If your plants could speak, what would they tell you?

April 13, 2021

Are your plants getting what they need?

This is a question that should be asked whether you’ve been growing for 1 month or 20 years.  How do you feed and water your girls? Two separate questions and requires some explanation, and even with that you’ll get varying opinions. You need to find what works for you and your crop of plants.  If you ask 20 growers how often to feed or water you will most likely get 15 different answers and a few that are similar.

Feeding:

One of the reasons health professionals recommend vitamins is because as humans with busy lives we do not always eat properly or in a timely manner. If you take a supplement or multi vitamin then it can help replace some of what may have been a nutritious breakfast or lunch that we might have skipped that day because we are preoccupied. 

Think of plant nutrition as being similar. The plant is trying to perform some metabolic function, maybe growing or synthesizing amino acids and if the correct amount of nitrogen or copper is not available it cannot take place at that time. The plant slows down until those nutrients are readily available and the plant potentially slips a few days behind where it should have been, or worst case alters your crop entirely.

If all the nutrients are  ‘available’ in the soil to nourish the plant, it can soak it up and soak it in, AND completely utilize those minerals and elements and keep growing at an accelerated pace, outperforming other plants not cared for in the same way. If you feed two to four times a week the likelihood of the plant having a constant supply is great and nothing can slow that plant down.

Most growers have dissolved their nutrients in water so every time they water the plants they are also feeding.

 Experienced growers get a feel for the crop they are growing and the specific strain and just instinctively know when to feed or when to hold back. Experience teaches veteran growers these things and provides the ability to go on instinct and feel, BUT many will tell you that a set schedule of 2-4 feedings a week is a good rule of thumb. There are some OG growers that feed twice a day or everyday but they are not typical. Watch your plants and study their new growth as an indicator of acceptable nutrition levels and plant health. Look for dark green leafy growth vs. pale anemic yellow looking growth as a key to determine if your method is working.

Watering: 

The ideal moisture level for your plants is 44%. You can be at 40 -50% moisture level in the root zone but 44% should be your target. How will you know that? Purchase an economical moisture meter from your local store and take readings daily before pouring on the water.

If you’re a grower that strictly waters with a feed solution then the explanation above will be enough, but many growers like to include a day or two of feeding straight water (a flush). The analogy might be after finishing a run or a walk we just want a drink! Yes Gatorade or beer sound good but pure clean water is what you probably should be consuming.

A couple of things to note are the temperature and purity. Water plants with room temperature water not cold water from a mountain stream. Like humans, plants do not like being shocked by a blast of cold water and if your water comes from a source like city water let it stand overnight to get rid of the chlorine or bromine. If your water source is from a well, have your water tested each season as it might be hard water or contain excess minerals.

Watering and feeding are more about scheduling than feel but it is always good to have a metric to guide you.

**Note: Not all water is created equal.

TAP WATER?  FILTERED (BRITA) WATER? DISTILLED? Which is best for your plants?

Tap water is fine as long as it does not have a lot of bromine or chlorine and if it does let it sit to allow it to gas off. Make sure the water is room temperature not freezing cold. We don’t recommend distilled or filtered water as you lose some minerals that the plants can use.

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