Due to a period in which I won't be able to maintain this tank, I've decided to do the dry start method with HC. Having someone watch your planted tank is much easier handing off a DSM tank, vs. trying to school someone on a high tech setup's care list.
So hopefully when I return from my short trip, I'll have a nice carpet going. Then I can just scape over/around it with rocks or something. Here it is for now: