don’t need much light (or water) for the first week or two. A low wattage CFL bulb is enough to meet its light requirements.
This is what I’m thinking about trying now. Soak the seeds for 24 hours, stick the seed into a Rapid Rooter, leave the seedling in the germination station until roots pop out of the cube, then transplant into something like a solo cup, then a 1-gallon pot, then finally into my 3-gallon container?
Does that sound like a solid plan to you? I’ve read about plants becoming root bound, but how can you tell that it’s getting too big for it’s pot?
A seedling does not need full spectrum. Save yourself $25 and go with a simple CFL bulb. It has everything your seedling needs. You will never use the light that has your eye for flowering, as it is just too weak.
Re: your series of transplantation. You can skip the solo cup if you are using a rapid rooter. Just put it directly in the 1-gallon pot when it is ready.
A good indication of “root boundness” for a young plant is when the volume of the vegatative growth of the plant exceeds the volume of the pot by 25% or so, then it is time to repot it. This is not necessarily the case for a more mature plant (e.g. flowering stage.) Many folks flower large plants in 5, 7, or 10 gallon pots.
My opinion, yes, though it would be great for your final transplant. Ocean Forest soil is pretty hot. I personally use Fox Farm Happy Frog throughout my plants’ lifecycles. It has some nutrients (enough for the plants first 4-5 weeks of life,) and isn’t so hot that it may harm a seedling.
Seedlings don’t need any nutes at all for their first 2 weeks of life.