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CANADA September - October 2009



East Coast USA Indoor Gardening Expo NOVEMBER 7 and 8, 2009


contents September / October 2009




Ladybugs: Guardians of the Grow Room


Succulent Edible Shoots


The pH of Raw Water is Meaningless


Growing Plants in Organic and Inorganic Systems


Pythium or Algae: Have you been Misdiagnosed?


How Healthy are your Nutrients?


Aquaponics: Clean, Green and Organic


The New Grow: Getting it Tight


The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side of the Greenhouse


by Matt LeBannister

by Dr. Lynette Morgan

by Bob Taylor

by Dr. Carole Ann Rollins and Dr. Elaine Ingham

by Paul Foster

by Susan Slobac

by Dr. Michael A. Nichols

by Erik Biksa

by Charlene Rennick

Departments 6 8 10 12 14 18

From the Editor Letters to the Editor Ask Erik MAX Facts Product Spotlight

60 67 68 70 74 74

You Tell Us Check Your Growing IQ Max Mart


Distributors Do You Know? Coming up Next Issue

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


FROM the editor Although the weather and the calendar say so, it’s hard to believe that fall has arrived. Outdoor crops are in full harvest, making it the best time to perfect your indoor grow or start fresh with a new one. The articles presented here contain some great tips and helpful tricks to help you do just that! This issue welcomes back Dr. Lynette Morgan, an expert in her field and a passionate woman with advice for growing nearly every crop imaginable. Her debut article in Maximum Yield Canada details the growth needs of edible shoots. We’re also pleased to re-introduce Dr. Mike Nichols who has travelled around the world studying aquaponics in his featured article “Aquaponics: Clean, Green and Organic.” Make sure to check out this issue’s great new products that will make your gardening ventures that much easier. Got some advice for other gardeners? Drop us a line with “Your Best Advice” and we will print it in the upcoming issues to benefit other readers. We have just wrapped up both the Canadian expo and the San Francisco expo. For those that attended, we want to thank you for your support. Those that missed the shows, we advise you to make plans to attend the next one. Extraordinary exhibitors, innovative products and incredible attendance made for two of the most

successful shows ever. We welcome you all to attend the upcoming east coast Indoor Gardening Expo in beautiful Orlando, Florida – November 7-8, 2009. Check out for more information. We have now made Maximum Yield easier to read online with a new userfriendly format. With the click of your mouse, the pages flip just as if the magazine was in your hand. If you miss getting a copy from your favourite indoor gardening shop, you can catch it all online at featuring web links to our advertisers’ websites to keep you learning and growing! If you haven’t already signed up for our new E-Newsletter, sign up at and get the latest news, products and happenings to keep you on top of your gardening game! Enjoy your read and keep sending me tips, questions and comments. They benefit us all.

Jessica Raymond, Editor

contributors Dr. Carole Ann Rollins is co-owner with her husband of Nature Tech-

Matt LeBannister works at Homegrown Hydroponics, the

Dr. Elaine Ingham is president of Soil Foodweb Inc., an interna-

Paul Foster was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, where he currently resides. He has been involved in hydroponics for the past 15 years as a commercial grower. As this is his first published article, Paul is excited about sharing his hydroponic knowledge with Maximum Yield readers. Paul is mostly self-taught, having developed systems from scratch that were unique to his growing situation. This independent method taught him an immense amount about hydroponic growing.

Erik Biksa, leading expert in hydroponic technologies, holds a diploma in Agriculture with majors in fertilizer sciences and crop production. Erik’s earliest gardening experiences began when he started to walk, learning the secrets of time honored, old-world gardening practices from his grandfather. Erik has amassed over 18 years of indoor gardening experience and intensive research while pushing the boundaries of crop growth technologies. Since first appearing in Maximum Yield in 1999, the “Ask Erik” column and numerous articles have reached growers throughout the world.

Dr. Mike Nichols retired from teaching horticulture at Massey

Bob Taylor is the chief chemist of Flairform - an Australian based manufacturing company. Up until 1992, Bob was the principal chemist of the water resources section at Western Australia’s State Government Chemistry Centre, a government run consultancy service for all water related problems. Bob was an approved NATA signatory for a wide range of water analyses as well as an official registered analyst for the government’s chemical analysis monitoring program of all fertilizers registered in Western Australia.

Dr. Lynette Morgan holds a B. Hort. Tech. degree and a PhD in hydroponic greenhouse production from Massey University, New Zealand. A partner with SUNTEC International Hydroponic Consultants, Lynette is involved in remote and on-site consultancy services for new and existing commercial greenhouse growers worldwide as well as research trials and product development for manufacturers of hydroponic products. Lynette authors five hydroponic technical books. Visit and for more information.

nologies International LLC located in Novato, Calfiiornia. They produce organic alternatives to toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Their product line includes the Nature's Solution brand of compost tea, ancient humate, sea kelp, mycorrhizae, worm castings, compost tea brewers, solution ingredients, and books. She co-authored a book with Dr. Elaine Ingham called Adding Biology for Soil and Hydroponic Systems. She edited and compiled The Field Guide I and II for Actively Aerated Compost Tea for Dr. Elaine Ingham. Carole completed her PhD in 2008.

tional laboratory system, that assesses the balance of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes and mycorrhizal fungi in all materials. The major emphasis of her work is to return health to soil, so that natural nutrient cycling and disease suppression mechanisms are present, allowing the desired plants to grow without requiring use of pesticides or inorganic fertilizers.


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

manufacturer of the DNF line of premium nutrients and enhancement products. Matt manages the retail store at Homegrown’s head office in Toronto and as of late has been traveling the trade show circuit as their resident expert. Matt hopes to make a big splash in the indoor gardening industry through Homegrown and Maximum Yield.

University at Christmas 2006, but has retained the title of “Honorary Research Associate”. He was elected and Honorary Member of the International Society for Horticultural Science in August 2006. He consults world-wide on a range of horticultural topics both for industry and for international organizations such as the United Nations.

on the web


VOLUME 12 – NUMBER 3 September/October 2009 Maximum Yield is published bi-monthly by Maximum Yield Publications Inc. 2339A Delinea Place, Nanaimo, BC V9T 5L9 Phone: 250.729.2677; Fax 250.729.2687 No part of this magazine may be reproduced without permission from the publisher.

Speed Read 1. For the past four months we have been giving away tons of sweet growing gear to Maximum Yield readers across the country in our Win Big! Grow Big! Contest. Enter now at 2. Check out Sure to Grow’s chief grower, Matt Geschke as he demonstrates how these exciting products can help speed up your growing system preparations in this month’s featured video. 3. Having been harvested for food, fertilizer and medicine for thousands of years, seaweed is a highly regarded natural product that can assist with healthy organic growing. Luis Bartolo delves into this topic further on

If undeliverable please return to the address above. The views expressed by columnists are a personal opinion and do not necessarily reflect those of Maximum Yield or the Editor. Publication Agreement Number 40739092 PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER - Jim Jesson GENERAL MANAGER - Don Moores BUSINESS MANAGER - Linda Jesson SALES DIRECTOR - Lisa Lambersek EDITOR - Jessica Raymond ADVERTISING SALES 250.729.2677 Linda Jesson - Lisa Lambersek - Ilona Hawser - Julie Madden - PRODUCTION & DESIGN Pentti Tikkanen - Alice Joe - Wes Cargill -

“Today China and Japan are the biggest consumers of seaweed worldwide, with China harvesting 500 million tons a year for food use alone.” -Luis Bartolo

UPCOMING EVENTS Two highly anticipated events for global growers: East Coast USA Indoor Gardening Expo Where: Orlando, Florida What: “Greener Places, Sustainable Spaces” When:  November 7-8, 2009 Montreal, Quebec, Canada What: Return trip to this thriving Canadian city (theme to be announced) When:  Spring 2010 (to be announced)

LATEST NEWS •  Four students win Best Global Impact Award for hydroponics vertical farm project. •  Hydroponic rooftop gardens sprouting in cities around the world are producing hundreds of gourmet lettuce plants, long vines of gourmet cucumbers and bushes of cherry tomatoes. •  High-tech urban growers are utilizing hydroponics to feed city dwellers. Tell us what you think at We’d love to hear from you.



Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

ACCOUNTING - Lee Anne Veres

CANADIAN DISTRIBUTION Brite-Lite Group Biofloral Eddis Wholesale Greenstar Plant Products Inc. Hydrotek MegaWatt Quality Wholesale USA DISTRIBUTION Aurora Innovations BWGS BWGS East BWGS West General Hydroponics Hydrofarm Hydro International National Garden Wholesale / Sunlight Supply R&M Supply Tradewinds UK DISTRIBUTION Growth Technology Hydrogarden Northern Hydroponic Wholesale Nutriculture UK AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTION Futchatec Growth Technology Hydraspher

LETTERS to the editor Search Solutions

Thumbs Up to Maximum Yield

I have just recently found your website and I am there everyday. Thank you for the superb information and pictures. Do you have a search feature available on your website? I read an article with an organic tea recipe a couple of days ago and now I can’t find it.

Gardening has always been a love of mine, and one day while in the local gardening centre, I picked up an issue of Maximum Yield. It changed my life. I realized how easy hydroponic gardening was for the average individual to master. Most of the books on the subject are difficult to understand and hard to apply to the home garden; not so with Maximum Yield. I became fascinated with the overall benefits of converting my garden to hydroponics, with the helpful articles as a point of reference and the informative “Ask Erik” section. After building a few home hydroponic systems, I have surrendered to my love of hydroponics and have now opened my own hydroponic store. The hobby has become my life and my work. Maximum Yield is without a doubt the best hydroponic gardening magazine I have ever read, and has more accurate information on the subject than I have found anywhere. Thank you again Maximum Yield.

Thanks Shawn Moriarty We are currently working on adding a search feature to our website,, which will allow you to search through all of our articles and authors with key words. Also, all Online Extras, such as the one you are looking for, will be linked for easy access. We have two great compost tea recipes available in our Online Extras. Please follow these links to access them. Application Parameters for Using Compost Tea by Dr. Carole Rollins (October 2008) compost_tea.pdf A Fresh Look at Insect and Disease Controls by Erik Biksa (May 2009) DiseaseControl.pdf

Where to Buy? Your magazine is without a doubt excellent. My question is: where can I purchase the products you have on your product spotlight pages? There are never any numbers or e-mail addresses to contact anyone. Kind Regards Trevor Melder All of the products featured in the Product Spotlight pages of Maximum Yield can be found at indoor gardening retail stores. If your local hydro shop doesn’t carry the product(s) you’re looking for, simply ask for them by name and in most cases, they will be able to get that product ordered in for you. For a list of hydro shops near you, flip to the Maximum Yield Distributors on page 70.

Emmett Patterson

Friends and Fans I can't seem to find Maximum Yield on Facebook. I wanted to learn more on LEDs and other related information. Thanks Branden Dais To join us on Facebook, simply visit and click on the Facebook button, or you can follow this link: Currently, fans are heatedly conversing over LEDs in one of our discussion groups. You will also find a large library of articles on LEDs and other indoor lighting options in the article archive on

Proven Results at MY Expos I have always had a great interest in your magazine. I attended the recent “Back to Your Roots” Indoor Gardening Expo in Kelowna, B.C. and I loved it. I have just started a new company thanks to the inspiration and contacts made at the show. Sincerely Charlie Magnusson and the Monashee Boys 10

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Maximum Yield reserves the right to edit for brevity. We want to hear from you! Write us at: Maximum Yield Publications Inc. 2339A Delinea Place, Nanaimo, BC V9T 5L9 or Email us at:

ASK erik

Do you have a question for Erik? Forward it to with the words “Ask Erik” in the subject line, and your answer will be printed in an upcoming edition.

