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A date for your diary... Monday May 6th, 9.30pm, tune in to Showcase 2 available on Sky channel 192 or Freesat 402.
9.30pm on Monday, May 6th sees the arrival of HYDROSHOW. tv on UK television; maybe you’ve heard us mention it before, once or twice? You’ll have to forgive us for being overly excited about launching the World’s first dedicated Hydroponics show. May 6th will also usher in a shift in context for HYDROMAG; we’ll be running companion pieces for many of the items you’ll see on the show. Over the past four issues, the HYDROMAG team have sought to present Hydroponics in an approachable way. This issue cements that approach; our featured article ‘Quality Grow Gear’ is a deﬁnitive guide to all that you need to know before setting your cash down on the counter of your local hydroponics supplier. Also in this issue, Christian Mason’s article on Thanet Earth highlights the climate in which commercial hydroponics companies operate in the UK today. It has always been our intention to take a ﬁrst-hand, in depth look at commercial hydroponics in the UK and around the rest of the world. This is no mean feat because, warranted or not (we’re going with not, in case that isn’t clear), commercial hydroponics suffers, in part, from the tawdry reputation afforded to hobby hydroponics. Whatever you choose to grow and however you feel about what others choose to grow, we are all using the same tools and we can all learn from each other’s experience. Supporting, promoting and working together with the commercial sector is a fundamentally important step in the process of ﬁguratively taking hydroponics out of the basements and backrooms. Together we can work towards making hydroponics a universally recognised and fundamental aspect of the future of sustainable food production. For us, that means continuing in the same vain that Christian has lain out in his Thanet Earth article. HYDROMAG’s new direction will hopefully afford us the opportunity to do exactly that. For you, the hydroponic gardeners at home, it can mean something as seemingly innocuous as feeding your hydroponically grown harbinger peppers to your friends and family. Doesn’t sound all that taxing does it?
Cosmo Mackenzie Cosmo MacKenzie, Editor
Technical Assistant Editor Bill Sutherland firstname.lastname@example.org Lifestyle Patrick Swift email@example.com Lifestyle Christian Mason firstname.lastname@example.org Lifestyle Buddy Mason email@example.com Managing Director / Sales Pete Turner firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director Russ Sealey email@example.com PR Executive Nick Stokoe firstname.lastname@example.org Art / Illustration Emma Godley email@example.com Design / Photography Andrew Clegg firstname.lastname@example.org Accounts Claire Kennedy email@example.com
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ISSUE NO. 004 04.2013
Featured In This Issue... 36 08
COVER STORY Coming up on HYDROSHOW
Following on from issue two; a guide to what’s coming up on the world’s first hydroponics programme
THE FEED This is Thanet Earth
Commercial hydroponics in the UK; factory farming or a greener future?
PHOTOGRAPH © THANET EARTH
THE KNOWLEDGE Expert Opinions: Bloom Boost
How and why to venture beyond your base nutrient mix.
FEATURE The Notional Grow Room
Guiding newcomers away from the penny pinching pitfalls which threaten the industry.
DISTRACTIONS 100 Films to Watch…
DISTRACTIONS A-Z of Music
DISTRACTIONS Be a Sport
GROW GEAR Grow Gear
Biographical films to inspire you, or more likely put your life to shame.
Tour date t-shirts at the ready, it’s time for some Classic Rock.
An insight into the psychology of sports; which is apparently about more than drinking, shouting and blissfully ironic homoerotica.
THE KNOWLEDGE Seedlings in Diﬀerent Mediums
THE KNOWLEDGE Lighting Reﬂectors
Seedlings: not as noisy as babies, but just as fussy about where you set them down.
Parabolic, air-cooled or somewhere in between; which will best suit your growroom’s needs?
Every Issue we give you a taste of our advertiser’s premier products.
PHOTOGRAPHY © THANET EARTH
WORDS BY: Christian Mason
Last December the Soyuz TMA-07M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan; destined for the International Space Station. On board were Dr. Thomas Marshburn, Chris Hadﬁeld and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko. If they passed Earth coordinates 51.3689° N, 1.4189° E, and had happened to gaze out of their spacecraft window, they would have been privy to a curious sight: a 55 hectare greenhouse complex. They would have seen the UK’s largest hydroponics farm; Thanet Earth. For many, the Thanet Earth project is a glimpse of the future – a beacon of sustainability in a world increasingly depleted of resources and bedevilled by climate change. For others however, Thanet Earth is a blot on the landscape, a signal that big business is coming to a rustic village near you; to pave over our green and pleasant land in a move the Daily Mail reported as being the “insidious creep of factory farming”. So who or what is Thanet Earth and what does it mean for the future of farming? In this issue, HYDROMAG attempts to find out. Thanet Earth is owned by Fresca Group, an umbrella company for seventeen separate fresh-food businesses. Working with a consortium of Dutch growers, four major greenhouses have been built – the first in 2008 - with three still in development. On completion Thanet Earth will cover a massive 91 hectares of land. Thanet, in Kent, was chosen as a location for more than just its pun potential – as the light levels much further north are deemed
too weak. (It’s a good thing, given their interest in rhyming wordplay, that they aren’t based in Shroton in Dorset or Hampton Wick.) They specialise in hydroponically-grown tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Young plants are brought in from specialist nurseries and suspended in rockwool growbags. They use a fully-automated, drip feed system run from a central computer; with programmes specific to each plant type. Many of the tomato plants grow to 15 metres in height – with the base of the plant adjusted for ease of access. A complex lighting system is used to replicate summer conditions all year round, with blinds trapping light inside during nightfall, and then rolling back during daylight hours. Each greenhouse has its own Combined Heat and Power system, with excess electricity sold to the National Grid. The heat and carbon dioxide by-product of the CHP is then channelled back to the plants rather than released into the atmosphere. Another example of Thanet Earth’s commitment to sustainability is their use of water. Besides the 30% of unused water and feed that is reused, 35 million litres of rainwater is collected on the roof annually – precisely half their water needs. Thanet Earth also has a naturalistic approach to pest control - using friendly insects to eradicate the less friendly. They also release worker bees into the greenhouses for plant pollination (and perhaps to keep their workers on their toes). They currently produce millions of vine, baby plum, Sunstream and Piccolo tomatoes a week; as well as 700,000 cucumbers and 750,000 sweet, bell and mini peppers. Despite initially sustaining high losses during its early years of operations, Thanet Earth turned a profit for the first time in 2011, and is now finding demand outstripping supply. Tomatoes are grown all year round; cucumbers from February to November; and peppers between March and November.
But not everyone is entirely happy with Thanet Earth’s success. The Campaign for Rural England has this to say: “Huge intensive, indoor production units and the equipment they bring with them threaten the landscape and surrounding farmlands. Without animals in ﬁelds, we are losing those vital landscape features such as hedgerows, drystone walls and wildlife habitats.” And they’ve been accused by food campaigners of creating bland antifood, of being anti-nature in their wilful ignorance of seasonal farming. Jeanette Longﬁeld of Sustain, was quoted as saying: “What are they [the vegetables] going to taste like if they are grown in water rather than in soil? How is this going to reconnect people with the importance of seasonal food and of experiencing different varieties? This is about producing bland food. French farmers have a word for this - they call it the “terroir” – it’s the special characteristics of the local landscape on the grapes and food they produce. It means that the land - the soil and the local climate - leave their mark on food.” Its harshest critics, however, must grudgingly accept Thanet Earth’s focus on sustainability (they picked up the accolade of ‘Champion of Sustainable Farm Practice’ at the 2012 Food & Farming Industry Awards) is to be applauded. And their commendable voluntary work with local schools and colleges is earning them friends. The need to cut CO2 emissions is well documented (22% of the UK’s carbon emissions are the fault of our food chain) and even climate change sceptics recognise that sourcing one’s food locally is desirable – the beneﬁt to the economy and the increased freshness of produce is hard to ignore. According to a DEFRA report for Wise Moves, British farmers can produce 62% of our country’s needs, yet much of this percentage is exported unnecessarily so we ultimately import double the amount of food we export. Consumers have come to expect a vast array of produce - much of which cannot be grown under local conditions - at all times (i.e. including produce that can be grown locally but is out of season). The cat is out of the bag – even with the best of intentions for the environment, most consumers might ﬁnd giving up tomatoes during winter time, or bananas altogether, a step too far. So if we wish to keep our nation stocked all year round with its favourite fruit and
vegetables, adhering to the Campaign for Rural England’s nostalgic view of rustic fences, skipping lambs and ruddy-faced old farmers chewing straw means the continued importing of produce on its current vast scale. This is ignoring the fact that shortening supply chains is essential for a sustainable future. Bizarrely, arch-critic of Thanet Earth – Janet Longﬁeld – had this to say about vertical urban farming: “…they remove the need for tractors and other fueldependent equipment. Distances to ship the produce from grower to retailer to consumer are also slashed.” She goes on to say: “Intensive agriculture is currently entirely dependent on fossil fuels, from its use of nitrogen-based fertilisers to mechanical equipment, transport and refrigeration – and so urban agriculture really makes a lot of sense”. In particular, Longﬁeld sees “great potential for perishables that don’t travel well”. All good points that essentially support the work of Fresca Group. Thanet Earth has been intelligent in its use of hydroponics as it allows them to not only produce vegetables out of season, making foreign imports to UK supermarkets (and therefore CO2 spewing freight transportation) less necessary; but also because the nature of hydroponics systems produces “low carbon” food. The indoor, automated aspect of their system means fewer farming vehicles, fewer processes whereby emissions can occur. Coming back to the ﬂavour argument over whether hydroponically-grown plants compare with conventional, soil-based produce; Dr.Gene A. Giacomelli of the University of Arizona told the NY Times that “we may not know of every nutrient you get from the soil,” adding, “but in a taste test, often you can’t tell the difference between hydroponic and ﬁeld-grown crops.” Most of HYDROMAG’s readership will probably conﬁrm this stance. And as Dr. Giacomelli has pointed out; ﬁeld crops are just as likely to be ‘taste-challenged’ as “they can be affected by too much rain or lack of rain, too much sun or lack of sun” – all problems overcome through the adoption of hydroponic farming methods. The ‘terroir’ belief – that food takes certain characteristics from its environment, and is all the better for it – is extremely hard, if not impossible, to prove. Finally, we come to the accusation that hectares of glass over our landscapes will prove to be an eyesore and damage wildlife habitats. Fresca have worked hard with local conservationists to limit its impact on local species; but as Steve McVicars, the former Managing Director of Thanet Earth, told The Guardian – it’s highly unlikely their model will be rolled out across the hills and valleys of Britain. “We don’t believe you can go north of the Thames in terms of winter light. We’ve got 17% more light down here than you would have towards the Midlands, and that is really crucial.” So until the Earth tilts on its axis and we ﬁnd our island a few miles further south than usual, the next inhabitants of the International Space Station are unlikely to look down and ﬁnd Britain a nation of greenhouses.
RAINWATER Besides the 30% of unused water and feed that is reused, 35 million litres of rainwater is collected on the roof annually – precisely half their water needs.
PEST CONTOL Thanet Earth has a naturalistic approach to pest control - using friendly insects to eradicate the less friendly.
CO2 RECYCLING The heat and carbon dioxide by-product of the CHP is channelled back to the plants rather than released into the atmosphere.
LIGHT & WARMTH To minimise wasted light, the tomato greenhouse is fitted with a system of blinds which exist to trap the light and warmth inside.
GREEN PEACE? ...THE BIOS URN For those of us for whom ‘green-living’ is important, it might also be prudent to consider ‘green-dying’. It’s a morbid thought, but alongside taxes, death is one of the few certainties in life – as is environmental damage. With this in mind we’ve seen banana-leaf coffins, SilkScreened Eco Pods, woodland burials, and a slew of new funeral homes and companies offering greener choices for those preparing to meet their Maker. And why not? The population of the Earth is growing at a frenetic rate; we’re running out of space to build houses and factories, let alone to set aside valuable land for cemetery use. Precious pine, mahogany and yew trees have to be cut down for caskets (approximately 437,000 coffins are burned annually in UK crematoriums alone). Leaking embalming fluid pollutes soil (827,060 gallons of formaldehyde, phenol, methanol and many other chemicals are buried each year in the United States). And lest we forget, carbon dioxide emissions are cooking our planet. Step forward Bios Urn, which its creators believe could help alleviate much of the above. A snip at just 137 euros an urn, you’ll also keep your burial costs down – something all of us in the grip of economic recession will be relieved to hear. In the words of the team behind Bios Urn “[the] project reintroduces the human being to the natural circle of life. It is the profane ritual of regeneration and the return to nature.” The urn itself is designed to regenerate and return to nature, being made from entirely biodegradable materials - coconut husk, peat and cellulose – not unlike much of the growth media used in hydroponics. It’s also the perfect environment for the seed of a tree to ﬂourish – which is exactly what you’ll ﬁnd once you pop it open. Cremated human remains contain calcium phosphate, which acts as an
When music-video director Tim Pope teamed up with The Cure to sing “I Want to be a Tree” in 1985, he possibly wasn’t being literal. But this worthy, if unusual, sentiment seems to have served as an inspiration for Barcelona-based designers Martín Azúa and Gerard Moline, who bring us the Bios Urn – part of a recent surge in eco-friendly funeral products on the market. Now you too can aspire to be a tree.
excellent plant fertiliser (it is worth noting however, if you intend to choose your own seed type, that human remains tend to have a relatively high pH value – so trees that ﬂourish in acidic soil might struggle in your urn). Just add a freshly cremated dead body, plant in a suitable location, and in a number of years determined by your seed choice (Aleppo Pine is the default, but can be easily replaced) – you’ll have a beautiful tree where your loved one used to be. As you’d expect from two multiple award-winning designers whose work is frequently inspired by nature; the packaging is simple and radiating modern, ‘green’ chic – not unlike an Innocent Smoothie or an organic soya drink – with its fetching logo comprised of a hand-drawn outline of a man with the universal recycling icon for a head. The pleasing design might leave you tempted to buy one well before your time on this Earth is up, but keep in mind seeds left more than a year or two without being planted might fail to grow. Equally, the Bios Urn itself shouldn’t be kept for more than three years and even then only in dry storage. For those of you wishing to give your pet that special send oﬀ, there’s no reason why the Bios Urn can’t be used for animals. In fact, Azúa is proud of the fact that Copito de Nieve (a.k.a. “Snowﬂake”), an albino gorilla, once the pride of Barcelona zoo, is currently enjoying life as a tree somewhere in Catalunya as we write, having been buried in a Bios Urn in 2003. And as more or less any seed can be used, Fido can quite easily become a Yucca or a Rose bush – depending on the size of your garden. So it is with regret that we must acknowledge each and every one of us of will one day cast oﬀ his mortal coil, but we can take comfort in the thought of ﬁnishing our days in a Bios Urn. As your seed begins to sprout, it will draw nutrients from your ashes, thereby retaining a degree of your “essence”. You will, in the loosest sense, live on in that tree – thereby achieving Tim Pope’s – and perhaps now your – lifelong ambition.
