- Use a rack to grow seedlings indoors
- Use an automated watering system
- Put the whole thing on wheels
- Use low light and low nutrients
Setting up a Seedling Station
After your germinated seed trays come out of your propagation chamber (remember this video?), you want to slide them into a seedling system. There they will get the light to keep them from getting too leggy and the nutrients to grow them into transplantable seedlings.
Here's what Dr. Nate has to say about seedling stations:
Rack systems: low space
Because the seedlings coming out of this station are only going to be a couple inches tall, racks can be quite close; for the system that you see in this video, the shelves in the system are about 10 inches apart.
This spacing allows you to fit hundreds of seedlings (we had about 2200 seedlings growing on our rack) in a system.
Rack systems: low maintenance
This seedling system is a flood and drain system, so a pump fills up the top tray, then a siphon drains it down the next tray, and so forth. We have our seedling station connected to a sump via quick-release so that we can unhook it and roll the racks away easily. (We find that having the system on wheels saves a ton of time!)
Another way to set up a seedling station is to get a mister, typically controlled by a sensor. We prefer the flood and drain, which encourages good root grow and is less likely to encourage disease. (We run the flood and drain just a couple times a day.)
Lighting for rack systems
In this system we have Phillips LEDs, but in our next system we’ll probably use *fluorescents. Seedlings don’t need full nutrients and full light right away, and putting them into a system with less light and nutrients can even keep them from becoming stressed.
*The thing to watch out for with fluorescents is that you don't have them too close, lest they burn the seedlings.
A seedling system on closely spaced racks can be very convenient for warehouse growers. We recommend using a flood-and-drain system with low-power lights like fluorescents. Buying or building a system on wheels will make it easy to work with.
We hope that this video and post were helpful in showing you how a seedling system works. If you’re thinking about building a seedling station, get a hold of us- we’d love to chat with you about the best way to do that!
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