How do you properly prepare a Big Mama block?

PREPARATION

Keep in mind that the stone wool volume of Big Mama is a staggering 512 oz versus Hugo’s 216 oz. So although some have attempted to use the Big Mama in an Ebb & Flood system - it’s a BAD IDEA! Drip irrigation is the most effective system for the Big Mama, but any top watering will work. Placing one dripper stake into the top block, and a second one into the Big Mama should be sufficient to maintain proper moisture levels. 

  1. Use a garden hose to completely saturate the blocks with water.
  2. Insert two drippers into the block. Fill the tank with pH 5.5 water, and water each block long enough so that the block receives 2.5 gallons of water. This ensures a complete flush of the block. If you only have a few blocks, skip steps 1 and 2, and simply use the ½” hose from the pump and hand-water with pH 5.5 from top down, until completely saturated.
  3. Discard the drain water. Mix up the same nutrient solution that you have been using for the plants you are about to transplant to Big Mama.
  4. Irrigate until each block has received 2.5 gallons of nutrient solution.
  5. Adjust your tank back to pH 5.5.
  6. Place a 3” or 4” block with well-rooted plant onto Big Mama. Insert one drip stake into the right side of the plant the small block and one drip stake into the Big Mama on the left side of the small block. If the top surface of the Big Mama doesn’t feel particularly moist, it’s ok. Less surface moisture on the stone wool means less algae growth.
  7. After placing smaller plant on top of Big Mama, minimize initial watering to encourage root growth from the top block to expand into the one beneath. But keep an eye on it to make sure the top block doesn’t become too dry. The best way to achieve this; place both drip stakes immediately below the small block. Let the drip stakes stick in under the block. For the first few days after transplanting; irrigate six short cycles per day.

BIG MAMA “NO-NO’S”

  • Do not piggy-back one Big Mama on top of another Big Mama - the top will be too dry, and the roots won’t need that much space.
  • Do not use Big Mama in Ebb/flood systems - the top half will be too dry.
  • Do not place a tiny plant directly into the Big Mama – it must be well-rooted into a smaller block first so that it’s mature enough to root into the larger home. You wouldn’t expect an infant to run a marathon, right? Both need time to develop first.

Click here to view an experiment that was conducted on wetting up Big Mama blocks.