“Nobody wants to tempt fate with something that you’ve spent months tending to... On the other hand, there’s a strong chance that bloom boosters could give your plants that final push that you’ve been missing. Personally, I think pudding without cream is tantamount to heresy. It isn’t my opinion that counts though, so over to the experts…”
How do you choose which products to use? More often than not, people tend to play it safe by sticking to what they know. The trouble is that by that logic you’re never likely to move away from the first product you try, which means you could well be missing out on a better alternative.
There are plenty of people out there who are more than happy to offer up their opinion, but just how much value there is to their opinion isn’t so easy to determine. HYDROMAG offers you the opportunity to see beyond the sea of brightly coloured labels by giving industry experts the opportunity to tell you about their products, in their own words. No statistics plucked from the air, no marketing spiel, and no bikini clad women (well as few as possible; you can’t blame them for trying). Years of dedicated research and development go into producing high quality products, so who better to hear about them from than the people who make a living doing exactly that? Some growers will tell you that adding to your base nutrient regime isn’t necessary. There’s some credence to the opinion; you don’t need to add to it anymore then you need to have cream with your pudding. Nonetheless, the fact that booster and stimulants exist at all in the market is a testament to their legitimacy. We’re all cautious when it comes to the final stages of any plant’s life. Nobody wants to tempt fate with something that you’ve spent months tending to, so bloom boosters are understandably a harder sell than propagation boosters or even grow boosters. On the other hand, there’s a strong chance that bloom boosters could give your plants that final push that you’ve been missing. Personally, I think pudding without cream is tantamount to heresy. It isn’t my opinion that counts though, so over to the experts…
In our second round of ‘Expert Opinions’, BUDDHAS TREE and CANNA have kindly agreed to introduce us to their Bloom Boosters.
EXPERT OPINIONS BUDDHAS TREE Environment is universally accepted as the Number 1 factor for healthy productive plants. We also know, when it comes to short flowering annual plants that are popular with growers, their need for various elements changes during their lifetime. Attention to the strength and type of nutrients you feed to your plants is important at all stages of its life cycle, but none more so than the blooming phase. So assuming that all environmental and lighting conditions are perfect, we can then consider the addition of bloom boosting nutrients and additives to our existing base nutrient regime. This enables us to more closely follow the changing pattern of the plants desire for varying strengths and ratios of elements. It also enables us to have more control of the plants metabolism and to bio stimulate other cellular systems and functions essential to their life and productivity. By ensuring that you meet the plants changing demand , whilst not over fertilising , you can significantly enhance the yield and quality of your flowers . Our approach to their most productive growing phase consists of 3 key areas of consideration that are vitally important for your plants to fulfil their potential. Firstly is the area of PK supplementation. The benefits of supplementing your base nutrient with a PK additive are many and by harvest time also obvious. There are many great base flowering nutrients available but it is to be considered that these have to be developed with a ratio and composition in the middle ground, so that it caters for your plants at the start of flower when their desire for P and K is weaker, up towards the end of the flowering cycle when the plants demand often outstrips the ratio of P and K in your base nutrient. PK based bloom boosting nutrient such as our Buddhas Tree PK 9-18 gives you control and enables you to increase these elements without over fertilization and to meet the plants increasing demand for them throughout most of the flowering cycle. Secondly is the area of the plants metabolism. What is the saying? You can lead a horse to water, but you cant make it drink?…..Indeed this is also the case with any living organism. Just because you provide your plants with the best most well balanced and healthy nutrient
Buddhas Tree PK Available in 250ml(£30)/1Ltr Buddhas Tree Advanced Meta-BOOST Available in 1Ltr/5Ltr
that you can, doesn’t mean that its necessarily hungry. Many environmental and other factors can affect your plants metabolism that will cause its nutrient uptake to slow or if severe, even stop. Sometimes a plants metabolic rate is also a genetic trait. It is possible to increase your plants hunger, even over and above its normal levels by stimulating and energising their metabolism. This makes for overall increases in productivity and quality. A bloom boosting additive such as our Buddhas Tree Advanced Meta-BOOST achieves this in a natural way and will keep your plants in a healthy hungry state of maximum productivity. Finally is the area of Bio-stimulation. Your plants have many other vital biological and biochemical systems that are vital for its life and development. As such your plant has to synthesise many Phytohormones, Amino acids and other biochemical compounds from the nutrient you provide. Many of these are complex molecules that the plant expends significant energy making. By providing the plant with a rich source of natural bio stimulants directly it can save the plant energy converting the nutrients into its own. Its saved energy gets given over to more desirable areas of growth such as your flowers development, sugar and oil production. Buddhas Tree Advanced MetaBOOST is the perfect full spectrum source of natural seaweed derived biostimulants.
Many PK suppliments are around a ratio of 13/14 (close to 1:1 and some even higher near 2:1). This high ratio of P is un-needed by your plant in our experience and opinion. This ratio of Phosphorus can only be used at a very speciﬁc time in the ﬂowering cycle (usually around week 5). If used before this window, that ratio of P will have an adverse, stunting eﬀect on your plants . Likewise if used after this window, the plants get loaded with P that they can`t make use of and again this has adverse eﬀects on the quality of your harvest. The plant cant metabolise the excess P and so it remains in the plant tissue. Our PK 9-18 is a unique blend of ingredients and has a 9-18 (1:2) elemental ratio of P and K. At this ratio it provides a much wider window of enrichment, ﬁner control of the changing demands of the plant and eﬀects a much improved response from the plants than conventional ratios and blends. It set the highest standards of performance, solubility and stability, whilst setting new standards of safety for a PK based nutrient supplement with its conformity to EU regulation. At Buddhas Tree we have developed these duo of safe and innovative products to work beautifully together and to support your base nutrient regime. They work outstandingly well to meet the changing demands of your plants and to stimulate and drive all of their ﬂowering biosystems onto new levels of productivity and quality. www.buddhastree.co.uk for more information on our bloom boosting suppliments.
When purchasing a booster one should consider the following:
EXPERT OPINIONS CANNA
THE PRODUCT INGREDIENTS: Are these macro or trace elements, whether or not in special forms such as chelates or EDTA? Are terms like “minerals” or “nutrients” used? If so, you can be sure that you are dealing here with a fertiliser, possibly with further additives. Does the product contain numerous unfamiliar substances? A booster isn’t a magic potion, with as many weird ingredients as possible! Check whether the claims made for the product match up with the properties of a booster. PRODUCT CLAIMS: Is the product described as affecting factors other than processes in the plant? There might for example be claims about effects on organisms in the soil, or effects on the growing medium. However exceptional such a product may be, it isn’t a booster. Are claims made about effects on several unconnected processes in the plant, promoting growth in both the vegetative and flowering phases? If so it may be wise to have doubts about the effectiveness of such a product.
Booster quite literally means a product or substance used to initiate or accelerate a process, to deliver an injection of energy. In plant cultivation boosters are products whose ingredients influence the vital processes of the plant, with positive outcomes for the grower. These substances are often referred to as “stimulators” and they continuously encourage processes going on in the plant. Light and nutrition are two obvious means of influencing biological processes in the plant; many plants are sensitive to day length for example and will start to form flowers in response to a change in the hours of light they receive. You will also be familiar with the effects of nutrition on the development of plants. Light and nutrients are not considered as boosters however, otherwise we would be calling everything a plant needs for healthy growth a “booster”. Boosters are therefore defined as products whose ingredients are not essential for the plant, but which nevertheless have substantial impacts on its processes. However, if the plant’s essential needs for light, water and nutrition are not met, administering a booster cannot be expected to deliver a better plant compared to a situation where those basic requirements were met. Boosters may seem to have almost magical properties, but that is quite wrong, as the effects of their constituents are actually well understood. Unfortunately the secrecy that often surrounds the nature of the active ingredients sometimes causes a temptation to mislead purchasers. As a result this leads to a believer versus non-believer situation. Yet using the definition of a ‘booster’ actually makes it easy to recognise a genuine one: ‘ A booster stimulates one or more linked processes in the plant, and the active ingredient or ingredients are not essential requirements for the survival of the plant.’ To be clear, products used in plant cultivation incorrectly identified as boosters may be excellent products, but they just aren’t boosters. It’s thought that around 85% of the products promoted as a “booster” may fall into that category.
CANNABOOST Accelerator is a booster specifically developed to optimalise the formation of flowers. The active ingredients in CANNABOOST which stimulate ﬂower development are so-called ‘oligosaccharides’ of diﬀerent types. Oligosaccharides occur widely in nature and can be described in biochemical terms as short chains of molecules which may or may not consist of diﬀerent types of sugar. Oligosaccharides are present in CANNABOOST in precise proportions, which allow them to reinforce or supplement one another’s eﬀects. The concentrations of the diﬀerent oligosaccharides and the applied concentration are also important in achieving the desired results. It is the ratios between the diﬀerent oligosaccharides and their concentrations in CANNABOOST when diluted for application, that determine the product’s unique eﬀects on ﬂower formation. Recent research has shown that, among other eﬀects, the use of CANNABOOST alters the composition of the substances found in the leaf. The leaves exhibit a more productive profile than those of plants grown without CANNABOOST, meaning the crop was in the generative phase both earlier and more distinct. In Perlagonium graveolens this change resulted in a higher dry matter content in the ﬂowers, while cut ﬂowers of Chrysanthemum rubellum stand longer in the vase when the plants have received CANNABOOST during cultivation. These studies and others show that the use of the product CANNABOOST leads to both qualitative and quantitative improvement in ﬂower-related end products.
CANNABOOST Available in 250ml/1Ltr/5Ltr/10Ltr
Bloom Boost Products
A selection of other Bloom Boost nutrients currently available on the market...
BCUZZ BLOOM STIMULATOR
ADVANCED NUTRIENTS BIG BUD
AGRICULTURAL ORGANICS BLOOM ULTRA
RAMBRIDGE BLOSSOM BLOOD
PLANT MAGIC PLUS BLOOM BOOST
FLAIRFORM BUD STORM
PLAGRON GREEN SENSATION
DUTCH PRO EXPLODE
THE HEAVIES LATE BLOOM ENHANCER
HOUSE & GARDEN BUD XL
GROTEK MONSTER BLOOM
ADJUSTA-WATT® BALLASTS Ordinarily, a ballast is designed to power your lamps. Plug one end in to the wall and attach the other end to your lamp, turn it on and hey presto – your lamp lights up. But life often isn’t so simple, and the precarious environment of a grow room can be unforgiving and can be a catalyst for ballast-based nightmares.
Not happy with the hydro industry’s plain approach to horticultural lighting, the boffins at Sol Digital have come up with a solution, namely, the Adjusta-Watt® – probably the world’s most advanced horticultural digital ballast, and it is due to its magnificence that it gets a well deserved spot in this issue of HYDROMAG Favourites, you’ll see why soon...
OTHER NEAT STUFF...
Smart Start™ Ignition Control - Currently unique to all of Sol’s products, Smart Start™ Ignition Control, makes the Adjusta-Watt® very safe and extremely reliable. On connecting more than one ballast to the same electrical circuit (plugging multiple ballasts in to the wall in one room!) the integrated Ignition Control software balances the electrical draw by igniting one lamp at a time, preventing electrical surges and spikes that can overload the mains circuit and trip circuit breaking systems. Soft Start Technology - When using a magnetic ballast, the initial powering of a lamp causes a spike in electrical current. This spike can reduce the life of your lamp, and indeed reduce its eﬃciency in its usual life-span. The AdjustaWatt® prolongs lamp life by stopping this spike and prevents lamp overload. When the ballast is started from cold there is a 3 second delay before ignition. After ignition there will be a series of random 0-2 second delays before full brightness is reached after approximately 3-5 minutes.
Re-Strike of Hot Lamp after Mains Failure - Also as standard with this ballast is a reassuring extra safety feature called Re-Strike. Re-strike comes in to play if your have a power-cut, the ballast will check the temperature of the lamp and only switch it back on when it is safe to do so, once again – preserving the life of your lamps.
Adjustable - With its power adjustment dial, the Adjusta-Watt® allows you to use diﬀerent wattage lamps. Depending on the model, the ballast will run either 250w, 400w and 600w lamps OR 400w, 600w and 1000w lamps. Of course, you can’t connect a 400w lamp and power it to 600w, that would cause a small explosion and a bad electronic smell! But you can for instance turn down the power of your 600w to 400w, which could come in handy if your plants are reaching to close to the lamp for instance. The softstart technology also allows you to do this safely, by slowly stepping the required power up and down, rather than delivering it in one large hit.
