Post by GreenDream on Aug 26, 2011 15:26:38 GMT -8
This research was done by BayArea a fellow organic grower. I find it highly informative and hope every one can benefit.
FINDING MY NUTE PROGRAM :
The following is a comprehensive, independent comparison of 8 various nutrient applications and my experiences with them. As I make a living growing medicinal marijuana, quality production, efficiency and price were all taken into consideration. Some products out there are painfully expensive and claim results beyond compare. As many companies still haven't fully immersed themselves in the "marijuana community" it's hard to trust the nute schedules they offer or results they claim in relationship to cannabis. There are obvious exceptions, Advanced Nutrients and Humboldt to name a few but the majority hide behind tomatoes and fruit - that's another issue unto itself. This Aspect however, led me to develop a program that worked for my marijuana strain and me. That idea alone is important to grasp. In nutrient, plant and grower compatibility I believe many things need consideration. Through numerous head to head testing and numerical comparisons I've eliminated some products and discovered an understanding of nutes and more importantly, they're ingredient's.
Under the right conditions and depending on it's stage Marijuana absorbs a maximum amount of each nute it needs. This "amount" is based on a variety of aspects including size, strain, mediums and calculated typically through a parts per million count (ppm). These parts per million represent literally how many "nutrient" salts you have vs. 1 million parts distilled water. When working with mostly soluble fertilizers it's important to understand what this means. When nutrients are dissolved in water, they take on an electrical charge, known as an ion. Salts(ions) conduct electricity from one to the other, the more salts (ions) - the more electrical conductivity (EC). If this EC climbs too high, specific nutrient absorption will stop. If the EC is to low not enough nutrients will be absorbed. Most popular digital ppm meters measure EC and convert it to ppm. Roughly advised ppm counts should be between 550 and 1850. In organic soils and with soluble organic fertilizers its difficult to directly apply the ppm form of measurements. Most organic solutions contain nutrients in microbial form - not salts and are explained typically in %. This % has to be converted to ppm to properly determine how strong in individual nutes a solution may be. This conversion is less accurate but perfectly appropriate for this test. Similarly, pH must be taken into consideration with every application under comparative conditions. Simply put, pH (potential Hydrogen) is a measurement of how acidic vs alkaline your substrate and/or nutrient solution is. Plants absorb nutrients through water bound hydrogen osmosis. This process is the exchange of the negative hydrogen ions (called anions) for positive hydrogen ions attached to nutrients (called cations). This microbial exchange of food takes place directly around the root zone, called the rhizophere. This rhizophere thrives best with a balanced amount of potential hydrogen. Most plants generally grow between a pH of 5.5 and 7.5 (measured on a range from 0 to 14, 14 being the most alkaline). As long as nutrients are available in the proper ratios most leading nutrient manufacturers should and did produce similar results. It's the ingredients and microbial action's taking place that will dictate which nute I found superior. To begin this project, I started with a variety of products, most chosen because of some success I've had with them at one point or another. I broke them down into general grow, bloom, micro and additives groups. Next, I researched ingredients and specified which nutrient each provided and at roughly what %. I then compared likeness and weakness. For example, some "Nutes" provide water soluble and in-soluble forms of nitrogen, some have more magnesium than others, various forms of micro-nutes are provided in drastically different ways. Some nutrients were provided through enhancing microbial life itself. Others had instant results. Things like this were all taking into consideration. With a pre-determined idea of what ppm count of each nute cannabis prefers and careful calculations I could predict which product lines were weak or strong in which nute prior to any application. This is how I developed the 8 different nutrient programs. The schedule's can differ drastically, ultimately however, I designed them to provide similar amounts of each nute over the entire cycle. Rather than any "spikes" or shocking absence of any nute I adjusted some programs so a steady curve was developed. Rarely will you see my programs simply switch from grow to bloom, instead a gradual transition will occur. This would eventually help me determine which "ingredients" were most effective at which stage. As a brief example, after calculating total available nitrogen in Fox Farms schedule, I decided to initially lower the specified applied amount and extended use into early flowering. Additionally, I removed the recommended later flowering application of Grow Big. This resulted in a "curve" of application, starting weak, gradually building strength and tapering off again. This led to some consistent results with many standard and popular nutrient applications. Basically, I matched the intensity from one program to the next prior to even initiating them. I felt these more cannabis specific feeding schedules would better expose true weaknesses with-in the programs and specify which ingredients marijuana prefers.
Running different substrates, different pH levels, and water quality are just some things that could change the results for many of you. The following are broadly the nute programs I tested, additives used and constant variables involved. I'll continue with descriptions and detailed info on each schedule as well as list and explain significant numerical results.
Test 1 - Earth-juice full line Grow - Bloom - Micro-blast - Catalyst - Meta K
Test 2- Neptune's Harvest/Marine based nutrients Alaska fish fertilizer - Neptune's harvest fish and seaweed fertilizer - Neptune's harvest fish fertilizer -
Neptune's harvest Crab shell - Neptune's harvest seaweed fertilizer
Test 3 - Earth-juice/Marine based nutrient blend Alaskan fish fertilizer - Neptune's Harvest seaweed fertilizer - Neptune's Harvest fish fertilizer - Earth-juice Bloom - Earth-juice Catalyst - Earth-juice Micro-blast
Test 4- Fox Farm full line Grow big - Big bloom - Tiger bloom - Open Sesame - Beasties Bloom - Cha ching
Test 5- Advanced nutrients Sensi line Sensi grow 2 part - Sensi bloom 2 part - Sensizyme - Bud blood - Carboload - Voodoo juice - Overdrive - B-52 - Final phase
Test 6- Dyna gro Dyna grow - Dyna bloom - Protekt
Test 7- Bio-Canna Vega - Flores - Bio-boost -Rhizotonic - Cannazyme
Test 8- General Organics Bio-weed - Bio Thrive Grow - Bio Thrive Bloom - Bio-bud - Bio-weed - Cal/mag
Additives used within each test:
Safergro biomin calcium
Safergro biomin magnesium
Botanicare Cal/mag +
Advanced nutrient Piranha
Advanced nutrients Bud blood
Spray and Grow zinc/iron foliar spray
Greenfuse bloom stimulator
Genetically identical plants used. Dutch passion Skywalker - this particular pheno is Mazar strong and fast flowering with excellent predictability.
Pro-mix medium used through-out. I find this is great at maintaining a dense enough structure for microbial life but allows for soluble drain to waste applications. There is also
mycorrhizal fungus included.
10 to 15 days in Ez-clone with water and air stones only - 24 hour weak flouros
7 day rooting period in 1 gallon pots - water only for initial soak - 24 hour low intensity T5's
FEEDING SCHEDULES BEGIN
14 days in 1 gallon pots under 24 hr high intensity T5's (referred to as early vegetative cycle)
21 days in 5 gallon pots under 24 hr high intensity T5's (referred to late vegetative cycle)
45+ days total flowering time under 12/12 1000 watt Hortilux high pressure sodium (referred to as flowering cycle)
12 plants per light - 8, 1000 watt air-cooled lights in 12/12
Lights on temp = 75 to 80 degrees humidity = 50%
Lights off temp = 70 to 75 degrees humidity = 55%
soil ph steady at 6.3 to 6.5
After compiling the above products and developing each feeding schedule I used the above additives within each 12 plant per schedule set-up. As an example, a consistent, predetermined amount of Hygrozyme was added to 1 plant in each cycle - in the Advanced Nutrient case I removed the use of Sensizyme. This gave me results even among the 2 enzyme formulas in that test. 1 plant was also giving Cal/Mag +, 1 Safergro Calcium and so on. This gave me an immense amount of feedback but also resulted in many "head to head" additive comparisons. I could not only determine nutrient/ingredient effectiveness but additives turned out to be the most apparent differences in the test. Above all else I felt my conclusions would lead to a better understanding through recordable growth of not only which nutes but which ingredients resulted in more vigorous growth per what stage the plant was in. Generally speaking, I have a relatively non-scientific approach to growing, although I'm an avid researcher and meticulous when it comes to recording results my priorities tend to be instinctively straight forward in reference to what things I decided to monitor and record. Much of my data is based on actual numbers, however, I also had a number of items I recording on a opinion based numerical rating - basically 1 through 10 - 10 being the best. These numbers would be averaged out in the final stages to determine some overall conclusions. More importantly, they were also studied to specifically determine what grew the best plants in which stage. In addition to numbers I also included any pertinent notes in my weekly observations. The following measurements and ratings were taken every 4 to 5 days through-out the plants life.
