You just received a new box of yCubes - how exciting!
If you're starting fresh with all new yCubes and no plant food in your tank, click here for a different set of germination instructions, and don't forget to reset your Start of Water (SOW) Date in the app!
If you already have mature plants on your Gardyn and/or plant food in your tank, it's critical to follow the refill tips below as plant food hampers germination.
1. Discover Your New yCubes
If you open the box and don't see your complete order at first, lift up the layer of cardboard to find more yCubes underneath! We pack them tightly to reduce movement during shipping, and help use less packaging.
2. Make sure your Sprout Nursery is clean
Whether it's fresh out of the box or your old favorite, be sure to hand wash your Nursery with soap and clean water to give your yCubes the freshest start in life.
If you already have yCubes germinating in your Nursery and you recently washed it, you can skip this step. If you aren't using a Nursery, opt for a small tray and ensure it is clean.
3. Add your yCubes, & Potentially Water
Using the Nursery's tray, insert up to 10 yCubes. Remove the small cardboard cover on individual yCubes, and don't add any yCovers or Pod Caps.
If you already have yCubes and water in your Nursery when adding new yCubes, do not add more water to the Nursery.
If the yCubes in your Nursery appear dry when you're adding the new yCubes, add tap water (no plant food!) until it reaches the fill line inside the Nursery tray, which is the lower indentation in each tray square. While it might be tempting to add more water, too much will hurt, not help your seeds, so stick to the fill line for best results.
If you're using a tray, add water until it reaches half an inch high on your yCubes.
Remember, NEVER add plant food to your Nursery, and only add more water once yCubes appear dry.
4. Cover with the Nursery's Vented Lid
We designed the Nursery to help you germinate new yCubes 30% faster than other methods, but it's not complete unless you add its vented lid! The lid helps optimize temperature and humidity levels for your seeds and sprouts to help give them a germination boost.
If you're using a tray, we also recommend adding a lid with holes in it to mimic the benefits of the Nursery's lid.
5. Monitor Moisture
Check on your Nursery daily. Aim to keep a mottled look on the rockwool with both light and dark green, as shown in the middle Nursery in the image below. This means they're still well-hydrated! Only add water to the fill line inside your Nursery when yCubes appear all or almost all light green, indicating they are dry.
From left to right, yCubes that are oversaturated, correctly saturated, and undersaturated.
If any yCubes are oversaturated, don't panic! Let them sit without water in your Nursery (or in a second Nursery if you have other yCubes that still need water in your first Nursery). By the time oversaturated yCubes need more water, they should be sprouted and ready to place on your Gardyn!
6. Watch for Sprouts
Sprouts is a general term for the first leaves, or cotyledons, that grow from the seed. These leaves are the reason sprouts don't need plant food: the cotyledons provide all the nutrients a plant needs in this first growth stage.
Germination times vary across varieties and even between seeds of the same plant. Some varieties can take up to 28 days to germinate! For variety-specific information, you can look up each of your plants in the Plant Book.
7. Look for Signs of Plant Food Readiness
To evaluate when you can add new yCubes to your Gardyn, you need to look for at least 1 of the following 3 signs that your plant is ready for a full dose of plant food once it's on your Gardyn:
1. It has fully visible true leaves, which are the second set of leaves to grow that resemble the mature plant's leaf shape:
Kale with cotyledons only (left) and true leaves (right)
2. It has roots growing out the bottom of the yCube at least 1 inch long:
3. The cotyledons are discoloring, often into a pale yellow or white:
8. Thin your Plants
If your yCubes are ready for plant food and the Gardyn, they're also ready to be thinned! This is a critical step to choose the strongest and tallest sprouts that will then thrive without competition for resources within their yCube. Thin fruiting plants and leafy greens down to 1, and most herbs and flowers to 3.
Find our thinning recommendations for each of your varieties here!
9. Plant your yCubes
Once your yCubes have true leaves and are thinned, it's time to add them to your Gardyn!
Always hand wash your yPods before adding a new yCube. Then, insert yCubes with true leaves into the yPods until they're flush. The yCube's orientation doesn't matter!
10. Freshen Up
Top off your tank with a plant food solution, dissolving 1/2 teaspoon of plant food per 1 gallon of water before adding it your tank. Alternatively, pamper your newly added yCubes (plus the rest of your plants) with a full tank refresh!
Either way, be sure to always follow our plant food usage guidelines, and fill your tank until the waterline reaches just below the plastic funnel in the lid's watering compartment.
Now you can keep growing using your yCube refills! Follow Kelby's guidance, and maintain a fresh balance of water and plant food to watch your Gardyn thrive. Order yCubes any time, directly in the app, for year-round harvests. Happy Gardyning!