What are the advantages of using a fertilizer flush on my plants before harvest?

Q:

I’ve heard about fertilizer flushes and was wondering, what are the advantages of choosing one for my garden and how much do I use per plant?

A:

In general, plants grown in container gardens are given nutrients at high levels to achieve peak performance and maximize crop harvest. Sometimes this leads to plants collecting unconverted salts within their tissue; this is probably due to the scarcity of some nutrients in nature (such as nitrogen and phosphorous). This buildup can cause a lot of problems from toxicity during crop growth, leading to poor quality and taste after harvest. The buildup slips into the grow system to form a stock pile. This is the reason why most indoor gardeners use a flushing period at the end of the cycle – to remove the excess salt and improve plant quality.

The standard method to flush is to add pure water to your irrigation and remove all salts from the solution. The way flushing agents work is to improve the efficacy of the physical removal of salts from around the plant's roots, generally through the use of organic acids. By removing this nutrient salt buildup around the roots, the grower has a chance to force the plant to find and metabolize any unconverted salts in its tissue. This forces the plant to deal with and use those excess salts, which leads to a higher quality yield and improves tastes and flavors post-harvest.

Some flushing products, such as the Grotek Final Flush have scented options. These products contain food-grade syrups to provide the flavor. While the flavor does not impact the natural aroma inherent to your plant, it is does provide a monosaccharide, or simple sugar, boost to the plants. This combination of additional plant energy and stripping of salts in the soil or grow medium is a powerful combination concerning overall yield and quality.

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Written by Simon Hart
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With more than 35 years around plants and 20 years in the hydroponic industry, Simon Hart lives to garden. When not working on product development at Grotek or traveling the world to help clients get the most from their plants, he can be found in his green spaces.  Full Bio