Main stock circumference
Plant overall weight (prior to feeding/watering)
Weight in lost foliage (if any)
Tallest major bud site
Shortest major bud site (this would help in determining growth consistency)
Weight in clippings and fan leaves at harvest
Weight in final product
Color and/or bud color
Over-all structure (remained the same through-out)
Root structure rating
Aesthetics of final product
Taste of final product
Price per gram produced
Each nute program was broken into an 80 day cycle resulting in roughly 5 to 6 "vegetative" applications and 8 to 9 "flowering" applications. The results are not easy as simply spitting out numbers. This entire process was designed to create the best compiled nute program through analyzing the ingredient effectiveness at specific growth stages. As my schedules were similar in overall nutrient intensity I expected similar eventual results and that's exactly what they did. Remember it's important to develop a sense of the total nutes applied per cycle and how you choose to give these nute's to the plant. Taking pieces from each schedule and plugging them into the growth stage that they excelled at will lead to over fertilization and throw the nute "curve" off. As complicated as this process was, I new deciding on a basic and effective cycle was the ultimate goal.
Before reading the observations it's important to understand some general organic microbial life. Microbes make up the majority of soil life in nature. Bacteria, fungus, nematodes, algie and many other micro organisms live in soil. In these tests I was primarily concerned with Bacteria and fungus. Bacteria are usually single celled creatures that prefer generally higher pH environments. There are literally billions and billions of them, some thrive in low oxygen soil (anaerobic) and others need air to properly thrive (aerobic). Bacteria need water to live producing a slime of sorts around them that binds the substrate together and preserves some moisture required for it's survival. They are extremely good at decomposing organic matter by producing enzymes that break down nutrients. The enzymatically digested nutrients are then absorbed back into the bacteria. Fungus is similar in that it also uses enzymes to decompose matter but has some unique characteristics. First, it produces Chitin. This is the same biological substance used in crab and various sea shells and the exoskeletons of many insects. Chitin gives fungus stiffer and a more resistant cellular make-up than bacteria. These fungus cells combine into chains and have passageways between them. This allows fungus to transport fluids from one end of it's chain to the other. I'm sure many of you have heard of Mycorrhizal fungi for example, which encircles and sometimes attaches to root systems searching for food and water on it's own by expanding beyond the plants regular capacity, then transports the nutrients back to the roots. Root's will exchange these nutrients for carbohydrate rich fluids called Exudate's. These exudate's are imperative to producing chitin. The important feature here is that the plant chooses when to exchange the nutrients hence giving a healthy plant more natural control over it's own growth. It also means that this fungus will become an extension of root systems leading to more efficient nutrient absorption. When fungus and bacteria absorb a nutrient, that nutrient becomes locked inside them. They don't release this nutrient until exudate exchange or death. This means nutrients have more of a lasting and natural effect creating a humus rich, nutrient available medium. There are books based on this subject so I won't get to deep into it, but I feel promoting a strong microbial life in organic applications is my primary priority. I'll frequently refer to this microbial life, explaining it further. Plants are not totally depended on these methods of nutrient absorption. They can produce they're own enzymes also, just not nearly as efficiently.
I also think understanding " Brix " content can have benefits in comparative tests. Brix is a measure of a combination of various amino acids, oils, proteins, flavonoids, minerals and primarily sugars/carbohydrates within a plant's tissue. Many vineyards and fruit farmers use Brix levels to determine flavor and nutrition values in grapes and fruit. Brix levels can expose some important features in regards to marijuana. It is a great way to monitor your plants health measured using a refractometer. Much in the same way light beams change direction under water a refractometer measures the change in light direction sent through a sample of extracted fluid from the plant. The larger the direction change, the higher the Brix. Basically, as nutrient absorption occurs (specifically carbs and sugars), measured Brix levels rise. If the appropriate ingredient is poorly absorbed Brix levels will remain the same or lower. With that theory in mind we can better determine how well different nutrients react with Marijuana. Interestingly, organic mediums and organic solubles produce much larger Brix numbers. Plants with high Brix numbers are healthy, more pest resistant and full of nutritional value. Essentially the healthier plant is naturally more resistant to pathogens such as insect infestation. Plant eating insects lack the internal organs to properly digest certain sugars (specifically a liver). Undigested sugars will eventually ferment into alcohol killing the insect or disrupting it's digestive system. High Brix typically implies high sugar content hence are generally more unattractive to these bugs. Weak, infested or diseased plants always have lower Brix numbers. High Brix will improve taste, resin production, odor and potency. I feel it's an underestimated value in regards to plant management. If your interested look into Dr. Reams.
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS PER CYCLE:
Test 1 : Earth juice full line = Grow (2-1-1) - Bloom (0-3-1) - Microblast - Catalyst (0.03-.01-1) - Meta-K (0-0-10)
I'm sure you noticed Earth Juice is tested more than once in my experiments. Although this schedule requires some experience to properly apply I feel E.J. is one of the premier organic nutrient lines available. I've always used E.J. The company generally lacks in costumer service and has no recommended schedule for Cannabis. Unique in it's composition, E.J. consists of high quality ingredients that promote micocrobial activity. Over the years I've developed a theory of sorts on nutrients. Simple Diversity. Basically I believe a wide variety of simple, unprocessed ingredients will properly grow microbial life and plants. Earth Juice is in line with this idea.
The "Grow" uses blood meal, steamed bone meal and bat guano as the primary source for nitrogen - 50% of which in non-soluble. This non-soluble nitrogen is imperative in feeding beneficial fungi and bacterial life in the medium. It's very inconsistent from one batch to the next. Occasionally, it's solid as Play-doe. Naturally occurring Sulfate of Potash is used providing appropriate amounts of potassium. Sea kelp (Ascophyllum Nodusum) provides various growth regulators and trace elements. High quality Molasses, a secret weapon in many nutrients is also included. Between Kelp and molasses the Brix levels here are through the roof as both these ingredients are packed with carbohydrates. This product produces tremendous vegetative growth developing a solid foundation for flowering. During the first 6 weeks of veg this schedule led the pack ratings wise and numerically.
The "Bloom" contains no direct form of nitrogen. Rather than blood meal it uses fossilized seabird guano. Normally seabird guano is high in nitrogen but when "fossilized" it breaks down into primarily a phosphorus and potassium rich substance. Other than that, the ingredient's included are the same as Grow in different ratios. Grow and Bloom are weak when used alone. They are designed to be mixed together through-out the entire vegetative and most of the flowering cycle or deficiencies will occur.
The "Micro blast" is a sulfate based formula supplying various micro nutrients. Understanding some soil micro-biology is important to understand the effectiveness of sulfates. In a healthy, living substrate there are sulfur - oxidizing bacteria (they make energy through reacting with sulfur) that help break down organic material producing soluble and easily available nutrients for your plants. This process has essentially already taken place in regards to sulfates and Micro blast, creating an almost chelated effect. The included nutrients and minerals are readily available with-out much assistance from microbial life. In early flowering under heavy growth demands I felt Micro blast was weak in Zinc and Magnesium.
"Catalyst" is an oat bran and sea kelp based nutrient. It is the most popular of the E.J. products. The Catalyst is exactly that. It assists in building soil structure, micro-bial life (specifically beneficial fungal life), organic material break down, contains growth simulators and various hormones. It is an absolutely vital component to the E.J. line and again, sends Brix levels soaring. It contains a tremendous amount of high quality, plant available molasses, and amino acids feeding microbial development.
"Meta K" is also an important addition specifically in relationship to cannabis. Marijuana demands large amounts of potassium in flowering. This product provided more than enough and easily is over applied. I found less amounts spread out over the entire cycle worked excellent.
Earth Juice products work best if applied making an air infused "tea". This tea will explode with microbial life and creates a "living foam" on it's surface. I pre-mix 24 to 48 hours in advance of feeding, heating the solution mildly to 85 degrees. This turns into a rich mixture of balanced, active microbes. Between this tea, the Catalyst and some vital non-soluble nitrogen the bacteria and fungal life within the medium thrives. This soil-life will feed your root zone and in turn feed your plant. With Earth Juice you focus more on maintaining a healthy living medium. The "Grow" gets premixed in a small container so I can viciously shake the hell out of it - then add it to the solution. This tea can last some time with air being pumped in - sometimes a week. It's time consuming but well worth the effort. pH must be balanced prior to application. The Macro nutrient solutions are non pH buffered. It WILL be low. You can also simply pre-mix before application - but mix thoroughly.
This cycle has ridiculous bud development. The diverse ingredients here react excellent with Marijuana. Earth juice uses the highest quality guano available and the molasses is top notch. Smell and flavor are far superior than most other tests. Crucial mid flowering stages with Earth juice responded very well to additives. Cal/Mag in various forms helped firm up buds. Enzymes specifically and beneficial's made nutes more available and increased absorption rates. See the Additive section for more specific results. Final product was phenomenal, buds were swollen and furry with trichromes. I have a long history with Earth juice and expected it to finish high in this overall test. It remains my primary soluble nutrient today. It was second only to Advanced Nutrients in production weight but far better quality in my opinion. The smoke produced simply tastes the best among these cycles and potency is top of the list. I cannot recommend this cycle enough if your interested in organics. When properly applied Earth juice will match any nutrient application out there.
