What is organic gardening? A hardcore organic gardener will say ‘anything that comes out of a bottle is not organic’. But those with a little more slack still consider OMRI or CDFA approved organic. Then there are those that will say its ‘organic’ . When truthfully it is just organic based. Today we are here to talk about bottled organics though, all of which are intended to be used with soil.
There are several OMRI approved bottles and amendments on the market. One of the more popular organic bottle lines on the market is BioBizz. They have a full line of OMRI organic bottles that come with a custom feeding schedule. These are tried and true. So much so that you can find them at most if not all of the High Times Magazine events.
One of the most popular nutrient brands in the world, Advanced Nutrients, has a entire line of CFDA approved bottles. These even include a organic version of their popular sugar, bud candy, and their popular bloom booster, big bud.
Aurora Innovations or more popularly known as roots organic is a CDFA approved bottle and dry amendment line. There are dry amendment for grow, bloom, and foundation (or micro). There is also a grow and bloom bottle. On top of this there are all the bottled additives your plant could desire. Roots organic goes the extra mile by providing a bagged coco/peat mix medium that pairs up very well with their in depth feeding schedule.
General Hydroponics has a “organic line” that is called General Organics. This line is not OMRI or CDFA approved. A more appropriate name for this line would ‘Generally Organic’. There are organic materials used to make these products but there are also chemicals. Don’t believe us? Look on the back of the bottle next time you buy fertilizer. If there are any words that end in ‘-ate’. Then you have chemicals in your bottles.
This is just a brief overview of a few of the more popular organic bottled nutrients that are available on the market. We hope this helps you on your search for bottled organics.
Coconut coir or coco is a preferred medium of many growers. It has little to no nutritional value to the plant. It retains moisture well while also allowing for optimal oxygen to the root zone. Coco can be watered multiple times a day, once a day, or every other day. We would not recommend allowing your coco medium to dry out.
What is the proper pH for coco?
The answers, 5.8-6.2
This also depends on the plant you are growing but the pH in a coco medium will always fall between those two numbers.
What kind of nutrients should be used with coco?
Coco specific nutrients are preferred but not required. Most big brands will have a coco line. General Hydroponics , House and Garden , Advanced Nutrients just to name a few. The reason for coco specific nutrients is coco’s special relationship with calcium, magnesium, and iron. If you are not using coco specific nutrients then you can supplement with a bottle of CalMag or CaliMagic, really any calcium / magnesium product. Just read the label to make sure it has all three elements.
How often do I water?
That is up to you as the grower. Coco is a very versatile medium. If you water multiple times a day you will see the plant grow more like a hydroponic plant. If you water once every other day you are going to see more soil like growth. We would recommend watering at least once a day, if not 2-3 times a day. The is because the roots need oxygen. Growers tend to forget that while the part of the plant that is above the medium thrives on Co2. The roots zone need oxygen to grow. Every time you water a plant you add oxygen to the root zone. (You know H2O).
But I am going to over water my plant?!
No you wont, coco is very resilient to over watering because it acts like a hydroponic medium when treated as such. You do not want to underwater coco.
Have you ever left a glass of salt water out and come back to only find salt in the the glass? Thats because when the water evaporated the salt is left behind. The same is true with coco and synthetic nutrients. When you allow coco to dry out all the salt that is in the medium drys to the roots of the plant and damages them.
There are several popular growing mediums. These mediums include soil, coconut husk (coco), rock wool, and deep water culture. No one medium is better than another. Each has its positives and negatives.
Let us start with soil. Anyone who has ever seen a garden has seen soil. Soil is a peat based medium. One reason that peat is used is because if treated properly it can be reused season after season. Treating the soil properly means only using non harmful substances. Unlike chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This is because chemical fertilizers and pesticides will harm the micro life that helps the soil to function at its best. Soil if prepared properly can be used with mostly water and properly brewed teas. The best way to do this is to have a well put together soil mix. A popular soil mix is super soil. Super soil was pioneered by SubCool. If you want a more in depth look into how organics and the soil food web work. A great place to start is the book “Teaming with Microbes” by Jeff Lownefels and Wayne Lewis. This book will lay the foundation you need to grow great organic plants.
Coconut husk or coco is considered a “soilless” medium. Coco is also a inert medium. This means that there are no nutrients or micro life in the medium. Coco is great for beginners. The lack of nutrients in the medium allows the grower to feed the plant exactly what it needs when it needs it. Coco is also great because it is hard to over water your plants. This means that you can treat the coco medium like a hydroponic medium and water multiple times a day. When you water serval times a day with coco you add important oxygen to the root zone. This allows the roots to grow faster and in turn the plant grows faster. While coco is a organic medium the most effective nutrients to use are chemical fertilizers. Coco is the medium between soil and deep water culture.
Rock wool is a inert medium similar to coco. Rock wool dries out faster than coco or soil. Like coco, rock wool retains moisture and also allows for multiple feedings each day. Another upside to rock wool is the time it takes to transplant a plant. Most rock wool growers use 1 1/2 inch cubes to start a seed or cutting. These cubes fit into propagation trays very well. Then the plant is moved to a six inch rock wool cube. What makes this so easy is the six inch rock wool cube has a pre cut hole in the top where the 1 1/2 inch rock wool fits perfect. The most important thing to remember when using rock wool is to prep it. If you do not prepare your rock wool properly you will not have optimal results. Grodan is the worlds leading supplier in rock wool products. Therefore , we recommend following their prep process.
Deep water culture or DWC is true hydroponics. In DWC the plants roots are suspended in nutrient rich water. This allows for rapid uptake of nutrients. When a plant can take nutrients up faster it can grow roots, foliage or flowers faster. The most important piece of information about DWC is the temperature of the water. Optimal water temperatures will result is optimal oxygen absorption from the roots. If water temperature rise to much bacteria will begin to breed. This bacteria will cause root rot. Root rot will slow growth and eventually, if not treated, kill your plant.
This has been a brief overview of a few of the most popular mediums used today. Check back in with us for more in detailed posts about each individual medium.