Awesome! 11 of the 14 (78.6% germ rate
) beans have popped and are ready to go into solos!
The three in the bottom right weren’t even cracked, so I finger scored* them and put them back in the towel hoping they’re just hard shelled and they’ll take off and be ready by Sunday.
This is how I set my seedlings up, and keep in mind this is all preference and honestly I havent found any method to be vastly superior than another. This method works great for me and has a lot of perks so I use it. The method I am referring to is what I call the solo method.
Simply, you use a solo cup (any brand will do), put holes in the bottom for drainage, and use a coco coir media and directly plant into that. Ive tinkered with my recipe and what I like is 50:40:10 of SPM:Perilite:Verm. Where SPM is Sphagnum Peat Moss. I also like to reuse old hydroton and perlite (don’t even wash it, I just let it sit in the sun to dry out then reuse it).
First things first, get yourself enough solo cups, in my case, I need 11. Next, get yourself a 1/4" drill bit and a drill.
I like to make 4 holes as illustrated in the picture by the sharpie marker dots. You can have more, but I don’t like to have less than 3. Not enough drainage in potentially high water retaining media is a disastrous mistake you’ll only make once!
Make sure to take your time when you’re drilling the holes in the bottom of the solo’s or else you’ll split the cup and its just a pain in the ass when compared to nicely drilled holes. Not saying you have to throw away the cups, hell I split 3 this time but they’ll still work great! Also, the plastic bits make a fucking mess, so don’t be like my stoned ass and do it on top of your smoking table then spend hours picking them out of your weed
And finally, after you’ve drilled all your holes and mixed your media (substrate will be used interchangeably), its time to start planting! Heres something to note, when looking at this substrate you might see that it is incredibly dry, and that’s because it is. I DO NOT like working with wet or damp SPM or coco for that matter. Its clumpy and doesn’t mix as well as dry does. Plus SPM soaks up water (so does verm) like a sponge so I am not too worried about it rehydrating (more on that later).
Scoop up enough substrate in your solo so that roughly one digits worth remains available for later goodies…
Next, using that same finger, sink it in a digits worth into the substrate and drop your seed in. Its honestly that simple, nature does a helluva lot of the work for us, so I’ve found that the KISS method works amazing as long as you incorporate LITFA with it.
After you’ve dropped in your seed, add some additional substrate to cover the top. Another thing to note, I don’t pack down any of my substrate at any part of the process. I like to keep it as loose as possible and just let the roots and water compact it over time.
Now time for the goodies!
So I’m sure as some of you have seen, whenever I keep plants in solo cups I get one helluva gnat problem. In order to combat this, I like to add a little bit of mosquito bits to my cups to help keep gnats in check for the first few weeks.
I add about this much; you can add more but I would try to keep the amount at about this instead of using less…
I then like to top off the whole cup with some rice hulls. I pulled this trick from the organic guys and have been using it ever since. The hulls allow the substrate to stay damp for longer, provides enough coverage so that algae doesn’t grow, and provides a habitat for bennies. Its honestly a great addition to these types of media for dirt cheap.
And that’s it! I like to use storage container lids as trays for these guys as I can water them on the lids while keeping them up and out of the water, and being plastic, they’re waterproof. So if you’re doing these activities inside, it prevents the Mrs from yelling at you for getting her carpet wet (the one of the floor gentlemen
I also like to label the cups so when I clone them, I can associate a clone back to the mother plant. Keep in mind you want to KEEP THE MOTHER and GROW THE CLONE. Not the other way around. It takes longer to do so, but you’ll be grateful you did.
As mentioned earlier with watering the dry substrate. The trick is to take your time and to start by spraying the top layer of rice hulls, letting them get moist, then slowly spraying more. By doing so you’ll evenly distribute the moisture content resulting in the soil compacting evenly but not being too compact. It’s simple, but incredibly effective when done right.
I mentioned earlier there are some perks to doing the solo method instead of using something like rapid rooters or Rockwool cubes; the main one being ease of use. I find that using this method allows a lot of room for error with newer growers and allows lazy ones, such as myself, a lot of forgiveness. ie once I have the beans in and the soil damp, I check it once every 3 days to see if the cup is dry and needs water. Even if its basically bone dry, I can add water and it’ll “come back” USUALLY. This is invaluable when I am trying to keep on top of other projects or simply forget due to my schedule. Nothing stings more than paying for a pack of beans only to have half of them die off due to one of your mistakes.
GAME PLAN: Im wanting to do a weekly or biweekly update. Only issue is that there isnt much to report on being that theyre so young. So I think Im going to report back on Sunday at the earliest if the 3 seeds have germinated. After that Ill hopefully have some good news with the seedlings breaking ground.
*Finger Scoring is simply when you tightly squeeze the uncracked seed with your finger tips until you literally split the casing allowing water to enter initiating germination. I use this as a last ditch effort in attempt to get seeds to pop as it can potentially destroy the seed.