Grow bags

Watering Methods

There are several methods growers use to water newly planted starts. Fragile, new growth is often susceptible to damage from top watering; this is why many growers choose to use a bottom tray to water from below. If you are new to this watering method, read below for tips to avoid common mistakes growers make when bottom-watering.

Overfilling the Bottom Tray

When using the bottom-watering method with seedlings and microgreens, often growers will fill the bottom trays too full. This mistake becomes an issue because often stagnant water is left in the tray throughout overnights when water-borne bacteria thrive. Trapped moisture makes a perfect incubator for anaerobic bacteria. Ever wonder why hydroponic growers use so many air pumps? We recommend starting slow with filling the bottom trays. We recommend filling with enough water to cover the entire bottom of the tray with about a 1/2 inch, ideally in the morning when lights are in use. Return and check trays mid-afternoon until you have your plant's water needs dialed in. If you completely over-did it, remove the top tray and drain out the excess.

Judging Moisture Levels by Weight

Once you have this trick down, we promise it is an easier way. When new growers are trying to learn this method, I recommend that they properly saturate whatever they are growing and pay close attention to how it feels. Once you have done this a few times, you will never go back to relying on "eyeballing" the moisture level or inserting a finger to test it. This is important as it is a more reliable gauge to use than the previously noted methods. In conjunction with bottom-watering, this method will ensure that your plants are getting all of the moisture that they need.

Other Benefits of Bottom-watering

The beginning stages of germination require heavy watering, but once you see newly sprouted growth, it's time to ditch the topwater. Why? Because it can cause damage to the seedlings, and having any wet foliage can put your starts at risk for fungal issues. It is especially important to water from below if using nutrient solutions as you do not want those to touch delicate growth. Overall you will be very pleased with the results you will yield when bottom-watering.

Tools for the Job

These 2.5" deep trays are perfect for bottom watering new seedlings. 
Same 2.5" deep heavy-duty 1020s, available in colors. (Blue, Pink, Green)
The 1020 in a shallow version. These come with and without holes. 
Grab these with and without holes. Great for color coding your trays.