The Adjusta-Watt® adjusts its output frequency to maintain a constant output regardless of input power ﬂuctuations and ageing lamps. This also prevents ‘lamp ﬂicker’. As with most digital ballasts, the extra surface area on the ballasts ‘radiator’ style casing means it runs extremely cool, and the digital hardware means there’s practically no noise. Intelligent circuit protection safeguards Adjusta-Watt® users from a series of electrical mishaps, such as open circuit protection, short circuit protection, over voltage protection, under voltage protection and over temperature protection. Low Running Temperatures - In keeping with the popular trend of low running temperature ballasts, the Adjustwatt’s unique shape plays a big part in allowing the ballast to run as cool as it does without the use of noisy internal fans. Additionally, the heart shape design actually allows heat to dissipate precisely from the areas where it accumulates with conventional ballast shapes.
CONS For more information visit: www.soldigital.co.uk
As ever, we don’t want to blow Sol Digital’s trumpet too much and every product has its ﬂaws. The major issue with Adjusta-Watt® is that it does cost a few more quid than standard digital ballasts. In reply to this, Sol-Digital had two points. 1. The SmartStart ballast from Sol also has many of the features of the Adjusta-Watt® but for less money, and 2. The popularity of the Adjusta-Watt® has given Sol more buying power, meaning there may be a price reduction in the coming months. Keep an eye out on Sol’s website for more details.
MABO FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Here at HYDROMAG, we don’t just recommend the products that give you the best yield, the tastiest fruits or the fastest growth... we also like to think of your well-being, and indeed the well-being of your grow room(s) and the house that they reside in. When Down To Earth Kent pointed this little product out we were more than happy to add it to the infamous HYDROMAG FAVE pages. The MABO Fire Extinguisher is like no other fire extinguisher on the planet, in fact, its so unique that the manufacturers won’t tell anyone what’s in it. “But hold on a moment, its a fire extinguisher, what’s so special?” you might say... well, it wouldn’t be in this section of the magazine if it wasn’t so special...
The Mabo also has a few other tricks up its sleeve too. Being only 1kg in weight and smaller than a kitchen roll, the Mabo is easy to mount in the smallest and least sturdy of places (imagine trying to hand a water based fire extinguisher from that cheaply made tent you just purchased!). The unit is also good for 10 years or more without any maintenance required, and its meets all sorts of EC standards we wont bother to bore you with.
HOW IT WORKS Firstly, how does it work? Well, the Mabo recognises a change in room temperature caused by fire, and once the temperature reaches above 84 degrees Celsius the liquid in the Mabo is atomised, causing the case to burst and scatter its contents over an area of up to 16 square meters. In short, unless you’re growing for a small army, this fire extinguisher will do for the largest of home grow rooms. Unlike a water, powder or gas based extinguisher, the Mabo will eliminate a fire in seconds, by cooling and smothering the flame, and then it also acts as a retardant, preventing the fire from re-igniting. And that’s not all, unlike the aforementioned extinguisher types, what makes the Mabo completely unique is that it will not damage your grow-room electronics after its discharged.
CONS This is a must for anyone who has an indoor growroom. One store owner told us he tells customers who buy these ‘I hope you’re wasting your money’... and that’s the only thing we can find wrong with the Mabo – if you see it working then its probably bad news.
“So what sort of gunky horrible residue does the Mabo leave behind?” you might ask. After a fire, the Mabo is very easy to clean-up after. No foam or water residue is left behind, and the UK distributors of Mabo are so confident, they’ve even started selling these in to stately homes where their décor and contents are extremely valuable. In addition to this, the contents of the Mabo are non-harmful to animals and humans, so there’s no need to worry about harming your pets or children. The Mabo can also be used like a hand grenade. If you see the fire, throw the Mabo in to it, and it will discharge putting the fire out. So what’s inside it? Well, if we knew that we’d be making them ourselves. The contents of the Mabo is a closely guarded secret which only the manufacturers know. All we need to know that it works and it might save your life, your grow-room and your home.
For more information visit: www.downtoearthkent.co.uk The Mabo will also feature in HYDROSHOW.tv starting May 6th 2013.
As recently as the 1990s, most people had never heard of a grow light. Grow tents, as we know them today, hadn’t even been invented. NFT stood for the National Film Theatre and hydroponics was something to do with recording sound waves underwater. Okay, that was a bit of a stretch but it’s true to say that indoor gardening has boomed massively over the last decade. No doubt you’ve noticed all the new grow shops springing up all over the place reflecting the fact that what was once a niche pastime is now almost mainstream by comparison. You could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a good thing to have more growers on the scene. As the free market theory goes, very roughly, more growers equal more money leading to greater competition and innovation in the marketplace. The net result being that better products are available at cheaper prices for us all to enjoy—in an ideal world, perhaps. Alas, we don’t live in a consumerist utopia. So what’s the problem? Well, alongside the aforementioned boom, a new market for cheap, sub-standard growing equipment has emerged—one personified by unscrupulous noobs looking to get completely “set up” (grow light, tent, pots, soil, nutrients, fan, filter) without parting with much more than a few hundred quid for the lot. “Saw all ‘dis loads cheaper on Ebay.” You get the picture. And it’s horrible. As the inevitable price wars between some retailers intensified, some are resorting to importing hardware direct from the far east, offering highly questionable gear to their customers without as much as a CE mark—bypassing the standard quality-control checks that any half-decent wholesaler / importer would normally undertake. The result? A whole load of shoddy, cheap gear is on the market— serving those who don’t know any better. In short, kids who don’t know the first thing about indoor gardening are being exploited through their ignorance. It doesn’t take a genius, therefore, to work out the nature of the remedy—better educated customers. Which brings us to the here and now. Welcome to our crash course in knowing what’s what with indoor gardening gear!
Nothing’s growing in your indoor garden without light! High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting systems offer the highest efficiency and the level of light intensity you need to grow any plant you can think of. Most HID lighting systems can run both High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) lamps. An HID lighting system is made up of three components; ballast, lamp and reflector. Nowadays most grow shops stock a range of systems to suit different budgets. The most important piece of kit to get right is your ballast. This is the box that ignites and drives the grow lamp. The more expensive ballasts are known as ‘electronic’ or ‘digital’, and the cheaper ballast are called magnetic or electro-magnetic.
> HIGH POWER FACTOR > 0.98 – ENERGY EFFICIENT. > COOLER RUNNING TEMP. > LIGHTWEIGHT. > HIGH FREQUENCY, TYPICALLY 40-90KHZ - ELIMINATES FLICKER. > REGULATE VOLTAGE FOR STABLE LIGHT OUTPUT. > DIMMABLE/WATTAGE SELECTION FUNCTION AVAILABLE. > INTERNAL CIRCUIT MAKE THEM DIFFICULT TO REPAIR.
> TYPICAL POWER FACTOR: 0.94. > GENERATE MORE HEAT. > THE CORE AND COIL (CHOKE) MAKE THEM HEAVY. > LOW FREQUENCY, 50-60HZ – CAUSES FLICKERING (VISIBLE VIA A DIGITAL CAMERA). > VOLTAGE DRIVEN, MEANING VOLTAGE VARIATION CREATES LOWER OR HIGHER OUTPUT. > 3 MAIN COMPONENTS (CHOKE, CAPACITOR, IGNITOR) MAKE THEM EASY TO REPAIR.
WANT TO GO DEEPER?
SEE: HTTP://GOO.GL/MAKNH FOR MAXIGROW’S FULL ARTICLE. There’s nothing wrong with magnetic ballasts per se. They are known for their ruggedness, reliability and longevity. But be sure to look for the “Genuine Quality” or “Genuine 600 watt” seal to ensure your magnetic ballast is fully powering the lamp. Many substandard ballasts do not power the lamp adequately—a crafty way of disguising the presence of other low quality components. Remember, cheap lights are cheap for a reason; the cheaper components inside the ballast often do not ignite and run the lamp at 600W. Most magnetic ballasts will use around 655W to deliver 600W to the lamp. This extra 55W is mainly lost to heat generated by the ballast. If the ballast is using only 600W, then logically it cannot deliver 600W to the lamp. In a recent study by Maxigrow, some cheap lighting systems being sold as 600W complete kits were clocked at just over 550W! Many were below 630W while only a handful consumed 655W or more to provide a true 600W of power to the lamp. Overall, digital ballasts are better in terms of efficiency (less energy is converted to waste heat) and can produce better results—especially if your mains voltage happens to be low. (We’re not all exactly at 240 volts you know!) Electronic ballasts compensate for any discrepancies in mains voltage whereas magnetics do not. They also boast more functionality, such as dimming—but remember, this is only really suitable for high pressure sodium lamps, not metal halide. If you’re looking for the best lighting system, digital ballasts are the way to go but expect to cough up around twice as much cash. In a typical UK grow shop, a high-end reliable 600W magnetic ballast will cost £65-70, where as a digital counterpart will cost £140-160. Your cheapest 600w complete HPS lighting system (bulb and socket, reflector, ballast) will cost between £65-85, mid range between £95-£150 and the higher end units can cost up to £300.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR RETAILER
> MAKE SURE YOU ASK ABOUT THE LENGTH OF THE MANUFACTURER’S GUARANTEE AND WARRANTY AVAILABLE WITH ANY BALLAST YOU PURCHASE. > ALL ELECTRICAL ITEMS BOUGHT IN A SHOP ARE LEGALLY COVERED BY A ONE YEAR GUARANTEE. A GOOD BALLAST SHOULD HAVE AN EXTENDED TWO TO THREE YEAR GUARANTEE. ANY LESS AND YOUR ALARM BELLS SHOULD BE RINGING.
AVOID... BARE (UN-BOXED, UNPROTECTED) BALLASTS AT ALL COSTS! THEY ARE NOT DESIGNED FOR INDOOR GARDENING AND ARE POTENTIALLY VERY DANGEROUS.
Reflectors can vary massively in price. Some reflectors alone can cost upwards of £200, while some only £20. Remember, the main purpose of a reflector is to beam light towards your plants as evenly as possible, without creating hot spots. Larger reflectors that have the capability to be air-cooled for additional heat removal are more expensive than open reflectors. Adequate results can be achieved with cheap reflectors, just make sure the material is hammered aluminium and not the less reflective stucco.
REMEMBER, FOR GOOD YIELDS AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE ALWAYS GO FOR AN HID GROW LIGHT KIT. DON’T TRY AND USE THEM OVER TOO GREAT AN AREA. A GOOD GENERAL RULE OF THUMB FOR LIGHT COVERAGE IS: > 250W – 0.75m2
> 400W – 1m2
> 600W – 1.2m2
> 1000W – 1.5m2
A classic novice’s mistake is trying to cover too large an area with too few watts, or using too much light in an area too small. Bigger isn’t always better either. It depends on your situation. The more distance a photon of light has to travel to reach your plants, the less incident energy will hit the leaf.
GROW TENT ZIPS
If there’s one product where the buyer should be super cautious, it’s grow tents. There are loads of cheap imitations on the market these days so it’s imperative to look for a proper, branded grow tent rather than a generic grey import.
FABRIC Good quality fabric is the foundation of a good tent. The original grow tent, called the HOMEbox, was launched in 2001. It was incredibly successfully, largely thanks to the manufacturer’s commitment to using premium quality, plant-safe materials. However, it wasn’t long before the aforementioned cheap copycat tents appeared on the market using inferior materials. These tents use materials that were not suitable for growing plants and under the heat of the HID grow lamps they released harmful volatiles into the air, a process known as off-gassing, which stunted plant growth, caused strange leaf deficiency symptoms and eventually killed plants! These off-gassing tents are now largely a thing of the past, but it serves to demonstrate how important the materials you use around your plants are and the importance of being able to identify with true quality brands. Good tent fabric should be thick enough to maintain a good environment and maintain flexibility.
WHITE OR SILVER? A real anomaly in the grow tent marketplace is that silver tents are currently more popular than whitelined tents. After speaking with dozens of growers, the predominant belief appears to be that shiny silver materials are somehow more reflective and will therefore aid with plant growth better than the white materials. Guess what? They’re wrong! Silver grow tents are better heat insulators but reflect less plant-usable light than most ‘white’ lined tents. HOMEbox have recently stepped things up in the race to provide the best possible reflective material with the much-anticipated launch of their PAR+ super reflective lining—now exclusive to their full range. To the naked eye, the PAR+ material looks ‘white’ – but to a plant, the world inside a PAR+ grow tent is much, much brighter—reflecting up to 22% more plant usable light than non-PAR optimised tents. No doubt the other manufacturers will try to follow-suit in the near future.
WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT PAR+?
WATCH THE LAB TEST VIDEO HERE: HTTP://GOO.GL/GPBLP
Reliable zips are key to a good growing experience. Good quality zips are easy to put together, zip up smoothly and have larger teeth that fit together nicely. If the tent does not have all of these things, then each time you tend to your plant you will wish you had spent that extra few quid. Failed zips are the main complaint of cheap tents, so before you buy your tent, do not be afraid to ask if you can zip it up and un-zip it at least a few times. Some tents have a zip you have to put together, just like you would on a jacket, others have quick zips that require no assembly. The quick zip takes much less time to open and close, but the assembled zip enables better access to the tent often allow the complete opening of the front.
CORNERS & CONNECTORS Grow tents rely on having good quality corners and inline connectors for the poles to slot into. Poor quality tents often have fragile corner pieces. Look at the tent and feel the corners and connectors. They should be rugged and be able to keep the tent well supported. There is now a new generation of grow tents that no longer use plastic corners and connectors, they use metal corners with push fit buttons to ensure the poles are in position. Whether these are actually any better in practice is debatable.
