Are You Wasting Money on Excess Nutrients?

One way to use the scientific method to save you money would be to do a little experiment to test if you are using/wasting too much nutrients. Many readers write in about brown spots or necrosis on leaves. While this has many causes, it is often a sign of over fertilization. (I have written about what to do if you do over fertilize your plants)

 Many people want to "max. out" and get the most of their plants, which is understandable.  But, good growers know the Goldilocks principle, not too much, not too little but just the right amount is what gets the best results and keeps you from being mired in mediocrity.

A simple scientific test would be to apply half the recommended fertilizer to one of your plants and the normal manufactures recommended amount to the rest. If you are growing several plants, you could also give a few plants 10% over the recommended fertilizer too.

After a week, you want to keep a journal about the plant being mindful of anything different about the plants. First, is one group of plants greener? Do you notice a height difference? Do you notice brown spots, or burnt leaf tips?

Once you get your data, you can then decide if you are using too much, too little or just the right amount of fertilizer.

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers


E-mail - Brown Leaf Tips

Ok so I was watering once a day when I woke up and since I got your message I have started watering with a little less water, but twice a day instead and that has taken care of the droopy leaves but the thing about the leaves with the brown tips is that I have not been feeding these plants any sort of base nutrients just like I was doing with the original roots organics soil, I am only giving the plants supplements like rhino skin and sweet with some B-52 and thats it, so its not that I am giving it to much nutrients, and its not root bound i just transplanted them into a larger pot a week ago. do you have any other suggestions of what may be causing the brown tips?

I have written one post about brown leaf tips before
I get brown tips sometimes too. The first think I would do is see what the humidity is. Indoors the humidity can go well below what it can outdoors. If you have a thermometer with humidity that has a high low, you just need to check and make sure the humidity is not below 50% all the time. Humidity can be very low if you are using an HPS or MH, but all lights generate some heat which will reduce humidity. If you are having good growth, this is a minor problem. You could water the plants a bit more, mist the plants, or sit open water in the grow room to increase humidity, but ALL of these can also increase mold and mildew problems.

If all the leaves at the top have brown tips (and you use an MH or HPS) it is most likely low humidity or high heat. It could also be a sign of low nitrogen. You could consider using a fertilizer like Roots Organics Buddha Grow. This has nitrogen but is not too strong, sounds like your soil is providing most of the needed nutrients.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have further questions about this or other topics...

Good growing,
Dr E. R. Myers


Herb Drying-2 -- Not all Herbs are Equal

Comparing one herb to another can be like comparing apples to oranges. Not all herbs are the same, nor should they be dried the same either. Herbs can be categorized as high or low moisture content herbs. This classification will determine which method of storage is best suited for each herb.

High moisture herbs naturally contain a higher level of moisture content. Such examples are basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, mint and sage. These herbs are suitable for freezing or drying, although freezing is preferred. The real concern with high moisture herbs like Basil, tarragon, and mints is that they may mold and discolor if not dried quickly. Low moisture herbs naturally contain a lower level of moisture content. Examples of low moisture herbs are bay, dill, fennel, sage, savory, and thyme. These you have less concern with drying as long as you keep a good air flow in the area you dry them.

UV rays from the sun and moisture from dew and frost can discolor and severely reduce the quality of many herbs. This is why I recommend you dry herbs indoors in a large empty closet, attic, or unused corner of a room. Sage, thyme, summer savory, dill, and parsley are easy to dry. Basil, tarragon, and mints may mold and discolor if not dried quickly.

Good Growing,
 Dr. E.R. Myers

Click here to read my post and see pictures about Air Drying


Storing Herbs by Freezing

A friend of mine has been trying something new this year. They are storing their herbs not dried, but frozen. The freezing method is good for herbs with high moisture content. There are two popular ways to freeze herbs. The first option you basically store the herbs in ice by using ice cube trays and the second is using a flat surface such as a cookie sheet.

Ice cube trays -- Do not use ice trays that you use for ice, you will want your own separate trays for the herbs to prevent your trays from absorbing any of the herbal flavors.

First, make sure your herbs are clean. I usually chop up the herbs with a scissors but you can keep them whole, just make sure the herbs fit in the ice cube trays. Next, place the herbs inside each compartment in the tray. Try to keep the filling consistent, such as putting 3 basil leaves in each cube so you will know how many cubes to use later. Fill each compartment half way with water and put in the freezer until the cubes are mostly frozen. Fill the remainder of the cubes with water covering any basil (or other herb) which may have floated to the top of the water. Place back in the freezer and when completely frozen transfer the cubes into sealable freezer bags. Label and date each bag..
Flat surface freezing: This method is fairly straight forward and requires less steps, Make sure your herbs are clean. You then pat them dry with some paper towels. Next, spread them out on a cookie sheet or other flat surface, making sure not to overlap any of the leaves. If the herbs are overlapping, they will stick together when frozen and cannot be separated. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the herbs have frozen, place them in small freezer bags. Label and date the bags.
In the case of herbs such as rosemary, dill and thyme, it is best to leave these herbs with their stems intact and place in freezer bags with 3-4 sprigs per bag.
Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers


E-mail - Brown Leaf Tips and Droopy Leaves

Hi, So I've been using the original roots organic soil, and I decided I would try out the Roots Organics Green Lite, and the plants that are in that soil, have been droopy and getting brown tips on the leaves. do you know what the problem is? If so what products preferably from advanced nutrients or roots organics product line can solve my problem?

Droopy leaves often means water problems; the green light has more perilite and drains water (higher permeability due to higher porosity). Did you completely saturate the soil the first time you watered? Does water come out the bottom when you first water? Does it do so quickly, like in a couple seconds? If yes then your soil is too dry (I almost never say that). The usual problem most people have is over watering, (which can also cause leaves to droop, and over time causes leaf yellowing) but I think the green lite is designed to be light so roots can grow easily through it, and unlike outdoor plants, indoor plants don't have to worry about running out of water. Tip the pots over a bit (not all the way) if they seem light, you are under watering. Another trick is to stick your finger into the soil/medium it should be wet when you stick it down to the second knuckle.

Some other causes of brown leaf tips are when the plants are root bound. Plants that are root-bound often have problems with brown or yellow leaves, so this is one of the first things you should check. If plant roots are growing in circles and look like a big mass or are growing out through the bottom of the pot, move the plant to a bigger pot.

Another problem is over fertilizing. Sometimes the minerals and nutrients in the soil cause leaves to brown. Chlorine, salt and fluoride can all cause leaves to turn brown. You could try using distilled water for a few watering, if you notice the new leaves do not have brown leaf tips, you found your problem. Using too much fertilizer may also be a culprit. Do a soil test if you think one of these issues might be your problem.

I hope this helps,
Good growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers