So my previous attempt at hydroponic herbs (and my first attempt at growing hydroponic anything) was not far off a pretty big failure. By the end, I had severe algae growth, the herbs hadn’t been able to properly photosynthesise or take in oxygen, and my reservoir was largely unregulated. It’s time to do better. I’ll be taking on basil, a plant which I’ve seen good evidence to suggest can go very right indeed in a hydroponic setup, so I’ve got something to aim at!
I intend to keep much better logs of what I’m doing and ask the good people of the internet (I’m looking at you, /r/hydro) for as much help and advice as I can get out of them along the way. Without further ado, let’s begin.
I’m growing from seed; I received a bag of Sweet Genovese basil seeds, so the first step is to get them germinated. I’m using small (roughly 1x1x2 inch) Rockwool cubes as the growth medium, and submerged them for a few hours in a warm solution of Formulex nutrients (in a ratio of 25ml Formulex to 5l water) before starting.
From there, I used a small screw to open up the holes in the top of the cubes a little (since they tend to close up in both packaging and the soaking and handling), and sprinkled a couple (3 to 5) seeds into each hole. As for the conditions I’ll be looking to raise the seeds in:
- Container I’m using a pretty standard plastic unheated propagator with a clear lid.
- Light I’ll be doing my best to keep the propagator covered with a light cloth of some form which will block out the majority of the light (hopefully it’ll also regulate the temperature a little too).
- Temperature The Weekend Gardener recommends a germination temperature of around 21C (70F) for basil, so in the absence of proper thermostatic control I’ll be regularly measuring the temperature in the propagator and attempting to keep it in the correct area of my wildly temperature-varying flat.
I’ll be keeping the cubes moist with a spray of the same concentration of Formulex solution now and again. Hopefully this’ll make for pretty good growing conditions! I’ll check in again in a little while to update on how they’re going – the next step of things will be when we start to get some small leaves.