Horticulture

Fertigation

Petar Petrov
Written by Petar Petrov

Many cultivators consider fertigation to be the optimal path to scaling up, and when you take a harder look at the unique kind of adjustable automation this nutrient application system brings to the table, it becomes apparent why fertigation holds such a sweeping allure.

What is Fertigation?

“Fertigation” is a combination of the terms, “fertilization” and “irrigation.”

Basically, fertigation systems employ readily-dissolved nutrients injected into the irrigation water, thus eliminating the need for manual mixing and all of the time and effort that demands, not to mention, the room for human error which manual methods usually entail.

Benefits of Fertigation

Besides the obvious benefits of the immensely reduced time and effort demands which automation is generally synonymous with, fertigation actually spells a more refined, customizable automation that paradoxically can be more case-specific than its manual alternative.

What makes fertigation so suitable for scaling up is its flexibility and versatility in terms of the ability to adjust to fluctuations of weather conditions, and in accommodating the different nutrient needs for stages of plant development. Fertigation is often coupled with robust software that keeps track of the climate and deviations from the established norm that causes unwanted changes in the pH and electrical conductivity (EC) levels of the water. In such cases, an alarm is usually triggered, and if cultivators don’t respond to it, machines automatically stop operating to prevent things from going awry.

Considering the learning curve and initial cost of adopting fertigation, in addition to those highly specialized features, fertigation is more suitable for large-scale operations. That being said, there are fertigation systems that are meant mostly for small growers, as they handle only one type of fertilizer at a time.

In short, unless growers are fixed entirely on running a small-scale operation they can handle on their own, fertigation has something to offer to growers for various stages of development.

Maintenance

Despite the automated nature of its practice, fertigation still needs a regular human touch, albeit a light one, to run smoothly and optimally.

It’s crucial that lines are examined daily for leaks that can throw off the uniformity of the dose, and respectively, of the crops altogether. Growers need to keep tanks clean by flushing them with water and hydrogen peroxide to keep the mixture unadulterated. It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s this fundamental practice that can easily be overlooked.

Fertigation has all the makings of a futuristic cannabis cultivation technique – automation, streamlined precision, and ease. That being said, all of a fertigation systems’ robust features aren’t worth much if growers start to rely entirely on them and neglect their daily roles.

Image Credits: Wikipedia

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Petar Petrov

Petar Petrov

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