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80 How Do Microbes Help During Vegetative Growth?


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Sativa and Indica: Disappearing Terms


IN THIS ISSUE OF GARDEN CULTURE: 9 Foreword 11 Product Spotlights 20 Foliar Feeding 24 Let’s Talk Terps 30 The Biology of Flowering 34 Sativa and Indica: Disappearing Terms 39 Bringing the Outside In 41 Accessing Medicinal Cannabis in Australia 42 Steering Plants in the Vegetative Stage 49 HHI Expo 2019


52 52 58 63 66 72 76 80 85 86

A Hollywood Legend, A Watch, And Enormous Responsibility 5 Cool Finds Who’s Growing What Where Stealth Science - Part I - Plant Morphology and Anatomy Water Soluble Organic Nutrients Stealth Science - Part II - Water Interactions How Do Microbes Help During Vegetative Growth? Ground Breaking Cannabis Study Underway Get Your LAB On




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Garden Culture is Going Bimonthly in Australia This is Garden Culture’s 11th Australian edition, and we couldn’t be happier. At Garden Culture, we are all about helping you become a better grower. We cover the basics but also delve into some very technical subjects. This edition is no different. In this issue, we look at the Plant Life Cycle. The team behind Mammoth P brings us How Do Microbes Help During Vegetative Growth?, and Dr Callie Seaman gives insight into what happens when you physically manipulate your plants in Steering Plants in the Vegetative Stage. Tom Forrest, one of Australia’s foremost authorities on growing cannabis, begins a “Stealth Science” series: Part 1 - Plant Morphology and Anatomy 101 and Part 2 - Water Interactions. Flip through the pages to find articles on flowering, terpenes, and more. But there is one I highly recommend by our editor Catherine Sherriffs, A Hollywood Legend, A Watch, And Enormous Responsibility. One of my favourite articles ever and just a fantastic story about one of our industry’s most interesting people. We are also excited about the Hemp Health & Innovation Expo (HHI) on the weekend of May 18 and 19, at the Rosehill Gardens. I will be there to meet anyone who can make it to Sydney; the HHI promises to be an event not to be missed. Finally, I would like to say a HUGE thank-you to Marc Harding, Adam Tanton and the team at WHG for supporting this magazine since day one. It was their wish to have a more comprehensive growing magazine in Australia, and they worked hard to make it happen. Time, money, blood, sweat and tears were invested, and Garden Culture could not be more grateful. So, get ready for six editions per year, and don’t be shy. We welcome all ideas for articles. Contact us and help write the next chapter in Garden Culture Australia’s story. Thanks again and happy gardening. Eric 3


SPECI A L TH A N KS TO: Catherine Sherriffs, Colin Bell PhD, Mary Minchin, Nico Hill, Rich Hamilton, Peter Baas PhD, and Karuna Chouray PhD, Dr Callie Seaman, Stephen Brookes, and Tom Forrest. PRESIDENT Eric Coulombe +1-514-233-1539 E XECU T I V E ED I TO R Celia Sayers +1-514-754-1539 ED I TO R Catherine Sherriffs DESIGN Job Hugenholtz D I G I TA L & SO CI A L M A R K E T I N G CO O R D I N ATO R Serena Sayers +1-514-754-0062 ADVERTISING PUBLISHER 325 Media 44 Hyde Rd., Milles Isles Québec, Canada t. +1 (844) GC GROWS





D I ST R I B U T I O N PA R T N ER S • Growhard Australia

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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without prior permission in writing from 325 Media Inc.




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y r e v o c e R o in m o r Hyd pair Kit Re The Ultimate

Combat against nutrient deficiencies and nutrient lockout. Formulated to dramatically increase healing time after such problems as heat stress and inadequate watering, Hydromino Recovery can be used as either a one time fix or as a part of the regular feed schedule.

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Digi-Lumen 600W Complete Light Kits The most affordable electronic light kit in Australia; includes the latest generation 4D dimmable e-ballast, 600W HPS lamp, and reflector. With cost-effective and electrically stable ballasts that are suitable for harsh conditions and high voltage power grids, the Digi-Lumen light kits can also change the power output to four unique settings. This offers a complete plant lighting solution from one light kit including seed and clone mode (250W), vegetative and power save mode (400W), flower mode (600W) and Super-Lumens mode for extreme flowering on cooler days (660W). Visit to find the closest store.

Bluelab Pulse Meter

s r e n e d r a G r o f n io Newest Solut Offering products that are found in agricultural facilities worldwide, Bluelab is proud to announce the latest handheld unit that allows growers to get fast, accurate measurements directly from the root zone. Unique technology sends data directly to the Pulse app, providing growers with all of the information. The Pulse Meter measures moisture, conductivity, and temperature of the substrate whether it is soil, coco coir, potting mix, nutrient solution, or Rockwool. Optimising water and nutrient usage ensures precise irrigation and avoids costly wastage. Keeping track of temperatures allows you to manage fertiliser breakdown, plant health, and aeration effectively. Manufactured in New Zealand, the Bluelab range is built tough! Visit Stealth-Garden. com for the latest information.


Zero Tolerance ™

is Now Available in Austra


Offers many advantages over many natural products, poisonous pesticides and fungicides, Zero Tolerance leaves no residue (unlike Neem oil) because the highest quality food grade oils of cinnamon, clove, rosemary, and thyme all evaporate entirely. It is even safer for the garden than Pyrethrum, which is toxic to fish and reptiles. Ed has studied how some of these natural plant oils destroyed the exoskeleton of pests while others deteriorated the nervous system. By combining the oils from these fragrant plants, he came up with a potent blend that will eliminate pests quickly and without chemicals. 100% natural, OMRI organic certified and safe for your family and pets. Made from high-quality natural plants oils; ZT even smells amazing! Available in ready to use Aerosol and Quart and Gallon concentrates. Email info@ to find out where you can buy Zero Tolerance.

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Nanolux’s DE dual fixture (600Wx2) splits a 1200W DE into two 600W lamp outputs, allowing the installation to run both a 2K DE HPS and the new double-jacketed 6K MH DE lamp. This commercial grade fixture provides a very comprehensive PAR spectrum while pumping out 1260 watts of the most powerful light. Use any combination of DE lamps to create the spectrum the plants’ desire. Nanolux Dual 600 is the highest output fixture on the market, slimline, 0-10v compatible, Bluetooth and cloud controllable, with adjustable output from 600-1260w.Truly an exceptional state of the art unit. Visit for full details.


Ed Rosenthal




315W CMH Kits High intensity, high reliability and unrivalled spectral output.The AdjustAWings 315W CMH light kit comes with a class-leading 4K lamp which uses Japanese arc tubes and XOS borosilicate jackets. Lamps have been matched perfectly to the specialist Ultra High Frequency (150KHz) e-ballast. Ideal for small grow spaces (1m x 1m footprint) and for mixing between HPS lamps to provide complete spectral diversity (CRI of 96.5). A remote ballast for out of room mounting and closer lamp placement allow for deeper canopy penetration with explosive growth and shorter internodal length with an increase in terpene production. For further info visit


le HJ Submersib ers Pumps & Impell WHG now stock the HJ range of SenSen pumps and a full range of impellers for both HQB and HJ pumps. SenSen are ultra tough, ultra reliable submersible water pumps. The impellers come with ceramic shafts that are suitable for use in high salinity environments. SenSen pumps come with a 1-year warranty.Visit for more info.

Quest 155 The world leader for precision climate control, the Quest range of powerful, yet extremely economical de-humidifiers are made in the USA.The Quest 155 is perfect for use in domestic, research, and commercial gardens to ensure optimally controlled humidity. With a unique design for adequate air movement, the Quest 155 is one of the most energy-efficient de-humidifiers available. Featuring a humidistat to set desired humidity, they are as simple as plug and play. The 240v Australian unit is capable of removing 71L per day of water. Protect your investment with Quest De-Humidifiers. See the full technical specifications and usage details at:

Redback Chille r

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Using a new refined and tapered flange design ensures the most efficient evaporative cooling. Just install a Redback Chiller as part of your intake fan layout, and the additional moisture can drop grow room temperatures by up to 10 degrees. Includes everything you need; water pumps, float-valves and complete evaporative cooling system all in the box. The Redback Chiller is a step above the competition with drastically improved efficiency and cleverly engineered evaporative core. Redback Chiller is available NOW in select Australian retailers. Visit for more info.



AVERT BAGS XL DUFFLE AVERT any extra sticky situations with the new XL DUFFLE from AVERT Bags! The industry leader for effective odour control solutions, OdourLock Technology uses novel carbon linings and zipper solutions. The Aver t XL Duffle has the same unique features found on the current Aver t Duffle but now made with a massive 148L capacity, perfect for carrying all of your precious cargo. Measuring a monster 815 x 480 x 480mm with 64cm custom gas-proof zipper, the AVERT Duffle is ideal for any domestic or commercial travel. Go to for the complete range of AVERT products.

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W at er pr oo f EC & pH Pe ns

The AZ Waterproof EC and pH pens raise the bar for ease of use, reliability, function, and price point. Featuring a sizeable IP65 LCD screen with dual EC and temperature display with a wide measuring range (-5 to 60℃). The IP65 keypad is waterproof with simple two-button calibration. AZ EC Waterproof pens also include a hold button to freeze the targeted reading in low visibility. ATC (auto temperature compensation) ensures accurate readings in all climates while the auto-off function maximises battery life.Visit for more info.

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LED Grow Light ReCom 6 00W KIT Boasting an industry-leading 1,200 μmol, Lucius LED is the cultivator’s first choice for a safe, low heat, energy efficient and easy to use light. The Lucius LED Grow Light is equipped with the latest safety features that protect against overloading, short circuit, over temperature, as well as over and under voltage protection. The Daisy chain option allows to connect multiple Lucius LED units together and the multi-purpose bracket provides many installation options for greenhouses and vertical farms, inter-lighting and under-lighting applications.

The cultivator’s complete solution for an efficient and powerful lighting setup. ReCom kits include Lucius ReCom HPS Ballast, the most efficient and powerful Ballast on the market, a Phillips GREENPOWER SE high voltage 600W lamp and the Lucius ReCom focal reflector (compatible with ReCom broad reflector). The Lucius ReCom 600W Phillips Kit is the most versatile and efficient HID grow light kit in the horticulture industry.

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NUTRIFIELD TA 3 New ProduNK CONTROL cts The Tank Control range now has 3 new premium products: the EC 2.77 calibration solution for calibrating EC meters, and the pH 4 and 7 calibration solutions for calibrating pH meters. As with all Nutrifield products, the calibration solutions are made according to the highest quality specifications ensuring absolute consistency and accuracy for pH and EC calibration. Gardeners should calibrate their devices regularly to ensure the best results from their plants! Go to for more information.





oliar feeding is a method of getting nutrition to the plant through the leaves, unlike conventional fer tigation which is applied to

the roots. The primary method of plant-feeding should always be through the roots, but foliar feeding is a great way to get nutrients to the plant when root uptake may be lacking, or if you simply want to improve and promote plant health.



In the research done on foliar feeding, an efficiency rate of 90-95% absorption has been found, compared to traditional root-fed fertilisation of roughly 10%

Do you foliar feed? Have you ever thought about why you spray the leaves and about how to do it properly? It is common practice for many growers, but few are consistent or appreciative of its potential for promoting faster vegetative growth, or of its ability to provide improved nutritional status, prevent pests, and also help the plant during those early root development stages. Of course, there are still some who don’t believe foliar feeding works to feed a plant, but a study by Tukey and Wittwer (1,2,3) in 1956/57 found the effectiveness of the process through several experiments and the use of radioactive PK. Researchers applied the radioactive phosphorus and potassium and using a Geiger counter, measured the absorption and movement within the plant. Results indicated the nutrients moved at around 30 cm an hour to all parts; enough evidence to put any remaining doubt over foliar feeding to rest.

Top Tip: For the vast majority of plant foliar feeds, you should never spray with the lights on. The water droplets can magnify the high-powered lights and cause scorch marks on the leaf, destroying chlorophyll sites and reducing photosynthetic efficiency. One notable exception is Optic Foliar, which is an all-round foliar nutrient that CAN be sprayed with the lights on and works wonders for plant health.

