Tag Archives: hydroponic

How to Start Seeds in the Smart Farm – Planting Lettuce

Lettuce is one of the easiest seeds to start. All you need is sun, warmth, a growing medium and humid conditions. Unlike many other vegetable seeds, lettuce tends to benefit from having light while it sprouts. Thus, you don’t need to worry about how deep the seeds need to be planted. This makes planting lettuce seeds great for beginners, as you’re just basically placing seeds on top of soil and brushing it around a bit before watering.

This is a picture of a Smart Farm covered with a plastic tarp to increase humidity.

If you really want to be sure your lettuce seeds are happy enough to sprout, you need to add humidity. How do you do this? Once you have planted your seeds and watered them, cover the container with clear plastic. The clear plastic will keep the humidity high, while allowing sunlight inside. A thin plastic drop cloth from the hardware store works great. Just be sure to weigh down the ends at the bottom with a rock to keep the drop cloth from flying away in the wind.

Please keep in mind that lettuce is a cool weather crop. If your temperatures are extremely high, you may cook your seeds under the plastic.

How do you know when is the best time to plant lettuce seeds? Your local extension office should be able to provide you a list of the best planting times for various vegetables.  If you’d like help locating your local extension office, you can click this link at NPIC.

The video below from our Facebook page shows a quick way to plant lettuce seeds. If you’d like to chat with our gardener, please visit us on Facebook.

Planting Lettuce Seeds in the Smart Farm

Have you tried planting lettuce seeds directly in your Mr. Stacky? Here is a video of me planting them in a Smart Farm. Cheryl

Posted by Mr. Stacky Pots on Thursday, May 4, 2017

 

How to Start Seeds in the Smart Farm – Preparing Your Growing Medium

Growing food using hydroponics can be easy with the Smart Farm.  Once you have your Smart Farm assembled, it is time to begin growing by adding your growing medium.  While you can use soil in the Smart Farm, we recommend using a mixture of 80% coco peat and 20% perlite, gravel or growstone for hydroponic growing.

Why grow hydroponically? Hydroponics can create a cleaner and more controlled environment for the even distribution of water and nutrients to your plants. The coco peat helps retain moisture without a lot of compaction, while the perlite, gravel or growstone that we recommend in the Grow Guide creates space for roots and encourages healthy drainage. Roots need room to grow and don’t do well when soggy.

Mixing your growing mixture is easy, but you need to make sure you have everything you need. Gather the following items:

  • Mr. Stacky coco peat block (You will need 12.5 gallons of the fully hydrated block)
  • Perlite, gravel or growstone (Hint: You will need 12.5 quarts. If you also raise chickens, a #50 bag of Cherry Stone #2 grit is just enough with leftovers.)
  • Smart Farm reservoir
  • Smart Farm shipping box (Seriously. Why waste a good container?)
  • 16 gallons of water
  • An old pitcher
This picture shows grit and coco coir being mixed to form the growing medium.

Directions:

  1. Place the unwrapped coco peat block inside the empty Smart Farm reservoir and add 16 gallons of water. As it expands, break up the coco peat block with your hands.
  2. Once the coco peat is hydrated, you want to create a four parts coco peat/one part grit mixture. (Use your pitcher to pour four equal parts of coco peat  into your empty packing box.)
  3. Next, add  one pitcher of grit on top of the coco peat in the packing box.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all the coco peat and/or grit is used.
  5. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the coco peat and grit together.
  6. Once your Smart Farm is fully assembled, use your hands to fill each stacking tray.
  7. Rejoice! It is time to plant!

If you have any questions, our gardener is available to help on our Facebook page.