Gardeners who start plants from seed know the best way to do it is to pre-germinate the seeds in some type of container such as a bowl, glass dish or test tube. Sometimes finding an elegant way to display those seed starting containers, especially if you have limited space, can be tricky.
Using test tubes placed inside a cloche is a great way to keep the water the seeds are soaking in warmer, germinate a lot of seeds in a limited space and turn a necessary process into an elegant endeavor.
Here is how the process works:
Begin with clean test tubes. Sometimes you can find these in the Halloween section of stores.
Place clean, dry seeds in the bottom of the test tubes.
Fill the tubes 3/4 of the way up with hot water.
Place the cork on the top of the test tube.
Place a label towards the top of the test tube so you don’t forget what type of seeds are in the tubes.
The idea behind aquaponics has intrigued me for quite sometime. I held off because I felt like getting large food-grade plastic tanks to contain the fish was beyond my ability, since I had no idea where to find them used. Then I read a post in a magazine that said you could use a 10-gallon fish tank. That got my wheels spinning. After all, when you are as avid of a gardener as I am, everyone wants to give you their used fish tanks. They all suggest you can turn them into terrariums, which is a great idea, but let’s face it, aquariums take up a lot of room.
Of course, I usually accept my friends discarded aquariums, just in case I find a good use for them. I knew I had several empty aquariums sitting around outside in the greenhouse and garage, but had no idea how big they were. As it turned out, I had one twenty-gallon tank and several ten gallon tanks that were not in use. I decided to clean up the twenty-gallon tank that used to hold carnivorous plants. This seemed like a good size to start with, not too small and not too large.
Now that the fish are settled into their new home, it is time to get a jump-start on seed starting for the aquaponic system. The plants I decided to grow in this system are pole beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. I have heard these plants are harder to grow in an aquaponic system, but since I grow lettuce and other cool weather crops outside all year long, I don’t see the point of growing them indoors.
I had just received the Complete Vegetable Garden Kit from the Dollar Seed. It was sent to me free of charge. The pole bean, tomato and cucumber seeds I selected were from those packets, so I know they are fresh seed. There was even enough seed left over to start another batch of plants with if I choose to do so.
I started the seeds in the steadyGROW seed starter sample kit I received earlier in the year. I planted 8 pole bean seeds, 2 tomato seeds and 2 cucumber seeds. This is an ideal number of plants to start with since I am growing indoors. I feel like this is a good number of plants to start with for the 20-gallon system as well. I will monitor the pH, ammonia and nitrates to see if I need to add more plants or more fish to balance the system out.