Preparing the AEVA for Launch!
Just two weeks ago, we prepared our seeds to start the germination process! After providing adequate water and sun, our little babies are all grown up. But things didn't go 100% to plan :-(
Today we will evaluate how the germination process went, what we learned, and also take a look at what needs to happen to prepare the AEVA to receive our young plants!
For two weeks, we have been watering our young seedlings once or twice per day, then placing the seedling kit next to a bright window. Most of the sunlight received by the plants is indirect, with very little direct sun hitting the kit. Is this the optimal conditions? It's hard to tell, but let's take a look at how things have progressed.
The basil and kale have grown significantly in just two weeks, with both now pressing up against the top of the humidity dome. That places their heights at just over 2 inches in length. All 10 of these seedlings look strong, healthy, and ready to move on to the full-size system.
The lettuce appears to be a rich green color and also looks healthy. While it's not progressing in height at quite the same rate, we believe these four plants are ready to go!
The arugula is a different story. For some reason, the arugula seeds did in fact germinate (sprout); however, they have failed to progress in height, and now look very sickly. This is in sharp contrast to how they looked a week back, when they were thriving and growing, though at a slower rate than the others. We will be discarding these seeds and trying again.
What We Learned
- The AEVA provides more consistent lighting: As mentioned, we chose to use a bright window to provide critical sunlight to our plants. But we probably should have just used the LEDs on the AEVA. Plenty of days over the last two weeks were rainy or overcast, even further reducing the light received. Lesson learned.
- Would nutrients help? In the AEVA instructions, there is mention of adding nutrients while soaking the peet moss plugs in water. We chose not to, as it wasn't something that was deemed critical. In our next attempt at germinating arugula, we will. The extra nutrients certainly shouldn't hurt.
Despite this, we now have 14 plants that are ready for transplanting. But first...
Preparing the AEVA
Before plants can be transplanted to the AEVA, it's important to first prepare the system. Since the AEVA arrived, we have not setup nor tested the lights, timers, or pumps. It's time we do so.
There are a few critical components that must be setup:
- Timers: There are two timers for the AEVA. The water pump timer, which runs on a 20 seconds ON / 30 minutes OFF cycle, is pre-configured. No work required. The lights timer requires setup, though it is very straightforward. After setting the time, you can configure the hours during which your lights should be OFF.
- Pump: The pump is assembled, but it's important to place it at the bottom of the reservoir to ensure it's always submerged.
- Tubing: Make sure all tubes are fastened properly to prevent any leaks.
- Power: An obvious but important step—plugging the GFCI power cord into the wall.
- Reservoir: Before powering the system on, the reservoir should be filled with water and appropriate nutrients added (20 mL of each solution).
NOTE: We encourage you to thoroughly read through the instructions provided with your AEVA. This is not meant to be an instructional video, but instead an example demonstration.
Before adding your plants, power on the system and confirm the lights and pump work. Also verify that there are no leaks within the cabinet.
Time to Transplant!
The transplanting process is a breeze. Gently lift the peet moss plugs from the seedling tray, then place them each in an AEVA growing slot. Position them as you wish.
Press gently to ensure the plug is firmly in place and all the way back in the slot. This will ensure proper watering. And that's it! The AEVA is on. The plants are in place! So sit back and relax.
Let's get growing!