Test 2 : Neptunes Harvest / Marine based nutrients = Alaska fish fertilizer (5-1-1) - Neptunes Harvest Fish fertilizer (2-3-1) - Neptunes Harvest Fish and Seaweed (2-4-1) - Neptunes Harvest Seaweed fertilizer (0-0-1) Neptunes Harvest Crab shell (2-3-0)
I discovered marine based fertilizers from many years of vegetable growing, specifically giant pumpkins. Some of the worlds, largest record holding pumpkins are grown using these products. We're talking about fruit over 1650 lbs for those of you not familiar. Under these nutrients my plants thrived. Many ocean related products contain vital minerals, vitamins and nutrients. Most of the Macro nutrients involved are enzymatically broken down allowing for better medium absorption and therefore better plant uptake (specifically nitrogen). These solutions all assist in building microbial life in soil and binding Soiless mediums like coco and peat. This cycle is cheap, organic and extremely effective.
My primary vegetative product was Alaska Fish Fertilizer. This a deodorized fish emulsion (although if this is deodorized I can't imagine the scent at production). The fish by-products, after removing all the valuable meat, are heated to a minimum of 180 degrees to kill any unwanted bacteria or pathogens. It's then stabilized using phosphoric acid and finely filtered resulting in an easily soluble solution that's apparently difficult to "burn" plants with. I did find over use will produce deep green and stunted plants if your not careful. There is substantial insoluble nitrogen in this product so not much is needed for an extended period of time as it promotes extensive fungal and bacterial micro-bial life resulting in slow and steady release. With proper application my plants love it.
Neptunes Harvest is a company from my home state of Massachusetts. They work with local fisherman and the state to retrieve the usual waste products from fisheries and utilize them for plant nutrient production. It's a relatively small company who prides themselves on quality organic nutrition. I used both the "Fish Fertilizer" and "Fish and Sea-weed Fertilizer" with-in the same test. 6 plants received the "Fish" only and 6 the "Fish and Seaweed". The results were primarily the same - specifically because more "Sea-weed" was added to the "Fish" only application. These products are literally pureed fish that are enzymatically broken down into what is known as a gurry. It's a process similar to fish emulsion but done in cold water. It requires substantial pH balancing at production, usually done with phosphoric acid but the result is a highly nutritious and soluble plant food. The plants readily utilized these products and surged through early and mid flowering stages. Flowering never exploded however, even with a boost additive. The final product was still tastier than the chem lines but was least desirable among the organics.
Neptunes Harvest Sea-weed fertilizer is 100% derived from sea kelp ( Ascophyllum Nodosum ). This is a cold water species of highly valuable kelp. Cold water is typically oxygen rich and contains very few pathogens allowing these underwater plants to grow large extending through various levels in the water column. They contain a vast amount of nutrients and specifically, important growth regulators and hormones. Auxin's, IAA Cytokinins and Gibberlins to name a few. Sea-weed is a natural fungicide also and promotes healthy root growth through chelated potassium and phosphorous. I notice a "spicier" flavor with late flowering applications of Neptunes Harvest Sea-weed, it always promotes excellent stigma formation and I never had any potassium issues. It can take away from the sweeter flavor marijuana sometimes has which I found contradicted the typical reaction plants have to Kelp considering that Brix levels were extremely high.
The Crab shell was added to 3 plants in this test. It was pre-mixed with the soil during the 1 to 5 gallon transplant. This product is high in calcium and magnesium, and a good source of N-P-K generally. Never was there a hint of calcium or magnesium deficiencies. Crab shell is high in Chitin content. This promotes chitin eating bacteria, capable of destroying and preventing unwanted fungus and nematodes. It's a fantastic addition for you serious organic soil users.
Because the majority of included nutrients are in a chelated form, brewing a tea is not necessary. The nutes are stinky, so look else where if odor is an issue for you. These plants always were full of nitrogen and even when curbing use during flowering the buds took on a darker appearance. Fan leaves were the largest on these plants and some stalks were the largest in circumference. The medium interestingly stayed moist longer yet root development was on par with other cycles. Vegetative growth is vigorous and extremely healthy using these products. Continuing into flowering many other nute applications surpassed the marine based nutes in speedy bud development and matured more quickly. I took circumference measurements of the largest buds of each plant involved in these various tests and the "Marine cycle" had the skinniest. The buds were not necessarily more dense either - just longer in appearance and "planty". I recommend Neptunes Harvest products all the time and feel further testing in late flowering cycles will produce some serious, and productive harvests.
Test 3 - Earth Juice / Marine based fertilizer blend = Alaska Fish fertilizer (5-1-1) - Neptunes Harvest Seaweed Fertilizer (0-0-1) - Neptunes Harvest Fish fertilizer (2-3-1) - Earth Juice Bloom (0-3-1) - Earth Juice Micro blast - Earth Juice Catalyst (0.03-0.01-0.1)
When designing these various schedules I was aware that marine based nutes could potentially lead to extended flowering times and slower general bud growth. I felt adding Earth Juice could help produce the heavier and sweeter flavor I desired. Regarding ingredients this cycle is probably the most diverse I tested. The input from the above tests and this one greatly exposed certain nutes and the results they produce.
The veg program had similar results as above. Again. I primarily used Alaska Fish Fertilizer for the vegetative cycle. Micro-blast and Catalyst were also added however. This had a surprising result. The plants maintained the impressive vegetative growth as before and maintained a deep green color. They also had an extremely consistent structure with almost no difference in major bud height. Interestingly, leaf tips burned ever so slightly on a few plants, I'm guessing from an abundance of chelated micro-nutrients. They grew vigorously however, and had softer more pliable stems and stalks than the strictly Marine test.
One major difference between the marine based products and this schedule was application. Remember E.J. Catalyst is oat bran based. Oat meal and oat bran ingredients promote beneficial fungus and bacterial life. These grow best when we mix aerobic (air infused) "teas" with the nutes. This aerobic tea contains heavy amounts of insoluble nitrogen, from the addition of Fish and Sea-weed fertilizers which results in sustained microbial food in the soil. So as with Test 1, this solution is full of microbial life and resulted in a living soil environment once applied. This soil maintained an extremely healthy root zone. The heaviest and most impressive among all the tests in fact. This large root system built the thickest stalks and branches involved. The E.J. Catalyst vastly improved soil life over Test 2.
Bud growth was very impressive. In my opinion this confirms the E.J. Bloom's effectiveness. The included fossilized sea-bird guano and bat guano help promote stinky, sticky and full buds. These buds also had a darker color towards the end of the 12/12, I suspect from Neptunes Harvest Sea-weed fertilizer which is added for additional potassium. Potassium can increase chlorophyll production in addition to assisting in building carbohydrate accumulations resulting in larger, more full buds but also darker and greener at times. Observed microbial life here was impressive. Healthy mediums have an immense amount of diverse bacterial and fungal organisms. This population primarily thrives from nitrogen intake. As they absorb the nitrogen they trap it. Remember, this trapped nitrogen is not available to the plant until that individual bacteria or fungus is destroyed or they trade it with the plant for exudates (exudates are carbohydrate based fluids released from plants important to microbial life). This promotes nutrient retention and available food for your plant. Most nutrients are absorbed this way in organic, healthy mediums. Fungus and bacteria use enzymes to break down material - retain the nutrient for some time - exchange it using hydrogen osmosis within the root zone or die and release the nutes in an easily absorbed form. When not adding grow nutrients and there are high amounts of available nitrogen I can conclude that a high amount of microbial life exists. All signs pointed to this scenario with this test.
I liked this application and will work to create a less nitrogen depended food web in future tests. Non the less it exposed ingredient effectiveness and demonstrated how diversity can lead to less work. You'll noticed nute applications were relatively small. This schedule has the most noticeable surges in growth in early and middle flowering. It would remain at a certain height for a number of days while others slowly surpassed them. Then suddenly they would explode 2 inches in height usually after a feeding. This was another clue to me that the microbial life is primarily nitrogen dependent. The bacteria would lie dormant until feeding, then life would surge promoting root absorption and growth.
The final product was more than satisfactory. Trichrome development and resin production was excellent, not as furry as E.J. but better than the Marine only. I always keep reserves of these nutrients around. My Sativa dominant strains responded much better to the cycle.
