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Plant Growth Factors: The Importance of Pre-Veg Plant Care

  • Written by  Deonna Marie
  • Video
Pre-veg is the time to strengthen your plants’ roots. Pre-veg is the time to strengthen your plants’ roots.

 

Most growers understand that proper plant care is important throughout the entire growing process, yet the stage best known as “pre-veg” remains one of the most overlooked factors for indoor gardening success. Pre-vegging is a vital stage in the development for your crop, and not doing it properly can result in a huge loss of yield and diminished overall plant growth.

Pre-veg is the stage that occurs after your cutting (or clone) begins to show its first sign of roots, or after seedlings have germinated and are beginning to establish. This step in the growing process is key if you want to produce massive yields. Obviously, healthy roots mean better fruits, while plants without a healthy root structure find it very hard to properly take up nutrients.

When you’re ready to transplant your cuttings for pre-veg, you essentially have two options: If you’re using a soil medium, it’s best to transplant these infant plants into a small container, like pint-size (8-ounce) plastic cups. If you are growing in a hydroponics system, then using common 6-inch net pots or rock-wool blocks is the way to go.

Before you transplant into your desired medium, you will want to pre-soak it with a mild nutrient solution at 300 ppm (parts per million) with an adjusted pH of 5.8 to 6.5 for soil gardens, or 5.4 to 5.8 for hydroponics or soilless mediums. The optimal pre-veg nutrient solution should contain humates, fulvates, beneficial microbes, vitamin B hormone, and both macronutrients and micronutrients to promote a supercharged root structure. This is also the time to treat for any molds, diseases or pests. It will take anywhere from 10 to 14 days to build a healthy root structure, but be patient—by the end of two weeks, your pre-veg plants will be ready to transplant into your vegetative grow room.

There are a few different types of light fixtures you can use during your pre-veg stage, but the most popular are T5 (6500º Kelvin), which come in many different sizes. Personally, I prefer a 4-foot four-bulb fixture to accommodate the plants in 8-ounce plastic cups, with a light cycle of 18 hours and six hours of darkness. Additionally, I keep my T5 fixtures about a foot away from the canopy. If you’re up for a little experimentation, you can try keeping your lights on for 24 hours, which can deliver an even stronger root structure. Either light cycle will work, so it comes down to personal preference. Your local hydroponics store can help you pick out the fixture to best suit you needs.

Temperature and humidity are also key if you want top-notch results out of your pre-vegetating crop. It is very important that you create the proper environment for your little ones. You want to have a room temperature of around 72 to 75 degrees and a relative humidity of 55 to 65 percent at all times. You will also need sufficient air movement, so use an oscillating fan and an inline fan for your intake and outtake. The less stress on your plants, the better they will thrive.

Now that I have covered the basics on pre-veg, it’s up to you to grow that record-breaking harvest. Happy growing! Grow big or go home.

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Deonna Marie is the world’s hottest hydroponics expert.
Last modified on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 00:00

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