I wanted to gather some thoughts on this as everyone does it at least a little differently. Here are some questions to answer that will hopefully allow us to create better industry standards and all become better growers. What have you found to work best?
Light: What ppfd or ppf have you all found to work best for rooting cuttings? What about specific spectrum? What about light cycle?
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): For those in aeroponics (or any type of reservoir), what ppm have you found most effective? When do you increase ppm? What increments?
***Organic Cloning: Is anyone doing this with consistent results that compete with synthetic rooting hormones (over 90% success rate)? What are your nutrient recipes or other techniques? IBA is technically a pesticide and must be listed on the label of your consumer product. I get the feeling a lot of people are claiming to be organic, but are still using rooting hormones… And leaving it off their labels…
Air and water/plug temperature: What have you found to be ideal temperatures for your cuttings? Do you keep the rooting area at a separate temperature from the foliage?
***This is the topic I am most interested in. We have been performing a number of trials with mixed success. Factors that are obviously important are mother health and cloning environment, but I think it’s becoming more apparent to us that light spectrum and intensity in both the mother area and over the cuttings is a more complex topic worthy of discussion.
The biggest difference we have noticed that improved success (assuming great mother health) was using cuttings from a mother under a MH light, where intensity was higher than under our typical t5 setup. The soil was also somewhat different, so I can’t leave that out as a variable.
Being careful not to over water the plugs or pellets has shown to be very important, which is a finicky business due to naturally changing environment, making it difficult to write a standard SOP that all employees can easily follow. Any suggestions about moisture consistency?
We have tried a number of approaches involving supplements like aloe, Ful Power, Azos, etc. Soluble silica is not truly organic so we haven’t bothered with that. I want to try compost tea or leachate next as it has light nutrient value as well as microbes to make it plant-available. Or rooting straight into a worm casting and aeration mix. Anyone with experiences?
I’d be happy to talk details and trade information with anyone interested! We are really braving new territory here I believe. I don’t think there are many (if any) commercial propagation industries that clone organically (except for maybe succulents). It’s a challenge to be sure as it’s quite an amazing natural process.