Well here's the beginning of my dry start. I got more HC than I needed, so that was helpful. Rather than planting stems individually into the substrate, I broke the HC apart into small bunches and placed them on the substrate and then pressed them down a little with my fingers, just to make sure they were set down closely to the substrate.
Before I started planting, I used a piece of CO2 tubing to siphon some water from my 30 gallon high tech tank to moisten the substrate in this tank. I used just enough water to get everything damp. There is no standing water anywhere in the tank right now. Then I placed the HC down carefully to try to get as much cover as I could. My thoughts are that the more I place down initially, the faster a full carpet will form. Once I was done planting, I used a spray bottle containing dechlorinated water to dampen everything once again. I wiped off the front glass to take the pic. Finally, I covered the top with Cling plastic wrap. Occasionally I will spray everything once or twice and I peel back the plastic wrap every few hours to allow fresh air to enter. Hopefully in a week or two, the HC will have grown roots sufficient enough that I can plant my blyxa japonica and flood the tank.