In addition to maintaining the right amount of light and temperature, plants need the right amount of water and a balanced diet of nutrients to thrive.
Plantui’s patented lighting technology adjusts the growing conditions to support each stage of a plant’s growth. The rest of a plant’s welfare is taken care of by the pump and the hydroponic-specific plant nutrition. You don’t even have to remember to water the plants. It is enough to occasionally add water and nutrients to your smart garden.
If you consider the Plantui light as the brain of your smart garden, then the pump is its heartbeat.
How the Plantui pump works and takes care of your plants
In the sprouting phase, the plants need a wavelength of red light as well as a suitable amount of blue for the plant to become strong. Plants need water more sparingly during this early phase. During the sprouting phase, i.e. when no height blocks have been added to the device, the pump starts once a day for two minutes. The seeds begin to germinate and sprout as they receive water and light, and the pump ensures the plant capsules are properly irrigated.
Once the first leaves of the plant appear on the surface of the capsule, it’s time to add the first height block to the smart garden. This triggers the smart garden into changing the rhythm of pumping and lighting. Now the pump starts twice a day for one minute at a time. With this rhythm, and with the help of a water tray, the roots of the plant learn to reach out towards the water so that they can absorb everything they need from the nutrient solution.
At the same time, the recipe for light changes. Both the blue wavelength and the total light intensity increases considerably, to better support this spurt in growth. Light technology also supports plants by allowing them to focus on growing strong and healthy roots (instead of wasting energy and growing weak stems as they search for enough light).
Once the plants are reaching for the light hat, it’s time to add another height block. The pumping rhythm changes again. With the addition of two or more blocks, the rhythm changes pumping to seven times a day for one minute at a time. Now that the plant is growing thick and green at an accelerating rate, it needs water and nutrients several times a day to thrive. However, it is not optimal to have water available every hour of the day. A little air drying is good for the roots as it allows them to absorb water better when available.
The control of the pump is adjusted in the same way, whether ordinary height blocks or additional light blocks are added.
The Plantui smart garden pump starts about two hours after the device wakes up and only pumps when the lights are on. This way, the hum of the pump does not disturb your night’s sleep, for example.
This is how you take care of your Plantui pump
The pump is a wearable part of the Plantui device, the usable life of which can be extended with just a bit of maintenance.
1) Make sure that the roots do not reach the pump as they may break it
Cut the roots that extend into the water container and remove any pieces of the root that have got lost in the pump with tweezers, for example. The plants won’t react badly to being trimmed.
2) Make sure you only add water to the fill-line of the water bowl on your appliance
If there is more water it can cause corrosion in the pump.
A total of three litres of water can be added to the Plantui-6 and one litre to the Plantui-3.
Be sure to also add 1 tablespoon (1.5 ml) of plant nutrient per litre of water added.
3) Clean the pump by wiping it with a damp cloth at the end of the growing season
The operation of the pump can be checked as follows:
Plantui-6: hold your hand on the light hat for 15-20 seconds. The pump should start for about 2 minutes and the blue light will illuminate while the pump is running.
Plantui-3: press the button under the light cap for 15-20 seconds. The pump should start for about 2 minutes and the green light will illuminate while the pump is running.
If the pump suddenly starts to make a louder noise, typically the cause is root or dirt that has got inside.
If the pump is noisy at the very first pumping or after a longer growth break, the cause is usually a dry pump. The situation corrects itself after a few pumping cycles when the pump is properly wet.
The pump may also become noisy when the water is running out.
Our pump is under constant development. Changes are coming to the next production batch that will further improve the durability of the pump.
If you need a new pump, you can order it from our online store. If the pump breaks during the warranty period, please contact our customer service at email@example.com
What’s the best thing about Plantui? With whom do you share your harvest? The best thing about Plantui is the freshness, ease and taste of what you grow. We can enjoy the bountiful harvest all year round, with very little effort. You can easily pick some fresh herbs or salad from the Plantui to put in a sandwich or with a meal.
The flavours you get from Plantui plants are in a league of their own. Store-bought plants just don’t compare. Even our guinea pigs can tell the difference. I made a taste test for them, with Plantui dill and store-bought dill side by side. The Plantui dill was by far the best, and they wouldn’t settle for the store-bought dill after that. When our guinea pig called Pörri recently turned six, the birthday celebrations, of course, were a spread of delicacies, including Plantui’s tasty Radish microgreens.
