Advice for the beginner
1) Overwatering or Nutrifying:
It’s extremely hard to realize that Mother Nature can’t be rushed. You want to do something for your plants every day, and watering seems like a good idea. So does more food. But in MOST situations, less is more.
Cycling your plants from wet to dry is beneficial in several ways. Specifically during the vegetative stage, when it encourages a prolific root structure. A root zone(rhizosphere) which is constantly wet can stifle root and plant growth, while encouraging molds and pests. Fully saturate the media when you do water, just to the point of runoff. Then wait to water until nearly wilting. Watching a plant wilt just once is important for a reference point.
When using Veganic(plant-based) nutrients you should feed with every watering. Feeding the appropriate level of nutrients is important for optimal health, and is determined by the age of the plant, the growth rate, which is driven by the amount of light and co2. Finally, the strains particular genetics decides how hungry she'll be.
All other types of nutrients will require occasional watering without the addition of any nutrients to keep them healthy. This is referred to as “clean” water. Depending on the strain, the routine usually follows one of two methods.
Feed nutrients (dirty), feed nutrients, plain water (clean.) Or feed, plain water, feed, plain water. Some combination of the two methods may be required. Visual cues from the plants should help you to hybridize your routine to suit your specific garden. Follow the application rates of the nutrient you’ve chosen. Each manufacturer produces a feeding chart, which is always the best place to start.
Your watering strategy must adapt as the plants mature. It will always be important to saturate when watering, except in the case of transplanting into large containers. Then you should water lightly several times before saturating the entire volume of the new container. Allowing time for roots to grow to the furthest parts of the container.
Once you begin flowering, and there are buds on the plant, you don’t want to come close to wilting, EVER! Think 70% dry, 30% moisture. During mid-flowering when buds get large, shoot for around 50% moisture through late flowering. When growth begins to slow, revert to the previous ratio of 70% dry and 30% moisture.
It is for all the reasons stated above, that after 20+ years of growing, I still hand water my plants. I’ve built several different watering systems, and tried countless other out of the box systems. Plants are individuals, and to grow the highest quality takes attention to detail.
Observation skills are the key to learning the “language of the plant.” Once you’ve spent enough time with your plants you’ll begin to easily recognize if they liked what you did to them, or not. Deep green leaves raised high, and fleshy green stalks and stems without striation signifies they’re happy.
The goal is to ultimately become a confident, successful cultivator.
To Be Continued