Commercial greenhouse production in Alberta by James Calpas. Edmonton

By James Calpas. Edmonton

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It also gives an indication of what is happening in the root zone with respect to pH. Generally, when the plants are young, a percentage leachate of 10 to 15 per cent is a good target. As the plants develop, the amount of water required to attain this overdrain target increases. As the season progresses and the light levels increase and the plants mature and begin to bear fruit, the overdrain targets increase to 20 to 30 per cent. 8, and this pH optimum also applies to the root environment as well.

The use of overdrain targets is one way to ensure the plants are receiving adequate water throughout the day. A strong indicator of whether or not the plants have received adequate water during the previous day is whether the growing points or the tops of the plants have a light green color early in the morning. Over the course of the day when the plant is under transpiration stress, the color of the plants will progress from a light green to a darker blue- green. If the plants have received adequate water throughout the previous day, the light green color will return overnight as the plant recovers and improves its water status.

The essential nutrients can be grouped into two categories that reflect the quantities of the nutrients required by plants. Macronutrients, or major elements, are required by plants in larger quantities than the amounts of micronutrients, or trace elements, required for growth (Table 4). These calculations have to be made for each water sample based on the results of a water analysis reporting the level of bicarbonates. In addition to phosphoric and nitric acid, sulfuric and hydrochloric acids can also be used to adjust the pH of the water down.

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