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5 Tools Every Grower Should Have In The Toolbox!

Added 1 May 2021

5 Tools Every Grower Should Have In The Toolbox!

Introduction

When it comes to growing there are many tools and gadgets out there that could be considered valuable to us, the grower, in order to create a better harvest and to have a better understanding of what is going on at certain moments in order to be able to address issues if necessary.
Before modern-day technology, growing was in many times a hard process because of lack of knowledge and especially no tools at hand to retrieve that knowledge, and therefore we made this piece of writing for you where we will be going over 5 tools every grower ( in and outdoors ) should have!

PH meters

PH is the value that represents how acidic or basic/alkaline something is, in our case, the water and soil. The bounds for this go from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Acidic is indicated below 7 and on the other side, above 7 is considered base or alkaline. It is a representation of the levels of hydrogen and hydroxyl ions in the water and it is a crucial value to keep an eye on while growing cannabis!
The difficult part with Cannabis is they can only absorb their nutrients the best within a small PH value frame and this is usually between 6-7 for plants grown in soil.

If you are a full organic grower, you should have fewer concerns because the organisms in your soil should be able to provide your plant's root system with everything it needs but it is still a must-have thing to keep track of if you would run into nutrition or water problems when for example a grower runs out of rainwater supply and switches to tap water for the outdoor grow or garden greenhouse.
For those who prefer hydroponics/coco, you should take in mind that it might be better to handle a PH value from 5.5 to 6.5 which is slightly more acidic than with soil.

There are a few different ways of measuring PH :

  1. The easiest way is using a liquid tester with a paper color scale. These little and easy-to-use testers are very cheap and can be found in many warehouse stores. It works by taking a small sample of the water and by adding droplets of the substance given in the tester kit will react to the water and so the color of the water represents the PH value on the given paper chart. These are very handy to have around for any type of grower to do a quick test!
  2. Nowadays, there are many portable and digital meters out there, with versions that can be permanently in the soil to get a constant reading, this means you know what the PH of the soil is at all times, and with using a digital meter your reading will be more accurate. Usually, the price of a decent PH meter goes from around 30€, and the better ones come with their own calibration kit to make sure your reading stays exact.

EC meter / TDS meter

The EC value stands for electrical conductivity and this measure represents basically how good or bad a substance or material can conduct electricity. In our case, we can get a better understanding of how "polluted" or what the "nutritional value" of our water is. The higher the level of EC, the more concentrated the number of dissolved materials is in the water itself. In other "growers' words": It represents the amount of fertilizer in the water or soil. So this means, this value will change from low in the very early grow stage and will be higher during flowering up and at the end of the life cycle will go down again in the hands of the right grower.

Yet this is very close to what a TDS ( Total Dissolved Substance ) meter does, the difference is a TDS meter measures all substances, also those with no electrical capabilities ( uncharged particles that do not carry electricity ).

In a way this means the following :

  • EC meter with a TDS value displayed : your TDS reading will be inaccurate because this type of meter basically calculates this on pre-assumed values set by the manufacturer.
  • TDS meter with an EC value displayed : your EC reading will be accurate because this type does not calculate the EC value but actually is capable of measuring it

These meters are all digitalized and a decent EC / TDS meter costs around 40€ and better ones have their own calibration kit and changeable electrodes.

Nutrient Boosters ( supplements and nutrients, organic or synthetic )

When it comes to "nutrient boosters", there is a difference between supplements and nutrients but let us first tell the difference between organic and synthetic.

  • Organic supplements and nutrients have basically originated from or living beings ( plants and animals ) or from the earth itself ( soil ).
  • Synthetic supplements and nutrients have an origin coming from synthesized chemicals, more specific, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium ( NPK )

The supply seems endless and the terminology can be confusing or misleading sometimes, and of course, many companies are just happy to sell to you, so let's get it straight:

Nutrients are in fact the providers of all the essential components as building blocks for your plants’ development. The plant uses these to create her complex structure and all the things needed to grow.

