Irrigation

Large plants use more water than small plants, but there are many more variables than size that dictate a plant's water consumption. The age of the plant, container size, soil texture, temperature, humidity, and ventilation all contribute to water needs. Change any one of these variables, and the water consumption will change. Good ventilation is essential to promote a free flow of fluids, transpiration, and rapid growth. The healthier a plant, the faster it grows and the more water it needs,

Plants in small containers reef aire more frequent watering.

Leaves That Flush Out Infection
Flushing plants with plain water will wash out most built-up toxic salts. Flush again with a diluted nutrient solution.

When they are small, plants in medium-sized containers can be watered every other day.

Add a few drops of biodegradable liquid dish soap concentrate to the irrigation water. Detergent makes the water penetrate the soil more thoroughly.

Small plants with a small root system in small containers must be watered often. Water frequently-as soon as the soil surface dries out. If exposed to wind, the small plants will dry out very quickly.

Irrigate soil and soilless mixes when they are dry one-half inch below the surface. As long as the drainage is good, it is difficult to overwater fast-growing cannabis. Four-week-old clones flowering in 2- to 3-gallon (7.5 to 11 L) containers need to be irrigated once or twice daily. In fact, most growers prefer smaller containers because they are easier to control.

Irrigate larger plants in the vegetative and flowering stages when soil is dry one-half inch below the surface. Flowering marijuana uses high levels of water to carry on rapid floral formation. Withholding the water stunts the flower formation,

Plants that are exposed to wind dry out much faster. Outdoor, terrace, and patio plants will use up to three or (our times more water on a hot, windy day. Keeping up with the watering is difficult and time-consuming. Use an automated watering system or break the wind to lessen its impact on the plants. Mulch will also lessen the evaporation from the soil.

Use plenty of water, and allow up to iO percent runoff during each watering. The runoff will prevent the fertilizer from building up in the soil. Water early in the day, so excess water will evaporate from the soil surface and the leaves. Leaving the foliage and the soil wet overnight invites a fungal attack.

Moisture meters take most of the guesswork out of irrigating. They can be purchased for less than $30 and are well worth the money. The meter measures exactly how much water the soil contains at any level or point. Often the soil will not hold the water evenly, and it develops dry pockets. Checking the moisture with a finger provides an educated guess but disturbs the root system. A moisture meter will give an exact moisture -eading without disturbing the roots.

Cultivate the soil surface to allow the water to penetrate evenly and guard against dry soil pockets. It also keeps the water from running down the crack between the inside of the pot and the soil and out the drain holes. Gently break up and cultivate the top half inch of the soil with your fingers or a salad fork. Be careful not to disturb the tiny surface roots.

After yoj develop some skill at knowing when the plants need water, you can check to see how heavy they are simply by tipping them. Once you get the hang of it, all you will have to do is tip each container.

It is easier to keep pots in straight lines when growing and watering, and it is much easier to keep track of watered pots when they are in a straight line.

Overwatering is a common problem, especially with small plants. Too much water drowns the roots by cutting off their supply of oxygen. If you have symptoms of overwatering, buy a moisture meter! It will let both you and your garden breathe

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Tip the containers to check if they are heavily laden with water. Irrigate the light containers.

A water meter takes the guesswork out of watering. Remember to keep probes for an accurate reading.

Tip the containers to check if they are heavily laden with water. Irrigate the light containers.

easier. Sometimes, parts of the soil are overwatered and other soil pockets remain bone-dry. Cultivating the soil surface, allowing even water penetration, and using a moisture meter will overcome this problem. One of the main causes of overwatering is poor air ventilation! The plants need to transpire water into the air. If there is nowhere for this wet, humid air to go, gallons of water are locked in the grow room air. Well-ventilated air carries this moist air away, replacing it with fresh, dry air. If using trays to catch runoff water, use a turkey baster, large syringe, or sponge to draw the excess water from the tray. Signs of overwatering are: leaves curled down and yellowed, waterlogged and soggy soil, fungal growth, and slow growth. Symptoms of overwatering are often subtle, and inexperienced gardeners may not see any blatant symptoms for a long time.

Marijuana does not like soggy soil. Soil kept too wet drowns the roots, squeezing out the oxygen. This causes slow growth and possible fungal attack. Poor drainage is most often the cause of soggy soil. It is compounded by poor ventilation and high humidity,

Underwatering is less of a problem; however, it is fairly common if small (1-2 gallon) pots are used and the grower does not realize the water needs of rapid growing plants. Small containers dry out quickly and may require daily watering. If forgotten, water-starved plants become stunted. Once tender root hairs dry out, they die. Most growers panic when they see their prize-marijuana plants wilt in bone-dry soil. Dry soil, even in pockets, makes root hairs dry up and die. It seems to take forever for the roots to grow new root hairs and resume rapid growth.

Add a few drops (one drop per pint) of a biodegradable, concentrated liquid soap like CastilleW or Ivory"1 to the water. It will act as a wetting agent by helping the water penetrate the soil more efficiently, and it will guard against dry soil pockets. Most soluble fertilizers contain a wetting agent. Apply about one-quarter to one-half as much water/fertilizer as the plant is expected to need, and then wait 10 to 15 minutes for it to totally soak in. Apply more water/fertilizer until the soil is evenly moist. If trays are underneath the pots, let excess water remain in the trays a few hours or even overnight before removing it with a large turkey baster.

Another way to thoroughly wet pots is to soak the containers in water. This is easy to do with small pots. Simply fill a 5-gallon (19 L) bucket with 3 gallons (11 L) of water. Submerge the smaller pot inside the larger pot, for a minute or longer, until the growing medium is completely saturated. Wetting plants thoroughly insures against dry soil pockets.

Having a readily accessible water source is very convenient, and it saves time and labor. A 4 x 4-foot garden containing 16 healthy plants in 3-gallon (11 L) pots needs 10 to 25 gallons

Put a saucer under the plants to retain irrigation water, if they run out of water quickly.

Plants in small containers require more frequent watering.

Growing Soilless

Growing Soilless

This is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to growing organic, healthy vegetable, herbs and house plants without soil. Clearly illustrated with black and white line drawings, the book covers every aspect of home hydroponic gardening.

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