By William Sutherland of Growing Edge Technologies
Soilless gardening is the only way to try new products, each plant has its own root zone that should not be contaminated with more than one plant food. Plant foods should be applied to a few plants to a maximum of half your garden. Growth supplements should be applied to some plants, but not all, and monitored for results. You must keep a good portion (1/2) of the garden growing on the products that you have been regularly using, to have a foundation to compare the sample products to your regular products. These must be grown, at the same time, without too much interference from other products or other sources to have a foundation.
When setting up to try SAMPLE products we need to limit as many factors as possible! The samples that you have received should be tried on a few plants (not all the plants) spaced evenly across the growing area. That way poor lights or poor ventilation should not be limiting your trials. If you are trying two or more sample products then set the garden up as regular products 1/2 RED, 1/4 sample product YELLOW and 1/4 sample products CYAN. Read as much about the SAMPLE product before you start, remember that you are going to be comparing growth from the products that you have been using for awhile and are quite comfortable with. The SAMPLE products are usually different in use than the regular nutrient program that you have been using. Favouritism is often the problem, try to treat all plants the same. Spend as much time as you would normally spend on the garden, evenly spacing your time on all plants.
At no time will it be fair to grow one garden then compare results from the next garden. Limiting the variables and mistakes is truly an ongoing challenge. Listed below is various problems that may occur. GOOD LUCK and may the best plant products be used!
- Keep all growing containers marked for easy identification for applying products.
- Quality of lights can be different, so rotate plants every week.
- Temperatures and humidity from one crop to another can be higher or lower so all trials have to be done at same time.
- Water quality from the tap, well water or city will change crops, need to grow at the same time.
- Placement of plants to light source by rotating plant ensures even lighting.
- Use a thermometer to ensure that temperature of water entering soil is simular.
- Prepare all soilless soil at the same time, and then fill the soil containers.
- Use electronic pH equipment to set pH of nutrient solution.
- Ask manufacture of product what to do when not sure.
- Keep accurate log of all things done during growth and flowering cycle, do not wait a day to log info. This way you know what happened.
- Count leaves and branches, do not rely on eyesight.
- Take pictures. They are neat to review the different growth stages and see where problems may have started.
- If you are really particular then measure stems, internodes lengths and weigh leaves at end of trials (fresh off the plants). Also weigh fallen of leaves and record on separate page.
- Try to keep cuttings from same source and even in health.
- Okay now you are finished the first round of experiments, repeat growth trials to make sure the results stay the same.
- Use the products that gave you the best results.
If you truly want to know which products will work the best for you then this is a must set up for your trials. Due to the fact that lights are not always the same two lights should be used over the growing area and on the next crop. Reverse the lights position so that the other half of garden is now getting light from other light bulb. If there is any difference in air movement it will show up on the second trials.
It never hurts to have one or two test runs on sample products just to get use to the growth and mixing changes. You could be in for a surprise if the sample products are truly outstanding and the growth rate abnormally fast. Then you would need to set up two different rooms so that the smaller plants are not overgrown by the larger plants and the shading of one plant to another restricts experiments.
There are many things that people look for in their search for the perfect set up. Plant seed, H.I.D. lighting, sunlight, fluorescent lighting, incandescent, lighting on time, reflectors, reflective material on walls, growing mediums, soil, soil less, hydroponics, Aeroponics, N.F.T., drip, flood, air movement, air enrichment, heat, humidity, cold, water quality, pH, PPM of nutrient solution, and the list goes on.
But, remember that your trials are telling you what works the best for you. This does not mean that you will achieve the same results as your friends do because your experiment will be figuring out what works the best for you!
ENJOY – THAT IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT!!