Ripening is the crucial time right before harvesting, when the blooms of high-value plants will noticeably fill in, pack on extra density, and produce a significant amount of essential oils. This final burst of essential-oil production can make the difference between good quality and great quality.
For outdoor plants, the ripening stage is more prolonged than for indoor plants, which means a greater window of time is available to boost the plant’s natural tendencies. However, it is advantageous for both indoor and outdoor growers to supplement particular nutrients during the ripening stage in order to maximize production.
There is a plethora of chemical fertilizers aimed at promoting ripening and last-minute essential-oil production. When looking around a hydroponic store, you can quickly see that most fertilizer companies have at least one, if not multiple, ripening additives. That is great for the chemical growers, but what about those who grow organically?
One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing someone claim that they grow organically only to find out that they are using a chemical ripening additive. Organic purists who have worked long and hard to maintain a healthy balance in their garden’s micro-ecosystem cannot afford to jeopardize it all by caving in at the last minute and using a chemical ripening booster. After all, most organic growers have well-built soil that already contains everything the plant needs to grow. But what if organic growers want to capitalize on supplementation during the crucial ripening stage like the chemical guys do? Here is how:
It is possible for organic growers to add an additional boost of fertilizer by top-dressing the soil. This can be done throughout the blooming stage to customize the nutrients delivered to the plants. This can be advantageous for the outdoor grower to further provide specific nutrients to monster plants. I do not recommend top-dressing during the ripening stage in indoor gardens. An outdoor garden’s ripening stage is much longer than an indoor garden’s, and this lengthened period of time enables the plants to obtain the benefits of top-dressing.
During an outdoor plant’s early ripening stage, a grower can top-dress the soil with high-phosphorus bat or seabird guano. As it rains, or the grower waters the plants, the guano will release and give a boost of phosphorus and microorganisms to the plants. The added phosphorus will stimulate the flowering process (which at this time is promoting the bulking of blooms) and the microorganisms will increase nutrient uptake and essential-oil production.
Organic products that contain high concentrations of amino acids are great to supplement during the ripening stage. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are essentially the fuel for all plant functions, including plant metabolism. By supplementing amino acids, you can be sure your high-value plants are always operating at full capacity. This means that all the natural functions during ripening (bloom density, essential-oil production) will be accentuated. Amino acids also help build the plant’s defenses against various pathogens. Amino acid supplements offer a proactive approach to a potentially devastating pathogen attack during the ripening period.
Supplementing a carbohydrate formula during the entire blooming stage is advantageous, but especially during the ripening stage. The carbohydrates will feed the beneficial break as micro-organisms in the soil or medium that help all plant functions. Increased carbohydrates have also been shown to stimulate essential-oil production in many varieties of high-value plants. Adding carbohydrates during the ripening stage will dramatically boost the final production of essential oils, which creates better aromas and flavors.
Organic teas made from certain raw materials can be very beneficial during the ripening stage. Teas are generally brewed in a specific tea brewer or other homemade device that combines water, oxygen, and the organic matter for a period of time.
When brewed correctly, these teas will contain an abundance of microbial life that can be beneficial to organic growers in all stages of growth. Guano teas, especially teas made from high-phosphorus bat or seabird guano, are a nice boost in the early ripening stage. These guano teas not only contain a good amount of phosphorus but also an abundance of beneficial microorganisms. Guano teas supplemented during ripening will increase bloom density and stimulate essential-oil production.