Hello Growers Network!
I am the founder of Alula Hydronutrients and we are interested in learning more about how @growopowners and @mastergrowers are feeding their plants.
In the past, hand mixing was often good enough, but with the maturing explosive industry growers are increasingly using technology to improve their results. We are seeking insights on how growers use technology to feed their plants.
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I don’t feed my plants; I feed my soil and the soil feeds the plants.
So with what do you condition your soil? What are your plants consuming for nutrition?
Great question. In basic theory, growers cover the N-P-K/CaMg needs based on what and how they are growing.
Sourcing nutrients for a specific feeding regiment varies greatly based on a whole list of conditions.
I grow organically, sourcing my nutrients from a variety of locations. Most i try to cover on my own, phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium. Having other agricultural resources available, i “shop” at a lot of farms and ranches. Without babbling on forever, different animal waste and crop waste are rich in specific nutrients. Rabbit waste is much higher in potassium then sheep waste, but is not nearly as concentrated in nitrogen as sheep waste.
I add aquaponics into living soil for my best nitrogen needs as well as microbial growth encouragement.
So, for growing organic soil, i keep salts to a near minimum. Helps with flushing. Its a balance of nutrient and microbial activity here!
We agree, a healthy growing medium is important, soil is especially rich in microbes that plants use to help take in nutrients – MammothP uses this principle to help plants uptake more P without actually adding any P to the system. Great soil is like Carnegie Hall – it provides the perfect venue for plants, nutrients, microbes, water, heat and light to work together to make great flowers.
That’s a brilliant analogy! I love it! Soil is like Carnegie hall!
Don’t worry about babbling, some of the smartest/best growers I’ve met can go on for hours, days, (weeks?) talking about their secrets and strategies. One of the things that’s most engaging about cannabis is that while it’s an easy plant to grow (it’s “Weed”, right?) there’s limited agreement on best practices for cultivation, different state regulations (plant count limit vs sq ft., for example) mean that some states will go for bigger plants that are harvested later (Colorado) while California may harvest short, stout plants at 9 weeks. MedMen vs. JungleBoys vs. #3alight all have strong reputations and results to back it up, but they don’t remotely grow the same way. That doesn’t even start on the outdoor terroir between Humboldt, Mendocino, Santa Cruz Mountains, King City, Paso Robles, Ventura, and so on. If you felt like babbling, please go right ahead, you sound like you’ve rolled up your sleeves (literally) and done your homework. I’ve talked to many growers who add sugars late to support trichome development but I’ve also heard from plant scientists that plant biochemistry doesn’t work – the sugar molecules are too large to be absorbed through the roots, and the plant is making its own sugar anyway. Thoughts? But there I am going on for too long myself.
I am delighted that you asked… This will take me a short to “really” cover a lot of what I have noticed, that may help you further…
I would like to first address the whole misconception about molasses feeding the plants. Its a term used a little loosely that confuses many.
Molasses (backstrap, non pasturized) has the active “sugars” to feed microbial life within the growing platform or base. It doesnt feed the plant, but even better, feeds the soil that feeds the plant. Thats the easiest way to look at it.
In working with microbes, there are several that can work together in that community to aid in nutrient uptake. Certain sugars target certain microbes. In the “canna” world myco’s play a huge role. Fortunately they thrive better on unprocessed sugars from molasses.
Now… the actual nute game…
I hate this part the most to growing! Its not on my part finding difficulty, but for many beginner to even advanced growers struggle with this. I see it hundreds of times a day, folks wanting to know “whats the best? What will give me what i need?” deal. Problem is, opinions seem to be about as common place as whats available on the market.
In making sure i give as accurate answers and information to folks, i research many products in great depth. This is where i have some ideas “outside the box” for some brave challenger!
that was the explanation that made sense to me about molasses, that certain beneficial microbes ate it up and something about their abundance in the soil was beneficial to the bud development. It’s funny/interesting you hate the cacophony of different opinions, to me that’s beautiful noise of an industry buzzing with vibrant energy as ambitious growers try to be the best. Nothing like a little earnest business competition to encourage innovation and push the envelope, whether its cars, software, craft beer or cannabis. In the “old days” of illegal weed, people spent a lot of energy staying out of the spotlight and using labor instead of capital.
Times are changing. The creative destruction of capitalism isn’t always fun, or pretty, our entire industry benefits when growers feel the freedom to innovate and the pressure of competition, without the fear that Jeff Session’s is going to come knocking on their door. Kind of ironic that counter culture pot growers just want to be left alone to grow their businesses while huge ag interests are hustling Washington for billions in subsidies. If you really are about good old patriotic American values of hard work, hustle and taking risks, support your friendly neighborhood cannabis farmer.
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Its not the variety from opinions i have any issue with… That part I love!
Its the same nutrients maps being duplicated and rebranded with very minor difference in composition and make up.
Different cannabis strains have different “maps” for each strain or plants need.
This is where manufacturers make the same cookie cutter nutrients. Of course you cant tailor to one specific strain commercially. It wont pay.
So, why continue? How about something new, like targeting one specific cannabis nutrient at a time in its own line.
An easy example:
Bubblegum Kush. Two pheno variations are expressed in the same strain. Indica strong structure, or sativa stretch structure. I found that on loaded pots, the sativa expression is a potassium hog. It easy the potassium right out midway through flower.
This creates a growers headache. Introducing one nutrient need without excess of another!
Wow… This looks to be a fun read, Thank you very much! Let me soak this up and get back to you!
very interesting and obviously a labor of science and love.
In laymens terms, microbial puke.