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CLASSIC NUTRIENT FEED GUIDE
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MASTER GROWER TIPS
For vigorous vegetative growth
As your seedlings or cuttings develop, their root mass expands and lateral roots grow thin root hairs to more efficiently uptake nutriment and water from the substrate. Your plant is currently in a vegetative state of growth as the roots, a stem and leaves progress. For photoperiodic plants that depend on the light/dark cycle to determine their growth stages, they can usually be kept in a vegetative state as long as they receive a minimum of 16 hours light per day.
A healthy, happy green vegetative plant will always yield the most delicious fruits or flowers. To achieve the best results with your vegetative crops, always ensure to follow our 5 helpful tips for vigorous results:
1. Environmental Control:
Maintain a healthy airflow throughout the growroom, this prevents stratification of air surrounding the leaves, ensures adequate CO2 and encourages stronger stems through the production of lignin and cellulose. Keep a slightly higher humidity during the vegetative period; between 60-70% is generally ideal for lush green growth.
2. Nitrogen Power!
The plant uses high levels of Nitrogen during vegetative growth but lower levels are required during the seedling, clone and flowering stages. N is mainly responsible for leaf and stem growth and is most active in young buds, shoots and leaves. Being mobile within the plant, N deficiencies are easily remedied with a foliar application of Nitrogen N27% or Magic Green.
3. Love the blues
For indoor horticulturalists: The spectral quality and quantity of your grow lighting is essential. Using lamps that emit a higher ratio of blue/white light encourages shorter internodal spacing, stronger cell development and thicker stems. Traditionally some growers use Metal Halide globes during the vegetative state for stockier plants but we suggest adding CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide) luminaires. These lamps have an incredibly high colour-rendering index; ensuring powerful vegetative growth and increased essential oil and resin production in flower.
4. Nature makes the best flowers
The H&G Range has incorporated a number of organic compounds into our feeding regime. These organic biostimulants encourage much faster plant development through a range of natural biological processes. They gently interact with the roots, the substrate, the mycorrhizae and beneficial bacteria and this stimulates a more efficient uptake of nutrients. Enzymes help to break down dead root matter and convert unusable compounds into more absorbable forms. Sea Kelp also provides a whole assortment of delicious trace elements and even aids as a stress reliever!
5. Keep your pH in check!
The pH (The acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution) affects the uptake of certain nutrients and should be carefully monitored in both hydroponic and soil cultivation. The influence of hydrogen ions (H+) affects the capacity of positively or negatively charged ions within the soil, water or growing medium. Our range of nutrients is pH stable, which ensures they will adjust the pH when added to water at the correct ratios. However as plants grow they use certain compounds and the root exudates and mucilage influences the ratios within the water. It’s always worth checking the pH of your reservoir and runoff with an accurately
calibrated pH pen. Also note that not all tap water is created equal.
During the vegetative state your plants leaf and stem development is powerful and exciting.
They will thrive if given the right conditions and grow into a beautiful fruiting crop.
For best results always ensure to follow our recommended feed charts and don’t over water!
MASTER BLOOM ADVICE
Want bigger fruit and flowers?
Find out how with our 5 secrets to booming blooming!
We understand that florae utilise different ratios and quantities of mineral nutriment during the distinctive stages of growth and according to their environmental conditions. When flowering the growth patterns and internal chemistry changes, stems elongate, leaf structure varies, green chlorophyll production slows and less nitrogen is required.
To reach the plants floral genetic potential we need to understand and recognise these physiological changes in our crop so we can adjust accordingly. Try following our 5 steps for booming blooming and see the results first hand!
1. Nutritional Demands for Macro & Trace elements
Plants biologically require a complete balanced profile of macro and trace elements throughout all growth stages. Inadequate or excessive quantities of any essential macro or microelement will negatively affect plant growth. Ensure you’re following our precisely calculated feed charts; we’ve done all the hard work for you.
2. Organic is always essential
Organic biostimulants such as kelp, amino acids and enzymes aid in overall plant health through a variety of biological processes. Amino acids for example, incite enzyme production and promote the natural breakdown of nutrients within the medium for increased plant consumption. Organics also encourage far greater beneficial bacteria, trichoderma and mycorrhizal activity. This aids plant development in a beautiful symbiotic relationship.
3. Environmental Control
For generative growth in photoperiodic plants we understand the required lighting is usually 12hrs / 12hrs off. We need to remember the changes that occur as lighting can drastically influence temperature and humidity levels. Always ensure you have appropriate environmental control to account for increased night time humidity spikes as well as daytime heat and humidity control. Aim for 50-60% humidity and you shouldn’t encounter any problems.
