Let me get started with a prediction: Within four years, prototype camera systems will be able to analyse a crop canopy’s nutritional status, using hyperspectral cameras that assess thin slivers of the visible spectrum, and change fertilizer injectors and irrigation systems practically in real time.
In the event that seems far-fetched, consider that handheld Soil-Plant Analyses Development (SPAD) meters-that measure leaf greenness, quantifying differences invisible towards the human eye alone and providing a rough correlation with nitrogen content-happen to be designed for years. Growers could be the ones who calibrate these camera systems-not the engineers who build them-so migrating to data-driven making decisions now will give you a competitive advantage.
Meanwhile, this article 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 apply to all formulation types. Scheduling and fertilizer-application decisions begin with effective monitoring.
What you should Monitor
Root substrates needs 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 learn the trends that develop over your crop’s growth stages. Also, occasionally track this data every several hours after a fertilization. You’ll be blown away how quickly the plant requires fertilizer in just twenty four hours. Adjust fertilization accordingly to keep your desired pH and EC, based upon crop stage along with your knowledge about the cultivar. The fertilization schedule will vary according to sunlight and temperature in a greenhouse or outdoor setting, but will maintain more stability in controlled environments.
It is possible to determine a strong, data-based understanding of your crop’s nutrient status by creating a graph that compares laboratory testing results for individual nutrient levels overlaid with your routine pour-through tests. Substrate testing by an external lab is expensive, with tissue testing even more so. For cost effectiveness, track soil and cannabis nutrient expert regularly for your first couple of crops in a new grow system, then annually after that. Tissue and soil samples should be taken every 2 weeks, minimum. Your end goal is to create a “hospital chart” hanging near the crop for the entire team to reference, with actual measurements plotted as time passes and desired ranges clearly indicated. This could effectively facilitate consistent nutrition across crops and multiple growers, as well as in multiple facilities.
Water-soluble fertilizers are best delivered employing a fertilizer injector, which doses the proper proportion of the concentrate into hoses, dripper lines or sprinklers. Obviously, injectors could also be used to fill a hydroponic or ebb-and-flood reservoir. These are water-driven, so don’t require electricity. Injectors needs to be sized according to your anticipated flow rate: Exceeding an injector’s flow capacity causes it to seize up, along with a sub-minimum rate results in inaccurate dosing.
Larger, more expensive units measure the flow rate to dose most accurately, possess 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 near the crop or over a dolly for portability. Their lifespan can be greater than five-years if protected from direct sunlight and flushed when removed from use. Whether fixed or portable, it’s effective to have a bypass on or plumbed round 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, in case you have an irrigation controller. Additionally you can attach a battery 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 using too much at once. When the substrate reaches container capacity, any added solution expires the drainage holes. You are able 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 needs to be at the very least 20 percent of what was applied. In the event you add less, fertilizer salts will accumulate in the pot. This may lead to root damage. Irrigating to some 20-percent leach fraction keeps a proper nutrient balance in the substrate, permitting consistent availability and optimum nutritional status.