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calcium and magnesium

This is a discussion on calcium and magnesium within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Originally Posted by sciencegal Then added my kelp solution to the Superthrive/water solution ... Not ...

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  1. #21
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    raybark is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sciencegal View Post
    Then added my kelp solution to the Superthrive/water solution ...
    Not a good idea. Both kelp and SuperThrive contains hormones the stimulate the auxin/cytokinin cycle. Too much, and flower deformation can occur (I proved that to myself with very heavy dose of SuperThrive), and it has been reported that plant growth can be stunted, as well.
    Last edited by raybark; September 2nd, 2015 at 09:31 AM.

  2. #22
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    Thanks, Ray. I will only use one or the other from now on and in small doses. This makes sense from my experience with vegetable seedlings. I first started to believe in kelp when I noticed that it really improved growth of some of my garden seedlings (broccolli and tomatoes) which I start under lights. The cucumbers and squash however did terribly. They hardly grew and had brown, curled leaves. When I restarted them and did not use the kelp they did fine. Maybe some plants are more affected by it than others. I'll have to do some research for guidelines on using kelp on orchids. Do you have any links?

  3. #23
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    Having realized that the mixed results people got out of the use of synthetic products like K-L-N or SuperThrive were due to storage and aging issues, it got me thinking about similar claims of effectiveness and ineffectiveness among kelp products, so I started doing some digging.

    One of the first things I learned was that how the seaweed is processed makes a huge difference in how well the product works (which is why I cannot make any general recommendations). From worst to best, some are ground and dried, some are "chemically digested" with enzymes, some are macerated, while others (KelpMax) use a vacuum to "explode" the cells, releasing the hormone -containing juices. I am certain that the selection of the particular species of seaweed also has an effect, but I have found no studies that have separated that from the processing.

    All that said, the only kelp product I have experience with is KelpMax. The manufacturer states that a dilution greater than 1:500 is of no value to most plants. The Phillies applied a 1:400 solution (1 quart of KelpMax per 100 gallons, per acre) to the turf at Citizens Bank Park, and saw a remarkable amount of root growth in their new sod. When I started testing it on orchids, I used 1 tablespoon per gallon (1:256) for a single dose, and saw an explosion of root growth a few weeks later. I now use the product as a soak – immersing the entire plant in that solution – for an hour or more before transplanting, but only apply it once a month on established plants.

    As to frequency of application, we have to keep in mind the kinetics of the natural processes that have been stimulated within the plants. When we dose plants with these hormones, the acceleration begins almost immediately, but takes anywhere from a week to 10 days to reach a peak and then slowly decrease to normal rates again. The initial reaction is related to auxins, which causes root tips to be initiated and grow. As they do they naturally release cytokinins, which accelerates plant growth. Again, that process begins in earnest when the auxins reached their peak, taking another 7 to 10 days to peak and return to normal levels. This is a cyclic process, by the way, that occurs naturally in all plants, but at lower levels and rates. As that process, in total, can take anywhere from 14 to 21 days, applying hormones more frequently than that seems to be disruptive. For example, I have learned that if I add KelpMax at 1 tablespoon per gallon to my fertilizer solution at every watering for a couple of weeks, I will see flower deformities. I have also seen that with SuperThrive. Fortunately if you back off on the hormone treatments, the plant returns to normal.

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