Wednesday, July 7, 2010


The fact that my sales seem to rise in the summertime reminds me of an issue we all wish didn't exist:  mold.  Many home-growers just give up the ship and order from professional growers when the summertime hits because they just can't take the heat from moldy crops due to high humidity.  Truth be told, even in my climate-controlled growing room, the threat of mold is an issue I still need to deal with due to constant outdoor heat and humidity beating at my door.  It taxes the air and dehumidification systems, raises my electric bill and general operating costs, and reminds me that if there's one thing I can do to help make the situation better, that would be to WATER LESS.

Analog HygrometerOptimal humidity level for growing wheatgrass is between 40 and 60 percent.  I tend to shoot for 50 percent.  In the wintertime, I actually need to introduce humidification to the room because I cannot even reach 35 percent.  In the summertime, without dehumidification, my growing room could easily reach 90 percent.  At a 50-55 percent humidity level, I have found that a LIGHT watering once daily is just enough to keep the grass turgid but not produce root rot and its concurrent mold.  You'll know you're overwatering if you lift that mat of grass and find brown circles as opposed to a nice clean white root system.

At humidity levels over 60 percent, you may only need to water your grass once every two days.  Sometimes if I know I will be away for a couple days in the summer and will have to miss a day of watering, I use this knowledge to my benefit and turn down the dehumidification system to run at about 65 percent room humidity with increased fan circulation, but I'll never press it beyond that.  Generally speaking, room humidity at 70 percent and above for more than 12 hours once the grass has already grown an inch or two high can ultimately result in crop failure, so I try at all costs to make sure that never happens.

If root rot and the mold it attracts seem to be bringing down your summer grass-growing ambitions, why not make a small investment in a hygrometer to help you manage your watering needs?  If you grow your grass on tiered racks, invest in several hygrometers--one for each shelf.  Remember that each shelf has its own microclimate.

If climate problems are not only bringing you down but driving you nuts, you may want to take that next step in your growing career and make a larger investment in a portable all-in-one system for your growing area.  Before I made the ultimate investment in a dedicated growing room, this type of unit served me well in all seasons and still serves as a backup for me if anything on my larger units fail.

Good luck and happy growing! Remember, when it comes to summertime watering, sometimes less is more!

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