Test 4 Fox Farm Full line = Grow Big (6-4-4)- Tiger Bloom (2-8-4)- Big Bloom (0.01-0.3-0.7)- Open Sesame (5-45-19)- Beastie Bloomz (0-50-30) - Cha-ching (9-50-10)
I've been eager to write about Fox farm for some time. It's an extremely popular and effective chemical based product. If you've read the above information than you understand the importance of a "living" substrate. A diverse and rich bacterial and fungal balanced medium contains enough beneficial organisms to out compete pathogens and disease causing bacteria and creates accessible stored nutrient content. Chemical fertilizers kill off much of the microbial life and allow for limited forms of absorption and resistance to disease. When some microbial life dies off the fragile "circle of life" follows. If for example we eliminated bacterial life, this will lead to an abundance of fungus. Enzymes produced from fungus are acidic. This drives the pH down creating nutrient lock-up and unattractive environments for life, specifically bacteria. Fox farm definitely suffers from this chemical kill off scenario. Two major things exposed this to me even before applications. First, all the micro-nutrients are applied through chemical composition with-in the primary grow and bloom products and they are also in Big Bloom. As microbial life is imperative in organic micro-nutrient absorption and chemicals kill microbial life we can infer that Big Bloom under these conditions produces minimal nutrient effectiveness hence most micro-nutrients must be applied chemically. Second, if we refer to the recommended feeding schedule posted on the companies web-site you'll see in week 7 and 8, they call for additional Grow Big. Remember that the majority of bacteria we're interested in are nitrogen loving and retain that specific nute for lengthy periods of time. This is exactly why many organic programs can eliminate nitrogen all together later in flowering. Here, the chemicals have eradicated these bacteria and hence eliminated nitrogen storage capacity requiring an extra dosage. This led me to restructure the schedule. I feel if your going to use chemicals you should apply them as such. Less over more applications. I treated this test as if no soil life was present. I decreased initial nitrogen and then divided it among vegetative and early flowering applications. My primary nitrogen weeks are 2 through 8. This also fell into my "curve" scenario of nutes - building to a maximum and then tapering off towards harvest. In no way do I want to discourage those of you who use Foxfarm, as far as chemical fertilizers go it's extremely effective. I think it's important to understand how your feeding your plants however.
Big Bloom is the all organic additive Fox farm uses. Early applications, with-out chemical additions, promote soil health and lush, consistent growth. After the additions of Big bloom and Tiger Bloom it's effectiveness tapers off. Although some positive effects are noticed the majority of organic nutrients are unavailable and bacterial and fungal life struggles to maintain populations, unable to react with the nutes. I lowered the overall applied amount and it had little impact. The solution is made of effective ingredients. Bat guano, earth worm castings and enzymes. These enzymes are this products saving grace in fact and are the primary reason I continued applying it with the chemicals.
Both Grow Big and Tiger Bloom are highly effective synthetic/chemical compositions. Lacking in diversity really is not an issue here, especially with faster flowering strains like this Skywalker for example. It's extremely predictable and easy to apply. Grow Big produced very rigid, similarly structured plants. Fan leaves were minimal but large and efficient. This is a general theme with this product. Stalk circumference and stem width was smaller and woodier but seemed efficient at transporting fluids and therefore nutes. Tiger Bloom promoted dense, sticky and heavy nuggets. The leaf to bud ratio was very low. Plants seemed to concentrate on building buds when they were suppose to. This resulted in solid harvests and heavy production. The marijuana was less pungent than organic application and the flavor was not as "sweet" but still impressive.
The "solubles" Open Sesame, Beastie Bloomz and Cha-ching are all chemical based nutrient boosts designed to add necessary nutrients during the usual growth surges flowering cycles endure. They are all mildly effective. I tried some plants with-out these "solubles" and had very similar results. Buds did however, grow more compact with use and had improved trichrome growth. Harvest was improved from applications of Hygrozyme, I'd imagine any enzyme based formula would be effective. This happens because it improves uptake of Big Bloom associated ingredients and organic matter. I'm convinced the microbial life struggles in this program. Added enzymes did improve nutrient diversity with-out relying on a "living" substrate. Foxfarm generally has low Brix levels.
I've always looked at Fox Farm as junk food for plants. But I even have Twinkies and Doritos in my cabinet. Who's really to say this junk food is not exactly what marijuana likes. This product is sure proof when applied correctly and results in formidable harvests. It did not create stand out numbers but was above average with minimal effort and low cost. I highly recommend it if chemical blends are what your into although I highly recommend looking into organics.
Test 5 - Advanced nutrients Sensi line = Sensi grow 2 part (3.7-0-0) + (2.5-2.2-5.7) - Sensi bloom 2 part (4.3-0-3.1) + (1.5-6.1-5.7) - Sensizyme - Bud blood (0-39-25)- Carboload - Voodoo juice - Overdrive (1-5-4) - B-52 (2-1-4) - Final phase
Advanced Nutrients is a cannabis specific nutrient designed to enhance growth and flowering production. These products were applied strictly through the companies recommended schedule. They work excellent. This Nute cycle is a blend of organic and synthetic elements. It's a relatively complex make up. Although these items do contain synthetically derived nutes they do not eradicate all soil life. Advanced Nutrients creates a large number of additives also giving specific control in various growth stages. It is truly advanced in composition and results. They're claim to fame is the intense research into the relationship of micro and macro nutrients. In most cases your macro nutes rely on a specific micro nute to properly be absorbed by the plant. Advanced Nutrients have identified these specific combinations and ensured the proper ratio is included in the solution.
The Sensi grow 2-part is two formulas hence the "2 part" description. Part A is primarily nitrogen, with calcium, iron, manganese and molybdenum. Part B also has nitrogen but contains the other vital micro-nutrients. These 2 parts are mixed together to form a rich vegetative solution. Separating these items allows for more control when applying, Blending more A than B naturally would lead to a nitrogen strong solution. The opposite would be micro-nutrient rich. Nitrogen is readily available in ammonium and nitrate form producing lush growth with superior branching. Plants had a beautiful green color to them and leaves were full and almost more serrated than normal.
Voodoo juice was added to the "veg" cycle and promotes heavy beneficial bacterial growth, specifically Paenibacillus microbes. This is a prolific bacteria specialized in breaking down mineral compounds in acidic conditions - specifically nitrogen. Perfect for marijuana. This product is highly effective promoting efficient nitrogen absorption. It is stage appropriate. Advanced Nutrients does this frequently with it's many additives and beneficials. Learning how these organisms work and what they primarily decompose is important to proper application with these nutes. Voodoo Juice for example will help eliminate adding Nitrogen later in flowering as many growers like to do. The nitrogen is still available for plants - it's just temporarily locked in the microbial life. B-52, a vitamin boost was also added at earlier stages. It's composed primarily of kelp and humic acid. Both are important microbial building ingredients and the kelp contains a vast amount of chelated minerals, nutrients and growth hormones. Humic acid has numerous plant energizing effects helping in microbial resistance and energy production. Root systems were large and created a healthy, full plant as a result.
Sensi Bloom 2-part is set up in a similar manner as the grow. Part A contains nitrogen, calcium, iron, manganese and molybdenum but with less nitrogen intensity. Part B is phosphorus and potassium strong with additional nitrogen and all the necessary micro nutrients. Again, this gives us more control over nute intensity with the two parts. With proper application these plants had steady, consistent growth maintaining even internode spacing and compact bud sites. Crystallization was incredible and buds were heavy with resin.
In the transitional period of vegetative to flowering Bud Blood was added. This is a flower boosting formula consisting of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and sulphur. It is a soluble chemical fertilizer and works incredibly. It initiates early flowering in plants and buds are compact from the beginning of growth. Total flowering time is shortened from the earlier flower initiation and plants maintain production levels. I continue to use this product today particularly on longer flowering sativas.
Carboload is another additive. It's designed with multiple types of carbohydrates and the ever beneficial fulvic acid. This product is an advertised food for microbial bacterial and fungal life who then help release residual nutrients in the substrate and rhizophere. It should be quickly noted that Carboload is plant available. It is easily absorbed with minimal assistance from microbial life. Carbohydrates are important building blocks for Fungi and bacteria. They get many of these carbs through plant exudate's. Therefore it does "feed" microbial life although indirectly. ( Many of you are familiar with Bud Candy, which is a similar product, however it directly feeds microbiology which then breaks the available sugars into absorbable forms. ) This product dramatically raises Brix levels and resin production flourishes. There is also silicon included which promotes cellular wall growth creating strong, thick skinned plants. This is a noticeable addition. Plants are full and lush and buds take on the swollen, usually all organic look. Results are not necessarily instant but in an over-all scale it provides much needed nutrition for plant growth. The added Fulvic acid has numerous positive effects on substrate health promoting various microbiological activity. Fulvic acid essentially re-energizes your plant on a cellular level. Microbial life uses tremendous amounts of acid's to break material down in the form of enzymes. Replenishing this acids substantially increases absorption rates of various minerals and vitamins. Healthy substrates typically lead to healthy roots and plants. Most of the obvious growth produced from this solution are primarily the cause of this added acid - not the carbs and sugars. Added carbs, sugars and products like black strap molasses usually don't have an instant effect. Ultimately, they absolutely help with plant size, strength and resistance to disease and pathogens. They also make for a sweeter flavor and better tasting smoke. This is a wonderful addition to this and many programs.
Overdrive is a bloom booster. It has various forms of available phosphorus and potassium. There is also ample magnesium and ascorbic acid. The primary ingredients are designed to help build bud growth and enhance additional resin production. Various nutrient companies call for bloom boosting agents later in flowering cycles and this is simply Advanced Nutrient's version. The ascorbic acid however, is worth briefly discussing. It is an important ingredient although I think it would be more effective in earlier applications. It helps in many components of a plants life. The plants immune system gets stronger and they become more disease resistant with applications of ascorbic acid. It's an anti-oxidant of sorts in regards to the soil and will break down any negative atmospheric gases produced from anaerobic organic material decay. Studies have even shown it's importance in photosynthesis and in growth regulation on a cellular division level. It's a complex ingredient but does deserve attention.
