Proper transplanting techniques and knowledge of the condition of your growing media are two of the most basic fundamental skills that are essential to helping your plants thrive. In the following articles, one of our industry experts offers tips, tricks and rules of thumb that every grower can use.
It is important to know the condition of your Soil or hydroponic substrate. Some substrates are developed to hold water for longer periods of time and are referred to as porosity blends. Other substrates are developed to drain faster and not retain water for long periods of time. These are called Aeration blends. The same holds true for hydroponic substrates. Absorbent loose or cubed rock wool substrates will hold water similar to porosity blends, while expanded clay can be compared to aeration blends. Under watered plants will appear wilted. Wilting is a sign that the plant has been inadequately watered and can be a common problem with under watering aeration blends. Slumping plant, curled leafs and yellowing are all signs of overwatering. Overwatering is detrimental to the root zone in many ways. It will promote diseases in your roots, also referred to as damping off. Overwatering can also deprive oxygen levels in your substrate needed for nutrient uptake. A properly watered plant should have a slightly moist substrate environment. Not to dry and not to wet. Happy Medium for healthy plants!
Plants are generally created by using seed or by taking cuttings or starts, off of an existing plant. When roots are established, it's time to transplant. The rule of thumb is to use a container four times larger than the starting plug or cube. Common containers used are 4"x4" square, 5"x5" square, ½ gallon rounds and 1 gallon rounds. This allows you to separate strong plants from weak plants for final transplant. It also allows you to better manage water usage. When the foliage on your stage transplant becomes aggressive and roots are well established, you are ready for final transplanting. The same general rule applies to final transplant. The planting hole or container should be at least four times the size of your stage one container. This rule of thumb works well for hydroponic bucket systems, flood and drain tables and soilless mixes. In some cases, larger volumes of soilless mixes are used to produce high yields this is not the same case in Hydroponics. Foliage and fruit production are deemed to be more aggressive in fresh soilless mixes as opposed to native soils where plants have been produced before. When transplanting into standard soilless mixes, it is recommended that you use biology or stimulants in the planting hole to ad with transplant stress and provide disease protection as well as a relationship in the root zone with biology or stimulant. In hydroponics, stimulants can be added to reservoirs to achieve root development and plant health when transplanting. Whether you are planting in the ground, a container or in hydroponics, knowing your plant and its growing habits are important to your success.