Care and Feeding of Young Plants

The temperature is dropping and we need to think about getting the next indoor crop going.  This can either be done by clones or by seeds.  Each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Seed

  • Slow to start and may be prone to stretching if the light level is too low.
  • Typically no sex selection possible when growing dioecious species.
  • Easy and convenient way to introduce new genetics into a growing operation.
  • Under proper conditions can be stored for long periods of time.

 



Clones

  • Requires the care and maintenance of mother plants.
  • Once a line of plants has been sexed further selection isn't necessary.
  • Typically larger than seedling so can take off faster.
  • No genetic variation between clones taken from the same mother.

 

Roots First

Roots are responsible for absorbing water and nutrients as well as supporting the plant and without a proper base the part of the plant outside of the ground can not thrive.  If a young plant appears to be growing slow, it might simply be that its focusing all of its resources on developing a root structure before the shoot and leaf development begins.

 

Light Feeding 

Young plants are very sensitive to extremes in the environment, this goes for fertilizer as well.  Keep the concentration of plant food low, around 350 PPM and increase the strength once they've gotten bigger and have been transplanted into a larger sized container.  Biostimulants such as kelp and fulvic can also be useful during early life as they will help to speed up growth in order to get the plant into the next stage of development sooner.  The generally have a low amount of salinity, making it less likely that they will cause burning.

 

Humidity: Friend and Enemy

Without a proper root system in place, it is very easy for a young plant to wilt which can lead to increased mortality rates if left unchecked. Increasing the humidity will prevent the young plant from drying out.  However having a high level of humidity also provides a perfect environment for mould to grow in.  Start your plants under a humidity dome and then as soon as you can get away with it start offsetting the dome in such a ways so that there will be a crack allowing airflow.  This also starts to wean the plants off of this moist environment.  Once roots are visible (assuming the plants are in rock wool or peat pellets) they should be ready to handle being exposed to the atmosphere without any dome. Keep an eye on them though, just in case they do want to wilt. 

 

    Published by Loren Price

    Bio:
    Loren grew up on a mixed grain and cattle farm in north west Saskatchewan. He went on to study biotechnology and worked in the agrosciences in Saskatoon for several years before moving on to Future Harvest and the hydroponic plant food industry. Starting off in fertilizer production his focus is now on fertilizer formulations and regulatory affairs. His areas of expertise include: agronomy, analytical chemistry, plant tissue culture, plant breeding, molecular biology, and plant nutrition. Outside of work Loren collects vintage concert T-shirts and is an amateur craft brewer specializing in historical and lesser known styles of beer.

    E-Mail: loren@futureharvest.com

  • Sep 12, 2019
  • Category: Articles
  • Comments: 0
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