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ONCE AGAIN THEY HAVE SUCCEEDED! Following Bloombastic® and Rootbastic® Atami responded positive to the demand on the market

Bio-Bloombastic is a fact! FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK


THE MAKING OF HYDROMAG... Editor Cosmo Mackenzie Technical Assistant Editor Bill Sutherland If you brought this many copies of issue 1 then we owe you sexual favours...



eople will tell you that print is dead or dying. It is true that the internet has changed the way we consume information, but the information itself has changed too. It’s becoming increasingly hard to find those rare nuggets of wisdom floating around in an endless sea of shite.

We’re publishing HYDROMAG because we believe we have something worth putting down on paper. The Hydroponics industry covers so many different disciplines; from the techies who program your digital ballast to the green thumbed gardeners who still have a trick or two to teach us about plain old soil and sunshine. There’s always something new to learn or teach to one another. The more we learn, the better we can inform our own work and, if we’re lucky, the more we can grow. This magazine is as much about you as it is about anything else. If we want it to take pride of place on your book shelves, corners frayed by a hundred thumb prints, then it has to feature the sort of content which merits those levels of affection. The only way we can achieve that is through your input, so please do get in touch with us. Nobody can say where we’ll be in the future, but for now we hope you enjoy getting there with us. It is my honour and privileged to welcome you to issue 001 of HYDROMAG. Highest regards, Cos.

Cosmo Mackenzie (Cheese-meister General)

Technical Assistant Arthur Courtenay Lifestyle Terry Hatchett Lifestyle Patrick Swift Lifestyle Christian Mason Managing Director / Sales Pete Turner Art Director Russ Sealey PR Executive Nick Stokoe Art / Illustration Emma Godley Design / Photography Andrew Clegg Accounts Claire Kennedy

HYDRO PUBLISHING LTD 5, The Old Bakery, 90 Acre Street, Lindley, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD3 3EL T: +44 (0) 203 384 8940 E: W: PRINTED IN THE UK

Thank you to our distributors:

HYDROMAG is designed in partnership with PARA

All editorial is copyright. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or be stored in any retrieval system in any form without the prior permission of the Publisher. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy no responsibility will be accepted for inaccuracies however caused. Contributed material does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Publisher. The Publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited materials. It is assumed that any images taken from sources that are widely distributed such as the Internet, are in the public domain. However, since such images are passed between sources such as websites, the original source is not always possible to trace. The editorial policy and general layout of the publication is at the sole discretion of the Publisher and no debate will be entered into. No responsibility will be accepted for illustrations, artwork or photographs while in transmission with the Publisher or their agents unless such commitment is made in writing prior to receipt of such items.


A NEW DAWN IN UK WHOLESALE Canna-BioBizz-GHE-Can & Can-Lite Filters Ona-EasyGrow Foils-AirForce2-Systemair Ruck-Compact-Professional Ballasts CFL Lamps-EuroGear-TechOne-SunMaster Sylvania-Osram-Phillips-SunLux-Pro Super Plant Hybrid Lamps-Hacienda Ecotechnics Range-Prima Klima Products Hygrozyme-MultiFlow Systems-DuctPlus-Pro Faran Humidifiers-Buddhas Tree-Mighty Wash SunKing Reflectors-HomeBox-GroLabHortiLab-Eazy Plugs& Blocks-Davin Controlers Boss Relays-HotBox-Co2 Boost-Subota BlueLab-Grotek-FHD-Plant Support Range Massive Selection of Plant Pots and Ventilation Accessories-Garland...and much, much, more with new products arriving daily.

HIGHLIGHT HORTICULTURE Your friendly, accessible,one-stop wholesaler! T: 01949 839 727 E:

ISSUE NO. 001 09.2012

Featured In This Issue... 34 14

DISTRACTIONS A-Z of Music ‘Ambient’

Terry Hatchett introduces readers to key albums in each genre from A-Z, this issue: ‘Ambient’.

FEATURE ARTICLE The Evolution of Digital Ballasts

Your grow room is evolving, we take a closer look at the latest features now available in digital ballasts.

08 20 24 30


DISTRACTIONS 100 Films to Watch…


COMPETITION TIME, WIN... The Cyco Platinum Pro Kit

Join us in our countdown of some of the finest Action movies known to humanity.

THE FEED Urbanana

The latest in inner city vertical farm concepts.

THE KNOWLEDGE Neem Oil - Organic Pest Control

Used worldwide in medicine, beauty and of course - horticulture.

THE KNOWLEDGE So you Want an Indoor Garden?

Our growers have made all the mistakes so you don’t have to!


An easy to follow fool proof approach to taking cuttings.

For details of how to be in with a chance of winning this excellent prize worth £195.00 turn to page 56.




The French go bananas for vertical farming... The great humourist S.J. Perelman once reflected that “a farm is an irregular patch of nettles bounded by short-term notes, containing a fool and his wife who didn’t know enough to stay in the city.” Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.  Of course, he was born in 1904 and therefore a bearer of old prejudices, had he been alive today he may have been forced to eat his words – possibly literally, because as scientifically improbable as it may sound - the future of farming is here, and it comes in the shape of a banana. Or an Urbanana. No it’s not slang for an inner-city grandmother, nor is it a verbal mangling of the word banana by some adorable twoyear old with a wonky palate. It is instead a wonderful Portmanteau word devised by the French architectural company SOA to describe their latest project – a vertical banana farm in the heart of Paris. As HYDROMAG readers will no doubt be aware, the idea of vertical farming isn’t exactly new – it could be argued it’s been floating around since that great visionary King Nebuchadnezzar II first commissioned a hanging garden in Babylon. And the concept of mass agricultural production in built-up urban landscapes was dreamt by futurists and


science fiction writers as long ago as the 1950s. But with the UN predicting the world’s population could increase to 10.6 billion by 2050, and fears over climate change, there is a growing clamour for someone - anyone - to act, and act fast. With overcrowded populaces set to fight over every scrap of land and CO2spewing, long-haul goods transportation increasingly frowned upon, it’s been left to private firms such as SOA to find a solution. Finally the technology exists to realise the dream. The fool and his wife might now be safe to stay in the city. Squeezed between two Haussmannian buildings in Champs Elysees, Urbanana is home to some six floors of plants, yielding 146 tonnes of fruit a year. The glass structure is designed to adapt to the urban environment, and can be “dropped” into residential spaces of differing dimensions. The crop production operates using chain rotation, with potted banana plants moving on a conveyor to ensure an even distribution of light and air flow. Apart from a harvesting and waste handling area at ground level, a restaurant and exhibition rooms; each floor is entirely transparent, allowing light, both natural and artificial, to filter through the whole building.

URBANANA ARCHITECTURAL PLAN 1 Plantations 2 Laboratories 3 Restaurant 4 Space Exposure 5 Shop

URBANANA LAYOUT PLAN A Vertical Access B Platform Loading C Link


1 2

3 4






“Urbanana is home to some six floors of plants, yielding 146 tonnes of fruit a year. The glass structure is designed to adapt to the urban environment, and can be “dropped” into residential spaces of differing dimensions.” So is it time for old Farmer Giles to hang up his scythe and attach a hose to the exhaust pipe of his tractor? Probably not quite yet. For as impressive as Urbanana is, the reality of urban farm skyscrapers replacing conventional farming is still a way off. And the reason boils down to simple economics. Firstly prime real estate in the centre of cities such as Paris tends not to be too cheap, but secondly, and importantly; artificial light requires electricity – and plenty of it. Although Urbanana’s design lets in an ample supply of natural light, the artificial variety is still crucial for enabling year-round production. The added costs of providing this light can be prohibitively expensive. So how about using green energy you may ask? An experiment conducted in 2008 by Dr. Ted Caplow, of non-profit group New York Sun Works, attempted to gauge the effectiveness of using purely renewable energy to power a floating hydroponics greenhouse (moored in Manhattan). He found that to generate sufficient electricity using solar panels, in order to power an exclusively indoor farm, you need a space approximately 20 times larger than the area being lit. SOA recognises that mass production of bananas using Urbanana’s blueprint is something of a pipe dream, instead describing the Champs Elysees structure more

as a “Banana Embassy”. Here they explore and develop all aspects of the fruit – from using the skins to make bank notes, utilising the fruit’s essence to create cosmetic and therapeutic products, to educating visitors about banana history. So while SOA have provided us an impressive glimpse of what modern farming technology is capable of, the current cost limitations render Urbanana an educational resource and cultural centre rather than as an immediate alternative to current farm food production methods. Until the consumer is prepared to pay a premium for his fruit and vegetables, Farmer Giles’ job is safe... at least temporarily.

BIOCHAR Cheerleading for Char...

A quiet revolution in fighting climate change is smouldering away. Biochar, for the benefit of readers who aren’t already aware, is a form of charcoal produced in a kiln designed to keep oxygen levels to a minimum, in a process called pyrolysis. Agricultural waste is converted into a carbon-enriched end-product that might just help rebalance our embattled Earth’s atmosphere. And while debate rages away in academic circles over how best to utilise this black gold, US company re:char are busy getting on with it, changing lives in rural Kenya. As the world scratches its head trying to figure out how we wean ourselves off carbon-belching fossil fuels, some of us are getting imaginative. We already know that the biosphere removes 550bn tons of carbon from the atmosphere for us – roughly 18 times more than we emit. The problem is 99.9% of it gets pumped straight back out once things get eaten. The solution might just be to trap some of that evil carbon before it escapes and put it to work – i.e. back into the soil. Unlike wood or other crop waste, biochar is unbelievably stable; locking in carbon for hundreds and quite possibly thousands of years (think Han Solo sealed in carbonite for delivery to Jabba the Hutt). Some environmentalists, such as energy lecturer Peter Read, see this as the moment we cut the Gordian knot, advocating building industrial-sized plantations across the planet, dedicated to production of biomass. Others, including journalist George Monbiot, feel the resulting loss of natural, unused habitats is too high a price to pay. Regardless of the debate raging away in academic circles, there is one way in which biochar is already helping to alter lives, regardless of the wider fight against Climate change. Mixed with biochar, otherwise degraded tropical soils can become highly enriched, providing a huge boon for farmers in poorer countries. The porous structure of biochar makes a perfect retainer for moisture and friendly microbes, as well as

HOW BIOCHAR PRODUCTION COULD HELP IN THE CLIMATE CHANGE FIGHT... CLIMATE CHANGE Offsets use of fossil fuels with pyrolysis based bioenergy utilizing waste biomass. Lowers C02 by 1-9Gt-yr by paying farmers to sequester carbon in the soil.


SOIL & AGRICULTURE Improves soil quality, increase yields and improve on farm profits. Degraded tropical soils can become highly enriched and helps retain moisture and friendly microbes.

RENEWABLE ENERGY Produces renewable bioenergy as a byproduct of pyrolysis, possibility of reducing landfill as both waste paper and plastics can be converted into charcoal.

keeping nitrogen from seeping into ground water. Laurens Rademakers, an advocate of biomass working currently in Cameroon, has shown just how effective biochar can be, using photographic evidence of wheat grown with biochar growing twice as tall as the same wheat grown without it. In yet another example of modern man failing to learn from his ancestors, this technique was actually used thousands of years ago in the Amazon. So perhaps this is the solution; a bottom up, rather than top down approach? Certainly Jason Aramburu, founder of re:char, thinks so. His company is dedicated to providing small kilns to subsistence farmers in developing countries - the farmers enjoy increased crop yields and income, while the whole planet enjoys the benefit of reversed desertification and trapped carbon! But there are further benefits to advancing biochar, as the pyrolysis process creates biofuel as a by-product. Farmers can theoretically supplement their income by selling this on. There is also the very welcome possibility of reducing landfill as both waste paper and plastics can be converted into charcoal. The potential of biochar could be enormous. The dream is that ultimately every farm should have their own kiln, with waste being turned to profit, and the Earth’s atmosphere breathing a heady sigh of relief.


