To utilize seed starting plugs, simply soak them for at least 24 hours in water. Before planting the seedlings, insert the seedling starter plugs into your grow tray. However, the use of seed starting plugs can vary depending on the type of seed. Later in this post, we’ll address it.
Using starting plugs allows plants to germinate more quickly, resulting in a higher growth rate. It has the correct amount of oxygen and the right water to soil ratio for plants to thrive. In most cases, seed starting plugs are inserted into trays and held in place by the soil.
Seed starting plugs are a useful tool to have if you’re planning on expanding your greenhouse. It’s cheap, and it’s simple to use. Seed starting plugs are most commonly seen in greenhouses, where they are used to encourage germination before planting the seed outside.
Types Of Seed Plugs
Before learning how to utilize seed starting plugs, familiarize yourself with the various types of germination plugs available so that you can make an informed decision about which is ideal for your greenhouse.
Traditional soil, peat, coco coir, and other natural fibers are common ingredients in seed starting plugs. Aeration may be necessary, therefore this sort of soil is better suited to the outdoors. The appropriate quantity of moisture and aeration are required for seeds, and seeds can also help avoid plant diseases.
When it comes to indoor gardening, seed plugs are perfect because they are low-maintenance. Listed here are the types of seed starting plugs that are best suited to your needs:
1. Flexible plugs
This sort of seed plug is ideal for germination because it contains just the appropriate amount of moisture and soil for the seedling to grow successfully.
Flexible plugs, unlike loose and dirty soil, are easy to handle and maintain. Polymers bind organic materials like coco coir to form a rubbery adhesive.
Polymer-bound plugs are easy to handle and transfer because of their structure. The seed plugs are already separated from one other, so you won’t have to cut or pull them apart.
Filling trays with seed plugs can take a long time if you don’t use flexible plugs. Finally, the germination time is shortened due to the use of these plugs. This seed starting plug has so many advantages that you’ll be hard-pressed to notice its shortcomings.
The disadvantage of utilizing this type of seed plug is that it is more difficult to re-plant. The polyester plugs will be damaged by the time the seedling reaches maturity and begins to develop a root system, so they can no longer be used.
Another thing to keep in mind is that polyester seed plugs degrade in roughly three to four years. Additional costs may be involved as well.
2. Rock wool
This is a fiber manufactured from a type of rock that has been burned at a high temperature and then pulverized into fibers.
Seed starting and cloning plants can be made easier with the use of rockwool. However, it is not biodegradable because it remains in landfills indefinitely.
If you are concerned about the environment, avoid using rock wool as seed starting plugs.
3. Jiffy plugs
Soil and compost are used to make Jiffy seed plugs. Inexperienced gardeners will find this type of seed starting plug ideal because it has a similar consistency to ordinary soil.
However, it’s expensive since you have to buy it by the piece, and it’s difficult to work with because it’s loose. It could take some time to move it.
Seed starting plugs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If it’s safe for your plants, pay attention to what’s in it. Choose a growing medium that is eco-friendly and can meet your plants’ needs for oxygen to soil and water.
Tips In Using Seed Starting Plugs
Seed starting plugs can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the type. Prior to planting in a grow tray, some seed starting plugs are soaked in water or a nutrient-filled solution to help them grow. The exception is when using seed plugs, such as flexible plugs.
It’s time to plant your seeds after you’ve inserted your beginning plugs into the tray. Some gardeners use a moist cloth to test the viability of their seeds. Using this method, you can be certain that the plant will flourish.
However, the type and method of using seed starting plugs will vary depending on the manufacturer. Consequently, before using the product, read the product’s instructions.
Wanted: the perfect media
For a long time, people have experimented with various methods of starting seeds. Everything from sand to packing peanuts has been tested.
The great thing about seeds is that they come pre-packaged in a neat shell with all the nutrients they need to germinate and thrive for the first few weeks of their lives.
When you buy seeds, you get everything you need to germinate and thrive for the first few weeks of your plant’s life in a compact package.
