It is important to expand and add water before potting or filling of trays. It ensures homogeneous filling and even growth. It also provides the optimal air and water capacity for the roots. If water is not added before potting, the swelling of peat will take place in the trays or pots when the plants are irrigated the first time. This in turn 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 level
1. Take some substrate with your hand, squeeze it and observe if any water is released through your fingers while squeezing
2. If water is running from your hand while squeezing the substrate, it is too wet because too much water has been added.
3. If no water is running from your hand, but when opening your hand the substrate falls apart, it is still too dry and more water has to be added.
4. If the substrate doesn’t release any water when squeezed, yet remains in a ball-shape when opening your hand, the moisture level is ideal for filling trays and pots.