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I did not know this.  The county I live will test the soil in my garden for free (link to King County Soil Testing Program)!  I learned about this through the Encyclopedia Botanical Podcast’s slack channel.  This one chunk of information saved me more money than I paid on the podcast’s patreon page for access to their slack channel.

Thanks to Those That Went Before

I’ve been listening to the Encyclopedia Botanical Podcast.  The podcast originates from Seattle, which is the area I live.  It is wonderful to listen to advice on how/what to grow in our outdoor gardens.  I garden outdoors in the summer.  THANK YOU Hilary Dahl and Kellie Phelan!

The Seeds

A YIPPEE moment!! My seeds arrived yesterday.


I’m not appreciative of Territorial Seed’s marketing.  The day after I placed my order I got an eMail message that let me know if I ordered seeds before February 9th, I’d get free Sweet Peas.  Of course, I’d feel better if they had included free seeds as appreciation.  The package arrives containing marketing material for tillers and other stuff that the other companies must have paid for.  Hmmm…I will reconsider buying seeds from Territorial Seed.  It’s not that I want free seeds.  I want companies that I build a positive relationship with.  Companies like Adafruit that put out an incredible amount of helpful content (like this recent video Reverse engineering ARM binaries for QTouch LIVE ).  In other words, companies that provide valuable service and support.  Companies that love their employees enough to provide EVERYONE with a livable wage.  Companies that have employees that I admire.  Like Tonie Kacludis at Excalibur. But I diverge.

Planting Seeds


  • Figure out what plants to grow in The Grow Chamber.
  • Take out rock wool cubes for each plant that will be growing in the Grow Chamber.
  • Soak the cubes in pH 6 water for a few minutes.
  • Let the rock wool drain in the sink for about 15 minutes.
Note: I found the video by TheGrowGeek on planting seeds in rock wool Planting Seeds in Rockwool for Hydroponic Growing to be helpful.


The Grow Chamber has space for 12 plants.


I plan to grow kale, lettuce, basil (2 kinds), stevia, parsley, and thyme. Seven types of plants.  After the 7, there are 5 empty spots in the Grow Chamber. Pasted Image 2 7 17 9 47 AM I will populate the 5 spots with 2 additional basil (I LOVE BASIL!!!),and  3 additional stevia (I use a lot of stevia).

I’m starting a spreadsheet that lists the ideal growing conditions for each. It’s a bit of a slog as I try to figure out what sources I want to use to fill out the environment information.

Soaking the Rockwool

The first step in planting seeds is soaking the rock wool in water that has a pH of ~6.5.  I used my awesome pH meter described in this build log.  So far I am very happy with this instrument and recommend it.  Before using, I calibrated the meter with pH4 and pH7 calibration solution.  I’m concerned I’m not taking great care of the pH probe.  I ordered some storage solution.  

After learning the importance of water quality, we added a RO (Reverse Osmosis) filter to our filtered water supply.  I got a RO filter from Amazon.com.  I relied on it being a “#1 Best Seller.”  Yah…right…but I fell for this marketing ploy….



I ended up not needing to adjust the water since the meter settled at a pH of 6.3, close enough to 6.5. It 

I adjusted the pH of the water that will wet the rock wool to 6.5 using the pH meter I described in this build log.  So far I am very happy with this instrument and recommend it.  I used As I put a small drop of pH UP into the water, I decided I needed more pipettes.  I just ordered these on Amazon.com.  The long pipettes come in useful when adjusting small quantities of liquids.

On to what I am sure will be a beautiful tomorrow.