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Propagation FAQ
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How do I start my seeds?

It is always a good idea to soak seeds over night. This will make sure that the seeds absorb enough water to germinate quickly. If seeds are left to soak for too long they will begin to germinate; this can be dangerous for the seed as the radical (root) can be damaged when planting the seed. If the radical is damaged then the seed will die.

Once the seeds have soaked for 8 - 12 hours they can be planted out into either peat pellets, rockwool cubes, rapid rooter plugs or oasis cubes. Be sure to soak the peat pellets in water before planting the seed. This will only take a few minutes. Rockwool needs to be pre-soaked at a pH of 5 or treated with Rockwool Soak before planting seeds into it.

Once the seed has germinated and the cotyledons (first pair of leaves) have emerged the seedling will require light. Fluorescent lights are the best for this purpose. A grower can use either an Envirolite T-5 Cloning Kit, a 2’ - two bulb T5 fluorescent fixture, a 4’ - four bulb fluorescent fixture with 6500k bulbs or a compact fluorescent 150w or 200w daylight bulb to supply light for the seedlings. It is not recommended that a HID light be used for young seedlings or clones unless it is positioned high enough above the plants so as not to dry them out.

Seeds and seedlings should only be given water until the first true leaves have developed. Once the first true leaves have expanded out then a mild strength (¼ strength) grow nutrient solution should be given to the seedlings. Giving seedlings too strong a nutrient will cause the seedling to go into shock, burn the young developing roots and possibly kill the seedling. Once the grower has started feeding his seedlings with a mild strength nutrient it is advisable the grower use a root enhancer such as Rhizotonic or Green Fuse Root. It is also a good idea that the grower use Hydroguard or SubCulture to protect the new developing root system against root pathogens. This will help create a strong, healthy seedling.

A seedling is ready to be planted out when it is 2-3 inches tall and the roots are coming out the bottom of the rockwool cube or peat pellet. When transplanting a seedling it is important to plant the seedling with the least amount of stress as possible. At transplant the grower should use NutriBoost. This product has a mixture of vitamins, hormones and auxins which help the stressed seedling produce new roots and fine feeding root hairs. The sooner the root system is rejuvenated the sooner the plant recovers from transplant shock. From this point onwards the plant is in vegetative stage.

Vegetative Stage

Once the seedling has been transplanted it then enters the vegetative stage. This stage is to ensure the development of a strong and healthy root system while the leaf canopy begins to expand. A healthy, well developed root system is required for fast growing, high yielding plants. Most of the plants nutrients and water is taken up through the root system; the plant also stores sugars in the roots. Without the support of a good root system the plant will not be able to perform at its peak.

To create a healthy root system, a grower should ensure that the ppm levels and the pH of the nutrient system are correctly balanced. Over-feeding by the grower to try and push the plant or to try and get a bit extra out of the plant will only result in a damaged root system and a stunted or slow growing plant. For soil growers, a pH of 6.3-6.5 is ideal. The ppm of the nutrient solution should be between 500 - 700 for early vegetative growth and 800 – 1000 for late vegetative growth. Soil growers should also use Rooters Mycorrhizae in the growing medium. Mycorrhiza needs to be mixed into the soil prior to planting. Mycorrhizae fungi works well with organic nutrients, as conventional nutrients can damage this fungi, especially if the grower tries to push his plants to a maximum. For hydroponics growers the nutrient solution should be balanced to a pH of between 5.8 and 6.2; pH 6 being ideal. Rooting enhancers such as Rhizotonic or Green Fuse Root should be used through out the vegetative cycle. Fast growing roots require phosphorus so a nutrient with good phosphate levels should be used. Looking after the plants root system also ensures the maximum development of the leaf canopy. A healthy disease and insect-free leaf canopy will make maximum use of the lighting system it is growing under. For plants that are phototropic, such as strawberries, the plant will remain in vegetative state as long as the light duration is long days short nights e.g. 18 hours of lighting and 6 hours of darkness. Some plants e.g. Tomatoes, will begin flowering once they have reached a specific maturity. Tomatoes will flower after being in the vegetative state for about two months. Plants that are phototropic will begin flowering once the day length shortens or when switching from an eighteen hour light cycle to a twelve hour light cycle.

