Chapter 18

      Before a seed is planted or a cutting transferred to the new garden, successful growers make sure the space is ready. All lights, timers, water and ventilation systems should be working. The space should be lined with reflective material so that all light is directed to the growing area. Units in which water is transported are thoroughly tested and adjusted so that there is no flooding and so the pumps work when they are supposed to.

The Medium

      Ingredients are mixed in buckets or a large tray. Larger amounts are more easily mixed using a cement mixer or a shovel in a large space. The mix is added to the container to a level -1 inch below the top. After adding the mix, the container is watered again so that the mix settles.
      Substrates are placed in position and thoroughly watered.

CAUTION: Planting medium dust is harmful to breathe. Intelligent growers have been known to moisten all the ingredients of with a watering can or hose before mixing. This prevents dust from getting into the air. This is extremely important since respiratory problems have been associated with dust.

      No matter what kind of system is being used, experienced growers try a final test run. They make sure that delivery and drainage lines are working properly and that the units are receiving the right amounts of water in the right places. Pumps and timers are carefully inspected to make sure they are working properly. it is much easier to repair the system before the plants are growing.
      Wall areas likely to receive light are painted reflective white or lined with reflective materials so that any light missing the garden area is reflected back to it.
      The ventilation fans must be working properly. The goal is to supply a steady stream of air to the plants without the space being drafty.
      Finally, the system is run for a day to make sure that all of the components are working in a coordinated fashion. The outside ventilation should be regulated by a thermostat or timer so the room stays in the 70s during the light cycle. When the fans go off, CO2 should be released. Automatic irrigation systems should keep the medium well moistened.
      When everything is working it is time for the grower to plant.

These trays were planted with seed about five days ago. They will be harvested in 100 days.


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