Final phase is simply a flushing agent that assists in clearing out salt build up caused from primarily chemical based nutrient solutions. I noticed no real difference between simply using pH balanced water. Many people flush at the end of a flowering cycle and with chemicals it's important to do so. Salt based nutrients accumulate within the substrate and plant tissue. Flushing with pH balanced water or with the addition of Final Phase dilutes these salts and lowers the overall ppm count within the medium. The plant will continue it's normal uptake but the solution is so diluted that deficiencies will occur. In turn, the plant draws nutrients from fan leaves and distributes them as needed. This process will eventually lower nutrient content within the plant material itself and create better tasting, smoother smoke. Flushing for the last 2 feedings is my regular practice. Twice in 8 or 10 days.
Sensizyme was the final product I used in this cycle. It's an extremely effective enzyme based solution. Enzymes in soil are typically produced by bacteria and/or fungal activity. These enzymes are responsible for organic decomposition and hence nutrient availability. In environments hostile to rich organic microbial life there sometimes are not enough produced enzymes to properly decompose the available nutrients within your medium. This is where adding enzyme based formulas are most noticeable - as in the case with Advanced Nutrients. It should be noted however, I've had incredible results with enzyme additives in 100% organic situations as well. Sensizyme preforms incredibly and is added throughout most of the schedule. It's a highly recommended addition. I'll discuss enzymes in the additive section further.
Final product here was fantastic. The buds smelled nice and resin production was incredible. This schedule had the heaviest yield at harvest. The buds were sticky and potent. If you have the money, as it is pricey, I'd suggest trying it out. It is a specialized formula and requires time and experience to properly apply. With many different additives and the 2 - part primary solutions this schedule offers the most control over specific nutrient levels. So much control in-fact that adjusting minor things here or there really helps expose how nutes react with plants. This cycle is not only effective but educational. I did not include a schedule here as I strictly followed manufacturers recommendations.
Test 6 - Dyna Gro = Grow (7-9-5) - Bloom (3-12-6) - Protekt (0-0-3)
This is a simple and effective chemical fertilizer. The manufacturer specializes in multi-cycle indoor flowers, things like violets and orchids. Measuring the ppm of this solution needed only minimal work considering the ingredients are strictly elemental salts. The company basically recommends a 1/2 tsp every watering of either Grow or Bloom. I ultimately decided that was the best application also with minor increases later if 12/12. As with most chemical fertilizers, nutrients are extremely available for plant absorption and fast acting. It's advisable to add a mid flowering (water only) flush mid cycle. This cleans the medium of any salt build up which will occur using these nutes. As with Test 4 I approached this test with no microbiology in mind. I lowered average PH to 5.8 + and treated the medium as more of a " hydro " environment.
As both major solutions contain plenty of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and micro-nutrients simply switching from Grow to Bloom upon initiating the 12/12 light cycle is entirely appropriate and effective. These chemicals work but do have some faults. Flavor and scent are absolutely diminished in comparison to more organic methods. I've always found plants grown in chemical conditions take on a less bushy appearance and tend to be taller and woodier in structure. Fewer, more efficient leaves are developed and buds are tighter and more compact. Crystallization was more than sufficient with this product and began early on in flowering.
The stand out product here was Protekt. I continue to add it to early vegetative plants even today. This is a potassium strong silicon solution. Silicon literally makes plants stronger by thickening cell walls within the plant. This helps in fighting unwanted fungal spore penetration and even helps deter plant sucking insects. It produces strong, thick skinned plants resistant to environmental stress. The extra potassium is also helpful, encouraging root development and chlorophyll production. With susceptible plants to pest and disease this addition is recommended. In later flowering this product helped in typical ways, increasing bud size and promoting carbohydrate relocation.
The final product was more generic than any other test and although potent, the dried product was my least favorite. As with many chemical/synthetics Brix levels were very low. Keep in mind this is only in comparison to the other final products involved. It was still quality, high grade marijuana. The ease of application and value here cannot be ignored. If you grow plants chemically, and are looking for simple, effective nutes this program will get good results.
Test 7 - BioCanna = Bio Vega - Bio Flores - Rhizotonic - Cannazym - BioBoost
BioCanna is a vegetable based line of nutrients. No animal waste products are used. Many people shy away from products produced with animal residues to avoid any possible disease contamination. Things like possible mad cow for example in Livestock based blood meal. This is a legitimate concern but rarely occurs with quality nutrients. In any case, this is very effective formula. They are composed of unique ingredients and rapidly build a microbial environment healthy for root development and stress resistance. This microbial world is rich in primarily acid loving fungal life and beneficial bacteria.
Bio Vega supplies nitrogen in the form of " Betaine Nitrogen". This nitrogen is specifically designed to interact with sulfer loving fungus and bacteria. These organisms bind with the nutrients through enzyme decomposition and then "trade" these items with root systems within the rhizophere. The important feature to this is that the plant essentially chooses to absorb the nutrient or not. This results in very steady and predictable growth. Plants were not as large as other tests but maintained slow and steady progress throughout.
Bio Flores is the major blooming component. It is also a high quality item and continues in the same theme of rich microbial environments. The stand out here is the addition of a number of Hops extracts. These items are known to enhance flavor and scent among resin producing plants. It is an ingenious addition in my opinion, created from the Cannabiscea family. These extracts are lupulin, lupulon, lupurol and humulon and they seem very effective. Nutrients here again are supplied through the microbial exchange of nutrients by promoting healthy root zones. The plants continued very steady, even growth into blooming and bud development was incredible. Plants were extremely resinous, and almost more putrid in smell than other schedules.
All nutrients here also have large amounts of fruit based acids. Ascorbic and Salicylic acids for example that improve countless bio-chemical interactions within the plant and improve resistance to vascular disease. BioCanna prides themselves on plant health and general resistance to disease. They claim higher scent and flavour related oils over competition and the final product was potent and extremely stinky. Brix numbers are extremely high generally with Bio-Canna only rivaled only by Earthjuice.
Rhizotonic is an algae based formula. This very similar to a sea-weed or kelp based solution. It's basically their all in one additive. It has an immense amount of vitamins and minerals feeding the microbial life steady through the schedule. The company claims the included "Oligossaccharides" are an important feature. It is a fruit based combination of simple sugars (fructose) and easily available to the microbial life. This result is a healthy rhizophere. A healthy rhizophere is rich in microbial life. Remember that the more microbial life present, the more likely they will out compete unwanted pathogens. With this in mind these plants are extremely vigorous and resistant. This is an important and extremely effective addition to this schedule. It is yet another solution that asists in a higher Brix.
BioBoost is designed to promote phosphorus and potassium uptake. Both crucial nutrients in later flowering. BioCanna again uses incredibly unique ingredients here - tropical rain-forest plant extracts. These extracts promote fungal growth. This fungus is specifically efficient at transporting phosphorus and trades this nutrient for plant exudate's. Exudate's are incredibly important to fungal growth hence a "symbiotic" relationship occurs. Again, root zone health is the primary priority here. In organic situations that is of great importance. This solution works.
Cannazyme is another enzyme based nutrient designed specifically to help break down organic material in the substrate. Although there is a dense microbial world already in process with this nutrient schedule adding enzymes assist in making nutrients available at a faster rate. Many times relying on only microbial nutrient availability in indoor, organic situations we don't necessary provide the plants with the total potential of residual nutrients available. These enzymes help decompose larger, anaerobic material like dead roots and organic material suspended in the medium. I find enzymes are an important addition to any indoor, organic environment. They keep the medium clean, maintain healthy microbial life and help plants absorb the full potential of available nutrients. Many of these added enzymes are created using bacteria. Bacteria typically thrives in higher concentrations when pH is 7.0 and above. Therefore many of these enzymes are generally unavailable because of the acid loving environment cannabis thrives in. Adding them can therefore be highly beneficial.
This schedule produced wonderful herb and is easy to apply. Specifically because of the clever bottle design. The buds were full, incredibly resinous and smelled wonderful. The results were very similar to General Organic in fact although actual growth was in my opinion more predictable and steady. In applying nutrients I find steady and predictable growth through-out is significant. Surges in growth, as experienced with Marine based products for example, results in extended inter-node length and can lead to deficiencies because of sudden nutrient demands. I strive to achieve steady growth on all my schedules, and Bio Canna is in-line with that theory. I also noticed improved color using Bio Canna. Skywalker is 1/2 Dutch Passion's Blueberry and frequently shows blue and purple hues. This schedule showed more color than most second to only Earth Juice. Application was most efficient brewing an air infused tea as with Earth juice and General Organics. I find the Cannazyme should not be added until right before giving the nutrient tea to your plants. Enzymes work quickly and fungal microbial life takes some time to develop. I was impressed over-all and I think further studies with these truly unique line is important. It is expensive but you do get what you pay for. I used the manufacturers provided schedule.