Hello Maximum Yield, It seems like there are more and more articles, forums and gardeners talking about LED grow lights these days. There are lots of different opinions out there. So far you guys have never steered me in the wrong direction. So what do you think? Should I consider replacing the HPS light in my hobby garden with one of the higher output LEDs, and what kind of results should I expect if I do? Thanks, Fredo

Fredo, I always do my best to help keep the readership informed and up-to-date on the many new technologies that are emerging for indoor growers. It takes a while to draw accurate conclusions about new technologies, and often while we are trialing the latest and greatest, the technologies being tested are advancing. So, sometimes our data becomes obsolete due to improvements or changes in the technologies being tested. I expect to see lots of advances in LED (light emitting diode) lighting for horticultural crops in the next while. This may lead to some major changes in the way people grow indoors, and the number of people that grow indoors, possibly paving the way to a horticultural renaissance of sorts. My conclusions regarding LEDs are only as up-to-date as the time of this writing. By the time you read this in print, there will likely be more advances in the way of LEDs. At present, high output LEDs, which typically range from 0.3 watts up to 3.0 watts (per diode) are capable of producing very healthy plant growth. The higher the wattage of the diode, the more light they can emit; resulting in better cropping potential. Firstly, power consumption for lighting is drastically reduced, typically by up to six to 10 times! Now factor in that the diodes and fixtures emit negligible amounts of heat, and you further reduce your electrical consumption that is associated with keeping temperatures in the optimal range with exhaust systems or air-conditioning. The initial cost of an LED fixture is quickly offset with the savings in electricity, and the fact that cooling equipment purchases and power consumption are greatly reduced or eliminated. So far it has been found that using one of the higher end high-output LED plant lighting systems comprised of one watt or greater per diode for a total of near 100 watts total can help to give results comparable to a 250 watt or even 400 watt HPS lamp. While the electrical savings is very significant, the fact that the lighting does not heat up the growing area allows for very efficient use of supplemental carbon dioxide; offering the potential to increase yields. Because they are so cool running and the fixture requires very little space, you can set-up an LED lit garden in just about any space that is tall enough for your desired crop. Best of all, your garden can run near silent, as minimal air movement and exchanges will be required. Lots of growers find that using LEDs help to reduce their watering requirements also.


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

However, while it has been noted that LEDs emit only light wavelengths that the plants need, making them very efficient, it seems that there is the need for further development on just what it is the plants need in terms of light wavelengths exactly, and how this changes through the various growth phases. Many growers report that they can significantly increase their growth rates and yields by coupling a small amount of fluorescent lighting with their cool running LED systems. The extra “warm” and visible light wavelengths emitted by the fluorescents seem to give flowering plants that little something extra to produce better versus just blue and red LEDs alone. LED manufacturers are refining their diode colour ratios to help create the ideal spectrum for plant growth. Interestingly, the pioneers of LED light growing are learning that different plants seem to have different needs in this regard, and further to that, these needs change through the various growth phases. So for the space allotted here, I will say that a high quality and high output fixture, coupled with a minimal amount of supplemental fluorescent lighting can produce some nice results that should satisfy the hobbyist looking to produce a small crop for their own well being. Larger scale HID gardeners should watch this technology closely, as it seems more and more likely that LEDs may have the potential to replace their HIDs in the not too distant future. Greenhouse growers wishing to supplement lighting levels or increase day lengths may find high-output LEDs especially attractive. Look for more research and information from myself and in the many pages of this magazine for further developments in this exciting growth technology. Cheers, Erik Biksa


MAX facts

Hydroponic news, tips and trivia from around the world

Crowded Cities to Sprout Skyscraper Greenhouses A Swedish company is in the process of developing vertical greenhouses that grow organic fruit and vegetables in the middle of crowded cities. As the amount of available land decreases and approximately 80 per cent of the global population expected to be living in cities in a few decades, the need to grow fruits and vegetables in an urban environment increases. The fresh organic produce grown daily would be sold directly to consumers in the city, saving 70 per cent in the cost to ship and store produce. Although the installation cost would be around 30 million dollars, much more than a regular greenhouse, the investment would rapidly turn a profit, according to developers. The greenhouse will utilize simple technology, and will represent the equivalent of 1,000,000 square metres of cultivated land. The finished project will resemble a large glass sphere with a pillar in the middle around which the seedlings rotate. Several other countries including Scandinavia and China have also expressed an interested in these vertical greenhouses. (Source:

New Leaf Lettuce Breeding Lines with Corky Root Resistance Agriculture Research Services has released three new leaf lettuce breeding lines with resistance to corky root, a serious disease of lettuce that attacks plant’s roots causing them to enlarge and develop yellow to brown lesions and longitudinal cracks. Geneticists have developed one red leaf lettuce and two green leaf lettuces with resistance to the disease. Roots infected with corky root disease are unable to effectively absorb water and nutrients, resulting in smaller lettuce heads and yield loss. Cultural practices and fumigation techniques used to treat the disease are costly and labour-intensive. Therefore, developing lines with genetic resistance is still the most common and preferred method to combat the disease. The new breeding lines plant weight is comparable to or higher than commercial cultivars. The breeding lines also showed little to no tipburn in test trials. (Source:

Potting Mix as a Fungicide Replacement Plant physiologists have found that a natural potting mix of peat, compost and Trichoderma hamatum, a beneficial fungus, may work much better at fighting plant diseases than systemic fungicides. This mixture is custom tailored to specific diseases, such as Botrytis grey mould, and thus does a better job in combat than standard fungicide. The Trichoderma fungus prevents Botrytis from infecting fresh wounds, and produces compounds that keep Botrytis spores from germinating. The beneficial Trichoderma fungus-compost mix also improves the plant quality and increases its market value as it does not leave a residue on the plant as do fungicide sprays. Surprisingly, the compost mix has a similar effect even without Trichoderma. This means there could be naturally occurring beneficial fungi or other biocontrol agents in the compost. (Source:

Cloned Crops Closer to Being Realized Cloning is a useful tool for farmers and gardeners who wish to replicate the best of their crops without the lottery of sexual reproduction. Clonal reproduction of crop species took a step closer to being realized with newly founded biology research. The authors of the research have made a form of asexual reproduction possible in a normally sexual species, turning meiosis into mitosis. Although this is not enough to reach clonal reproduction, it is a giant leap towards it. The work of the team, formed of researchers from around the globe, could be very important commercially, because it makes the creation of stable new mutant crops much simpler. It is now much closer to being possible to produce perfect plant without the lottery of reassortment that each meiotic division and ensuing fertilization introduces. (Source: Public Library of Science. "Cloned Crops Closer To Being Realized." ScienceDaily 10 June 2009. 15 June 2009 < /releases/2009/06/090608204055.htm>)


Maximum Yield Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x201A; |â&#x20AC;&#x201A; September / October 2009

MAX facts

Hydroponic news, tips and trivia from around the world

Aquaculture Continues to Gain Popularity Despite concerns about the harmful effects of aquaculture, it remains a popular method of food production according to an assessment published in BioScience. The authors of the report believe it will probably remain the most rapidly increasing food production system worldwide through 2025. The total production of aquaculture has increased by 8.8 per cent per year since 1985 and now accounts for about 1⁄3 of all aquatic harvest by weight. The exportation of seafood grown using aquaculture techniques generates more money for developing countries than meat, coffee, tea, bananas and rice combined. If practiced well, aquaculture can reduce pressure on over-exploited wild stocks, enhance depleted stocks and boost natural production of fishes as well as species diversity. As the techniques improve, some harmful effects will diminish. (Source: American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Aquaculture's Growth Seen As Continuing." ScienceDaily 9 January 2009. 9 July 2009 <http://www.sciencedaily. com /releases/2009/01/090102082248.htm>)

Coco Coir Media Friend of the Environment

Vitamin Mix Helps Health of Farmed Fish

The nutrient-rich and extremely versatile coconut coir is fast becoming one of the most widely used growing media in the world today. And rightly so as it is relatively inexpensive, is not taken from the environment, and because it is reusable and recyclable, it does not end up in the landfill. Coco coir is derived from the dust that is left over after the coconut milk and its edible fruit is harvested. This fabulous growing media contains a natural friendly bacterium called Trichaderma, which is great for nurturing the root system of your plants. It also adds humus to poor soil, and because it holds its weight in water, it assists in harsh drought times.

Agricultural Research Service fish nutritionists are making it easier for trout and other fish to get their daily dose of vitamins. Rainbow trout, farm and hatchery fish and endangered species are gobbling up a newly developed pre-blended vitamin mix that includes a dozen essential vitamins that maintains the health of these in-demand fish. This publicly available formula will replace decades-old formulas that weren’t adapted to today’s fish-feed processing technology known as extrusion processing, which creates heat that can damage some vitamins. The formula, now manufactured by two major companies, has been added by feedmakers to more than 700,000 pounds of fish feeds.


Organic Plant Waste Effective Weed Control for Citrus Trees With the recent interest in organic crop production, growers are facing new challenges, especially in the management and removal of invasive weeds. Synthetic mulches, manufactured from petroleum-based materials, have been used extensively for weed control, although they cause increased runoff. Natural and sustainable weed control alternatives that have shown to be of great help to Egyptian organic citrus fruit trees are sweeping the market. These natural options have been proven effective in weed suppression moisture conservation and improved water infiltration. A recent study found that the greatest control of weeds occurred with plastic mulch and three mulch layers of rice, straw or cattail. Their effectiveness in controlling weeds may increase their use in agriculture systems with a concomitant decrease in the need for synthetic herbicides. Further studies are being done to evaluate their side effects on beneficial organisms, diseases and insects. (Source:


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


HGTV Opens Green Home to the Public The second annual HGTV Green Home was recently opened to the public and rave reviews were received. Every year a new green home is constructed, showcasing the latest trends in green design. From a hydroponics garden irrigated with recycled storm water, to the use of solar energy and extremely energy efficient appliances, there were many environmentally friendly features to note. Not to mention the house was decked out in the most fashionable manner with a professionally decorated interior. This home is one of a select few that have received Platinum certification by the Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. This is the highest level of certification that can be attained. (Source:


PRODUCT spotlight

Ask for these exciting new products at your favourite indoor gardening store.

TurboKlone™ - Aeroponic Kloning System It’s finally here! The T96 is the newest addition to TurboKlone’s fleet of high performance aeroponic kloners. With TurboKlone you’ll get propagation with an integrated cooling system that keeps temperatures low and helps roots grow super strong. TurboKlone boasts up to a 60 per cent increase in klone sites compared to other systems of similar size. All this without compromising space between sites! Join the revolution and experience how TurboKlone can help you grow better, stronger and faster than ever before! We’re rooting for you! For more information visit an indoor gardening retail store.

Mystik Botanical Bliss to Motivate and Nurture Plant Performance

Sure To Grow Launches New Storm Series Inserts

Optimum Hydroponix® welcomes the addition of three intoxicating cocktails, Mystik Root, Mystik Grow and Mystik Bloom, to its family of products. These potent potables combine a rich blend of all natural ingredients with highly concentrated seaweed, botanical extracts, more than 30 trace elements and amino acids, which drive natural plant functions to the extreme through superior assimilation of nutrients. Mystik Root, Grow and Bloom motivate and nurture performance, fuelling crops with maximum energy through all stages of plant life. The Mystik trio is a product of Holland, bottled in Canada by Optimum Hydroponix®. Available from retail distributors of Optimum Hydroponix® in the following formats: 500 millilitres, one litre and four litres. For more information call your nearest hydroponics retailer.

STG has launched a major new product line called the Storm series. The Storm inserts are one piece, solid inserts designed to fit the most common sizes of net pots and buckets, with sizes to fit the most widely used systems including C.A.P. Ebb and Gro, Botanicare, GH, DWC, EZ Clone and many others. The Storm inserts are also perfect for use in any application where net pots and buckets are used; flood and drain tables, DWC, aeroponics and home builds. The Storm series is a revolutionary technology to replace hydroton with many advantages that growers will love. •  ready to use out of the box; installs in seconds •  pH neutral •  no pre-treatment •  weighs only grams •  no shed, no dust, no mess •  keeps your systems clean and easy to maintain •  STG non-wicking technology means little to no green algae Want to see the results of Storm series in action for yourself? Go to or visit an indoor gardening retail store.

Clean Slate from Green Planet Wholesale Clean Slate is used primarily as a root zone cleaning and conditioning agent. Clean Slate will naturally improve overall plant health by effectively cleaning and sanitizing the root zone. A clean, disease-free root zone promotes fine feeder roots, allowing the plant to uptake oxygen, nutrients and water at an increased rate, leading to healthier plants overall. This allows them protection from attacks of most common airborne pests, diseases, soil borne fungal and bacterial pathogen outbreaks. Clean Slate does not promote beneficial bacterial growth, so if this is your goal, this is probably not a desirable solution to use. Clean Slate should be applied as a stand alone root zone treatment. It has no systematic qualities so it doesn’t require any holding period before harvesting. Clean Slate is available in one litre, four litres, 10 litres and 24 litres. For more information on Clean Slate visit an indoor gardening store near you. 18

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Megawatt’s All-New Garden Transformer Don’t spend hours trimming leaves when the Garden Transformer leaf trimmer can tear through those piles in no time at all. The Garden Transformer saves you valuable time and money. It is effective, economical and very quiet. It separates excess leaves and cut twigs from a variety of plants and flowers. The Garden Transformer trims plants and small bushes such as oregano, basil, rosemary, mint, lavender, coriander and parsley, used in the preparation of essential oils, aromatherapy and mixed flowers. Small, light and very powerful, this machine can be used for indoor and outdoor plants, fresh or dry. Included with the Garden Transformer is one pack of 10 blades, one pair of pliers and one dust cover to cover up the carousel when in use. Contact your hydroponics retail representative for more information.

PRODUCT spotlight

Ask for these exciting new products at your favourite indoor gardening store.

Welcome Little Brother It has already been more than 18 years since the launch of Light Mix as an ideal potting soil for organic gardeners who want to have control over the growing process through the application of liquid fertilizers. Slightly fertilized, it ensures a fast development of roots and vigorous new growth. The soil is composed to optimize drainage throughout the medium, which is essential for usage with automatic watering systems. Finally after many requests, the little brother has arrived, Light-Mix (20 litres). Ask your local retailer for the upcoming new kid on the block and what kind of introductory offer they will have.

Add Some Mega Reflectivity with the Fresca Sol™ Magnum Reflector by Sun System® The Fresca Sol™ Magnum Reflector was designed specifically to be used with the Fresca Sol™ Light System. Accept no imitations! This jumbo-sized reflector is made of 95 per cent reflective German aluminium, and easily assembles in minutes. The oversized design allows for a large coverage area - even when it is placed very close to plants. Check out the dimensions on this big bruiser: 87 centimetres long by 73 centimetres wide by 20 centimetres high. For more information on the Fresca Sol Magnum Reflector, go to an indoor gardening retail store.

New Indoor Products from 3D Organics Hit the Market

Light Deprivation Greenhouses from Forever Flowering

3D Organic Solutions, LLC is now offering three new products formulated for outstanding indoor or hydroponic results! These products are organic based and can be used outdoors as well. OG Grow 4-0-1 is a one part indoor/hydroponic grow formula that contains nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, boron, humic and fulvic acids, yucca, quillaja, sugars and more. OG Bloom .5-4-3 part A is the first in a two part indoor/hydroponic bloom formula that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, boron, humic and fulvic acids, yucca, quillaja, sugars and more. OG Bloom 2-0-1 part B is the second in a two part indoor/ hydroponic bloom formula that contains nitrogen, potassium, calcium, silicates, b-vitamins and more. Use 3D Indoor Products with 3D Powder Products for greater performance! 3-D Organic Solutions, LLC is a small, family owned and operated organic fertilizer company located in Ukiah, California that supports organic farming and agriculture. For more information on these products visit your local indoor gardening store.

Forever Flowering’s automated light deprivation greenhouses allow you to shorten or extend the growing season any time of the year by using the free power of the sun. Combined with blackout tarps and optional supplemental lighting, our greenhouses provide continual top quality and high quantity results while still being environmentally responsible. We offer a hobby line for those looking to grow in 120 square metres or less and cutting edge greenhouses that come with a retractable roof and roll up sidewalls. Both models are made of galvanized steel, and come with the highest quality environmental control units, lumen meters and the ability to stand up to high winds and snow loads. For those pulling tarps manually we offer two different kinds of ‘blackout’ material. Both are sewn to custom dimensions with reinforced tape around the edges and grommets every three metres. The triple layer breathable fabric, the only on the market and patented as such, has an aluminium top layer which deflects the excess heat of the sun. If the aluminium is too shiny just flip it over. The second is also of highest quality but is only one layer and not breathable. To learn more visit your local indoor gardening store.

Flairform’s SilikaMajic Did you know that some silica products contain zero “available” silica? The ‘reactive’ silica in SilikaMajic is extremely stable. This ensures SilikaMajic is able to deliver all the benefits of silica. Super concentrated (26 per cent potassium silicate): Use at 0.2 millilitres per litre. Feedback from growers confirms why silica is essential: •  increased strength and rigidity of stems and leaves •  increased fruit weight •  improved healing of pruning wounds •  increased tolerance to high salinity More information can be found at hydroponics retail stores.


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

PRODUCT spotlight

Ask for these exciting new products at your favourite indoor gardening store.

Introducing General Organics

New Bluelab Guardian Monitor

General Hydroponics is proud to announce General Organics. "GO" is the first complete line of superior organic liquid nutrients and supplements from the global leader in premium plant foods. The products are sustainably sourced, and produced with solar power for the lowest possible environmental impact. BioThrive Grow and Bloom offer essential nutrients for thriving crops. BioMarine enhances soils and boots plant growth. CaMg+ will benefit your plants ability to transport calcium and micronutrients. BioRoot encourages beneficial microbial activity in the root zone. BioWeed creates plant and soil vitality. BioBud provides flowering plants with minerals, humates and amino acids. Diamond Black is an exceptional source of plant active humates. The GO line not only feeds and enhances your plants, they build soils and feed beneficial microbes. The formulas bring together the time tested gardening techniques of ancients with the ecological and efficient methods of the future. General Organics represents General Hydroponics deep commitment to sustainability, quality, simplicity and innovation. To learn more visit a hydroponics retailer.

The new Bluelab Guardian is a constant indicator of the desired levels of EC, pH and temperature, enabling the grower to optimize these parameters through each growing phase. With the Guardian Monitor’s built-in silent alarm system there is: •  no more test strips or manual meters required •  constant readings when adding nutrient or making pH adjustments •  less risk of crop failure and disease due to an imbalance of nutrient or pH levels You can have peace of mind and ultimately, more time in your day! The Guardian Monitor has: •  easy-to-read green LED displays •  selectable values for conductivity and temperature •  a simple push button pH calibration system •  no calibration required for conductivity and temperature •  a silent alarm for both high and low settings •  retained settings during power loss (non-volatile memory) •  temperature compensation •  an international power supply •  a water resistant design •  a two year Bluelab guarantee (six months for pH probe) Please contact your favourite retailer for information.

Supernatural Brand® Ultimate Thrive® 4-0-2 Supernatural Brand® Ultimate Thrive® 4-0-2 is a proprietary blend of the highest quality ingredients available. Whether used in addition to your regular feeding program or to reduce transplant stress, Ultimate Thrive® 4-0-2 will greatly increase flower, fruit and vegetable production. Our multi-stage chelation process produces powerful buffering capabilities. Plants recognize these chelated micronutrients as protein, allowing normally slow moving nutrients rapid passage through plant membranes for delivery to growth points. Use Supernatural Brand® Ultimate Thrive® 4-0-2 to produce extremely energetic plants that will remain the picture of health throughout the growth cycle. Our chelated elements are bonded with two glycine molecules, which creates a highly mobile element. When combined in this way the plant recognizes these elements as protein enabling them to race through the phloem to the growing parts of the plant. For more information on this product visit your local hydroponics retailer.

Secret Jardin Intense Grow Tents As impressive in quality as they are in size, Secret Jardin’s Intense grow tents are true portable grow rooms. Available in sizes that range from big to “Mammoth,” these incredible creations eliminate the hassle of finding a growing space that possesses both an ideal environment and plenty of room for plants. They’re made with the same precision and care that Secret Jardin puts into all of its portable grow rooms. That means they all feature a lightproof, washable, 95 per cent reflective Mylar interior lining that’s strong without being too thick, roll-up access doors secured with highquality zippers and plenty of access ports for ventilation, exhaust, electrical plugs and more. Their sturdy aluminium framework is held together by dual-locking stainless steel joints, and it can support up to 150 pounds of equipment at the center of the tent. Growers that need even more space than the largest Intense offers can take advantage of their ability to easily and smoothly link to one another, even between different sizes. The possibilities for customization are truly endless! Ask for them now at an indoor gardening retail store.


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Trimpro Gasoline For the fifth year in a row, Trimpro has been developing a new model of trimmer. We just put the final touch to our last model, the Trimpro Gasoline! This new trimmer has been developed specifically to be used directly in the field. The Trimpro Gasoline is equipped with a four strokes Honda motor. It is probably the most quiet and most reliable gas motor available on the market. The speed of the motor can easily be adjusted by the user at any time. They can also use the machine either as a “table top” trimmer or install the “Automatik” top since both components are included with the machine. Only a limited amount will be built for this fall season. Visit your local hydroponics retailer to learn more.

MiniGen Water-Cooled CO2 Generator After extensive testing, Hydro Innovations is very proud to introduce our MiniGen Water-Cooled CO2 Generator. Measuring at only 15 by 15 by 25 centimetres, the MiniGen is perfect for smaller enclosures, and it can be used with or without the energy-efficient water cooling feature. The MiniGen has an electronic ignition with no standing pilot light and has a burner output of 1,250 BTU. When used with the water-cooling feature, 75 per cent of the heat produced by the burner is removed. It can be wall mounted or hung from chains. It burns propane fuel to produce CO2 and comes with a four metre gas hose with regulator. For more information on the MiniGen visit your local hydroponics retail store.

Announcing Rootech Cloning Gel™ in a New Economic Size Rootech Cloning Gel™, the gel that gardeners have come to rely on, is now available in a seven gram size. Rootech’s new size is ideal for the grower who leans towards small crop production. This compact jar with a resealable cap will propagate between 70 to 100 cuttings. For years, Rootech has provided it’s customers with the performance they have come to depend on. Easy to apply and among the strongest gels on the market, with a concentration of .55 per cent I.B.A, Rootech is ideal for propagation of the most hard-to-root plants. It can also be diluted with water for use on cuttings that will form roots more easily. To learn more about Rootech Cloning Gel visit your nearest hydroponics retailer.

Continued on page 66

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


by Matt LeBannister

Ladybugs: Guardians of the Growroom

Growing indoors can be a fun and rewarding experience for a gardener. Everything can be going great in what we perceive to be a sterile growing environment, but then one day some leaves begin to yellow and spots appear. The next day even more leaves yellow, more spots appear and worse, afflicted leaves begin to drop and litter the grow room floor. It sometimes seems that no matter how careful we are, there are plant-eating insects invading our indoor grow spaces. There are many sprays and insecticides lining the shelves of any gardening supply store and they can be


Maximum Yield Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x201A; |â&#x20AC;&#x201A; September / October 2009

effective to an extent. The problem some people find with these products is that they can leave residues, toxic or otherwise, on the surface of the plant. This becomes a concern for gardeners hoping to consume the fruits of their labour. Bad puns aside, many indoor gardeners are turning towards Mother Nature for inspiration when combating the plantdestroying insects that can plague ones crops. In nature there are predator insects that keep the populations of plant-eating insects in check. When pest insects are introduced to an environment that does not have any predator insects to eat them, their numbers can explode. Ladybugs, also known as ladybird beetles, are a popular choice with indoor gardeners, allowing the grower to avoid the use of sprays or poisons. Although releasing live predator insects into the grow room will not completely get rid of an infestation, it will control the population of the planteating insects. Maintaining a healthy community of ladybugs in the indoor garden will bring harmony to any grow space, balancing yin and yang with predator and prey. Clare S. Liptak addressed ladybugs in her article titled Problems with Pesticides in the Landscape: Resurgence, Residue and Resistance:

“An insecticide applied to eliminate aphids on a crabapple also kills the lacewings and ladybugs that were feeding on them. Consider that a few aphids may have escaped exposure to the spray and survived.With a food source now unlimited and no natural restraints on their population, these few individuals become the progenitors of a population that rebounds quickly. High reproductive potential - much greater than that of predators - is another reason aphid populations soar. The adult females are parthenogenic, giving birth without fertilization to three to six females per day for weeks.”

Ladybugs, also known as ladybird beetles, are a popular choice as a defence against plant destroying insects.

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


Ladybugs: Guardians of the Growroom

The ladybugs here have found their meal and with such a voracious appetite, a population of 4000 aphids will be destroyed.

“In the wild, ladybugs will feed for one to two weeks before over-wintering but indoors and in greenhouses they may live up to three weeks.” Every time insecticides are used on insects, gardeners are inadvertently helping to breed superior and more pesticide resistant plant-eating insects. Using predatory insects such as ladybugs instead of insecticides keeps these superbugs from evolving and taking over our gardens. There are about 6000 different species of ladybugs worldwide. Ladybug adults and larvae are 1.5 millimetres to one centimetre and many species feed on a wide variety of prey insects. Ladybugs range from pale yellow, to orange-red, to black, and whether or not they have spots depends on the variety. Most species of ladybugs prefer to feed on aphids but some prefer mealy bugs, spidermites or scales. Here are a number of different types of ladybugs that are commercially available and the insects that they prefer to eat.

Hippodamia convergens This species is the most common type to be carried by garden suppliers and is mainly a predator of aphids but will eat other pest insects. Cryptolaemus montrouzieri A predator of mealybugs and a species occurring in Florida. Delphastus pusillus A species that preys on whiteflies and also occurs in Florida. Rhyzobius lophanthae This variety of ladybird beetle is a predator of scale insects.