4. Make your plants work harder
Crop manipulation and selective training will ensure you can maximise your spatial efficiency and get the most from every plant. Investigate the best relevant practices for your crop species but always be tender so as to not shock the plant. De-leafing, topping, supercropping and LST are all different methods of adapting the plant to better suit their surroundings. If done effectively, this can increase airflow to the plant and reduce problems with mould and bacteria on flowers.
5. Select your genetics carefully
For the best possible results in any field of horticulture it’s essential to begin with the best possible genetics available for the selected plant species. My favourite homegrown strawberries came from a rare hybrid that my aunty had produced on her farm outside of Sydney. Regardless of the seasonal weather and how much I neglected them, they still outperformed my average store-bought strawberry seedlings.
Try searching online for the elite providers of your desired plant species, and try
to pick genetics that suit your current climate.
Choosing the right system
There is an infinite amount of possibilities when designing a hydroponic system, and there is no perfect answer as to which is best. It all depends on the selected crop variety, the external environment, your desired output and many other factors. Always take the time to properly plan and prepare your hydroponic system to maximise yields. It’s also very important to design for easy management and low ongoing maintenance.
Hydroponic systems are generally classed into two categories – ‘Run-to-waste’ or ‘Recirculating’. Both have their advantages and disadvantages for both the grower and the crop. Variations in energy usage, feeding method, growing medium, delivery mechanisms and irrigation arrangements will all affect the crop growth.
Here are some of the more common arrangements for hydroponic systems; it’s always worth discussing with your local retailer about which design is best suited for your needs.
Various types of grow systems
DWC - Deep Water Culture
Ebb & Flow
Run to Waste System
NUTRIENT MIXING INSTRUCTIONS
How to get the best results
When using a complete nutrient feeding schedule it’s important to know the best way to apply your plant food. Our bottled regime has been precisely calculated to ensure the unique ingredients in each bottle assimilate perfectly when mixed into your reservoir; but it’s still important to follow the following key guidelines:
1. Don’t mix the concentrated ingredients together, ever!
Our mineral nutrients, additives and stimulants have been carefully separated into their individual bottles and must be diluted with water before combining. When mixed in their pure form, negative reactions, mineral lockout and coagulation can occur. If you’re using more organic additives, or a range of nutrient brands, we strongly recommend mixing the concentrate into a smaller quantity of water before adding this to your main reservoir or watering can.
2. Test, test again and calibrate… regularly!
A reliable and trustworthy pH and EC tester are your most essential tools. These are scientific measuring devices, treat them carefully and always remember to clean regularly. Discuss the most appropriate model with your local hydroponic retailer and try to stick to recognised and reliable brands (we recommend Bluelab or Milwaukee). It’s essential that you calibrate both pH and EC devices at least once per month.
3. Understand what you’re giving your garden.
It might sound straightforward but always read the label and research the products that you decide to feed your garden. If you’re growing a consumable crop, always ensure you utilise healthy and food/technical grade ingredients. It’s worth researching the different hydroponic nutrient brands and products to understand their best practice usage.
General Mixing Instructions
Check the starting pH and EC/PPM of your source water.
*Caution: H&G Feed Guide and dilution rates are calculated using reverse osmosis filtered water, always ensure to measure accordingly.
Add Base Nutrient A - mix thoroughly and let stand.
Add Base Nutrient B - mix thoroughly and let stand.
Check EC/PPM levels:
– Add more nutrient or water until the desired EC/PPM level is reached.
– See our Feed Guide for approximate EC targets throughout the plant life cycle.
– Account for additives potential slight influence on pH and EC.
Add Additives & Stimulants as directed by the H&G Feed Guide - mix thoroughly and let stand.
Check your EC/PPM levels.
Check pH and adjust if necessary:
– Hydro: 5.5 - 6.0
– Aqua Flakes: 5.6 - 6.2
– Cocos: 5.6 - 6.2
– Soil: 5.8 - 6.5
Always ensure regular monitoring of your nutrient solution and key parameters (pH, EC and water temperatures) as these can drastically affect crop performance.
GROW ROOM ETIQUETTE
Why it's important to be clean
The ultimate lesson for new growers is that cleanliness is key. Prevention of pest and disease infestation is significantly easier then fixing a problem in an enclosed environment. It’s imperative that you keep all floors, surfaces, tools, equipment and clothing clean and disinfected throughout a crop. Here are some other aspects of growroom etiquette to keep your harvest happy and healthy.
