Prepare your Growing and Lighting System. Once you have chosen and prepared your growing system, you are ready to plant your Fast Plant seeds.
- The potting mix should be lightly moistened, but it should not be wet enough for water to be squeezed out.
- If you are planning to fertilize with slow release fertilizer pellets, fill the growing container 1/2 way full of soil and add the pellets. Generally 2-3 pellets per plant. If you are planning to fertilize with liquid fertilizer, fill the water reservoir with the solution described below.
- Fill the potting container loosely to the top and tap it several times to settle the potting mix. Scrape the excess potting mix off the top, but do not push down or pack the soil mixture.
- Drop seeds on top of the moistened soil using 2 or 3 times the number of seeds as plants you intend to grow to maturity. Be sure to check the maximum number of plants recommended for the growing system. (For instance, plant 2 - 3 seeds in a quad cell and thin to 1 plant after they emerge.)
- Cover the seeds with the potting mix and water lightly to wet the surface. Fill the growing system reservoir with water and place the system under lights.
Optional: Add an anti-algal square to the water reservoir (supplied in the Wisconsin Fast Plants® growing system kits) to prevent algae growth.
The first step in successfully growing Fast Plants® is preparing the appropriate planting medium. Note that Fast Plants® do not usually grow well in potting soil of soil from the garden.
Either purchase a commercial potting mix (listed) or mix your own:
- 1 part Peatlite™ to 1 part coarse or medium vermiculate
The two tested options for fertilizing your Fast Plants® are:
- Solid pellets (Osmocote™) - add during planting
- Liquid fertilizer (Peters Professional™) - mixed into and kept in the water reservoir throughout the life cycle (or during experimental times).
These fertilizers contain supplemental nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) and are available from local gardening stores. Other fertilizers are potentially available to use with Fast Plants®. However, no standard protocols for dosage levels havebeen developed and may significantly alter the growth of your plants.
Osomocote™: (NPK Pellets)
Osomocote, (NPK Pellets), is a time-released plant food that many professional growers use for flowers, vegetables, house plants, patio plants, and bedding plants. The nutrients are combined in small, compact pellets that are suited for mixing with the soil.
Nutrients released from Osmocote are affected by changes in soil temperature and moisture. Upon moistening, the pellets begin to dissolve. The release rate of each pellet increases as the soil warms, when plants are growing rapidly. The release rate decreases as the soil cools, when plant growth is less.
When used as recommended, there is virtually no risk of over-fertilizing or "burning" the plants from excess nutrients. The Osmocote pellets have an N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium) ratio of 14-14-14 or 20-20-20 with trace elements included. The advantage of Osmocote is that it eliminates the need to worry about fertilizing throughout the life cycle of the plant.
Osomocote must be added when filling the container with soil. They should be positioned at approximately half of the depth of your potting system. The number of pellets used depends on the volume of soil:
Peters Professional™ Fertilizer
Peter's liquid fertilizer
- 15 pellets spread at half the soil depth through the bottle growing system.
- 3 pellets in each cell of a quad in the Wisconsin Fast Plants® Kits.
solution provides nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium plus some trace elements to plants. Make a stock solution of Peters™ by dissolving one level soda-bottle capful (7cc) of Peter's crystals into one liter of water. This stock solution is considered "full strength" and can be applied in two ways:
- Soil application:
Apply 2 ml of the stock solution to the soil surface on Days 3, 7, 14, 21, and 28 for each plant that will be grown to maturity.
- Water reservoir application:
Dilute the Peters stock solution by 1 part Peters to 7 parts water to reach a 1/8 strength nutrient solution. Keep the reservoir filled with this 1/8 strength solution throughout the life cycle.