Germination for Hydroponics— The Process
Germination is the process of making the seeds sprout (germinate). This process occurs when the seeds are in a dormant state while absorbing water from the environment. Thus, making the seeds grow.
Hydroponics is a system of germination in plants. It helps support the roots and maintain a good water and nutrient ratio. With hydroponics, plants are cultivated without using soil.
Hence, germination for hydroponics means growing seedlings by paying attention to the nutritional needs of the seeds.
Meanwhile, germination from within will push the seed shell until it breaks. The softer the shell, the faster the germination process will take place.
The seeds start to depend on water, nutrients, and sunlight. Therefore, to germinate seeds using a hydroponic system is suitable.
Factors in Germination for Hydroponics
In general, four essential factors affect the process of germination for hydroponics. They include:
Previously, the seeds were in a state of dehydration until germination began. Water helps coat the seeds and facilitates the movement of oxygen into the seeds. Thus, it is the initial stage of the growth and development of a new plant.
Air which generally contains oxygen, is needed in the growth process. It helps smooth the respiration process at the time of germination. Therefore, a low oxygen concentration should be avoided.
An average plant germinates at room temperature (60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit). A good temperature will result in a high percentage of germination in a relatively short time.
Small seeds have a small amount of food reserve to support the early growth of the embryo. Therefore, light intensity helps the seeds produce energy through photosynthesis.
Benefits of Germination Medium for Hydroponics
Seed germination will benefit from a hydroponics medium. Here are three benefits of germination medium for hydroponics:
- Faster growing and consistent— with a germination medium for hydroponics, you can control the environment, temperature, nutrients, and lighting your plants need for growth.
- Neglecting herbicides and pesticides— no need to use pesticides to avoid and control pests and weeds since it uses water instead of soil. However, regular inspection throughout germination will help stop insect pests.
- Less land— place the hydroponic medium pots closer to each other without worrying about the growth rate. This is because the nutrients in the water are well distributed compared to using soil.
Tips for Choosing Hydroponics Medium
To grow well, germination requires a suitable planting medium. Tips for a good germination medium for hydroponics:
- Easily get rid of excess water— the medium must be able to dispose of excessive amounts of water. This is to ensure the plant doesn’t wither.
- It is loose and fertile— a good germination medium for hydroponics must have loose properties and can fertilize plants.
- Store enough water for growth— the medium must store sufficient water to keep the plants growing. So, there is no need to keep watering the plants.
- Doesn’t contain sea salt— this will cause the plants not to grow or even die.
- Has a neutral pH and acidity level— a medium with neutral soil acidity is suitable for hydroponics. The standard pH level is around 6-7.
- Good air circulation— the media must have a cavity that stores oxygen to keep air circulation going well.
5 Best Germination Medium for Hydroponics
Rockwool can bind roots and absorb nutrients from the water.
- It can hold water and air for root growth and nutrient absorption.
- Made from natural fibers.
- Free from plant disease-causing pathogens.
Has a relatively high pH level. So, it needs special treatment.
Cocopeat can absorb water and have a stable pH level (5-7). This medium generally uses husk charcoal (50:50) to increase oxygen.
Cotton can absorb water and absorb nutrients better. Cotton is also an easy-to-find medium.
- Able to drain water to the roots because the pores are large.
- Easy to move.
- Capable of absorbing and storing large amounts of water.
- It breaks easily.
- Less efficient.
Synthetic gravels are best for planting media. This type of gravel can bind water well and maintain humidity and air circulation.
Step-by-Step to Germination for Hydroponics
Nursery— seeds are usually sown in trays or seedling containers. Healthy seeds begin to germinate after 3-7 days.
Nutrient Solution— nutrient solutions can be in the form of a puddle or flow.
Planting— After 3-4 weeks, seeds are transferred to planting containers filled with sterile media. Plants not needing to be sown can be planted directly into the container.
Treatments— to start, seedlings are placed away from direct sunlight. After 1-2 weeks, the seeds can be moved into an area with direct sunlight.
Other treatments include adding nutrients, checking pH and solution concentration, and controlling pests.
Pest Control— Generally, the hydroponics system doesn’t use pesticides to control pests. However, it can be done manually by turning the leaves or extracting the plants that caterpillars have touched.
Harvest— harvesting is done when the plants are ready to harvest or mature.