Test 8 - General Organics = Bio Root (1-1-1) - BioThrive Grow (4-3-3) - BioThrive Bloom (2-4-4) - Bio Weed (.2-0-.3) - Bio Bud (.5-.1-1)
This test was done long after the others but under the same conditions. Originally I had another Earth Juice based schedule but felt revealing the data collected from General Organics would help in these nute comparisons. I've heard of so many growers having success with General Hydroponics. This schedule is their vegetable based organic line. I've actually recorded 2 cycles with this program and think it's a quality, pH buffered product. Generally speaking the provided schedule was good. The company recommends doubling the dosage of Grow and/or Bloom for a stronger solution. I found slightly more was necessary in later flowering (15ml instead of the recommended 10ml). The Cal/Mag product alone is relatively weak, in conjunction with the Grow and Bloom however, it seems to provide enough for most plants. It also contains important molasses.
Ingredients in General Organics range from unique, specialized and rich to generic salt based items. Bloom and Grow are comprised of almost the exact same ingredients mixed in different ratios. Based in cane sugar and alfalfa meal most nutrients are applied in the form of sulfates. These sulfates require bacteria rich mediums to properly break down and become available nutrients to the plant. This bacteria dominated solution then naturally breaks down other nutrients and contains specifically readily available nitrogen. This aspect leads to tall and vigorous plants. Kieserite, a major ingredient in Epsom salts is included in the Grow, I suspect to add additional magnesium and to help stabilize the pH. This is also a sulfate - again pointing to a unique, bacteria rich environment. Glacial Rock powder is yet another unique ingredient. I'll quote Agricola in their description " Freshly ground rock powder increases the paramagnetic force in the soil, allowing greater interaction with the Earth's magnetic field ". More importantly, it provides a number of chelated elements, including lots of calcium. Many specialized gardening companies flirt with the idea of plant interaction with the Earths magnetism. High Brix numbers are also associated with this idea. In fact, any mineral or metal additives such as iron for example, increase this magnetic activity between the plant and it's environment. This is a relatively unexplored aspect of gardening and deserves more attention. The Boron and Molybdenum are provided as simple sodium minerals.
Bio Root is an important medium building solution. Alfalfa meal and brewers yeast are it's primary ingredients along with soybean meal and sea kelp. These things promote bacterial and fungal growth creating a balanced substrate. It is applied as a vegetative nutrient and results in a large root system and healthy plants through a thriving rhizoshere.
The Bio Weed is literally pureed and processed sea-weed (Acophyllum Nodosum). It is packed with chelated nutrients and growth regulators. It provides nitrogen through promoting bacterial growth and contains large amounts of potassium.
Bio Bud is the final solution in this system. It also contains the ever so present sea kelp along with rock phosphate and plant protein hydrolysate. This plant protein is essentially plant created enzymes that assist in the decomposition of organic materials. It produces a solid source of balanced nitrogen appropriate for late flowering and provides additional phosphorus and potassium for important late flowering bud development. This is a stand out additive in this cycle. I think it's one of the most effective bloom boosting agents I've used.
This nutrient formula is extremely well filtered and clearly full of sugars. My work table will be sticky in fact after mixing nutes. Not that the smell is pleasant but odor is not much of an issue. Root formation is solid and plants take on more of a "chemically" fed structure. The growth is very deliberate, although fewer in fan leaves and bud sites they were larger and denser. Stems and main stalks are not wide but are relatively green and very strong. It should be noted that the Cal/Mag has proven relatively week - in regards to this test, using Skywalker, it was fine but my larger, sativa dominate strains show deficiencies in mid and late flowering. Lastly, the majority of potential microbial life here is aerobic, this means that in regards to applications air should be added to the formula specifically if not used right after mixing. I used the manufacturers recommendations for schedule applications. I did increase the Bloom to 15 ml in mid flowering and decreased Grow to 5ml through-out veg until plants were large and capable of handling the nutrient strength. I continue to work with this cycle today and plan on further tests to narrow down more specific results. It's a solid nutrient combination. I should mention General Organics provided me with multiple samples for my tests and were happy to help with any of my research. GenHydro is a great company and most of they're products are heavily researched.
Safergro Biomin Calcium (2-0-0) and Magnesium (2-0-0) :
These are two different products but I'll group them together in application and description. These nutrients are in chelated form. This means they are readily available for plant absorption. In soil, micro organisms and plants all produce organic and amino acids in the form of enzymes to decompose organic matter and bio-chemically process nutrients so that they are readily available for plant uptake. This process has essentially already been done with these nutes. These are fast acting and a highly efficient way to provide nutrients. Each micro nutreints is encapsulated in a shell of amino acids of sorts. This shell prevents any medium interaction. Once the plant absorbs the encapsulated micro nutrient it will shed it's shell and become available.
As we all know calcium and magnesium are of significant importance in the world of marijuana. On every stigma tip for example, there are deposits of calcium. Adding calcium created denser and larger buds. It is an important building block in cellulose. Cellulose is what a plant is primarily made of. Marijuana is a fast growing and demanding plant and large amounts of calcium are needed as a result.
Magnesium is of equal importance. It has less specific duties inside a plant and aids in a number of functions from chlorophyll composition to carbohydrate absorption. As plants grow the demand for magnesium increases. It is commonly deficient indoors with marijuana specifically because it's most available at a higher pH. Chelated nutes work under a wider pH range and hence are available even in the acidic soil cannabis prefers.
These nutes when combined properly satisfy all calcium and magnesium requirements. It was too strong in fact when applied with any kind of quantity. Only 1/4 tsp of each nute was more than satisfactory. The one negative thing with these items is the presence of strong nitrogen making late flowering applications difficult. I tend to apply it early in the 12/12 cycle and refrain from use after the fifth feeding of flowering. In testing this nute combination I simply removed any cal/mag formula included and replaced it with these products for a few plants in each 12 plant set. It absolutely made the General Organic version seem weak in comparison. Results were faster and stronger than Botanicares solution also. The thing is however, the included high nitrogen levels created much of the deep green color observed and can account for some of it's effectiveness. In any case, it is cheap, organic and a wonderful alternative to typical cal/mag solutions. It also gave me more control over individual plants needs. Some plants for example, process plenty of calcium but need only magnesium. These two products allowed for adjustment. Highly recommended, specifically in hydroponic environments. The Dynagro had the best results with this addition. Plants that received them actually out produced some others in the same test. With Earthjuice it quickly cleaned up minor deficiencies and promoted slightly denser buds.
All plants reacted well to these nutes with the exception of those in Test 2 which had high Nitrogen levels from the start. The additional Calcium and Magnesium were over kill.
Botanicare Cal/Mag + (2-0-0) :
Calcium and magnesium are frequently weak in many nutrient solutions and indoor soil substrates. The above description of these nutrients importance obviously applies here. Botanicare adds iron also. Iron is extremely important in plant functions. It assists in chlorophyll production and photosynthesis. It is also vital in the transpiration process. Briefly, transpiration is the absorption of nutrient fluid through the root zone and the transfer of these fluids throughout the plant. Eventually, this fluid is released (transpired) through stomata on the undersides of leaves. Stomata are valves of sorts the plants open and shut to control this procedure. (I find Iron is one of the few nutrients effectively applied through foliar applications)
This solution is effective and relatively potent. The added iron creates healthy, green looking plants and the cal/mag is provided in a balanced manner. This is not organic. It's not as fast acting as Safergro but results were similar from a cycle perspective. I followed manufacturers recommendations for applications.
I've done extensive research on this product. I'm extremely confident with the findings. If you've read my thread "Hygrozyme for soil/soiless" than you already have a firm grasp on the benefits. I need to better explain a few things however. As mentioned in the above information enzymes are responsible for decomposing numerous things in our world. Spiders and flies, for example use enzymes to digest food. Various enzymes are used in cleaning solutions, breaking down toxic items like gasoline and oil spills. In regards to soil, enzymes are responsible for the decomposition of almost all organic matter. Understanding how this works is important to understanding the benefits of enzymes.
Bacteria and Fungus produce the majority of enzymes we are concerned with. Most of us are familiar with compost. Think along those lines for a moment. Very simply put, composting happens because billions of bacteria and fungus naturally are attracted to and live in the compost pile. These organisms break down the material by releasing acid based enzymes. These enzymes decompose the nutrients bio-chemically. The microbes then absorb the decomposed nutrient. The nutrient is now unavailable to the substrate. It is locked inside the micro organism. Only with eventual rhizosphere interaction and/or the death of the micro organism will these trapped nutes become available. Compost usually has many different species of bacteria and fungus all efficient in different ways at decomposing certain ingredients and eventually providing potential nutrients. That is important, if we were to compost only certain ingredients we naturally will attract only certain organisms and hence be using specific enzymes. ( This also means we can control what the medium is strong in by controlling included microbial life - certain microbes will decompose certain materials ) Companies have learned how to isolate these enzymes and we add them to nutrient solutions. Naturally when we add enzymes, decomposition of organic matter will increase and nutrients will be more readily available. None of your current bacteria or fungus was needed in producing these added enzymes so there fore not enough microbial life exists to absorb all the available nutes - making them temporally unavailable. This means the plants will happily take the nutes directly from your substrate without working with microbial bacteria or fungi. It does not mean that plants will cease the relationship with microbial organisms - it simply means it will absorb nutrients in a more diverse, chelated manner.
