Soil-grown plants are not suitable for hydroponic systems because they pollute the system and oxygen has not enough access to the roots. So the plants for hydroponic systems have to be grown from seeds or propagated through cuttings. For the cultivation of seeds, various substrates can be used.
The optimal supply of the root area with oxygen is very important in hydroponic cultivation. Growing media have the advantage that they are usually much more porous than soil and thus enable optimal oxygenation. The substrate must not dry out, so that the plants are supplied with nutrients.
We have performed tests using various organic and inorganic substrates, e.g. rock wool, plastic sponges, expanded clay balls, ceramics, perlite, coconut and with Eazy Plug®. Eazy Plug is a specially developed organic substrate that keeps the plant stable and does not decompose in the hydroponic system. It is compostable! The easiest way to grow plants was with Eazy Plugs, so we favor this substrate.
1. Select a substrate suitable for hydroponics, in which the seed can germinate and build roots. Eazy Plugs have worked well. Water the Eazy Plug and then place germinating seeds on it. Forr seeds which prefer a dark environmnt place the seed into the center of the plug and press into the substrate material.
2. Set the prepared Eazy Plugs in a seedling greenhouse. With the lid closed o create high humidity, wait for germination. The greenhouse should be placed in an area with light and at temperatures of approx. 22 °C. Keep moisture high and ventilate from time to time.
3. If the young plant is a few centimeters tall and the Eazy plug well rooted, it will be implemented in the hydroponic cultivation system. This can be done for better stability in mesh pots or in larger, rectangular Eazy plugs - the Eazy Block.
Many plants can be reproduced from healthy, strong mother plants via cuttings, such as basil. The process is simple.
1. Select strong, about 10 cm long shoots. Using a clean, sharp knife, cut off the shoot approx. 1 cm below a knot.
2. Remove the lower leaves and place the shoots in a glass of water. Best darken with aluminum foil and cover the glass - the humid environment has a favorable effect on the rooting of the cuttings. Let fresh air enter from time to time!
3. Once the cuttings have formed roots, they can be transformed to keep growing.
5. For other hydroponic systems, the freshly cut cuttings can be placed directly into a wet Eazy Plug substrate and placed in an indoor propagator until they are well rooted through the substrate. Pay attention to high air humidity, always supply fresh air.
Many different plants are suitable for water-saving hydroponic cultivation, including flowers and edible flowers. The size of the plants, whether hanging or standing, as well as the required light conditions, must be taken into account when growing the plants and selecting the hydroponic system.
If you do not want to grow young seedlings in a solid substrate, but need exposed roots, you can sow in Perlite. This is relatively simple and works well. The perlite can also be reused.
1. Fill a flat bowl with perlite. Water the substrate well so that the top layer does not float in the water. Then disperse the seeds. Use a spray bottle to spray light bucket seeds with water. Cover the dark bucket with a layer of perlite first, then spray again.
2. Cover the bowl and let it stand for a few days. Then uncover and place in a bright place. Consider the temperature at germination. Spray from time to time so that the seeds germinate well and the young plants are supplied. As soon as the plants are strong enough they can be transferred.
3. In most hydroponic systems, young plants are placed in the system using a net pot. Carefully remove the young plants, e.g. with a spoon, from the Perlite substrate and place them in a net pot.
4. For stabilization and as a buffer for water, young plants are embedded in a coarse substrate, e.g. expanded clay or, as in this example, in ceramic substrate. Perlite is too light for embedding and floats up.
5. The embedded seedlings are now placed in a hydroponic system together with the net pot - shown in the picture in a DWC - Deep Water Culture system. The roots can be well supplied with nutrient solution and oxygen.
6. After a few weeks robust, tasty salad plants have grown in the DWC system and can be harvested. New young plants are then planted and cultivation continues.