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How do I take clones from a plant?

1. Select a branch or stem that has at least 2 or 3 sets of leaves.

2. Locate a spot on the branch between, or next to, a set of leaf nodes where your cut will be made (leaf nodes are where the branches come out of the stem). Leave at least one set of nodes above the cut.

3. Make a clean, neat, 45 degree slice with a razor blade or knife. It is important that you do not damage the branch while handling.

4. Remove the lower 1 or 2 sets of branches (stems and leaves), leaving the upper sets of leaves to be placed above the growing medium line. Trim any flowers or buds that remain (if necessary; refer to picture below).

5. To prevent an air bubble (embolism) from lodging in the stem where the cut is, immediately dip the base of the cutting into a quality cloning gel, like Olivia’s or RooTech. Place cutting into your growing medium.

6. Keep your growing medium moist and warm with bottom heat at all times for best results. Never let your growing medium dry out.

7. Check your growing medium and transfer cuttings once roots appear or a strong root ball is established.

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Tips on cloning
  1. The quality of your water should be considered before taking cuttings. Reverse Osmosis or drinking water would be an excellent choice.
  2. The pH should be adjusted to between 5.5 and 6.2 by the time roots begin to develop.
  3. It is essential that your cuttings (clones) be taken from healthy plants.
  4. Rockwool should be pretreated by using Rockwool Soak, or soaking overnight in water with a pH of about 5.0.
  5. Be gentle when taking cuttings. They can shock easily when cut.
  6. Always use a sterile growing medium; be it rockwool, soil, vermiculite, perlite, sand, etc. Never use soil from your garden.
  7. Always keep tools clean to avoid transmitting disease to open plant wounds. Sterilize them before each use if possible.
  8. Keep your growing medium warm at all times for best results. Bottom heat (with a heating mat) will help cuttings root faster. Bottom heat: 75-85F (24-30C). Greenhouse/indoor temperature (air, bench level):70F (21C).
  9. High humidity, just until roots begin to emerge) aids in rooting your cuttings. A plastic cover (humidity dome or tent) will increase your percentage of roots cuttings.
  10. Don't forget all plants need fresh air. If your cuttings show signs of wilting, cut some holes in your humidity dome/tent to allow air ventilation.
  11. Remember to keep your room temperature warm during the night or lights-out cycle if propagating indoors. Add a space heater if necessary.
  12. Excessive watering will kill your cuttings. Never leave any water standing in the tray (unless using an aeroponic cloning system). It is best to briefly water the plants and then transfer them to a dry tray.
  13. To achieve a uniform cutting you may trim the leaves. Try to keep all your cuttings around the same height. This allows each cutting to receive the same amount of light.
  14. If you are using outdoor sunlight, screen your cuttings from the direct sun or place in a shady area under a tree.
  15. If you are using fluorescent lighting you may (and should) place your lights within a few inches of the tops of your plants without burning them.
  16. If using high intensity discharge (HID) lighting, either sodium or metal halide, give cuttings a full 18 hours of light. A 6 hour night cycle is recommended for optimum results.
  17. Due to the amount of heat HID lamps put out, keep the lights within a safe distance above your cuttings or you will burn them.
  18. Once roots appear, your cuttings can take stronger, more intense light, either HID or outdoor sunlight. Place your lights as close as possible. In other words, the closer the lights are to your plants, the faster your plants will grow. Transplant as soon as vigorous roots appear.
  19. Continue to use OLIVIA'S CLONING SOLUTION during your entire propagating cycle, i.e. from the time you first take your cutting, until they are fully rooted and transplanted.
 
 

 

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