Knowledge of the lifecycle of ladybugs, or any insects that one might encounter in the grow room, is crucial if one wants to truly harness the beneficial power of the ladybug. A ladybug lays its white or yellow eggs in upright clusters. Depending on variety and room temperature, the eggs will hatch in one to five days and the larvae will go in search of food. 26

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Ladybugs: Guardians of the Growroom The larvae of ladybugs, like all insects that pupate to become adult, have voracious appetites. Ladybug larvae actually do most of the damage to the planteating insect population in their bid to store the energy that they require to pupate and become adults. In the two to three weeks that the larval stage lasts, a single ladybug larva can consume as many as 4000 aphids. The ladybug young are spindle- Ladybug larvae do the majority of the damage to plant eating insect populations. shaped with short spines and resemble alligators in appearance and appetite. The larva of ladybugs will molt three times before entering the pupal stage of development. During this stage, the pupa is not quite a larva and not quite an adult ladybug. As metamorphosis takes place the pupa is in a cocoon and stops feeding. Ladybug pupae are not always immobile. The head can still bite and defend while the other end is in a state of metamorphosis. This change from larva to adult takes one to 1-½ weeks depending on the temperature.

“A great way to prolong the lifespan of your ladybugs is to release them into your indoor garden at night.” Once adult ladybugs emerge they will begin to feed on the prey insects. In the wild, ladybugs will feed for one to two weeks before over-wintering but indoors and in greenhouses they may live up to three weeks. One important thing to know about ladybug adults is that when they are released indoors they have a tendency to be attracted to the HID lights. This unfortunately means that when 1000 adult ladybugs are released into the grow room, one week later only 20 to 50 of the strongest will be alive. This, as well as their short life span, is why ladybugs should be released in large numbers and released often. A great way to prolong the lifespan of your ladybugs is to release them into your indoor garden at night. This allows them to have some time to feed and bring down pest insect populations while there are no lights on to be attracted to. If more adult ladybugs survive, there will be more eggs laid and more future ladybugs to continue the battle against grow room pests. When gardening indoors, we try our best to emulate nature. Most indoor gardeners simply want to bring a little bit of nature in their homes. Somehow we have forgotten this simple truth when it comes to battling the insects that invade our grow spaces. Pesticides and sprays can be effective but at a cost. They can contaminate our food and environment as well as kill beneficial insects. Ladybugs and predatory insects in general are a safe, environmentally friendly way to combat the pests that damage our prized plants. They can even stop an infestation before it begins if ladybugs are brought into the grow room pre-emptively. By not using sprays and pesticides, we are saying thank you to the ladybugs for protecting our gardens from the tiny invaders that can destroy our gardens, and all our hard work. MY

Source Liptak, Clare S. “Problems with Pesticides in the Landscape: Resurgence, Residue and Resistance” Bios, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Mar., 1995), pp. 39-44 Published by: Beta Beta Beta Biological Society.

Visit to read more articles by Matt LeBannister.


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

by Dr. Lynette Morgan


Edible Shoots

A salad of fresh mixed edible shoots is possible within seven days of sowing seeds with these fast growing species.

Many of us are well familiar with the trend in microgreens, which has swept world wide through fine dining restaurants, farmer’s markets, produce stores and the health food industry. These tiny packages of nutrients, antioxidants and chlorophyll are perfect miniatures of their adult parents and most have subtle and delicate flavours to match. However, within the vast array of microgreen species there is a group referred to as the ‘edible shoots.’ Comprising the most well known of all microgreens – wheatgrass, this category also contains pea shoots 30

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

"Edible shoots contain many vitamins, including vitamin C or ascorbic acid, the levels of which are known to decline the longer the greens are stored after harvest."

or tendrils, mung beans and lentils, corn and sunflower shoots or ‘greens.’ These edible ‘shoots’ are typically larger and taller than most of the other microgreens and some, such as pea and corn shoots may be cooked in stir-fries, soups and other dishes. While most of these edible shoots can be purchased prepackaged and ready to eat, there are some major advantages to growing these yourself and harvesting just before use. Edible shoots contain many vitamins, including vitamin C or ascorbic acid, the levels of which are known to decline the longer the

Edible shoot species can all be grown together on shallow trays to save space indoors.

greens are stored after harvest. What is even more interesting is that these shoots have much higher concentrations of vitamin C and health promoting phytochemicals when grown in the light, compared to sprouts, which are typically grown in the dark. So, indoor gardeners with a sunny window or grow lamp can take advantage of even the tiniest of spaces to produce healthy fresh shoots year round. Growing Edible Shoots Hydroponic methods provide a huge advantage when it comes to microgreens and shoot production. The old ‘dirt filled tray’ method of growing baby greens and shoots doesn’t provide the cleanliness, quality or grit free product that hydroponic methods can. Use of hydroponic nutrients can give many shoots such as wheatgrass, which is grown for a longer time, a real boost in mineral content - a bonus in any type of health food. Hygiene also needs to be considered; strict guidelines are used in the commercial production of microgreens, sprouts and shoots and these should be followed by anyone growing these at home. Cooled, boiled water can be used for soaking seeds and germination trays should be cleaned with bleach between crops. If mould or bacterial diseases continually appear, the seed may need to be surface sterilized before sowing with a 10 per cent bleach solution and rinsed well with water. Growth of certain moulds on germinating seeds can pose a health risk, so any shoots with fungal development should not be harvested or eaten. Since edible shoots are tender young seedlings they need a growing media that will hold sufficient moisture and oxygen around the seed without water logging or drying out frequently. Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


Succulent Edible Shoots

Grown together on a moisture retentive mat, edible shoots need only a small space and some light to give a rewarding and succulent crop.

This substrate also needs to be sterile, as many pathogens like to attack young plants in vulnerable stages of development. Grit or particle free is also another requirement – sunflower seeds in particular, when sown at high densities, tend to throw up media particles, which can stick to the seedlings and contaminate the final product. These days there are some great grow pads and mats specifically designed for microgreen and shoot production, which are a real bonus to small indoor gardeners and commercial growers alike. Light is also essential for shoot production – or at least for green shoot production. Pea and corn shoots can be grown as the traditional ‘green’ type or the blanched ‘yellow or golden’ type. Green shoots are grown in full light, while the yellow or blanched product is grown in darkness. Obviously the green shoots contain chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for photosynthesis in plants, which is consumed as a health supplement. However, blanching shoots by growing them in darkness not only gives an interesting and contrasting colour; it also provides a milder flavour and softer texture. Light for shoot production doesn’t need to be intense; young seedlings need much less light than mature plants which means these greens can be grown near a window or under small lamps. Photoperiod is not important, so continual low-level light is often used to help speed growth. There may be some benefit to using either natural light or full spectrum lamps for microgreens and shoots as it is not yet known how different wavelengths of light might influence the bio-active compounds and health promoting phytochemicals that these tiny plants contain. Wheatgrass Wheatgrass shoots are an old favourite and still growing in popularity as a health promoting juice. Wheatgrass shoots are grown for longer than other shoots and for this reason they benefit from additions of dilute, well-balanced hydroponic nutrient as food reserves in the wheat grain are exhausted long before the wheatgrass is harvested. Dilute nutrient (EC .4 to .5 mS cm-1) can be applied daily, once germination has occurred. Selection of one of the many nutrient products that contains

Untreated seed should always be used for microgreens and edible shoot production.

Grain for hydroponic wheatgrass production can be sown at very high densities (several grains deep) to make the most of limited space.


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Wheatgrass rapidly develops a thick and dense root mat and benefits from the early addition of hydroponic nutrients.

minerals beneficial to human health (selenium and chromium) can also help boost the nutrient content of wheatgrass. Full spectrum lamps or reasonably strong natural light also help boost vitamin and chlorophyll content in densely grown wheatgrass. All these factors mean that home grown wheatgrass consumed immediately after harvest and grown with consideration for what influences levels of vitamins, minerals and phyto active compounds in the shoots, should be superior to a bottled or packaged product. Sunflowers Sunflower shoots are becoming increasingly popular as a salad green and are easily grown indoors. The advantage of sunflower shoots is not only are they quick to germinate, but they also produce a succulent, slightly nutty flavoured shoot. Furthermore, the cotyledon or first seedling leaves of the sunflower are large and thick compared to many other microgreens species. Given that the cotyledons have been shown to contain the highest levels of bioactive compounds, large seedling leaves are a benefit for those interested in the health benefits of microgreens. Sunflower shoots are high in chlorophyll, and as germination occurs, seed fats are converted to essential Cleanliness is important - white healthy roots free from fungal and bactefatty acids and carbohydrates, proteins are converted to rial infection will produce the best shoot crops. amino acids and vitamin levels increase significantly. Sunflower seeds grown for ‘greens’ need to have the hull (the hard outer seed coat) intact. As with all microgreens, the

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


Succulent Edible Shoots – two to three seeds deep is fine, so as to make the most use of space and light. Ideally sunflower shoots should develop an elongated, white stem and using a high seeding density helps ensure this. Ideal temperatures for sunflower germination are 24 to 28°C, which are usually obtainable indoors in a warm position, or on a heated seed pad underneath the germinating tray will speed growth in winter. Sunflower shoots are harvested as soon as the cotyledons or seedling leaves have fully Harvested sunflower shoots can be stored in bags in the expanded, but before the first true refrigerator until required. Crisp and nutty in flavour, sunflower leaves can be seen developing as shoots are quick and easy to grow. these have a more bitter flavour. The shoots are cut at the base, and any seed husks still attached to the top of the plant are brushed seeds need to be clean and untreated with any fungicides or off at harvest. germination compounds. Seeds should be washed several times in clean water, and then soaked for 24 hours. After draining, the Corn Shoots seeds can be spread over a moisture retentive, sterile media in Corn shoots have a surprising flavour and sweetness – like a shallow trays. For shoot production, where the tiny plants are mild sweetcorn kernel with a hint of candy aftertaste. The most only grown for six to seven days the seed can be layered thickly popular type of corn shoot is grown from popcorn, although sweetcorn can also be used. Corn shoots can have a slight degree of toughness and are best grown rapidly at warm temperatures and light, which is not too intense to keep the shoot tall and succulent. Seed is prepared in a similar way to sunflowers, by washing and rinsing, then soaking for 24 hours before sowing onto sterile seedling mats. Corn needs warmth – 25 to 32°C for rapid germination as cool temperatures will slow growth and can cause the seed to rot. Seed density can be high as the shoots will push upwards and grow well even if sown two to three

Popcorn shoots have a surprising sweet and fresh corn flavour.


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Young pea shoots showing development of feathery tendrils at the tops of the seedlings.

kernels deep. Shoots are best harvested fairly young before they develop any toughness; usually this is only four to six days post germination.Yellow corn shoots are grown in total darkness and harvested when around 10 centimetres tall – these are sweeter and tenderer than green shoots. Pea Shoots and Tendrils Pea shoots have long been used as a garnish, addition to salads and in various cooked dishes, and these are one of the most popular of the hydroponic shoots. Pea tendrils are the thin, stringy, feathered green part, which the plant uses to attach itself to climbing frames. These days, peas for microgreen production have been bred, which produce tendrils on young pea seedlings, giving a highly attractive shoot with the flavour of mild freshly podded peas. As with all microgreen seed, peas for shoot production need to be untreated as any fungicide or other chemicals can be carried over to the harvestable portion of the seedling. Pea shoots are typically harvested at around 10 centimetres in height and can be stored in plastic bags under refrigeration. Growing at a high density in a single layer on microgreen pads or mats will give tall straight pea shoots with a white blanched stem and bright green leaves. Hydroponic shoots are one of the most quick and versatile crops indoor growers can produce.They need only a small space, a kitchen tray, seedling mat and some dilute nutrient to grow one of the healthiest fresh crops possible. From salads, stir-fries, sandwich fillings and juices, edible shoots are worth giving a try. MY

Decorative young pea shoots and tendrils have long been used as a garnish and additions to fresh salads.

For more articles by Dr. Lynette Morgan visit

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


by Bob Taylor

The pH Value of Raw Water is Meaningless The pH of water rarely indicates how much acid or alkali is needed to change the pH. For example, it is not uncommon to have two different samples of water of equal pH where one requires four times more pH adjustment than the other. This phenomenon is due to the concentrations of bicarbonate and carbon dioxide present in the water. It is particularly pronounced with bore waters.

