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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Grow Tip - June 2015 - by Ben Horner

Watering Your Soil
     All plants need water to grow. Watering plants is not an exact science. Knowing when to water and how much each plant needs separates the novice growers from the experts. Four rules for watering must be understood in order to maximize your plants growth.

Rule 1: Proper Drainage
     The containers that you use to grow should have holes that allow water to drain out the bottom. Soil should have enough perlite and/or other substrates that allow the soil itself to drain. Soil has a maximum moisture saturation point, so excess water will drain away. Roots will rot if they stay suspended in water. That is why drainage is so important.

Rule 2: Don’t Over Water
     Be careful not to over water your plants. Test the soil to make sure that the soil has begun to sufficiently dry. Although there are moisture meters on the market that can tell you if your soil is wet or dry. Most people that have experience with potted plants know that if you stick your finger into the soil, you can determine if the soil is moist.
     Another good technique is to lift the plants up by the container to get a feel for the weight. Heavier the plant bucket, the less water it needs. Sometimes one plant might need lots of water, while others need little or none. If the soil is still wet don’t water. Remember: never leave your plants in a pool of water, or the roots will drown.

Rule 3: Don’t Under Water
     By using a measuring cup and a bucket to water your plants you can improve your understanding of what your plants need. When watering, make sure to evenly distribute the water around the pot so all of the plant’s soil gets wet. Don’t stop until all of the soil is wet and the moisture drains from the bottom. If there is a pool of standing water, remove it. A wet/dry vacuum works great for this. If your plant doesn’t seem to be drinking enough, then there is a problem. Often, this has to do with the health of your roots.

Rule 4: Don’t Bind Your Roots
The health of your roots is very important. The size and width of your container should be proportional to the size of the plant. As your plants increases in size, it is important to re-pot your plants into larger pots. This does two things. First, the soil is loosened, which allows the roots to breathe. Secondly, the new roots now have a place to grow.

     If roots are bound, break up the roots a bit before repotting. Sometimes the soil can become overloaded with fertilizer, particularly if you are using salt-based nutrients. There are plenty of flushing products that can be routinely added to your watering cycle to clean your soil of the salt build up. Flushing is very important to ensure that the nutrients don’t affect the flavor and burn of your finished buds.

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