Whether you're growing cannabis in soil or in a hydroponic system, you're going to need to refer to the best feeding chart for growing weed. Feeding charts help cannabis growers follow a feeding schedule that varies depending on the stage of growth of the plants. Feeding your plants the right nutrients at the right time is critical to a healthy and bountiful crop.
What Is a Feed Chart for Growing Weed?
A feed chart for growing weed is a handy scheduling calendar provided by nutrient manufacturers. Growers can refer to the feeding recommendations that breakdown how much and when to feed each nutrient type to your plants.
Following these recommendations can help new growers stimulate responses from the plant to keep its growth on track.
Underfeeding your plants can result in nutritional deficiencies, while overfeeding can lead to nutrient lockout and plant deterioration. Of course, each plant strain has unique nutritional requirements throughout its life cycle.
Feed charts provide a foundational reference for new growers who can then fine tune the feeding schedule based on their plants needs.
Reading a Feed Chart for Growing Weed
Cannabis feed charts may vary in looks and format depending on the manufacturer, but generally have a similar structure that outlines how you should apply the nutrients.
Generally, feed charts are arranged into a grid with one axis listing a range of cannabis nutrients and the other listing the timeline of the nutrient’s week-by-week schedule.
New growers can refer to these feed charts by following the timeline based on their growth stage. For instance, they can refer to the seedling (week 1) column to check which nutrients they should feed and how much.
Most charts list the amount of nutrients that go in a gallon of solution. If a chart lists 0.5 tsp of a nutrient, it usually means 0.5 tsp goes into a gallon solution.
Pro tip: If you're making a bigger batch of the nutrient solution, you can multiply the amount of nutrients you need by the gallons needed.
Once you have created your nutrient solution mix, we recommend using a PPM reader to double-check that your nutrient solution isn't more concentrated than recommended. Pay attention to the cannabis nutrient mixing recommendations since there may be a specific order that nutrients need to be applied.
Adjusting the Nutrient Schedule
When growing cannabis, there are tons of variables that influence the way you grow your plants. When it comes to the feed chart recommendations, there is no one-size-fits-all guideline for every type of plant. A company's recommendations are general guidelines that can be adjusted to fit the specific needs of your plants.
Generally, a company's nutrients schedule tends to provide a stronger-than-average concentration of nutrients needed for most plants, especially young plants.
For new growers, we recommend starting with about half of the recommended dose to determine how the plants respond. From there, growers can adjust the nutrient schedule as needed.
A cannabis grow planner/journal is an invaluable tool that can help growers keep track of the many factors involved with growing weed.
Explore a wide range of specialty grower planners that include a blank feeding schedule and daily entry pages where you can keep track of what and when you're feeding plants, and their response to the food.
Even the best feed chart to growing weed needs regular adjustment. A plant's genetics, stage of growth, and environment can affect how it responds to the nutrients.
Keeping track of your daily progress can help you avoid nutrient lockout when the plant is overfed and can't absorb any more nutrients or nutrient deficiency when you are under-feeding your plants. Both can cause similar nutrient disorders.
Cannabis Plant Feeding Schedule
Cannabis plants’s nutrient requirements vary depending on this strain, growing environment (soil or hydroponic), and stage of growth. Here's a general guideline for feeding plants throughout their seedling, vegetative, and flowering stages.
- Seedling: Cannabis seedlings get all of their nutrients from their seed and can absorb water in a humid and warm environment. Seedlings don't need any nutrients until they're about a few weeks (about 3-4) old.
- Vegetative: During the vegetative stage where the plant grows most of its foliage, growers may begin with a light feeding. Feel free to start off with a 2:1:2 NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) ratio or 4:2:3 if you want a strong initial growth. After about 6 weeks, you can increase the nutrient concentration up to 10:5:7. As your plant approaches its final part of its vegetative stage, you can lower the nitrogen levels to an NPK ratio of 7:7:7 during the last week.
- Flowering: During the flowering stage, your plants will require less nitrogen and increased potassium to stimulate flowering. During the first couple of weeks, try out a 5:7:10 ratio and gradually increase to 6:10:15 by the middle of the flowering stage. During the final weeks, you can lower the ratio down to 4:7:10.
- Flushing: Many growers flush out the residual nutrients during the final week by only feeding the plant ph-neutral water. Flushing removes nutrients that can affect the smoothness and flavor of the plant’s smoke and vapor.
Regulating PPM and pH levels
When it comes to feeding your plants the right nutrients at the right time, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind:
- PPM: Parts per million (PPM) refers to the density of a nutrient solution or grow medium. A PPM reader can prevent nutrient deficiency or lockouts by checking the nutrient concentration of your solution and medium.
- pH: The pH refers to the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. For soil-based gardens, a pH between 6.0 and 6.8 is ideal. For hydroponic gardens, a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 is best.
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