Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend. Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Hydrofarm Seed Starting System and Heat Mat.
This one is a bit different as I have not yet owned one but the recommendation is from James White who as on Wednesday’s show. Every piece of advice this man has given me has been spot on and given these things are shipping almost 2 weeks out as of right now, I didn’t want to wait in sharing it with you.
I find this ironic as just yesterday I was cleaning out my green house and getting it ready for my hydro builds in the coming weeks. I found some old 72 cell tray liners and dropped in a Rapid Rooter plug and was like, “holy shit that fits like a glove”, I mean I actually said that out loud to myself. Just this morning I popped some plugs into one and just tossed it into the shallow flood and drain tray in my vertical farm.
15 Minutes later I am approving blog comments and find an amazing one by James about this item, using it with rapid rooter plugs and how to either start seeds with it or even do small scale growing. Rather then go on about what I think about this item let me just give you James’ instructions for its use. I will say the only reasons I won’t be doing this is that I own a Park’s bio dome and I have so many other solutions in place. I honestly wish I had know about his fricken thing in December! Check out what James has to say about it…
If anyone wants an “easy button” for getting started, consider something like this and use grow plugs/sponges like the Rapid Rooters Jack recommends check out this item…
This 72-cell system can be used for seed starting, and growing greens to maturity as an “upside down” Kratky setup.
1: Fill the tray nearly full with water/nutrient. Include some (.5%-1% concentration) H2O2, it helps improve and speed germination plus gives your plants a sterile start.
2: Drop in the rooting plugs. Use all 72cells if you are strictly starting seeds. Space them into something like a checkerboard pattern if you intend to grow to maturity.
3: Place a seed in each plug. You can use more seeds, but start with 1 per plug, the germination rate will be darn near 100%.
4: Place the humidity dome on top and close the vents
5: Optional: Use the included heating mat if needed
6: Place the whole thing under lights set to an 18/6 (light/dark) cycle as Jack recommends. Note the lights will heat your rig, so don’t place them too close to the dome to avoid overheating.
7: Wait 2-6 days for the first few seeds to sprout and open the dome vents when this happens. Remove the dome completely after all/most seeds have sprouted. At this time you can drop the lights closer to your seedlings if you want. IMO they work fine from 12?-18? so moving them isn’t strictly necessary. Note that removing the dome isn’t strictly necessary either, some plants will do fine or better with the dome, but at some point it is just in your way and might crowd your plants.
8: Keep an eye on your nutrient level, with the vents open or the dome removed your nutrient will evaporate. Top up if needed to about 1/2 full. Remember what Jack said about drowning the air roots, don’t overfill.
9: Grow to transplant or harvest size.
10: Enjoy! Seriously, it’s easy and tastes great.
Note that James also recommends if you want to go with a liquid nutrient and won’t be doing tomatoes, peppers, etc. that you consider using the Urban Farmers Vegetable Mix as it is less for encouraging fruiting and flowering. Again I tend to use Master Blend for greens but all of it works. In the end with the Hydrofarm Seed Starting System and some Rapid rooter plugs with your choice of nutrient coupled with some good grow lights you can make tons of starts or even grow greens out in less density.
I do want to caution you to pay very close attention to item 8 above, don’t over fill and DON’T let it go dry either. Have a daily top up to 1/2 way schedule. If you want to actually grow to maturity I recommend at least two of them though. So consider adding the Hydrofarm Seed Starting System to your home grown food arsenal today.
Items that Fit well with this One…
- Rapid Rooter Plugs
- Master Blend Nutrients
- Texas Tomato Food Nutrient from Urban Farmer
- Vegetable Nutrient from Urban Farmer – Better for Strait Greens – This is a quart larger sizes are available.
- Barrina Grow Lights
Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com
P.S. – Note the height is 8 inches with the dome on, please consider that for fit with any shelving you plant to use, buy, build, etc. I am also sure there are other ways to piece together a similar solution, may be with stuff you already have, may be with a bit deeper tray, etc. This is an off the shelf solution known to work by a man who’s advice has always been helpful. That said if it gives you an idea using what you already have or mostly have, run with it.