Each harvest is shared with my husband, however, the guinea pigs do get their own share on top of that.
What do you grow for your guinea pigs? I grow basil, dill and parsley which they particularly enjoy. They also like to eat microgreens.
In my view, it’s a good idea give guinea pigs a variety of greens in their diet. In addition to microgreens, we add herbs and spice-plants to the guinea pigs bowl.
The basis for feeding the guinea pigs is, of course, hay and fortified pellets, in addition to which the feeding is diversified with fresh greens. Guinea pigs get a surprisingly small amount of the nutrients they need from a usual diet of lettuce, cucumber and carrot, for example. The fresh, just-picked plants are a wonderful treat for a guinea pig’s mouth. Nutritional values of Plantui plants are also higher than store-bought vegetables, which lose some of their health benefits during transportation and storage.
By growing plants ourselves, we can be sure of the conditions under which the delicacies have been produced, a value as important for the two-footed as well as four-footed members of the family.
What kind of gardener are you? I’m a self-indulgent gardener, who grows what is needed and loves both practicality and beauty. My goal in pretty much anything I grow is to get some sort of benefit from the effort I put in, whether that’s by eating or in some other way.
I have grown cherry trees that don’t grow too tall: that makes it easy for even a shorter person like me to pick the cherrires. In addition, that species was very hardy and produces plenty of cherries even if the conditions are a bit challenging. In the same package, cherry trees also offer beauty with lovely flowers.
In the same way, I’ve grown lemon balm and lavender because mosquitoes hate them. The lavender produced a wonderful flowering bush, which smells nice and keeps the mosquitoes at bay.
When did you get your first Plantui? I started to use my first Plantui in the autumn-winter of 2020. We had lived in an apartment building for one whole spring and summer, and it gave the active gardener in me quite the dilemma. My Plantui brought the opportunity to grow something once again, both for pleasure and purpose, even in the middle of winter!
Do you have more than one device or accessory for your Plantui? I have to confess, I actually have several of them. There are two of the Smart Garden 6 and one Smart Garden 3.
What’s your favourite variety? Whilst it’s great growing everything, right now chilies are my favourite. In Finland, the right growing conditions can be difficult but in my Plantui, I’ve managed just fine. Using my Experimental Kit, I’ve tried growing the following chili varieties: the ‘Star Fish’ Capsicum baccatum, and then the ‘Rocoto Pineapple’, ‘Rocoto Brown’, ‘Rocoto Montufar’ and ‘Rocoto Cusco Peru’ (all Capsicum pubescens).
Next I will try the Capsicum Chinense ‘Habanero Orange’, the Capsicum Annuum ‘Bird’s Eye Baby’ and the Capsicum Baccatum ‘Aji Cristal’.
Before, I haven’t been successful or even wanted to try, growing chilies from seed. I bought the ready seedlings from a friend in my student days, as well as getting some from the market or from chili enthusiasts. Whilst living in Tampere, I even remember carrying ‘Rainbow Chili’ in my bicycle basket in summer, all the way from the centre to Hervanta. The chilies I had during my studies included Lemon drop, Aji Cristal and Naga Jolokia.
Plantui created a whole new kind of fulfilment. Now I’m able to successfully grow chillies from scratch. Before my first Plantui, in the fall of 2020, I had a real desire to grow chilies from seed. I was reading all about what I needed and the best methods from all over the world. Around the same time, I came across a Plantui device in a Facebook flea market, and decided to give chilies a try in the device. And it really worked! The first ones started to blossom not long ago.
Have any of your experiments been unsuccessful? Have there been any extra-special moments?
Some of the chillies were a non-starter, and a few varieties would have benefited from getting started in a moist plant capsule, covered with film, and in a warm place. From here, they could have been transferred to a Plantui device after germination. Otherwise, all have germinated perfectly, with some individual varieties needing extra heat for germination.
The most special moment is seeing the Starfish chilies starting to grow in the living room!
Any special advice to potential Plantui users? Plantui provides pleasure for both the eye and through fresh ingredients.
I recommend microgreens to everyone! Pok Choy and Rocket are my own favourite microgreens. Pick some Pok Choy from the Plantui for a sandwich at breakfast or an evening snack. I particularly like to use Rocket microgreens on pizza and in salads. Any microgreens are great for giving the perfect finish for any dish, from risottos to soups.
