Soon after I discovered hydroponics I started using these floating seed starting trays and for the past few years have been using them almost exclusively and having much more success than I ever had before. I occasionally use a ‘regular’ tray and can’t believe how cumbersome they are. These are really easy to use and removing the plant for transplanting is very easy.
We have the smaller kits available with enough space for 25 plants along with our soiless starteer mix. For those that are more serious about starting seeds or want to grow baby leaf lettuce mixes at home we have the larger commercial version available (as seen in the picture, right) that we use here at the microfarm.
Let’s start planting
In addition to the stater kit you will need a leak proof tray or container, along with your choice of seeds.
- Fill the cells of the floating tray with the growing media included in your kit, and press down so media is slightly compacted.
- Spray the top of media with warm water and let soak in tray of water until completely wet.
- Lift out and drain for 10 minutes.
- Now you’re ready to plant. Use an un-sharpened pencil (or end of pen) to make a hole in center of each cell about 1/8” deep.
- Plant the seeds in this depression and cover with a thin layer of leftover media.After planting return the tray to float in water again and spritz the top with lukewarm water and place in warm area.
Once the seeds germinate place in a sunny spot and float in tray during the day and take out to dry each night. It’s preferable if they sit on a table or tray with slits so air can flow underneath the tray and air prune the roots.
Allow plants to grow until they are strong and healthy, then transplant into towers by pushing eraser end of pencil up through the hole underneath the tray to push the plug gently out. The temptation is to remove the plants before they are ready so if in doubt leave them a little longer and when you start to push the plug out if it starts failing apart it is probably too soon or the plug is too wet.
When I’m ready to plant I will leave the trays out of the water overnight to dry out a little and this usually helps when removing the plants.
Transplant into towers or pots, feed with water and nutrients, and enjoy your harvest!