Support Tank > Plants > Starting your plants

Starting your plants

Planting your AquaSprouts Garden is easy! In most ways, you can treat it just as you would a standard garden bed. There are a number of ways you can get your garden going:

  1. You can sow seeds in your Garden just like you would in soil! Some plants take to this method better than others, so do some research if you plan to directly sow your seeds. Hardy herbs like basil and lemon verbena tolerate sprouting in soilless media better than many greens and vegetables. If you do direct-sow, push the seeds down into the media just far enough that they’re in contact with wet pebbles.
  2. Starting seeds in a separate medium and then transplanting them into the Garden is a great way to get your Garden bed planted just the way you want it. Start seeds in peat plugs, rockwool, cottonwool, or even between moistened paper towels. Once the seeds germinate and grow to your desired size, they can be transferred into the bed by pushing aside pebbles to make a small hole and gently placing the seedling in it, roots downward, with or without the starter material, then carefully covering the roots. This is a great way to give delicate plants a head-start on root growth, letting them get better purchase and better nutrient absorption once you move then into the garden bed.
  3. Some plants can be introduced by sticking a cutting directly into the grow-bed, (sometimes referred to as “cloning”). Plants like basil and mint will readily sprout roots from cuttings, making them a great way to kick-start a garden without having to wait for the seedlings to grow. You can also obtain rooting compounds - extracted or synthesized hormones that induce many plants to grow roots - at most places where gardening supplies are sold. With these - typically liquids or powders into which the cut end of a stem is dipped before planting - an even wider variety of plants can be induced to grow from cuttings.
  4. Of course, you can obtain plant starts from a store or your garden. If you’re transplanting from soil, just fill a small container with water and gently rinse the dirt off of the roots before placing the plant in the grow medium deep enough that the roots touch the water.

Always be as gentle as you can when transplanting. Plant roots are very sensitive, so even if you’re careful, it might take a while for the plant to settle in to the new environment and regrow the tiny root hairs through which it takes up most of its nutrition. Be patient, and before long your transplanted plants will perk up and thrive in their new home.


When Should I Plant My Garden?

Many folks new to aquaponics wonder when to add plants to a new Garden. There’s a “break-in” period in new aquaponic systems called cycling (see our comprehensive guide, on how to cycle your Garden here) and we’ve often been asked how you know when it’s time to plant. The simple answer is that you can plant at any time! You’ll get faster, more consistent growth after your tank is cycled, a process which typically takes between 2-6 weeks, but it’s safe to sow seeds or add plants whenever you like.