Once your seedlings or clones have established a root system and hardened off, they can be transplanted into your system. If you used rockwool as a starting medium, this process involves nothing more than placing them into your system and turning it on. If you used a loose starting medium like perlite or cocopeat, you will need to gently remove the medium from the young roots by either rinsing or soaking them in a pail of warm water OR use a porous open-weave mesh to keep the cocopeat from falling into your system and clogging it. I have experimented with aquarium filter cloth - just a very fine layer between the cocopeat plug and the mesh baskets seems to work best. To transplant into the hydroponic planter described later in this book, dig out a small hole in the GroRox, place then into the system and gently backfill around the roots. To place your plants into grow cups for any of the other systems in this book, you would follow the same procedure except you would be backfilling around the roots as they sit inside the cups. Try to get the roots as close to the bottom of the baskets as possible. See photo.
When you first place the plants into your system, give them a week of lower than normal lighting so that they can recover from the move and re-establish their vigorous growth. Keep a watchful eye on your new plants - sometimes they may look a little wilted - this is normal transplant shock which can be avoided by lowering the light and maintaining the roots in your starting medium by employing the fabric method as described above. It is also a good idea to water your plants from above with the nutrient solution for a few days. This will ensure that their roots are kept moist while they are adjusting to their new home. The picture at left shows some salad greens and basil seedlings after they were transplanted to grow cups in preparation for placement in my pvc system. I usually keep them in the cups for about three days under soft fluorescent light and top water them before placing them into the system and under HID lights. If you are growing indoors under an HID light or if you are growing outdoors in the good 'ole sunshine, it is a good idea to condition your seedlings/rooted cuttings by placing them near a sunny window but out of direct light or by lifting your grow lamp to about twice its normal distance from the plants - two to four days with reduced light and they should be fine to gradually start increasing their exposure. Once their roots find your nutrient solution, watch out! They will grow like crazy!
(Basil seedling started in a Perfect Starts'™ plug)
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