Welcome to grow your own with Kyle Kushman!
For Episode 8, I’m going to talk about different growing mediums, nutrients, water, how much to feed, when to water, and how to be responsive to your plant.
You can choose from soil, Sphagnum, coco, Rockwool, or pea gravel. For soil, use something inert like Pro-Mix or a super soil like Vegamatrix. If you’re using my Veganic Super Soil (VSS), you’ll still need to add nutes, but only at 50% of the recommended dose on the food chart. Whatever you choose, follow the feeding schedule provided by the nutrient manufacturer you’re using.
I found the best way to water your plants is to cycle wet to dry. It involves watering to complete saturation, then allowing the plot to almost completely dry before watering again. Cycling keeps roots constantly searching and growing. Each time the moisture recedes, the root system will improve, creating a prolific root system and a solid root ball.
Adding nutrients affects the pH of the soil, which, in turn, impacts how well your plants absorb nutrients, so check your inputs and runoff regularly. The optimal pH for soil gardening is around 6.5, so make sure your inputs are between 6.2 to 6.7. For hydroponics, optimal pH is around 6.2 and, for coco, it’s closer to 5.8.
Parts Per Million (PPM)
Another thing to monitor is PPM or Parts per Million — the level of solids in a solution – by checking your input levels and the runoff. Do this by running extra water for the feed and measuring the excess that runs out of the pot. If the PPMs are too high, alternate in a few plain waterings. If it’s too low, simply move up a notch on the feeding chart.
In conclusion, watering and the application of nutrients is of supreme importance. Try not to overdo anything as too much water or nutes can stress them out. The best thing you can do for your plants is to check on them regularly and provide their needs.
In Episode 9, we’ll look at transplanting, when and how to do it. See you soon!
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