Start By Keeping It Simple
As a beginner you should try to keep it simple. Once you’ve gained experience you can always start working with specific boosters, new growing systems and use different substrates, such as; rockwool or coco. All, of course, to enhance the overall quality and yield of your grow.
There are a few essentials you should buy before beginning to cultivate. A PH meter, for one, you need to gauge the PH of everytime you water the plants. We also advise you to buy a tensiometer, so can determine exactly when to water your plant.
Use Soil As A Beginner
Use soil for the first time. Mistakes made can be easily corrected with soil, because soil has a buffer. Example; you’ve given your plants too much nutrients. You can correct this by just giving water with the right PH. Use your PH meter to adjust your PH level. The right PH level is an indication of the acidity of the water and should be between 6.0 and 6.5 when you use soil. The right acidity makes all nutrients easily soluble for a plant.
As soil contains nutrients you could, depending on which type of soil you use, skip feeding the plant for the first 3 to 6 weeks. The plant can take all it needs from the water and soil. We would strongly advise, though, to add some nutrients to the water. This will help improve bacterial life, add essential minerals and stimulate root development. This will make for a well rooted, healthy seedling that will yield more and produce better quality. Whatever you do please use a light mix soil, as the seed and seedling are fragile and do not respond well when fed too much. EC for the first two weeks should be between 0.4 and 0.7. EC. EC stands for Electrical Conductivity. All nutrients ions are electrically charged and this translates into a specific EC level. When you start germinating we recommend using a seedbooster or a startbooster (one nutrient company calls it seedbooster, the other startbooster), stick to the indicated measurements and your EC will be okay. After adding nutrients adjust your PH level using a PH+ or PH- (in most cases).
Essential nutrient components: NPK
Any fertilizer you use contains NPK. Depending on what stage you’re in (vegetative or flowering) a nutrient will have a different ratio in how it is composed. For instance, during flowering a plant will require more P’s and K’s, so the bloom nutrient will naturally contain more P and K than N. Each manufacturer of nutrients will have its own composition of the NPK ratio per nutrient. To clarify what NPK stands for and what it means for the plant’s growth we will briefly explain it.
N stands for Nitrogen. Nitrogen is responsible, and especially required during the vegetative stage for healthy growth, size and vigor. Nitrogen is a major element of chlorophyll. Cholophyll is like a factory, where solar energy is turned into chemical energy and stored. This chemical energy is used by the plant as fuel for cell development (plant growth).
P stands for Phosphorus. Phosporus will benefit the plant’s overall health. It will help create strong roots, support flowering and enhance bud development. It will also make the plant less disease prone. Bone meal, chicken dung, guano (excrements of seabirds and bats) and Phosphate rock are organic resources of phosphorus.
K is Potassium. Potassium is a bloom stimulator that drives flower production towards the end of maturation and hardens the buds. It also improves overall yield and quality. Moreover, Potassium helps fend off disease and provide protection against temperature extremes.
WHAT NUTRIENTS TO USE?
We recommend a novice to use a limited number of components to begin with. So a startbooster, a basic grow nutrient, enzymes, a basic flowering nutrient and a PK-booster. Use a reputable brand, such as Dutchpro. Germination and growing should take between 2 to 4 weeks, depending on how big you want your plant to become.
PH and EC levels
Always follow the indicated measurements on your feeding schedule. Consult the company’s website for an accurate feeding schedule. Then adjust your PH level using a PH+ or PH-. Ideal PH level is between 6.0 and 6.5.
You will gradually crank up the EC (nutrient) level, by increasing the dosage of nutrients, over the course of the weeks. An ideal EC level for a seedling is between 0.4 and 0.7. Then after two weeks of growing you will increase the EC to about 1.2. During the flowering stage you will gradually increase the EC from 1.3 to an EC level of around 2.0-2.2 at the end of the flowering period. This maximum EC level all depends on which brand you use, off course. You will increase the EC level during flowering by increasing the dosage of the PK booster. To flower and harden the flowers properly a plant requires both P and K. In the latter stages the plant will especially require Potassium (K) to fully flower and harden the buds.
Nutrients During Germination And Vegetative Growth
The first 2 weeks of growing and the first two weeks of flowering you use Dutchpro Take Root (a root stimulator). The Dutchpro Multi Total (enzyme booster) should be given from week 1 till week 8 of your grow (week 6 of flowering). The Dutchpro Grow Soil should only be given during the vegetative stage (first two weeks).
Nutrients During The Flowering Stage
After changing the lighting schedule from 18/6 to 12/12 you will force the plant into flowering. This is the time to change over to Dutchpro Bloom Soil A+B. From week 3 of flowering you should commence adding Dutchpro Explode (a PK booster). Start of light by adding 0.5 ml to a litre of water. Then gradually increase the dosage to 1.5 to 2 ml in week 7 and 8 of flowering. The last week you should give only PH adjusted water (6.0-6.5) to flush out any built-up nutrients salts in the plant.
Transition From Beginner To A More Experienced Grower
Once you’ve gained experience you can try out different types of substrate (coco/rockwool/ hydro pellets), a new system (hydroponic/aeroponic systems) and/or try extra additives to improve yield and overall quality. You can also start using boosters to enhance the quality and yield. These boosters will added to the plant at times when she has an extra need for that specific booster.
Boosters, such as: enzymes (once a week, Dutchpro Multi Total), a foliar spray to improve health of plant and leaves (Dutchpro Leaf green or Bioquant Foliar), P-boost (Bioquant), a K-boost ( Bioquant, in week 5-7 of flowering), a Calcium boost (Bioquant) and/or Magnesium boost (Bioquant, usually between week 3 and 5 of flowering).
When you start to use a new substrate, such as coco or rockwool gauging both your PH and EC levels are very important. So buy a EC meter. Don’t go cheap and buy a proper PH and EC meter to accurately measure your PH and EC level, so you can adjust it accordingly. Gauge your meters frequently to keep them accurate.
|Tip: If you’ve used nutrients frequently you can more easily correct any plant problems. First determine what is wrong with the plant. If you don’t know, please seek expert advice. For quick recovery use a foliar spray.|