The benefits of caring for and maintaining your plants’ pH is pretty straightforward; you’ll have healthier plants that demonstrate more vigorous growth and, as a result, produce better harvests. Plus, you’ll also ensure that the time and money you’ve spent fertilising your plants is paying off.
Why Is pH Important When Growing Cannabis?
In the world of cannabis growing, pH affects and is affected by everything. Indeed, the entire process of growing plants is a study in the physical dance of pH balance. Read on for an in-depth overview of pH as it relates to growing quality cannabis.
In those places where cannabis thrives in the wild, the soil is normally slightly acidic; therefore, homegrown cannabis plants also prefer a slightly acidic environment. However, the way that you grow cannabis also plays a role in the optimal pH level for your plants. Cannabis grown hydroponically or without soil needs an even lower pH than a soil grow.
When growing in coco, perlite, or hydroponically, you are in charge of administering nutrients directly to the root zone via the water, which means huge pH fluctuations are more of a risk than in soil. The inert media used in hydro and soilless grows merely retains water and provides support for the roots. So, when administering nutrients, be careful that you don’t overload your plants.
Your growing pots will need to be placed in a damp climate that is within the temperature range listed under our golden rules. After 4–10 days, you should see a young seedling sprout, while the roots will have begun to develop underneath the soil. The entire plant and its soil can now be transferred to a larger pot, where normal growing routines should start.
Place one sheet of damp kitchen towel on a flat surface. Space your seeds a few centimetres apart before placing the second piece of kitchen towel over the top. You need to ensure both pieces are damp, not wet. Once again, when the white root tips reach 2–3mm, move the seeds (carefully) to soil pots. Use the same guidance found above for planting techniques.
The dome of the plastic container will create your seeds’ own mini tropical climate. If you then place all the components in a temperature-controlled cupboard, you will have created a self-perpetuating supply of moisture—no need to touch the seeds again until they are ready to be transferred to your final growing medium as a young seedling. Using the stone wool block method, your seeds should germinate in one to two days.
WET KITCHEN TOWEL METHOD
You will need to invest in a few pieces of unique equipment, but by using stone wool blocks, you can create a perfect utopia for germinating cannabis seeds. Soak the stone wool blocks in the same way you would a soil medium. The wool will retain the moisture and prevent the need to water during the early stages of germination. After the wool blocks are soaked, stick them in a plastic tray that also has a lid. Large cake tubs are ideal.
After 3–5 days, the seeds will start to open, and you should see tiny white tips appear. Once these roots reach 2–3mm in length, use extreme care to transfer them from the water to pre-prepared soil pots.
If you don’t like the idea of pre-soaking your soil, you can use a spray to moisten the holes before you plant each seed. With enough moisture surrounding your seeds, you can still encourage a root to develop.
Arguably one of the least effective methods, but it is still viable. Incredibly simple to facilitate, beginner growers may opt to germinate their seeds in a glass of water. Half-fill a glass or bowl with water that is approximately 22°C (71°F).
Photo: a typical household osmosis filter can be attached to any water faucet in your home or garden. The best buy is a 3-chamber system which contains three filters that can be replaced at relatively low cost.
The ideal pH and pH fluctuation in hydroponics depends on several factors that you have to evaluate on an individual basis because each hydroponic system is different due to the following:
Add the required nutrients to your water until you have the appropriate EC (nutrient concentration) for your plants.
Measure the pH of the nutrient solution.
If the pH is still too high add vinegar * or pH DOWN until the solution has the correct pH.
If the pH is too low add pH UP until the solution has the correct pH.
When you are using tap water let it sit in a container for a few hours so that the chlorine evaporates.