Posted on

What is flushing?

Another very talked about topic in SNAP Hydroponics Growers is flushing. There are hydroponic growers who believes in flushing and there are those who are non-believers in flushing. It’s one of those gardening questions that enthusiasts have experimented with, had different answers and the scientific community has largely ignored because they have others things to do. And we all just agree to disagree. Personally I don’t believe in flushing.

What is flushing? According to its proponents flushing is a way of getting rid of excess salts or chemicals from the plant’s tissues there by giving it a better taste, texture or aroma. The theory goes that there are excess chemicals in the plant. Taking away the nutrient solution results in the plant eating through the excesses. The concentration of the chemicals in the plant is less and thus is better than their non-flushed counterparts. If this is really true then why haven’t the food production industry got wind of it? The video below features a large scale lettuce production. Nowhere in the video was flushing mentioned.

To me it seems that the nutrient concentration in the whole operation is uniform all through out the operation.

A bigger arena in the flushing or no flushing debate is the indoor cannabis growing scene in places where cannabis cultivation is allowed. Flushing is said to enhance the flavour, aroma and even potency of flushed cannabis but not everybody is convinced. Nobody is yet to produce a clear cut and well substantiated study about the benefits of flushing even in the cannabis industry where potency is the name of the game.

If non-flushed hydroponically grown leafy plant is loaded with chemicals and is therefore bad why don’t we do the same for fruiting hydroponically grown vegetables? If the plant is loaded with chemicals then the chemicals is definitely in the fruit as well. Why aren’t the plants flushed before the fruits are plucked?

Nutrients are required at almost every point in the development of the plant. Changing nutrient concentrations all of the sudden may send the plant into a panic mode, releasing hormones and get ready to propagate no matter what. This is often not what you want because it is often manifested as bitterness in the resulting harvest.

Let say the intended effect of flushing, eating away through the excess chemicals works as described. Where does the excess chemicals go I believe it goes to the tissues of the plant. The chemicals become part of the plant which is still going to be part of the harvest. I can understand if this works for animals because they excrete waste but for plants I doubt it.

So there you go. My thoughts on what flushing is and why I don’t believe in its benefits. Feel free to leave a comment or reaction. Have fun and happy growing!