After previous research with this product I determined it assists in nutrient availability so efficiently I could feed the plants with less nutrients each application. Results with this solution were the biggest stand out in these tests. Earthjuice responded excellent, as did General Organics. In both tests the biggest producering plants were fed with Hygrozyme. The quality was improved in almost every test it was applied. I say almost because in the case of Bio Canna for example, Cannazyme is nutrient specific, meaning it was designed for those unusual and unique ingredients. Replacing Cannazyme with Hygrozyme showed no real benefit, it did not however loose points with the switch. In the Marine based test it produced better bud development and more trichromes than with-out. With Advanced Nutrients, Sensizyme was actually more effective than Hygrozyme. This is no doubt due to specific priorities in developing the solution. Sensizyme is a fantastic additive and contains alginic acid. The results of various acid additions are known benefits in plant nutrition. Hygrozyme was my main enzyme tested so it was only compared to these other enzyme products with in their schedule. Not broadly enough to find real comparison results with the other enzyme products. Remember to mix-in this solution right before feeding your plants. Even when working with teas, Hygrozyme should not be added to the solution until feeding time. I begin in the vegetative stages with 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) and increase every watering by 1 ml until I reach 5 ml (1 tsp). During early flowering I begin to increase again by 2 or 3 ml every watering/feeding and max out around 10ml (2 tsp). I stop use the last few weeks to prevent residual nitrogen availability. This improved every substrate it came in contact with and increased plant production. Earth Juice had an almost 10% gain in plants with this addition. Even with the all chemical blends it helped with maintaining a healthy root environment. I can't recommend it enough.
Advanced Nutrients Piranha :
This is an incredible formula. It is beneficial fungus. These fungi form symbiotic relationships with plants and prefer acidic environments. As stated on the bottle it provides trichoderma and 18 species of endomycorrhizal and ectomycorrhizal fungi. These fungus have different ways of providing nutrients to plants. Endo-Mycorrhizal Fungus for example actually penetrates the root system and expands in search of food, then excretes enzymes for decomposition and funnels the available nutrients back to the plant. The plant processes these nutrients and releases it's own fluid called exudates. Exudates are used by the fungus to grow. One organism depends on the other. Ecto-mycorrhizal fungus grows outside and around the roots and serves a similar function expanding the root system and bringing food back to the rhizosphere. Trichiderma also decompose nutrients but are specialized in defeating pathogens, unwanted nematodes and bad microbial life. Interestedly, Mycorrhizal fungus are an intricate part of a suspected 90%+ of all living plants. Colonies can grow massive and supply multiple plants of different varieties. Fungi are truly a fascinating part of soil biology. I urge all you organic growers to learn more about them if you haven't.
One issue with building your own soil microbial web with home made compost and organic material is we can easily introduce unwanted microbes that lead to disease and problems. Adding these beneficial fungi ensures out-populating these bad organisms. More importantly in most sterile environments like the mediums we all typically use, fungus helps in the decomposition of matter and nutrient availability.
This product works fantastic with organic solutions. It produced temporary growth surges in the chemical based products after application but did eventually lead to larger plants. I pointed to a quick fungal life cycle with chemicals and contributed the surges to this. Earthjuice, BioCanna, the Marine based schedule and even Foxfarm all had positive growth results and maintained healthier plants with this solution. It's primarily fungi so adding additional bacteria can help balance things out. Non the less it does it's job effectively and produces efficient root systems. General Organics had the best results with this addition. Test 8 is bacterial dominated and the additional fungi seemed to help in making specifically Bloom nutes more available. Buds took on a more full appearance and developed better scent.
Many companies offer a wide variety of microbial rich solutions. Some strong in bacteria, some Fungus and some both. They all primarily apply the same beneficial microbes. Most of these items are rather expensive and have similar results. Developing an organic, rich microbial substrate early in your plants life is important. Marijuana prefers a fungi dominated acidic medium environment. This environment is relatively easy to create with some research and getting your hands dirty. A relatively isolated compost system with specific ingredients can ultimately create a rich microbial tea that easily can match the effectiveness of these products. In saying all that however, Piranha will truly make this happen.
Advanced Nutrients Bud Blood (0-39-25) :
After using this product in a few cycles of Advance Nutrients I quickly realized it's potential. Bud Blood works, plain and simple. It induces earlier flowering and hence speeds the entire flowering stage up. This was noticed in every plant it was applied to. Potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and sulphur are the specified nutrients included. This specific combination is designed to force the plant to "trans-locate" it's carbohydrates. This basically means it will primarily focus it's energy into bud growth. It is chemical based and plants require only a tiny amount responding very quickly.
On the strain tested here, which is a smaller Indica, the plants stayed relatively small and flowered sooner. Production was not increased as claimed however. Time wise, some plants treated with this addition finished in 43 days. The fastest finishing plant was in the Fox farm test treated with an early application of Bud Blood. Potency was diminished in this fast finisher however, and so was flavor.
I continue to use this additive on some longer flowering Sativas and only when I grow the plants large. They respond excellent and maintain quality production. If faster flowering times or even maintaining a smaller, more compact garden are a concern for you this could be a useful item.
Spray and Grow zinc/iron foliar spray :
Zinc and iron can be common deficiencies indoors. Although I'm traditionally not a fan of foliar applications this one came highly recommended. During my tests I anticipated no deficiencies what so ever. This was a tall order, however, when hand watering numerous plants. Particularly when I'm high as a kite. I actually managed to maintain a fairly good grasp on things so I figured I'd simply add a foliar treatment to a plant in each test. A total of 8 plants. This was done on the transitional week of 24 hrs light to 12/12 night/day. This transitional period often has high nutrient demands - anticipation is very important to proper growth.
Zinc is a mobile nutrient used to promote growth through sugar and protein production. It assists in chlorophyll production and promotes enzyme production. Iron is an immobile nutrient also essential for chlorophyll production and photosynthesis. Between these two nutrients, leaves really green up and take on a vigorous look. The result was the same from test to test. I avoided using it with any dark colored plants but it is extremely effective none the less. If you have frequent zinc deficiencies which is very common indoors, this is a great solution.
When applying, I use 1 tsp per gallon water. The mixture requires some time to properly dilute. The water will take on a yellow tint after about 15 minutes signifying it's ready. I always remove the plants from direct light - spray both sides of the leaf until it drips off and then mildly air dry using a fan. Then I return them under the light. This ensures proper absorption and will help avoid any light burn created from excessive water droplets under high intensity grow lights and/or phyto-toxicity.
Superthrive a solution highly praised from the manufacturer - as expected. They claim healthier, stronger and generally larger growth. It contains vitamin B-1 (thiamine) and synthetically produced hormones. Thiamine is a beneficial product, specifically when used by animals. It assist in metabolism and many complex functions associated with energy production. It is also produced by plants, fungus and bacteria. When researching this ingredient I discovered it's known benefits are some what unproven in relationship to cannabis. Under organic conditions, with rich microbial life, it seems some what impractical as thiamin is an already available item.
The synthetically derived hormones are Auxins. The primary synthetically derived auxins are 1-Naphthalene-acetic acid and 2,4-Dichlorophenoxy-acetic acid. Both are included here. The first is mostly effective in cloning plants and is also used in plant culture. The second is a plant growth regulator. Auxins are generally all associated with growth and are frequently applied in growth promoting solutions. If over applied they can have an ill effect and lower pH. I used this solution on 2 plants in each cycle at transplant only. I've had varied results in the past with Superthrive and was never confident with how effective it was. The results were noticeable but mild in my opinion. I noticed good root growth and healthy plants when using the product but no major improvement. Production was not improved and I don't use the product frequently. I should mention that it is also renown in improving plants put through stress. There is a distinct possibility that thiamine may get depleted as plants deal with health issues. Naturally, Superthrive could assist in that situation. In high alkaline soils specifically, I've heard it can assist quite a bit in vigorous growth. It's also highly recommended as a cloning additive. I have yet to try it in these applications.
This is a synthetic additive. The active ingredient is Gibberellic acid. This is yet another plant hormone. It promotes rapid root and plant growth. This solution produces results specifically with smaller plants. It elongates internode length creating generally taller plants. I used this originally with great results in vegetable gardening to improve fruit size. In marijuana applications it did not create larger flowers but larger structures to flower on. This is great for some indica growers who desire larger plants. It also is well known as a germination additive. After pre-flowering deficiencies that may have stunted growth, Megagro will help induce normal growth. I used 1 capful per gallon in every other feeding until mid-flowering. Some of the tallest plants in this test were treated with megagro.