- maintaining a constant level of moisture (but not wetness)
- airing out (oxygen throughout the media)
- absence of illness (not recycled from diseased crops)
However, light and warmth aren’t directly related to the sort of media seedlings need.
You can do practically anything for your seedlings with these three items, but this does not indicate that everything will work for you. Seedling medium has a wide range of qualities depending on the type of system and the preferences of the farm manager.
The media must be heavy enough to offer stability, but light enough to be moved easily. If you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll want something that can be recycled or repurposed. Your media selections will be limited by these farmer-specific aims.
System with recirculating irrigation (like hydroponic systems) and limited space have seen flexible or polymer-bound plugs gain in popularity. It is because of these attributes that they are at the top of the heap.
Pro: clean and neat
Polymer-bound plugs combine an organic material such as peat or coco coir with a polymer—think of a rubbery adhesive when picturing these. This helps keep the plug in a small space.
It is impossible for small pieces of material to break off and block irrigation systems, unlike soil, plain peat, or plugs formed of loose media.
Pro: Easy to handle
A single piece of polymer-bound plugs can be separated from the rest of the device. This prevents root injury and saves time by not requiring the plugs to be cut or torn apart.
When dealing with polymer-bound plugs, you won’t have to worry about creating dense areas in the root zone, which can lead to damage and anaerobic zones.
You don’t need to be constantly managing seedlings! As a result, the less they’re handled, the fewer chances there are for disease to spread!
Polymer-bound plugs are another desirable characteristic for many growers in compact systems where labor efficiency is a priority. Growers may simply remove the seedling tray from its packaging, add seeds to it, and place it in their seedling system.
A space-efficient seedling system can be constructed by following this link.)
This saves time sorting plugs (or loose media), filling trays and wetting the material.
Pro: faster germination
This saves time sifting plugs (or loose media), filling trays, and soaking the material.
Even a few days can make a big difference in the speed of your plant’s growth cycle. If you can preserve 2–3 days every time you turn, you can harvest one extra harvest a year, which means more money! Depending on your present seedling operation, polymer plugs may be worth the cost.
Con: hard to reuse
It’s not possible to reuse polymer-bound plugs in the traditional sense. Roots take control when seeds are grown in a plug and transplanted into a mature system. It’s impossible to reuse a plug that’s been overgrown or torn apart by roots by the time the crop is harvested and the root ball is removed from the system.
To save time and money, growers may repurpose plugs in which the seed did not germinate. Composting is the final option. When it comes to decomposition, polymer-bound plugs take 3–4 years to break down and compost.
Balancing benefits with cost
Of course, the cost-benefit ratio is a key consideration when deciding on a substrate. For a small grower, for example, polymer plugs will be second in initial and recurring costs when compared to soil plugs.
Growers need to factor in how long it takes them to plant each tray of plugs into the equation above. Growers may have to spend an extra two minutes planting soil-based trays to make up the price difference.
So which is better?
Polymer-bound plugs, soil, rockwool, peat, oasis, and many more have all been used. It’s impossible to say which method is the greatest because there are so many. If you want to run a clean hydroponic system, polymer-bound plugs are your best bet.
Tips for choosing a substrate can be found here:
Want more info on hydroponic substrates?
Substrates (media) and how to select the best one for your system are the subject of an entire course. Here’s a link to it:
It’s best to start a greenhouse by growing your own seeds because you have more control over the conditions affecting the growth of the plant. Indoor gardening is the ideal option for seed germination since you can regulate the amount of soil, water, and light.
Plugs for beginning seeds come in handy here. Using seed starting plugs, you can ensure that your plants get the right quantity of oxygen and nutrients.
Seed starting plugs, on the other hand, will allow you to develop more seeds because they take up less room. There are a variety of trays that can be used to keep seed plugs in place.
Now that you’ve learned about the advantages and disadvantages of seed starting plugs, we hope you’ll be able to pick the ideal one for your plant. A big thanks for reading our post about seed starting plugs; we hope you learned a lot from it.