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February - Hydroponic self-supply balcony project

28.02.2019 - Transfer of the first seedlings to a balcony greenhouse

We started with plant propagation early in February, now it is end of February and we already have 18 °C outside temperature. In our balcony greenhouse it is already really warm. We think that natural light and warmth are still better than artificial plant lighting and heating air. That's why we moved the first plants into the balcony greenhouse. At night it is still cold but since we have built our balcony greenhouse directly in front of a balcony window we can open the window if it is very cold, then it is heated by room temperature to about 10 °C . When the sun is shining we reach 30°C and more in the greenhouse even at low outside temperatures.

10.02.2019 - Propagation phase, young plants after 8 days

After 8 days it was checked whether the seeds had already germinated and how the young plants were developing. Some seeds have a long germination time, like coriander, stevia, lovage, eggplant, strawberries or parsley - after 8 days nothing could be seen. The others have already progressed well.

Light - in order to ensure sufficient light for the plants to become vigorous, special plant lamps were used. We selected 12 hours as the lighting duration.

Germination at 15°C - The cold-grown seeds have already germinated very well. Usually several seeds have sprouted, the weaker ones will be removed later.   

Germination at 22 °C - Even with the warm germ already something has changed. The tomato seedlings can already be seen, but chili, paprika, parsley and pansies are already germinating.

Humidity - Keep the plugs well moist, but they should not have too wet feet.

Fertilizer - Before covering the plants again, spray them with water. Fertilizer is not yet required in this phase - the plugs already have fertilizer inside

Ventilation - The slits of the cover can now remain open. Good lighting is still provided to replace the sun. 

02.02.2019: First seeding for soil-free cultivation

At the beginning of February we started seeding. We sorted our sowing calendar by sowing time and started with the first 28 sorts. We also paid attention to the growing conditions - rather cold, about 15°C and warmer about 22°C. 

We used an easy to handle, stable and clean substrate material called Eazy Plug®. They consist of a special mixture of organic materials and are compostable. 

Preparations - We have cut the plastic growing trays to fit into the greenhouses.

Labelling - Arrange the seed bags. Soak the substrate plugs well. Write the names of the plants on the labels - otherwise it will be difficult to assign them later.

Seeding - The used substrates have a groove in the middle. In case of dark germs add 2 - 3 seeds into the hole and close with some plug material. Put the light-dependent germinators directly into the hole or sprinkle it onto the growing substrate.

Temperature - Place trays with labeled seeds in greenhouses - we used 2 heated and 2 cold greenhouses. Add a little more water to the bowls.

Humidity - To create a good germination climate, cover the greenhouses and keep the opening slits closed at first. The location should be bright or illuminated.

Documentation -  In the sowing calendar it was recorded which seeds were sown and how many plants. Now we have to wait and see and spray the plugs from time to time.