Greenfuse Bloom Stimulator :
This is a 100% organic solution. The active ingredients are plant oils and extracts. Very similar to General Organics Bio Bud this solution provides unique enzymes that assist in phosphorus and bloom related nutrient availability. It really is a stimulator - There are very little actual bloom nutrients included. This product influences the substrate to provide additional, stage appropriate nutes. When I originally started with Earth Juice I felt it was mildly week in Bloom related nutrients. This turned out not to be the case, but it led to purchasing a bloom boosting agent. Green fuse came highly recommended and for good reason. A 1/2 tsp per gallon works great and is a solid addition to any application. In Fox Farm this additive had the most noticeable results in this tests. The treated plant produced almost 6 grams more than the average. In comparison with General Organics Biobud it was just as effective in fact. BioCanna's bloom boosting solution, BioBoost proved better in the BioCanna test again pointing to their specific nutrient interaction success. This product has been in my collection for years and I recommend it to anyone looking for an alternative to their bloom booster.
There is a vast amount of recorded information involved with these tests. Each test has write ups and research more involved than this thread alone. Numbers do not give all the important information in my opinion. My favorite product did not come from the cycle with the largest plants for example. Nor did the largest producer result in the most potent weed. Our job is to provide essential nutrients at appropriate times to ensure that growth will succeed properly. In these large comparison tests it's very easy to loose focus. Many times, as I analyzed results I would choose a new favorite. Huge fan leaves, larger plants and beautiful color often dictate which plant we find most attractive and many of us choose our program based on primarily aesthetics. Beautiful, full, mid flowering growth does not always ensure an excellent, potent harvest, or a heavy one. Listing numbers displaying growth surges throughout the weekly observements will take to much time. My goal remember was to ultimately design a nutrient schedule that provided understood ingredients that better fed the plants for steady, healthy and predictable growth. I think these are important aspects of nutrient application. Understanding how ingredients react with soil substrates and root systems will increase your ability to better diagnose problems and identify proper application timing. Steady growth ensures plants will not demand excessive, specific nutrients creating various deficiencies. Think of nutrients in terms of how much is needed during the plants entire cycle and apply a portion of that amount at the appropriate time. This is very helpful in determining nutrient strength for individual feedings, and will develop consistent and predictable growth rates. It also will give you more general control in customizing your schedule. You can add a flush mid cycle for example, splitting those missed nutes accordingly throughout your schedule.
Weekly recorded data demonstrated some important information. First, lets quickly look at some general differences between the organic schedules and synthetic/chemically based tests. Organic growth was generally slower to begin. This is due to the fact that growing the microbial life needed to properly supply the plant will take some time to establish. This microbial life leads to extremely healthy roots. The organic schedules always produced larger root systems first, then followed with solid plant growth. They were typically bushier than chemicals and had much steadier growth. The organic substrate retained more nutrient availability as the microbial life continued providing food days after application. In flowering (12/12) these schedules differed in some noticeable ways. The organics had slower growth again but earlier preflowers in all tests. Buds were slower to fully develop but stickier, smellier and more swollen by harvest. Trichromes developed later in the 12/12 and seemed to frost not just primary bud sites but surrounding leaves. Plants took on a typically droopier, more lime green appearance.
The chemical/synthetics had very deliberate growth in Veg. Results were more instant and the plants grew quickly. Root systems were smaller, they had no need to search and react with soil bound nutes therefore could maintain a smaller size. Plants concentrated on specific branches and had less secondary growth. Larger fan leaves developed on typically stiffer stemmed plants. I frequently referred to them as "woodier" in appearance. Plants were taller in all synthetic tests. Synthetics had quick surges of growth within a day or two of being fed. In flowering, these plants stayed deep green late into the cycle. Bud sites were very defined and typically more compact than organics. Upper leaves and bud leaves were more pointed and stayed very rigid. Crystalization was evident earlier and concentrated more around bud sites. In later flowering, trichromes developed along associated leaf edges and were very defined. I found additional Magnesium and Calcium made substantial improvements with bud growth generally and actually improved individual plant harvests when applied. They took on a spicier scent and flavor, and never quite had the sweeter, putrid odor associated with the organics. Chemical/Synthetic based nutrients frequently provide low " Brix " levels. Brix is essentially a measure of sugar/carbohydrate levels in the plant. A higher Brix number typically produces more flavorful and healthy plants.
The following is a list off production numbers and cost per gram. It does not dictate which I found best :
Test 1 EarthJuice 0.75 gpw
Test 2 Marine based 0.67 gpw
Test 3 Earthjuice/Marine 0.69 gpw
Test 4 Foxfarm 0.71 gpw
Test 5 Advanced Nutreints 0.80 gpw
Test 6 Dynagro 0.67 gpw
Test 7 Bio-Canna 0.73 gpw
Test 8 General Organics 0.70 gpw
Largest main stock circumference Earthjuice/Marine treated with Hygrozyme @ 2.25 inches circumference
Largest overall width Bio-Canna treated with Pirahna @ 38" wide diameter
Tallest Plant Dynagro treated with Mega Gro @ 47" +/-
Tallest avg group Marine based test 2 @ 45" +/-
Best avg resin production Earthjuice Test 1 - avg 10 rating
Best avg crystallization Earthjuice Test 1 - avg 10 rating
Best average color rating Bio-Canna Test 7 - avg 9.5 rating
Best over-all structure (remained the same through-out) Bio-Canna Test 7
Most vigorous vegetative cycle Marine based Test 2
Most vigorous flowering growth Advanced Nutreints Test 5
Stinkiest bud odor Earthjuice Test 1
Best average root structure rating Bio-Canna
Nicest aesthetics of final product Earthjuice Test 1
Nicest taste of final product Earthjuice Test 1
Most potent smoke rating Earthjuice Test 1/ Bio-Canna Test 7
Remember production can only properly be measured in grams per watt or grams per lumen. Light intensity, environmental control and nutrient availability all are major factors in this. More importantly many strains will only produce a certain amount rarely surpassing they're maximum. Keeping all that in mind, when one plant produced tremendously another typically produced less than par. These production results were similar with the same strain as seen above with all tests. Any popular nutrient company usually supplies the proper nutrients to reach maximum production levels when properly applied. Quality is another aspect altogether. That is where real ingredient effectiveness is defined. Things like overall plant width and height proved relatively irrelevant. In the densely packed indoor grow room most plants received similar space restrictions. The tallest average plants being Test 2 produced less than average in-fact. Also some Tests had high average numbers but not winning numbers. All had high quality herb - some just better than others. All these tests were monitored closely with special attention to pH and Brix levels. Nutritious plants will lead to higher quality smoke. Maybe not heavier production but absolutely higher quality. Managing a living indoor substrate is difficult to master, step one is learning how it all works. When deciding on my personal favorite test I compared numerical results and averaged all opinion based ratings. I scrutinized all my recorded information and developed many different perspectives on general Marijuana growth. Not only did I learn about specific nutrient/medium interaction but these tests also revealed consistent results regardless of applications. I have all the schedules available but decided to save the space on the read. Feel free to ask and I can provide them.
Earth Juice Test 1 - Bio-Canna Test 7 - Advanced Nutrients Test 5 - General Organics Test 8 - Earth Juice/Marine Test 3 - Fox Farm Test 4 - Marine based Test 2 - Dyna Gro Test 6
I find when taking gardening courses or researching the subject most times I walk away only learning a few new things from the many. Over time these few add up. I hope you walked away with a few new ideas. As a result of this report I developed an Earth Juice Based cycle with additives (Hygrozyme + Hi-Brix Molasses) that work wonders for my situation. I have tons of info on all these products and will be more than happy to help with more specific situations. This particular study was completed some time ago but I've only recently compiled this report. I urge all of you to do similar studies. If you've read this far I can't imagine it's not something that interests you. Researching nutrients and plant growth has taught me an incredible amount of information - specifically things I'm interested in. Until recent history, more time, money and research has gone into making Cannabis illegal and into the persecution of those of us who realize it's benefits. We are the pioneers here, many of risking freedom and security to grow this amazing plant. Our time, money and research is fighting back daily. As the great Ben Franklin said, " We all must hang together , or surly we will hang separately." Things are changing people and many of us have a chance to change with it. Marijuana deserves the attention were giving it - it truly could change the world we live in. I can't thank you enough for reading my thread and look forward to providing information in the future. I'm currently working on some stuff so keep an eye out. Finding my Pheno - Insect identification and management - Nutrient deficiencies - Microbial soil life - Growing Theory and Commercial production methods are all on the way......................Remember stick to the theory of " simple diversity". Do not over complicate your nutrients. A diverse mixture of simple, raw ingredients will promote natural, nutritious growth - best of luck