VENTILATION AND CABLE OUTLETS A grow tent generally needs ventilation ports at the top and the bottom. The larger the tent, the larger the ventilation ports will need to be. It’s no good have a 2m2 grow tent, suitable for four HID grow lights with only 150mm top ports. Bigger ports will also allow for acoustic/insulated dusting to be used, giving you more options.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR RETAILER
> WHAT’S THE BRAND NAME OF THE GROW TENT? (IS IT ONE THAT YOU RECOGNIZE?) > HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SELLING THESE TENTS? REMEMBER AVOID NEW, UNBRANDED STOCK AND BE TENTATIVE ABOUT BARGAIN BASEMENT ‘PACKAGE DEALS.’ ALWAYS GO FOR A BRANDED, GOOD QUALITY TENT. > DO THEY STOCK SPARE PARTS? IT’S HANDY TO BE ABLE TO ACQUIRE SPARE POLES AND FITTINGS, JUST IN CASE YOU LOSE ANY.
Environment is everything. There is a temperature and humidity range within which your plants will thrive. Outside of this range and they will struggle to do well. For most fruiting or flowering annuals the optimum environment is 23-25°C and 60-65% during lights on. HID lights will quickly see temperatures soaring in your indoor garden unless you control the environment. There are two common ways of doing this. You can install an air-conditioner and carbon dioxide supplementation (aka the ‘sealed room’ approach) or you can exhaust out the hot air and bring in fresh air using inline fans. (Ventilation.) Most growers in Britain go for the ventilation approach because, let’s face it, ambient temperatures outside are usually pretty chilly. Apart from a few warmer weeks in July and August, our island is sort of air-conditioned already! What’s more, ventilating your grow room is far cheaper and less energy intensive than rigging up a split AC unit. Often growers will use carbon filters to scrub pollutants and remove plant odours before exhausting their garden’s air. Many conscientious urban growers in residential areas rely on their carbon filters to work well so as to not disquiet their neighbours with garden smells. As with all products, carbon filters vary in quality and performance. Throwing money at the situation doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the best carbon filter. In fact, some of the most expensive brands perform the worst. Look for longevity in the marketplace, rather than fancy branding or grandiose claims of being “the best.”
SO WHAT MAKES A GOOD CARBON FILTER?
> EFFICIENCY IS THE KEY ISSUE. FORGET ABOUT “MESA-ISOTROPIC-ACTIVATED-YADAYADA, CARBON HAND-MINED IN TASMANIA BY INDIGENOUS PIGMIES…” – THE MOST POLITE THING I CAN SAY ABOUT THAT IS THAT IT’S …. ERRRR…. CREATIVE MARKETING. CARBON IS INCREDIBLY GOOD AT ABSORBING ODOROUS, ORGANIC MOLECULES. BUT WHAT IS THE COST IN TERMS OF AIR FLOW? REMEMBER, AS A GROWER YOU NEED TO EXCHANGE THE AIR IN YOUR GARDEN AT LEAST ONCE EVERY MINUTE. SOME CARBON FILTERS SERIOUSLY IMPEDE YOUR FAN’S PERFORMANCE. > EFFICACY – I.E. HOW WELL DOES IT ACTUALLY PURIFY THE AIR? THE QUALITY OF THE CARBON WILL DICTATE THE AMOUNT OF ODOUR THAT CAN BE REMOVED AND THE LONGEVITY OF THAT CARBON. A DECENT FILTER RUNNING 24/7 SHOULD LAST A MINIMUM OF 12 MONTHS. > PELLETIZED VS GRANULAR – CARBON PELLETS ARE CREATED AND PACKED INTO FILTERS TO ENSURE GOOD EVEN AIRFLOW AND HIGH ODOUR SCRUBBING. GRANULAR FILTERS ARE EXCELLENT AT SCRUBBING ODOUR AND ARE LIGHTER THAN PELLETIZED FILTERS, BUT DUE TO THE SMALLER GRANULE SIZES THEY OFTEN RESTRICT AIRFLOW. > PACKING – EVEN AND TIGHT PACKING MAKES FOR A FILTER WITH NO AIR GAPS. THIS MEANS AIR HAS TO FLOW THROUGH THE CARBON BED AND GET SCRUBBED! IF YOU PICK UP A FILTER AND GIVE IT A SHAKE, YOU SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO HEAR OR FEEL ANY MOVEMENT WHATSOEVER.
TAKE A LOOK AT THIS INTERESTING TEST: HTTP://GOO.GL/UD8MQ
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR RETAILER
> ASK IF THE SHOP HAS ANY AIR FLOW DATA ON THE CARBON FILTER THEY ARE SELLING. A REPUTABLE MANUFACTURER WILL HAVE PRESSURE DROP CURVES FOR EACH OF THEIR FILTERS. THIS WILL ENABLE YOU TO KNOW HOW MUCH AIR FLOW RESTRICTION IT WILL CAUSE ON YOUR EXTRACTOR FAN. > IF YOU ARE PURCHASING A NEW BRAND OF FILTER, PICK IT UP AND SHAKE IT TO CHECK FOR AN MOVEMENT IN THE CARBON BED. GOOD LUCK IF IT’S A BIG 315MM FILTER :-) TRY NOT TO DROP IT THOUGH, OR YOU MAY HAVE TO MAKE A MANDATORY PURCHASE!
AVOID CHEAP PH METERS
> AS A RULE OF THUMB THE SMALLER THE PH PROBE, THE CHEAPER THE METER AND THE QUICKER IT WILL BECOME UNRELIABLE. > ALWAYS KEEP YOUR PH METER IN SOME STORAGE SOLUTION! A DRY PROBE MEANS A SHORT WORKING LIFE AND INACCURATE/SLOW READ OUTS. > MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS HAVE SOME BUFFER 7 SOLUTION TO MAKE SURE YOUR METER IS READING CORRECTLY AND YOU CAN CALIBRATE IT IF NECESSARY.
WHAT MAKES A PH METER?
> REPLACEABLE PROBES. > FAST MEASUREMENTS. > TWO-POINT CALIBRATION METERS ARE USUALLY MORE ACCURATE THAN ONE POINT. > AUTOMATIC CALIBRATION IS MUCH MORE CONVENIENT THAN GETTING THOSE TINY SCREWDRIVERS OUT. > WATERPROOF OR WATER RESISTANT OR FLOATING METERS ARE A GOOD OPTION. > AUTO SWITCH OFF IS A MUST SO YOUR BATTERY LIFE IS PRESERVED – TIP; ALWAYS BUY SPARE BATTERIES AT YOUR GROW SHOP WHEN YOU BUY A NEW METER. YOU WILL NEED THEM ONE DAY!
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR RETAILER
> ASK IF YOU CAN PLAY WITH A METER IN A GLASS OF WATER OR NUTRIENT SOLUTION TO SEE HOW QUICKLY IT READS. > ASK WHAT THE GUARANTEE PERIOD IS, SOME ARE ONLY THREE MONTHS BUT SOME ARE 12+.
Notice how we skilfully avoided discussing the nutrients themselves? Okay, okay, first here’s a little nutrient advice for beginners. You’re growing plants — it’s a fairly simple matter and hydroponic nutrients aren’t rocket science either. Salts and water. There, I said it. Any nutrient manufacturer with bright, eye-catching labels that promises “perfection” just by using their 21 different bottle mega-super-yield-grower “power system” could well be taking you for a ride. Don’t believe the hype. You need quality base nutrients (one part, two parts, three parts, it’s up to you!) and a well-controlled growing environment. Remember, no amount of specialist bloom boosters (no matter how insanely priced or heavily marketed) will replace quality plant genetics and a dialled in gardening environment! Sorry, but success doesn’t come in bottles. Right, let’s move on.
AVOID CHEAP PH METERS It’s a false economy buying a cheap pH meter because generally they work for about three months and then its time for a new one. And when they start to give wayward readings, it’s always at a time when you really need to use it!
TIP: EVEN IF YOU BUY A SUPER EXPENSIVE HIGH END PH METER WITH BELLS AND WHISTLES, ALWAYS HAVE A PACK OF DROPPER REAGENTS IN YOUR CUPBOARD, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THAT PH METER WILL RUN OUT OF BATTERIES OR DECIDED TO TAKE A SWIM IN YOUR RESERVOIR.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS If you’re new to indoor gardening, remember, there’s a lot to learn from a small garden. I know we all dream of filling air hangars full of our favourite, fast-growing annuals but there’s really something to be said for embracing the art of little steps before you try to turn the whole planet green. Try your hand with a single 400 or 600W grow light, a decent magnetic ballast, and a branded grow tent. Grow in pots (the breathable, fabric variety are awesome) with a good quality potting mix or, if you fancy trying hydroponics, try a 50/50 mix of coco coir and perlite. Hand water until you achieve around 20% run-off (and discard it.) You can spend the rest of your budget on decent ventilation, a fan speed controller, contactor (relay) and environmental monitoring equipment (start with a min/max thermometer / hygrometer.)
Seeds In Different Mediums
When growing from seed, there are a number of different growing mediums that we can use; Soil, Stone wool (Rockwool), Clay pellets & Vermiculite are all suitable growth mediums.
Before we plant our seed we need to decide which medium best suits our purposes. By and large, selecting the right growing medium is a matter of personal preference. When seeding, you should select the medium that best suits your needs, with foresight into what you expect to use later on in the process - i.e. if you plan to use stone wool for transplanting later on, then you should start with stone wool. The size of your seeds plays a part in which medium you choose to use. For example, smaller seeds are likely to fall through clay pellets due to the exposed areas left in between each pellet. We want to get the most out of our seeds by giving them the best possible opportunity to successfully germinate and properly grow into well performing plants.
Best Practice For Planting Seeds In Soil This is very easy, all you have to do is poke a hole in the soil, drop your seed in, cover the hole and wet the growing medium down. You want to make sure than the pointed end of the seed is laid flat, which is to say sideways. You don’t want the narrow pointed end of the seed pointing down into the growing medium, because that’s where the seed is going to actually germinate from upside down and start growing into the growing medium. You want the seed to lay flat or the rounded end to be pointing down. This allows the seed to follow gravity and have the root tip come out and head down into the growing medium. When the roots grow and the seed starts to come out of the ground, the medium is moist so the seed shell is moistened and separates itself from the seedling as it grows toward the surface of the growing medium. The seed shell will brush against the growing medium trying to remove itself. If the seed shells do not come off when they reach the surface you can take a spray bottle and moisten the shell and release the seedling to open it up with your fingers, allow the seedling leaves to open up and get into the light. How can we tell if the soil has the right moisture for the seeds? That’s little water dripping from your hands; you rather difficult because a lot of people also want the soil to retain the shape that plant their soil wrong. There are holes in you squeeze it into as the moisture binds it the bottom of your growing chambers; in place. Then, use a finger to lightly prod they’re always supposed to be open to at it until it breaks apart.. If the sample is air. You pour your water over the growing ‘powederising’ then your soil is way too medium and you want the water to flow dry. Conversely, if water drips from where out of the bottom. With hydroponic you broke the soil then it is way too wet. growing mediums, after a few hours Why is water so integral to growing? the water will drain enough so that you Soilless soils have very little mineral have a good combination of water, air, elements available to them so the water is nutrients, and above all moisture. Soil constantly delivering nutrition to plants. takes longer, possibly up to two days. If we have too much water with nutrients delivered with When we water soil, the soil particles are no drying process the small particles in the soil will create small and attract water creating a solid a water tension that will become a solid block of water that block of water through retention. your plants cannot breathe in. The seed pod has enough A good way to test the moisture level nutrition in it to facilitate it for six weeks of plant growth - but is to take a handful of soil and squeeze we want the plant to be up and growing faster and this is why it after you’ve watered it. You don’t want we deliver water and nutrients trying to get a proper water excessive quantities of water dripping to air ratio within the growing medium. Hydroponic growing through your fingers. If this happens the mediums are very well suited to do this. Air water nutrients soil is too wet. What you do want is a combination is at its peak within a few minutes of feeding.
Clay Pebbles How does soil differ from planting in clay pebbles? There’s really no difference between the two growing mediums. Both act as anchorage for the root system of the plant. That’s why we use a growing medium; to give a seed the anchorage necessary to hold it upright, and at the same time separate the roots from each other. Plants adjust the pH of the growing medium to bring the mineral elements of the nutrients to a better relationship with the plant. Clay pellets are (as the names suggests) small, round balls of clay. They create very large openings through the growing medium, which means small seeds aren’t going to be able to anchor and they’re just going to fall to the bottom of your pot. To prevent this, a good practice is to use vermiculite to nest the seed securely in the clay pebbles.
Watch Episode 2 of to see this feature Mon 13th May at 21:30 & Sun 19th May at 18:30 on Showcase 2, Sky Channel 192 & Freesat 402
Clay pebbles have very large openings through the growing medium, so small seeds aren’t going to be able to anchor and they’re just going to fall to the bottom of your pot.
PLANTING SEEDS FAQ’s
STONE WOOL (ROCKWOOL) Unlike most other growing mediums, its good practice to really soak stone wool before planting your seed. Submerging the stone wool cube for at least ten minutes and then laying it out on the hills and valleys that are built into the rockwool tray will allow rockwool to drain to the proper water air with nutrients. When using a stone wool cube, you will find that in the top there is already a hole available for planting your seed. Once your seed is happily nestled, tear a pinch of the stone wool off and plug the hole to cover your seed. What’s interesting about the manufacture of stone wool is the manner in which the fibers can be layered for different applications. Smaller cubes in flood and drain systems are layered vertically to allow the water to pass through the medium without disturbing its position. This allows water to be drawn to the top of the medium during flooding. Larger cubes or slabs used in drip systems are layered horizontally to spread the water evenly when it drips onto the stone wool growing medium. In both cases, the wool is designed to be successful at drawing up water and spreading it evenly throughout the medium. All growing medium are designed to anchor a seed and separate the roots from one another. When choosing a growth medium, make sure you maintain the proper pH.
If you are planning to start growing from seed, don’t get disheartened by your failures. Despite popular myth, people aren’t generally born with green fingers; they’re earned through season after season of trial and error. 30
HOW DEEP SHOULD I PLANT SEEDS? Some gardeners say 1/4”. Some say 1/8”. A good rule of thumb is to plant it 4 times its diameter.
