How to Tell if Your Plants Are Growing at Their Maximum

Look at your plants.  Do you notice that the top leaves are small and seem not to be growing?   The plant can look healthy, but are the leaves on the branches growing?  For most fast growing plants grown indoors under a light from HTGSupply.com, you should see changes in growth every day.  If your plant seems to be stuck, your plant may be root bound. (click here to see pictures of a test I ran on pot size)
Even if you do not notice slowed growth, good growers know that when you harvest your plant, you should take a look at the roots.  If you see a white ball of roots and no soil at the bottom, or the roots are in the shape of your container try a bigger container next time.  When plants roots get compressed in a small pot, the plant will grow smaller and have less yields, as well as be more susceptible to fungal infestation and other diseases.
Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers


What to do Between Vegetative Growth and Flowering

Good growers know that when plants are in different phases of their life cycle (seedlings, vegetative growth and flowering) they have different nutrient requirements. 
Read my post on how to improve flowering
If you just read the above post, you know you want to reduce nitrogen, but not eliminate it when your plants are in flowering phase.  All living things need nitrogen, and plants are no acceptation.  Many fertilizers labeled “For Improved Flowering” have no nitrogen, and I think this is a mistake.  Nitrogen is used by plants in all phases of the life cycle.  While nitrogen promotes vegetative growth in large quantities eliminating it will slow growth, and lower yields.  Everything in Biology follows the Goldilocks principle, not too much, not too little, just the right amount.  When my plants are flowering, I use a fertilizer that has a low number for nitrogen, like Big Swellwhich is 2-5-7.    
If plants are green, healthy looking and over all doing well when you alter lights for flowering) just use something like Big Swell2-5-7.  If you have brown leaf tips, stretching nodes, and reduced root growth you may have a lot of nitrogen and you should use something like Big Bud which contains no nitrogen after the plants dry out from  thoroughly  being watered with pure water.  After this, I'd go with a now nitrogen fertilizer for the rest of the flowering cycle.  Hydroponics like soil growers should always provide some nitrogen to their plants.  It is normal that yellowing should start to occur in flowering, this is a sign the plants are focusing on flowering, not making new leaves.  Be sure to give the plant a bit of nitrogen to keep it growing well through the flowering phase, which for most of us, is the most important part of plant growth.
Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers


Fungus in the Grow Room

I get a few E-mail’s about fungal problems.   Many times I am not sure if it is fungus, or a phosphorus deficiency.  The leaves at the bottom would get brown/grey and dry and shrivel up.  I usually ask about phosphorus, but most people use too much nutrients, not too little.  I then recommend adding some lime to the water to adjust the pH, thinking maybe if the soil pH was too high, the phosphorus would not be absorbed.  It seemed the plants would limp along and people would eke out a small harvest.  I know most people would be happy to get anything when it looked like the plants were going to die, but after a second and third time, it is time to get this problem under control.

Air flow and lowering the humidity are too very important ways to reduce fungus.  Another very important factor is making sure the plants are growing in good soil, I like to add perlite or sand to most mixes I buy.  This allows the roots to grow.  Healthy growing roots send a message to the top of the plant to keep growing, nutrients and water are on the way.  If your plants are root bound, they will be more susceptible to disease and fungus. (read my post on potting up) If those environmental measures don’t keep the fungus away, you can try using Serenade.  I have used it and it works. 
Click here to read about fungus and cuttings

Click here to read more about fungal prevention

Please E-mail me with any questions or comments

Dr. E.R. Myers


E-mail - Is a LED the Right Light?

I am in need of a grow light.  I had bought a 90W 3 band ufo on another site claiming to out preform a 400W HID and cover a 4x4 area, but after several months I am very unimpressed.  HTG recently recommended the 430W 7 band LED as being able to cover a 4x3 area.  This seems to mean to cover the same size area I could either run a 400W MH (which I already have a ballast) or the 430W LED.  I switched to LED in the first place because my utility provider is very expensive compared to others around.  Currently what do you believe would be the best option?  In several of your old posts you recommended the tri band LEDs, but why not the 7 band?  I will need to ventilate either way so that is not an issue.  The HID lights are much cheaper, so what makes the LEDs so much better aside from longer life.  I want the ability to cover about a 4x4 area, but be as energy efficient as possible.  What are your thoughts?
I agree with your thinking.  The LED, will cover that area, you can keep it 3 feet or a bit higher above the plants to cover more space.  White walls will be your best bet to increase reflection; don't forget to paint the inside of the door too.

The 7 Band 430 watt LED  uses about the same electricity, as a 400 w MH but the LED will grow plants great.  If energy conservation is a priority, you could get away with a 240 watt LED, but you might not be able to fill all your grow area. I can tell you any LED from HTGSupply.com will be better than a MH, especially if you are going to flower your plants.   With a MH or HPS, you will need to replace the bulbs every couple years, if you want to get the most from the lights.  LED's don't have this problem; they last for 80,000 or more hours with little to no loss of output.  So, the LED will save you on electricity and will give you great plant growth for years without having to spend any more money on bulbs.
I hope this helps, E-mail me with any more questions,
Good growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers