Let me begin with a prediction: Within 4 years, prototype camera systems can assess a crop canopy’s nutritional status, applying hyperspectral cameras that analyze thin slivers of the visible spectrum, and change fertilizer injectors and irrigation systems practically instantly.
In the event that seems far-fetched, take into account that handheld Soil-Plant Analyses Development (SPAD) meters-that measure leaf greenness, quantifying differences invisible to the naked eye and providing a rough correlation with nitrogen content-have been readily available for years. Growers will be the ones who calibrate these camera systems-not the engineers who build them-so migrating to data-driven selection now will provide you a competitive advantage.
In the meantime, this post provides insights in to the fertilization of solid root substrates (rockwool, coir, etc.) using inorganic salts, though some growers successfully use organic sources. Lots of the concepts affect all formulation types. Scheduling and fertilizer-application decisions start out with effective monitoring.
What to Monitor
Root substrates should be tested for pH and electrical conductivity (EC) a minimum of every 2 weeks utilizing a non-destructive “pour-through” technique. Graph these results. You’ll understand the trends that develop over your crop’s growth stages. Also, occasionally track this data every several hours after a fertilization. You’ll be amazed how rapidly the plant takes up fertilizer within twenty four hours. Adjust fertilization accordingly to keep your desired pH and EC, based on crop stage and your experience with the cultivar. The fertilization schedule can vary depending on sunlight and temperature in a greenhouse or outdoor setting, and can maintain more stability in controlled environments.
It is possible to determine an effective, data-based comprehension of your crop’s nutrient status by developing a graph that compares laboratory testing results for individual nutrient levels overlaid along with your routine pour-through tests. Substrate testing by another lab is pricey, with tissue testing even more so. For cost effectiveness, track soil and custom cannabis nutrients regularly for the first couple of crops in a new grow system, then annually following that. Tissue and soil samples needs to be taken every two weeks, minimum. Your end goal is to create a “hospital chart” hanging nearby the crop for the whole team to make reference to, with actual measurements plotted over time and desired ranges clearly indicated. This may effectively facilitate consistent nutrition across crops and multiple growers, as well as in multiple facilities.
Water-soluble fertilizers are the best delivered using a fertilizer injector, which doses the correct proportion of the concentrate into hoses, dripper lines or sprinklers. Obviously, injectors can also be used to fill a hydroponic or ebb-and-flood reservoir. They may be water-driven, so don’t require electricity. Injectors should be sized according to your anticipated flow rate: Exceeding an injector’s flow capacity causes it to get up, and a sub-minimum rate brings about inaccurate dosing.
Larger, higher priced units measure the flow rate to dose most accurately, have a 15- to 20-year lifespan, and may be incorporated into environmental control systems. They can be integrated with pH and EC probes plumbed into the delivery pipes for monitoring, feedback and alarming.
Smaller devices can be mounted close to the crop or on a dolly for portability. Their lifespan may be a lot more than five years if protected against sunshine and flushed when removed from use. Whether fixed or portable, it’s effective to possess a bypass on or plumbed round the injector for applying domestic water without nutrients.
Some units possess a fixed dosing ratio, while more versatile ones have adjustable settings. Electronic solenoids could be integrated for automating the program, for those who have an irrigation controller. In addition, you can attach a battery timer to cwilkj water spigot that supplies the injector.
A great guideline for watering volume or duration: You can’t overwater containerized plants by using a lot of at once. After the substrate reaches container capacity, any added solution finishes the drainage holes. You can only overwater by not allowing the substrate to dry properly between irrigation events.
Apply fertilizer solution until water pours out the bottom of the pot. This leachate should be a minimum of twenty percent of the things was applied. If you add less, fertilizer salts will accumulate inside the pot. This can lead to root damage. Irrigating to some 20-percent leach fraction keeps an appropriate nutrient balance within the substrate, making it possible for consistent availability and optimum nutritional status.