DO I NEED TO PRE-SOAK MY SEEDS? Some larger seeds, especially older ones do benefit from an overnight soaking in warm water.
HOW MANY SEEDS SHOULD I PLACE IN A HOLE? Two maybe three if you’re worried about germination rates. You can thin them out after germination.
WHEN WILL MY SEEDS SPROUT? In approx 4-10 days, depending on variables like moisture, heat & light.
HOW CAN I IMPROVE GERMINATION? - Moisture and warmth. HOW MANY SEEDS SHOULD I PLANT? Twice as many as the number of plants you think you’ll need to allow for thinning and non-germination.
WHAT KIND OF LIGHT SHOULD I USE FOR MY SEEDLINGS? Seedlings grow well under CFL bulbs, the direct glare of a HID bulb will be likely too much for them.
- Don’t let your growing medium dry out. - Don’t let it get soggy either. - Be wary when watering the medium as seeds can easily be washed away. - Keep containers covered to preserve moisture. - Mist seedlings when needed. - Keep room temperature between 70-80° (If it’s cooler seeds can still germinate but it takes longer).
Seeds are as varied as people in their characteristics. Accordingly, there aren’t universally applicable techniques which will definitely work for all seeds even though the basic process which seeds go through is the same throughout nature. As ever, trial and error are the best teachers for anyone seeking to learn what works best. Whilst it isn’t always possible, planting different types of seeds separately will make life a lot easier. Smaller seeds can be exceptionally difficult to handle individually, and reasonably delicate to boot. In many cases your seeds might be better off lying closer to the surface of your chosen medium, rather than having been man handled into specific holes. In this case it’s best to be very wary when watering the medium before any greenery has started to show, because the seeds can easily be washed away if they have yet to anchor into place. Some larger seeds, especially older ones, benefit from an overnight soaking in warm water. On more expensive seeds you can use paper towels to create a wet bed and place another sheet so that you can peel back the top sheet and examine the seeds. Also make sure that seeds are not touching in case mould gets established on some seeds. Once the growing tips break through the seed shell, transplant. Seedlings are delicate; the direct glare of an HID bulb will more than likely be too much for them. Seedlings grow well under CFL bulbs, but if you do have to use HID be sure to position your seedlings towards the edges of the bulb’s glare. An increasingly large number of seeds are inert, or incapable of growth. Also, growing from seed is not easy, which is why nurseries tend to sell more juvenile plants than seeds. The rewards are, of course, tenfold when you actually manage it. If you are planning to start growing from seed, don’t get disheartened by your failures. Also with seeds there is less chance of bugs being introduced into gardens compared to cuttings or larger plants. Despite popular myth, people aren’t generally born with green fingers; they’re earned through season after season of trial and error.
It’s all too tempting for first time growers to spend all their cash on a powerhouse 1000W bulb and the latest electronic ballast without giving due consideration to the quality of their reflector hood. To the untrained eye, reflectors can appear pretty innocuous; the tinfoil hat worn by your lamp. Of course most of us realise that isn’t the case, but how many people realise the extent to which the reflector you choose to use can mean the difference between an efficient growroom and an extravagant waste of money? It’s a mistake to assume that your plants are getting the most from your chosen light source just because your growroom is drenched in light. You may well need welder’s goggles to even glance inside, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your plants are getting what they need. The size, or more accurately the area (width x length x height), of your growroom plays a large part in which reflector will work for you; squeezing a large Sun King reflector into a 2m2 grow tent might cure your SAD syndrome during long winter months, but your plants are not going to thank you. They’re going to wilt in the extreme heat and more than likely die, if they grow at all. Similarly if you’re growing a sea of basil in a disused air hanger and all your 1000W bulbs are supported by budget reflectors, then you’re going to struggle to achieve uniform growth across your crop. Just as important a consideration are the characteristics of your crop; if you’re growing enough lettuce to feed your collective commune of dreadlocked free spirits for an entire year, then you’re going to need to cover a large area and your lamps are going to need to be relatively close to your crop. On the other hand if you’re growing a handful of sunflowers then you’re going to need the adequate clearance for your plants to grow tall, which calls for a more focused spread of light with greater intensity. Even if you plan to lay the purchasing responsibility at the feet of your local hydroponics retailer, you’re still going to have to
present him or her with an accurate picture of what you have to work with and what you’re hoping to achieve. Sorry folks, but you just can’t escape the maths. Growing (and some would argue, life in general)is all about balance, and in this case the ultimate goal is to balance providing adequate levels of usable light to your plants with the need to minimise excessive levels of heat. There’s also the question of how much power you’re using to provide light to your plants; power costs money and if you’re using more light than your particular growroom needs, likelihood is that you’re spending money unnecessarily. Lab coats at the ready; it’s time to hit you with some science knowledge. The inverse square law, as applied to light, states that the intensity of light from any singular point source is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. To put it simply, light intensity diminishes over distance. So a plant which is two foot away from a bulb will receive ¼ of the light intensity that a plant one foot away from the same light source would receive. In practical terms; a lack of the proper levels of light intensity will cause plants to stretch, leading to leggy plants with spindly branches, sparse foliage and ultimately a lower yielding crop. Conversely, too much heat will stunt a plant’s growth. Issue two of HYDROMAG covers the science of light in greater detail. The goal of a reflective hood is to utilise the maximum amount of light given off by a bulb by reflecting light in the direction of your plants. A good reflective hood does this without creating erratic heat spots. Heat spots are points within the area covered by a bulb and reflective hood which are significantly more intense than the rest of the area covered. Most reflective hoods have a heat spot directly under the bulb, as you’d expect. A high quality hood distributes light evenly, allowing you to minimise the distance between your light source and your plants. There are plenty of different approaches to maximising the efficiency of reflective hoods and a number of different types of hoods which function to serve different types of growrooms. There are also simple techniques which growers can utilise to get the most out of even the cheapest reflector.
Parabolic Reflector Vertical bulbs on their own are great at lighting up the walls of a growroom, but without a reflector they won’t offer much in the way of sustenance to any plants below them. Conventional parabolic reflectors are designed to reflect the light in an even spread towards the plants below them. Much like spotlights, they’re great for anything directly below them, but the coverage they offer to any plants in their periphery decreases rapidly as you expand outwards. Platinum HydroStar, HydroPro Kits and Wilmas all work well with parabolics because the pots are all close together, much like the light offered by a parabolic reflector. Traditionally parabolic reflectors have been bulky and ill designed affairs, but a lot of headway has been made in recently towards solving the many problems which parabolic reflectors present. OG reflectors are leading the way in resolving many of these design issues, utilising air cooling systems which mean you can position your lighting rig much closer to your plants than with traditional parabolic setups. None the less, most parabolic reflector rigs, including the OG, are still quite large and generally aren’t advisable for anyone using a grow tent; even if you can fit them into your tent, the likelihood is that you’re not going to have enough height for your plants to grow. Parabolic reflectors are popular with traditionalist and it is generally believed that they offer growers a greater degree of control over lighting levels within a growroom. They’re great for anyone growing tall plants.
A Note on Bulbs:
Horizontal vs Vertical...
The question of which are better; vertical or horizontal bulbs is a tricky subject to broach with some elements of the hydroponics industry. Horizontalists (no, it isn’t a proper word) argue that, by deﬁnition, vertical lights are less eﬃcient than horizontal lights because the larger part of the light they provide to plants has to be reﬂected before it reaches them, and reﬂected light is always of a lesser quality than direct light. They also argue that horizontal bulbs last longer than their vertical counterparts. In defence of vertical bulbs, Verticalists (not a proper word either) point to the fact that they get a more even spread of light and a lesser intensity of heat, which means that in theory they can position their bulbs closer to the canopy of their crop. They also argue that using a horizontal setup increase the temptation to string out the life span of a bulb beyond what it is actually capable of- which means you may well be using a bulb which no longer provides adequate levels of light.
Air Cooling Reflector Air cooling reflectors are becoming increasingly prevalent in the Hydroponics industry. They use circulating air to remove heat generated by the lamp from the growroom environment, meaning the lamp can be positioned closer to your plants. Never was the old adage ‘You get what you pay for’ truer than in the case of air cooled reflectors. Some are open to the growroom, others are sealed into their own separate system. A sealed unit is ideal for anyone adding CO2 to their growroom, as it allows the grower to maintain the desired atmospherics in the growroom without having to compensate for the inclusion of an added airflow system. Open systems are often used in self-contained units; since hot air rises, and the lamp is positioned at the top of the unit, the ventilation can serve the dual purpose of cooling the lamp and circulating air around the unit. In larger grow spaces, especially those using multiple lights, air cooled systems do add considerably to the amount of venting within the room. Some growers claim that the often circular glass covering around air cooled lamps has a negative effect on the quality of light that their plants receive. For anyone who suffers from a lack of space and/ or an excess of heat, air cooled systems are an undeniably useful tool. If you’re looking for a system which you can guarantee is airtight then the Cooltube system is a good place to start.
Adjust-A-Wing Reflector Adjust-a-wing reflectors are a fan favourite, generating almost unfaltering loyalty with growers. The adjustable wings and lamp holder mean that the adjust-a-wing can be adapted to suit most growroom environments. They feature a built in heat shield covering the usual central heat spot allowing for a more even distribution of light around the growroom. Some people argue that the heat shield reduces the amount of light that your plants receive by increasing the distance that the light has to travel when reflected. The HYDROMAG team would love to hear from anyone who’s tried growing with and without the heat sheild- until we get the chance to do it ourselves or hear from someone who has, we’re going to leave that question open. Adjust-a-wings aren’t easy to cool, but by all accounts they don’t need to be. The stripped down nature of their design means that air can flow freely around the lamp. Adjust-a-wings are great for large growroom setups and offer spectacular coverage, especially when multiple units are used. Budget reflectors are fit for purpose if you’re using CFL lights during the early stages of your plants’ lives, if you’re on a tight budget and if you have a very small space in which to grow. HID bulbs produce a relatively massive amount of heat which will more likely than not swamp any seeddlings or clones in the very early stages of their lives. You would be doing yourself a great disservice by not stumping up the cash necessary for a worthwhile reflector, but it’s understandable that not everyone has the money to spend. Also, even the best reflector hoods are still bound by the universal problem of heat spots, just to a lesser degree. For anyone growing a sizable crop, these problems are all too obvious; a single crop with individual plants growing at different rates presents all kinds of problems, from larger plants shading their smaller brothers and sisters, to plants maturing at different times. The obvious solution is to move your plants around. Of course with some setups this isn’t possible. Turning your plants helps to give them an even spread of light, but obviously that means more work for the grower. Getting into a turning routine is great way to discipline yourself into regularly checking on your plants. The more time you spend with them, the greater your chances of catching any problems early on. It’s tempting to fill your growroom to the brim with plants, but it’s more important to leave space for moving your plants and tending to them. The qualities of the materials used in the production of reflector hoods are reflected in their respective prices. Reputable manufacturers go to great length to test the efficiency of their products and they’re understandably keen to present their results to their customers. The problem is that less than reputable manufacturers are happy to do the same with results which in some cases seem to have been plucked from the air. We’ll be looking at the testing processes in future issues and talking directly to manufacturers about them; highlighting the results which stand up and addressing the results which don’t. Along with HYDROSHOW.tv we’ll be conducting some tests of our own and presenting our results to you in the future.
“Light intensity diminishes over distance. So a plant which is two foot away from a bulb will receive ¼ of the light intensity that a plant one foot away from the same light.” Recent advances have seen once clearly defined design boundaries fall away as reflectors morph, hybridise and generally progress. Fundamental principles governing their design remain the same though; growers will, for the foreseeable future, still seek to give their plants as much light as possible whilst battling against excessive heat. It might seem as if we’re heading towards a single, standardised setup, but the variety of required functions that reflectors serve will hopefully mean that there’s always a wide selection of different models on the market. Hopefully this article and others like it will help growers to realise that your choice of reflector can fundamentally change the quality of your grow. Whether that change is for the better or for the worse will likely always depend on depth to which individual growers understand what they need to use and when they need to use it. Throwing money at the problem won’t solve it. Taking the time to educate yourself on the qualities inherent to your particular grow will set you on the right path. That, and buying yourself a light meter. It never hurts to check for yourself that what’s written on the box (or in a magazine) correlates with what you’re actually getting.
Product pictures used in this article courtesy of Holland Hydroponics
“Reputable manufacturers go to great length to test the efficiency of their products and are keen to present their results to their customers. The problem is that less than reputable manufacturers are happy to do the same with results which in some cases seem to have been plucked from the air. Along with HYDROSHOW.tv we’ll be conducting some tests of our own and presenting our results to you in the future. ”
PRESENTER CHALLENGES... 1.2 METER TENT SETUP Pooja and Gemma, two of our presenters, buy a 1.2m tent setup for £500 or less. The winner is judged on the best elements of the system including the Tent, Ventilation, Lighting, Pot System and the Nutrition.
PLATINIUM SYSTEMS – SETUP RACE Gemma and Pooja race to finish setting up a Platinium grow system. With no hydroponics experience and wellmanicured nails, how will the girls fair in setting up a 12 pot automated hydroponic dripper system?
TWO-TIERED TENT SYSTEM
With a budget of £1000 – Our presenters must setup a cloning and mother operation within the confines of the same tent. The winner will be judged on the quality of the equipment bought, the versatility of the setup and the potential number of cuttings and variants of plants that can be grown within the tent.
The cameras have been rolling and we’re all but ready to broadcast the first ever hydroponics television program. Starting May 6th, HYDROSHOW.tv will broadcast on Sky TV (Channel 192) and Freesat (Channel 402) on the Showcase 2 channel. Read on to find a snapshot of what you can expect to see. Some of the world’s manufacturers and retailers have greeted the show with open arms – and we would like to take this opportunity to thank these people. Others have been less open – we can only assume that they probably have something to hide! In other words, if a product feature on Hydroshow, then their makers, owners and innovators have true confidence in those products, and are happy to showcase them on television.