How do nutrients enter the leaf and plant? On your plant leaf, you will find spaces called transcuticular pores as well as the stomata, in which plant nutrients can enter. The transcuticular pores are on both the tops and bottoms of the leaves; they never close, so foliar feeding is believed to enter the leaf this way. However, stomata situated on the bottom of the leaves are much higher in number, so if the foliar feed is used when they are open, there will likely be increased intake. In the research done on foliar feeding, an efficiency rate of 90-95% absorption has been found, compared to traditional root-fed fertilisation of roughly 10% (this was in soil outdoors). So, why don’t we all just start foliar feeding? First of all, plants and their roots know what they need when they need it, and with a little help from beneficial microorganisms, can dictate uptake. Secondly, nutrients can interact negatively with each other and could inhibit or excel in nutrient absorption, which isn’t always a good thing. Therefore, we should focus on root feeding and finesse with foliar feeding.

Top Tip: Get your foliar spray onto the underside of the leaves so they can absorb a higher amount, primarily through the stomata (small openings that allow carbon dioxide to enter and water to leave).

Results indicated the nutrients moved at around 30 cm an hour to all parts; enough evidence to put any remaining doubt over foliar feeding to rest




few are consistent or appreciative of its potential for promoting faster vegetative growth, or of its ability to provide improved nutritional status

The debate: when should you foliar feed? There’s a lot of debate over what time of day plants should be fed. There are a few options to consider. If you foliar feed with a standard fertiliser, you have to spray just as the lights go off to avoid leaf burn. If you use a feed that can be sprayed with the lights on, then I would suggest foliar feeding about an hour after the lights come on for the best chance of full absorption. However, if you do not currently foliar feed, do it when you can (but remember, not in full light with nonspecialist feeds).

Top Tip: If you want to foliar feed with nutrients intended for the roots, dilute the solution to a quarter strength to prevent burn and salt build-up on the leaf. Lastly, using an atomiser to spray the foliar feed will increase the availability to the plants thanks to its small droplets. A regular spray bottle can leave large droplets on the leaf, which are not easily absorbed. 3

Advanced foliar feeding If you have been foliar feeding for a while, it is time to step it up and get better results. The first method is to use a surfactant in your solution to increase contact time with the leaf and improve uptake of the nutrient. If you have tried this, then moving onto a product such as Transport by Optic Foliar will get you even better foliar results. It works differently to surfactants, and rather than dispersing the water evenly across the leaf actually pushes the nutrients into the leaf.

Sources 1.

Tukey, H.B. and Wittwer, S.H., 1956. “The entry of nutrients into plants through stem, leaf and fruit, as indicated by radioactive isotopes.” Progress in Nuclear Energy Biological Sciences Series Six, pp. 106-114. McGraw-Hill, NY, and Permagon Press, London.


Tukey, H.B., Wittwer, S.H., Teubner, F.G., and Long, W.G., 1956. “Utilization of radioactive isotopes in resolving the effectiveness of foliar absorption of plant nutrients.” International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, Vol. 12: 138- 148. United

Deficiencies are best cured with a foliar feed for many reasons. For one, it is absorbed into the plant much quicker and can start to rectify the issue right away. Secondly, the deficiency you have is likely from a root zone issue such as pH, and merely adding more of the deficient nutrient can cause lockouts and more problems. Finally, there are many nutrients that can take your foliar regime to the next level. Calcium (low mobility) is great during flowering when it is useful for fruiting plants; iron (poor uptake by the roots) is essential for chlorophyll production, and consider applying boron immediately before flowering to increase flower-to-fruit ratio. Fulvic acid should be included in a foliar regime as well because it has been shown to help increase plant nutrient uptake significantly.

Nations, NY. 3.

Wittwer, S.H., Teubner, F.G. and McCall, W.W. 1957. “Comparative absorption and utilisation by beans and tomatoes of phosphorus applied to the soil and foliage.” Proceedings, American Society for Horticultural Science, Vol. 69: 302-308


Stephen Brookes is a science fanatic, hydroponics obsessed bookworm. His experience comes from running two grow shops, an additives company, and NPK Media. Along with obtaining a bachelor degree of Science in Outdoor Education and Geography and an MSc in Nutrition and Scientific Investigation, he is now working on a PhD, researching the effects of different ratios in cannabinoids on the human body. Motto: The more you learn, the less you know!




Le t’s Talk Terp s

An Introduc tion To

Terpenes t erp ene s a re a c omp ound simil a r t o c a nn a binoid s bec au se t he y c a n at tach t o recep t or s in t he br a in a nd induce va ry ing ef f ec t s on t he mind a nd b ody



W h at a re t erp enes ? Wh at do t he y do ? A nd how do we m a ximise t hem?


he English Oxford Dictionary defines terpenes as “any of a large group of volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants.”

In layman’s terms, terpenes (sometimes referred to as “terps”) are aromatic molecules that are present in a majority of plants giving flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs their signature smell and taste.

Most commonly created in the flower’s sticky resin glands (trichomes), terpenes are a compound similar to cannabinoids because they can attach to receptors in the brain and induce varying effects on the mind and body.

How can you increase the terpene levels in your plants if you are not an organic warrior? There are more than a few ways to succeed

Rolling back through evolution to the dawn of plants and biological organisms, terpenes helped to establish the symbiotic relationship between plants and biological (animal) pollinators. Terpenes picked up by the pollinator from the plant, whether through contact transfer or consumption, could have beneficial effects for that animal. For example, the terpene profile from one particular plant could leave that animal with a particular odour on its body, which could then keep ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, and other parasites at bay.

Additionally, animal pollinators help spread the existence of a plant species by carrying pollen and seeds far and wide. By dropping them in areas further from where they originated, new crops grow where they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to seed. The pay off of terpenes to living organisms isn’t simply calorific. Terpenes work to entice the best possible pollinators to a plant, ones who are attracted to the riper, sweeter-smelling fruit, while also deterring those who are less suited to maximising pollination opportunities. It is survival of the fittest at its best.

Terpenes can evoke a wide range of emotions. Lavender, for example, can help you relax and overcome insomnia. A zesty bold citrus scent, on the other hand, can make you feel energised and active. There are over 20,000 terpenes, all of them providing unique aromas and physiological effects. Some of the most common and familiar to us include the following:

Pinene This helps with inflammation, asthma, memory retention, and alertness. Its aroma is a sharp, sweet pine. It can be found in conifers, pine and sage.

Linalool It has been known to help combat insomnia, stress, depression, anxiety, pain, and convulsions, while also providing a sedating and calming effect. It has a floral, citrus-like and spicy aroma, and is commonly found in lavender, citrus fruits, laurel, birch and rosewood.

Caryophyllene This terpene works as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent and helps with muscle spasms, pain and insomnia. Its aroma has hints of pepper, wood, and spice, and is found in pepper, cloves, hops, basil and oregano.

Myrcene It works as an antiseptic, an anti-bacterial, an anti-fungal, and an anti-inflammatory agent. Sedating and relaxing, its aroma has notes of musk, clove, herbal, and citrus. It is found in mango, thyme, citrus, lemongrass, and bay leaves.




Limonene This one is good for gastric reflux while also working as an anti-fungal and anti-depressant. It can help alleviate anxiety, reduce stress, and lead to better moods. The aroma is heavily citrus, similar to lemon and orange. It is found in citrus rind and also juniper and peppermint.

Humulene Provides pain relief while also acting as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-bacterial, and an appetite suppressant. It has a woody, earthy aroma, and is found in hops and coriander.

Lavender, for example, can help you relax and overcome insomnia. A zesty bold citrus scent, on the other hand, can make you feel energised and active

The production and transportation of terpenes within a plant are extremely complex. In the reference book Comprehensive Natural Products II Volume 2, 2010, Chapter 2.06 describes the building blocks of terpenes as being “constructed from five-carbon isoprene units that are combined to produce a great variety of skeletons, which are then acted upon by various enzymes to add functionality and altered oxidation.” It is a topic that is slowly being unravelled but is still somewhat of a mystery. A thesis on Biosynthesis and transport of terpenes published by the Laboratory of plant physiology at Wageningen University, 2014, states that “while terpene’s biosynthesis genes have been well studied, there is still only limited knowledge on how terpenes are transported within the cell and from the cell to the apoplast” (apoplast being the space outside the plasma cell membrane where any material held such as terpenes can diffuse freely). The same

report also states “there are likely multiple mechanisms involved in terpene transport which complicates the analysis of a single transport pathway.” So, how can we get the most out of the terpenes in the plants that we are growing? Is it possible in an indoor environment to maximise terpene output? Of course, there are some factors that we just cannot mimic in an indoor environment, like rain for example; it never rains in my grow room! Precipitation could very well be a factor that possibly effects the levels of terpene production. There are some things we just don’t know yet! So, let’s start with what we do know.

Hydro systems and mediums like coco coir are inert blank canvases that you can pump full of nutrients and additives, however, they lack the rich, diverse, complex, and natural nutrient profiles that are found in soil. Even soil that is specifically made for indoor gardening cannot compete with natural soil because it originates from a certain number of limited sources and contains only a certain blend of soil/organic matter. Therefore, it can’t possibly provide optimal conditions for the particular plant species that we may be growing inside. The soil produces a rich and flavourful end product by drawing from the individual properties held within it. If you’re not using soil, try experimenting with composts. Aerobic tea, organic, or veganic methods are all effective choices. Recently, I have been adding used coffee grounds into my soil mix, which is giving the end product of my plants a whole new depth




of flavour I have never personally experienced in all my years of growing indoors. Another known enhancer is Blackstrap molasses. Used during late flower, it is excellent for developing taste and smell by providing essential carbohydrates, amino acids, and minerals. How can you increase the terpene levels in your plants if you are not an organic warrior? There are more than a few ways to succeed. Using a UV-B light throughout flower can stimulate the glands where terpenes produce more oils to shield the plant from the light intensity and heat.

I have been adding used coffee grounds into my soil mix, which is giving the end product of my plants a whole new depth of flavour I have never personally experienced in all my years of growing indoors.

Pruning lower branches (known as low-stress training or LST) not as bountiful as others will send excess energy to key flowering sites, in turn optimising terpene content. If you find yourself too emotionally attached to your plants (is it just me?) and chopping at them seems too harsh to bear, then the tying down of low branches can create a similar effect, ensuring that an even spread of light is hitting the flowering sites lower down.

Flushing your plants is essential. Sure, it’s tempting to skip this stage and continue with nutrient feed in anticipation of magnificent results. What you will actually be doing, though, is allowing the nutrients to hijack the final taste profile, losing the natural terpene-related flavour and aroma in the process. Nothing short of an utter tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, if you ask me. To really push a natural terpene taste, try using an organic or veganic feed range. Flushing washes out all the excess nutrients, allowing your plant to let all those complex layers of terpeneinfused goodness shine through. Beautiful.

Harvesting at the wrong time is unforgivable, as terpene production will be in overdrive at this stage. My advice here? Read up and equip yourself with knowledge so that you know exactly when to harvest your plants and how to optimise the ripening and flavour-building period.

Once in flower, keep temperatures under 80°F (26.5°C), as high temperatures can “burn off” terpene-containing oils. Night temperatures about 5°F-10°F cooler than the daytime temps will also help.

One thing is for sure, terpenes have an amazing ability to transport us into states of nostalgia at a whim. They also add colour, flavour, and richness to our day-to-day existence through the foods we eat, the products we buy, the experiences we have, and the environments we live in. Terpenes create a wonderfully diverse range of aromatic molecules that excite the senses and aid our physical and physiological wellbeing.

Keep the relative humidity (RH) under 50% throughout flower, and under 30% for the two weeks before harvest. The reason? Dry air causes the plant to produce more oils in response to a stressful situation.

Mix this in with the advent of genetic modification and crossbreeding, and you are essentially creating the possibility of a limitless number of terpene variations that could have unimaginable outcomes and benefits.

