Buckle your seatbelts, this is a long blog about a very important subject!
You selected the form in which you are going to receive your plants in (or so you think). There are many other points to consider. Within the decision of going with seeds or clones, there is the decision on where to source them, what infrastructure is required to start them, and how the timing of all of that is going to fit into your optimal planting/harvesting window. No matter what you choose, the more control you can have over your environment and the more protection you can provide these delicate young plants, the better. It is most often your method and scale that will change, not the physical structure of the building itself. We will discuss this over the next several blog posts.
- Starting your own clones can be extremely affordable and consistent, but it also can be difficult, especially if you have never done it before.
- In order to create proper clones, you need to start from proper mother stock.
- This means a consistent genetic profile and a healthy/happy plant. If you clone from a sick plant, you will make sick clones.
- The main thing to consider here is the space and environment that it will take to do this in a healthy manner. Depending on how big you plant on getting your plants before transplant to the field, you may even need more space for your moms than you do for your field plants.
- You may even want to consider a second building entirely for you moms.
- Any pest /disease that occurs on your mother stock will be directly transferred to your clone stock.
- Once your clone stock is infested (especially at an early age) it is difficult to treat them without injuring them; which in turn will set you back on your timetable weeks if not months.
- As moms get old, the genetics will deteriorate. This means that the clones will become weaker and weaker over time. They would produce less and less cannabinoids, terpenes, plant sugars, immune system, etc..
- Maintaining your mom stock over long periods of time can be difficult. The older the moms get, the more root bound the moms become, the older your soil gets, and the more difficult it becomes to maintain. You really need a properly balanced living soil and need to understand microbial balance to maintain balanced soil health over time.
- You MUST use a hormone of some kind (Usually an I-3BA)
- Weather that’s a gel, a powder, or a powder you turn into a gel, you must use a hormone
- Cut clones on HEALTHY tips with at least 3-4 hearty and well established nodes
- Cut at a 45o angle or less to expose maximum stem core surface area where hormone is to be applied and roots will begin to proliferate from.
- Try and keep the soil the consistency of a moist brownie. Middle of the road for moisture
- Not wet and muddy, and not dry and dusty. Right in the middle.
You have a few different options for cloning methods/media types and each one has very important pros and cons to consider…
- Most rapid root development when done properly
- Since the roots are bare, you can directly inspect them for mold, sliminess, and tip burn.
- You can even trim them directly to the shape that you desire
- Easiest to screw up
- If the balance in your reservoir of your aeroponic system isn’t dialed in, you can kill a plant in a matter of hours
- Raw roots can be difficult to transplant for an inexperienced farmer and oftentimes leads to severe lack of structural integrity.
Rockwool Clone Plug
- Cheap cheap cheap
- Initially sterile (blank canvas)
- High water retention (good for synthetic/salt-based nutrients)
- Extremely high affinity for algae
- Do not harbor fungi or microbes very well
- Can cause issues when transplanted into soil (mold, rot, anaerobic bacteria harboring, etc)
- Can harbor salt when over-applied, causing media ppm’s to skyrocket
- Cannot amend
- Leaves very limited space for root development
Peat Clone Plugs
- Usually pre-moistened
- Easy to use
- Most familiar to gardeners/farmers
- Better for microbes/fungi than rockwool but still not optimal
- No natural root pruning
- Requires a specific tray size to accommodate the specific shape and that tray can be comparatively expensive
- Can also hold moisture a little too long so it can harbor algae similar to rockwool
Soil plugs in biodegradable paper (SuperPlug)
- Best option!!!
- Creates natural root pruning
- Allows you to use microbes and fungi to their fullest potential
- Goes into soil perfectly with no drawbacks
- In a 50ct tray, you have the perfect amount of root zone space to grow a plant ready for a mechanical transplanter while maintaining the space for the beginning stages of bilateral growth
- Allows proper drainage to plants can proliferate roots very quickly and are pre-conditioned to the moisture levels in soil.
- With proper media, this is also the most effective way to deliver organic nutrition.
- Can be difficult to rehydrate once if allowed to completely dry out
- Takes a little more skill to place clones initially
Tune in Wednesday when we cover
Propagation & Proliferation On your own Part 2: