Allow me to start with a prediction: Within 4 years, prototype camera systems will be able to analyse a crop canopy’s nutritional status, using hyperspectral cameras that analyze thin slivers of the visible spectrum, and change fertilizer injectors and irrigation systems practically in real time.
In the event that seems far-fetched, take into consideration that handheld Soil-Plant Analyses Development (SPAD) meters-that measure leaf greenness, quantifying differences invisible for the naked eye and providing a rough correlation with nitrogen content-happen to be available for years. Growers could 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.
Meanwhile, this short article provides insights into the fertilization of solid root substrates (rockwool, coir, etc.) using inorganic salts, though some growers successfully use organic sources. Lots of the concepts pertain to all formulation types. Scheduling and fertilizer-application decisions start with effective monitoring.
Things to Monitor
Root substrates ought to be tested for pH and electrical conductivity (EC) a minimum of every fourteen days employing 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 using a fertilization. You’ll be surprised how fast the plant takes up fertilizer in only round the clock. Adjust fertilization accordingly to keep your desired pH and EC, based upon crop stage along with your knowledge about the cultivar. The fertilization schedule can vary according to sunlight and temperature in a greenhouse or outdoor setting, and can maintain more stability in controlled environments.
It is possible to determine a strong, data-based understanding of your crop’s nutrient status by building a graph that compares laboratory testing results for individual nutrient levels overlaid together with your routine pour-through tests. Substrate testing by an external lab is costly, with tissue testing even more so. For cost effectiveness, track soil and cannabis nutrient expert regularly for your first two crops in a new grow system, then annually next. Tissue and soil samples should be taken every two weeks, minimum. Your end goal is to make a “hospital chart” hanging near the crop for the team to make reference to, with actual measurements plotted over time and desired ranges clearly indicated. This could effectively facilitate consistent nutrition across crops and multiple growers, and then in multiple facilities.
Water-soluble fertilizers would be best delivered using a fertilizer injector, which doses the right proportion of the concentrate into hoses, dripper lines or sprinklers. Of course, injectors can also be used to fill a hydroponic or ebb-and-flood reservoir. They are water-driven, so don’t require electricity. Injectors ought to be sized based upon your anticipated flow rate: Exceeding an injector’s flow capacity causes it to get up, along with a sub-minimum rate leads to inaccurate dosing.
Larger, higher priced units measure the flow rate to dose most accurately, use a 15- to 20-year lifespan, and may be integrated into environmental control systems. They may also be integrated with pH and EC probes plumbed into the delivery pipes for monitoring, feedback and alarming.
Smaller devices may be mounted nearby the crop or over a dolly for portability. Their lifespan may be greater than 5 years if shielded from sunshine and flushed when taken out of use. Whether fixed or portable, it’s effective to possess a bypass on or plumbed around the injector for applying domestic water without nutrients.
Some units use a fixed dosing ratio, while more versatile ones have adjustable settings. Electronic solenoids can be integrated for automating the device, if you have an irrigation controller. In addition, you can attach battery power timer to cwilkj water spigot that supplies the injector.
A great rule of thumb for watering volume or duration: You can’t overwater containerized plants by applying too much at the same time. After the substrate reaches container capacity, any added solution finishes the drainage holes. It is possible to only overwater by not allowing the substrate to dry properly between irrigation events.
Apply fertilizer solution until water pours out the foot of the pot. This leachate ought to be at least 20 percent of what was applied. If you add less, fertilizer salts will accumulate inside the pot. This might lead to root damage. Irrigating to your 20-percent leach fraction keeps an appropriate nutrient balance inside the substrate, allowing for consistent availability and optimum nutritional status.