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If you’re trying to find a soilless substrate for seed starting, stem rooting, or hydroponics, think about using a rockwool growing medium. This wool-like material is formed by melting basaltic rock and spinning it into fine fibers. Rockwool for plants is then formed into easy-to-use cubes and blocks. But is rockwool safe to use for the assembly of food?
What is rockwool?
Formed from natural materials, rockwool contains no harmful chemicals. It’s safe to use as a rooting medium and substrate material for plants. On the opposite hand, human exposure to rockwool represents a health issue.
Advantages of Growing in Rockwool Safety vs the Disadvantages.
Because of its physical properties, rockwool growing medium can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and lungs. Sterile: Since rockwool for plants may be a manufactured product, it contains no weed seeds, disease pathogens, or pests. This also means it has no nutrients, organic compounds, or microbes. Plants growing in rockwool require a balanced and complete hydroponic solution to satisfy their nutritional needs. Water Retention: Due to its organic structure, rockwool drains excess water quickly. Yet, it retains small amounts of water near the underside of the cube. This unique property allows plants to achieve adequate hydration while allowing more air to circulate and oxygenate the roots. This difference in moisture levels from the highest to the underside of the cube makes rockwool ideal for hydroponics, but it can even make it difficult to work out when to irrigate the plants. this will lead to over-watering. Reusable: As a rock derivative, rockwool doesn’t break down or erode over time; thus, it will be reused over and over. Boiling or steaming between uses is usually recommended to kill pathogens. Being non-biodegradable also means it’ll last forever in a very landfill, making rockwool for plants a not-so environmentally friendly product.
How to Plant in Rockwool Follow these easy instructions when using rockwool growing medium cubes or blocks: Preparation: Rockwool contains a naturally high pH of seven to eight. Prepare an answer of slightly acidic water (pH 5.5 to 6.5) by adding several drops of juice using pH test strips to achieve the proper acidity. Soak the rockwool cubes during this solution for about an hour. Sowing Seed: Place two or three seeds within the hole at the highest rockwool growing medium—water, employing a hydroponic nutrient solution. When the plants are 2 to three inches (5 to 7.6 cm.) tall, they’ll be transplanted into the soil or placed in a very hydroponic garden—stem Cuttings: The night before taking the stem cutting, water the mother plant thoroughly. Within the morning, remove a 4 inch (10 cm.) cutting from the mother plant. Dip the cut end of the stem in honey or rooting hormone. Place the cutting within the rockwool—the water using a hydroponic nutrient solution.
Rockwool is that the substrate of choice for several large hydroponic farms. But this clean, pathogen-free product is additionally readily available in smaller-sized packages specifically marketed for home gardeners. Whether you’re dabbling with cultivating lettuce during a hydroponic jar or you’re putting in place a more extensive system, growing in rockwool gives your plants the advantage of superior root zone technology.