Previews are now being shown on YouTube; visit our channel www.youtube.com/hydroshowtv
MEGAROOMS... In Episode 1, Hydroshow sets the benchmark, by setting up the ultimate growroom in the Studio’s blank canvas area. Our Goal is to show you what sort of system you could have if money were no object. With the gauntlet well and truly thrown down, in Episodes 2 and 3 we have visits from Greenfinger Hydroponics of London and Urban Hydroponics in Preston – two experienced stores ready to flex their muscles in the ‘No Expense Spared’ grow room setups. Expect to see some new and interesting products in this section of the program.
TOP TIPS... FROM THE INDUSTRY’S EXPERTS... We have had industry experts from all over the world both into the studio and on via satellite phone; we get them to share their secrets with us, in aid of giving you the means to getting the best possible performance from your growroom. How do nutrients work? How can you increase your yield on a budget? What are the features of diﬀerent growth mediums? What’s the best way to take cuttings? All these questions and more are answered in the HYDROSHOW.tv Top Tips feature. Top Tips come courtesy of Bill from Growing Edge Technologies, Rob from Metro Aquaculture Sheﬃeld, South Coast Hydroponics and Holland Hydroponics, to name a few.
HYDROPONICS VS. AEROPONICS VS. POTS & SOIL... In our ﬁrst grow test, we test three identical Platinum systems, each with diﬀerent irrigation methods. They’re currently growing and in a few weeks’ time, we’ll be popping back to the Aquaculture greenhouses in Sheﬃeld to see how they are getting on – which system will have the best growth rate? We wait in suspense!
COMPETITION... We have a brand new Agrowtent from Ecosystem (manufacturers of the original enclosed ecosystem vertical grow room) which we’ll be giving away at the end of the repeat of season 1 in September. Supplied complete with lighting, ventilation and nutrition courtesy of G.E.T. - the grand prize is worth over £3000. In each episode we’ll also be giving away a full set of nutrients, supplied by one of the world’s leading nutrients manufacturers. Best of all – the competition is free to enter! All you have to do is ‘like’ the relevant image on Facebook and you’re entered!
ADVERTISING... At last, some advertising you’re actually interested in watching! HYDROSHOW could not happen without our advertising partners, and they’ve put together some interesting advertisements aimed speciﬁcally at you, so make sure you’ve got your beers in your living room fridge – don’t disappear into the kitchen during the break, because our adverts are made speciﬁcally for your viewing and perusing pleasure.
THE BASICS... There’s something for everyone on Hydroshow, and that includes complete beginners. In the early episodes, we’ll show you how to plant seeds in diﬀerent growth mediums, how to transplant from one pot to another, and how best to propagate your precious babies! With the magic of video, we can show you so much more – and don’t forget – HYDROMAG will have supplementary articles, so make sure you get your copy of the latest issue of the magazine from your local grow store.
SPREAD THE WORD... The real test for HYDROSHOW.tv will be how it goes down with you, the viewers. It’s early days yet, but we’re in it for the long hall. We banking on the fact that, like us, you’re keen to see our mutual passion for Hydroponics grow and hopefully, one day, get the recognition it deserves. You can be a part of that, by taking three of the simplest steps you’ve ever had to take; 1. Tell your friends, family and neighbours to tune in to the show
2. Watch HYDROSHOW.tv 3. Tell us what you think It really couldn’t be simpler. Tune in on May 6th to experience the new home of Hydroponics.
SKY 192 & Freesat 402 38
100 FILMS BIOGRAPHY
TO WATCH BEFORE YOU SNUFF IT:
Let’s face it; the existence of Heaven is a long shot. And if it does indeed exist; getting to it is an even longer shot. But if you were somehow to be greeted by a smiling St. Peter, and for the Pearly Gates to open, what would be in store for you? If the Bible’s anything to go by; none of the things you enjoyed while in the physical realm. We all know the Church’s stance on sex, drugs and other vices. Which means parties in Heaven will be deathly dull. There certainly won’t be any movies, no sir; too many depictions of sin. And probably no sockets. Which leaves us with Hell. Supposedly a place for eternal punishment, they’re not going to let us have any fun down there either. There might be some good banter, a bit of gallows humour… But its very raison d’etre is castigation and penance – school detention with ﬂames and torture. .. Face it, there won’t be any movies down there (except perhaps Gigli).
You heard it in HYDROMAG ﬁrst - there are NO movies in the afterlife (ﬁngers crossed the Hindus and Buddhists have got it right – we might be reincarnated in time for the next offering from David Lynch at his current rate). So the upshot? If you don’t watch the following ﬁlms before you snuff it you’re a fucking idiot!
You’ve all seen the tiresome mashups on YouTube starring Hitler lashing out at his terriﬁed lickspittles (it wasn’t even funny the ﬁrst time). Try to put them out of your mind and enjoy the ﬁlm from whence they originated - one of Germany’s more arresting ﬁlms of the modern era. The story is told through the eyes of a secretary who receives the dubious honour of serving Hitler during his ﬁnal weeks in the bunker (thanks Adecco!). Cue terrifying temper tantrums, knuckle-gnawing tension and claustrophobia as the Third Reich collapses, literally, around them. Bruno Ganz offers us a rare glimpse of Hitler’s humanity amidst the raging insanity, making everyone’s favourite dictator even more chilling.
Some of you may be disappointed to ﬁnd this ﬁlm has nothing to do with the tasty white secretion from the nipples of female mammals - and everything to do with the ﬁrst openly gay man to be voted into office. But then some of you are clinically insane. No, this is the tale of local politician Harvey Milk and his ﬁght for equal rights; this is also a brilliant “coming of age” drama for a man in his 40s. Sean Penn deservedly won Best Actor at the Oscars playing the title role, but credit must also go to Josh Brolin as his unlikely ally turned assassin. Gus Van Sant’s riveting take on 1970s equality politics is as much about friendship, political gamesmanship, betrayal and the sacriﬁces required when responding to a calling; with Harvey Milk willingly laying himself on the altar of a greater cause. Do not be fazed by the subject matter – this is a gripping, evocative drama that will leave you feeling energised and inspired.
Scorsese’s last great ﬁlm, Goodfellas, tells the story of mobster-turned-drug-addictturned-FBI-informant Henry Hill. It features several of cinema’s most memorable scenes, from Scorsese’s how-the-fuck-didthey-do-that restaurant entrance sequence, to the brilliantly-psychotic Joe Pesci’s blood-draining-from-the-face “Funny Guy” conversation. Ray Liotta’s best role sees him rising up the ranks of the mob, only to hit a glass ceiling due to his Irish heritage, then falling heavily out of favour as his addictions derail him. This is genuinely a worthy rival to The Godfather for greatest ever gangster ﬁlm. If you haven’t already seen this there’s something seriously wrong with you. Why are you reading a movie article – you obviously hate cinema? Go. Just go…
Downfall DIRECTOR: Oliver Hirschbiegel (2004)
“Bruno Ganz offers us a rare glimpse of Hitler’s humanity amidst the raging insanity...”
DIRECTOR: Gus Van Sant (2008)
WORDS BY: Christian Mason
Goodfellas DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese (1990)
“This is genuinely a worthy rival to The Godfather for greatest ever gangster ﬁlm.”
“The title of this magnificent and criminally-overlooked film relates to how Bauby sees his condition; the diving bell representing the constrictive nature of his body, with the butterfly symbolising the freedom and lightness of his mind.”
This sweeping epic stars lovable alcoholic Peter O’Toole in his breakthrough role. An idealistic, spiritually-restless, and possibly mad British army officer is driven to unite Arab forces against the Turks. How the US armed forces would love a T.E. Lawrence in their midst today! This is certainly famed director David Lean’s ﬁnest ﬁlm, and is quite possibly the ﬁnest British ﬁlm ever made (earning seven Oscars for its efforts). See this for its breath-taking cinematography and grandiose vision – every frame is an artistic masterpiece – but also for the almost distractingly handsome, elusive soul that is Peter O’Toole.
This is the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, former editor of Elle magazine, as he wakes up aged 43 having suffered a massive stroke leaving him trapped in his own body, of sound mind but only able to communicate with his left eye. The title of this magniﬁcent and criminallyoverlooked ﬁlm relates to how Bauby sees his condition; the diving bell representing the constrictive nature of his body, with the butterﬂy symbolising the freedom and lightness of his mind. Despite his condition he managed to dictate his story into a best-selling book (feckless would-be writers out there – where’s your excuse now?) This ﬁlm perfectly mirrors Bauby’s situation, forcing the viewer to share his desperate claustrophobia, yet leaving one spiritually uplifted. A perfect antidote to Hollywood crap and one of this writer’s very favourite ﬁlms.
Lawrence of Arabia DIRECTOR: David Lean (1962)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly DIRECTOR: Julian Schnabel (2007)
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: www.youtube.com/user/hydromagazine
ROBIN TROWER BRIDGE OF SIGHS (1974)
And so we get to C in our A-Z of musical genres brought to you by our relentlessly beavering team of pseudo-musos here at Hydromag and ﬁrst up is Classic Rock. The ‘Classic’ or ‘Timeless Rock’ genre evolved from the popularity in the 1980’s, of 1960’s and 1970’s ‘Album Oriented Rock’ that was played exhaustively on American radio and still is, with the genre really covering anything from early 60’s pop to present day rock music. If listening to corporate pop giants One Direction (what if that One Direction is down?) converts your normally benign feelings of misanthropic apathy into despair and desire for literal bloody revolution, you’re probably an old bastard that could be accused of what Michael Sheen’s character in Woody Allen’s ﬁlm Midnight In Paris describes as ‘Golden age thinking’ - the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one’s living in. He makes a compelling argument, but when it comes to the music of the late 60’s-mid 70’s, I wonder if the natural reverence most of us with an imagination feel for the music of that era is indeed erroneous, or something routed in better faith? Comparisons are generally odious in music, but I think are current societal situation is well described here... ‘These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; big men and small character; steep proﬁts and shallow relationships. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.’ - George Carlin We are undoubtedly living in an age, where the mainstream is tragically corporate. Modern pop and rock music is made and marketed by the same men in suits that put horse meat in burgers and sell car insurance. The music from these pernicious husks is about as soul nourishing and pleasing as getting a face full of barbed wire and diarrhoea. Lucky for you, us caring, genial folk at Hydromag present for your orgiastic aural pleasure, some of the greatest artists of all time, who have plenty in the stockroom and indeed the showroom…’
Robin Trower is a lesser known English rock guitarist, in the mould of Hendrix and Jimmy Page, whose ability belies his renown. ‘Bridge Of Sighs’ and Trower have the kind of cult status, whereby when in conversation if ‘have you heard of Robin Trower?’ is met with a yes, that person is likely to high ﬁve you and become an insta-friend. Despite its relative obscurity from the mainstream, ‘Bridge Of Sighs’ is a gold selling album (with good reason) and if you like epic rock guitar, you’ll be ecstatic to discover it. Vocalist Jim Dewar is also considered by some critics to have one of the most underrated male rock/ soul voices and certainly on ‘Bridge Of Sighs’, his gravelly vocals work brilliantly with Trower’s incendiary playing and serve to elevate the songs beyond being just a mere vehicle for Trower’s guitar skills. TRACKS TO DOWNLOAD: Day Of The Eagle, Bridge Of Sighs, About To Begin, Too Rolling Stoned.
THE DOORS MORRISON HOTEL (1970) The Doors’ eponymous debut catapulted the band into the stratosphere, but Morrison’s subsequent affair with the Vaudevillian approach, his antics on/ off stage, did ostracise him slightly from the more conventional rock fans, who saw his messianic pomposity and melodrama, superseding the music. ‘Morrison Hotel’ is The Doors in more restrained form, where the focus seems to be all on the songs and for many is their best. Hunter S Thompson said of Morrison Hotel, ‘Play it sometime. Stand back somewhere on the mainbeams of a big log house and feel the music come up through your femurs… and after that, you can always say, for sure, that you once knew what it was like to hear men play rock’n’roll music’. It’s hard to imagine this was the work of a 25 year old, such is the maturity and timeless quality of Morrison’s poetry and performance. �� TRACKS TO DOWNLOAD: Peace Frog (essential), Land Ho, Queen Of The Highway.
“Hunter S Thompson said of Morrison Hotel, ‘Play it sometime. Stand back somewhere on the mainbeams of a big log house and feel the music come up through your femurs… and after that, you can always say, for sure, that you once knew what it was like to hear men play rock’n’roll music’.”
HOT RATS/APOSTROPHE (1969) Frank Zappa is an artist that has 3 sides; guitarist, avant garde composer and comedic writer and satirist. Jazz rock classic ‘Hot Rats’ is a ﬁne example of his guitar work. On it is one of his many collaborations with ‘Capt Beefheart’, who got his name from a reference his uncle made about his own penis, (‘look at that thing! It looks like a beautiful, beef heart’), whilst urinating near an impressionable young Don and Francis Zappa. That blend of sex and humour clearly made a lasting impression on Zappa. His hilarious, Dadaist writing can be found on all of his albums, but the most rounded collection is probably ‘Apostrophe’. It’s full of wildly creative and funny stories, like ‘Nanook’ the Eskimo boy, who blinds a fur trapper with ‘yellow snow’ to protect his favourite baby seal. Zappa isn’t for everyone, but for a lot, he is one of the most revered men in music history. TRACKS TO DOWNLOAD: Willie The Pimp, Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow, Nanook Rubs It.
