you should flush your plants before harvesting
When it comes to growing and harvesting there’s presently a debate when it comes to plant flushing. There are some who suggest that flushing your plants prior to harvesting will remove important nutrients. Then there are those who say that flushing your plants prior to harvesting will give you a crop that is higher in quality, flavor and aroma. So which is it? In this article we’ll take a closer look at the truth regarding plant flushing - what it means and why it’s so important to flush. We’ll also take a look at the best way to flush your plants in order to achieve maximum benefits.
Just what is flushing?
Before getting into flushing specifics, let’s quickly go over exactly what flushing actually is. Flushing is a process that involves watering the plants in your garden or hydroponic system without adding nutrients. This is done prior to harvesting for a couple of days to over a week, depending on the type of medium that’s being used for growing.
The goal is to have your plants use up the nutrients that they have already built up. This is designed to lessen the contaminant and nutrient load of your final crop’s product. It should be noted that we recommend that all growers flush whether their medium is; soil, hydro or coco coir.
The difference in timing will lay with the type of nutrient that is being used as well as the medium.
Why is flushing
While some folks have argued otherwise, serious growers have agreed that it is a necessary step. These growers have had the opportunity to experience both sides of the coin on a personal basis and know what it means to flush or not to flush your plants out before harvesting.
The reason for this is the fact that during a plants growing cycle, it stores an excess amount of salts, nutrients and various other compounds. If you don’t allow the plants to have a chance to get rid of these materials before the harvest, you’ll end up with a crop that is bitterer and harsher with a chemical taste. But let’s take a look at both sides for a moment.
Those who are against flushing say that:
a. Taking nutrients away from plants is counterproductive to the plant’s growth.
b. Nutrients that are absorbed are permanent and can’t be “used up” by denying more nutrients.
c. Soil can’t be flushed effectively, so plants in hydro would always taste better if flushing worked.
d. Plants will stress if nutrients are withheld. This does the opposite of encouraging growth.
e. No scientific studies have been made regarding the benefits of plant flushing.
Now, we’ll take a look at these claims one by one.
a. Plant flushing has nothing to do with robbing them of nutrients. Actually, flushing provides a way of allowing the plants to use their excess nutrients that have been built up over their growing cycle. Plants will retain too much of the compounds that degrade taste, smoothness and smell if they are fed nutrients right up till harvesting time. Also, remember, the goal of flushing has nothing to do with encouraging new growth. Flushing actually increases the swelling of the plant’s flowers and buds since the plants are not using energy to draw out nutrients. This is what you want during the last week before harvesting - not growth.
b. All it takes is for you to talk to an experienced grower that has encountered “nutrient burn” in order to understand that saying plants can’t expel extra nutrients is completely false. That same grower can also tell you how to fix this problem. This is done by plant flushing and allowing the plants to use their excess nutrients. This concept and principle also applies to the final harvest flush. You’re just allowing your plants to use up extra nutrients.
c. Saying that soil can’t be flushed is flat out wrong. It merely takes a bit longer than coco or hydro.
d. While it’s true that stress is placed on plants when nutrients are withheld, it’s also true that (in certain plants) their primary stress defense compounds are the most desirable! With those types of plants, flushing can increase your final product’s resin and essential oil content as well as increasing aroma and flavor.
e. Saying that there is not hard science behind the idea of flushing your plants is ludicrous. Scientists are constantly working on determining the best practices for crop cultivation.
The final truth
Flushing your plants, prior to harvesting is definitely the way to go in order to obtain the best crop results. But there is a wrong way and a right way to accomplish this. First off, the flushing naysayers have a point when they say that plant flushing can rob your plants of essential nutrients – but only if you use just plain water.
Flushing with plain water may cause your plants to lose some of its resin potential (herbs) and floral growth (other edible plants). This is why it’s necessary to use an excellent quality flush agent that is specifically designed for your growing needs. For example, Advanced Nutrients Flawless Finish is a perfect mix that will add value to your crop when flushing. With this product, you can count on a sweeter and more delicious harvest.
This is accomplished by the flushing agent having a range of chelates, which are organic compounds that will bind with other substances/chemicals. This has the effect of binding to unwanted excess nutrients and various other compounds in order to flush them out. The flushing agent will also be able to support the plants during this process.
You also need to ensure that your timing is correct when performing your flushing. Here are some guidelines to follow:
1. For those growing in hydro – you will only need to flush your plants 1-2 days.
2. For those growing in coco – you will want to flush your plants for up 1 week before harvesting.
3. For those growing in soil – you will want to flush your plants between 1-2 weeks before harvesting.
It goes without saying that you will need to keep a close eye on your plants during the entire flushing process. This is because you don’t want them to become yellow or suffer in any way. You should adjust your flushing time in order to determine the ideal time for your plants and hydroponic system.
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