Fertilizer Management software and an international expert in plant nutrition and irrigation. Modern fertilization systems include fertilizer injectors that belong to one of two types: fertilizer injectors that are electrically powered independently or by a controller , or fertilizer injectors that are mechanically powered by water pressure. The fertilizer injectors inject fertilizer solutions into the irrigation water. The same fertilizer injector rate can be expressed in percentage as 0.
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Adding It All Up Drip Tape Fertilization Not surprisingly, a steady feed of nutrients produces big plants, enhances pest and disease resistance, and increases the quality and quantity of bud.
On the other hand, growers that have applied nutrients through out the season end up with plants 6 feet tall with proportionally greater bud. Given that we are installing a drip irrigation system to ensure the plants get enough water, applying additional nutrients through the drip system just makes sense.
This is called fertigation. There are many advantages to using the drip system to apply nutrients. To start, it sure beats trying to get a granular fertilizer under the plastic mulch. Using the drip tape, nutrients get into the rows exactly where they need to be and there is no worrying over getting equipment into wet fields. With the addition of a metering device, the timing and rate of application are easily controlled. In addition to only applying fertilizer to some rows, we may also experiment with compost tea via the drip tape.
In particular, our plan is to the install the Dosatron just before the 50 psi well water is lowered by the pressure reducer to 10 psi. In any case, we like the Dosatron because it is a respected brand that works off of water pressure alone. The pressure causes a piston to move up and down drawing in nutrients at a metered rate through the pick-up line — like a big syringe. The pickup line from the Dosatron drops into a bucket filled with concentrated nutrients.
We will install piping and valves such that our single injector can be used to feed each of our zones one at a time. Pipe unions and shutoffs will allow for the injector to be swapped from zone to zone.
Oxygen Loving Microbes As noted, our basic plan is to introduce compost tea and an organic liquid fertilizer through our drip system. The organic compost tea and liquid fertilizer will either directly nurture our hemp by providing bio-available nutrients, or indirectly help them grow by improving soil micro-biology. As an aside, we also looked into injecting mycorrhizal funji. These are hugely beneficial funji that extend the root system by many fold.
So we were excited about the possibility of introducing mycorrhizal fungi spores right next to the roots using our drip system. Unfortunately, we were told the spore powder would plug up our tape. It even goes beyond the organic practices of applying well-composted manure along with good cover crop management. Sure, compost and cover crops make for stronger plants and better yields, but the deep and lasting story, when it comes to rejuvenating our soils and unleashing their full potential, is all about the tiny microscopic microbes that live in the soil.
By the way, there is a huge difference between well-composted manure and a pile of rotting poop. Well-composted manure is actively managed with the piles turned according to temperature. Turning mixes any dry matter added to the pile along with introducing oxygen. This promotes the growth of oxygen-loving aerobic microbes while killing off oxygen-hating anaerobic microbes. Piles are turned when the temperature dips below degrees Fahrenheit or rises above degrees — see How To Manage a Compost Pile Using Temperature.
To put this in context, we all know how important oxygen is to living beings including people. Plants grown in soil amended with compost containing oxygen loving microbes have the greatest benefit for people.
The fact that oxygen-loving aerobic microbes are good for people and plants while oxygen-hating anaerobic microbes are problematic is made apparent by the fact that it is the anaerobic oxygen-hating bacterium that makes rotting manure smell bad — manure that sits stagnant in a heap. Everyone intuitively knows that anaerobic are to be avoided by using their noses. The by-products of anaerobic oxygen hating bacteria and their associated smells are dioxide sulfur , butryic acid sour milk , valeric acid vomit , putrescine decaying flesh and so on.
In contrast, well composted manure is fluffy and has a earthy tone. Getting back to importance of improving soil biology, the work of Elaine Ingham B. In other words, even though conventional soil testing may indicate lack in soil pH, phosphorus, potassium, and the like, when the soil is teaming with beneficial microbes, the nutrients will be unlocked from the soil on an as-needed basis. In healthy soil, the plant and the microbes live in a symbiotic relationship.
The plant sends sugars down through its roots to feed the microbes and the microbes unlock otherwise inaccessible nutrients in the soil making them available for uptake by the roots. Today, conventional farmers focus on the three major nutrients, Nitrogen N , Phosphorous P , Potassium K , a handful of micro-nutrients like magnesium, along with soil pH. Soil tests tell the farmer how much of each of this limited number of nutrients needs to be spread onto the fields.
If soil pH is off, it is adjusted by spreading lime or sulfur. In vibrant soil, the microbes extract the full range of nutrients required by the plant directly from the soil without any additional inputs.
Working with dead soil, farmers have no choice but to pay chemical companies even more for fertilizer to make up for the lifeless soil the chemicals created; conventional farmers pay twice for benefits the microbes happily provide for free.
By restoring the micro-biology, all the nutrients ever needed are available to plants. One of the main edicts of organic farming is to restore soil health and we take this very seriously. By working to restore the microbial community in the soil, we unlock the virtually endless supply of nutrients in the existing soil without having to rely on the brute force, destructive, and expensive approach of trucking and spreading chemical fertilizers onto the soil. Fertilizer for Hemp Before reviewing the various organic liquid fertilizer products that we researched, a brief overview of the relative amounts of Nitrogen N , Phosphorous P , and Potassium K makes sense.
Knowing how of each of these three nutrients affect plant growth along with the relative levels required at the various stages of growth helps in evaluating the various liquid fertilizers on the market.
These are the three ingredients listed in nearly all commercially available fertilizers. N-P-K Benefits Nitrogen N : leaf growth Phosphorus P : strong root development in young plants, flowers, seeds, fruit Potassium K : larger diameter stems for bigger bud, water movement, promotion of flowering and fruiting, strong immune system to resist pests, strengthens metabolism, necessary for photosynthesis and the production of proteins In Understanding N-P-K and What It Means When Growing Cannabis , CannaConnection does a nice job describing the benefits of N-P-K along with the correct ratio to apply at each stage of plant growth.
Fertigation and Chemigation Injectors