“A lack of Nitrogen in your crop will inhibit a plant’s ability to produce chlorophyll. Growth rate will slow down and leaves will start to yellow...”


Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium differ from most other nutrients in that they are able to move around a plant as needed. Understanding the part they play in the process of growing, and being able to read what they are doing will mean the difference between success and failure for your crop.


The Chemical element nitrogen (N) is thought to be the seventh most abundant in our Galaxy. 78.09% of Earth’s atmosphere is made up of nitrogen. It is contained in every living cell in the human body. Plants use nitrogen to produce alkaloids, amino-acids, chlorophyll, enzymes and nucleic-acids. Chlorophyll is responsible for the process of Photosynthesis and the nitrogen it contains is responsible for the rich green colour visible in healthy plants. Relatively high levels of Nitrogen are particularly necessary during the vegetative growth stage of juvenile plants. Plants naturally take nitrogen from decomposing organic matter in the soil. An excess of nitrogen in your crop will lead to decreases in the growth rate, size and general health of your plants. Excessive nitrogen acts to debilitate a plant’s ability to utilise essential nutrients necessary for healthy growth. Plants suffering from toxic levels of nitrogen display stunted root systems and tend to be weak and spindly. They also suffer an increased susceptibility to diseases. Continued exposure to excessive levels of nitrogen will result in a crop heavy with dark green foliage bearing sparse and weak flowers and fruit. Too much nitrogen can kill your plants and, in high enough quantities, is hazardous to animal life (that means you!). A lack of nitrogen in your crop will inhibit a plant’s ability to produce chlorophyll. Growth rate will slow down and leaves will start to yellow, particularly in the lower section of the plant, eventually dropping off. A nitrogen deficient crop grows to be thin, frail and generally pallid. nitrogen washes away very easily, so it is especially important in hydroponics to regularly add nitrogen to any crop’s diet. The production of nitrogen based fertilizers is said to account for 1% of world energy production. Flushing the roots and growing medium of your crop should help to bring down toxic nitrogen levels. Cutting the supply of nitrogen to your crop for a brief period should force plants to use up any excess nitrogen in the system. If the problem persist it is probably advisable to lessen the amount of Nitrogen provided to the plants.


Conversely, upping the nitrogen dosage to your crop should resolve any problems resulting from a nitrogen deficiency.

“Potassium deficiency in a plant is generally characterised by yellowing leaves and results in a notable retardation of flowering.”


Phosphorus (P) is essential to nearly all life on Earth, being both a component of DNA and necessary in the production of cell membranes.

“Phosphorous deficiency commonly shows as a blue tint in the leaves, which eventually develop necrotic blotches, shrivel and die before dropping off.”


Potassium (K) derives its name from Potash (plant ash) from which it was first isolated. Despite the fact that it accounts for 2.3% of Earth’s crust, potassium isn’t considered readily available to plants as most of it bound to other minerals Phosphorus is a necessary component in Photosynthesis. It is responsible for the transference of energy between cells and stimulates the formation of convertible starches and fats in a plant. By encouraging rapid cell growth, phosphorus speeds the maturation process and increases disease resistance in plants.

Plants use potassium to produce amino acids, carbohydrates, starch and sugars as well as to transport them around the body of the plant. Potassium is also responsible for chlorophyll production, regulating turgor pressure and thickening cuticles. Turgor pressure regulates turgidity in cells which in turn help to keep the plant rigid and prevent it from wilting.

Phosphorus encourages robust growth in plants. It is particularly important for healthy root development, higher yields and well-formed seeds.

Potassium is utilised by plants at every stage of their growth, strengthening the plant against diseases, encouraging strong root growth and enhancing the qualities of any fruit produced by the plant.

Too much phosphorous can act to supress the uptake of nutrients in a plant (namely calcium, iron, magnesium, copper and zinc) leading to a potassium deficiency. Toxic levels of phosphorous aren’t immediately evident and can be hard to diagnose. They usually display as a deficiency in one or many of the nutrients listed above. Often caused by acidic soil, plants deficient in phosphorous produce lower yields; both rate and quality of growth are stunted. Phosphorous deficiency commonly shows as a blue tint in the leaves, which eventually develop necrotic blotches, shrivel and die before dropping off.

Excessive levels of potassium aren’t easy to identify specifically. Toxic levels act to suppress a plant’s intake of iron, magnesium, zinc and manganese. Potassium poisoning is, thankfully, relatively rare. Potassium deficiency in a plant is generally characterised by yellowing leaves and results in a notable retardation of flowering. Once again, flushing your growing medium will help to curb excessive levels of potassium, whilst feeding with the appropriate feed or fertiliser will act on any potassium deficiency.

As with nitrogen, flushing the growth medium is an effective method for treating excessive levels of Phosphorous. Lowering the pH level of your growing medium should help in the treatment of a phosphorous deficiency, as should upping the potassium level through the use of specific feeds or fertilisers.

Keeping a keen eye on the health of your plants is essential to achieving a high quality crop. Regular checks, both visual and measured, will give you the best possible chance of catching and dealing with any problems before they get too severe.



Most of it can be hooked up to a computer where software collects and analyses the data before making any necessary adjustments. Some of it will only work when attached to a computer, refusing to belittle itself by accommodating the all too fallible faculties of increasingly redundant humans. Combined with automated door and window locks, motion detectors and the almost inevitable internet based auto-ordering system, it’s easy to think the little digital bastards are colluding to cut you out of the equation entirely. In an act of patronising aplomb your laptop will even take a time-stop image of the progress of your plants, forgoing the tiresome trials of having you enter their closely controlled workspace to gawp in wonder. Soon the day will come when we’re little more than slaves to the occasional “bing” of an alarm denoting your need to fulfil one of the ever diminishing acts that an automated system can’t perform for itself. This final act of indignity will be the last vestige of self-worth we mortals are allowed before our silicon based progeny finally expunge us from existence…. …or more likely, not. Progress is a good thing after all. Greater accuracy of measurement lends itself to increased production, and who doesn’t value a little more free time? You could use it to try rock climbing (p42), watch a classic movie (p38), develop you passion for Ambient music (p34) or shamelessly promote some interests of your own. Of course there’s nothing to stop the purists amongst us whipping out the litmus paper and dusting off the colour chart. Be warned though; your electronic pH meter is likely to win an argument despite the fact that it lacks the ability to talk, which can be pretty disheartening. The last few years have seen a fundamental shift in the domestic lighting industry towards energy efficiency. Bathed in that sickly yellow light you’d be forgiven for thinking that change was for the worse, but electricity bills don’t lie (we hope). Hydroponic botanists can’t help but benefit from a greater understanding of the mechanics of light and its general application. (See our Light spectrum article coming soon in issue 2). Whatever shape our digitised future takes, one thing you won’t have to take on faith alone is the fact that Ballast will adapt to those changes and remain forever your faithful friend. With this in mind, HYDROMAG reviews the latest innovations taking place in Ballast technology and asks… How bright is your Ballast?

OLD FAITHFUL Let’s start by making it clear that we have no intention of trashing magnetic ballast. We’d be idiots to do so and frankly we’d need to invent a bunch of problems with it which just don’t exist. Magnetic ballasts have dominated the industry for decades, and for good reason. Years of development have seen technical problems and glitches ironed out and the technology refined into the stalwart it is today. Ironically the fact that it does such a good job means that you rarely need to give it a second thought. If only we could say the same about the government, public transport, airports…the list goes on. Magnetic ballasts are ideal for hobby growers and anyone on a budget. Reasonably priced and almost universally reliable, other than keeping them clear of any flammable materials they need virtually no maintenance at all, which means that you can instead focus your attention on the more pernickety aspects of your growroom setup. For those very occasional times when something does go wrong most reputable manufacturers offer 1-3 year guarantees on their products. The truth be told, anyone using less than a handful of magnetic ballasts is unlikely to experience any real issues with them. So “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?” as nobody’s uncle used to say. Well, ramp the number of units up and you’re likely to start feeling a few negative effects. The heat and noise generated by a handful of magnetic ballasts is generally very manageable. Once you get into double figures though your growroom will start to feel and sound like the engine room of a submarine. The Cold War may well be over, but your neighbours probably aren’t going to take that level of noise disturbance lying down. That’s to say nothing of how uncomfortable you, and and potentially your plants, will be in the sweltering, largely unmanageable heat.


THE YOUNG PRETENDER Digital Ballasts all share in a number of standard features. Foremost of these, in terms of comparison, is the fact that they tend to generate less heat than magnetic ballasts. Less heat means a smaller, more manageable impact on the temperature of your growroom; ideal for the many growers who suffer at the hands of excessive heat levels and ventilation problems posed by an indoor space. Digital ballasts also reduce the risk of fire in comparison to magnetic ballasts- you should always make sure nothing flammable touches the surface of your ballast, however should a dry leaf drop off your plant or some reflective sheeting fall off the wall, it’s probably not going to cause a problem with digital ballasts.

Magnetic and Digital Ballasts, how do they compare....?

Digital ballasts run virtually silently, which is essential for anyone with a big setup and a great advantage for anyone with, say, a 1m tent set up in a guest bedroom. Some of us find the gentle hum of magnetic ballast soothing, but for those irksome people with unrefined tastes, digital ballast offers the peace and quiet of an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Although some manufacturers would argue otherwise, on the whole digital ballasts are generally accepted as being more energy efficient than magnetic ballasts. Digital ballasts convert more of the power it takes from the mains into power for your lamps, wasting less of that energy on producing pesky noise and unwanted heat as a byproduct. Most digital ballasts have a feature known as ‘Soft Start’ or ‘Incremental Start’; Whereas a magnetic ballast ignites your lamp with a larger boost of amps and then reduces the current once the lamp has stabilised, modern digital ballasts increase the power gradually until they reach their normal running current which is much kinder to your lamps. Soft start should, in most cases, prolong the lifespan of your lamps. The fact that digital ballasts are much lighter than their magnetic counterparts doesn’t make a huge difference to the everyday workings of your growroom, but if your online retailer charges postage by weight, as so many in the UK do, then you’re going to make a saving by opting for digital over magnetic.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK As if these standard features weren’t enough a number of ballasts offer impressive new features too. Looking to the future; Lumatek, Hacienda, Quantum, Adjustawatt® , Digilight and SmartStart® (to name a few) all offer digital ballasts with a number of interesting new features. Adjustable ballasts solve the problem of having to match your ballast to specific bulbs. A 1000w digital ballast can be adjusted to match the wattage of most lesser rated lamps - provided the unit in question has the correct settings. By downgrading the wattage of your ballast it can be used with any 250w, 400w or 600w bulbs, eliminating the need to have a number of specific ballasts for each of your bulbs. Be warned though - attaching a lesser rated bulb to a 1000w ballast without changing the setting will very likely blow that bulb. The flip side of this is the ability to downgrade the output of any higher rated bulbs. Let’s say that your plants have grown so tall that you can’t give them adequate clearance from the intense heat generated by the 1000w bulb you’re using. Rather than leaving them to burn, cutting back your crop or having to swap out your bulb for a weaker one, adjustable ballast lets you turn the setting down to a more amenable level. So that same 1000w bulb now takes on the role of a 250w, 400w or 600w bulb without the ball ache of tempering your crop or changing out the components in your setup. Overdrive is another interesting feature of the new wave of digital ballasts. Those brilliant boffins of the electric fraternity have thrown caution out of the proverbial window of reason and straight into the long dead face of Michael Faraday. By sacrificing a fraction of a bulb’s lifespan, overdrive boosts a bulb’s luminosity by