Nutrient feed increases salts in the plant tissue and the root area. EC measures these levels and a high EC indicates excess salts which can disrupt growth, development and final taste. A lower EC means there is less concentration of salts within the plant tissues and forces more water uptake from the roots, which is exactly where you want to be in the last few weeks of flower. An average EC range in flowering is between 1.2-2, but stay closer to 1.2 for best results.

The path to understanding terpenes has only just begun. 3

An industry veteran with over 20 years experience in a variety of roles, Rich Hamilton is currently a business development manager for a large UK hydroponics distributor.The author of Growers Guide book series, Rich also writes on all aspects of indoor gardening, as well as being an independent industry consultant working closely with hydroponic businesses worldwide.




M a n y p l a n t s p roduce f l ow er s, a nd t his is gener a l ly f or one re a s on: t o rep roduce

T he Biol ogy Of




B o t h t he number of hour s of l igh t a nd t he wav el eng t h inf l uence s t he onse t of f l ow er p roduc t ion


ere we are again, looking through our favourite grow mag and all of the interesting things to read. The last issue we discussed vegetative growth together; this time around, let’s cover the biology of flowering.

Many plants produce flowers, and this is generally for one reason: to reproduce. In every warp of life, be it insects, bacteria, slugs, plants, fungus, or mammals, the general aim of our existence is to reproduce and carry on our genetic line. How we all achieve this can be worlds apart. Within the plant kingdom, reproduction is achieved through the development of flowers, which are then pollinated to produce either fruit and/or seeds. The seeds are then distributed by the wind or via animals either externally or internally!

Always do your research before applying anything to your plants, particularly if you are consuming them in whatever form

So, let’s have a quick look at the flowering process as a whole. The flower itself originates from the shoot meristem once it stops vegetative growth. The meristem is the site of new cell growth in the plants. Different types of growth are produced throughout various parts of the plant, such as elongation, lateral, root development, or leaf growth. But that is another story for another day. The shoot meristem transforms into a floral meristem through a two-stage process. This begins with induction, where vegetative growth stops and is then followed by evocation, where the functioning flower forms. However, it is not until the structure is mature that it will be able to reproduce and form those all-important fruits and seeds.

The meristem appears to sense this temperature change and sets induction in motion before flower evocation goes into full swing.

As many of us already know, light is a very big factor in the induction of flowering. Both the number of hours of light and the wavelength influences the onset of flower production. Photoperiodism is the term given to the response of a plant to daylight length, in either long day flowering plants, short day flowering plants, or day neutral. This is variety-dependent and is predetermined by the genetics of the plant, so it is always important to know what you are growing before trying to make it flower. Disrupting the dark period can have catastrophic effects on the yield, sending the plant into confusion and, therefore, stopping growth. The changing of the wavelength of light to induce flowering is known as photomorphogenesis (try saying that fast after a long day at work!). This is what a lot of indoor grow facilities will do in order to stimulate the optimal growth and most efficient turn over for the crop.

There are a number of different factors that can trigger a plant to start flowering. The need for external stimuli is often required to bring about the crazy morphological changes that occur. Vernalization, a drop in temperature weeks or months before flowering fully commences, is sometimes needed for more temperate plants.

Photoperiodism GA R D EN CU LT U R E M AGA Z I N E.CO M



Fertilisation can also be used to help steer the plant into flowering. As the plant is doing more work and using more energy, its nutritional requirements change. During vegetative growth, nitrogen and sulfur are both in heavy demand to help build amino acids, those tiny building blocks of life. Once the plant has begun flowering (entered induction), a plant’s demand for potassium often increases while the demand for nitrogen drops. Phosphorus requirement also increases to help drive ATP metabolism, those little energy packages used to transport things in and out of cells.

“Once the plant has begun flowering [...] a plant’s demand for potassium often increases while the demand for nitrogen drops

short but increase mass in the flower sets. However, studies have shown that some of the synthetic plant growth regulators (PGRs) can cause cancer and birth defects, and are, therefore, only recommended for application on ornamentals. Always do your research before applying anything to your plants, particularly if you are consuming them in whatever form. Well, today we have only briefly covered the biology of flowering. As always, there is so much more that can be explored. Until next time! 3

The demand for CO2 also increases during flowering, with the supplementary helping to increase yields and reduce flowering times. Again, another story for another time. In the commercial production of either ornamental plants, such as tulips, or food crops, such as tomatoes, biostimulators can be used to induce flowering, increase mass, bring on ripening, prevent flower loss, and reduce stress. These types of substances can be naturally derived or be taken from synthetic compounds. Ethylene is a gas that plants naturally emit and helps stimulate ripening in fruit. As the levels around the plant rise, a sudden burst of respiration occurs, increasing the sugar content within the fruit and thus commencing its ripening stage. You may have noticed bags being placed over bunches of bananas to trap the ethylene and helping them ripen faster. Triacontanol is a naturally occurring flowering bio stimulant found on the wax cuticles of all plants. This is found in higher concentration in plants such as alfalfa. It is also found naturally in beeswax, and when applied to plants via the roots or foliar, flowering initiation occurs. Synthetic auxins are used to reduce flower numbers in apples early in the season. They are also used to promote citrus fruit and tomato production. Gibberellins are potent plant hormones that can also initiate flowering and fruit formation. These can be either plant-derived or synthesised via fermentation for commercial production. Synthetic antigibberellins, such as paclobutrazol, are used to keep plants


BIO Dr Callie Seaman is a plant obsessed Formulation Chemist at

AquaLabs – the company behind SHOGUN Fertilisers and the Silver Bullet plant health range. She has been in the hydro industry for 15 years in research development and manufacturing and had previously worked on the VitaLink range. She has a PhD in fertiliser chemistry and a BSc (HONS) in Biomedical sciences and loves nothing more than applying this knowledge to pushing the boundaries of nutrient performance.




“While the indica strain promotes full body relaxation and is good for sleep, sativa is known to be energising and mentally stimulating.” 34



ndica and sativa are both varieties of cannabis plants with very different effects. While the indica strain promotes full body relaxation and is good for sleep, sativa is known to be energising and mentally stimulating.

For decades, the basic vocabulary used by connoisseurs of cannabis has always started with the classification of the plant into either an indica or a sativa category. It has been the most common way of understanding the genetic makeup and how the specific strain will perform for growers and consumers. The plant’s appearance has also historically been a dead giveaway as to what strain it belongs to; a sativa has long, thin leaves, and the indica is a stubbier, bushier shrub.

The introduction of the hybrid has seen the traditional effects of both types of plants become so entwined it is now almost impossible to categorise any strain of cannabis under these titles

These terms describe each strain from a genetic and molecular standpoint. The cannabis plant is diploid, meaning it has chromosomes from both parents, which can have unpredictable and potentially surprising results even for the most careful breeders. Just like you may have wondered how your Uncle Bob has the same chromosomal gene pool as your mother, two plants from the same parents can be the polar opposite to each other. More differences will arise depending on the growing environment. For example, an indoor plant grown

But is this still the case? If it is, then how can it be that the ‘AK-47’ strain won Best Sativa at the infamous

hydroponically will have different characteristics (both

Cannabis Cup in 1999, and just four years later took home the

physical and chemical) to an outdoor plant, even if both have

award for Best Indica?

matching DNA. neurologist,

The cannabinoid profile tells us the levels of THC, CBD,

psychopharmacology researcher and medical director of

CBG, CBN, etc., and indicates the medicinal and recreational

PHYTECS, has authored a paper where he states that

use of each plant; it is the best way to determine the chemical

classifying plants under the umbrella of ‘indica’ and ‘sativa’ is now

difference between strains.







meaningless and potentially dangerous. The novice sometimes overlooks the terpene profile, He isn’t the only one. Cannabis terminology is changing, and

but experts consider it to be equally as important as the

more biologists are declaring that the titles are outdated; in

cannabinoid profile. It offers insight into what effects the

today’s world of hundreds and possibly even thousands of

different strains will have on consumers. In their interactions

cannabis strains, ‘indica’ and ‘sativa’ no longer correctly identify

with cannabinoids, some terpenes energise, stimulate and

the properties of any individual plant. The introduction of the

uplift; others relax and sedate.

hybrid has seen the traditional effects of both types of plants become so entwined it is now almost impossible to categorise

We have found ourselves in a world where cannabinoid

any strain of cannabis under these titles.

and terpene ratios are talked about by cannabis growers as much as the smell and look of a cannabis bud. The cannabis

The new buzzwords used in understanding the different qualities

plant has fallen into two new distinctive groups: high THC

of a cannabis plant come under the umbrella of cannabis genetics:

or high CBD. Botanical taxonomists have argued for years over the true meaning of the origins of the indica and sativa

The genotype (which is based on the plants DNA)

classification, so to classify the plant from a much more

The phenotype (based on the genotype + physical

accurate and scientific database makes sense.

characteristics) •

The cannabinoid profile

The terpene profile




The next obvious step is a genetic road map (or a ‘genomic map’) for the cannabis plant. Sunrise Genetics have, in 2018, successfully determined the order of 25,000 genes in the plant’s 10 chromosomes, and their paper on this research study is currently up for peer review. Once this map is made public, it will enable the cannabis cultivator to make ‘designer plants’ (think Labradoodle) where they will be able to manipulate the gene pool and control the exact level of CBD and THC, control the patents, and bring cannabis to the same level as other profitable agricultural industries. We are only just beginning to understand the potential of the chemical cocktail that is the cannabis plant. Once upon a time, the world’s cannabis experts talked in hushed voices and met secretly to compare and discuss their genetic discoveries. Now, we see pheno-hunters searching through thousands of strains worldwide to gain genetic perfection. Biochemists and doctors in white coats publish papers on topics the backyard grower could only contemplate, and it seems the titles ‘sativa’ and ‘indica’ are a casualty of this progress. The terms are no longer accurate enough to keep up with the fast-paced realm of cannabis science. 3

How can it be that the ‘AK-47’ strain won Best Sativa at the infamous Cannabis Cup in 1999, and just four years later took home the award for Best Indica?

BIO Mary Minchin is a former pharmaceutical employee & advocate of CBD and its many benefits. She is in her fourth year of her science degree, majoring in biology & chemistry. She recently switched her focus from pharmacy to science to pursue other more meaningful passions. The book CBD Made Easy was written with the purpose of simplifying how CBD works in the human body, listing all the currently known ailments CBD can alleviate, then directly referencing the related medical studies in one short publication. Contact Mary at:



Bringing the




ith an Indoor Generation Report finding 90% of all people worldwide spend 22 hours a day inside, it’s no wonder

houseplants are taking off as a significant gardening trend in 2019! People are craving a connection with Mother Nature, and as a result, living rooms, offices, and other indoor spaces have become the new outdoors. Houseplants bring life, colour, and fresh air to the home. According to, 30% of all American households bought at least one houseplant last year, and Pinterest searches for indoor plants is up 90% with terrariums, cacti, and tropical plants proving to be the most popular. Research has also suggested that the Millennial generation is responsible for the boom in living decor. Why? The New York Times says it might be because much of that age group don’t yet own a house or have children. They are filling that void by becoming plant parents, so to speak, and are making rented spaces feel more like homes.

Sources: (Garden Trends Report) 3

People are craving a connection with Mother Nature, and as a result, living rooms, offices, and other indoor spaces have become the new outdoors. GA R D EN CU LT U R E M AGA Z I N E.CO M




ore than 3 million Australians suffer from chronic pain, and between 30 and 40% of them also have depression or anxiety as a result of their conditions. Those are the findings of Deloitte Access Economics in a recent study commissioned by Painaustralia. The economic impact of chronic pain is

huge; Deloitte says 40% of people dealing with pain are forced into early retirement, draining $140 billion from the economy every year through health costs, productivity, and wellbeing. Despite those staggering numbers, few treatment options exist for chronic pain. In addition to conventional medicines, it is possible to obtain medicinal cannabis in Australia, but access isn’t easy. According to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), less than 4,000 Australians are currently approved for prescriptions. The TGA approves scripts for cannabis on a case-by-case basis after receiving referrals from GPs. Doctors can also apply to become authorised prescribers, but so far, only a handful have done so. Cannabis Doctors Australia (CDA) provides education, support, and products to patients and doctors looking to access medicinal cannabis around Australia. CDA clinics are already up and running in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Miami, and business is booming. Since opening its doors in October 2018, the CDA claims to already have 700 registered patients and a six-week waiting list for future consultations. The network is hoping to add a second clinic and manufacturing facility to the Gold Coast, but the big financial institutions have refused funding requests. As a result, CDA has launched crowdfunding efforts to raise the money needed for expansion.

In addition to conventional medicines, it is possible to obtain medicinal cannabis in Australia, but access isn’t easy. The company has already been able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars through its patient base and attributes its success so far to a shared vision of community-owned healthcare. Meanwhile, patients with chronic conditions can register on CDA’s website to receive a welcome pack and call from a medical consultant. 3

Sources: The Green Fund: Cannabis Doctors Australia:




Enc our aging a p l a n t t o gi v e higher y iel d s during v ege tat i v e grow t h is a b a l a ncing ac t

S teering Pl ant s in t he V ege tat i v e S tage



T here a r e re a s ons f or k eep ing a p l a n t in t he v ege tat i v e s tage, s uch a s wa n t ing a mo t her p l a n t t o ta k e cu t t ing s f rom


id you know you can steer your plants through their various growth stages? Encouraging a plant to give higher yields during vegetative growth is a balancing act; the conditions have to be just right. But what happens when the perfect balance between the vegetative and generative stages isn’t achieved? And how can you regrow a plant? Yes, you read

that right; regrow and achieve a second crop from that beautiful lady you have lovingly nurtured for 12 weeks.

During a plant’s life cycle, it is said that there are two phases of growth. Vegetative growth is when the leaves and stems grow rapidly. The generative growth stage is when flowers and fruits begin to form. During these two distinct phases of growth, many different biochemical processes take place, which you, yourself, can manipulate to either keep the plant within vegetative growth or push it into the generative phase to produce bumper yields. This is known as steering and can be achieved through changes in nutrition and certain environmental factors, such as light, water and temperature.

This is known as steering and can be achieved through changes in nutrition and certain environmental factors, such as light, water and temperature

Let’s first take a look at why plants have two phases of growth before we force them to do something they don’t necessarily want to do! Understanding why quite often helps us to understand how. After germination, plants put all the energy they accumulate from light sources, be it from the sun or artificial, and channel it into producing stems and leaves. The leaves act as solar panels for the plants, harvesting the light through a process known as photosynthesis (but you already knew this!). The leaves are also the sugar factories of the plant, taking in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and making beautiful carbohydrates that will be used to construct the flowers and fruit in their later life. It is, therefore, important to have an adequate photosynthetic area for the yields

you wish to produce, along with strong, healthy stems that can support the fruit and transport water, nutrients and other molecules around the plant. Having said that, too much vegetative growth can waste energy and increase the risk of disease by hindering air movement. It is, therefore, recommended that leaves not exposed to light are removed. Pinching the third or fourth internodes during early growth also encourages the lateral growth of the plant, helping it produce more of those all-important leaves. A nice, even canopy is key to getting the best out of your plants; it can be achieved by training the plant with netting and string.

Hormones such as auxins encourage this type of growth, helping the roots and stem to form and elongate while also leading to increased cell division. However, like humans, plants are a complex mixture of different chemicals that all interact with one another, so to say auxins are only responsible for vegetative growth would be incorrect. Cytokinins (another plant hormone) also play a part in this type of growth, interacting with auxins to encourage the development of roots and shoots. Both of these hormones also work together in the generative growth stage. There are a number of different parameters that can be used to encourage the shift from one type of growth to another. Table 1 (next page) is adapted from Howard Resh’s (PhD) book Hydroponic Food Production, and summarises how to encourage more vegetative growth.






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Parameter Vegetative growth Light cycle (Photoperiodism)

This is the plant’s response to the length of time the plant is exposed to light and is species dependent. It affects dormancy and flowering. Some plants are referred to as long day (18 hours), some are short day (12 hours or less) and others are day neutral (auto flowers). For short day plants, increase light exposure to at least 18 hours to ensure good vegetative growth.

Light wavelength (Photomorphogenesis)

Increase blue light (400-520 nm). Using metal halides or LEDs of this frequency with lower intensities will help keep the plant in a vegetative state.

Irrigation cycle

Keep these frequent and short. Also, start earlier and finish later in the day. Keeping the root zone moist encourages elongation, as water is freely available.

EC of irrigation

Keep this low, anywhere between 0.8-1.4 depending on the varieties you are growing. But generally, keep this on the lower side to discourage flowering, as the nutrition is not available to produce the sugars needed.

Leachate (runoff )

Make sure there is plenty, more than when you are flowering. Also, the EC lowers, indicating that the plant is increasing uptake as it is a little bit hungry.


Increase your nitrogen content and decrease the potassium in your nutrient solution. Nitrogen is a fundamental part of amino acids, the building blocks of the plant.

Temperature difference between night and day.

Keep this smaller, allowing your room temperature to change by only about 5°C during vegetative growth. This will also help prevent the stretching of your plants.

Relative humidity

Keep this higher, at about 70-80%, allowing temperatures to run higher.

Carbon dioxide

Keep CO2 at the lower end (approx. 350-600 ppm). The less carbon available to the plant, the less sugar will be produced.


Increase pruning and remove flowers during the early stages to inhibit development. Remember, if 70% of the leaf is covered by others, remove it. Be ruthless, particularly around the bottom of the plant. Remove anything damaged; YELLOW LEAVES ARE A DISEASE PARADISE!

How do you know if you have left your Reverting back to the vegetative state is easily done, Reverting back to the plant too long in the vegetative phase? however, remember that patience is a virtue! Simvegetative state is Well, there are a number of different charply follow all of the tips in Table 1. that encourage acteristics to look for. A sure sign is when vegetative growth. After about two weeks of notheasily done, however, you end up having a colossal monster ing happening, you will start to see some changes. remember that on your hands with too many leaves and Deformed signal leaves start appearing, albeit very patience is a virtue! stems. Once a plant’s leaves start to touch curled. After a couple of more weeks, normal vegthe neighbouring plant, it is time to put it etative growth will likely resume. into flower. Other signs include long leaves that are light green and soft, along with a mass of long, stretchedThe fact your plant already has an established root network means it will out, thin stems. The fibrous material is great if you are making rope be primed to go into flower and absorb all the nutrients and water you or cloth, however, if it is fruit and flowers that are of interest, the throw at it. At this point, you can either keep it as a mother plant or take minimal amount of stems, the better! more cuttings to save the lineage and then put it into flower. Sometimes, the yield from the second crop can be bigger than the original, however, it There are reasons for keeping a plant in the vegetative stage, such does take time! It would also be advisable to use a root cleaning product as wanting a mother plant to take cuttings from. Due to the higher with enzymes to help break down any dead root material and free up the levels of auxins, such as Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), cuttings can be insoluble nutrients in the media. taken from the middle growth section of these plants. Root formation will occur within days if placed in some media and a propagator. Happy steering! 3 Quite often, the mother plant will be starved before taking cuttings in order to stress the plant and increase the auxin levels. No ‘plant BIO Dr Callie Seaman is a plant obsessed Formulation Chemist at cruelty’ hate mail, please! AquaLabs – the company behind SHOGUN Fertilisers and the Silver Bullet plant health range. She has been in the hydro industry for 15 years So, what happens when you have grown the boss of all plants but in research development and manufacturing and had previously worked your cuttings have all died? Do you cry? Call your Dad? Read the on the VitaLink range. She has a PhD in fertiliser chemistry and a BSc dodgy forum that once told you to harvest your own poo and feed (HONS) in Biomedical sciences and loves nothing more than applying this knowledge to pushing the boundaries of nutrient performance. it to your plants? Definitely not. What you do is regrow!




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HHI expo

9 1 & 8 MAY 1



n o i t a v o n AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST n I & h t CANNABIS AND HEMP EXPO p H e al COUR E C A R LL R O S E H I sydney




Hemp, Health & Innovation (HHI) is heading back to Sydney on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 at the Rosehill Racecourse Exhibition Centre. Experiential and

educational with interactive activities for all ages alongside local and international exhibitors, HHI Expo is Australia’s opportunity to taste, touch, feel and experience it all; in a safe, family-friendly environment. Through workshops, displays, speakers and exhibitors, HHI brings all the research, science, innovation, products, industries and uses of hemp together under one roof. Learn all about fibres, foods, beverages, clothing and textiles, medicinal products, oils and tinctures, extraction equipment, vapes, art, building materials, beauty products, gardening equipment and much more! With more than 25,000 attendees over the last three years, HHI Expo is the only event in Australia for anyone seeking information and greater awareness about the crucial benefits the hemp and cannabis plants have already unlocked, and its innovative and sustainable solutions for the future.




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Australian Made & Owned

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HHI expo


What’s New @ HHI This Year! •

Medicinal Cannabis Doctor Appointments: An Australian first, this year’s expo will see the Cannabis Access Clinics (CAC) offering a limited amount of one-on-one 15-minute appointments to determine the eligibility of individuals to get TGA approval for medicinal cannabis. (No onsite prescriptions, only eligibility).

The Food Hempire: Since hemp seed became legal for human consumption in late 2017, the Australian hemp food and beverage industry have boomed. Broadening your taste buds, the Food Hempire is your EAT STREET for everything hemp. Ice-cream, street food, coffee, smoothies, pastries, bakery goods, yiros, and more, this specialised food hub has something for everyone, vegans and vegetarians in particular.

Eco Fashion Showcase: “Fashion for Nature” will showcase fashion created with organic & sustainable fabrics with a focus on Hemp! Featuring clothing and accessories available from companies such as Hemp Gallery, Made In Hemp, Kathmandu Hemp, Margaret River Hemp Co and more, the showcase will open the public eye to the versatility, style, and future of this fast developing industry.

As always, the 2019 Australian Cannabis & Hemp Symposium will bring together the world’s leading medical professionals, academics, research associates, pharmacists, activists and entrepreneurs for conversations and Q&A sessions around the many uses and benefits of this incredible and versatile plant. Visit to keep an eye on the ever-expanding speaker list or to buy your tickets. Australian armed forces veterans are proudly offered free entry - just present your DVA, retired ID card or companion card. 3

MAY 18 & 19

Rosehill Racecourse




Industry Underside

A Hollywood Legend, A Watch, and Enormous Responsibility

James and the giant watch 52


it wasn’t just any watch; it was world-famous actor Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, and in October 2017, it sold for the highest price ever achieved for a wristwatch at auction.


ames Cox has felt an enormous weight of responsibility ever since selling his watch at auction a little over a year ago. He wants to care for others and do good things in the world, while also finding the right people with the drive and passion to inspire change. That’s no easy feat. A philanthropist with

a keen interest in the environment, the foods we eat, and how we interact with nature, Cox doesn’t just blindly write cheques; he takes the time to make sure he’s doing it right.

The obligations he has are all thanks to his former watch. As you may have guessed by now, it wasn’t just any watch; it was world-famous actor Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, and in October 2017, it sold for the highest price ever achieved for a wristwatch at auction.

Into the vault, the wristwatch went, but after a few years in the darkness, Cox couldn’t bear to keep it locked up anymore.

The Famous Watch

And boy, did he ever do good.

The Rolex was given to Newman in 1972 by his wife, actress Joanne Woodward. On the back of the watch, Woodward engraved a simple message to her race car-loving husband: Drive Carefully Me. With one of the most bankable movie stars of the time constantly seen and photographed wearing it, the Rolex Daytona quickly became a sensation in the wristwatch world. “Because Paul Newman was so cool, this watch he wore became so cool,” explains Cox. “It was the beginning of the vintage watch movement. You can trace it all back to Paul Newman, really.” How Cox ended up being the proud owner of such a desired timepiece was a matter of two paths crossing at the College of Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, in the 1980s. A student of human ecology, Cox fell in love with a girl named Nell, who he eventually discovered was Paul Newman’s daughter. The couple ended up dating for a decade, and during that time, Cox offered to restore a dilapidated treehouse on the Newman family property in Connecticut. Perhaps in a gesture of thanks, the Hollywood legend offered Cox his watch. “He came over one day and said, ‘Hey, kid, do you know what time it is?’, And I said, ‘No, I don’t have a watch, Paul’” Cox remembers. “And he took the watch off his wrist and said, ‘If you remember to wind it, it tells pretty good time.’” That’s where it all began. Cox wore the watch for the next 30 years, not knowing just how coveted the item on his wrist was and what an impact it was going to have on his life. “Six or seven years ago, I realise my watch has its own Wikipedia page,” recalls Cox. “Only a handful of people knew I had it, and I just kept quiet. People kept offering me money, and I just kept saying no.”

“I said, ‘I think it’s time.’ If Paul Newman were alive, he’d want me to sell it. He’d say, ‘Well, you’re not going to keep it, kid. You’re going to do something good with that.’”

That Moment When It Sells For Millions On October 26th, 2017, the wristwatch went up for auction at the Phillips Auction House in New York City. It was introduced by Aurel Bacs, a senior consultant at Phillips, as, “The most iconic Rolex wristwatch in the world, and possibly, the most iconic wristwatch of the 20th century.” Without further adieu, the bidding began. If you look up a video of the auction on YouTube, vintage watch collector or not, you can feel the excitement in the room as Cox and Nell Newman look on from the audience in nervous anticipation. After 12 minutes of intense bidding, Newman’s Rolex Daytona sold for a record $17.8 million, including the buyer’s premium. No other wristwatch in the world has ever sold for such a high price. “It was so bizarre. Is this a dream?” Cox remembers thinking after the gavel dropped. “It really showed that we could honour Paul, and it proved that he is, indeed, the coolest.” Cox has felt that weight of responsibility ever since. “That was a gift, and I can’t fuck it up. I need to do the right thing,” he explains. “And so the right thing is to do what I learned from Paul, and that is to take care of people.” On-screen, Paul Newman was a critically-acclaimed actor known for his dazzling blue eyes and handsome good looks. But off-screen, he was known for his devotion to his family, his sense of humour, and his philanthropic work. In 1982, he created the Newman’s Own salad dressing brand and famously declared, “Let’s give it all away.” Since then, more than $530 million has been donated to thousands of non-profit organisations around the world.




Industry Underside In this undated photo, Paul Newman is seen wearing the Rolex in his race car

After 12 minutes of intense bidding, Newman’s Rolex Daytona sold for a record $17.8 million

Wanting to continue Paul Newman’s legacy, Cox took a large portion of the money from the watch he sold at auction and donated it to The Nell Newman Foundation, an organisation that couples charitable giving with Nell’s passion for the environment. “Without a question, I’m giving the money away,” says Cox. “Money, to me, is the lowest form of energy on the planet. It’s super convenient, but when you think of all the other energy forms on the planet, it’s the lowest. I sound like a total hippie!”

Peace, Love, and the Environment Hippie or not, Cox is in the process of doing some incredible things, all the while shedding light on significant issues. Take his work with Clean Oceans International (COI), for example. Cox is a primary funder of the organisation working to solve the issue of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. With the UN sounding the alarm that there will soon be more straws and bottles in the ocean than fish, the non-profit is sailing around the world with a machine on board that is capable of converting plastic into diesel, gasoline, or other petroleum products with a much smaller carbon footprint than how we do it now. Designed by Eco-Fuel Technologies, the unit is clean and quiet. Conversion, done safely using electrical power, is made possible through thermal-depolymerisation. The reason COI is converting plastic to fuel is that the organisation believes it’s impossible to spark a multinational movement to clean the oceans without there being a way to generate some profit. Sad, but true. Finding the right people to inspire change is key. Cox also saw enormous potential in Celine Cousteau, a documentary filmmaker and the granddaughter of world explorer, Jacques Cousteau. Tracing her grandfather’s footsteps, Cousteau travels the world and highlights major environmental issues along the way. A donation from Cox in her name helped her complete her most recent work, a documentary called Tribes on the Edge. The film highlights the plight of the Indigenous people of the Vale do Javari reserve in the Amazon. Past generations have thrived in the world’s largest rainforest, but with increased industrialisation, human enterprise, and deforestation, the tribes are in trouble. Cousteau draws attention to illegal industries that have stripped the ecosystem and the people’s resources, and to their desperate need for healthcare as non-native hepatitis rates soar.

“My job is to make things snowball when a group of right people comes together,” Cox explains. “I can help you, I can give you a grant, and I can find another to match that and give you another grant. It’s exhausting, but in a great way.” In Iceland, Cox is currently helping recruit the right experts and conservation groups to help educate the people on a proposed hydroelectric power plant in the Westfjords. It’s a controversial debate, with many conservationists warning that damming the river system will destroy much of the natural landscape in the area. “I’ve fallen in love with Iceland because the people are beautiful and the climate is beautiful, and I’m so curious about the rapid change in our climate,” he says. “It’s happening all over the world, you can see it with rivers and migrations of people and droughts. If you go to the poles, there’s strong evidence.” As an ecologist, Cox, himself, is analysing whether the project makes sense for Iceland. He’s also working closely with photographer Ragnar Axelsson, who is taking photos of the area to draw attention to what will be lost if the project goes ahead. The point is to help the Icelandic people build the confidence needed to make good decisions for their future. “Iceland is the heart of the planet, and if we hurt the heart, then we are hurting the whole planet,” he says. Socially, Cox has funded organisations working with Aids orphans in Africa, and those helping young girls to get an education. He and the Nell Newman Foundation have also sponsored beautiful community murals in Watsonville, California, featuring migrant workers. “We are painting murals to show them we care about them,” explains Cox. “Despite political pressures, we want them to know we know who is growing our food; we know who to thank.” Santa Cruz-based graffiti artist Taylor Reinhold is also the mastermind behind a 50,000 sq ft mural that, at first glance, appears to be of various sea creatures. Look closer, and the figures are actually plastic materials and other garbage floating around in the sea. Through Reinhold’s artwork, Cox is hoping to reach broader and younger audiences with important messages. Trying to save the world is exhausting work, indeed, but Cox says we all have the ability to contribute, even without millions of dollars worth of funding. 55



James Cox and Nell Newman stand outside the Philipps building the day before the auction

Industry Underside The non-prof it is sailing around the world with a machine on board that is capable of conver ting plastic into diesel, gasoline, or other petroleum products

“The cool kids that grow are the visionaries [...] and we’re helping them do their jobs,” Cox says. “It’s the same thing for the pilots.” “Every single one of us has the opportunity to be as cool as Paul Newman; it’s just about making good choices,” he explains. “Generosity is just about doing the right thing. I think buying organic food is being philanthropic because you’re supporting the good people who grew it.”

Ecologist, Philanthropist, and Businessman A typical day for Cox has him out of bed by 6 a.m. so he can spend about two hours reading news headlines from around the world and catching up on his emails. He generally works on his philanthropic projects every afternoon, reserving his mornings for his successful company, Method Seven. He fully admits he’s working on about six businesses or projects and that each one should be its own full-time gig. Method Seven was launched in 2011 and specialises in designing grow room glasses and sunglasses for pilots uses leading-edge technology. The company came to be after Cox’s friend and business partner expressed having difficulty taking pictures in indoor grow rooms. Cox says many of the growers he knew at the time were sparing their eyes and taking clippings from their grow rooms to see if it was time for harvest. He decided he wanted to find a way to balance the bright lights, making the environment safer and more comfortable. “Business is the most influential means of change, but nature the most civilised model of business,” he says. “Stop fighting nature, and look at it for inspiration and common sense. You will find the answers there. Those have been my guiding principals all my life.” Following those principals, Cox found a former glass chemist in Germany and discovered that making grow rooms safer was possible, but that he had to make his own glass by melting seven different elements from the Earth into the lens. After a couple of years of work and a lot of money spent, they finally hit a home run. “Soon after, we discovered all of these added benefits of this glass. There were people who used to get seizures when they went near grow rooms, and they stopped getting them,” Cox says. “[The lens] is blocking a lot of energy that strobes from those lights. It was also blocking out a lot of red heat, which causes fatigue amongst growers. There was a lot more going on than we thought.” Today, Method Seven makes lenses adapted to all kinds of lights, and the growers who wear them say they no longer see spots after leaving their grow rooms.

The idea for making sunglasses for pilots came when the German glass chemist Cox worked with mentioned creating a similar kind of glass for the fighter jet cockpits during WWII. “What the pilots experience at 30,000 ft is similar to what someone growing weed in his basement does,” he says. “The two worlds couldn’t be more different, but they certainly aren’t far apart. We are really on the edge of those two different worlds right now, and it’s nice to see them accepting each other because that wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago.” He credits Method Seven as a way to reach into communities and meet people; he first met the man sailing around the world collecting plastic for diesel conversion by making sunglasses for him. He says his business is a tool to get good things done, and Paul Newman’s watch was a way to open doors.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility It has been a whirlwind for Cox since selling the watch at auction a little over a year ago, but you can tell he wouldn’t have it any other way. Looking back, he tells me a story about the morning after the auction once the dust had settled. “I remember walking 40 blocks through Central Park and New York City, and I went to Paul’s apartment where Joanne Woodward was staying. I sat with her for a couple of hours and told her what happened and how beautiful it was. That was as cool as the whole night before, and that’s what Paul would have wanted.” She, after all, is a big part of this story too. Nobody could have possibly imagined the frenzy she was going to put in motion by purchasing the Rolex Daytona for her husband and engraving it with a simple message. Cox describes the moment he was given the watch in a backyard in Connecticut as a windfall; one that would present him with opportunities only made possible by Newman and the life that he lived. And despite all of his own accomplishments and philanthropic efforts, Cox remains humble as hell. “I’m no hero,” he says. “I just had a good one as a role model.” 3

Sources: • • • • 57



finds 1

Musical Plants

We’ve heard the theory that plants respond to music, but did you know they can hum a tune as well? Data Garden Quartet has designed the incredible MIDI Sprout, which translates the electrical impulses on the plant’s leaves into musical sounds. Patterns and melodies change along with the fluctuations in the plant’s environment, which send messages to an iOS app that controls audio and video synthesisers in real time. Just attach the electrode pads to the plant’s leaves and prepare to explore nature through music. Hand assembled by artists, the MIDI Sprout is enclosed in biodegradable cardboard, with the environment in mind. How’s that for communication skills? Ships internationally from Data Garden:


Compost Warrior The future of composting is odourless, low-maintenance, vermin and mess-free! Subpod is a growth hub for the garden that turns food waste into black gold with the help of only worms and microbes. It’s the world’s first modular in-garden composting system - meaning it sits below ground level and feeds the plants at the root level, which is where they take in their nutrients. The worms move freely between the Subpod and garden bed builds soil fer tility and leads to nutrient-rich, healthy plants, while also reducing the need for fer tilisers. Once you’ve fed the worms, close up the bin and have a seat; Subpod doubles as a sturdy bench so you can relax surrounded by all of your beautiful vegetation. Built to handle 15kg of waste per week, Subpod packs flat for easy shipping worldwide and can be assembled in less than three minutes. Composting food waste has never been this simple. Preorder today:




finds 3

Save t h e Mo narchs

Monarch butterflies are in trouble, and anything that can help these important pollinators survive is welcome.This Monarch Tower Butterfly Cage allows you to raise both monarch caterpillars and their favourite plant, milkweed, in perfect harmony. The mesh pop-up cage is ideal for keeping predators out and measures 24x24x36, large enough for 30 monarchs and high enough for three-foot tall milkweed plants to grow inside. It can be used indoors or out, and a drawbridge door makes cleaning or inserting monarch eggs and caterpillars easy.The side door opening leaves chrysalises on the cage roof undisturbed, and the clear PVC window means you can observe the monarchs as they grow. Different models are available in various sizes. Ships internationally from the Monarch Butterfly Shop:


