Using B-Vitamins at the Transplant Stage
I’ve been growing in hydroponics for many years with great success. Hydroponic nutrient solutions provide all of the essential elements that plants need in water soluble form. So hydroponics is like creating the perfect soil. Better yet, hydroponics is like creating the perfect soil for each stage of the plant’s life. The nutritional needs of the plant vary during its lifetime, with different nutrient requirements for initial rooting, vegetative growth, early flowering and heavy fruit production. So by giving the plants exactly what they need when they need it, it is possible to help the plant reach its true genetic potential.
It’s best to start plants from seeds or cuttings, and then grow them out in hydroponics systems all the way to harvest. It’s not usually recommended to transplant from hydroponics into soil. In some ways, hydroponics is too perfect. Instead of the plants having to send down tap roots in search of water and nutrients, hydroponic systems bring the water and nutrients to the roots! So hydroponically-grown plants tend to produce a greater mass of fine feeder roots, sucking up water and nutrients like a sponge. If you try to transplant from hydroponics to soil, the plant has adjust to a less-than-perfect environment, and often times the plant will wilt and die before it can make the transition.
Transplanting from soil to hydroponics is much easier. In that case, the plant is going from a not-so-perfect environment to an ideal growing environment. The plant usually thrives… provided it survives the initial transplanting process. No matter how careful you are when transplanting from soil to hydroponics, it is almost impossible to avoid damaging microscopic root hairs, exposing the plant to fungal infection. So here are a few simple steps you can take to help ensure success.
Start with a 5-gallon bucket of tepid water, and add a mild root stimulant with a B-vitamin blend. As carefully as you can, remove the plant from the pot and gently rinse all of the soil from the roots in the 5-gallon bucket. Take your time and handle the roots as gently as possible. Then transplant the bare-rooted plant into your hydroponic growing medium, making sure the plant is well supported so it won’t tip over. Then start irrigating the plant with a mild, pH-balanced nutrient solution. In a few days, new roots should start to develop, and the plant should recover and start growing again.
The addition of root stimulants and B-vitamins help speed up the process. Without the bio-stimulant treatment, plant growth could stall for as much as two weeks, instead of two or three days. The effects of B-vitamins alone, however, have met with some skepticism in the scientific community. Some experiments showed that thiamin (B-1) alone had little or no beneficial effects for preventing transplant shock. So where does the discrepancy lie?
Recent experiments have proven that treating plants with B-1 plays a significant role in preventing root diseases. B-vitamins stimulate the plant’s natural resistance to fungal attack, sensitizing the plant so that it can respond to pathogens more quickly. If there is an attack after transplant, the plants are ready. Furthermore, when used in conjunction with other root stimulants such as seaweed extracts, amino acids and humates, the beneficial effects of B-vitamins are amplified, giving your plants a great head start!