Supplements are used to create stimulation for nutrient absorption and or activating different movement for a good and healthy plant growth in different moments of the plant's life.

If it comes to defying the "best out there" it is very hard to tell. Not only does it take time to get used to the process of handling this as a grower, but you also need the right knowledge to read your grow area to know what exactly is needed at what time. Also, every manufacturer handles different ratios of nutrition for the different stages of the plant's life so these are not constant values.

My words of advice here are the following for the beginner among us :

  1. Stick to the same company in your first grows. Using different components from different companies can lead to unwanted results!
  2. Stick to the schedule given by the manufacturer
  3. Take it slow: It takes a while for a plant to show the effects when given extra nutrients/supplements so it is easy to get a bit ahead of yourself when doing this the first times
  4. Flush! Make sure to have a period of flush at the end of flowering ( +/- the last 2 weeks ) to flush out the remains

Manipulative Tools And Trimming

In the field of growing, there are a few techniques of manipulating the fields of joy in sometimes a surprisingly easy way so that we are able to achieve a bigger and better harvest. All these techniques have different ways of approaching but as a goal, all share the same thing: creating a better plant structure in order to have a better and more potent harvest at the end, and I can only say to all, experiment with these, but with care, cannabis plants, depending on their genes, can only take a certain amount of stress and manipulation!


A few of these techniques require the bare minimum of tools to get the maximum out of the plants and the following are just a few examples :

LST ( Low Stress Training )
Probably the most used way of manipulation. This is done by bending and tying down to create a stronger plant structure. By far the cheapest way of manipulation with great results!

 

HST ( High Stress Training )
These are all actions where basically you "do damage" such as cutting of certain parts at certain moments, in order to create enough stress to make the plant produce better at the end and these are the main types : Pruning/defoliation, Topping, Fiming, Supercropping and Lollipopping

 

SCROG
Also called "Sea Of Green" this is a technique that combines LST with net making sure the entire plant gets as much light as possible over its whole surface.

And when it comes to trimming, depending on the size your harvest you will look for a different type of trimmer. Most have a few laying around of different sizes and shapes but we probably all started with using nail clippers or small scissors. Big cannabis farms and growers use industrial-type trimmers nowadays.

Hygiene ( Isopropyl alcohol )

For any grow to be started properly, we need a clean space to do it in, but not only then. This is where isopropyl alcohol comes to the rescue. It is the perfect thing to have in a spray can close by in order to clean your tools used in and around the area your plants are in. And not only then! Something that gets overlooked a lot, especially by the starting grower among us, is little puddles in grow tents. In this water, there can be a residual organic matter that could be or become a host for disease and fungi so if unattended this can cause many issues.

Conclusion

With the gadgets and tools mentioned above, any grower should be able to keep better track of their grow and achieve better results because of this. We know that many of us have to do things under budget, but try to look at these things as investments. And there is of course plenty more gadgetry to use in the grow room, in and outside!

Do you have a favorite gadget or any tips or advice to give with this piece of information, let us know down below!

References

Best Ways To Clean Your Grow Room - Safer Brand

Tools For A Well Stocked Grow Room - Beth Garner ( 2018 )

What is EC Meter and how it is different from TDS Meter - Uniglobal Business

Optimizing Electrical Conductivity (EC) in Cannabis Cultivation - Brian Whipker, James T. Smith, Paul Cockson, and Hunter Landis ( 2019 )

Which Nutrients Are Best For Growing Cannabis - Grow Weed Easy ( 2020 )

Base Nutrients and Supplements Explained – Know The Differences Between Nutrient Base and Supplement - Hydrostork ( 2019 )

This article was updated May 2021






Comments

DreamIT
DreamIT

Nice article and well done. Personally I believe that Scrog and SoG are two different techniques, adopting me one of the two, but it is only a personal clarification :grin::the_horns::unicorn_face: