With proper preparation, you can create an indoor hydroponic garden of fruits or vegetables that can flourish year-round. Starting the seeds in a hydroponic medium reduces the chance of introducing soil-based disease to the plants. Once you meet the learning curve for hydroponic gardening, you will have a low-maintenance garden filled with plants that produce at a greater rate than those grown in soil.
Seed Starting for Hydroponics
Prepare the seedlings 2 weeks before planting in the hydroponics system. Place root cubes 1 to 2 inches apart in a holding container of water for 24 hours. Set 2 to 3 seeds in each cube after the cubes have become saturated with water.
Place the root cubes in a location that does not exceed 72 degrees F during the day and 65 degrees F at night. Water the seeds once daily with a water mister filled with 1/4-strength nutrient water. Clean out the holding container every 2 to 3 days to prevent algae growth and to keep the proper pH level.
After the seeds have sprouted, pull the weakest ones from each root cube. Leave the strongest sprout in each cube to continue growing.
Move the seedlings to a location that has high light intensity. The best option is in a location under indoor hydroponics lighting. Continue to water the sprouted seeds with 1/2-strength nutrient water until they are transplanted. Clean out the holding container every 2 to 3 days to prevent algae growth and keep the proper pH level.
Choose the appropriate-sized hydroponics planting container based on the type of plants being grown. Wider pots, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, are good for long-growing plants and for those that flower or fruit.
Transplant the seedlings to a hydroponics systems after the roots have reached a length of approximately 1/2 inch showing on the outside of the rooting cube. Gradually increase the nutrient water concentration every 2 to 3 days until the full strength is met.