Growing systems are mostly zero-sum at any point in time.
A lot of talk in horticulture on maximizing yield and quality. We all see it: this product does this and that concoction does that. So many solutions abound for how to grow big and efficiently.
Its an incremental game, I get it. So, I too try and follow best practices- you know, go with the flow - especially given that there are innovators out there who are much more capable than I.
To that measure I have an outlook that gives me some confidence when making decisions about my plants and what they need - and when.
We are all looping systems, closed to some degree, but also spiraled (+/-): A feedback loop with a relationship to our world. Tension is constant in deeper systems.
Digest or rest?
Improve or stagnate? How fast can it grow? Forgive my mashed up reference points, but,
The energy available to any system at any point in time is finite - and while its not always clearly focused, its usually used and augmented where its most needed (though not always where we'd like).
Any organism will respond suitably to the stimulus presented them, and so in horticulture, introducing any one thing to a system will affect the way the rest of the system responds. Its like measuring velocity and time: Potential and opportunity are co-dependent and mutually exclusive and are nearly impossible to pinpoint because of all of the disparate inputs.
It's one explanation as to why there are so many threads on why our tomatoes crack or fail to flower, etc.. or why this bug overtakes or that plant mutates.
Growing things ain't so easy, but its always interesting.
By giving energy to one part of a system, opportunity costs dictate that energy is not subsequently available elsewhere. Focus on the roots...sacrifice branching. Focus on branching....sacrifice flowering. Focus on fighting vectors...shit. You know, ignore the system...everything fails... Environment, zone, season, genetics; its all in there.
So, how do we dance within those limits?
The conditions necessary for an optimal harvest are a function of what is available to a plant and when. One task of the grower is to manage timing regarding where the energy of the plant is focused. Don't waste fruiting time making stalk, and don't waste stalking/branching time futzing about the root zone For, if each stave is in place, maintained and well fitted; you will find that your plants will respond in astounding ways.
My point repeated: If you take energy from one part of a system it will not be available to the other parts of the system, so consider carefully opportunity costs and act accordingly.
Think: The Great Pumpkin or Ichabod Crane.
Thanks for reading.