Plants communicate their needs plainly and simply. In a hydroponic system of growing, these communications are sudden; almost loud, to those who are listening. We must respond quickly and respond correctly. An ignored request for more/less water, more/less nitrogen, more/less calcium, higher/lower pH, etc., can turn into a disaster within days, if not hours. It is interesting to note that symptoms of too much can look the same as symptoms of too little.
Sometimes a plant’s cry for help has more to do with changing weather conditions than how it is being watered/fed. Sometimes it has to do with pollination or the number of fruits already present.
Tomatoes are an excellent example. Blossoms that are drying up before producing fruit can be the result of too many fruits on the vines, lack of pollination, day temperatures above 90 degrees, night temperatures above 70 degrees, excessive humidity, inadequate watering, too little or too much nitrogen, and more.
As a general rule of thumb, we give our tomatoes a break on the nitrogen for a few days each week, increase watering during hot spells, and make sure fruits are picked out every now and then.
While we can’t control everything that comes along to stress our plants, we can pay attention to what they are telling us, and let them teach us what they will. When we get it right, they reward us with an abundance of delicious, healthy fruit. One thing is certain; they definitely keep us on our toes. 🙂