1. Disinfect tools and pots before each use:
Use isopropyl alcohol or alcohol wipes to thoroughly clean all tools and equipment before each use. It’s worth having a separate set of tools specifically for your growing environment. Scalpels, scissors, pruning shears and your hands are all effective vectors for pests and pathogens. Try to prevent cross contamination by sterilising tools in between different rooms, plants and varieties.
Always wash your hands (and shoes) before entering a sealed growing environment!
2. As a good life lesson, always wear clean clothes!
Depending on your circumstances it can be useful to keep a sterile/clean pair of clothes or shoes only for use in your growroom. In commercial greenhouses, all staff are required to wear protective cotton jackets and hair nets to prevent any potential contamination.
3. Keep up a healthy flow:
Salt build-ups and toxicities can occur in plumbing, pumps, reservoirs and within your substrate. Always ensure to use Drip Clean and flush according to the system demands to prevent clogged pipes and nutrient lockout. This will encourage the longevity of your system and allow for better tasting fruits at the end of a harvest!
Always remember to use H&G Drip Clean to prevent build ups and keep your pipes clean!
4. Pets are not good for plants!
Always ensure that pets don’t sneak into growrooms or visit while you’re working on the crop. Pet fur and their lack of sterile practices can cause havoc in a sealed environment, and some have a habit of nibbling at delicious fruit or flowers!
5. Smoking is bad for your plants too!
Cigarette smoke and certain infected tobacco products can contaminate workers hands. Cigars, cigarettes, and pipe tobaccos can be infected with tobacco mosaic virus. This causes drastic leaf discolouration and mottled colours; distortion of fruit set and heavily reduced harvest. TMV is often mistaken for herbicide damage or mineral deficiency. The carcinogens in the smoke is also extremely toxic to your plants, always ensure you take cigarette breaks in responsible locations and make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after smoking!
Planning and appropriate preparation is essential for beautiful plants and a healthy harvest. It’s always better to err on the side of caution with production horticulture hygiene practices. Clean initial working practices will also save you money throughout the life of the crop; no wasting money on expensive remedies for problems!
IDENTIFYING INSECTS & PESTS
Prevention is always better than remedy
Troubleshooting for protected cropping requires a comprehensive and multifaceted approach. Often plants will show signs of suffering through different symptoms that may be a result of environmental, nutritional and/or pests and diseases. It can be difficult to precisely pinpoint a problem but if you’re looking for the right signs, you can narrow down the potential cause for distress.
Pest infestation can cause a range of symptoms during the different stages of the pest’s life cycles. Some issues are easily noticed and obvious however some can require the use of magnification and extremely regular observation. Always check your plants daily for signs such as eggs, damage to leaf or stem structure, tracks or other indicative marks.
Pest and disease infestation is usually caused by poor sanitary conditions and lazy workplace procedures in the garden. Constantly ensure to follow strict cleanliness processes to prevent contamination. It is essential to wear protective attire and always disinfect your tools.
It’s recommended to install sticky traps (yellow and blue) for simplified pest ID and to accurately monitor pest populations. A jeweller’s loupe, magnifier or microscope may be necessary to correctly identify a disease or pest problem.
We have included the 6 most common protected cropping pests and how to identify them before they cause too much damage.
Download your PDF to identify your pest!
IDENTIFYING PLANT DEFICIENCIES
Healthy plants = higher yields
Horticultural crops can be grown with a variety of different nutritional sources but the quality, quantity and residual contaminants of the end harvest will be drastically influenced. With the proper nutrient formula and the right conditions crops can be cultivated to reach their true genetic potential.
Fruiting crops require the non-mineral nutrients Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen to manufacture energy and develop. Carbon from the air is secured via photosynthesis and Hydrogen atoms are sourced almost totally from water. The oxygen in the atmosphere is used in respiration and other plant processes. The rest of the elements (mineral nutrients) are absorbed from the growing medium and nutrient solution. These supplemental nutrients in the form of fertiliser fulfil the complete needs of the plant to ensure it develops naturally.
Nutrients are classified into 2 main categories: Macronutrients (primary nutrients) and Micronutrients (Trace elements) depending on the ratio of how much of each compound the plant requires. Liebig’s ‘law of minimums’ states that there are 16 essential elements required for the complete plant growth. Organic additives and biostimulants interact with bacterial life to influence the uptake and distribution of these elements.
Nutrients are also classified into mobile, semi-mobile or immobile depending on their ability to translocate from one part of the plant to another as needed. Mobile nutrients show symptoms on older, lower leaves first as the compound is drawn to the younger leaves.
Once you understand the way the plant interacts with it’s nutrient and the growing medium, it’s much easier to diagnose and remedy any potential issues.