Seed Starting For Indoor Farmers: Smart Seedling Racks

Posted by Amy Storey on September 15, 2015

 

Summary:

  • 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.

 

seed rack spacing shelves We keep the shelves about ten inches apart to maximize space. That distance will have to increase if we use fluorescent lights.

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!)

seed rack lights leds

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.seed rack lights seedlings

*The thing to watch out for with fluorescents is that you don't have them too close, lest they burn the seedlings.

In conclusion

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!

Want to Build Your Own Seedling Cart?

DIY Seedling Cart

 

We've Got Your Back

We've been providing helpful info for indoor farm planners and will continue to do so. You may have noticed so far that all of our indoor tips revolve around affordability and convenience. If you want to see the products that result from these two values, check out ZipGrow towers.

 

Topics: Indoor Growing

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