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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Another successful hydroponic business has been established in Zimbabwe, growing on our Commercial NFT 4-16 NFT System.
Please look out for the VitaGrow brand in local stores in Zimbabwe and support your local growers.
Why do NFT Hydro clients become successful growers?
What you will experience with NFT Hydro, as one of our clients is that we will grow with you. As the growers of hydroponic produce, we apply our skills & knowledge gained to work alongside our growers to ensure they flourish as hydroponic farmers. As you grow we GROW.
This experience is no different from any of our clients across Africa, South Africa and around the world. Your success as a grower become our success story.
We designed the NFT Hydro Base suitable for growing larger & vine hydroponic crops.
A very affordable hydroponic set-up, the NFT Hydro Base is scalable to use for hobby growers or commercial growers.
At a size of 40cm x 40cm width, it is ideal for one or multiple plant pots/bags.
This brochure contain a few suggestion, but you can grow almost anything on our affordable NFT Hydro Bases.
Amaranth is definitely one of the lesser-known microgreens, but you may have encountered it in its seed form. It’s an annual or perennial plant that grows around the world. There are approximately 70 species of the amaranth plant; purple, red, green, or gold. They may not be the best-known microgreen, but they are an excellent choice.
You may be surprised to learn that these small plants are actually very high in both protein and fiber; this is why the Aztecs were able to survive on them and virtually nothing else.
Here’s your quick start guide on how to grow amaranth microgreens
- soak: No, you can plant these straight away.
- Time to germinate: 2-3 days
- Time to harvest:10 – 15 day
It is best to avoid watering them for up to 12 hours before you harvest them. This will reduce the amount of water sitting on the leaves; which helps to prevent mod growing while you store them.
You can remove any excess water by placing them between two paper towels.
Reference: practical growing
What can you expect when you propagate with Oasis Grower Foam:
- Faster root penetration.
- Better water distribution.
- Stronger, more uniform root growth.
- Robust plants through the entire growing cycle.
- 100% safe for growing edible crops.
We recommend Oasis Grower Medium for all our growers, the results are clear from the photo attached.
Come GROW with us
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What is the current status of hydroponic production around the world?
Hydroponics is already very common in various parts of the world and there has been a sharp rise in recent years; hydroponics is ‘hot’ and happening across Europe as well as in North and South America. It makes commercial sense to invest in hydroponics because safe and clean food products are in great demand and retailers in some regions are prepared to pay a higher price for hydroponically grown lettuce.
How does automation and technology support hydroponics?
Growers do not always have the financial means or experience to immediately implement medium-tech or high-tech hydroponic systems so they often start out using low-tech ones. As production becomes increasingly successful and labor costs become an issue, growers switch to medium-tech or high-tech systems with more automation to improve their efficiency and hence competitiveness.
One short-term goal is to grow safe lettuce without using pesticides, and high-tech hydroponics systems are putting this within reach.
Which benefits does hydroponics offer at the various stages of the fresh chain?
Hydroponically produced lettuce enables growers to better meet retailers’ quality and food safety demands since it is a very clean method.
Come GROW with us
Source: Rijk Zwaan | International hydroponics magazine
Our NFT Hydro Bases will fill soon be stacked in a 10 x 30m greenhouse, as phase one of a commercial scale Hydroponic Project to be rolled out in South Africa.
The client has opted to grow with our NFT Hydro Bases specifically for the following reasons:
- The NFT Hydro Base is designed to return water nutrient from over-irrigation or continuous irrigation back to source tank, or to storage tanks for reuse
- It can be used with most plant pots or even plant bags
- Ideal for larger vine crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers
- Growing medium independent, tested with soil, perlite, cocopeat, sawdust (large grain)
Mail us: Sales@nfthydro.co.za
- Time to germinate: 2-3 days
- Time to harvest: around 15 days
Guide to Growing Basil Microgreens
- Use good quality basil seeds, we recommend Seeds for Africa or Living Seeds to purchase your seeds from.
- Please don’t soak your basil seeds.
- Basil microgreens do not need to be covered in darkness for the first 3 days, they will germinate faster this way.
- They can take up to 21 days before you can harvest, making them one of the slowest growing microgreens.
- You may also leave your basil microgreens for longer in your systems and sell the slightly large leaves as Baby Basil leaves, still packed with flavor this is popular with restaurants for salads & garnish.
How to store Basil Microgreens
- Microgreens are more fragile, you, therefore, need to treat them with more care.
- Ideally, you should stop watering them approximately 8 hours before you harvest them and avoid getting water on their leaves. To store put them in a sealable container or a plastic bag and store in your refrigerator.
- They should keep for approximately a week, but they will lose a little of their flavor; fresh is best!
Cities are encouraged to see that urban renovations are underway whereby old, unused, or abandoned buildings, rooftops and empty lots are being repurposed with a better economic function than their original existence. It is encouraging to see this trend is being adopted throughout Africa & South Africa.
Hydroponic Retrofits as a Real Estate Solution
One such newfound life is urban agriculture – specifically through hydroponic technology. The hydroponic retrofits not only provide new-found business opportunities for a local economy, but are a valuable way to bring together the community, promote the important topic of health, and grow and produce local food all while reusing an industrial building that might have otherwise been restricted solely to a life of dust-collection. Urban farming is key for food security!
Hydroponic Retrofits as an Energy Solution
The new trend of hydroponic retrofits is popular for many reasons. For one thing, the practice of urban agriculture completely transforms an industrial space which may previously have been less than environmentally sustainable. In addition to the obvious food production benefits of commercial hydroponic retrofits, the buildings end up undergoing energy retrofits as well which greatly reduce the water and power consumption and increase operational cost savings.
CONTACT US: SALES@NFTHYDRO.CO.ZA
This is a tale of two growers, both started in similar circumstances. However, their projects took very different trajectories.
Grower 1, after asking us for a quotation, decided to rather build his Hydroponic system. Convinced that research on the internet would guide him to his success.
Grower 2, decided to purchase one of our semi-commercial hydroponic systems. We GROW with all our clients to ensure their success and spent dedicated time guiding, advising and upskilling Grower 2. Within a few weeks, he had a successful first crop of Basil & Rocket.
The 2nd crop of snow peas was propagated soon afterward. Over the next few months, this delicious crop was harvested supplying local stores & restaurants. Now almost 9 months later, Grower 2 has such demand for his hydroponic fresh produce that they are forced to expand to two commercial 10 x 30m Greenhouses equipped with our Hydroponic systems.
Grower 1, not yet successful and called us this week for advice.
Sometimes tried & tested is the better option.
disclaimer: all variables considered