Yet Another Benefit of LED’s

LED lights come equipped with small fans to help cool the diodes as they convert electrical energy into light energy.  I have done tests on the LED's from HTGSupply.com, and you can see the pictures in past posts and I can attest that they are specifically designed for optimal plant growth. The fans help make the lights work great but has a side effect of increasing air flow.  Air flow will increase the photosynthesis rate, which will increase plant growth and yield.  I have written about what I think is the single best light, but I think I am becoming a convert, LED”s rock!  I also think LED's are great for growing in small spaces.  If you are looking for a new light or to expand your growth, the triband LED from HTGSupply.com is where I'd start.

Good Growing Dr. E.R. Myers


Watering Tip to Get the Most From Your Nutrients

In order to get the most from your nutrients you should always water from the top. Ideally, you want 100% of the soil saturated. The easy way to know this is to water the plants until some water comes out the bottom of the pot. If a lot comes out, you watered too much and should water less next time.  The nutrients that come out in the water are not always available to the plants.  You may be creating an environment for pests to thrive...

What I do is I alternate nutrient application with plain water (tap water). I water with the nutrient until a small amount of water comes out the bottom of the 2 gallon containers. (I can fit two containers into one tray which is nice). Then a day or two later, when the top of the soil is dry, I put the tap water into the tray about 2cm high. This is usually absorbed in a few minutes. If you still have standing water after half an hour, you will need to empty the trays, you DO NOT want to have your plants in standing water, it will kill the roots and eventually the plant. Yellow leaves are a common symptom of over watering/standing water.
By watering from the  bottom, the nutrients that are water soluable will be carried back up into the soil as the water wicks up.

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers


E-mail- The Right Size Container for Plant Growth

hey Doc - I’ve been stocking my flowering room with plants which have grown vegetatively for a minimum of 2 weeks. on the strongest plants selected for flowering the roots are typically matted up pretty good in the bottom of the 4 inch square pots I veg them in (from rooted cuttings). I do this because in a few different gardening books and stuff it's been mentioned that this root bound plant will more thoroughly fill out its new larger container's area of medium with more roots. do you think i might be better off using 1/2 gallon bags instead of the 4 inch square pots?

Thanks for the E-mail. I have written about potting up plants and container. The answer depends, if the roots are really matted up, meaning they are growing in circles and all twisted, then I disagree. The roots have wasted time and energy growing in a circle and you will have to cut and remove them to get good growth. I think the idea might be to get the plants to completely fill out the pot, and transplant it just before they grow in circles and around each other. I personally have found that bigger is better. When roots grow up against something hard, like a pot bottom, or a rock, they send a message to the plant that they can’t keep growing. If most or all the plant roots send this message, the plant will slow growth, and be a smaller plant with a lower yield. There is no such thing as too big a container. Well, sort of, the size constraint is not for the plant, but the space you have. If you can get enough plants in the area with ½ gallon pots/bags, I’d use that vs. the smaller pots.

Please read my previous post on containers and plant growth

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers


E-mail -Changing the Sex of Plants

I have heard of (but never seen) products supposedly able to "convert" female flower parts into male flower parts, effective ONLY on the area of the plant which gets sprayed. From what I’ve heard, this can be VERY advantageous when attempting to capture plant traits and breeding. If these products exist, do you happen to know where they are available? Are the products safe to use on edible as well as ornamental flowers?

I saw you asked this after reading my post on determining plant sex. Thanks for reading the past posts, I encourage everyone to do searches, I have been writing for three years and will gladly expand on any past topics as well as try to write about new questions.

I too have not heard of products that change the sex of the plant. If you apply plant hormones to parts of the plant, it will change that part of a plant. This might be hard for us mammals to understand, we are one sex only. Plants can be separate male andfemale (dioecious). like us, they can also have separate male and female flowers on one plant, or have the male and female parts together on a plant. Just like in us animals, it is hormones that determine the sex, testosterone will make boys and estrogen will make girls. If you apply a hormone to a part of the plant it will change that part of the plant only. How the hormones affect the plant depends first on its type of flower.  Hormones are also tricky because they can have a different effect on the same plant if applied at different times of the plants life cycles. Many different hormones are widely used, Hormones like gibberellins are involved with sex determination in some plants as well as other traits such as stem elongation. They can make plants produce seedless fruit, seedless grape, for example, wouldn't fully develop and mature without an application of hormones at the right time. These hormones can also force plants to flower, which is important in commercial greenhouses where the timing of flowering needs to be exact. I do not to use plant hormones too much, I do not have any reason why, I just have not.

Sorry I could not be more precise, if you send me the type of plant I could help more.  If you want to experiment, I do not think it will have any harmful effects on consumable plants, so long as you don’t consume the plant too soon after the hormones have been applied
Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers


Coir Starter Plugs and Compost

As you know I like to compost and grow outdoors as well as indoors. There reason is that I just don’t have the room to grow everything I want indoors, and who can beat the cost of sunlight and rain?

I like to use the starter plugs for seedlings and cuttings.  Sometimes, the cuttings die, or I have plants that I harvest and still have the starter plug around the stem.  Last year I put several of the coir starter plugs in my compost pile. Several months later, they are still intact, but are very easy to break apart. I think in a couple more months they will continue to break down, and even if they do not break down on a molecular level, the plant roots, water and nutrients will still pass through the starter plugs. So, if you have some used starter plugs you have used a few times or some plant roots/ stem that still have the plug after you harvest, just throw them in the compost bin.

Click here for more information and how to order starter plugs

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers