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A Simple Guide to Starting Seeds for Hydroponics

A Simple Guide to Starting Seeds for Hydroponics

Starting seeds for hydroponics can seem like a daunting task, especially if you're new to the world of indoor gardening. Many videos and guides tend to overcomplicate the process, making it appear more challenging than it needs to be. In this blog post, we'll break down the steps and equipment required to start your hydroponic seeds successfully. We'll keep it straightforward and easy to follow, so you can get started with confidence.

40 seeds that have sprouted up from growing pods, inside of a seed tray.

What You'll Need:

Before we dive into the process, let's gather the essential items you'll need to successfully start seeds for a hydroponics system. 
  1. Enclosed Space with Humidity Control: You'll need a controlled environment where you can increase humidity levels. These enclosed spaces are readily available at garden centers.
  2. Growing Medium: Options include seed starting mix, starter pucks, growing pods, coco coir, vermiculite, and rock wool. In this guide, we'll be using growing pods.
  3. Grow Light: Ensure your seedlings receive adequate light for healthy growth.
  4. Tweezers or Pencil: Tweezers are helpful for handling tiny seeds, while a pencil can be used to create holes for seed placement.
  5. Seeds: Choose the seeds of the plants you want to grow hydroponically.
  6. Spray Bottle: You'll need this to dampen the growing pods, maintaining a moist, but not overly wet, environment.
  7. Optional Heat Mat: While not mandatory, a heat mat can accelerate the germination process.

The Seed Starting Process:

Now that we have all the necessary tools and materials, let's walk through the step-by-step process of starting seeds for hydroponics:
  1. Prepare Your Growing Medium: If you're using growing pods like we are in this guide, they come ready for use. Make sure they are moist, but not dripping with water.
  2. Place Seeds in Growing Medium: Use tweezers (or your fingers if the seeds are large enough) to place your seeds into the growing medium. Remember that not all seeds will germinate, so it's okay to place multiple seeds in each pod, especially for leafy greens. 
    Caution: If you are growing thicker plants, like bok choy for example, you may want to take your chances with only one seed per pod. This is because it can be very difficult to untangle these plants if multiple seeds sprout. 
  3. Maintain Temperature and Light: If you have a heat mat, you can keep it running 24/7 to help with germination. Your grow light should be set on a timer for 12-18 hours of light per day. Alternatively, you can manage the light manually or use a smart controller for precise control.
  4. Monitor Environmental Conditions: Keep an eye on the temperature and humidity levels. Consider using a smart controller or sensor to get accurate readings. If humidity is low, you can add a bit of water to the base of the tray, but be cautious not to overwater.
  5. Watch for Mold: As your seeds germinate and grow, be vigilant for any signs of mold. If you notice mold, take action promptly to prevent it from spreading.


Starting seeds for hydroponics doesn't have to be complicated. With the right equipment and a straightforward approach, you can set up your indoor garden with ease. By following these steps and monitoring your seedlings' progress, you'll be well on your way to growing healthy hydroponic plants. If you found this guide helpful, please consider leaving feedback and sharing it with others who are interested in hydroponic gardening. Happy growing!

(P.S. if you would prefer to watch a video of the steps outlined in this page, you can click on this sentence.)

Several different types of plants growing in a hydroponic raft. Specifically, leafy greens like lettuce and wasabi arugula.


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