Magnetic Ballast - Ignition Process around 10%. The practical application of this function is somewhat of a mystery to me, but it definitely beats arguing over whether or not Faraday really did create the monstrosity that is Parma Violets. I’m guessing Nikola Tesla would be proud, too. Take that Faraday. Moustachioed Serbians for the win! Not satisfied with simply matching the competition, the boffins at Sol Digital have come up with the Adjusta-Watt® Digital Ballast. These ballasts use a system of controlled re-striking to monitor the heat of a bulb every sixty seconds before allowing it to ignite, preventing the bulb from blowing out upon re-ignition after, say, a power cut or unplugging your system to plug in a vacuum cleaner. Not that anyone would be stupid enough to do that…ahem. SmartStart™ technology also acts to regulate the electrical draw of any system plugged into the same mains circuit, igniting each lamp in series as opposed to all at the same time. This acts to prevent surreptitious surges and spikes from overloading the system and tripping the circuit breakers. Lumatek have been making their ballast for over a decade and are regarded as the original manufacturers of digital ballast. Using microprocessors and advanced algorithms, Lumatek’s ballast controls voltage levels provided to the lamp in an effort to optimise PAR light production. Recent independent comparison tests at the Electro-technical Institute between the Lumatek 600w set to the Super Lumen setting and a leading 600w magnetic ballast showed the Lumatek achieved approximately 30% more PAR light with 50% better coverage over the grow area. Like other manufacturers, Lumatek back up these findings with solid warranties on all of their products.


When you switch on a magnetic ballast, there is a ‘spike’ in the consumption of electricity. The ballast is effectively sending far more power than is needed to the lamp, once the lamp has stabilised, the power then returns to its normal running power. Over time, this is damaging to lamps.

Digital Ballast - Ignition Process

On powering an electronic ballast, the intelligent hardware on-board regulates the power, gradually increasing the amount of electricity sent to the lamp. Once the optimum power output is reached the out stabilises. This is less harmful to lamps.

HOW MUCH? Of course there is a downside to this digital revolution. New technology comes at a price, and not just in the financial sense. Not only is much of the technology very new, but so too are the companies who produce it. More features often means more things that can potentially go wrong, and even a solid warranty is little comfort to the grower whose crop has spent 12 hours without light because of an unforeseen error in the technology. It’ll be a long time and doubtless a rocky road before digital ballasts earn the trust that magnetic ballasts have earned over many years of faithful service. If you choose to take the digital route, it can’t hurt to have a supply of magnetic ballasts on hand to pick up the slack should the worst come to pass with your shiny new toys. Whether or not those ballasts gather dust in a corner, well, only time will tell.


Approx £160.00



Approx £125.00



Approx £105.00


Approx £150.00

“OF COURSE THERE IS A DOWNSIDE TO THIS DIGITAL REVOLUTION. NEW TECHNOLOGY COMES AT A PRICE, AND NOT JUST IN THE FINANCIAL SENSE.” Conflicted by the conundrum of what type of ballasts suit you best? Desperate to disseminate the dubious doubts surrounding digital advances? Why not turn to page 58 and learn how to get in touch with HYDROMAG to share your thoughts with us.




Approx £110.00

Approx £100.00

Neem Oil Organic Pest Control The Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is affectionately known as ‘the village pharmacy’ in its homeland of India. TECHNICAL ADVICE: Bill


Also known as Indian Lilac, it has as many names as there are dialects stretching from Nigeria in West Africa to Thailand in Southeast Asia. Muarubaini is one such name, which means ‘the tree of the forty’ in Swahili; so named because it is said to treat forty different diseases. Ancient Ayurvedic texts indicate that Neem has been used for centuries to treat ailments as various as Leprosy, Malaria, Tuberculosis and even good old Acne. Western science has taken an embarrassingly long time to catch up with the local ‘witch-doctors’, but thankfully for us Neem products are now widely used and internationally recognised for their many beneficial qualities; and there are a lot of them. Noted for its reliance in periods of drought, the Neem tree grows quickly and to heights of fifteen to twenty metres, bearing small white fragrant flowers. Neem oil is pressed from the seeds and fruit of this glorious, fast growing evergreen. Neem oil has so many applications that you could write a whole book about it. In fact a number of people have (see your local stockist for details). For the purposes of this article, we’ll have a look at some of the qualities which underpin Neem oil’s success and at its application in the wonderful world of Horticulture.

The fatty acids which constitute the composition of Neem oil are at the heart of its success. Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 help to regulate blood pressure, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and help the body fight Cancer and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Palmitic acid is thought to help regulate insulin levels and is used in the treatment of Schizophrenia. Stearic acid is used in all sorts of things from soap to playing cards and even fireworks. Palmitoleic acid may help to fight obesity, and is possibly partially responsible for body odour (well, seven out of eight isn’t bad).

Western science has taken a long time to catch up with the ‘witchdoctors’, but thankfully for us Neem products are now widely used...

NOTE: Unlike some of its chemical counterparts, Neem oil doesn’t act like Napalm; killing everything in sight with immediate effect. Just because you don’t see a neat little pile of dead bugs, doesn’t mean it isn’t doing its job. Neem oil has an altogether more insidious effect on the little buggers; not unlike having your mother in law move in with you. Neem oil acts as a larvicide, curtailing the invading insect population’s ability to perpetuate.


Insects affected by spraying Neem Oil include a Broad spectrum of PHYTOPHAGOUS (PLANT EATING) pests such as: inhibiting the insects’ ability to eat, grow, mate and lay eggs, Neem oil breaks the cycle of propagation in the community of unwelcome guests, foolhardy enough to squat on your crop. For the Gardeners amongst us, Neem oil’s most attractive application is as a biopesticide. Where Neem oil differs from most conventional pesticides is that it acts on an insect’s hormonal system as opposed to its nervous or digestive system. The most notable advantage to this is that it doesn’t lead to the development of resistance in the future. As an insect larva munches its way through your crop, it grows. As it gains mass it becomes necessary for the lava to shed its skin, whereupon the process starts anew. This process of moulting, called Ecdysis, is governed by the enzyme Ecdysone. Azadirachtin in Neem oil acts to suppress Ecdysone, the result being an inability in the larva to shed its skin and accordingly an inability to grow. Ultimately this leads to the larva’s death. Those larvae who manage to escape these effects, usually as a result of too low a concentration of Azadirachtin in the dose, die in the pulpal stage. Those larvae that experience an even lower dose of Azadirachtin emerge as malformed adults who are completely sterile and unable to reproduce. That’ll teach them. Neem oil also acts as an Oviposition deterrent, which means it prevents females from laying eggs.

Neem Oil’s most endearing quality to Gardeners is as a feeding deterrent. When an insect feeds on a leaf treated with Neem oil, Azadirachtin, Salanin and Melandriol in the treated leaf produce an anti-peristaltic wave in the alimentary canal of the insect; inducing the greedy little blighter to vomit. As if yacking its guts up wasn’t enough, its ability to swallow is also blocked. It won’t be going back for seconds any time soon. Thus, by inhibiting the insects’ ability to eat, grow, mate and lay eggs, Neem oil breaks the cycle of propagation in the community of unwelcome guests, foolhardy enough to squat on your crop. It is claimed that even the slightest hint of the presence of Neem oil on your crop is enough to deter leaf eating insects; and who could blame them for that? As an added bonus, Neem oil’s efficacy in such small doses means its use is notably benign to helpful insects further up the food chain, like spiders, bees and butterflies that help to germinate crops. Since Humans consume Neem oil in much greater quantities it is obviously equally safe for those of us at the top of the food chain and our lesser mammalian compatriots.

ORTHOPTERA: Grasshoppers, Katydids, Crickets Etc.

COLEPTRA: Wide Range Of Beetles / Weevils.

HEMPTERA: Leaf Hoppers, Aphids Psyllids & Some Scale Insects.

LEPIDOPTERA: Extensive Field Trials On Moths, Butterflies, Borers, Caterpillars (Antifeedant And Growth Retardant In Larvae Of Most Species).


DIPTERA: Fruit Fly, Buffalo/Blow And March Fly, Mosies.

HETEROPTERA: Sucking Bugs - Green Vegie Bug, Spotted Fruit Bug Etc..

OTHERS: Nematodes, Snails, Some Funguses And Pathogenic Viruses.

As if it’s biopesticidal qualities weren’t enough, Neem oil also contains a number of plant nutrients, meaning it can also act as a fertiliser... what’s not to like? Most insecticides are a bugger to keep in play; they wash out in the rain, burn out in the sun or find some other equally weak excuse to shy away from the job at hand. You can waste time and money on constant reapplication, or you can apply a heinous concoction which you’ll likely never get rid of. Either way, the resultant chemical build up is going to send your crop’s toxicity levels through the roof and if you’re particularly unlucky, your own to boot. Neem oil is, unfortunately, no exception to the vagaries of an all too swift retreat. It is also worth noting that Neem oil is particularly susceptible to UV light. But like the boundless love of a faithful Labrador, where Neem goes, it takes its Goodness with it. Neem oil acts as a systemic insecticide; so rather than washing away into irrelevance, it can be absorbed by the roots of your crop. Taken up into the tissue of the plant it will continue its fine work from the inside. This has the added bonus of deterring larger pests from taking more than a single hearty bite out of your beloved crop. Not only is Neem oil in possession of insecticidal and nematicidal properties, it is equally a very effective agent in the control of plant diseases, and possesses antifungal propensities. Here again it works in both a preventative capacity and as a treatment. As if that wasn’t enough, Neem oil also contains a number of plant nutrients, meaning it can also act as a fertiliser (see list of nutrients). So what’s not to like? This glorious substance is effective in both treatment and prevention, bears benefits where experience would suggest side-effects should be, is effective in small quantities and best of all has the environmental conscience of a Trustifarian living in a tree. Perhaps the most prominent cautionary note is that Neem oil is traditionally used as a contraceptive, so it is best not handled by pregnant women and children. Then again, I would no more advice pregnant women or children to handle any pesticides than I would take responsibility for any children born accidentally as a result of using Neem oil as a contraceptive. Keep it safe out there people, and remember to enjoy yourselves.


APPLICATION: Neem oil is a vegetable oil, so it requires mixing with suitable emulsifiers in order to be soluble in water, which is of course necessary for application. It is advisable to use an organic emulsifier, such as an eco-friendly detergent.

50ml of Neem oil will stretch to 10ltr of sprayable Neem (with the addition of 10-15ml of emulsifier).

Spraying should be done within 8 hours of mixing.

Spraying is best done in the morning or in the late evening, 5 times at intervals of a week to 10 days.

250-300ml of Neem oil will stretch to 10l of drenchable Neem (with the addition of 20-30ml of emulsifier).

Remember: A little Neem oil goes a long way.

Neem oil should only be sprayed on plants that have five weeks left before harvest.


SO YOU WANT AN INDOOR GARDEN? This is a reasonable assumption for us to make. You are, after all, reading a magazine that’s very raison d’etre revolves around indoor gardening. Perhaps though you’re sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, passing the time nervously flicking through these pages before a testicular examination?... We don’t know who you are, or what your motivation is for perusing this particular article – how could we? But what we do know is what we do best – educating the plebs, the soiled masses, about hydroponics. And since this is “Beginners’ Corner”, let’s presume you’re starting from square one. And square one, surely, has to be “I want to grow something indoors. Am I mad? Is it even possible in my two-bit dump of a flat / house?” Ever eager to help our fellow man, we provide here an essential guide that should put all your hydroponically-virginal concerns to bed. Or at least a few of them. Read on, you might learn something (or if you’re still waiting for the doctor: read on – this is bound to be more entertaining than


Marie Claire or Harper’s Bazaar). Okay. You’ve got a place. A flat, house, riverboat, whatever… It better be your place if you’re going to start building a propagation station and growing vegetation in it. At the very least get the owner’s permission or hide the garden well. Anyway, you’re looking around thinking “will plant x grow in room y? Is the light sufficient? Is the toxic tap water going to kill my tomatoes? It’s freezing in here - is this going to work? Am I insane to even consider this?” Well just calm down a minute - we’ll address most of those points with this handy 7-point vade mecum for growing your indoor garden.

“ Mother Nature can be a cruel and fickle beast. And like all women she can blow hot and cold. Too hot and you’re looking at your plants’ metabolism going haywire – herbs and lettuces prematurely flowering like precocious girls on a Newcastle council estate. ”

(NOTE: Questions of sanity ought to be answered by a qualified psychiatrist.)

Temperature Regulation It’s a good place to start so why not? Mother Nature can be a cruel and fickle beast. And like all women she can blow hot and cold. Too hot and you’re looking at your plants’ metabolism going haywire – herbs and lettuces prematurely flowering like precocious girls on a Newcastle council estate. Too cold and growth is stunted, with nutrient and water uptake inhibited – you’ll have a long, tedious wait before your plants, if ever, go into bloom. So first things first, ensure your garden is insulated from the ravaging effects of the elements! Before you drop this magazine and go rushing to the loan sharks to invest in all the fancy kit, you’d do well to investigate the conditions in different areas of your property first. There’s no point moving the mountain to Mohammed if Mohammed is already camped out, with his feet up, at the base of the mountain. The better the “base level” of insulation in your chosen room the less time and money you’ll have to fork out regulating temperatures. So before spunking hard-earned cash on the most expensive temperature controller on the market for those prized Harbinger Peppers in your dilapidated, ice-cold attic - why not first consider moving the chilli garden into, say, your nice, warm basement? Finding a good spot for your growing area is imperative. Extremes of temperature are to be studiously avoided. This is the point when you’ll need to run a cursory glance around your home and ask yourself: How thick are the walls? What are they made of? What type of insulation has been used? Which side of the house is bathed in sunlight during the summer? Which direction does that Artic wind come from? Is this wall damp? Oh my God, look at those cracks! Why did I buy this shithole? Is this the best I could afford? Why don’t I have a better job? What’s the point of my life? Alright, scrap the last questions and focus. If the spare room you’d eyed up for the growing area becomes a sauna in the summer, whilst your bedroom is nicely cool and in the shade – think about juggling the rooms around. You can explain everything when your other half comes home later. Tell them we made you do it if that helps. Generally speaking – we like to speak generally; it invites less inspection – growers have spades of success when

their gardens are located in cellars. Why’s that you ask? It’s pretty obvious isn’t it? Same reason wine lovers keep their collections underground – it’s the amazing insulating quality of the earth. So chuck out all those bottles of vintage Chateau LafiteRothschild and start preparing your garden! Incidentally, you may want a dehumidifier as those basements can get pretty damp. So, let’s now assume your garden is in the best possible location. You’re probably still going to need some additional insulation. So here’s the business part: we recommend the following (the higher the “r” value the greater the insulation): BLOWN IN CELLULOSE INSULATION R – 3.70 per inch


“ Finding a good spot for your growing area is imperative. Extremes of temperature are to be studiously avoided. “


Room Height Room Height. What’s that? You’ve just read item one of our guide – 1: Temperature Regulation – and you’ve built your propagation station and started growing already? WRONG! That would have been extremely stupid. Why? Because there are still six whole points to go through in this article! For example, have you thought to look up yet? Don’t you realise your prized Harbanero Peppers can grow up to seven-feet tall yet you’ve just planted them in your six-foot high cellar!? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear… That’s right - ceiling height is another major factor in choosing the right spot, but you had to just run off... Not only will extra height give you more space for those particularly tall plants and creepers, but it also allows you to potentially raise your working area off the floor for easy access and drainage. But even more usefully, the extra volumes of air will help you control temperatures and CO2 levels. Now before moving your peppers back to the ice-cold attic, keep reading in case you make another ghastly faux pas.


“...ceiling height is another major factor in choosing the right spot... Not only will extra height give you more space for those particularly tall plants and creepers, but it also allows you to potentially raise your working area off the floor for easy access and drainage.”

Water Supply


Water supply. You were no doubt wondering when this would come up. It seems ridiculous to have to write this but plants do quite like water and will need rather a lot of it… But it’s not as simple as that, nothing in life ever is – just as a cool glass of Evian on a scorching summer’s day goes down the old throat a little easier than the brown sludge flecked with limescale that comes out of your kitchen taps – plants have a similar preference for the tasty pure stuff. They tend to flourish with uncontaminated soft water. It therefore might be a plan to ascertain your local water’s “hardness”. We’re not saying spill its pint and call its girlfriend a whore – that’s not going to get you anywhere – but contacting your water supply company might yield some answers. Although plenty of growers successfully use hard water with their crops, many prefer to use Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) machines. It sounds fancy but we recommend you leave the science to the eggheads and just understand that they basically filter out all the crap and leave you with water as soft and pure as a baby’s arse. Purer in fact. Definitely purer. Now there are several different irrigation systems, but more of that in a later edition. Let’s just say for now you’ll need a rain collection barrel, tank or reservoir (or “res” as the cool people call them – personally I don’t like to get too familiar with my reservoirs). This is where you’ll mix and store your nutrient solutions. If you’ve got the space and an understanding partner you’ll also ideally keep this container in a separate, but adjacent room, away from your growing area’s fluctuating temperatures (“Not my study – you promised it would stop at the cellar”)! And if you can wrangle it, get yourself a dedicated tap providing filtered water into your nutrient reservoir. The alternative is metres of hosepipe running through your home, requiring an even more understanding partner when the pipe comes loose and water comes cascading down your stairwell. Hosepipe everywhere is also something to avoid if you have recalcitrant children with a mischievous streak and a love of spraying water at irate (possibly by now divorcing) parents…

We won’t insult your intelligence by pretending your spent water and nutrient solution will just magically disappear. Of course it won’t. Your reservoir will need to be cleaned regularly. If you’re smart you’ll use something like a submersible pump and hose to drain it. If not you’ll either never clean your reservoir and despoil your garden or you’ll end up improvising, possibly trashing your stairwell even further in the process.

“ ...just as a cool glass of Evian on a scorching summer’s day goes down the old throat a little easier than the brown sludge flecked with limescale that comes out of your kitchen taps – plants have a similar preference for the tasty pure stuff.”

Fresh Air Okay, you don’t need a science degree to know plants like fresh, CO2 - enriched air, and once they’ve sucked it up and spat it out, it comes out CO2 - depleted. So if your idea of ventilation is to pump the air in your growing area straight back into the same room, don’t come crying to us when your plants turn a funny colour and keel over. Would you keep your gerbil in an airtight container? Of course not. (Although that would teach those disobedient, hosepipe-disrespecting children of yours a valuable lesson not to touch your stuff again.) If you thought you were done buying all the kit, think again; because you’re going to need a proper ventilation system, with fresh air being sucked into the room, and the exhausted, CO2 - depleted air, pumped out. We know, we know, you don’t get paid till the end of the month and the divorce is eating into your savings already – but trust us – you won’t regret this little investment. There’s simply no better way to keep control of the temperature,

“ If you thought you were done buying all the kit, think again; because you’re going to need a proper ventilation system,...” humidity and CO2 levels in your growing area. You do want to keep control of temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in your growing area, don’t you? So here’s the thing, you’ll want the air coming in to come from another room in your house. Preferably not from the smoking room. Air coming straight in from outdoors will – obviously – just expose your plants to outdoor temperatures, and if they happen to be sub-zero, well: Well done. All that hard work looking around your home for the perfect spot, moving your garden from the icy attic to the warm basement – we’re now back to square one. Don’t say we haven’t explicitly warned you. Conversely, it’s probably best if you pump the fetid, moist air of your garden area outdoors, and not straight into the kids’ bedroom. (Although again, this could be another good lesson for those wretched

layabouts and their hosepipe-inspired tomfoolery.) Being serious for a second, it’s a good idea to get a more powerful extractor fan than the one providing your input. The reason being more air going out than coming in creates negative pressure – meaning in practical terms – no weird aromas leaking out into the rest of the house (and also a boost to the efficiency of your input fans). Another useful tip: use particle filters – especially for your input fan. The last thing you want is mold, alien spores and insects being sucked into your home. Equally, to aid in controlling CO2 levels, it pays to add a cheeky carbon filter into the mix. Just be aware that all these filters cause a degree of drag that reduces the effectiveness of the fans something you might want to consider before choosing your system.

Size & Accessibilty There’s not much to point out here beyond the blindingly obvious – try to locate your garden in an easily accessible location. You need to be able to approach the growing area from all angles in order to inspect each plant with due care and attention. You don’t want to have to clamber over piles of junk to tend to your plants every day – nor do you want, however tempting it may be, to grow too much. Here at HYDROMAG we’ve known plenty of indoor gardens that started as a few herbs and ended up a sprawling rainforest, turning what should be a fun hobby into a grinding, back-breaking chore. Is that your idea of fun? Oh it is? Well just ignore us then.

Pest Control Pests are the bane of every gardener. Your garden looks fantastic, you go away for a few days and – BAMMO – your leaves are covered in black spots, petals have turned brown, and there are thousands of tiny bastards crawling all over your growing area. Now as cathartic as the mass slaughter of God’s creatures can be, it’s usually best practice to take preventative measures first. We recommend you remove all carpeting in the immediate proximity of your growing area. Pests are drawn to carpeting like bankers are to reckless leveraging schemes with wads of your money in their pockets. So rip up that carpet (unless it’s your partner’s late-mother’s antique Persian carpet and you’re on a final warning – in which case protective plastic sheeting will suffice)! Secondly, you’ll have hopefully heeded our advice about the particle filter on your input fan. But this won’t do much good if you’ve got a wide-open window in the room. If you are going to leave windows open (not a clever idea if you’re trying to control temperatures anyway), ensure you stump up a few quid for a screen. Similarly, look for any other holes in the room and caulk ‘em up pronto.

