Gentle Love for Your Ladies: How to Foliar Feed

Photo courtesy of Miss MMJGeek

Photo courtesy of Miss MMJGeek

So you’re looking to incorporate foliar feeding into your garden’s regimen? Is it the best option for you and most importantly, your ladies? How do you foliar feed? What do you foliar feed with? When do you apply foliar feeds? There are a lot of questions you may have, but hopefully this blog post will help answer some!

If you live in an environment where you’re running the dehumidifier all day and moisture is an issue then, don’t worry about crossing foliar feeding off your list since you may run the risk of fungal infestations such as mold. Foliar feeding is not for every garden and not intended to replace your regular root feeding schedule.

Instead, it should serve as a supplement to:

  • maintain your girls’ health
  • emergencies to immediately correct nutrient deficiencies
  • prevent again the all time villain, The Spider Mite, because they are sensitive to nutrient sprays.

Also it is important to note that foliar feeding is crucial to yellowing clones that otherwise cannot feed since their roots are still developing.

Before going over a few good rules of thumbs regarding foliar feeding, I’d like to stress the fact that the leaf is an efficient organ of absorption and stomata (nice little read on the functions of stomata can be found here) can be thought of as pores found on the surface of all above-ground parts of the plant. The stomata’s primary function is to control gas exchange required for plant metabolism. As it relates to our particular subject matter, stomata are the portals into the plant from where all the goodies in our misting solution will be absorbed through.

Photo courtesy of Miss MMJGeek

Photo courtesy of Miss MMJGeek

A few good parameters to consider when doing foliar feeding:

  • Ideal temperature: around 72° (stomata close at high temperatures, if not all then most definitely the majority have been reported to be closed at 80°)
  • Dilute the manufacture’s recommended /gal dose by 25% and increase as crop develops [you never want to go over 50% dilution of manufacture’s per gal recommendation]
  • You can mist the plants again with fresh water (ph’d between 6.2-7.0) to wash of any salt deposits that may build up

Some sources say to cut off any weekly (or every 2-3 days depending on what works best for you and your garden) application of foliar fertilization 2-3 weeks into flower, while others go as far as 2 weeks from harvest or 8-7 weeks into flower depending on the strain—personally, I would avoid foliar feeding 3 weeks (max) into flower to reduce risk of mold growing on bud sites.

Photo courtesy of Miss MMJGeek

Photo courtesy of Miss MMJGeek

Some more foliar feeding tips:

  • Spray as soon as lights go on (spraying close to bedtime doesn’t ensure proper moisture absorption and may lead to fungal infections)
  • Spray both the top and underside of leaves, until they drip, so that the nutrient cocktail reaches the stomata and can be absorbed
  • Try not to have your ladies too close to your lights while foliar feeding as this may lead to burn spots

So, what to foliar feed with?

While there are many forums with neat little recipes and formulas that have worked wonders for other growers (such as ones found here), in my opinion, the best way to find your own success is by experimenting with both the ingredients and dilution percentages. These girls are resilient so don’t hesitate to reach both extremes of over and under nuting and then dialing it in for each particular girl, especially if you’re setting aside a mother and taking clones for future crops. It’s also important to note that you can typically recognize the ingredients your plant needs based on the color of the leaves, just listen to your ladies! They practically shout it out at you!

Keep in mind that the critical nutrients are (N)itrogen and (P)hosphorus.

-Foliar feeding is especially useful in delivering nutrients that do not translocate (move from one part of the plant to another) such as (P)hosphorous and (Fe) iron.

Photo courtesy of Miss MMJGeek

Photo courtesy of Miss MMJGeek

-To correct a magnesium deficiency quickly, make a spraying a solution containing a teaspoon of (MgSO4) magnesium sulfate in a quart of water and foliar feed your ladies with this solution. Note: Magnesium sulfate could be added to hydroponic solutions as well since new growth will have access to minerals.

Homemade mixtures could include:
• Seaweed
• Compost tea
• Natural apple cider vinegar
• Blackstrap molasses
• Fish emulsion
• Baking soda

Personally I have found that diluting 25% of  the ladies’ regular feeding works great for foliar applications and 25% seems to be a good dilution to start troubleshooting from according to most other sources.

I hope this has helped in some way, happy growing everyone!

Here is a good, quick read arguing against the efficiency of foliar feeding. It’s always best to consider both sides of an argument before making a decision.

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