Copyright ©2008

Bicarbonate Bicarbonate (HCO3-) is alkaline and, therefore, elevates pH. Its concentration is normally expressed as alkalinity. It is one of the main factors causing pH to rise in nutrient solutions and also confuses growers in their attempt to estimate how much pH adjustment solution will be required to lower pH. Unlike hydroxide, bicarbonate is only weakly alkaline and, therefore, unable to elevate pH above 8.3, regardless of its concentration. As a consequence of this, unlike hydroxide, bicarbonate has a strong pH buffering capacity, which means it resists pH change when acid is added. For example, a weak solution of hydroxide can have a pH of 14.0 whereas a bicarbonate solution 10 times more concentrated has a pH lower than 8.3. Now, the interesting fact is, to lower the pH down to 4.5 the bicarbonate The pH value of raw water is meaningless in solution requires most situations. 36

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Copyright ©2008

10 times more acid than the hydroxide solution - even though its initial pH was so much lower. Hence, the presence of bicarbonate is deceiving because unlike hydroxide it is Figure One. High CO2 levels are evident from the formation of bubbles in a bore water samnot detectable from ple. The pH will rise as the CO2 escapes. pH readings and is only noticeable once you attempt to lower the pH.

Carbon Dioxide Have you ever wondered why pH fluctuates, typically upwards after it is lowered? This behaviour is actually a consequence of adjusting the pH. Lowering pH via adding acid removes bicarbonate and produces carbon dioxide. The presence of this free, uncombined carbon dioxide (CO2) tends to lower the pH because it reacts (only weakly) with water to form carbonic acid. However, CO2 concentrations above about 0.5 milligrams per litre in water are unstable when such waters are exposed to the atmosphere (at sea level pressures). Under that condition, CO2 in excess of 0.5 milligrams per litre will slowly escape from the water into the atmosphere. Consequently this loss of acidity causes a corresponding rise in pH. This subsequent rise in pH is particularly noticeable with ground waters (i.e. bore water), which typically have CO2 contents around 50 to 200 milligrams per litre (due to biological activity within the aquifer). When these waters are pumped to the surface, the pH rises with time because the excess (acidic) CO2 gradually escapes (figure one). The pH will then rise to a stable value solely dependent on the water’s bicarbonate content. Example: A bore water with 100 milligrams per litre bicarbonate and 100 milligrams per litre of free CO2 will have an initial pH of 6.3. Its pH will gradually rise to 8.2 after it has been exposed to the atmosphere for sufficient time to allow the CO2 content to drop to around 0.5 milligrams per litre. The same phenomenon (although to a much lesser extent due to lower CO2 contents) can occur with scheme (tap) water. Thus the conclusion - because the pH of waters is only stable after aeration, it is only the “after aeration” pH value that has any interpretative significance. To determine that value, aerate the water by tumbling a sample of it from one container to another, 30 to 40 times prior to measuring its pH. Conclusion Interpret pH values with caution because water with a lower pH than another may produce the higher pH after both are aerated!


For additional articles by Bob Taylor visit

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


Growing Plants in Organic and Inorganic Systems by Dr. Carole Ann Rollins and Dr. Elaine Ingham

There are fundamentally two types of systems for growing plants in soil and soilless media. Inorganic/Synthetic Systems Organic/Biological Systems There are endless permutations of both systems, because many site-specific factors will result in tweaking the timing and kinds of applications. However, the basic philosophy of the two systems needs to be understood and recognized and only then can the most sustainable option be easily chosen. Inorganic/Synthetic Systems In synthetic or inorganic soil or soilless growing systems, the view is the nutrients that the plants take up are strictly inorganic salt-based ionic forms such as ammonium nitrate, potassium nitrate, calcium sulphate (gypsum) and all the micronutrients that come in completely inorganic preparations. Macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; micronutrients such as calcium, iron, sodium; and trace minerals such as boron, copper and zinc have to be complexed as a salt form as they are extracted and purified from a source material. When inorganic nutrients are added to water, the inorganic compounds disassociate in the water, thus reducing the availability of water to the plant. The concentration of salt, in whatever form that might happen to be, can reduce the availability of water for the plant. Then that plant will suffer from lack of water, even if the plant is sitting in a pot that is dripping water out of the bottom. Dissolved inorganic nutrients enter the plant through the root cell wall via a process of simple diffusion. The inorganic approach takes the view that nutrients can be mixed together 40

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precisely to provide the plant what it requires to meet its nutritional demands during growth. Of course, since we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know on a day-to-day basis what the plant actually lacks, as growers we do not do a good job of supplying exactly what the plant needs, and in the form that the plant requires. If a plant needs nitrogen and the only form of that nitrogen is potassium nitrate supplied as an inorganic salt fertilizer, then the plant will take up that potassium nitrate, whether the plant needs that potassium or not. This can lead to uptake of excess potassium, which is toxic to the plant. The plant will develop symptoms of browning around the edges of the leaf, wilting leaves and susceptibility to disease. People interpret these symptoms as the plant lacking water and begin to overwater the plant, making the problem worse instead of better. To avoid this situation, it is better to add chelated nutrients. Chelating a nutrient means that instead of complexing the

Laurie Keit of Seasonal Celebrations Landscaping applied organic biological products to this fuji apple tree in Pacifica California. On the left is the apple tree before treatments, and on the right, after treatments with leaves starting to come out. (Photo courtesy of Seasonal Celebrations).

Camillas: Before (top) and after (bottom) organic applications of compost tea, worm castings, humate and sea kelp. Notice the improvement in fullness of leaves and branching. Seasonal Celebrations, a landscape management company in Pacifica, supervised these treatments (Photo courtesy of Seasonal Celebrations).

inorganic nutrient to another inorganic substance, and thus making a salt, the nutrient is complexed with a protein, which is a better form of the nutrient for the plant to uptake. Nutrients in a chelated form can be more efficiently taken up by the plant. Proteins are biological in origin, but they can be extracted and purified to make a more beneficial form of plant food. Chelated nutrients canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be called fertilizers because the legal definition of fertilizer requires strictly inorganic forms. But, they do the same things for plants that fertilizers do, with much less damage. In addition, a much lower amount of a nutrient in a chelated form is needed than the strictly inorganic form. This is because the chelated form is much less likely to leach and be lost from the soil. This means there is an overall savings for the grower who uses chelated nutrients. Considering that chelated forms of nutrients are what is the norm in a healthy soil, where do these chelated forms come from in the natural world? These chelated forms come from the interactions of bacteria with protozoa, and from the interactions of fungi with nematodes and micro-arthropods. Is there really a reason to have to constantly add plant foods, or the less-desirable inorganic fertilizers? If you maintain a healthy set of soil food web organisms that interact with and work with your plant, then they will provide the constant production of chelated forms of nutrients that are healthier for your plant. Normal nutrient cycling in soil, done by bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes and micro-arthropods, provide the plant with everything it needs. This occurs as long as the plant feeds the bacteria and fungi by releasing exudates into the root system. Maximum Yield Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x201A; |â&#x20AC;&#x201A; September / October 2009


Growing Plants in Organic and Inorganic Systems Problems with Inorganic/Synthetic Systems The inorganic approach seems very straightforward and simple. Except that excessive amounts of nutrients typically have to be placed into the non-biological root system in order to force the plant to take up nutrients that aren’t in the right form for the plant. Imagine if you wanted to eat chocolate, except the only form of chocolate available was wrapped in a layer of jalapeno peppers inside something that tasted like the shell of pecan? Something very similar to that is what is going on with inorganic fertilizers. Since people don’t really know what balance of nutrients the plant precisely needs on a daily basis, we just put down excessive combinations of nutrients. What if your plant doesn’t need more sodium, but it does need more nitrogen? For example, if the only form of nitrogen fertilizer applied was sodium nitrate, the plant has no choice but to take up something it doesn’t want (sodium), and will be harmful to it, in order to get the nutrient it does need (nitrogen). The plant has to figure out something to do with this excess sodium. So it stores that excess in the leaves, or fruit or seed. What effect does that have on the people that eat that chemically grown plant material? We use excessive amounts of any inorganic fertilizer because we know it will leach as water moves through the soil. This means there will be known losses of nutrients into surface and ground waters. Eventually, that translates into enormous problems as that salt-laden water moves through the environment. Because the plants are being force fed in inorganic systems, they take up excessive amounts of some nutrients and not enough of others. The plant becomes weak and highly susceptible to disease and pest attacks. While the plants may visually look tasty - weak, stressed and nutritionally imbalanced plants lack the nutrients required by the animals and humans who eat them. The response to the disease and pest problems that develop in inorganic systems is to apply more and more toxic chemicals to try to kill the pests and diseases that continue developing. These approaches do not solve the disease or pest issues. What happens is that the pests and diseases are selected to become resistant to that toxic chemical. If all of the susceptible pest and disease organisms die, but the resistant ones survive, then the next generation will be resistant also. As a result, nastier and stronger toxic chemicals have to be found to deal with these ever-increasingly resistant pests and diseases. The toxic chemicals that kill the pests and diseases do not stay just where they are applied though. These toxic chemicals are moved into other systems by water. These toxics enter the groundwater, lakes, streams and rivers and move into drinking water systems. The impact is an ever-increasing concentration of stronger toxic chemicals in our environment and food crops. If inorganic fertilizers are used, which are toxic in high concentrations, damage to the environment occurs. The initial damage is not highly noticeable, because in a healthy system, reduction of 10 to 20 per cent of the beneficial organisms may not be highly apparent right at first. But after 10 years, or 20 years and certainly by 30 years, most of the beneficials are gone, and serious problems develop. The proper scientific tools have to be 42

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Microarthropods: Microarthropods can carry nematodes, protozoa, bacteria and fungi from place to place, serving as taxicabs for beneficial organisms. Microarthropods also feed on fungi, or on other arthropods, and release nutrients in plant-available forms in organic systems. The arrows point to nematodes riding on the back of microarthropods in both the left and right photos. (Photo courtesy of Soil Foodweb, Inc.)

used to measure the loss of these beneficial organisms. The tools used in the previous generation were incapable of detecting the damage, but just because damage was not observed using those inappropriate tools does not mean the damage did not occur. The different types of damage that can occur without the correct balances of beneficial organisms in soil or soilless media are: Ability to Hold Water Decreases Water is no longer held in soil or soilless media. This means organic matter and the structure that the organisms build in soil or soilless media is gone. With no structure and/or no organic matter, the water drains rapidly out of a sandy soil or extremely slowly in a clay soil, to the compaction zone. Erosion then results as that water moves laterally along the compaction layer and soil, nutrients and water loss increases. Ability to Hold Nutrients Decreases Without the proper set of organisms in the soil to hold nutrients and build structure to keep nutrients in place, nutrients no longer cycle normally. When nutrients are not cycled into the right forms for plants to take up, the only way to grow plants is through the use of inorganic fertilizers. Except, you never really know how much, or which kind of inorganic fertilizer to use. Excess is the practical solution, except this hinders the ability to hold those nutrients in the soil because the beneficial life in that soil is

Flats in a Greenhouse: Flats of flowers and vegetables in a greenhouse in Northern California in a completely organic/biological growing system maintained with compost tea and compost. There were no disease or pest problems and great roots developed. No pesticides or synthetic nutrients were used. (Photo courtesy of Nature Technologies International, LLC.)

Amoebae: This is a type of protozoan found in organic plant growing systems. Amoebae are aerobic organisms that "ooze" across surfaces. Protozoa make nutrients plant-available by releasing nutrients as waste products that stimulate the growth of more bacteria, fungi and plants. (Photo courtesy of Nature Technologies International, LLC.)

gone. Of course in this scenario, the disease organisms aren’t gone, resulting in environmental damage to everything downstream. Pests, Diseases and Toxic Conditions Increase Habitats developed through the use of inorganic nutrients cater to disease organisms, pests and weeds. Conditions develop that select for disease, pests and early successional, “disturbanceselected” or weedy, species. Plants in chemical systems must be put into intensive care to even grow, if the beneficial organisms are not present. The consequences are stressed, unhealthy plants, which will not contain the nutrition that animals or humans require to stay healthy. Make no mistake - poisons and toxic chemicals will kill diseases and pests, but they also kill the beneficial organisms. If the normal controllers of pests and diseases are killed, the natural nutrient cycling system cannot function. Those organisms that supply nutrients from natural sources cannot do their jobs if killed by the toxic materials used in inorganic systems. Organic Systems/Biological Systems Biological systems address disease and insect pest problems through the natural system of control. As long as the food web remains intact, outbreak conditions will not occur. All nonbeneficial organisms are controlled via a number of mechanisms: (1) through competition for food, water and nutrients, (2) by

Soils can be designed to accomplish many goals, including preventing erosion without artificial protection, storing storm water and increasing wildlife habitats. Once biology is properly established, the soil will remain stable on steep grades, allowing growth of deep and healthy roots. High microbial diversity and biomass, along with good balanced chemistry, result in high permeability and a high internal angle of friction, preventing movement. (Photo courtesy of the Hendrikus Group).

