To ensure your crops will get the best start, it’s important to prepare the substrate before filling trays and pots. This ensures you of even growth and it will benefit homogeneous filling. So, let’s find out how to ensure an optimal moisture content within the substrate before potting.
Expanding the peat
. You need to add water to the substrate before filling trays because the peat in the substrate will expand when it takes up water. If you don’t add water before potting, the peat will expand with the first irrigation of the plants. This will result in a very compact substrate with too much water, and not enough air for the roots.
This is how we recommend to check the moisture content within the substrate
Take some substrate with your hand, squeeze it and observe if any water is released through your fingers while squeezing. There are three different outcomes to this test:
- Water is running from your hand while squeezing the substrate:
This means the substrate is too wet because too much water has been added. Add some more substrate and mix it well before checking again. It might need some time to take up the water.
- No water is running from your hand, but when opening your hand the substrate falls apart:
The substrate is still too dry. You need to add some more water.
- No water is running from your hand, and the substrate remains in a ball-shape when you open your hand:
The moisture level is ideal for filling trays and pots.
Now you know how to easily check the moisture level before potting to ensure you get the best out of your substrate.
Check out this video to see what it should look like: