We here take every precaution to prepare our seedlings and the Net Pot transplanting. First, we sift and blend coir fiber in a 3 to 1 mixture, allowing the vermiculte to remain as a binder. This allows moisture to remain making the roots develop correctly. Our germination trays are 72 hole square. Lets get to the heart of germination which will make or break you in the whole process. We always hand water on each tray. Each tray must drain. Leaving them in a water bath leads to problems.
Each tray must drain…..Leaving them in a water bath leads to problems.
Every tray drains – timers and misters are never used here. Nothing can replace making sure your seedlings are curated each day. Here at Lilypad Farm, we hand water a least 2 times daily and most days more keeping them under shade or cover at all times. This size tray allows the plants enough room to grow a month while they wait to make it to final part of the system. The seedlings will be ready sooner depending on the season. Also, this depends upon your ability to never miss a single watering!
We have found that each tray will have dominate seedlings ranging in the 60% of tray total. We only plant the dominate plants with the science in mind to get the most out of deep water raft culture aquaponics. The exact size plug from the trays must also be made like a sponge, not a rock, and for sure not loose. This is the art form we talk about. Each and every time we make trays there is focus and concentration. They are checked throughout the entire process. All planting is a very quiet, and part of the personal journey.
What you do here, will be affecting you in 40 days.
Currently we are in the high 90% of seedlings sprouting, and still only using the top percentages.Fewer finer has become the aim here.
Planting 3-inch Net Pots
With the 3” Net Pot method, the 72 hole plugs are neatly centered. We install them level in the net pot. My consistent installation of over 30,000 plants has made me an expert. You will become one too. It takes a couple of failed attempts. Then, it will come easier with practice. When planting, I state all the time, “we only do this once, take your time and do it right”.
This will take you to the next question. How do you make the Net Pot cup blend? The coir is hand combed thru several times. All of the smallest knots are pulled out. Then we make 3 parts coir and only ¾ part vermiculite and hydrate to a moist but not totally wet soilless mixture, Now, you ask why only that much blend? If you pack the cups correct, they weigh close to 2.2 to 2.4 ounces every time WITHOUT the seedlings. This makes on average 48 cups or one raft full in the system!!!
Please make sure you perfect your own methods. There is no wrong way to grow food. We here stand on our production value. All of us here at Lilypad Farm are growing the cleanest, highest quality food possible. In future posts, we will talk about raft cleaning, preparation and the reasons why we are always ready to grow. We never use chemicals.
Now take note: we are underway to be offering Organic Tilapia feed. Yes, Fellow Aquanauts, there is a choice you can make. As a personal note, I have always been wanting a transparent feed ingredient label. We now have one! We are starting to feed here with the newest feed around – for ours and your Aquaponics system. Email me if you want, Fellow Aquanauts, Adam,Susan,Lily Harwood