Ciliates: These micro-organisms are a type of protozoa that graze bacteria, but tolerate reduced oxygen conditions. Therefore, high numbers of ciliates in plant growing systems indicate conditions where the competitive aerobic protozoa are not present, and thus the ciliates can reach extremely high numbers. (Photo courtesy of Nature Technologies International, LLC.)

occupying space where the pest would normally grow, (3) by maintaining environmental conditions such as plenty of air, water in balance and nutrients cycling that select against disease and pest growth and (4) by inhibiting growth by making compounds that suppress growth of the non-beneficial organisms. Consumption of non-beneficial organisms, through management of the habitat, is an important factor for growers to recognize and use. Instead of just trying to mask symptoms of stressed plants by using poisonous chemicals to kill the undesired pests and diseases, we need to understand that it takes a whole village of healthy soil organisms to raise a plant, just as it takes a whole village to raise a human child in a healthy fashion. Beneficial organisms have to be fed properly. Plants must, therefore, be in the system in order to provide the food, either through root exudates, or through dead plant material that will be decomposed by the bacteria and fungi. The balance of beneficial bacteria and fungi, protozoa and nematodes/micro-arthropods, determines: (1) the soil pH, (2) the pre-dominance of form of nitrogen and (3) how much plant available potassium, phosphorus, calcium and boron there is present in the soil. Making nutrients available for plants to take up is an environmentally friendly, biologically mediated process. It is not a question of whether this organic/biological system can work, but rather the practical stumbling blocks of how to achieve the goal of having the right sets of organisms present. Research in this area is accelerating rapidly. Organic/biological nutrient cycling systems have been in existence ever since predators of bacteria and fungi developed about three billion years ago, according to the fossil record. But, human understanding of these biological processes of turning nutrients into the proper plant-available forms was not understood until a few years ago. With this new understanding, biological cycling systems combine the best of chemistry, physics and biology with sound soil and hydroponics management practices. MY

To learn more about organics as it relates to hydroponic growing, visit

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


Pythium or Algae: Have you been misdiagnosed?

by Paul Foster

Algae is an often misdiagnosed infection and once acquired, can kill your garden within a week. Many growers will have a “perfect set-up” with system water below 21°C, plenty of air flow and perfect water aeration, and yet they are unable to grow so much as a dandelion. Often misdiagnosed as pythium, algae can be introduced into your hydroponic system through a handful of ways; and if acquired, it will multiply rapidly and destroy a crop. My Story After 10 years of relatively trouble-free hydroponic gardening I started having problems. The only thing that changed was the amount of lumens I was growing with. I went from a 400 watt to 1000 watt lighting system as I was told this was the key to maximum yields. Slime developed on all surfaces that came into contact with water; the air stones I was using seemed to be coated the worst. Even though I was using chillers and had all of my air stones replaced, the roots turned brown and my plants died. Furthermore, the plant was small with a root mass no bigger than a fist. I drained and cleaned the system and circulated a mixture of half bleach, half water for a day, replanted and crossed my fingers that the “pythium” would not return. However, I would not be so lucky. It did return, again and again. The hydrogen peroxide I was using did me no good. I brought a sample of the slime to a hydroponics store and was told it was not pythium, although they were unsure what else it could be. The next six months were the most frustrating for me and my garden. The plants did fine under fluorescents but when 44

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transferred to the 1000 watt room, they wilted and eventually died. Once again, my wife and I took our problem to an indoor gardening retail shop and explained the conditions we were experiencing. The consultant told her it sounded like low light algae and sold her a bottle of algae and sludge reducer. It worked immediately and I was able to grow trouble free. That is until I increased my lumens once again by reducing the distance between my lights by 30 centimetres. My system was infected almost immediately and the algae reducer worked only for a short term. I was able to grow plants but the water had to be changed at least once a day. By luck I was talking to a gentleman at a commercial gardening supply store and he suggested I use a dye for the water that is developed to reflect sunlight. I have not looked back since. Signs of Infection The signs of an infected system are a light, white slime coating on the inside of the buckets or the sides of the reservoir. The new growth will be curled over like a ram's horns and the whole plant will look wilted. When the infection is in the early stages, a slippery coating can be felt. Keep in mind, even a mild infection will still destroy your plants. If the infection is severe enough, your air stones will be covered fairly thick with a light brown slime and every surface exposed to the water will feel slippery. The roots will stop growing, turn brown and die. This can happen, even when you’ve taken the utmost precautions with your system’s settings.

Causes of Algae High lumen light intensity The main cause of algae in a hydroponic grow system is light coming into contact with water. This only happens after a certain amount of lumens are utilized, which explains why you can grow with uncovered, untreated water under fluorescents and not HIDs. Top watering Another way to infect your system is through top watering your growing medium. While fluorescent light cannot infect water it can cause algae build-up on your growing medium during the cloning phase. If you top water infected medium you are introducing algae into your system. If exposed to high intensity light your nutrients can become infected. The nutrients will turn cloudy and if used will cause plants to wilt within a day. Any water contacted by HIDs then introduced into your system will become contaminated. Reverse osmosis systems will not prevent algae and neither will water purifiers. Algae is not introduced into your system externally; it is caused within a system, directly or indirectly by HIDs. Hydrogen peroxide will not control an infection nor will bleach. Hydrogen peroxide is mainly used for fighting pythium; by itself it’s ineffective, even at high doses, on algae. Solutions Before adding the selected products to your nutrient solution you have to make sure there is absolutely no light contacting the water. The lumens produced by HIDs can penetrate thin plastic so either double up everything or use thick sheeting to cover any areas that light might penetrate. Gravel or rocks on top of your medium can also allow enough light in to cause problems, so make sure to cover your medium with sheeting thoroughly. Make sure your nutrient solutions are stored away from any HID light; if your nutrients turn cloudy, discard them. Any stored water that comes into contact with HIDs should not be introduced into your system. I have had a one foot long section of drain line being used for a breather, and even then, the lumens directed down into it was enough to cause an infection. Once I capped it, the system returned to normal. Tips and Products Fungus gnats are almost always present at the same time as algae, leading many to believe these pests are solely to blame for their wilting plants. However, they are most likely secondary to the algae. After all, if there's food they will come. Only after you get rid of what they eat will they disappear. Foliar Spray and Sticky Strips The first two products to utilize are an organic-based foliar and root application along with sticky strips. The foliar spray is a fungicide with pyrethrum mixed in. It seems to work great along with sticky strips for the fungus gnats and is used at the labelled dose, which is added directly to the reservoir. It will give your water a lemon smell and can be used full time as a precaution if desired. Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


Pythium or Algae: Have You Been Misdiagnosed? A mixture of three per cent hydrogen peroxide at a rate of five millilitres per litre also works great for the system. This is almost double the maximum recommended dosage of three millilitres per litre but it has been used successfully with no undesired effects. H2O2 is used for the cleansing effect it has on the entire system, including roots, with an added benefit of oxygenation of the water. Algae and Sludge Reducer This product is used to destroy algae already infecting a system and as a preventative measure whenever top watering your medium; it can also be added to the reservoir with every water change. This product is found anywhere pond supplies are sold and is usually part three in a three part pond care package. It can be used at a rate of one millilitre per litre safely. Pond Dye Pond dye is the last key to the puzzle; the golf courses use this to in their ponds to ensure algae doesn't overtake them. It is made to naturally reflect the sun’s rays and works great for the control and prevention of algae. A very small amount goes a long way (a four litre jug will dye over 300,000 litres of water),


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

although I strengthen it to 1⁄2 millilitre per litre. I recommend you purchase the variety that is safe for fish as well as plants. The water in my system is city water, taken from a garden hose and poured directly into the reservoir. I used no pre-treatment at all. A friend of mine has gone the pre-treatment route with no success; she is currently growing in dirt after giving up on hydroponics due to algae. I informed her of my findings but she is unable to switch back yet due to the money she spent on pre-treatment. How many once hydroponic growers are now growing in dirt because they didn’t have the correct information to diagnose their problem? As far as I am concerned I just got lucky. Remember the algae is coming directly or indirectly from your lighting. If your problems are mineral related you will have to pre-treat your water, but make sure that is the case as pretreatment can be expensive. The combination of these five products together, along with a system that is secure from intruding light, will ensure algae will not be a threat to your valuable garden. Happy growing. MY Paul Foster provides an in-depth account of what algae looks like in your hydroponic grow system at

How Healthy Are Your Nutrients?

Small Choices That Make a Big Difference by Susan Slobac

Did you know that a product labelled as all natural does not necessarily mean it is certified organic? Learn what makes a product 100 per cent organic and how to spot the best nutrient mixes for your plants. Revitalize your plants with organic and natural sourced fertilizers. Slow release fertilizers work well too as they continue to work and slowly break down. Over time, soil fertility is re-established, and the need for supplements will decline.

Steve Solomon’s Formula (NPK 1:1.5:1) Measure by volume: four parts seed meal (canola, alfalfa or soy) or fishmeal one part dolomite lime one part rock phosphate or 1⁄2 part bone meal one part kelp meal Blend well, but mix again before application. Work in lightly under young transplants, or side dress along existing plants. Apply around the drip line of plants and work in gently so as not to damage the roots. Granulated fertilizer takes three to four weeks to break down before roots can access it. Seed meals = nitrogen source (N) for healthy leafy greens Rock phosphate = phosphorus (P) for fruits and flowers Kelp meal = potassium (potash) (K) for roots and overall good health Lime counteracts soil acidity and adds calcium and magnesium


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Tips to remember: •  Avoid nitrate-based fertilizers, which are synthetic, as they often contain a high salt index that can cause root burning and dehydration. •  Organic and natural fertilizers are derived from a plant, animal or mineral source, not those containing certified organic materials. Organic fertilizers won’t dry or burn your medium; instead they will rehabilitate soil quality and improve the general health of your garden. •  Natural fertilizers should contain ingredients such as bone meal, kelp meal and alfalfa meal. Natural fertilizers break down in the soil slowly, which is more beneficial to plants. Avoid natural fertilizers with peat moss, which is harvested from swiftly disappearing bog habitats. • When buying fertilizers, look for those with a seal from the Organic Materials Review Institute, which means they can be used on certified organic farms. •  Fertilize with compost tea. •  Plant food should consist of nitrogen, phosphates and potash. Without proper food they won’t thrive and flourish. Just like humans need food, plants grown indoors do too. MY (Source:

Anything you ever wanted to know nutrients can be found in the article archive on

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


Aquaponics Clean, Green and Organic

by Dr. Michael A. Nichols

Illustration by Ivan Flower-Jones

In the beginning man was a hunter-gather. This nomadic life slowly changed when food resources declined and men became farmers. Man is still primarily a hunter gatherer in relation to food from the sea; however, the world’s fish resources are declining at an increasing rate, making fishing a less efficient and less attractive option. Only about four per cent of the world's oceans remain undamaged by human activity, with climate change and fishing being the strongest influences. The answer clearly lies in the hunter gatherer in the seas being replaced by the farmer of the sea with aquaculture. This is already occurring in a number of countries including Canada, Scotland, Chile, New Zealand, Norway and Australia.