On the other hand, if you need a bit of ‘gardening help’ for example, when germinating, pre-growing or maintaining challenging plants, a Plantui is the ideal device for you too!
Although Plantui’s smart gardens are mostly used to grow herbs and salad plants, there’s nothing stopping you planting chilies in a Plantui indoor garden. However, there’s a few little things to keep in mind when growing them. Read our chili cultivation tips from this article.
Choosing the right variety
Chilies grow thick and tall. Therefore, it’s worth choosing a chili variety that is compact enough in size to be grown in your Plantui device. The Demon Red chili in Plantui’s range is just such a chili, as it remains a suitable size. If you use your own chili seeds along with empty plant capsules, keep the size of the plant in mind when choosing a variety. Two seeds of your own chili can be added to each empty Experimental Plant Capsule.
How to adapt the Plantui Smart Garden to suit chilies
Chilies need a lot of space and light. Plantui’s six-slot smart garden can either be used to plant six chili plants or used by leaving every other opening empty. If you leave empty spaces in the smart garden, cover the empty holes, for example with a piece of cardboard. This prevents light from entering the device through the opening, which can cause algae to form.
If you grow six chilies in a six-slot Plantui indoor garden or three chilies in a three-slot Plantui indoor garden, it’s especially important to make sure that the plants get enough light. It is then a good idea to get a boosting light block to ensure that the lower and innermost parts of the plant do not suffer from a lack of light. In general, the best place for a boosting light block is at the very bottom section of the column. This additional light is useful even when empty spaces are left in the device.
No matter how many chilies you grow, we recommend using a blooming light block to accelerate flowering and fruit formation. This additional light is activated when the first buds appear and should be placed at the same height as the buds. The blooming light block should always be placed where the flowers and ripening fruit are, at any given time.
A total of five height blocks can be used in the Plantui smart garden. Two of these may be boosting light blocks.
Pollination of flowers
When the first flowers open, shake the whole plant from its stems. This is how pollen is spread between the flowers. The pollination is always repeated every few days, to ensure that even new flowers are pollinated.
Warning! Hot! The crop is always harvested as the chilies ripen. It’s worth remembering to peek behind the leaves, as some chilies may hide away.
Following the growth of seedlings is a rewarding activity. You get a front row seat for the springtime action of an outdoor garden, even whilst the ground outside is still too hard to dig. Pre-growing also gives the plants a head-start on spring. This way, they get their growth cycle up and running whilst also being kept safe from the cold, darkness, rain and wind, which lies in wait for them outside.
Pre-growing plants is necessary for many varieties, especially for any gardener living in more northern climates. For these shorter growing seasons, many plants would not have time to bloom and produce at all if they were not first pre-grown indoors.
Seedlings can be grown in all our devices, but you will get the largest number of seedlings when you add a separate pre-grow tray to the Plantui Smart Garden 6. This will turn your inner garden into a 12-slot nursery without the need for other pre-growing equipment.
In this article, we’ll walk you through:
The benefits of pre-growing in a Plantui device
Ideas for choosing plants to pre-grow
When to start pre-growing
How to transplant seedlings to the soil
Benefits of pre-growing in a Plantui
There are a few tricks to growing healthy and vibrant seedlings so they can be used in a short time. Pre-growing in a Plantui is particularly easy, fast, and hassle-free, as smart technology ensures that every green enthusiast is successful.
Suitably moist for germination and seedling growth
A germinating seed is particularly fragile, making it vulnerable to drying out or being over-watered. The Plantui device ensures that moisture is even and suitable at all times. Your seedlings can also be left alone for longer periods of time, unlike in small, soil-filled growing pots, from which moisture can quickly evaporate.
Seedlings get plenty of the light they really need
Pre-growing seedlings requires a lot of light, several hours a day. Otherwise, there is a risk that the seedling will stretch, growing ‘leggy’ and weak. In the Plantui device, the plants receive enough light without them having to reach out for the sun’s rays, leaving the stem in peace to grow strong.
This optimum dosage of light means the pre-growing of seedlings can start much earlier in a Plantui than would be possible on the windowsill, for example. This is especially useful for plants that grow very slowly, such as chilies and peppers.
