Grow and Manage from Seed to Harvest
Describe the basic process for planting
- Individual seed planting – one seed is planted in one site, often done by hand or tweezers.
- Multi-seed planting– multiple seeds are planted in one site, mostly done with tweezers or chop stick.
- Spreading/shaking/sprinkling technique – one uses a small cup full of seeds to sprinkle them over a flat growing medium as one sprinkles cheese onto a pizza.
Describe 3 types of growing media
- Rockwool – is a horticultural growing media made from the natural ingredients Basalt rock and Chalk. These are then melted at 1600° C into a lava which is blown into a large spinning chamber, which pulls the lava into fibers like “cotton candy.”
- Cress plate – thin sheets of stone wool that are cut into small squares where farmers sprinkle microgreen seeds onto.
- Coconut husk – the fibrous part of the coconut husk that is made into a growing medium.
Describe 3 techniques to improve germination rates
- Cutting the seeds – also known as scarification, requires cutting the seed coat to loosen the tough seed coat that could inhibit germination. Can use sandpaper to do this.
- Soaking the seeds – in lukewarm water or hydrogen peroxide, allows for the seed coat to soften before germination.
- Freezing and thawing – also known as stratification, involves placing seeds in alternate layers of sand or sandy compost. Then place them where they can be repeatedly frozen and thawed. This process triggers seeds into germination since it mimics the natural process that would happen during winter.
Why do we transplant from the germinator into the main system?
We transplant from the germinator into the main system because the early stages of plant growth (seed to sprout) are very different from later stages of plant growth (mature plants). Plants leaving the germinator are at an adolescent stage and are ready to become mature plants in the main system.
- Early stages: plants need low amount light, little air flow, and high humidity.
- Later stages: plants need high amount of light, air flow, personal space, less humidity.
Describe how to transplant
To transplant, one removes the roto rooter (type of medium with seed already planted in it) from the tray in the germinator (shows seed has sprouted and matured to adolescent stage) and places it in a net pot at a designated spot in the main system.
Why might we grow from cuttings?
You save money on the seeds (don’t have to buy any) and you have a genetically identical copy of the parent plant.
Describe how to make a cutting
- Cut off a section of stem – select healthy growth that’s 3 to 6 inches long. Try to make a sharp cut; mashing the stems may make it more difficult for the shoots to develop new roots.
- Remove the lower leaves – Clip off the leaves on the lower half of the shoot so you have a bare stem to insert into your potting mix. Then, if you want, dip the end of your stem in rooting hormone. This helps many cuttings root more quickly.
- Potting your cutting – Immediately pot up your cutting in moist potting mix, sand, perlite, or vermiculite. Keep your cutting humid by loosely wrapping it in clear plastic or keeping it under a cloth.