“ We recommend you remove all carpeting in the immediate proximity of your growing area. Pests are drawn to carpeting like bankers are to reckless leveraging schemes with wads of your money in their pockets.” Thirdly, pests can hitch a ride with visitors, pets, and even on new plants. While we don’t suggest you strip search and thoroughly examine everyone entering your growing area (trying this too many times might result in the nice men in white coats knocking on your door), it pays to limit the number of invitees to your garden. If you buy grown plants, consider a period of quarantine before you bed them in. If all else fails, it’s mass murder time. There are plenty of good sites to acquire some good pest control products ideally of the safe, non-toxic variety.


Cuttings An easy to follow fool proof approach to taking cuttings

Cuttings, or clones, are the genetic twin of their Parent, or Mother plant. Because a clone has an identical genetic make-up to its progenitor it allows the Horticulturalist to focus on adjusting other elements in a growing environment to produce the desired results from their crop. Cloning also circumvents the inherent lottery of growing from seeds. It is also a reasonably simple process and a fundamental tool of any commercial grower. Here is a basic guide to getting started with cloning.

“Speed, not haste, is an important factor when taking cuttings, as is cleanliness. Be sure to disinfect all of your tools and your work space before starting the process.” As with any endeavour, the key to success when taking cuttings is good preparation. You’ll need to appropriate the necessary tools.


1. A SHARP KNIFE. A sharp blade will minimise the tearing caused to plant tissue during the cutting process. The less tearing you cause, the easier it will be for both the mother plant and the cutting to heal. Since you’re going to be working around and through the branches of the mother plant it is well worth investing in a short blade with a long handle- a craft scalpel is a good tool, though a small kitchen knife will also work. Scissors have a tendency to crush the stem on either side of the cut and are best avoided. 2. A ROOTING MEDIUM. There are many rooting mediums available on the market. It is well worth trying out a few of them to find what works best for you. Rockwool cubes are probably the easiest to work with, though you might prefer to use peat pellets or good old potting soil.

3. A PROPAGATOR. Propagators are sold by Garden centres, often with a number of fitted seeding trays. There’s nothing to stop you making your own though.

4. SEEDING TRAY(S). Cut a seeding tray down to size if you don’t have the adequate space for an entire tray or you want to keep you cuttings separate.

5. ROOTING HORMONES. Strictly speaking, rooting hormones aren’t essential to the cloning process. In practice though the advantages of using them greatly outweigh the expense. Rooting hormones speed the process of cell conversion which underlies the process of cloning. A rooting hormone mix also protects the clone from infection. Rooting hormone mixes come in power, liquid and gel form. Take the time to investigating which works best for your requirements, though I would tend to steer folks away from powders and towards gels. Rooting Hormones do have a relatively short shelf life though, so only get as much as you need for the job at hand. 6. A RECEPTACLE TO HOUSE THE ROOTING HORMONE MIX. Dipping your cutting directly into the rooting hormone mix container has the potential to spread diseases from one batch of cuttings to another so is inadvisable. A shot glass works well for liquids and gels, whilst a saucer or the lid of a jar works well for powders.


Speed, not haste, is an important factor when taking cuttings, as is cleanliness. Be sure to disinfect all of your tools and your work space before starting the process. You’ll need all your tools readily to hand so as to minimise the time spent between taking and planting the cuttings. It might feel a little silly, but I like to do a dry run through the process before starting. There’s nothing worse than realising you need to fetch something half way through the process and if that happens then you’re likely to lose the cutting in hand. Cuttings dry up incredibly quickly so if you’re taking cuttings in a grow room be sure to turn off your fans and avoid working in the direct glare of any powerful lamps. Your chosen growing medium will need to be soaked in warm water before you can plant anything in it (Pic 1). It is well worth adding a heavily diluted plant nutrient appropriate to your chosen plant; nothing more than a 1/4 solution. Remove any excess liquid from your growth medium before the planting process; it shouldn’t be soggy or overly saturated. Pellets and blocks are easily squeezed free of excess liquid. Soil mixes can be strained through muslin (or a well cleaned old sock if you’re cheap). If your chosen medium doesn’t have prepared holes in which to plant your cuttings then poke some holes yourself, down to a half inch from the base. As with plants and seeds, planting cutting cheek to cheek is a recipe for disaster (Pic 2). It aids the spread of disease and makes working with the cuttings a bore. The ‘chess board’ arrangement is a popular formula to use when spacing your plants in a seeding tray. The relatively minor loss of space far outweighs the likely complications which will arise from planting your cuttings too close together. With all this done you should be ready to begin taking cuttings. Size is a crucial factor when taking cuttings. The smaller the cutting, the longer it will take to grow and the harder it will be to work with. Each cutting should feature a couple of healthy young growth tips, three or four leaves and an adequate length of stem to stand securely in the growth medium. Two to four inches length is the optimum size for a cutting; an inch to go in the growth medium






“Size is a crucial factor when taking cuttings. The smaller the cutting, the longer it will take to grow and the harder it will be to work with... Two to four inches length is the optimum size for a cutting; an inch to go in the growth medium and at least one inch of stem above the surface of the growing medium.” and at least one inch of stem above the surface of the growing medium. Cutting equidistance between two nodes will give both the mother and the cutting the optimum chance of continued healthy growth. Cuttings taken from the top of a plant tend to take root faster, whilst cuttings taken from the bottom of a plant tend to have more fight in them (Pic 3). How that plays out in reality is a matter of great debate amongst the green fingered brethren. Whether you favour the posh knobs of the upper foliage or the hardy workmen of the lower branches likely says a lot about the sort of gardener you are.


Cutting the stem at a 45 degree angle will maximise the surface area of inner stem, thereby maximising the rooting potential of the cutting (Pic 4). If you’re taking a cutting from an older plant it may be necessary to skin back some of the outer layer of the plant around the base of the cutting. Commit to the cut and make it clean. Try not to tug on the plant too much or crush the stem between your fingersminimising distress to the plant will maximise the chances of healthy growth in the cutting and repair in the mother plant. It may be necessary to remove the lower level of leaves from your cutting. This is usually fine as the lower leaves tend to die anyway. In this case try to minimize the surface area of the cut. It is important to act quickly once you’ve removed the cutting (Pic 5). If an air bubble forms in the stem it will block the cutting’s ability to take up nutrients and likely lead to death. If you’re taking a number of cuttings at once then it may be necessary to store the cuttings in water whilst they wait to be planted. Professionals will take the cutting under water so as to minimize the chances of air bubble forming in the stem. Ideally you would want to dip the cutting in your rooting hormone immediately then transfer it directly into the growth medium. Dip the cutting in the Rooting hormone mix for ten to fifteen seconds (Pic 6), or until the exposed area and the outlying are around the stem have a good covering. Be very careful when planting the cutting in your chosen growth medium. If the stem won’t go in, don’t force it. Try expanding the hole with a long, thin implement then twist the cutting so that the bottom tip is coming in from a different side. Ensure that the cutting doesn’t pierce the bottom of the growth medium. Make sure the cutting is secure in the growth medium by lightly tamping the sides around the base of the stem. If you’re new to the process then you’re very likely to have issues. If do bend or bruise a cutting, don’t waste time trying to save it. Likelihood is she’s not going to make it. Mark it up to practice and move on to the next little lady. Once you’ve taken all your cuttings place them in the propagator (Pic 7), removing any excess moisture from the




“Keep an eye on your cuttings in those early stages to see how they fair. Cuttings deficient in moisture levels will quickly dry out and die. Too much moisture and your cuttings will quickly become a sea of mould and fungal infections.”


bottom of the tray. Secure the lid making sure to close the vents. The lid should mist up with moisture. Young cuttings won’t fair well under the direct glare of a High Intensity lamp. Find a shady corner of you grow room or green house in which to put the tray, or use a thin material placed over the top of the propagator to disperse the light. Alternatively you can try using a lower wattage lamp to build up the light tolerance of your cuttings. 400w is excessive, a 250w fluorescent light would be ideal. If you really can’t do any of this, then ensure that any high intensity bulb is positioned a minimum of three feet above the tip of your cuttings. Obviously how much care your plant requires varies greatly. Initially the Growing medium should have enough latent moisture to sustain the cuttings. Keep an eye on them in those early stages to see how they fair. Cuttings deficient in moisture levels will quickly dry out and die. Too much moisture and your cuttings will quickly become a sea of mould and fungal infections. Each time you tend to the cuttings, clean away any excess water from the bottom of the tray and the inside of the propagator lid, then gently mist the cuttings before returning the lid securely. If the rooting medium is too dry then dip it a warm water solution, wipe or squeeze away any excess moisture before returning it to the tray. It can take up to two weeks for a cutting to take root properly. Check the rooting medium for the white root tips emerging from the bottom and the sides. Wait till at least a few root tips show before transplanting the plant into a bigger receptacle. Towards the end of their initial growth cycle cuttings will get very thirsty and may need regular feeding throughout the day. Cuttings may appear to wilt initially; this is perfectly natural and should relent within a couple of days. Remove any lower leaves which wilt and turn yellow.

Thank you to Aquaculture Hydroponics for supplying the products pictured in this article…

AMBIENT Terry Hatchett introduces readers to key albums in each genre from A-Z, kicking off this issue with ‘Ambient’ Brian Eno

Ambient 1: Music For Airports (1978) Genre-bending music pioneer and former member of Roxy Music began what he called the ‘Ambient’ genre from his hospital bed following a serious road traffic accident. Using a basic synthesiser, Eno strove to replicate the effect of visual art. Ambient doesn’t require constant engagement, and often seeks to merely add background atmosphere to a room. Unlike other genres such as ‘Easy Listening’, closer attention is rewarded by the sonic intricacies of Eno’s sound. ‘Music For Airports’ may have marked the birth of Ambient, but Eno really hit his Ambient stride with ‘On Land’ and ‘Apollo’.

Boards of Canada

Trans-Canada Highway (2006) A truly brilliant EP from one of the author’s favourite artists, ‘Trans-Canada Highway’ picks up the reins of the ambient movement and drives it forward in to the new millennium. Scottishborn Marcus Eoin and Michael Sandison recorded the album as they trekked from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, B.C and have managed to truly capture the journey on this low-key, 28 minute record; a brilliant point from which to commence your own journey into the ambient genre.

Global Communication

76:14 (1994) Ambient has often been disparagingly compared to ‘film music’ (a genre we will cover in a later issue) and there is no doubt that Mark Pritchard and Tom Middleton’s seminal contribution to the ambient/house is heavily influenced by the work of Vangelis, and was almost certainly an influence on Cliff Martinez and John Murphy’s film scores. However, 76:14 stands alone as a slice of Heaven recorded in its own right and represents the full realisation of Ambient House as a genre in its own right.



The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld (1991) Similar in purpose (if not in tone) to Eno’s later album ‘Music for Films’, The Orb take the listener on a simulated journey through the inward and outward space. ‘The Back Side of The Moon’ is a thinly veiled reference to one of their key influences: Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of The Moon’, and ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ came to embody the emergent Ambient House movement.


As we have seen, the goal of many later ambient albums is to take the listener on a journey and give them a sense of place. Recorded 500 miles north of the arctic circle, Biosphere fuses the ambient sound and takes the listener on what many have called the most distinct and successful ‘aural odyssey ‘ of the genre.

Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works Vol. II (1994)

Expanding on Richard D. James’ first Ambient outing, Selected Ambient Works, this is a darker, stranger and harder to negotiate proposition that more than rewards the listener’s attention and perseverance. These tracks have a spookiness to them that is uniquely Aphex Twin.

The KLF Chill Out (1991)

A companion piece to ‘The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ that was born out of the same recording sessions. Though the album demonstrates the immense crosspollination between artists, influencers, and followers, it more than stands alone as a great ambient record. Compared to ‘Ultra World’, this is a more grounded journey that at times samples cows and Elvis!


Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus follows the story of Wander, a young man on a mission to save the life of a girl called Mono. Our lonely hero travels to The Forbidden Land equipped with a magical sword and accompanied by his faithful steed Agro. There a deal is struck; to revive Mono, Wander must defeat the sixteen Colossi who populate the vast expanse of The Forbidden Land. The Forbidden Land is a beautiful place, sprawling vistas spread in every direction from the central hub which serves as your home base. The desaturated colour palette and incomparable soundtrack paint a dreamlike landscape in which a vast endeavour of past construction has been left for eons to the tender caress of nature. The lack of any notable population beyond the Colossi themselves feeds an unnerving sense of isolation. Each of the Colossi lives in its own self-contained environment, from barren desert to murky lakes. Getting to them is never as easy as going in a straight line. The journey requires patience and a keen eye for observation; two skills which will dominate your time in-game.

The Colossi live up to their name. These hulking leviathans are spectacular in scale. Their scale aside, each of the Colossi is as varied in design as the next. They all have a mystical quality, like the last remnants of some ancient race of magical monoliths. Nor do they appear to be inherently evil ( a tired old trope served up all too often in Video games). They fly with wicked grace, plod with

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WANDER Wander isn’t a burly space marine or a magical prodigy. Our lonely hero travels to The Forbidden land equipped with a magical sword and accompanied by his faithful steed Agro.

THE COLOSSI The Colossi live up to their name. These hulking leviathans are spectacular in scale. Their scale aside, each of the Colossi is as varied in design as the next.

earth-shaking feet of stone and swim with laconic elegance. The first time I laid eyes on one is, to date, one of the greatest moments in my gaming career. Defeating the Colossi involves learning their routines and using the environment to your advantage. Each colossus has weak spots which Wander must first of all reach before he can strike. This usually involves jumping, climbing and scrambling your way across the creature’s body, all the while with an eye on your stamina bar. The only tools available to Wander are his magical sword, which points the way when held aloft in the sunlight, his bow and arrows and his faithful steed. Wander isn’t a burly space marine or a magical prodigy. Nor does the game follow the now almost inescapable convention of levelling up, acquiring stronger powers or bigger weapons. Shadow of the Colossus is a puzzle game at its heart. The player will only succeed through observing, planning and having the patience to endure repeated bouts of trial and error in the execution of your plan. Upon completing your dubious mission to dispatch the majestic creature you are ported back to a central hub from which your mission to hunt and kill the next colossus begins anew. The necessity to get to know the individual characteristics of your quarry in order to defeat it forces the player to form a relationship with the creature. The feeling of elation upon eventually dispatching your prey is tempered by a deep pang of guilt. Fumito Ueda, the Game’s designer, is considered an auteur for good reason. He has described his approach as ‘design by abstraction’. Rarely does this ring truer than in Shadow of the Colossus. The direction of the game is singular; there are no side missions to distract you from

the task in hand. Nor is the game world populated by smaller enemies meant to waylay you. No attempts are made to justify your actions or reinforce your sense of accomplishment. It seems crazy that this bold approach should be even more at odds with the industry today than it was when this game was released in 2005. Video Games today are on the whole a commercial product first, designed to keep you spending money. Publishers strive to feed your ego. Not just to give you what you want, but to give you as much as you will take as quickly as you will take it. It isn’t rocket science to work out that pretty soon people come to expect it and throw a tantrum when they don’t get it. It isn’t hard to imagine a marketing monkey proposing that the stark brilliance of The Forbidden land be filled with ninja monkeys who drop sticky grenades. Even as the technology it runs on ages, the core principal at the heart of Shadow of the Colossus does not. It stands a bastion to the boldness and freedom in design once afforded to Video game Designers and to the willingness to practice art in the craft. These are qualities which, in my opinion, the Video Games industry is currently wantonly lacking. If there is such a thing as Zen Video Games design, then this is most assuredly it.

SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS is available on Playstation 2 and on PS3 as part of The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus collection.

The great novelist and poet Vladimir Nabokov once wrote that life was “but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.” With this in mind, we have precisely one crack of light in which to cram in as much valuable human experience as we can: a supermarket sweep of all that is beautiful, joyous and truthful. Obviously the scope of such an undertaking is way beyond our faculties here at HYDROMAG, to attempt it would be absurd - but we can at least narrow the remit to suggest you watch, if you haven’t already, some of the finest movies known to humanity. (N.B. before readers start gnashing and wailing over omissions – we’re picking five of each genre out of thousands, if not millions, of films. We could quite easily write a top 100 for each and still offend at least one person whose favourite film is The Mighty Ducks or Sheena: Queen of the Jungle). In this edition: Action (In a nutshell - a story centring on a clash of physical forces, usually involving rather more guns / swords than dialogue).



HARD BOILED DIRECTOR: John Woo | RELEASED: 1992 A real game-changer. This tale of tough Hong Kong cops infiltrating the Triad won international acclaim and introduced the West to John Woo’s trademark balletic gunplay. It’s not an exaggeration to suggest without Woo, there would be no The Matrix. A gun in each hand, the hero acrobatically avoids super slo-mo bullets as scenery disintegrates in the background. Sound familiar? Woo introduced genuine artistry to the movie gunfight, and in Hard Boiled he ramps up the stakes with each setpiece becoming more ridiculously thrilling than the last, from the opening tea-house shoot-up to the exhilarating denouement in a maternity ward. An absolute must-see.


CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON DIRECTOR: Ang Lee | RELEASED: 2000 Unresolved sexual tension in ancient China; sword-wielding warriors floating across rooftops; powerful female characters and a tear-jerking love story: Crouching Tiger won multiple awards, going on to become the highest grossing foreign language film in the US. There’s so much to commend in Ang Lee’s beautifully-shot, martial-arts periodpiece, as Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh pursue a mysterious sword-thief against a backdrop of bamboo forests, medieval villages, betrayal and sexual politics. What really stands out is the fight choreography, which still has the power to invoke a genuine “what the fuck!?” moment for those viewers unused to Chinese wuxia films. In particular the stunning duels between the two central female characters, played by Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi, are simply mesmerising.


DIE HARD DIRECTOR: John McTiernan | RELEASED: 1988 A pioneering film of the action genre, Die Hard practically invented a sub-category of its own – the ‘lone-hero-takes-on-armyof-terrorists-in-single-location’ genre. It made Bruce Willis a star and launched a host of pale imitations. The original Die Hard remains by far the best of its type – as Willis’ wisecracking, bare-footed, wifebeater-vest clad John McClane ascends the levels of an L.A. skyscraper to save a group of hostages (one of whom being his wife). Throw into the mix one of cinema’s all-time great villains, Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber, and a slew of droll one-liners - and you have a truly entertaining thrillride of a movie that holds its own almost a quarter of a century after its release.


ALIENS DIRECTOR: James Cameron | RELEASED: 1986 In 1986 James Cameron was given the unenviable task of making a sequel to one of the greatest movies ever made Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi horror Alien. Wisely deciding to dispense with Scott’s taut, weapon-free, cat-and-mouse format; he instead stamped his own mark on the franchise, turning Aliens into a fistpumping, gun-toting, action free-for-all. With a larger cast (more Xenomorph fodder), a shitload of increasingly enormous weapons, thousands more monsters, and Ripley entering a queen alien’s birthing lair; this is unmissable entertainment, and firmly cements Ellen Ripley’s place in the pantheon of great action heroes.


RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD DIRECTOR: Ted Kotcheff | RELEASED: 1982 Unfairly lumped together with its more exploitative, brain-dead sequels, First Blood has a surprising degree of pathos. Set in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Sylvester Stallone’s psychologically disturbed veteran John Rambo hikes into a hostile, backwater town and finds himself up against the local redneck sheriff and his deputies. What follows is a thrilling manhunt through the forests of British Columbia, with Rambo, armed to the teeth, exercising his survival skills to pick off his hick pursuers one by one. The arrival of the National Guard and his ex-commanding officer (to talk him into surrender), heralds the beginning of the explosive climax. This is a rare gem - a Stallone film with genuine substance and subtlety.

See the official trailers for these movies. HYDROMAG YouTube channel will be full of playlists to supplement our articles. You can also see sponsored playlists from our advertisers. Visit:




ONCE AGAIN THEY HAVE SUCCEEDED! Following Follo llow Bloombastic速 and Rootbastic速 Atami responded positive to the demand on the market

Bio-Bloombastic is a fact!





How to do a Rethreaded Knot: This is the most common knot used to tie onto the end of a rope. The knot should be finished with a stoppper knot (not shown).

It began with the stairs, and then the garden fence followed by the shed and eventually, when we moved to a house bordering a wood, trees. Somewhere between climbing trees becoming uncool for a teenager, and being a drunken university student who climbed anything (including but not limited to: lamp posts, fire escapes and a shopping centre) on the way home from the pub, I discovered rock climbing. During the school holidays, aged 15, I had a go on a new climbing wall at a local sports centre. I was never what you’d call sporty at school but I was relieved to find something I enjoyed doing that was considered a sport. I spent most of that summer on the indoor wall before venturing out onto the crags, cliffs and boulders. I’ve never been at the top of the game but that’s not what climbing is about. Sir Edmund Hilary once said ‘it’s not the mountains that we conquer but ourselves’, which sums it up beautifully, in climbing you’re primarily up against yourself and you can challenge yourself as much or as little as you like. I read a line somewhere once that said ‘the best climber in the world is

the one who’s having the most fun’. I liked that sentiment and it’s the one I’ve held ever since. It’s a sport that just about anyone can do and the best thing is it’s now more accessible than ever. In days of yore climbing was the preserve of gentlemen in tweeds and leather boots, today climbing exists in many forms each with its own fashion and culture and right now the climbing scene in the UK is experiencing a boom. You don’t need to start hacking up the nearest rock face either, one of the biggest reasons for the rapid uptake of the sport in the UK is the development of Indoor climbing walls, and they’re currently appearing at a rate similar to that of Tesco express stores which means there’s more than likely to be one near you. The best way to give it a go is to visit your local wall and have a go at bouldering. Some would argue that this is climbing in its purest form. There are no ropes or harnesses and no great heights involved. It involves completing a short series of specific moves whilst never getting more than a couple of metres above the ground. All you need is a pair of climbing shoes (most centres will hire these out for a small charge), these help prevent your feet from slipping and they’re designed to cosset your foot giving you plenty of feel for the holds. Prepare to feel inadequate! Anyone’s first visit to a climbing wall is usually exciting, but prepare to feel useless. Even if you take part in other sports regularly, can bench press a car and open bottles with your teeth you’re unlikely to have the balance, poise and mindset required to climb proficiently. It doesn’t take long to start developing these

but does require going regularly for a few weeks on the trot. Joining a club that meets regularly or signing up to a short introductory course can help soften this blow as you will be able to climb with others at the same or similar level to yourself whilst being able to learn from those with more experience. To progress from bouldering onto the various forms of roped climbing it is advisable (a requirement at all indoor centres) to undertake some training in safely fitting a harness; rope handling, setting a belay and tying the various knots required as these skills are paramount to not injuring yourself or others.

Get Outdoors...

Expect to pay between £4 and £8 per session. Shoes are around £2 to hire. Introductory courses typically last around 6 hours in either three or six sessions and cost around £70 per person though discounts are usually given for booking in groups. After that gear freaks can treat themselves to as much as they can afford in the way of chalk bag, harness, rope, and multitudes of shiny bits of metal (no matter how much you have you will never have enough gear).

Many people will try climbing but never venture out onto some real rock. They’re missing out. Climbing outdoors is usually accompanied by stunning scenery, fresh air and long evenings (and days if it rains) in the pub swopping minute details of routes climbed and to be climbed. Climbing outdoors can involve anything from a short problem on a boulder using a portable crash mat to a multi-pitch route up hundreds of metres and both have routes for all levels of climber. Visit the link for UKClimbing below to find a wealth of information including a map of climbing locations throughout the UK.

Ed Cadogan aged 32 works in Healthcare Education, admits to spending more time in the pub talking about climbing than actually doing it and still doesn’t have enough gear.

More Info:

Read About it:

See for lists of climbing walls etc. includes links to find an indoor climbing wall near you.

Watch It: Why not watch Ed’s favourite climbing videos... - Of Man and Beast - Arnaud Petit - Urban Rocks - Ninja warrior Bedroom - Catherine HYDROMAG YouTube channel will be full of playlists to supplement our articles. You can also see sponsored playlists from our advertisers. Visit:


What it costs:

Two of my favourite books that centre on the sport, but are in themselves a good read, are: Learning to Breathe by the appropriately named Andy Cave Feeding the Rat – a climbers life on the edge by AL Alvarez

Find the unique codes on our bottles AND START COLLECTING NOW!

In this article Patrick shares his love of trainers with us… I’m not that bothered about fashion and I’m not the most stylish of guys, but trainers are the one item that holds some kind of importance to me. They are akin to a nice watch or a good belt and if I have a nice pair of kicks on I feel good. The cultural significance of trainers is also pretty fascinating too. In the 1930s and the 1940s they were used solely for athletic events but the endorsement of trainers such as the Converse All Stars by basketball player Chuck Taylor changed all of that. It is in this way that the majority of the trainers I like, listed below, came to the fore. Sports stars would wear them and then gradually the masses would want to wear them. This grew and grew until we see a certain style of trainer being worn everywhere by all sorts of different people. It is funny how what was primarily designed to be worn for physical exercise and sporting activities has now become the norm for casual footwear for a lot of us nowadays. Your choice in trainers also gives you enormous scope to make a statement, or not. Going for an overthe-top pair of fluorescent hi-tops can indicate your eccentric and extroverted personality whereas something like a pair of neutral slip-ons can show that you prefer to go under the radar a little more. You can coordinate the colour of your trainers with the rest of your outfit or you can wear a colour and style that


“I have always had an obsession for skate trainers too, even though I can’t skate.” completely stands out from your clothing and therefore focuses attention on your trainers. All-white or predominantly white trainers can look really good but this doesn’t always last long as they get messed up so fast, which is why I normally plump for trainers that feature darker shades for their main colours. Some of the lengths

that some people have to go to in order to keep their ice creams bright white, like cleaning them with a toothbrush or putting them in the freezer to stop them stinking of cheese, are frankly crazy to me and although I love my trainers my commitment levels are not that high. I think I was brought up to get dark trainers and it has stuck with me, and it

5 TRAINER TYPES… is in no way a bad thing in my opinion. I have a pair of all black Nike SB Bruins which I never really need to worry about because they hardly show dirt at all. I have always had an obsession for skate trainers too, even though I can’t skate. I suppose this is similar to the way in which people wear athletics shoes when they’re not necessarily going to engage in sporting activities. Skate shoes have always presented themselves as a good pair of trainers because they are designed to take some punishment and last quite a while. Durability is definitely one of the important qualities that a pair of trainers must possess. I have always been a fan of the classic silhouettes from the big name brands like Adidas, Nike and Puma especially. Trainers like the Adidas Samba, Nike Air Max and Puma Suede are ones that have been around for decades now and for me, are still the original and best. Fashion repeats itself, and for good reason. Any new style that comes onto the market always seems to be trying to copy an original in some way, which is another good reason why I like to plump for a trainer design that has stood the test of time. The only real way that trainer companies seem to be able to innovate now is to remove things that you would expect on a shoe and to really clean them up, or to change the positions of things like the eyelets to make you look twice.

“It is interesting to ponder where the future lies in terms of trainers because can we really improve on them much more?”

1. SMART CASUAL (TRAINERS YOU COULD WEAR AT YOUR GRANDMA’S 60TH): LACOSTE CLEMENTE PLIMSOLLS Smart Casual (Trainers you could wear at your grandma’s 60th): Lacoste Clemente Plimsolls.

2. STREET TRAINERS (TRAINERS FOR CULTURE): VANS ERA You’d find it hard not to spot a pair of these nowadays.

3. COOL CLASSIC (TIMELESS TRAINER DESIGN): ADIDAS ORIGINALS SAMBA SUPER These Adidas indoor footy trainers now look cool anywhere.

4. RUNNING / CROSS TRAINING (COMFORTABLE AND HARDWEARING): ASICS GT-2170 Light but sturdy, these trainers make for cool runnings.

5. CHEAP BUT GOOD (CHUCK EM ON, ABUSE EM, DON’T BUST THE BANK): CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR Do what you want to them, they’ll last forever.

I love a new pair of trainers but I am a firm believer in wearing them in to achieve that level of optimum comfort. There is no set method to getting to this aforementioned comfort because it is all about feel, and when you have reached it you will know it because you will feel it physically through the way the trainers mould around your feet. It is for this reason why I can never quite bring myself to get rid of an old pair, no matter how beaten up they are or even if they are practically falling apart. I just cannot do it because despite their poor condition they just feel so right on my feet.

“ day I hope to have a whole room that is dedicated to storing my trainers, a bit like you see when they go around a rapper’s house on MTV Cribs...” It is interesting to ponder where the future lies in terms of trainers because can we really improve on them much more? Do we really need to improve trainers that much more? I would prefer for trainers to stay the way they are, I don’t think they need to have Bluetooth or be able to tell you how many steps you’ve done in a day. Then again, maybe I’m just an old stick in the mud.


HOW MUCH?!!! 1. CROCS Wear these and you deserve to be eaten by a crocodile.

1. GOLD PLATED NIKES These ridiculously bling Nike will set you back £3,500.

2. NIKE SHOX Proof that people will buy anything Nike make…

2. NIKE AIR FORCE ONE SO CALS £32,000 diamond encrusted trainers? That’s right.

3. VIBRAM FIVE FINGERS These are just plain weird!

3. FILA FX-2 Only 100 pairs of these Swarovskistudded trainers were made.

4. NIKE TOE TRAINERS Did somebody say camel toe?

4. KWILTI TRAINERS How much you say? £385, no joke.

5. SKECHERS These were never cool, and never will be.

5. NIKE MAG 2011 The very first pair of these went for around £24k at a charity auction.

All I know is that one day I hope to have a whole room that is dedicated to storing my trainers, a bit like you see when they go around a rapper’s house on MTV Cribs...

Why not check out our playlist for the trainers article... HYDROMAG YouTube channel will be full of playlists to supplement our articles. You can also see sponsored playlists from our advertisers. Visit



The many hours spent tending to your crop and maintaining your growroom can be a lonely affair.

Podcasts serve as a handy cure to boredom and isolation without the ever encroaching influences of repetitive playlists and irritating adverts. The key to finding the sort of podcasts which you’ll enjoy is to try a few out. HYDROMAG offers you an introduction to a few of the best. ..

Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast

Richard Herring sits down in front of an audience for an informal interview with a stellar selection the considerable talent behind British comedy’s greatest achievements over the past twenty odd years. From arguing with Armando Iannucci over who really created Alan Partridge to defaming perverted penguins with Nick Frost, Herring and his guests often stray off on ridiculous tangents. The conversations are rarely dull and there’s something very British about how understated and unpretentious many of his guests are despite their considerable achievements. The episode in which Herring and Stuart Lee reunite to dissect their questionable but none the less fruitful past is particularly good.


Director Kevin Smith looks back over his life and career. There’s very little which Smith isn’t willing to discuss, even his best friend’s battle with drug addiction. Sometimes crude and at other time a little self-indulgent maybe for British sensibilities, Smodcasts aren’t to everyone’s tastes. Smith has gone on to produce a number of other podcasts done by his friends, family, employees and associates. They feature some great insights into aspects of American life, culture and people who you wouldn’t normally see favourably presented in any other form of media. Look out for the episodes covering Smith’s battle with an airline company who told him he was too fat to fly.

Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews

Described as ‘Wittertainment’, Mayo and Kermode discuss the weekly film releases. Really the show is about an unlikely couple thrown together by work and kept together for decades by a mutual love/hate for one another. Kermode is at the top of his game; even when you disagree with his conclusion, you can’t argue with his vast knowledge. He has a massive juvenile streak though and a predilection for ranting. Steven Spielberg balks at being continuously cut off for updates about the cricket score in a particularly memorable episode. Episodes featuring guest host and reviewers (done when Kermode and Mayo are on holiday) are usually rubbish.

Mohr Stories Jay Mohr is a stand-up comic and actor. Mohr’s podcasts are an insight into earning a living as part of the Hollywood Middle-class. Mohr’s guests include some noteworthy names from Hollywood and a smorgasbord of American comedians. Mohr is insightful, honest and often unrelenting. He’s an exceptional impressionist and frighteningly quick-witted. In lieu of not ‘washing his balls’, Mohr is a bit of a jock and he can sometimes overpower his guests. Mohr’s interview with his Catholic priest is an amazing piece of journalism made all the better by the fact that no journalists are involved.



Nutrients CANNA’s products are tailored to meet the needs of plants that are cultivated under different circumstances. A plant requires the same nutritional elements on different growing mediums. Cultivation systems do, however, have a considerable influence on the availability of these nutritional elements. Rockwool, for example, doesn’t contain any nutritional elements whereas coco absorbs nutritional elements from the nutrient solution. It is for these sorts of reasons that the plants need different kinds of nutrients under different growing conditions . Therefore CANNA has developed CANNA TERRA, CANNA COCO, CANNA AQUA and CANNA HYDRO for every growing method. Find out which CANNA nutrient suits grow growing method at



Bio Bloombastic As the public increasingly opts for organic farming, Atami has combined this fact with the quality of Bloombastic resulting in Bio Bloombastic. This highly concentrated organic stimulator is basically all additives in ONE, accelerator, hardener bling bling creator,bloom enhancer and is suitable to add to your water supply from the 4th flowering week. Bio Bloombastic consists of a cocktail of high-quality Bio minerals and Bio stimulators of molasses with a base, and there are no ballast substances contained in the proces. This has a particularly good effect on the flavor and scent on the finished product. Besides the excellent taste, Bio Bloombastic makes a thick compact sweet smelling flower and has a enzymatic action on several fronts. In short Bio Bloombastic has all the benefits and all the extras from Bloombastic combined with organic farming. For more information go to


Wilma System The co-developed Atami Wilmasystem by Atami BV is since its launch a worldwide success, which is particularly due to the combination of versatility, quality and simplicity. This culture system is designed so that everyone can handle it, thus can be used at any location and ideal in combination with tents. The Wilma system is a tank and irrigation system in a set up and available as a stand alone, or in recirculating ebb and flood. The Wilma system scan be used in combination with any medium, the pots are easy to install and easy to remove, if necessary without removing the nutrition supply to the other pots. This highly versatile system is available in 6, 5, 11 and 18L pots, using the easy setup and automatic feeding saves a lot of work and you get great results in any medium. For more information you can visit us at


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Grow Gear gives you a taste of our advertiser’s premier products, from popular classics to new-fangled curiosities. We can’t guarantee that they’re right for you, but we can tell you that we wouldn’t have them in HYDROMAG if we didn’t respect their work. Even if you aren’t in the market for something new, Grow Gear is well worth a read.


