My first seeds

Day 1

Today I planted my first seeds into the germinator. For those new to the whole horticultural lingo a germinator is a device that allows the creation of perfect temperature, light and humidity conditions for seeds to sprout into baby plants 😃
The one I have is a plastic tray with a see through cover. Ones its plugged in to the wall socket it provides heating also through a low power heating element built into the base of the tray. Version I have does not have lights. I bet I can add them if needed later on. Probably need them only when the winter sets in and things get darker.
I planted 21 seeds of Romaine lettuce to be grown in the Food computer that I am building. I read that the seeds will be good to be transferred to the food computer in two weeks after planting. 
Planted everything using a 4cm by 4cm rock-wool cubes. They will fit nicely into the food computer.

The germinator I got has a heating element in it. It can warm it up slightly if you plug it in. I did and it seems humidity in the germinator is approaching high levels of too much. See the picture. the dome is dripping with water 🙂 So I unplugged it.
On-top of that I planted three orange seeds, three lemon seeds and three apple seeds. All are from fruit bought at the local super market so I think the apple is something called Pink lady. Of the orange and lemon I got no idea what variety they are or if there is even different varieties of them. I’m quite sure there are. But the trees are for another project that entails growing a tree using hydroponics and a low power grow light, in house and so that I get lemons, oranges and apples all year round. Might been a bit too hasty with the trees as I have yet to create a clear idea on how to grow the trees 😃 

Two weeks in

Its now two weeks down the road after I first planted the seeds. Good news is that Apples really took off. Nice green growth. On other news the salad did not start so well. I see 14of the 21 planted have sprouted anything with green and there is huge difference in length and size of the sprouts. Some are just over 5mm and some are 5cm tall and thin. I need to consult the internet and some books to find out whats normal and is this it. Rather disappointed actually. I was expecting to have more in two weeks and have all the salads sprout. On bad news the orange and lemon decided that this is stupid and did not sprout at all...
Oh well. Fail and learn is the key here. Wonder what went wrong and how can I remedy that next time?
So lets split this into problems
  1. Not all salads sprouted
  2. Sprouted salads have wast size difference
  3. Lemons and Oranges did not sprout at all



Not all salads sprouted

Looking at the plate of 3 times 7 little cubes of rock wool that I used to plant the seeds. The seeds closest to the direction of the sun were the ones that did not sprout. Is there maybe a period that I should cover the germination box with a cloth for the first week in order to get sprouting percentage higher.
Action is to add shade to the germinator first week of germination. Damn thats a weird word...

Sprouted salads have wast size difference

So for this I think it is again the sunlight to blame. The sprouts head towards the sun. One of them even fell out of the rock wool cube. To remedy this I think I will install grow lights on the germinator. Hmmm… controlled germinator… Lights on lights off controlled by a Arduino thing. Temperature measurement to turn on off the heating element… There is totally a prototype here. 
But for now the action is to add grow lights to the germinator.

Lemons and Oranges did not sprout at all

This one definitely needs some research. I don’t really know why they did not sprout. One thing is that they were out of the store bought lemons and oranges and maybe these are some type that just suck at germination.
Actions are to check the internet and books about lemon and orange germination and see if I can find seeds that are meant to germinate. 
So I trashed all the salad sprouts. Apple tree is viable and I tend to keep it alive until I get the hydroponic tree project underway. 
Next set of seedlings I will put into the Food computer directly. I have read from my fellow Urban farmers that the there is close to 100% seeding rate in the food computer. But to minimise the cycle time and shaving 2 -3 weeks of the cycle from seed to harvest with the food computer I still need the germination box project to work out. Target is to get the seeding rate up to 100%.
Found out on the internet today that if you let the lemon seeds dry it will drastically reduce the change of germination. Next iteration will be “right out of the lemon”.