There are many methods of starting seeds for aquaponics. I use several but you have to understand I like things orderly and I don’t like to waste seeds.
One method is to sow the seeds directly into the grow bed. Just sprinkle the seeds on the medium and some will find the right conditions, germinate and sprout and some will not. When they get their second set of leaves thin them and you are good to go.
I like to sow my seeds in individual net cups so I can put the plants where I want them or easily move them if I need to. I have used rock wool but I found this product Rapid Root and I have great success with it.
What I am looking for is a base to put my seed so it can germinate. It doesn’t have to be to deep, so I cut the plug in half
Make sure there is a slit in the top about 1/4 to 1/2″ deep depending on the seed requirements. Some seed even require light to germinate and I just lay the seeds on top of the plug. The seed packets don’t always tell the best method to sprout your seeds I rely on a book I got from Park’s Seeds called ‘Success With Seed’ by Karen Park Jennings. It will really help you with your seed starting endeavors.
I take this 1/2 plug and put it in a 3″ net pot surrounded by medium.
So here I have some of the seed I am planting. Swiss Chard, Purple Cauliflower, Cheddar Cauliflower, and Ironman Broccoli are some of my favorites. I plant things you can’t get so easily in a store.
Here is the plug in the net pot with medium surrounding it and I am planting Swiss Chard. It seed is a little bigger and irregular. It likes to be 4 times in depth the size of the seed so I will plant it 1/2″ deep. I usually poke 2 seeds into each plug in case one does not germinate (Most seeds want to be planted 4 time in depth the size of the seed. So if you have a 1/16″ size seed it would be 1/4″ deep).
Here I have some net pots ready with medium and plug. You can see I have plastic name tags for each cup. I put a name and date on each one.
Here is the completed tray of planted seeds. Fill water just so the plug is moist and check every day to make sure they never dry out. You can place the seed trays under lights or if it is the right temperature, put them outside in the sun. You should see sprouts in 3 to 7 days depending on the seeds. However some seeds can take as long as a month to germinate. I find using this method it takes 1/2 the time it take for in potting mix. When the sprouts have 2 sets of leaves thin to one per pot and plant them in your grow beds.
After 3 weeks
Transplanted into beds
Plants after 1 month