CREAM DISRAELI GEARS (1967)
“Wish You Were Here was written as an ode to exband mate and tragic acid casualty Syd Barrett, who lost his mind and went missing for over a decade.” 46
WISH YOU WERE HERE (1975) Wish You Were Here was written as an ode to ex-band mate and tragic acid casualty Syd Barrett, who lost his mind and went missing for over a decade. The opening ambient soundscapes and tender guitar work of Dave Gilmour on opener ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ is cosmic, heart melting stuff. ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ is perhaps a better place to start for the uninitiated, but ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ is so astonishing, it is the most essential to hear of their back catalogue. Beg, borrow or illegally download a copy of legendary live recording ‘Live In Pompeii’ too, with ‘Echoes’ a particular highlight. Few bands capture sound in quite as epic a way as Pink Floyd. They will surely be listened to for centuries and ‘Wish You Were Here’ is a staple part of any classic rock fans’ collection.
Dubbed the first ‘super group’ of rock, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton got together to form the ‘Cream’, the Cream of the crop of rock acts, due to their combined virtuosic musicianship. Ginger Baker’s tree trunk sized drum sticks and trademark ‘walking’ rather than counting style of drumming, Jack Bruce’s free flowing, fuzzy baselines, heavy vibrato vocals and of course, a certain Eric Clapton in his absolute prime, made for one of the most energetic, exciting and mesmeric live bands ever seen. So intense was their live act, that Clapton, using heroin at the time, burnt himself out and had to quit to, in his words, ‘save his life’. Their debut Fresh Cream is special, as is any live album, but ‘Disraeli Gears’ is the most essential and also a good place to start for anyone uninitiated with ‘The Cream’.
TRACKS TO DOWNLOAD: Shine On You Crazy Diamond (part one), Have A Cigar, Wish You Were Here.
TRACKS TO DOWNLOAD: Tales Of Brave Ulysees, Sunshine Of Your Love, SWLABR.
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: 600w Digital Adjustawatt Ballast Courtesy of SOL Digital Adjustable with Overdrive Packed with Intelligence Software
600W DIGITAL ADJUSTAWATT BALLAST
Worth over £150.00
HOW TO ENTER...
You can enter this issue’s competition by using one of two methods:
If your postcard arrives after the competition draw date, we will enter you in the next issue’s competition.
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No.5 The Old Bakery, 90 Acre St, Lindley, Huddersfield, HD3 3EL
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Be A Sport...
Man has been playing catch with skulls and rubbing plant extract under his loin cloth since at least 7000BC, where in Neolithic era Mongolia in the Bayankhongor Province, there are cave paintings of wrestling matches, being watched by huge crowds.
Go South West to Libya, in the cave of swimmers, there are similar paintings depicting swimming and archery. Further North in Europe paintings of sprinting tournaments have been found in France and in Far East Asia, Japan, other paintings have been found of what is thought to be an early form of sumo wrestling. Sport has been popular all over the world for a long long time and until the skies burns and the rivers run dry, it always will be… Why are we such a sports obsessed world? Well, it does provide us with a little entertainment in our short lives, but take a dive with me a bit deeper than that and lets catch a slightly bigger, more exotic fish. Sport appeals to multiple areas of our psyche, anyone thats ruined Christmas over a competitive game of monopoly will appreciate what moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt, has to say
SPORTS FACT 1: FOOTBALL attended / watched sport in the world. The first live coverage of a football match shown on television, was in the year 1937.
SPORTS FACT 2: TV SPORTS Sports command the biggest television audiences, led by the summer Olympics, World Cup soccer and Formula One racing.
about the situation in our brains, by likening it to a rider on an elephant. ‘The mind is divided in many ways, but the division that really matters, is between conscious/reasoned processes and automatic/implicit processes. These two parts are like a rider on the back of an elephant. The rider’s inability to control the elephant by force explains many puzzles about our mental life, particularly why we have such trouble with weakness of will.’ Our conscious minds might rationalise and conclude sport to be silly and meaningless. Why get so touchy over losing Monopoly? We don’t have control over our response is the answer. It is our elephant, our ‘implicit/automatic responses that revel in us being better than the other team and there is no greater feeling, than our tribe, or team, being dominant over another tribe.
SPORTS FACT 3: THE NUDE GYM Gymnasiums were introduced in 900BC and Greek athletes practiced in the nude. They also performed naked at the Olympic Games.
SPORTS FACT 4: FISHING Fishing is the biggest participant sports in the world. A score is awarded for each fish caught. The points awarded depend on the fish’s weight and species.
Another great quote from Haidt, ‘Sport is to war, what masturbation is to sex’. In other words, sport is a fun, safe way to act out our impulses for war and all that it involves. What is it about war though, that connects it so heavily to sport? Can war be a positive experience for people? War is horrifying and devastating, but in Chris Hedges book ‘War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning’, he claims that nothing in this world brings people closer together than war and that bringing people together in that way, opens up the most extraordinary possibilities of self transcendence. This is a passage from it. Glenn Gray: Many veterans will admit that the experience of communal effort in battle has been the high point of their lives. “I” passes insensibly into a “we,” “my” becomes “our” and individual faith loses its central importance. I believe that it is nothing less than the assurance of immortality that makes self-sacriﬁce at these moments so relatively easy. I may fall, but I do not die, for that which is real in me goes forward and lives on in the comrades for whom I gave up my life. Can sport provide ecstasy of this kind, without the need to give up our lives? It can get somewhere close… Last Summer we had the Olympics in London and anyone that was in the country around that time must have felt what I felt, that it was something special. There was a warmth and a goodwill, that blanketed the whole country and made us a bit misty eyed for a few weeks. It felt good to be British and not in a UKIP jingoistic madman way. It made you desire for the welfare of everyone in the country, I think it made us more forgiving and warm. This was our team on display and we were nailing it, creating a special experience for the world and it felt good. In totally different circumstances, there was probably a similar vibe, but even stronger in New York after 9/11.
SPORTS FACT 5: MOON SPORT Golf the only sport played on the moon - on 6 February 1971 Alan Shepard hit a golf ball.
SPORTS FACT6: GOLF VS ARCHERY Golf was banned in England in 1457 because it was considered a distraction from the serious pursuit of archery.
“ Sport can be a galvanising force in our scary mendacious world…” Imagine... A man wakes up to the clock, he’s tired, he sighs as he enters the shower, feeling the weight of starting another day as grey and cold as the weather outside. He shampoo’s whats left of his hair, scrubs armpits, scrubs groin. The same boring routine. He has coffee and toast that make him wretch because he’s too tired and anxious about being late for work to swallow properly. At lunch he sits in a bathroom stall, he locks the door to enjoy the only moments of the day that he has to himself. He resents feeling stressed all the time for something so lacking in imagination or challenge. He’s tired of agonising over excruciatingly dull data. He’s even more tired of putting up with the facetious humour and diminutive nicknames in the ofﬁce every day. Russian playwright Anton Chekov explained ‘afﬂuenza’ particularly well when he said, ‘Any idiot can face a crisis. Its this day to day living that wears one out’.
SPORTS FACT 7: GLOBAL COMMS The first instance of global electronic communications took place in 1871 when news of the Derby winner was telegraphed from London to Calcutta in under 5 minutes.
SPORTS FACT 8: SPORT ON THE RADIO In 1898, one of the first programs to be broadcast ed on radio was a yacht race that took place in British waters.
“ Sport is to war, what masturbation is to sex...”Jonathan Haidt
This is an ordinary life and in ordinary life, we exist as individuals, we want to satisfy our individual desires and we pursue our individual goals. Once you have felt the effect of something like the Olympics and how it lifts you, why don’t we make more of an effort to create these feelings of self transcendence, at governmental level? Sport is one of our outlets. It is a way to transcend. The tragic irony of a ‘big society’ and one that is so faceless and corporate, is that the more of us that become part of this giant entity, the more we actually end up getting lost in it. I believe that the less that we feel connected to society, the more likely we are to act in ways that then only serve our petty selves and that is a great shame. There is arguably more misery in society now, in times of affluence and safety, than there was during World War 2. We are all in danger of becoming like the poor, wretched milquetoast I described, unless we continue to seek out avenues for self transcendence. Sport can be this galvanising force in our scary mendacious world… Under religious auspices, communities are far more likely to create that Olympics vibe we all felt so briefly and that is one of the downsides of the influence of religion slowly eroding. I think that its no coincidence that the interest and profile and astronomical amounts money in sport, have risen so exponentially in the last decade. Without religion, there is an increased desire, consciously or otherwise, for us to shed our petty selves. In the last decade drug use has gone up, with MDMD/ecstasy usage being tripled, we’ve also seen the arrival of things like Facebook and Twitter and also music festivals which offer another form of mass self transcendence are now incredibly popular, with tickets to Glastonbury going from £105 in 2003 to £205 in 2013.
HYDROMAG YouTube channel will be full of playlists to supplement our articles. You can also see sponsored playlists from our advertisers. Visit: www.youtube.com/user/hydromagazine
Think of what is appealing about the music festival or a rave. The rave involves empathy enhancing drugs, so a warmth is felt to all who are around you. The coloured light displays create the sense of being in a magic land. The repetition of a steady beat connects everyone in the room to one level in rhythmic dancing, and then slowly the music builds from its heavy bass and minimalism, to the sharper treble-y notes of clarity, bringing with it a sensation of rising, of elevation, shedding self and connecting with all, achieving mass orgiastic pleasure in the sense of oneness… We crave connection and mostly sport plays, it attempts at giving us this purest sense of unity. It parsimoniously dishes out as fully as it did with the Olympics, but at its best sport is as ecstatic as a religious experience, it is as bonding as war, it is as exciting and joyful as a rave. Of course, as mentioned earlier, ego still plays a huge role in sport too, especially as a player. The greatest thrill to be had in sport is when on the one hand you get to experience the thrill of connecting to something bigger than yourself, which just multiplies the joy of good performance and success and at the same time your ego gets to bask in the glory of your own abilities being recognised by others. It is the multiple orgasm… Olympic gold medallists and World Cup winners regularly suffer from serious depression after their greatest successes, as they realise there is no way that joy can ever be repeated, they often lose the motivation to do anything. With meditation and mindfulness being just too boring and unfeasible in our loud western lifestyles, with raves and drink and drugs and casual sex perhaps being huge fun temporarily, but being ultimately destructive and damaging if you do them everyday, our practical outlets for daily self transcendence are really art, music and sport. Sport binds communities, delights us superficially and spiritually and I believe makes us better people. Long may it reign…
GROW GEAR ATAMI
Blossom Builder Liquid - A finisher like no other! Especially for the grower who only wants the best for their plants Atami has expanded their B’cuzz range with Blossom Builder Liquid, a finisher like no other! It is commonly known as the flowering phase progresses, your plants need for Phosphorus and Potassium will increase as well. Especially for the final 2 to 4 weeks in this flowering phase Atami has developed B’cuzz Blossom Builder Liquid. Blossom Builder Liquid ensures an improved structure of the fruit and creates strong, healthy and beautiful large fragrant flowers/ fruit. Due to the unique P:K ratio of 20% and 32% Blossom Builder Liquid meets all the needs of your plant, also the higher level of Phosporus compare to Potassium improves the hardening of the fruit. The B’cuzz Blossom Builder Liquid can be used in combination with soil, cocos, hydro and is usable in any irrigation system. Reasons to buy Blossom Builder Liquid / reasons to give blossom builder a try - Increases the weight and size of your fruits. - Especially developed for the final weeks in the flower phase. - Works as a finisher and has an unique 1:1,5 Phosphorus Potassium ratio resulting in a healthy plant and fragrant flowers with an attractive final weight. - Is suitable for all sorts of cultivation, substrates (soil, hydro and cocos) and all irrigation systems. - Highly concentrated, 0.25 – 0.50ml per litre. - Easy in use. - Easy and completely dissolvable in the feeding water. - Suitable for the final 2 to 4 weeks in the ripening phase. - Can be used in combination with all base nutrients. - When used correctly Blossom Builder Liquid ensures strong, healthy, beautiful, big and fragranced flowers/ fruits. Pass it on! More information can be found on our website, www.atami.com e-mail: email@example.com tel: 0031 73 522 32 56 fax: 0031 73 521 32 59
Vitamax Plus Vitamax Plus is a scientifically created formula designed to build stronger root structure and encourage larger, more uniform blooms and fruit set. Working as a supplement to your regular nutrient, VitaMaxplus works to increase plant development during all stages of growth and reduces plant stress. It contains macronutrients and added magnesium to aid in the formation of chlorophyll and other essential plant compounds. As a plant growth enhancer, Vitamax Plus contains many essential macro and chelated micro nutrients along with natural B vitamins and select organic acids, including plant available amino acids and more. Great for transplanting and rooting, Vitamax Plus can be used to presoak seeds, mediums and even as a foliar spray prior to harvesting propagation material. Always use Vitamax Plus to compliment your regular fertilizer program. Use with every watering up until the last 7-10 days of crop growth and then discontinue use. Be sure to soak the soil or media completely when using the Vitamax Plus solution. Pass it on! For more information on Grotek products please visit www.grotek.net
GROW GEAR CANNA
Goes YouTube CANNA ﬁnally launched its own YouTube channel (CANNA Oﬃcial) where you can watch all the ‘Need to Know’ videos with tips and tricks and other videos with useful information about growing and about CANNA products. You can subscribe, rate and comment the channel or add the videos to your own website. CANNA will continue to upload new videos in the time to come. To watch all the videos go to http://www.youtube.com/user/cannaoﬃcial.
