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How do I determine my watering schedule for container plants?

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
I use and recommend the single probe Rapidtest moisture meter. It is available from most of the major garden centers for under $20. This meter reads consistently without using batteries. It is invaluable for determining watering schedules, which vary tremendously from plant to plant, overwatered conditions, and uneven moisture distribution within the container. Rapidtest also sells a shorter, two probe model which should be avoided. Make this investment, monitor conditions regularly, and reap the rewards at harvest.

Growers that allow their medium to dry out to the point at which the leaves "droop" are reducing their final yields and quality. The medium contains a certain amount of salts that dramatically increase in concentration as the water dissipates. The roots can be repeatedly stressed going through this technique called "wet/dry cycle". The plant is being deprived of moisture that would be available to fuel additional growth and suffers.

The moisture meter's probe should be inserted to various depths to accurately assess conditions. The Rapidtest has a 1-4 scale on the meter, but what is imporatant is relative moisture. The lower potion of the medium in the container should not be so consistently and constantly moist as to "bury the needle" at the top of the scale. The middle depths of the container should be kept in the upper half section of the meter's range and the top should be allowed to dry out to the lower half of the range before rewatering.

This is far more accurate to the lifting and guessing game played by many. The weight of the container does not indicate where the moisture is inside. A grower would never really know if things at the bottom were oversaturated without a probe to tell them. If the bottom is soaked and never dries out, the container feels "heavy" even though other areas may be quite dry. Many grower use large, tight grids of 3-5 gallon containers which can amount to 40-100+ containers. How could they use the lift and guess method, if they can hardly reach some of my plants just to water and prune them. It would be impossible and bad for their backs to use anything except a moisture meter. In other situations the plants are attached to fixed supports, such as SCROG or simply tied up prohibiting movement. There is no more accurate or versatile way to determine your watering schedule.

Added by ~shabang~:

I am one of those that plays the "lifting and guessing game" and I will always recommend that you use your senses to judge and understand your plants rather than trusting in a $8 Wal-mart toy.

If a grower has 40-100+ large containers then they are likely experienced and likely growing mostly the same crop. When you know your plant and your system you don't use a moisture meter. No serious grower that I've met personally does.

Moisture meters are fine for beginners IF you use multiple sample points in each pot. It's too easy to hit a pocket of perlite or just rub the sensor the wrong way. I'd rather judge by visual and tactile response rather than entrusting a wavering needle on an inaccurate meter. You know that when you lift up your container, is it wet? or is it dry?
 

Doctor Dread

Nug of the Month: 3rd Place Winner
I agree stony, in the process of learning new things, patience is key. Much of ones knowledge in watering schedules is just learned through experience. I also believe a meter is unnecessary. Beginners are likely to trust a meter that is not being used correctly or not functioning properly over simple common sense.
 

Racefan

Well-Known Member
I bought a moisture meter years ago when I decided to go indoors with most of my growing and used it maybe 3 times before I realized it was worthless as it wasn't really accurate and that i didn't need it. just picking the container up when dry and then picking it up when wet gave me the info I needed. After that when it got as light as it was the first time I picked it up i water. if it isn't i don't. Works everytime!
 

Sonny Cheeba

New Member
I like the finger plug method. I stick my finger in my dirt and if it's dry about a inch in, i water my babies.
 

tonga420

New Member
I like the finger plug method. I stick my finger in my dirt and if it's dry about a inch in, i water my babies.

Hello Sonny,

I use the finger method as well. When it's dry i water my plant until i see it start to leak from the bottom of the pot. Am i watering it too much. your help is greatly appreciated. :thanks:
 

L8tNightSkunk

Member of the Month: Apr 2009
I like the finger plug method. I stick my finger in my dirt and if it's dry about a inch in, i water my babies.

Does this really work? if so im going to have to start using this method because ive been having overwatering problems
 

tonga420

New Member
If it is damp/moist when you stick in your finger wait to water they are fine.
You want an inch or 2 of dry soil on top as I understand it.
I find the method Racefan uses to be the best for me so far.

Hey Smokey,

When the soil is dry and its time to water, do you know how much i am supposed to water the plant. i usually water it until i see the water start to leak at the bottom of the pot. do you think i am overwatering?:surf:

:thanks:
 

greengo840

New Member
Hi there,

Yes actually all methods here work just great. Patience I believe is the word on this thread... As a novice I tend to over react to everything.

Patience, PATIENCE and then practice.

I too did not like the moister meters and use the finger method. Lifting works as well. The key is to figure out the format to which makes you feel like you can read the situation.

As far as watering I usually start by pouring in .75liters wait 10 minutes then another .75. Repeat until you see water begin to trickle out the poop shoots.

AND WRITE IT ALL DOWN UNTIL IT'S IN YOUR Brain LIKE YOUR ABC's

As corny as it may sound with time just like the vets will tell you, these bitches are very responsive to things they like (or dislike for that matter) and you're plants will speak to you.

Best of luck to you!!
 

L8tNightSkunk

Member of the Month: Apr 2009
I agree i cant quite remember who told me this but when i first joined a great master told me " Patience young grasshoppa" and ever since ive been more patient with my grow and looks like it works best for the plants and me to be patient
 

tonga420

New Member
Hi there,

Yes actually all methods here work just great. Patience I believe is the word on this thread... As a novice I tend to over react to everything.

Patience, PATIENCE and then practice.

I too did not like the moister meters and use the finger method. Lifting works as well. The key is to figure out the format to which makes you feel like you can read the situation.

As far as watering I usually start by pouring in .75liters wait 10 minutes then another .75. Repeat until you see water begin to trickle out the poop shoots.

AND WRITE IT ALL DOWN UNTIL IT'S IN YOUR Brain LIKE YOUR ABC's

As corny as it may sound with time just like the vets will tell you, these bitches are very responsive to things they like (or dislike for that matter) and you're plants will speak to you.

Best of luck to you!!
thank u greengo that was very helpfu
:439:
 

SepalNoyz

New Member
I'm pretty new. good to know that the thumb technique and picking up are common ways of checking moisture levels. I was feeling pretty dumb, till i read this. :)



Now that the weather is getting hotter. How often do I spray or water my outdoor plants. I've been checking on them multiple times durring the day, and i'll spray the foliage or the top of the dry soil.
 

grandpastoner

New Member
As far as the outdoor grow...don't check on them so much. No need to draw more attention to yourself than you have to, especially if you have nosey ass neighbors. I mist my ladies about once a week...and the lifting and fingering techniques for checking are what I use as well.
 

SepalNoyz

New Member
Thanks Grandpa. I'll try not worry as much. :) would I have to do anything special if the weather got up to 100+ degrees outside?
 

xjackflashx

New Member
no you wouldnt have to do anything special...you might have to go back to your grow a day sooner thats all...it really all depends...I mean if your using smaller 5 gallon buckets the lift method or the finger method may work..but I like to use larger containers to avoid rootballing at the bottom of 5 gallon buckets towards the end of the grow... and itll be wet on the bottom and dry almost 3-4 inches down...mainly Ive learned to use the finger test as an idea to how dry the soil is and then I also pay attention to the leaves..they are the sure signs of over/under watering...:rollit:..regardless after the few seasons ive been through ive found out that every 2,3,4 days ((depending on your strain)) you can water...two days being the most often and every four days being the least, duh...
 
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