Classic seed plugs might not be your best option
You’ve probably seen the video we did a while back on the seed starting and transplanting process that we use in our greenhouse. In our greenhouse we use traditional soil, peat, coco coir, etc. But many of you are concerned with solids build up in your indoor systems. This is a real concern, especially if your don’t have really aggressive aeration! And since we think that indoor systems should be as simple and low-maintenance as possible, we’re going to show you a few seed starting options for indoor growers.
(For more videos on labor-smart indoor systems, check out this Youtube playlist.)
Non-messy alternatives to potting mixes
1) Flexible plugs.
The most popular alternative is flexible plugs. Flexiplugs is the brand that Dr. Nate is showing off in the video; this is a coir or peat product that is bound together with a polymer. Slow-release fertilizers can be incorporated into flexible plugs, which can eliminate the need for hydroponic nutrients in your seed starting system. (Which is really handy, in our opinion.)
Flexible plugs compress nicely when being planted between the Matrix Media in towers.
The major downside of flexible plugs is that they are rarely as compostable as peat or soil.
They can also be pricey if you’re buying them in small quantities. (Several hundred to several thousand). If you’re buying flexible plugs on a large scale (tens of thousands or more), then flexible plugs could be a very easy option for you.
2) Rock wool.
Another option is rock wool. (You might be familiar with rock wool as insulation, which is another use for it.) Rock wool is very handy for seed starting, and especially for cloning plants.
Personally, we aren’t crazy about rock wool here at Bright Agrotech because it is not bio-degradable; once it gets sent to a landfill, it’s going to be there forever. We recommend something more environment-friendly.
3) Other products.
Jiffy Pellets: Jiffy Pellets are another option. They can be pricey and harder to handle, but we're keeping them in minds as a great option for automation in the future.
Oasis products: In our experience, Oasis products tend to smash up and leave bits of plastic in the system. We don’t typically recommend Oasis products for this reason.
Bare root plants: You can absolutely use bare root plants, especially if you’re using wicking strips. The most common problem with bare root plants is that the roots of the seedlings get damaged during transplant and the resulting plant shock slows down your production cycle.
Because of this, we usually recommend using a growing medium for plant products.
Today we talked about types of growing medium for seedlings, including flexible
My final recommendation is to start with a flexible plug because they are the easiest plug to use. Once you get comfortable with growing, transition to a loose growing medium that composts easily and that is renewable.
Did I miss anything?
Do me a favor and tell me what YOU use to grow seedlings.
Look forward to more videos on the planting products and on indoor growing. Keep from missing out by following us on Youtube.