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In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about this robust material. Find out why to use Rockwool in both hydroponic and soil systems, how it works during every stage of the growing cycle, and much more.
When your seedlings/cuttings have outgrown their blocks, you’ll need to move them into your hydroponic setup. Before we explain how to do this, here are the best and most suitable systems to use alongside Rockwool blocks.
What Is Rockwool?
As you can see, Rockwool cubes offer growers plenty of benefits, from improved aeration to pathogen prevention. However, more environmentally concerned growers choose to avoid them because of how they’re made, and what they’re made of.
These small particles are classed as “fine mineral fibres”, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States has identified as probable human carcinogens  .
Rockwool cubes become saturated with water when you soak them, but it quickly drains away. Each cube contains many small spaces between the fibres that help to effectively drain water.
They should look like this:
Take 1-2 seeds and insert them carefully into the holes. Use a toothpick or similar object to push them down to the bottom, as you want them to be at the bottom of that hole. Rip or push a piece of the Rockwool over the hole (you don’t have to fill it completely), so that the seed can germinate in a dark moist environment.
Some people claim they use a diluted nutrient solution to water their Rockwool cubes with during germination. Do not do this, as my experience has always been negative. Note the picture below, where I did an experiment by adding a very diluted grow nutrient to the Rockwool cube on the far left. It died within an hour or two, and the others went on to live happy lives. In my opinion, they do not need nutrients until they get into your hydro system.
Important: Do not let the PH of the water go below 5. A Ph this low will damage the fibers of the Rockwool Cube
Most Rockwool cubes come with holes in them, if yours did not, than create a hole in one side that is approximately a quarter inch (0.75 cm) deep.
Now, if you can, place them in a tray with a dome on it. This will help create a little humidity in there which seedlings like. This is not mandatory, but it helps. Whichever you choose, take your cubes and put them in a cool dark place, and leave them alone. The temperature should be roughly 68 degrees F, though my house stays at about 72 and they do fine there. I usually place them above my refrigerator and just leave them for a day or two. My lettuce seedlings sprouted with a quickness the last time I tried, and by the 3rdday they had grown so tall that I had to take the plastic dome off of my container because they were bumping up against the ceiling.
Using either a PH test kit or a Ph meter, determine the Ph of the water. Water comes out pretty alkaline, usually around 7.4, so you will need to acidify it a little bit to bring that Ph down to the desired level. Aim for as close to a Ph of 5.5-6 as you can get.
Now that we have the Ph adjusted water, it’s time to stabilize and hydrate the Rockwool cubes in it. Insert the Rockwool Cubes into your container and let them soak for roughly 1 hour. Once the hour is up, the cubes will be big and fat with water. Take them out of the bowl of water and put them somewhere you don’t mind getting a little wet. Save the remaining water for step 3.