ATAMI B’ Cuzz Soil Boosterpack 100ml Root Stimulator 100ml Soil Booster Universal 250ml Bloom Stimulator 250ml Blossom Builder Liquid B’cuzz Coco Boosterpack 100ml Root Stimulator 100ml Coco Booster Universal 250ml Coco Bloom Stimulator 250ml Blossom Builder Liquid B’ Cuzz Hydro Boosterpack 100 ml Root Stimulator 100ml Hydro Booster Universal 250ml Bloom Stimulator 250ml Blossom Builder Liquid Ata Boosterpack 100ml Rootbastic 250ml Bloombastic 250ml Atazyme Ata Organics Boosterpack 250ml Root-C 250ml Flower-C 250ml Bio-Bloombastic
B’cuzz Boosterpacks Atami is well-known Worldwide for its famous stimulators and boosters which are amongst others recognizable by their high concentrations and excellent quality. Recently Atami has added all the additives in a collection box to give you the opportunity to get acquainted with these high-quality boosters and stimulators in a simple and easy way. The boosterpacks contain all additives required for an entire cycle and assorted per product line to get the maximum out of your plants in 1 purchase. Short said, a complete package containing all additives for each phase in the cycle which contributes to the strength, health and your plants end product. As you are used from Atami, the boosterpacks are available for any kind of medium and organic growing. The content of the boosterpack can be used in combination with all available base nutrients and instructions are easy to follow by the included grow chart. Reasons to buy the Boosterpack: - All necessary products in 1 purchase - Highly concentrated - Suitable for any kind of medium or organic growing - Easy to use - Can be used in combination with all base nutrients Pass it on! More information can be found on our website, www.atami.com e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 0031 73 522 32 56 fax: 0031 73 521 32 59
The Aroma Formula The Aroma Formula, a truly diﬀerent way of feeding your plants! We have 3 bottles, VA & VB plus MB for Vegetation growth and 2 bottles, FA & FB plus the same MB for ﬂowering growth, the MB is you’re Micro Elements. Growing Edge Technologies learnt that in order to properly increase your plant yields we must increase the plant foods to a plant. The Macro elements can be increased gradually but the Micro Elements should not be increased. Plus are your plants heavy feeders or light feeders The Aroma Formula unique delivery methods allows you to find that perfect schedule for your type of growing! Pass it on! More information can be found on our website, www.thearomaformula.com
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.
Super Cloner The Super-Cloner range by Platinium Hydroponics oﬀers a quality ﬁnish with a perfect environment for your cuttings. This system comes with a 360° aeroponic fogger which disseminates the oxygen saturated nutrient solution throughout the culture chamber. The dome is an optional extra. The supercloner will give you optimal results. Available in three models:
DIMENSIONS DIMENSIONS WITHOUT COVER WITH COVER
750 ltr/hr15 to
15 to 20ltr
HYDRO-BIG POT The Platinium HYDRO-PRO system is now available in larger 18L and 25L pots, if you prefer to have good spacing between each pot; the HYDRO-BIG POT is the modular system for you. With all the qualities and standards associated with the Platinium range, you now have even more choice when it comes to choosing the system right for you. The 18L pots give a good sized pot with plenty of space between each flowering site, whereas the 25L pots still gives ample spacing with an extra 7 more liters for root development. Available in three models: TANK CAPACITY
80cm x 80cm x 39cm
100cm x 99cm x 39cm
85 to 90ltr
100cm x 99cm x 39cm
85 to 90ltr
120cm x 116cm x 39cm
120cm x 116cm x 39cm
80cm x 80cm x 39cm
Cal-Max was developed to provide the additional calcium, magnesium and iron that plants require during rapid growth. Without these nutrients, fast growing plants can quickly develop completely preventable deﬁciencies, which can cause small, poor-quality crops if left untreated. Supplementing with Cal-Max virtually eliminates numerous deﬁciencies such as blossom end rot in tomatoes & peppers, Bud abort, tip burn in lettuce & cabbage, and yellowing of leaves are controlled or prevented. During periods of high temperatures, plants can develop nutrient deﬁciencies, even when nutrients are available to be absorbed through the rhizosphere. Cal-Max can easily provide the additional calcium, magnesium and iron to support peak production as a foliar spray option during periods of low nutrient uptake. The addition of low molecular weight humates increases the availability of nutrients to the plant, assisting the applied elements to enter the plant through the most eﬀective metabolic pathways. Cal-Max can be used once a deﬁciency has been detected, but is most eﬀective when used as a supplement to your nutrient solution before you encounter preventable deﬁciencies. Cal-Max should be used in addition to your regular fertilizer feeding schedule to prevent/ correct deﬁciencies and helping create the greenest garden possible. For those growing in coir ﬁber, Cal-Max is appropriate for both charging and conditioning the medium on a weekly basis to ensure an abundance of nitrogen and calcium which are both deﬁcient in coconut pith. Pass it on! For more information on Grotek products please visit www.grotek.net
SUBSTRATE / FERTILISED. Growing for the best taste and smell Plagron has a comprehensive range of substrates. Each substrate is unique and has quite a few characteristics which can only be expected from the quality substrates of Plagron. Test it yourself and experience the benefits of Batmix! Plagron Batmix is organic and a mix of the ﬁnest, carefully selected types of peat. It contains various types of ﬁbre and perlite which results in a high level of lightness and oxygen. The abundant presence of unique Plagron worm castings ensures vigorous plant growth and increased water retention. The main nutrient in Batmix is bat manure (Bat Guano). Bat manure is naturally rich in phosphorus and potassium, guaranteeing abundant growth. Only under closely controlled conditions can Bat Guano be processed into the top quality product Batmix. Batmix contains suﬃcient nutrients to meet all the needs of the plant throughout the complete cycle. Rinse with water before use in order to wash out the immediately absorbable nutrients. Batmix contains suﬃcient nutrients to meet all the needs of the plant throughout the complete cycle. Do not add any fertiliser for the ﬁrst 6 weeks. After this, depending on plant development, fertilise optionally. Advantages of Batmix: - Extra phosphorus and potassium from added bat manure. - Enhances aroma and taste. - Complete fertilisation for at least 6 weeks. - Profuse ﬂowering. - Promotes resistance. Packaging 25 and 50 litres bags. Do you have any questions? email@example.com For additional information about Batmix and our other products, www.plagron.com
Smaller size, lighter weight, easier and safer to handle than conventional carbon filters. Made out of virgin food grade activated coconuts carbon, considered the best carbon to remove organic smell. Its multilayer ﬂeece mats are air-tight sealed to guarantee 100% eﬃciency. Its innovative hanging system allows the ﬁlter to be hanged directly to its plastic ﬂanges. More than 20 references are already available: 100mm /250m3 125mm /250m3 /400m3 /600m3 150mm /460m3 /690m3 /840m3 160mm /460m3 /690m3 /840m3 200mm /800m3 /1.000m3 250mm /1.000m3 /1.500m3 /1.800m3 /2.150m3 315mm /1.400m3 /1.800m3 /2.150m3 /2.550m3
Complete kit for safely germinating seeds Create the ideal germination environment at home, using the unique Seedbox from Plagron! The Seedbox is the perfect starter set! Test it yourself and experience the benefits of Seedbox! The Seedbox contains a growing tray with transparent lid, 12 germination plugs and a bottle of the unique Plagron Seedbooster. Follow the clear instructions in your own language on the manual included in the Seedbox and your seeds will germinate and develop into perfect plants. The secret of this set is the Seedbooster. This stimulator contains a protective anti rotting enzyme that carefully penetrates the hard seed coat of even the most diﬃcult seeds. The seed are encouraged to start germinating. Even older seeds germinate quickly and easily. You can see the result after just a couple of days. The Seedbooster also provides a uniform growth of plants. Always use Vitamax Plus to compliment your regular fertilizer program. Use with every watering up until the last 7-10 days of crop growth and then discontinue use. Be sure to soak the soil or media completely when using the Vitamax Plus solution. Advantages of Seedbox: - Complete starters kit - Seeds germinate fast and safe - Clear instructions on the manual Content - Growing tray - This tray with transparent lid gives the seeds the perfect environment to develop. - 12 germination plugs. - These plugs take care of the correct pH, EC and air/water balance. - 250 ml Seedbooster. - Stimulator for safe, quick and vigorous germination of seeds and healthy root development. - Including manual in 12 languages. Do you have any questions? Please contact our service desk via firstname.lastname@example.org For additional information about Seedbox and our other products, www.plagron.com
The HYDROMAG surgery is open for business...
“Don’t get taken down the garden path…” As both a store owner and product manufacturer, Bill Sutherland believes in honest advice. If he buys too much of one product for his store, he doesn’t try and oﬄoad it or force it on his customers; he’ll give them the product that works and disregard the useless stuﬀ. It’s this approach that makes him the perfect person to answer any questions you have about Hydroculture.
WATER WORKS Dear Bill, I’ve been growing for just over a year, using a one part nutrient solution for veg and another for ﬂowering. I’m keen to start using a more comprehensive nutrient regime because my plants are quite straggly to say the least. The problem I have is that whenever I use anything over ¼ strength feeding solutions there is a signiﬁcant amount of salt build-up in my drainage and my plants show signs of toxic levels of nutrients (stunted growth, leaf burn and red veins and stems). Should I be happy that my water supply is apparently already rich in nutrients or do you think I would see diﬀerent results if I started using speciﬁc nutrients instead of a one bottle system? Richard, Manchester ............................................... Hi Richard, if you can only get ¼ strength nutrient feed into your plants you will be losing ¾ of your harvest. To truly take advantage of whatever nutrient you buy, use a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter. These ﬁlters will take most contaminants out of your water supply. Creating pure water that will not aﬀect the chemistry of the nutrients you buy. The manufacturer of the nutrient you chose could have spent years perfecting their formula and as soon as we mix the elements with poor quality water we can create an unbalanced nutrient solution. Salt build up in your drainage is normal but should be cleaned up. As the nutrient solution dries up you will have a salt build up. You never mentioned if this crystallization is happening on the surface of your growing medium? If you see crystallization on growing medium surface your containers are too small, over fertilization and the salts could be burning the stem where it goes into the growing medium. I do not think any water coming out of the ground will have balance mineral elements; this water will have excess amounts of any of the following, Sulphur, Calcium, Magnesium or Iron. Not what I would recommend! Bill, email@example.com
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 Bill directly firstname.lastname@example.org You can also get in touch via Facebook & Twitter:
A BEGINNERS GUIDE... Hi Bill, I’m fairly new to the hydroponics game but I’m considering setting up a growroom in my home, what practicalities should I know before I go about this? I don’t want to go to all the trouble of acquiring all the equipment to create a growroom to ﬁnd out that it’s just not feasible where I live. Are there certain kinds of houses that are better for putting growrooms in or am I over-thinking this? I also wanted to ask you as a beginner what the advantages of using hydroponics are over other growing methods? I think others may be in the same situation as me where they know they want to use hydroponics to grow stuﬀ but we don’t really know why! Cheers, Brian, London .................................. Hello Brian, I think you are over thinking this. Plants need these things to grow; Light, Warmth, Water and Mineral elements. As long as these 4 things are on this planet, plants will grow. How well plants grow depends on the combination of these elements. Now the fun begins; just look at the size of plants you want to grow and make sure they have the 4 requirements and you will become successful.
IS IT HUMID IN HERE? Bill, I grow my seeds in Root Riot cubes in a propagation tray under CFL light. Before I grow them I soak them in water with a very small amount of Canna start. I use this weak solution to soak the cubes before I plant the seeds. My most recent batch of seeds came out over the course of two weeks, but then failed to make it any further before eventually shrivelling up and dying. Is it possible for seedlings to come out then not make it any further because they’re low quality, or is it more likely I did something wrong? Celia ........................................ Hi Celia, if nature created low quality seeds they would not germinate, if we stored them wrong and they germinated and they failed, then we did something wrong. If these were the only plants in your home they could have just dried up for lack of humidity. Next time keep a humidity dome on seedling tray. This will keep plenty of humidity around young plants. Remove the dome at least 3 times a day and if you are up for it wipe the inside of the dome down to force plants to rehumidify the incubator dome. Take the dome oﬀ for a few hours at diﬀerent times of the day to harden them up before putting them into a tent. Once plantlets are 3 to 5 inches tall keep them in a tent as they still will not be able to humidify the whole house.
Bill: “To truly take advantage of whatever nutrient you buy, use a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter. These ﬁlters will take most contaminants out of your water supply. Creating pure water that will not aﬀect the chemistry of the nutrients you buy.”
IPHOTOGRAPHY APPS Autostitch
Certainly not eclipsed by Apples’s recent addition of a native panorama-creating app to iOS, Autostitch seamlessly blends highresolution images to create true 360-degree panoramas. It isn’t strictly a negative because you can control the resolution and ‘blend’ (the accuracy with which photos are spliced together) but the app does take a long time to produce large, high resolution panoramas. The results are worth the wait. See panoramas featured in my photo journal on Chernobyl, ‘Obliteration by Time’, in last month’s issue.
Every man and his dog have an iPhone today. The only way you can escape them is to pick up a rival handset- in which case you’re likely to spend even more time discussing your phone and boring everyone to tears with your highfalutin justifications for not following the trend. iPhones don’t seem to be going the way of flares and minidiscs any time soon (we can only hope), but a large part of that is to do with the fact that they’re pretty darn good. Here Jamie Giles, self-styled ‘iPhonographer’ and author of the photo journal featured in this very issue, walks us through the tools of his trade.
A must for all iPhoneographers, this powerful suite of filters and editing tools has recently seen the welcome addition of iPad-only enhanced editing. It also has an iCloud rivalling photo sharing service that enables real-time editing across multiple devices. Camera+ includes a range of pre-set image enhancement tools as well as filters to really make your images pop.
Much better than the naive iOS standard, this app shoots three images in contrasting light settings and blends them together to ensure maximum resolution and depth. It is recommended that you use a flat surface (or rest the device on a willing assistant’s shoulder). If you plan to shoot a lot of HDR then I recommend investing in a dedicated iPhone tripod. The Joby Gorillapod is good. Make sure you get the correct model for your camera!
With a furious shake of the hand, this wonderfully kitsch app turns any image into a virtual Polaroid. This works very well with Instagram and the images look great when printed. The size of the print is a little unusual so make sure you do a test on your home printer before sending a batch to be professionally printed. That said, high street photography shops are usually happy to assist.