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

In Australia there is also a significant fresh water fish farming industry producing eels, barramundi and Murray cod, but all of these land based systems have two major problems, namely the limited fresh water supply and (even more critical) the disposal of the nutrient rich waste products from the fish. So what is aquaponics? Western Australia I was first introduced to aquaponics when visiting Western Australia and met with two people from Curtin University; a postgraduate student from Cyprus and his supervisor. The student’s research involved the production of fish (Barramundi) combined with growing a crop of NFT hydroponic lettuce. Palmerston North, New Zealand My next involvement with aquaponics was at the South Pacific Soilless Culture Conference held at Massey University in 2003. Among the papers was one presented by Schultz from the University of the US Virgin Islands in the West Indies (Rakocy et al, 2004). In their paper they described how they grew crops of basil in an aquaponic system with Tilapia fish. Singapore In 2005 at a hydroponics meeting in Singapore (Carruthers, 2005), a whole day was set aside for a discussion on aquaponics. Leading the discussion was Professor Jim Rakocy (Rakocy et al, 2007) from the US Virgin Islands, along with his colleague Charlie Schultz. They were ably supported by a Canadian aquaponics researcher, Nick Savidov (Savidov et al, 2007) from Alberta in Canada. University of Virgin Islands In February 2006 a visit was made to the aquaponics project of Dr. Jim Rakocy and Charlie Shultz at the University of the Virgin Islands in the West Indies. Water is a very scarce resource on the Island of St Croix and all the water for the project is collected as rainfall on a large plastic sheet, and stored in a deep reservoir. Essentially, the only water being lost from the system is through transpiration, as all the other water is re-circulated from the fish to the hydroponics system, and then back to the fish. The US Virgin Islands is considered tropical, and so all the crops are produced without any protection. Rakocy and Shultz have found that they require at least four different fish tanks to ensure a regular supply of nutrients for the hydroponic system. It is not possible to mix fish of widely different ages (sizes) in the same tank because of the risk of cannibalism. They have also found that it is desirable to grow plants of different ages, to ensure that the uptake of minerals by the plants is also evened out over time. The fish waste has to have the solids removed and much of the ammonia excreted by the fish converted to nitrate before it reaches the hydroponic tanks through the use of a biofilter. Simplistically, a bio-filter may comprise only a section of windbreak mesh, through which the solution slowly passes. Over a short period of time, a broad spectrum of microorganisms becomes established around the bio-filter. Some of Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


Aquaponics: Clean, Green and Organic these micro-organisms are capable of converting ammonia to nitrite, and others can carry out the next step of converting nitrite to nitrate. The hydroponic system used in the Virgin Islands is the deep flow method (DFT), and the solution is aerated regularly along the growing tanks Crop Diversification Centre, Brooks, Alberta (Canada) In May 2006 a visit was made to the aquaponics project of Dr. Nick Savidov at the Horticultural Research Institute in Brooks, Alberta. With winter temperatures below -30°C, this environment could certainly not be considered tropical. From a horticultural viewpoint, Savidov has shown that not only does a recirculating aquaponic system results in fewer root diseases in the crop, but also that the crop yield from aquaponics, when compared with conventional hydroponics, is often increased. The reduction in root disease is not surprising, as there is considerable interest in Europe in developing an ecological balance of organisms in the nutrient solution, as clearly a sterile solution is not sustainable even in the short term. The deep sand filters being developed in Europe for recirculating hydroponics systems are a good example of this approach. There is no simple explanation for the increased yield reported by Savidov, but one possibility is that the organic components in the nutrient solution (possibly humates) may make the trace elements more readily available to the plants. A recent report of microbiologists with the Alberta Research Council (ARC) has shown a presence of so called Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria, or PGPR, in aquaponics water. There is no doubt that the UV sterilization of the recirculating nutrient solution undertaken in conventional hydroponic systems has the potential to alter the microflora population and composition plus precipitate out iron; these factors alone may be enough justification for moving away from the conventional hydroponic systems.

The key factor in aquaponics is that the plants are grown using a deep flow hydroponics system. However, world-wide there has been a steady move away from deep flow hydroponic systems towards Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) and media based systems that use, for example, rockwool or coco peat (coir). Using a deep flow system with forced aeration throughout the deep channel by aquarium aeration stones, means that the plant root system has access to a large quantity of water, and also to a large buffer of nutrients without running short of oxygen. In aquaponics the nutrient solution is actually more dilute than in conventional hydroponics, but because it is present in a large volume, the plant roots are able to extract all they need. In 2007 strawberry plants were grown in NFT and coir using aquaponics water from a DFT facility as a source of nutrients. The leachate was then returned to DFT facility. The trial showed a potential for aquaponics operations to successfully grow greenhouse crops using several techniques while providing an opportunity for diversifying aquaponics operations. At the end of 2007 a new aquaponics facility was constructed at CDCS in Brooks using expertise acquired from working with the previous model. In the new facility the research team managed: (a) to radically improve usage of greenhouse space by more than two times. With the same gas bill the producers will be able to double the yield of greenhouse crops. (b) to significantly decrease labour requirements through new design and better protocol for crop management based on the design. (c) to entirely eliminate water discharge from the system using an innovative Biofloc system. It is a completely contained system now, which allows introduction of new fish species, for example, barramundi in North America, without any contact with the environment. No fertilizers or pesticides were used to produce greenhouse crops. The developed system is unique by its efficiency in space, labour and water usages, and its environmental impact is close to zero. The new design allows

An aquaponic greenhouse showing plants being supplied nutrients from their fishy counterparts (left). Tilapia, a common species, thrive in their own tank, providing nutrient-rich water to the plants (above).


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

aquaponics operations in a fully automated regime and shows a high potential for considerably larger operations incorporating integrated waste management. A study/survey on bacterial contamination and a spoilage rate of green vegetables was conducted at CDCS. The leaves were collected in aquaponics and compared to the green vegetables purchased in grocery stores. The aquaponics produce showed minimal spoilage compared to other samples. This confirmed previous two-year food safety studies, which showed no presence of E.coli or other pathogens in aquaponics produce. It is not a surprising result as the plants are grown in a confined area with no contact with animal manure, which is a main source of E. coli contamination in field-grown produce. Thus, aquaponics is not just more efficient and environmentally friendly than other technologies, but it is also a safer way to produce vegetables. Omega 3 (Ω3) One interesting aspect of aquaponics is that one of the critical human health constituents found in fish are the Ω3 fatty acids. There are essentially three Ω3 fatty acids, namely DHA (important for brain health), EPA (important for cardiovascular health) and ALA. DHA and EPA are only found in seafood, and are derived by fish from the consumption of micro-organisms consumed at sea by fish etc. EPA is found in a range of plant derived seed oils,

Consuming fish that contain Omega 3 fatty acids is necessary in order to obtain adequate levels in the human diet.

e.g. hemp seed oil, but our bodies are only able to convert small quantities (10 per cent) of EPA to the physiologically active DHA and EPA. Thus, to ensure an adequate level of EPA and DHA in our diet, it is necessary to consume fish which contain these fatty acids. This does not mean that the fish must be sea fish, but that the fish must have been provided with a source of DHA and EPA, which means that they must have been fed with fish meal sourced from sea fish.

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


Aquaponics: Clean, Green and Organic Is aquaponics an “organic” solution? There is also the potential to sell the crops as certified organic, (provided that no unacceptable pesticides have been applied) as it is produced entirely from natural manure (fish waste). However, in some countries organic certification is not permitted for hydroponic crops. It is difficult to see any logic in such a philosophy as not only are the plants only using organically derived nutrients, but the aquaponics is far more sustainable than any soil based organic system. The organic certification authorities have not asked the question of “what is soil?” Essentially soil comprises to a greater or lesser extent: •  solid particles (e.g. sand, clay, silt) •  organic matter •  micro-organisms •  water •  gases (oxygen, CO2) An aquaponics system contains these four components, though with a slightly different balance. This makes it nearly impossible to see where the problem lies, particularly as the aquaponics system uses no pesticide, and the nutrients for the crop are derived solely from the fish. In fact, it is a superior system to the

Produced primarily using nutrients from fish waste, it is possible that some aquaponic crops could be marketed as certified organic.

usual soil based organic vegetable production garden in that it is highly sustainable and much more efficient in both nutrient uptake and in water use than any soil based system. Where do we go from here? In Alberta at least three commercial aquaponics operations are planned to be built in Alberta. So why are more people not considering aquaponics? We believe that there are a number of reasons, namely: 1) It would be an exception to find someone who is both an expert in aquaculture and in hydroponics. The skills are very different for the two enterprises. 2) The major greenhouse vegetable crops are tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet peppers. These are normally grown hydroponically in solid media (such as rockwool or coco peat). They do not lend themselves to deep flow hydroponic systems. There is a need to develop a suitable aquaponics system that uses a substrate, rather than deep flow. 3) Control of conductivity is an essential component of modern greenhouse tomato production, and this is difficult (but not impossible) to achieve with dilute nutrient solutions, such as those used in aquaponics. 4) Social obstacles, for example, lack of public awareness and information about aquaponics technology especially in the financial sector, which makes it difficult for potential aquaponics operators to get bank loans approved. Education and Agritourism As society becomes more urbanised, a separation is developing between those with a rural background and those who believe that food comes from the supermarket. Aquaponics provides a very suitable educational vehicle to demonstrate the link between animals (fish), fish waste, plant nutrition and human food. It also provides an excellent example of the need to have a balanced ecology.


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Some crops typically grown in subsrates, such as tomatoes, don’t lend themselves well to deep flow hydroponic systems.

Agritourism (Nelson & Pade, 2007) provides a valuable interphase between urban and rural, and between the developed and developing world. Aquaponics has the potential to provide an ideal vehicle to provide both an educational and a holiday experience for tourists. In 2007, Jon Nielson, a teacher from Rosemary High School (Alberta), successfully introduced aquaponics as part of his biology and chemistry curricula using aquaponics mini-systems developed at CDCS. As a result, the average marks in biology increased by 20 per cent and has prompted other schools in the district to consider aquaponics as a teaching tool for biology and chemistry teachers. Conclusion Aquaponics is an ecologically sustainable system capable of producing food with few, if any, pesticide residues. Preliminary studies have demonstrated it is worthy of further investigation and development as a commercially viable business.

There is one added marketing advantage of aquaponics and that is that provided the pesticides used to control pests and diseases conform to organic criteria, then clearly the crop could be organically certified. References Nelson, R L & Pade J S (2007) “Agri-tourism”. Acta Hort., 742, 225-227 Rakocy, D S, Schulz, J E, Bailey, R C & Thoman, E S (2004) “Aquaponic production of tilapia and basil: comparing a batch and staggered cropping system”. Acta Hort., 742, 63-69. Rakocy, J E, Bailey, D S, Schulz, R C & Danahar, J J (2007) “Preliminary evaluation of organic waste from two aquaculture systems as a source of inorganic nutrients for hydroponics”. Acta Hort., 648, 201-207. Savidov, N A, Hutchings, E & Rakocy, J E (2007) “Fish and plant production in a recirculating aquaponic system: A new approach to sustainable agriculture in Canada” Acta Hort., 742, 209-221. MY

To learn more about Dr. Nichols’ aquaponics research around the world, visit

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


THE NEW GROW Getting it Tight

by Erik Biksa

So you promised yourself after summer vacation from growing indoors that you were going to improve your grow room this time around, ironing out the wrinkles that keep coming back to bite you; the ones that cost you yields. Thermal Covers Made to measure thermal covers help prevent heat being radiated from reflectors, ducting and fans improving cooling efficiency. They are a wise investment.


It got too warm or too humid, typically you settled for a compromise and unfortunately your crop had to as well. The combination of the two was paining you with more “stretch” than you would like to see in your strain, and the higher humidity levels, especially during the dark cycle, were lessening the essential oil contents and other qualities in your harvests, even contributing to diseases like moulds and rots in severe cases. Furthermore, the more you hear about the yield levels fellow growers are achieving who have their environment dialed in and are supplementing their carbon dioxide levels, the more you want to tighten-up your grow room to the point where you too can efficiently boost yields with CO2. The extra yield levels are especially welcome, and the reduction in cropping time wouldn’t hurt either. At this point, you have a lot of important things dialed in. For example, the number of plants per light, how you prune them, how long you usually veg for and many other loving details that are required for successful harvests growing indoors under HID (high intensity discharge) lighting. That didn’t come overnight either; it has taken a while to get to where you are. At this point, you know you can do better, if you can overcome some of the environmental issues that so far, you have not been able to control with a high level of precision due to the nature of in/out (intake/ exhaust) style artificially lit gardens. Now, how you choose to follow along from here will depend on what type of equipment and set-up you already have, as well as how far you are willing to go in your quest for maximum yields. Keeping in mind the average grow room set-up, the following is a possible scenario and course of action and creates a CEA environment; the first steps on the way to breaking your own personal yield barriers. If the room isn’t already well insulated that should be the first job on the list, starting with a freshly cleaned and scrubbed room. For temporary situations, extruded insulation boards such

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

as Styrofoam can be placed over existing surfaces and sealed-off with reflective film. Thermally reflective film helps to keep the maximum amount of light energy available in the growing area. Make sure to overlap edges by around 15 centimetres when installing thermal coverings. Aluminium tape is very durable and won’t crumble over time like duct tape will. Acoustic deadening materials can be incorporated as well, if noises from the growing area prove to be obnoxious or obtrusive to living areas. If you don’t already have high quality four-sided air-cooled lamp reflectors in your set-up, use your existing intake and exhaust port to supply the IN/OUT for the air-cooled lighting. Otherwise, you may just cap-off the intake and exhaust ports. When it comes to lamp reflectors, knock-offs that just “look” good don’t distribute light very evenly and create hot spots; choose reflectors that are engineered for even light distribution. The manufacturer should be able to provide photometric data. A lamp reflector can be a very important piece of growing equipment. For maximum efficiency, you can also install thermal, made to measure covers for your lamp reflectors, duct work and fans. The material does not allow heat emissions; improving the cooling efficiency in your grow room. During cooler months, you can duct the warm air from the air-cooled lighting system to heat living areas; it’s usually OK to use this air because it’s sealed off from the growing environment and does not contain odours, spores or other offensive materials. Good quality AC reflectors seal-off completely. Chances are the fans you were using for your intake and outtake of your previous garden will fit the bill nicely for an air cooled lamp reflector set-up, proportionately speaking. If you are using high efficiency centrifugal inline fans, you can really “tighten” things up in terms of environmental control and efficiency by installing one of the new “smart” fan speed controllers that is available (featured). The device will automatically speed-up or slow down your fans in both day and night grower set points. In conjunction with room cooling by an air-conditioner and the combination of precision controlled air-cooled lamps, it’s relatively easy for growers to maintain the perfect temperature everyday consistently. Now because none of the air is leaving the room, you can effectively increase CO2 levels for faster growth rates and heavier yields.