Fish and Veg g ies

This medium-sized aquaponics system is guaranteed for years of successful vegetables, herbs and fish. Ultra efficient, the system can save a single family up to $1,000 per year assuming it buys seven or eight bunches of leafy greens a week. It comes complete with a 500L rectangular fish tank; a 240L Grow Bed, 225L Clay Pebbles, as well as the water and air pumps, the irrigation, and air fittings to run the system. All of the equipment is made with UV resistant food safe poly. Place the system in a sunny spot and start with 12 native perch or goldfish. Water test strips, an ammonia test kit, and starter nutrients for the plants and fish food included. Fresh food at its finest. Order from Aqua Gardening:


Spac e -S avvy Garden in g

Short on space? No big deal! Growing edibles is still possible, even when balcony-sized square footage is all there is. VERTICAL VEGETABLES: Simple Projects that Deliver More Yield in Less Space, by Amy Andrychowicz, guides us through growing our gardens upward instead of out.The book offers practical principles to achieving high yields in small spaces and provides information about the fruits and vegetables best suited for vertical growing. It also comes complete with nearly two-dozen DIY projects including trellises, arbours, archways, towers and more. Space should never be an issue. Get it at Murdoch Books:



Who’s Growing

t a h W Wh

austin rali a & Ze N e w al an d



Brisbane, Queensland

Fantastic Flora

Credit: Moons Lane Flowers

Nat Smith has long believed that gardening is good for the soul, and so she started a venture that would be good for the planet too. Moons Lane Flowers specialises in organic cut flowers; to be more specific, heirloom and old world varieties suited for the sub-tropical climate in Brisbane. Smith originally began growing the beautiful flowers in her backyard as a way to destress after a long day at the office. As the flowers grew, so did her passion and motivation, and she eventually expanded her garden to a half-acre lot about 30 minutes outside of Brisbane city. Moons Lane is chemical-free, and so the result is healthy, natural bouquets that attract both pollinators and human flower lovers in abundance. Eager to spread her passion for cut flowers, Smith also sells tried and tested organic seed packets for customers to grow at home. Bringing the best of the outdoors inside. Learn more:


Palmwoods, Queensland

A passion for gardening has helped turn a neglected fourhectare property in Palmwoods into The Greenshed - a productive farm focused on growing chemical-free culinary herbs, edible flowers, sprouts, and microgreens. More than 30 different varieties grow in the sheds, including baby wasabi lettuce leaves, beetroot shoots, mustard, and baby broccoli. Owners Sharon and Marcus Koski want consumers to understand the greens and edible flowers are about more than making a plate look pretty; they’re about flavour and nutrition too. With that and The Greenshed’s dedication to all-natural growing techniques in mind, business is booming across the Sunshine Coast. The farm also only uses compostable seed containers so as not to be adding to the landfills. How’s that for fresh flavour? Learn more:

Credit: The Greenshed

Grown With Love





Who’s Growing


Christchurch, NZ

Food Forest

in st au ralia


Credit: Ōtākaro Orchard

The urban food movement is growing leaps and bounds in Christchurch thanks to the Ōtākaro Orchard. The 2,000 square metre lot sits amongst office buildings and was gifted by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority. The project is a work in progress, but for now, it serves as a living-learning environment where volunteers come together to nurture the earth and begin the groundwork for what will undoubtedly be a bountiful edible garden. The mini-urban forest will supply pears, peaches, plums, apples, hazelnuts, and so much more for the entire community to enjoy. With 40% of Cantabrians struggling to afford healthy food, the orchard aims to produce 1,000 kg of fruits and vegetables every year! Beyond the edible garden, Ōtākaro will eventually house a local food information centre and cafe, as well as a gardening dome where produce like bananas will be grown! Local food at its finest. Learn more:

Credit: Merri Bee Organic Farm


Nannup, WA

Clean Eating

& Ze a N e w la n d

Growing food and caring for animals the way nature intended is the very soul of Merri Bee Organic Farm. A permaculture system, the property is an ecosystem dedicated to growing and producing the most natural food possible. The farm has been operated for more than 25 years by founders Bee Winfield and Stewart Seesink, who desperately want to fix a broken system and make food safe to eat again. Meat, eggs, and dairy are available for purchase at the farm, all from animals enjoying a quality life and fed with wholesome organic feed. Vegetables are grown on location with compost, and full tree-ripened fruit is also available on site. Talk about a one-stop shop opportunity! Oak trees along with stone pines, pecans and poplars planted initially from seed now tower over the property. Merri Bee Organic Farm says its soil and biodiversity improves with every passing year, an immensely satisfying accomplishment. Treat nature with respect and reap the benefits. Learn more:




elcome to Stealth Science! This five-par t series delves into plant science to help you understand why a garden flourishes or flops. Over the next five issues, we will discuss the impor tant topics relating to plant biology and physiology, structure and function, covering roots to shoots and

everything in between!

For this illustration of plant biology, we will predominantly be discussing angiosperms (flowering plants), as these have evolved into the most common crops we consume today.

The Five Classes: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Plant Morphology and Anatomy Water Interactions Plant Food and Ionic Relations Photosynthesis and Phloem Plant Hormones: The control of growth and development

Let’s dive into this fascinating topic! Angiosperms have been around for 1,400,000 years – their evolution is better suited for survival than any other organism on the planet. So, what can we learn from their structure and function? Our first topic will be Plant Morphology and Anatomy, as we take a look at the clever design of the organ system within vascular plants and how this relates to the garden and our own human bodies. Like humans, there are key organ functions required for a plant to fully develop and mature. Florae needs these different organs for food production, anchorage, structural support, and reproduction. All of these organs are comprised of four different types of plant tissue (dermal, ground, vascular or meristematic) that are made up of different types of cells. Let’s start from the outside and work our way in. If you think about the skin on your body, the epidermis is the protective layer around the edge. The same applies to plants, as their epidermis is a waxy, waterproof layer of cells to help protect them from the environment. This dermal tissue forms the external defence for leaves, stems, roots and fruits!


As we look further inside, we have the ground tissue that acts as storage, support, filler-cells and also houses the components for photosynthesis. Ground tissue can be divided into three categories based on the nature of their cell walls; (parenchyma, collenchyma and sclerenchyma). Parenchyma are larger cells and have thin walls. They’re usually alive and may be used as unspecialised (filler) cells, metabolic centres or storage. They make up the bulk of your stems. Collenchyma have thicker walls and are grouped in strands; they’re like the ‘ribs’ of the plant body. If you think about eating celery at home, the stringy bit is collenchyma. Sclerenchyma is derived from Greek, meaning ‘hard cells’, and it’s usually dead at maturity. Sclerenchyma is used entirely for support alongside the phloem fibres. Collenchyma Looking further into the plant structure, we have the vascular tissue. This is made from bundles of plant superhighways, the xylem and phloem. Imagine this as the transportation network of a plant. Similar to our vascular system in humans, this tissue helps to move water, nutrients and organic compounds to where they are required. As a silly, simple way of remembering the basic role of each type of vascular tissue, say out loud ‘phloem flows food’. image: Quora

Understanding the science behind the art of horticulture ensures we can cultivate beautiful, healthier, and more sustainable crops.

Photomicrograph of a Helianthus stem Key: A-Epidermis B-Vascular bundle C-Pith D-Cortex

Courtesy: By Jon Houseman - Jon Houseman and Matthew Ford, CC BY-SA 4.0, https:// index.php?curid=35811228 Scale=1.4mm.


Plant Morphology and Anatomy 101

The xylem is responsible for the initiation of the ‘transpiration stream’ (we will cover that more in Topic 2: Water Interactions), and it moves water and nutrients in a unidirectional flow (up!). Conversely, the phloem transports organic compounds (such as sugars) in both directions, wherever the plant requires them, generally towards the areas of meristematic plant tissue!

The final type of plant tissue is where plant magic happens! This meristematic plant tissue is the dividing area where new growth occurs at the apical tips of roots and shoots: the tops! The primary meristems are the shoot and root apex (the top and bottom of the plant), whereas secondary meristems allow for secondary growth or girth. These are vascular and cork cambiums and this explains how plants grow thick, woody trunks with many rings.




Plant Morphology and Anatomy 101 Courtesy: By Jon Houseman - Jon Houseman and Matthew Ford, CC BY-SA 4.0,

So, now that we kind of understand what plants are made of, how do they grow? The growth simply involves the division, expansion, and differentiation of the cells we just discussed. The cells stretch, expand, and change form into the required type of cell (to make varying organs), depending on the plants’ current physiological needs or environmental influences. This cell division in the stems and roots occurs in the tips of apical meristem, while behind this zone of division, the newly formed cells grow larger (expansion and elongation) as they differentiate into various tissue types (dermal, ground and vascular). These become the different organs such as leaves or flowers. Primary growth describes this development of roots and shoots, but what about the secondary progress as seedlings develop into thick, woody trees?

As the cells increase in number and quantity, the leaf expands in size. Marginal meristem growth occurs on the side of the leaf (but from the base of the leaf in monocots), and progression is suppressed in the region that becomes the petiole. There are different types Photomicrograph of a dicot leaf. of leaf forms (dorsiventral, isobilateral or A-Lower epidermis, B-Lower palisade mesophyll, centric), but most common are bifacial leaves C-Upper epidermis, (dorsiventral). These have a structural difference D-Upper palisade mesophyll, in the upper and lower epidermis relative to the E- Spongy mesophyll, F-Leaf vein. number of stomata and trichomes present. This Scale=0.2mm. accounts for the top receiving the most direct sunlight and exposure to the elements, while the underside of the leaf can provide more structure and exchange gases efficiently into the air. The mesophyll (the layer beneath the epidermis) within a leaf is generally differentiated into palisade or spongy. Interestingly, isobilateral leaves (such as eucalyptus) have symmetrical epidermis and mesophyll tissue, but also have oil glands housed within the centre mesophyll layer, which is what gives us the delicious scents from eucalyptus oil!

Woody Dicot Stem: One Year Sambucus cross-section, 40x magnification During the first year of growth, the epidermis is stretched laterally by the expansion of secondary xylem, phloem and cambium.

Courtesy: Berkshire Community College Bioscience Image Library

This lateral development occurs from activity in two secondary meristems. The Vascular Cambium adds layers of vascular tissue, and the Cock Cambium replaces the epidermis with secondary dermal tissue (bark, cork etc). By repeated divisions of cambial initials, more xylem and phloem are added as the vascular cambium moves further from the centre of the stem. This primary and secondary growth is always occurring simultaneously, but at different locations within the plant. However, the primary growth is restricted to the youngest areas of the plant (tips of the roots and shoots), whereas the secondary growth becomes layered, producing wood. As the stem develops and provides a structurally supportive highway of food and water for the plant, more leaf tissue is required to create additional energy. When a leaf develops, a primordium is first noticeable at the surface of the apical meristem. A primordium is defined as an organ or tissue in its earliest recognisable stage of development.

The internal anatomy of a leaf is usually related to the environmental habitat of the plant and the requirements for endurance. Land plants can be categorised into four morphological groups based on the water availability and the dryness of the air in their surroundings. Hydromorphic plants live in a watery environment and usually have stomata on the upper surface of the leaf (such as water lilies). Conversely, xeromorphic plants live in dry conditions and have evolved thick cuticles with sunken stomata to survive. Epiphytic plants are commonly known as ‘air-plants’ and survive in tropical climates with high humidity and rainfall, living attached to other plants or objects and absorbing nutriment from the atmosphere. The most common plants are mesomorphic, which covers a fairly broad range of different environmental conditions. Their leaf veins (vascular bundles) permeate the ground tissue of the dermal system, giving us a beautiful range of leaf patterns. The anatomy of mesomorphic leaves is designed to function optimally for water uptake and gas exchange in photosynthesis, but we will talk more about that in Topic 4: Photosynthesis and Phloem. Hopefully, this quick article has given you an insight into the structure of plants and their different organ features. The most important feature to understand for all of our flowering or fruiting plants is their accessibility and usage of water. In the next issue, we will look further into this crucial relationship: the transpiration stream and how plants can perform miracles with H2O! 3

BIO Founder of Indicated Technology Pty Ltd, Tom is a certified horticulturalist and paid consultant working in the Australian medical cannabis industry. After finishing studies in production horticulture (hydroponics) and plant biology; Tom has spent the past 6 years working in the protected cropping space. Tom is passionate about sustainable yet economic cultivation methodologies and also teaches cannabis cultivation as part of university and private education programs. Tom is also the Communications Manager for Stealth Garden wholesale supplies. 69


Water Soluble Organic Nutrients

PPoopp aa

P A P C A W C W yyoouurr iinn s s a r a g r g ‘bones are exactly where these two elements will be coming from, although ideally not human bones’




f there is any one place where the complaints of organic gardeners differ to that of my wife, it is in relation to the speed of which particular practices occur. Much like my gardening friends, I am inclined to justify the opinion that a quicker release is a much more preferable option to a longer one.The problem is, typical organic nutrients are bound

up in carbon complexes and take much longer to release their special life-giving properties. This is exactly the situation my other half would be much more appreciative of, but unlike a rich source of organic nutrients, my beans are usually blown way before the pods are even picked.

photo: Permaculture Research Institute

For organic farmers, there is actually Anyway, once you have a suitably large a suitable solution to this, unlike the volume of vinegar, you can then proceed make your own myriad of spurious websites that offer a to sourcing your bones. (That is if you instantly available, questionable solution relating to the folly want calcium and phosphorus. If you just of my manhood. A soluble and instantly want calcium, then you can use things like water soluble, available set of nutrients can be provided eggshells or oyster shells, or something organically derived to your plants if you so choose, you else in that vein.) Once you have your nutrients” just need to prime them in the correct vinegar and your bones gathered, you manner a little bit first. This is basically will need a suitably large container for it what we are looking at here; a way to all and something to cover it with. make your own instantly available, water soluble, organically derived nutrients, courtesy, once again, of my bro-chacho from You will need: Korea: Master Cho. • Bones - enough to fill about a tenth or so of your container. • Vinegar - enough to fill the rest of the container after the Sounds good right? bones. “Instantly available organic nutrients?” I hear you cry. “Surely you • Breathable cloth - to cover the container afterwards. must jest, there is no such practice of which I am familiar with”. • Elastic bands - to secure the cloth. This is no jest my friend, just a way to provide a quick fix of • A BBQ, or grill - to burn the bones. nutrient loveliness directly to your plants – as soon as they may • A strainer/gauze - to filter zee final solution. need it. There are many ways to skin a cat, and this is one of the finest techniques in flaying felines (being one of the few ways Step 1: Burn the bones (or eggshells etc) you can achieve water soluble, organically available nutrients, Yes, you read that right, burn the bones. Some might say that the immediately available for plant use). effects of the bones can be enhanced by creating the just right conditions during the flambé. Apparently, combusting under a Which elements are we talking about here? Well, mostly full blood-moon, atop a stone plinth in the middle of a pentagram phosphorus and calcium. The building blocks of plant cell walls, and in the presence of virgins monotonously reciting the Lord’s these are two of the most crucial nutrients that a plant would prayer backwards will dramatically increase the efficacy. I’m still need during pretty much any stage of its growth cycle. “Calcium learning how to recite the Lord’s prayer in reverse to test this, and phosphorus?” you exclaim. “But that’s basically what our but I’m sure it will at least double your yield. human bones are made of”. Well, bones are exactly where these two elements will be coming from, although ideally not human In all seriousness, they do need charring to the correct degree. bones. Break them down into smaller chunks and chuck them onto a BBQ until they have turned a nice black, coal-esque colour. Let’s start at the very beginning Ensure they are not undercooked – a brown hue of the bone Apparently, it is a very good place to start. Unfortunately, this will remain if so. At the same time, don’t over-do it, it will turn to is actually a slightly misleading sub-heading, because this is not an ash grey/white on the surface of the chunks and you’ll have to really the beginning. In order to start right at the very beginning, start over. With eggshells, crush them and cook them in a pan you will need to make some vinegar. If you can’t be arsed to wait until browned (not blackened). three months for your vinegar to properly turn, then you can simply purchase some. Organic distilled is usually best; something locally-sourced, ideally, to be more in keeping with the whole ‘save the planet’ theme. If you can be arsed to make your own vinegar – simply double (or so) the volume of the waste from when you make some FPJ with water, and let it sit in a cool, dark place for a minimum of three months (less with an added mother).




photo: Permaculture Research Institute


Step 2: Fill your container This is a pretty self-explanatory step of the process. You need to fill your container with the bones you just burnt (or the shells you just toasted) to approximately one-tenth of the total volume. Then, you simply grab your vinegar and fill the other nine-tenths accordingly. Watch it as it starts bubbling in a totally cool and awesome way.

Step 3: Leave it alone

photo: Permaculture Research Institute

Cover with a breathable lid and leave for at least five days, more like ten sometimes. Leaving this longer than necessary will not degrade the final product. Once the bubbling stops, it is pretty much done.

Break them down into smaller chunks and chuck them onto a BBQ

Step 4: Strain it out Grab yourself a fine mesh and pour the solution through, removing any of the bits and pieces.

Step 5: Put into storage You can keep this solution in an air-tight container, unlike most other KNF inputs, so it makes for a much easier liquid to store.

Step 6: Use it Normally, administer it at a rate of 1:1000. That’s 1ml per litre for those who can’t be bothered to figure it out. Maybe more if you see your plants lapping it up. It can be used as a root drench or as a foliar spray. Adding a teaspoon per litre of Epsom salts to the solution will add a touch of magnesium as well. Essentially, you’d be making your own organic calmag, which, as we all know, is the answer to every plant problem ever.

Et, voila mon petite fleur That’s it! You are now the proud owner of some awesome, organically derived nutrients, ready to rock and roll. Also, you just burnt some bones and basically performed alchemy; pretty cool if you think about it. Anyway, make sure you have your camera ready when you pour the vinegar in (especially with the eggshells) because it makes for a super cool video to impress all your chumleys on the social media thing with. 3





elcome to the second par t of our ‘Stealth Science’ Series! In this ar ticle, we will be discussing

how impor tant and seemingly complicated the

This five-part series delves into plant science to help you understand why a garden flourishes or flops. Over the next five issues, we will discuss the important topics relating to plant biology and physiology, structure and function, covering roots to shoots and everything in between!

consumption of water is within our gardens. Without it, all life on ear th would cease to exist. Plants have cleverly evolved a very unique way of utilising this precious resource for a huge range of biological processes.

We will start our lesson with the importance of the transpiration stream. This essential concept describes the movement of water from the soil to the atmosphere. The controlling factor for this movement is the gradient of water potential as it amazingly moves upwards like an upside-down waterfall!

What about gravity? How do trees move such vast amounts of water towards the sky? In a brilliant example of evolutionary prowess, plants have evolved a threefold method of mechanisms. Various theories state that plants cleverly use water’s peculiar cohesive and molecular properties to their advantage. This allows the tallest trees to lift thousands of litres of water hundreds of metres into the air. Using a combination of root pressure, capillarity and cohesion, plants are able to move water even more efficiently than the most advanced human technology. Firstly, root pressure acts to uptake the salts and water by osmosis; through diffusion and the difference in water potential around the root hairs. Capillarity states that water rises higher in smaller diameter pipes and that you can imagine the xylem as tiny, microscopic, thin straws (that use tracheids and vessels). As the root pressure and capillary push the water from the base, cohesion pressure from the leaf surface pulls continuous columns of water upwards. Another theory also suggests that a lack of gasses within the xylem and phloem contributes to the inward movement of water and lack of vertical pressure on the water column within the plant.


Understanding the science behind the art of horticulture ensures we can cultivate beautiful, healthier, and more sustainable crops. The Five Classes: • Plant Morphology and Anatomy (see last issue) • Water Interactions • Plant Food and Ionic Relations • Photosynthesis and Phloem • Plant Hormones: The control of growth and development

A majority of the water tension comes from the cohesive pressure of the leaves. This is actually a very easy movement of water to accurately measure. A potometer (also known as a transpirometer) is a basic device you can make with simple lab equipment to measure the rate of water uptake from a leafy shoot. During daylight hours, the water column within the plant is under the greatest tension as the water potential is much higher. A dendrometer allows us to very accurately measure and observe tree trunks shrinking during the day and actually swelling at night! This occurs as the water column is most stretched while the plant is maximising transpiration.

How does the water get inside the plant in the first place? Let’s imagine we are looking at the transpiration stream under a potent HP microscope, travelling like a magic school bus through the different organs and processes of the plant. Underground (or underwater in certain hydroponic setups), the water firstly passes through the apoplast (the non-living areas; cell walls and intercellular spaces) of the root cortex along the water potential gradient, and into the root. It encounters an impervious barrier at the endodermis but enters through the symplast (the living areas bounded by different membranes e.g. cell protoplasts) and flows back into the apoplast as it is carried upward by the transpiration pull from the leaves.


Water Interactions Plants have cleverly evolved a very unique way of utilising this precious resource for a huge range of biological processes




Water interactions

As it is with humans and all life on earth, water is our key to existence; we need to keep it pure and treat it as our most valuable resource

Near the destination, the water leaves the xylem and travels via the apoplast in the mesophyll cell walls into the substomatal cavity. This is where an exchange of gases occurs and the water brilliantly emerges into the atmosphere as humidity. This is a very oversimplified analysis of the transpiration stream but gives you an idea of how the water moves between different cells and intercellular spaces to get to where it needs to go. Many of us have heard of the stomata, the little bean-shaped things that control respiration. The stomatal opening is an essential organelle for photosynthesis. This is a tiny pore that is bordered by ‘guard cells’ that control and regulate gas exchanges from the leaf. As the stomatal opening size increases, so does the transpiration, but the rates will depend on water stress, light, CO2, air toxicities, and several other factors. Stomatal closure is regulated by Abscisic Acid ABA (we will discuss this much more in depth within Topic 5: Plant Hormones) and causes the cessation of the K+ pump. They will close during times of darkness, high CO2 levels, or other poisons in the air. The guard cells have chloroplasts that photosynthesize to help the plant exchange gases (mostly oxygen and carbon dioxide). It is predominantly the environmental factors of a crop that will influence the transpiration levels of a plant. As relative humidity decreases, so does transpiration. But also as the air warms, the plant will transpire significantly more to try to regulate its own temperature. Surrounding the plant, the light intensity and air movement will also have drastic effects on the control of transpiration, as will the soil conditions, soil type, and salinity. To truly comprehend the influence of water relations in horticulture, we need to look at the cellular aspects of H20. Universal laws state that water potential is determined by three factors: gravity, pressure, and the concentration of dissolved solutes. Water movement inside a plant is osmotic; it moves through barriers or semi-permeable membranes as the turgor pressure maintains the structure and shape of a cell.

This turgor pressure describes the pressure exerted by the cell wall in response to the expansion of the vacuole (a space within the cell, usually enclosed by a membrane). It keeps the cells solid and structurally able to do their job. Only a small amount of water moves in or out of the cell, but this still has a large effect on its water potential and its turgor pressure. When the guard cells are turgid, the stomata are open and the gas exchange is underway!

Why is water the most important limiting factor for productivity and crop growth? As water moves throughout the plant, it is used in a variety of physiological mechanisms. The three most important needs for water are as a raw material for photosynthesis, for turgor to support and expand cells, and as a solvent for ions and organic compounds. Plant life only actually utilizes 1% of water for metabolic activity; the remaining 99% is transpired and supports the rest of our global ecosystem! Astonishingly, a Eucalyptus regnans (Mountain Ash) can transpire more than 12,000 litres per hectare per day! The soil type and particle size will also influence how much water a plant is able to transpire or use. Depending on the salt/silt/clay ratio, the substrate will have differing field capacities (maximum amount of water) that a plant is able to utilize. As it is with humans and all life on earth, water is our key to existence; we need to keep it pure and treat it as our most valuable resource. Plants have evolved to adapt to changing climates and we can learn from their ingenuity and resourceful nature. The next segment of Stealth Science will investigate how plants use this water to consume their food and the ionic relations behind mineral nutrition! 3

BIO Founder of Indicated Technology Pty Ltd, Tom is a certified horticulturalist and paid consultant working in the Australian medical cannabis industry. After finishing studies in production horticulture (hydroponics) and plant biology; Tom has spent the past 6 years working in the protected cropping space. Tom is passionate about sustainable yet economic cultivation methodologies and also teaches cannabis cultivation as part of university and private education programs. Tom is also the Communications Manager for Stealth Garden wholesale supplies. 79


How Do

Microbes Help During

Vegetative Growth?

plants rely on the symbiotic relationships with soil microbes to boost early plant development


oil microbes are AMAZING in many ways… and if you ask cultivators why soil microbes are AMAZING, they’ll say it’s

because microbes HELP PLANTS GROW!



