How to start growing with the Natural Control grow boards?

The Natural Control grow boards have been made by compressing dried substrate material. The compression enables better durability during transportation. Dried compressed boards are lighter and smaller which makes them easier and cheaper to handle and to transport. The following instructions will explain how the dried and compressed boards should be expanded with a fertiliser solution before planting.

Starting cultivation in the grow boards

The grow boards are laid out so that the board is in the middle of the packaging bag. The perforated flap of the plant hole is torn away and drip irrigation is placed either flat under the packaging or standing up in the holes drilled for them.

Expanding

As the grow boards are unfertilised they should be expanded with the appropriate fertiliser solution. The recommended EC’s for the most common plants are:

  • Tomato 4.0 mS/cm
  • Cucumber 3.0 mS/cm
  • Sweet pepper 2.5 mS/cm
  • Strawberry 1.5 mS/cm

The initial irrigation is at first administered in small amounts (0.5 dl / drip) to improve the uptake of liquid. The appropriate moisture level depends on the plant. It is achieved when the board has  50-70% of moisture. The required amount of liquid depends on the volume of the substrate.

The amount of fertiliser solution needed for the initial irrigation

The amount of liquid needed for the initial irrigation depends on the size of the grow board. Depending on the crop, 5-7 dl of liquid is needed per 1 litre of substrate.

Example

100x16x12 Natural Control board (19,2 litres) needs on average 10-14 litres of fertiliser solution for initial irrigation. If there are 4 drips / board, then each drip should give 2.5-3.5 litres of the fertiliser solution during initial irrigation. The liquid should be dispensed in batches of 1-2 deciliters with the irrigation interval of 30-60 minutes.

Planting moisture

To achieve even growth after planting it is important to maintain an even and consistent moisture level of the grow boards as well as the young plants already before planting. After planting it is important that also the seedling cube stays moist enough (min. 50%) until the plant has rooted in the actual substrate.

For tomatoes and strawberries the suitable moisture level for planting is 50% of the total volume of the grow board. For cucumbers and sweet peppers the optimal moisture level is 70% of the total volume of the substrate.

Drain holes are cut on the side of the boards after planting to enable excess water to run away from the bag. The cuts are made between the young plants and until the very bottom of the board.