If you consider yourself an expert cannabis grower, you could probably write an entire book on the importance of plant nutrition. There’s a lot that goes into plant nutrition, but new growers often overlook the importance of nutrients and only think about it in passing to focus on other grow room factors like lighting and climate control instead.
Addressing plant nutrition in passing is not nearly enough, and it should actually be a focal point of every grow op. That doesn’t mean you should ignore things like lighting, temperature, and humidity, just that nutrients should always be at the forefront of your mind.
To move from novice to expert status as a cannabis grower, you’ll want to adopt these 6 smart nutrient practices for your next grow op.
Understand the Basics of Plant Nutrition
You don’t need to know every single tidbit of information on plant nutrition to be smart about how you feed your plants. However, you at least need to have a solid understanding of it, and you can start by turning to online resources like blog posts from growing websites and forums from other growers.
Just start gathering up the basic information on plant nutrition to get a better understanding of what your plants need to survive and thrive. Focus on topics like micronutrients vs macronutrients, smart feeding schedules, and how to choose the right fertilizer.
Invest in the Right Tools and Technology
Nowadays, most people turn to technology for getting stuff done and accomplishing day-to-day tasks. Growers are no exception to this, and the best growers understand that it’s important to turn to technology for help. This is true for lighting systems, climate control, and most importantly, grow room tasks relating to plant nutrition.
There’s a helpful high-tech tool for everything in a grower’s life, like pH pens, humidity controllers, and PPM meters. But did you know you can use your smartphone to help you be smart about nutrients? There’s an app for everything nowadays, including tons of apps for getting nutrients just right.
3 Nutrient Apps to Consider Downloading
One of the best-rated apps for growers who want a little help with their nutrient needs is Botana. The Botana app is basically a grow journal that lets you keep track of every detail of a grow op, including nutrient plans for monitoring and scheduling.
Another helpful mobile tool for growers who don’t want to go it alone is GrowBuddy. GrowBuddy is super well-known, and that’s because it’s simple and easy to use. Everyone from brand new growers to commercial-level cultivators turns to GrowBuddy for help with logging relevant crop data, and this includes information on the nutrient plan.
Grower Helper is another good one, and it’s very similar to how GrowBuddy functions. It’s essentially a to-do list for tracking the entire grow op from start to finish, featuring a checklist for staying up-to-date on progress. You can even add photos along the way for visual references of how the crop is doing.
Strike the Right Balance (Don’t Overdo It!)
Even though the National Garden Association found that most gardeners don’t actually use fertilizers, this isn’t a smart practice for cannabis growers, especially for indoor crops. Just because you’re using quality soil doesn’t mean you can forego fertilizers and supplemental nutrients.
Indoor plants rely on you, the grower, to give them the nutrition they need since they can’t get every nutrient required for healthy development from the soil. However, it’s really important that you don’t give them too much nutrition (yes, there is such a thing). When you overdo it on nutrients, things can quickly take a turn for the worse.
Just as there are many possible plant deficiency scenarios, the same goes for plant overdoses. While a crop can be deficient in magnesium, calcium, or nitrogen, it can just as easily have an excess amount of these elements. When that happens, a plant can’t just expel waste as humans do; the excess nutes get locked up in the plant and can cause a lot of distress.
Test the Waters Before Diving In
Before dumping in a batch of that expensive fertilizer for marijuana you just purchased from your local hydroponics store, you’ll definitely want to test the waters. This doesn’t just mean dipping a toe or finger in to check the temperature; you need to test the water to see how it measures for delivering nutrients.
Water temperature does play a role in how well the plants react to the nutrients that are dissolved in the liquid, so make sure it’s somewhere around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. What’s even more important than temperature, though, is to check the pH and PPM readings.
You can do this using a pH/PPM meter, and the reason for checking is that both of these things play a role in plant nutrition. PPM is short for parts per million, and it’s basically just a reading of how much “stuff” is contained within the water. Ideally, you’ll want to start with a PPM that’s at 0 and add nutrients to raise it.
PH is even more important since a pH reading that’s too high or too low can negatively affect how the plants react to the fertilizer/nutrients added to the water. You want the pH to read somewhere between 6 and 7, and slightly lower than this if you’re growing hydroponically.
Implement a Nutrient Monitoring Plan
Whether you use a notebook, a planner, or a wall calendar, you’ll definitely want to layout a nutrient monitoring plan, and the best way to do that is to write it down on paper (or use an app mentioned above like Botana).
Monitoring doesn’t just allow you to keep track of the amount of nutrients you should be adding with each feeding, but it also allows you to keep track of how plants react to each feeding. You can adjust the nutrient amount based on how the crop reacts to the fertilizer doses.