You might have heard the saying, “The bigger your roots, the bigger your fruits.” This saying is absolutely true because the larger and healthier your plants roots are developing from the very beginning of your plant’s growth from a seedling, the larger and more potent your plant and specifically, your BUDS will be! So what’s the secret?
It’s called, “The Four Inch Rule”. How the four inch rule works begins on the very first day you’ve planted your seedlings. Therefore the secret is all in how much and where you water your plants in the first three weeks.
After the very first day you’ve planted your seedling, only use pure fresh clean water for the first 3 weeks until your plant has its first 3 sets of leaves. During these next few days and weeks, the overall peat moss mix medium in each of your pots will gradually begin to dry out even as you’re watering daily. This is a good thing. The heat of your grow light will evaporate the water in your medium even if your light is hanging the maximum distance, as it should be, from the surface of the medium.
A day or two after planting, you will experience the thrill of seeing your seedlings emerge out of the medium! During these first few days, you will only need to use an ounce of water to soak your baby plants each day. As the seedlings grow, lower your light gradually and increase the amount of water you give each plant.
To implement “The Four Inch Rule”, only water around the immediate area of your seedling. Use as much water as you need to soak the 4 square inches the seedling is in. This means that you water 2 inches out in all directions from the new stalk of your seedling. This will provide it with all the water it needs to absorb the existing nutrients in the peat moss mix. NEVER add any nutrients at this early stage because the added nutrients will BURN the baby plant roots.
Even as you gradually increase the amount of water you’re giving each plant, the medium will still dry out beyond the first four inches of stalk. After a few days, amazing things will begin to happen below the surface…
As the roots grow outwards they will quickly reach the drier outer, majority area of the medium. When they do, they will naturally follow the moisture and turn back inwards to avoid the drier medium. This is called, “root pruning”. As the roots turn inwards, they continue to grow and quickly develop secondary roots. As these secondary roots grow thicker, more new third level root systems develop all within that first four inches!
By the time the baby plant is 6 inches tall, its roots will have developed a strong, dense healthy root system. As you add even more water daily, going from one to two to three ounces, you increase the wet zone around the roots and spur them to product thicker healthier roots until you have a ball of strong roots underground directly beneath the surface which itself gets larger, wider and thicker.
The adult stalks of cannabis plants using this technique can easily reach twice the thickness of a grown man’s thumb, with a solid root ball the size of a melon, and produce almost 3 times the amount of solid potent flowers! Compare this to conventional watering which causes the roots to grow thin and spindly outwards because all the medium in the pot is regularly watered. This actually slows the root development as the roots grow laterally, ever more spindly, until they reach and wall of the planting pot. When they hit the wall, they begin to swirl around the edge of the medium instead of filling out the whole medium area inside the pot. This creates what is known as “root-bound” plants. When a plant becomes root bound, it senses its come to end of the area where it can continue to grow in, and to preserve itself, it slows down. That’s the last thing you need!
The result is much smaller plants than their potential, less roots and weaker, less potent flowers. Which results would you rather have? Now that you’ve accomplished your first successful planting and your baby plants are growing happily into the light, you’ll find your cannabis adventure has truly begun. Stay with us in next successive posts and you’ll discover how to grow your first 4 from six inches to six feet so that they’re heavy with thick, potent, aromatic flowers just waiting to inspire you!