Over the past decade, scientists have significantly advanced beneficial microbial technologies for use in agriculture. These innovative biological solutions have proven to successfully help cultivators increase health, quality and yield. In this article, we will specifically discuss how soil microbes interact to enhance plant vegetative growth. In nature, early stage vegetative growth is critical for plant survival. This is mostly because the quicker growing plants are able to out-compete neighbouring plants for light (i.e. energy used to grow). In agriculture, vegetative growth is most important because a well-developed and healthy plant structure is able to support maximum flower development and yield potential. Growth cycles can be broadly categorised into three stages: • • •

Early Rooting Vegetative Flowering

In early vegetative growth stages, plants are mainly focused on allocating nitrogen resources toward roots and stems as quickly as possible. Nitrogen is very important for earlystage plant vegetative growth because there are many cellular components that require large quantities of nitrogen. Importantly, soil microbes can be synergistically recruited by newly-formed roots, where they mobilise essential nutrients for plant uptake. Soil microbes interacting in the rhizosphere can influence vegetative growth in three primary ways: 1. Many bacterial groups help break down compounds into plant available nitrogen (ammonium) through a process called N mineralisation. Other bacterial groups facilitate a process called nitrification, which converts ammonium into nitrate. This can be useful in


Peter Baas is Mammoth Microbes’ Director of Product Development. He has worked in a wide range of ecosystems and has an advanced understanding of the interactions and complexities among microbial ecology, nutrient cycling, and plant growth. He has a PhD. in ecology from the University of Georgia and is very excited about developing and testing new products with the goal of making agricultural practices more sustainable for future generations.


Applying the natural power of soil microbes in cultivation can maximise early stage vegetative grow th

Rhizobium root nodules agriculture to minimise a toxic buildup of ammonium in the soil and substrate. Other bacterial groups (including Rhizobia, Azospirillum and Azotobacter) can extract nitrogen out of thin air (i.e. nitrogen fixation) and deliver to plant roots. However, N fixation is a very energy-intensive biological process and can only occur in the absence of oxygen. Thus, N fixation is not prevalent in aerated environments (most growing environments) or in the presence of other more readily available nitrogen sources. 2. Beneficial soil microbes can produce enzymes which naturally reduce toxic shock to plants in stressful conditions. Other microbial groups can enhance early root and shoot development by producing plant-growth signalling molecules. Although plants naturally produce these important signalling molecules themselves, they often cannot allocate enough energy to produce ample quantities of these molecules during vegetative growth stages. Therefore, plants rely on the symbiotic relationships with soil microbes to boost early plant development. 3. Lastly, some soil bacteria produce organic compounds (VOC’s) which act as deterrents against pathogen attack and provide immunity to the young plants. Applying the natural power of soil microbes in cultivation can maximise early stage vegetative growth. Most plants need microbes to help naturally maximise nutrient bioavailability which significantly regulates plant quality and yield metrics. Specialised soil microbes can enhance plant N uptake – allowing plants to quickly establish robust root and shoot systems. Likewise, different soil microbial assemblages can be progressively used to optimize plant success across all the different plant growth stages. Next generation microbial technologies represent effective and sustainable solutions that cultivators can use to achieve desired crop quality and yield. 3

Colin Bell is the co-founder, co-inventor and Chief Growth Officer at Mammoth Microbes. Colin is passionate about science, and received his PhD. in Biological Sciences, specializing in soil microbial ecology and plant-microbe interactions. He left his academic position at Colorado State University in March 2015 to launch Mammoth Microbes. When he’s not traveling the world interacting with and learning from cultivators, there is nothing Colin enjoys more than teaching and working with the team at Mammoth Microbes. You can find Colin on Instagram: @colinwbell

Dr Karuna Chourey holds an MSc in Plant Physiology and a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Mumbai. Prior to joining Growcentia, she was a research scientist at Oak Ridge National Lab investigating molecular mechanisms underlying stress and adaptation in microbes and plants. She developed novel protein extraction techniques to evaluate microbial protein pathways required for successful bioremediation of soil or contaminated groundwater. In addition to many professional accomplishments, Dr Chourey has authored or co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed publications.



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n Australian pilot study is evaluating the possible effects medicinal cannabis could have on reducing severe behavioural problems in children with intellectual disabilities. Led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne, the trial began early this year and is one of the first of its kind.

According to MCRI, more than 50,000 Australian youth have an intellectual disability with behavioural issues such as irritability, aggression, and self-injury. Half of these patients are prescribed antipsychotic medications, which often have adverse effects. Earlier research has shown CBD and other cannabis extracts have had fewer side effects than traditional medicines, but more studies are needed where controlling severe behaviours is concerned. The pilot study includes 10 children aged 8 to 16 years of age with an intellectual disability. Half of the participants are receiving cannabis extract, and the other half has been given a placebo. The study’s results will likely be published by 2020. 3

Sources: Daily Marijuana Observer:

Earlier research has shown CBD and other cannabis ex tracts have had fewer side effects than traditional medicines, but more studies are needed where controlling severe behaviours is concerned.




That’s right, dearest reader; it’s time for the latest instalment of how to make your own organic growing inputs, cour tesy of Korean Natural Farming practices. Ditch the bot tles, make your own inputs and feel like a complete boss while you’re doing it.




t’s the little things in life that count: something I constantly re-iterate to my loving wife. Like some sort of defensive mantra that is definitely in no way linked to the size of my manhood, the quality of any one particular thing in life is always of much more importance than its quantity. As The Flight of the Conchords say “two minutes in heaven is better than no minutes in

heaven.” Sure, bigger things may initially seem more gratifying to our inherently greedy human brains, but I’d much rather a small amount of something perfect, than a huge load of something satisfactory.


What I’m trying to convey is just how immaking their way in. Similar to how bouncers “it is crucial that por tant small things are, especially when at a club turn away groups of drunken men you almost pay talking about bacteria. In a similar fashion without any women with them, but probably more at tention to their fungal friends, they play a wide with a higher IQ. to promoting the variety of roles in plant growth and are health of your soil par ticularly crucial when growing in an But wait – there’s more! Not only do they help organic setting. Soil life thrives with a biolog y than you do to out-populate bad bacteria, they also help healthy and diverse biology, so it is cruto break down organic nutrients locked away the actual plants cial that you almost pay more attention to in those pesky organic carbon complexes growing in it” promoting the health of your soil biology within your media. The decomposition than you do the actual plants growing in of organic matter/amendments is greatly it. One par ticular type of beneficial bacteria that you can increased within the media when you apply a LAB serum, easily culture from the natural world is Lactic Acid Bacteria meaning a much greater availability of nutrients for absorption (LAB), which will be the focus of our attention for the next by the plants. For this reason, they are a fantastic addition when few pages. you are making your own compost or compost teas, as they will help to greatly increase the availability of all of that lovely What exactly are LAB’s? organic nutrient. It’s kind of like little knives and forks going Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) are a particularly interesting group around and cutting up all the food on the plate ready for the of bacteria that are one of the key components of a full-blown plant to eat. KNF regime. Why are they particularly interesting, I hear you ask? Well, they are one of the few groups of bacteria that are One thing to potentially look out for when you are using LAB capable of functioning in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. culture, particularly with fruiting plants, is that you slow down “Anaerobic bacteria?” I hear you cry, “What the crikey-fuck do with the application rate towards the end of the flowering you want them for? That’s root disease territory isn’t it?” Well, cycle. This is just to ensure that you are not over applying yes, the majority of root diseases are anaerobic pathogens, but LAB’s, as in certain circumstances, over application can actually these bacteria are cut from an entirely different cloth, my friend. cause a response in the plant that will lower the Brix levels in This particular group of bacteria (as the name would suggest) your fruits. This obviously results in a slight loss of sweetness produce lactic acid as a by-product of their digestive process. in the overall flavour of your fruit, something to be avoided if LAB are extremely widespread in nature, found pretty much at all possible. everywhere in the environment, hence why capturing and culturing them is actually quite an easy and fun process. This is also one of the first steps in making your own cheese.

There are a few ways in which making use of LAB can benefit your grow. You don’t even have to go the whole hog on the organic regime front either; you can integrate it quite easily into pretty much any style of growing. One of the first things they do is simply populate space in your media. This might sound a bit boring and of no significance, but by populating free space in your media, they will be preventing harmful pathogens from ever


What do they even bloody do?



How exactly do you make it? Essentially, what you are doing here is making curds and whey. Miss Muffet would probably love to get her hands on such freshly-prepared dairy produce. What you will need: • Rice • Water • Container • Milk (preferably unpasteurised) • Strainer • Sugar (for long-term storage – optional) 1. Step 1: Wash your rice in some water. Just like you would if you were normally making rice, but rather than discarding the water, pour it into a container to about two thirds full. 2. Step 2: Cover the container with a breathable lid. Store in a cool, dry, and dark place, moving it as little as possible. 3. Step 3: Wait three to five days. You will know when it is done as the smell of the liquid will become slightly sweet. This means that LAB have cultured correctly in the solution. If you see any weird-looking bacteria growing on the surface during this time, discard and start again. 4. Step 4: Try to collect the middle layer of the solution. There will be a slightly thicker layer at the top of the liquid, which ideally you do not want to collect. Focus on the layer directly underneath this. 5. Step 5: Add 1-part cultured rice wash to 10 parts of your milk. Ideally, do not do this with milk that is either pasteurised (because of the antibiotics) or straight out of the fridge (slows the process down slightly). Once again, store in a cool, dry, and dark place. 6. Step 6: After three to five days (longer when temperatures are cooler), you will see that the solution has totally separated into curds and whey. The curds will be at the top and the yellow whey serum at the bottom. The yellow liquid is the LAB culture. 7. Step 7: Separate the solids from the liquids. This involves a quick straining through an appropriate implement. There will be a little layer of solids at the bottom as well; try to avoid collecting these in your final solution. 8. Step 8: Put LAB liquid into a container and store in a fridge for use. Use at 1 mL per litre once a week until the mid-flower period. If you want to make it for long-term storage, add equal weight brown sugar to the liquid.

Jobs a good’un So, that is basically it. You now are the proud owner of some LAB serum that is perfect for immediate use as a root drench, or just as good to use in a compost tea brew. It also makes a great addition to a compost pile, helping to process the waste into a rich material much faster than it would usually take. Like most KNF inputs, you can use this as a one-off additive, even if you aren’t growing in a typical organic environment. For example, if you are a coco/hydroponic grower, you can inoculate your media at 1 mL per litre to get all the benefits of Lactic Acid Bacteria, without changing anything else about your particular methods. Anyway, just remember the next time you are making some rice, that wastewater from the rinse could be put to much better use than simply pouring down your sink. 3

Nico Hill - Hydro Nerd at Nico has been a keen gardener for many moons. Bitten by the hydroponic bug back in 1998, and hasn’t looked back since! After many years as a hobby, Nico’s career in Hydroponics had its start working for Aquaculture in Sheffield, the UK’s largest and most forward-thinking grow shops of the time. He was then hired by Hydromag, responsible for the hydroponic content. From there, he has worked with CANNA, as editor of CANNAtalk, author of the research articles, and delivering seminars throughout the UK to grow shops on the finer details of cultivating in a hydroponic environment. Nico is now writing for companies in the hydroponic industry.





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