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A Growing Guide for Short Day Crops

This post is about the Better Organix liquid product range and how it is a low phosphate system that relies on active biology to cycle phosphates on demand and at a rate set by our plants, not us. 

We are committed to delivering safe, environmentally sound plant growth systems that allow us as growers to get the very best out of our plants, without damaging the local environment, water systems, soil ecology and ultimately human health.

Crucially we limit phosphate inputs at critical stages, but we don’t negate phosphorous altogether. Our grow system is based on active biology, we have low P products at either end of our system, this is quite deliberate and has a number of ecological decisions that support it. The lack of P at peak growth ends is exactly the time most P is being wasted in typical systems. i.e. – When we have underdeveloped root systems OR when we are in very late bloom and plants have shut down many systems typical PCD in short day crops and excess P can then bind to other elements such as Calcium, making planting again more complex in the same space, over time this reduces our soils productivity.

Our system begins with establishing sound bacterial and mycorrhizal colonies, these brilliant all natural workers don’t like high P levels while they establish themselves. In order to realise P for our plants, we must 1st understand that only 15% of supplemental P, eg that which we add, is used by our plants. 80% of all plant ready P is realized via fungal and bacterial symbiosis. Phosphorous is a complex and unstable element which occurs in soils in 3 states, Soluble P, Active P and Fixed P.

It comes from decaying plant and animal matter and its generally found in the top layers of soil systems, hence it really is abundant. Its one of the nutrients that is self-defeating when we add extra, esp at the wrong time. The more we add, the more fixed P we end up with, the greater amount of P we need to add to maintain the Soluble and Active Pools and so on forever and ever.

Movement of P is slow, in the wild there is movement between the 3 pools of P, but movement to active from fixed happens at an incredibly slow rate. Fixed P is that which is unavailable to your plant. Any movement in the wild will be biological if the soil is live.

We at Better Organix know a simple truth, there is plenty of P in the world, we do not need to continually add it, rather we need to be better at getting it from the abundant fixed pools all around us, in to the active and soluble systems, where we can benefit from its presence. At Better Organix, we manage P and plant health using a combination of Myco’s and PSB safe liquid FPE’S, carbon sources, proteins, amino’s, enzymes and not the traditional acidified minerals labelled organic.

We can pretend that our added P isn’t the problem, or we can as a community begin to take humble pie and understand we have much to learn.

Quotes on nutrients versus biology from Mohamed Hijri, Associate Professor from the department of biological sciences of the University of Montreal and Professor of Plant Pathology Matteo Lorito, from the University of Naples.

Less than 60% of applied fertilizers are actually used by the plants. Unused phosphorus and nitrogen can cause serious environmental problems. Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi act as an extension of root systems, increasing the surface area that is used for nutrient absorption by more than hundred-fold.

Hijri’s Ted talk about ending the coming phosphorus crisis was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.

Matteo Lorito contributed to the American Academy of Microbiology report ‘How microbes can help feed the world’. It claims that ‘Improved understanding of plant-microbe interactions can increase crop productivity by 20% while reducing fertilizer and pesticide requirements by 20%, within 20 years.

Preparing your media

  1. Add 5g of Bio-Media Pro to 100L of shop brought soil
  2. Add 1ml/L Bio-Hydrate to chlorine free water, wet media until you see a small run off at the bottom of your pots. (tip: its a good idea to ensure at this stage, the plant pot is not in standing water, so remove any excess to ensure good airflow)
  3. Your media is now ready for you to plant your seeds or rooted cuttings.
  4. Regular watering with Bio-Balance Media will maintain ideal pH and EC, improving your medias ability to hold, and deliver plant ready nutrients. We recommend adding 1g/L at least once a week across the entire growing cycle, can be included with all other Better Organix products or used as a stand alone.

Growing from seed – Germination

  1. Mix up 1ml/L of K+AMINO with some PH neutral water pour a small amount in to a clean vessel. (tip: we use a small, clear drinking glass to get a good all round view of the solution)
  2. Add your preferred seeds to the K+AMINO/H2O solution. (tip: some seeds may float on the surface at first, this is perfectly normal, but over time, you should see seeds sinking to the bottom of the vessel)
  3. Remove all seeds from the solution, after 24hrs Max, some may have opened and have visible roots, these should be removed and planted in the pre staged media as per your seed packet advice immediately. (tip: seeds still floating after 24hrs are usually old stock and often have poor germination rates so should be avoided where possible).
  4. For extra security, you can place a tiny amount of Root Better in to a seed hole, placing your seed on top. This will ensure early colonisation of the Mycorrhiza to your plants root system, increasing your seedlings rate of survival.
  5. Gently damp your media but avoid over watering.
  6. Place your planted seed pots in a warm area with good light but ideally not direct sunlight
  7. Do not allow your media to dry out, but always take great care never to over water seeds. Its a good idea to use a liquid spray/ vaporiser to prevent the chance your seeds will be in standing water.

Transplanting Seedlings and Rooted Cuttings

Prepare your media for the larger containers you will be using as per the Preparing your media section above.

  1. Gently remove your seedlings exposing the roots, dust the entire root area with Root Better
  2. Place your dusted seedling or rooted cutting in to the new media, water in again being careful not to over water your young plants. (tip: between 30 – 40% is an ideal moisture level)

Early Vegetative Growth (weeks 1-4)

Once you see around 3- 4 full leaf sets, it may be time to apply your 1st liquid feed. If you have followed the steps above, this will be anywhere from 3-4 weeks from inital planting of seed. If grown from cutting, this could be 1-2 weeks from transplant.

  1. Mix Bio-iNitiate 5.0.2 at a rate of 1-3ml/L water (tip: less is more, start on the lower dose, up the level if you feel you need to. Its easy to unbalance young plants by over feeding)
  2. Use Bio-iNitiate once a week at full strength of each time at 1/3 dosage.

Full Vegetative Growth (week 4-8)

  1. Mix 1-5ml/L Bio-Veg and drench
  2. Feed Bio-Veg once a week at full strength, or with each irrigation at 1/3 dosage.
  3. At 1st sign of bloom, alternate your Bio-Veg Feeds with 5ml/L K+AMINO for maximum flower set
  4. Bio-Veg is an excellent transition nutrient and should be used until full flower set in combination with K+AMINO

Flowering Growth (week 6-10)

  1. Mix 1-5ml/L Bio-Floret and drench your media
  2. Alternate feeds with full strength K+AMINO for best results on flowering and fruiting crops
  3. Always allow your media to dry a little between irrigation in heavy bloom

Pre Harvest (weeks 8-14+)

1. Mix 1ml/L K+AMINO to harvest

2. Always allow media to dry before harvesting fruits and flowers to improve shelf life and to aid the drying process for herbs etc

3. We dont flush, so there is no need to stop using K+AMINO. In fact we advise people that the properties of K+AMINO continue to support the production of sugars, essential oils etc and the bacteria help restore balance for future planting and media recycling.


Happy Growing

Better Organix

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