Plantui’s patented technology enables fast growth. This means, if necessary, seedlings can be pre-grown more quickly, long into the spring and summer.
Adequate light ensures that the plant does not have to use too much energy in order to reach it. In addition to strong stems for pre-grown seedlings, it is also possible to grow healthy roots in a Plantui. When you lift out the plant capsules, you’ll see how beautifully white the roots are. When the roots are healthy, it’s easier to transfer the plant to the soil later. A decomposing, rockwool plant capsule can be left in place to support the entire plant as it’s transferred to the soil. Only the plastic part needs to be removed.
Safe from plant diseases and weeds
When seedlings are pre-grown in soil, it must be hygienic. Such good fortune is not guaranteed. For example, a small, sensitive seedling can easily contract and die from a fungal disease. In a Plantui, a seedling grows in clean conditions, safe not only from plant diseases carried by the soil but also from weeds.
Ideas for pre-grown seedlings
How attractive is the thought of your own herb garden, from which you can pick aromatic rosemary to spice up steaks and give your potatoes a flutter of flavour with thyme and oregano, all summer long? Mint flourishing alongside in the same garden will give you the summer’s freshest mojitos.
Rosemary is a good example of a herb that needs pre-growing to get started. When rosemary starts to grow, with good care, it can be turned into a perennial friend. Rosemary shouldn’t be watered too much because its leaves will dry out and turn brown.
Thyme is also a perennial species that grows larger year by year. Did you know that thyme also grows wild in Finnish nature? The beautiful purple flowers of flourishing thyme can be found on sandy beaches.
No herb garden is complete without mint. It grows slowly at first, but soon nothing will hold it back. The cooler evenings of late summer are perfect when spent under a blanket in the garden sipping mint tea.
The pre-growing time for these herbs is about a month.
In addition to herbs, you may want to try pre-growing other things. Plantui’s Experimental Kit also allows you to select seeds to pre-grow from outside the Plantui range. A Plantui is also great for pre-growing vegetables. For example, cucumbers, pumpkins, and peppers that thrive in the greenhouse. For these plants, it is a good idea to put 1-3 seeds in each empty seed capsule and, after sprouting, leave only one seedling to continue growing. This means the plant will flourish as it has plenty of room to grow. The pre-growing time for these plants is six weeks.
Do not move cucumbers, pumpkins and peppers outside until the temperature stays above ten degrees celsius, even at night.
When to start pre-growing
Starting pre-growing is affected by several things and it is difficult to give one answer. As a rule of thumb, however, it is a good idea to start pre-growing plants a little late rather than too early.
To find out the best time to begin pre-growing, count backwards. So, if you know that in mid-June the climates are suitable for moving tomatoes outside, count back the time to pre-growing. For a tomato, it’s about two months. The same goes for pre-growing summer flowers. If you want your flowers to reach full splendor in early July, sow Marigolds, Asters, Ipomoea, Black-eyed Susan and Malope’s six weeks before. The pre-growing period for the Impatiens and Bellflowers is eight weeks and about twelve weeks for Violet, Lavender and Geraniums.
The pre-growing times of plants in the Plantui plant range are approximately the same as the growth rate category to which they belong. Thus, growing herbs typically takes 5-8 weeks, while tomatoes and chilies take 8-12 weeks.
How to transfer seedlings to the soil
When it’s time for the seedlings to leave the nest, remember this:
Before transplanting to a greenhouse or potting garden, cut off the plastic parts of the plant capsule. The rockwool capsule can be left in place. It will decompose and also protect the roots during transplantation and after planting.
When transplanting plants outdoors, keep in mind that they are not used to sunlight. You should let them get used to sunlight during the first week or two by:
placing them outside or in a greenhouse without UV-protection. When planting, cover the plants with a thin fabric for a week or two.
putting the seedlings planted in pots and putting the pots outside for an hour or two at a time, before taking them back inside.
Transplanting is always a bit stressful for the plants. You can make the process easier by watering the plants for 1-2 weeks with water containing Plantui’s nutrient solution that the plants are already familiar with. Use the same proportions as before: one measuring spoon in one litre of water.
Before transplanting, be sure to make sure the plants are prepared for the outdoors. If the air suddenly cools too much, especially at night, you can cover the seedlings with a meshed blanket.
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