Advanced Nutrients UK is proud to announce the arrival of the muchanticipated “Bundle Packs” here in the UK. Each box is a building block from “Hobbyist” to “Grand Master”. There is a freebie nutrient/additive in every pack! Use these kits to build from a “Hobbyist” gardener to “Grand Master” level.


HID Grow Lamps Lumatek have launched their new range of horticultural HID grow lamps. Tuned to the ultra-high frequency of the Lumatek e-ballasts, the lamps components have been reinforced making them a much more robust and long life grow-lighting solution. Boost your yields thanks to a unique gas blend with an optimized spectrum to promote photosynthesis. Enhanced blue spectrum technology means a dual-spec lamp that can be used throughout the entire grow and flower/fruiting cycles. For best results, always pair your Lumatek e-ballast with a Lumatek Lamp.


Digital Ballast Lumatek have been the number 1 selling electronic ballast worldwide for over ten years. Designed in California with an engineering team on a rolling program of upgrades and development, innovation has been the key to success. In the UK and Europe, the 600 multi-watt dimmable ballast is a proven reliable controller for HID lighting with growers achieving up to 30% more PAR spectrum light levels with up to 50% better light coverage of your grow area when compared to the leading old style magnetic ballast and with more Lumens per watt will also reduce your electricity bill. Power different rated lamps from the same e-ballast, dim down or boost up your lamps.


Cutting Edge is a new concept in rooting gels, made from 100% Organic seaweed and harvested in a sustainable way to maintain the natural balance of the ecosystem, harvested from the North Atlantic Ocean during its highest growth period, capturing the full benefits of the active compounds. The seaweed is then Micronized (chopped into tiny particles) to maintain the long chain molecules that accelerate enhance root development. The raw product is never dried or heated, therefore avoiding the breakdown of its molecular structure. Keeping active components at their best and purist for rooting. Available from Down to Earth Kent Ltd Tel: 01233 610021 / Email: HYDROMAG is not responsible for any claims made in the accompanying content.


Award Winning Explode - Formidable Flowering Booster Explode is a brilliant bloom stimulator that delivers precious nutrients and minerals to your plants throughout the flowering stage. Consisting of micronutrients, vitamins and acids, it does exactly as the name suggests – explosively driving flowering growth and bigger yields in addition to increasing your plants resistance against diseases! By using Explode you will bring the characteristic “Dutchpro-taste” into the end product as well. Suited for: Every irrigation system as well as most soil, hydro and coco set ups. Dosage: 1:1000 Available in: 250 ml / 1 L / 5 L / 10 L / 20 L Dutchpro features: the nutrients are stable & clear, contains organic elements, keeps plants vital & green till the end of the cycle and finally the characteristic taste & fragrance.


Award Winning Take Root - Superb Root Stimulator Take Root is a growth stimulant capable of radically improving the inner and outer qualities of your young plants! The active components are of natural origin, including several plant hormones and micronutrients. These combine to boost cellular division, cell elongation and nutrient transport – all of which help with overall root development during early vegetative growth. In addition to this, Take Root also slows down the ageing process for prolonged good health! Suited for: Every irrigation system as well as soil, hydro and coco set ups. To be used with cuttings and young plants. Dosage: 1:1000 Available in: 250 ml /1 L / 5 L / 10 L / 20 L Dutchpro features: the nutrients are stable & clear, contains organic elements, keeps plants vital & green till the end of the cycle and finally the characteristic taste & fragrance.


Green Dream Green Dream 1 (Grow and Bloom) from Flairform is herald as the ONE part nutrient with a balance rivaling the BEST 2-part nutrients. Nutrient concentration at least 20% higher than most 2-part nutrients. With GreenDream, there is no chance of the grower making mixing errors because ALL nutrients are in 1 bottle. With 2-part nutrients, performance is reduced through failure to measure equal amounts of ‘A’ and ‘B’ or by combining ‘A’ and ‘B’ prematurely with insufficient water. GreenDream is very highly pH buffered - minimal pH maintenance is required. For example, even when GreenDream is added to most hard and salty waters or alkaline additives, pH will be below 6.5. This feature is extremely beneficial because delaying pH adjustment with nutrients is a common cause of their failure.


Grow Gear gives you a taste of our advertiser’s premier products, from popular classics to new-fangled curiosities. We can’t guarantee that they’re right for you, but we can tell you that we wouldn’t have them in HYDROMAG if we didn’t respect their work. Even if you aren’t in the market for something new, Grow Gear is well worth a read.


This is NOT a plant food, it’s a carefully formulated blend of vitamins and natural plant hormones for use during all stages of plant development. Our chemist discovered a unique way of extracting the valuable growth potential from Kelp - one of the world’s fastest growing plants. Power Thrive helps your plants survive during stressful periods of growth. Use power Thrive for stronger vegetative growth and vibrant improved fruit quality.


Use GET’s Let’s Grow A&B and Let’s Bloom A&B for well-balanced nutrition giving your plants shorter internodes and lusher green colouring. Shorter internodes give your plants more branching to support more flowers. Lush green leaves gives you more chlorophyll which allow your plants to produce more sugars, carbs enzymes and pigments. The combination of these factors increases plant health and allows larger plants to form in flowering.


A-growTent – the modular chamber for vertical hydroponics. Equipped with an opaque tent and several new, interesting and innovative features, the A-growTent makes maximum use of the light source and optimizes crop yields. You can use the walls instead of soil to grow your favourite plants thereby tripling your growth surface!

HYDROMAG is not responsible for any claims made in the accompanying content.

COMPETITION... Every issue the team at HYDROMAG bring you a chance to win a prize kindly donated by one of our advertisers, and we’re not talking a pack of sticky fly traps or a pair of latex gloves - to make it worth your while we’ve asked our competition prize sponsor to think big!

This month’s prize is donated by Kaizen Distribution in association with

THE CYCO PLATINUM PRO KIT Suggested Retail Price £195.00 INCLUDES: 1x 1 Litre Cyco Grow A+B 1x 1 Litre Cyco Bloom A+B 1x 1 Litre Cyco Swell 1x 1 Litre Cyco Potash Plus 1x 1 Litre Cyco Silica 1x 1 Litre Cyco Zyme 1x 1 Litre Cyco B1 Boost 1x 1 Litre Cyco Dr. Repair 1x 1 Litre Cyco Uptake 1x 100 ml Cyco XL 1x Information Booklet


To be in with a chance of winning this excellent prize, simply send us a postcard with your name, email and phone number and send it to the address below. Or visit, like us, then find the CYCO image and click ‘like’ on the picture. Winners will be chosen at random on October 14th 2012. POST TO: HYDROMAG COMPETITION NO.1, No.5 The Old Bakery, 90 Acre St, Lindley, Huddersfield, HD3 3EL



The HYDROMAG surgery is NOW OPEN for business...

Here at HYDROMAG we’re keen to build a community. Call us fluffy, needy or plain old soft, just do it to our faces…or more accurately our inbox. We want to hear from you. We’re not ITV News though or Jeremy Kyle so we’re less concerned about how you think the country should be run or which particular group of foreigners you think stole you job this week, but anything of the subjects covered in the magazine are fair game. In fact the magazine itself is fair game. If you disagree with anything we’ve said, found a fundamental fuck-up with our fact checking or you just plain don’t like us, then the only way we’re going to hear about it is by you getting in touch with us.

Here at HYDROMAG we’re honoured and delighted to be able to offer you and your plants the much prized services of Bill Sutherland. Bill has three decades of experience in hydroponic growing and he’s kindly offered to address any of your concerns about plant nutrition or growroom issues.

Struggling with a problem which you’re too embarrassed to ask your friends about? Well maybe you need new friends. Or you could just ask us instead. Keen to pass your wisdom or whimsy on to the wider world? What better place to start than here in HYDROMAG. Who knows; maybe you’re the next Editor in waiting and you just don’t know it yet (be warned, I’m not going anywhere without a fight).

Get in touch with us by writing to us at: 5, The Old Bakery, 90 Acre St, Lindley, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England, HD3 3EL or alternatively email us at You can also get in touch via Facebook & Twitter:

So put aside those drunken text messages to your ex-girlfriend, bin that letter to Jim’ll fix it, unsubscribe to chat roulette, stop boring your friends on Facebook , take of the latex gloves and flush the anthrax….you get the idea. Just talk to us, alright? We miss you.

Meet the Team


Cosmo MacKenzie

Peter Turner

Russ Sealey

Terry Hatchett

Christian Mason


MD, Sales

Art Director



...hates it when people misspell his surname with a lower case ‘k’. Contrary to his job description, Cosmo tends to hold up the production process and is responsible for most of the spelling miztakes featured in HYDROMAG.

...would be a very happy man if he could figure out how to fit his surfboard on his motorcycle or vice versa. Pete works round the clock on HYDROMAGs advertising and is the glue which binds us all together.

...sees the world in colour codes and questionable font choices. He enjoys cheese and swimming, or ‘Shweesing’ as the sport is known. Russ works with Emma on creating the look and feel of HYDROMAG. a writer, photographer, bon viveur, stuntman, and liar. He has the dubious honour of kicking off HYDROMAG’s definitive guide to all auditory delights, from A to Z (p34).

...puts the proverbial ‘fat kid in a sweet shop’ to shame with his ravenous hunger for turning out articles. He shares his love for writing lists with us in ‘100 films to watch before you snuff it’ (p38).

Patrick Swift


Andy Clegg

Nick Stokoe

Ed Cadogan


Art, Illustration

Design, photography

PR Executive

Guest Writer

...likes ice cream and really enjoys a nice pair of slacks. In this issue he shares his love of trainers with us (p46). Worrying obsession or delightful eccentricity? You be the judge.

...dreams of running a bicycle factory staffed entirely by liberated battery chickens. Emma has worked the kind of hours most people could hardly conceive of to get issue 1 complete on time.

...likes fighting sports. His obsession with Bon Jovi’s New Jersey Album knows no boundsworryingly, Andy keeps his permed mane somewhere other than on his bonce…

...enjoys Mexican liquor and ladies underwear. His most recent hobby is releasing his own mixtape podcast series - Stay Tuned. Nick handles HYDROMAG’s social media channels and press enquiries.

...the first of our guest writers, Ed enjoys being outside, either with his hands full or with something fast between his legs; cycling, motorcycling, skiing and climbingwhich this week he gives us an introduction too, see page [42].


In this issue of Hydromag, the UK's most popular Hydroponic Magazine... The Evolution of Digital Ballasts Urbanana - The latest in inne...