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First Time Outdoor Growing Basics

Nico Escondido

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Hello, Nico! I’m growing for the first time outside, at home. I have two young plants and am wondering how much I should water them? My sprinklers are set to water for 5 minutes each night. I’m noticing a little yellowing on the bottom leaves as well… Is that from the water? Or do I need to add nutrients? If so, how much? My plants are about 6-8 inches in height; not sure of the strain. They were given to me from a friend who didn’t know what they were, either. Thank you for your help!
From Mista Chill – via NicosNuggets@hightimes.com

Hello to you, Mista Chill! Thanks for writing in and congratulations on your first grow!

To begin with, a 5-minute watering from a sprinkler system may not be enough water each day for your plants – especially if your sprinklers are oscillating or moving around and not centered solely on your cannabis plants. Rather than set you sprinkler system to run twice a day, perhaps you could run the sprinkler once a day and then go outside and hand-water the plants again at the end of the day. I would also recommend that you water your plants at dawn, just as the sun is coming up, and then again later in the day when the sun’s heat is at its peak.

Watering during the nighttime cycle is generally not recommended as this is the plants’ “down time” and they are not working to create food via photosynthesis. In fact, during the dark hours is the time when roots grow most, as the plant above ground is resting and the grow medium (soil) is drying out, allowing more air to permeate the root zone. The roots love this as they breath in oxygen (as opposed to the rest of the plant, which breathe in CO2). Thus, the dark cycle is for root development and the light cycle is for upper plant development – where water is needed most.

As for the yellowing of the leaves, this is normal for most plants, especially at the bottom of the plant where the older growth is. When yellowing occurs near the top of the plant, in new growth, it is an indication of a nutrient deficiency. I am concerned, however, because your plants are young and still very small. Yellowing of leaves is an indication of a nitrogen deficiency. This is one of the easier fixes in plant health as nitrogen (N) is a primary element in all fertilizers. I would recommend that you find a very mild, organic (if possible) nutrient product that is water soluble. Look at the N-P-K ratio listed on the product label. This indicates the levels of nitrogen, phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). A nice mild ratio of 6-2-6, or similar, should suffice. None of those values should exceed ten (10). Dissolve a small amount of the nutrients in water as per the instructions (maybe even start by using half of the recommended dosage and then increase, if needed) and apply the solution around the base of your plants twice a week during your hand watering in the afternoon/ evening. You will soon be on your way to happy, healthy plants.

Good luck and enjoy!

Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

Got questions? Email ’em over to Nico at NicosNuggets@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line!

Nico Escondido is High Times' Cultivation Editor and star of the hit informational DVD, Grow Like a Pro

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