The below points will help you to maximize the germination rate of your seeds and that your seedlings start off as vigorously as possible, ensuring a successful hydroponic crop.
- Soak to test. Many seeds remain viable for years, but as they age, they lose water in their cells and the plant embryo inside the seed gradually shrivels. You can give older seeds a jump-start and discard any duds before planting by soaking them in a bowl of room-temperature water overnight. Those that float after soaking will not germinate. The seeds that sink to the bottom have absorbed water and are ready to sprout.
- Pre-sprout to save space. If you want to be sure each seed you plant germinates, you can pre-sprout them first. Use our NFT Fiber Paper in our open Microgreens profiles, (as can be seen, in the photo)
- Choose your medium. Whether or not you pre-sprout, we recommend you grow with Oasis Grower Foam.
- Moisten first and frequently. Regardless of the medium you choose, wet but don’t soak it before you plant your seeds. To germinate effectively, seeds need constant moisture, but too much water can drown the first shoots and roots before they have a chance to take hold. Be sure the medium stays damp but not soggy as you wait for them to sprout and in the days immediately after they do.
- Light when visible. Except for the few types of seeds that need light, your starts will germinate best in the dark. But once they poke their heads up and show their second set of leaves (the first pair after the little round embryonic leaves known as “cotyledon”), you can move them into the light.
- Hold the cover. Seed-starting kits often come with lids or plastic sheets to keep the environment humid. But covering the seeds prevents essential fresh air from reaching them and can raise the humidity to levels that invite fungi to spread. These lids may even hold in so much moisture the seeds rot before they sprout. Don’t cover your seeds with plastic!
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