Grow Room AC Make sure that you find the right sized AC for your application and that allows you to cool as low as 15°C.

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


The New Grow: Getting it Tight

Cooling & DeHumidification In a sealed environment important conditions such as temperature and humidity are more precisely controlled versus “IN/OUT” style gardens.

AC Reflectors Air-cooled lamp reflectors can significantly lower the cycling of other cooling equipment such as air conditioners.

An air-conditioner or water-cooled heat exchanger will be required to lower grow room temperatures, as even with air-cooled lighting some additional cooling will be required. When using air-cooled or water cooled lighting, air-conditioners and chillers need to cycle much less frequently, reducing electrical consumption and in some cases improving CO2 use efficiency. Using an air conditioner or water cooled heat exchanger allows growers to “seal” the environment for tighter levels of temperature, humidity and CO2 control that lead to improved yield levels and better crop qualities. Cooling the grow room with an air conditioner or water cooled heat exchanger is a lengthy discussion, although it’s not that complicated, so it is not included in this article. Examine previous CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture) articles in Maximum Yield and you will be armed with the information required to make an informed decision when choosing and installing an air-conditioner or water cooled heat exchanger. For a smaller scale set-up, bottled CO2 delivered by a tank and REG (solenoid flow rate controller) via timer or infrared CO2 monitor is relatively safe and effective. If the room isn’t tightly sealed, expect to replace CO2 tanks frequently, which can become a bothersome chore. Infrared monitors/controllers are superior to using timed release methods in many respects, although it is a greater investment. For mid to larger scale indoor gardens, a gas-fired CO2 generator is typical; 58

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

provided of course that it can be installed and managed safely. Gas fired CO2 generators should be operated with infrared monitors/controllers that also have a high temperature sensor/ shut-off. Modern CO2 generators have built in safety features and use electronic ignition, avoiding standing pilot lights. Some models are even water-cooled, and can effectively reduce the frequency at which electrically consumption intensive appliances like air conditioners will be required to cycle. Gas-fired CO2 generators will put out some heat; it’s very important that their heat level output is accounted for when sizing up the cooling capacity of air conditioners or water cooled heat exchangers (see previous CEA articles). As plants transpire moisture through their leaves, the humidity will rise. A de-humidifier is necessary in most CEA situations, although air conditioners can significantly lower humidity levels when cycling. Proper humidity levels are always very important. If humidity is too high, you will see a lot of stretch in your plants, which hurts yield potential when growing under artificial light sources. Also, higher humidity levels will yield poorer quality harvests. Most indoor crops like to have the humidity maintained between 50-60 per cent RH (relative humidity). Be warned that dehumidifiers create hot dry air, and may require the air conditioner unit to cycle simultaneously at times to maintain optimal temperatures. Always make sure that you have sufficient electrical service supplied and the correct amperage breakers.

Keep in mind that all appliances may cycle at the same time occasionally when determining the capacity of your electrical supply for the garden. When taking the time and expense to create the optimal growing environment so you can break your personal yield barriers, do not cut corners on the “little” things like controls. The importance and significance of grow room controls can sometimes be overlooked after spending all the time and great expense sourcing and installing equipment such as ac lighting, air conditioners, CO2 generators, etc. Your grow room appliances are only as good as the “brains” telling them what to do. Unless you are personally in the grow room 24/7, you place a high degree of reliance on automation. Integrated controllers that run several functions like temperature, humidity, and CO2 at the same time are a good investment. Every grow room should have a high temperature shut-off/kill switch integrated into the power supply for crop lighting.

Fan Controller (left) This controller is a must if you run centrifugal/inline fans for cooling purposes in your grow room. As a bonus, it makes things a lot quieter with your fans.

Integrated Controller (right) This controller is simple to use, reliable, expandable and controls the entire growing environment.

So, if you find yourself at a plateau in your growing endeavours, and want to start the next journey towards the top consider dialing-in your grow room. For budget minded growers, consider a new addition each crop, although complete overhauls re-capture the investment back quickly. Once you do, you can make better use of your specialty crop feeding programs and all the knowledge you have gained with your previous gardens. Go for it, and take the next step up the ladder towards maximum yields. MY

Erik Biksa answers your hydroponic questions every month in “Ask Erik.” More of his work can be found online at

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


YOU TELL US... Maximum Yield discusses ways to eliminate odours in the grow room, the benefits of air- versus water-cooling and the importance of education in hydroponics with Brandon Kion of Excel Air Systems.

Brandon Kion of Excel Air Systems

MY: I love that your website has a unit selector based on my growing situation parameters, a live help-line and tons of resources with tips on installation. What is the reason for placing so much emphasis on education?

Brandon: Education is key in this industry. We have always felt that the companies with a strong commitment to educating their clients have been very successful in providing high quality products and the absolute best customer support. By providing our clients with accurate knowledge, they get the most out of their product, ultimately seeing a tremendous 60

return on investment. With products such as our Do It Yourself Air Conditioners, which can be a bit more technically demanding and require a certain level of confidence, our customers gain that confidence through understanding the product and knowing there is a support system to back them up at anytime. MY: Tell me more about Excel’s variety of set-ups and how they are configured to meet the needs of all types of growing situations.

Brandon: Excel Air Systems provides a wide range of sizes and products to

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

control the environmental conditions within a sealed room. We offer Do It Yourself Air Conditioning systems for rooms ranging from a 3,000 watt set-up up to 15,000+ watts. The unique point of our products is not only can anyone install all of our systems but when a system has been installed, it provides you the ability to control every condition in your sealed room. From the beginner to the experienced professional, we have a complete line-up of products catered to specific environmental requirements. Whether it be temperature,

air movement, air purification or odour elimination, we provide quality products with the industries best customer support. MY: How does an air-cooled system differ from a water-cooled unit? In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the two?

Brandon: Air-cooled and water-cooled can achieve identical results. Power consumption is similar in most scenarios but what differs is how each set-up achieves its results. Water-cooled air conditioners use water to reject heat from the evaporative coil where air-cooled air conditioners utilize outdoor air to cool the coil. When selecting between an aircooled or water-cooled air conditioner a major question comes into play: can you get enough water? If you were to consider a water-cooled unit you would need to know that a typical water-cooled unit will consume over one million gallons of water per year. This equates to about 30 times what your neighbour would be using, and if you have a water metre and/or even worse, get to pay for this bill it’s not a viable solution in many ways. The benefit with watercooled is that the complete system can be completely concealed in your room. As for air-cooled air conditioning, air is free and the only thing someone may want to consider is sizing the unit to their geographical area taking into account the hottest day of summer and customizing your set-up to meet your demands.

MY: How does a Plug and Play system benefit a grower who is just starting out?

Brandon: A plug and play system is beneficial to any grower starting out because they are able to take a product generally used by a more experienced and educated grower and allows them to easily install and take advantage of controlling their environment, maximizing their yield. Our plug and play systems allow any individual to install our products with two wrenches and a screwdriver. Every connection on our systems is re-sealable as well so if you were to relocate, you can disconnect the fittings and reconnect them at a later time while keeping your system charge intact. Even our control wires use a oneway fit only plastic Molex connector making wiring effortless. At Excel Air Systems we believe in providing high quality products while making installation quick and efficient. MY: How does the Excel Odour Eliminator work to achieve a fresh and clean grow room?

Brandon: Odours in most cases are an issue, especially when smells continue to get stronger and more pungent. With our Excel Odour Eliminator we’re able to control smells in all size rooms. Our systems come complete with two prefilters (standard throwaway and pleated furnace filter), five trays containing 55 pounds of Custom Coconut Charcoal along with an insulated box and

2000CFM multi-speed blower fan. Also, we offer a UV Air Purifier that kills spores and bacteria and can also assist with powdery mildew situations, keeping your environment fresh and clean. MY

You can access all of Maximum Yield’s “You Tell Us” features by browsing the article archive on

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


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The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side of the Greenhouse by Charlene Rennick

Only 11 per cent of Canadian land is classified as having value for agricultural use. Of that parcel, only one per cent is fertile enough to grow food. (University of Guelph, ON). In addition, a high percentage of our richest farmland is already buried underneath sprawling urban centres. The promise of fresh produce grown locally is dwindling away an acre at a time. With this in mind, it is increasingly crucial to protect what is left of our bountiful earth. Choosing fresh produce used to include using your nose, your eyes and your grip. The closer the scent resembled the fruit or vegetable, the fresher it was. Firmer flesh meant a crisp juicy product. Nice colour symbolized great taste. Now we are lucky to able to distinguish one fruit from another by its smell and appearance. Most produce is characterized by its nondescript odour. Firmness as an indication of quality diminishes as soon as a bite is taken out of the mealy and tasteless centre. The essence of fresh produce disappears during the long shipping journey from the place where it is picked unripened and the market where it is destined. Many disappointed consumers are turning to hobby greenhouses to satisfy their ambition for more palatable food; assume more personal responsibility for reducing carbon emissions; and be reassured that they are eating organicallygrown produce. Commercial greenhouse-grown produce is becoming a more common alternative to imported, expensive and poor quality food. While tree-ripened fruit is not a practical option for most hobbyists, small greenhouses can be a solution for home-access to fresh herbs, most vegetables and vine-grown fruit. Adding a greenhouse to your abode involves assessing the available space, determining the accessible sunlight and deciding what you want to grow. The selection of structures ranges from free-standing greenhouses that fit inside an apartment, lean-to style models that attach to an existing exterior wall, small balcony or deck versions and larger freestanding outdoor buildings. 64

Maximum Yield Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x201A; |â&#x20AC;&#x201A; September / October 2009

Next, some research should be done to decide what materials you will need. Evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of polycarbonate or glass panes, aluminium or iron frames and options for ventilated environments is a second step.You need to establish a working ratio between the heat/light absorption of your materials and the needs of your crop. Too much sunlight can be just as detrimental to the life of the plants as too little. Finally, consider how much time you have to devote to this project and purchase your greenhouse accordingly. MY contains 10+ years of articles from leading indoor gardening experts. For more articles on greenhouse growing check out our article archive.

Greenhouses can range from free-standing structures that fit inside an apartment, lean-to style models that attach to an existing exterior wall, small balcony or deck versions and larger free-standing outdoor buildings.

Continued from page 23

PRODUCT spotlight

Ask for these exciting new products at your favourite indoor gardening store.

Just Right Xtra All Organic Potting Mix Nickel City Wholesale Garden Supply is proud to announce the release of Just Right Xtra All Organic Potting Mix. Just Right mix is a rich blend of OMRI listed organic materials, microbes and fungi. Just Right Xtra Potting Mix contains: •  GH Cocotek Coconut Coir, which creates a more diverse and less compact growing medium. •  GH Ancient Forest Humus - the ultimate natural compost. •  Large non-toxic, sterile and odourless perlite. •  Premium red earthworm castings. •  Miadenwell Diatomite Silica Stone, which increases plants resistance to disease. •  GH Rare Earth, derived from ancient seabed deposits of prophylactic clay. •  GH SubCulture M, a mycorrhizae root inoculant that contains a wide diversity of endo and ecto mycorrhizal fungi. •  GH SubCulture B, which helps increase the vitality and yield in all plants. •  Natural sulphate of potash. •  Bone Char containing more than 16 per cent available phosphate and 32 per cent total phosphate. We know you will enjoy your "Bag of Biology™" and all the complex microscopic pores which provide the perfect "condominium" living environment for its countless microbial communities. Visit an indoor gardening retailer to learn more.

Thermostatically Controlled Centrifugal Fans from Can-Filters Can-Filters Group has added the thermostatically controlled fan in sizes four HO and six HO to their line up of centrifugal fans. The new thermostatic fan is controlled by setting the dial to the desired temperature listed on the dial attached to the fan. The fan has an integrated sensor inside of the fan to sense the temperature of the airflow every 1.5 minutes. When the airflow temperature is hotter through the fan than the dial setting, the fan will automatically speed up. If the air flow across the blades is cooler then the set dial setting, the fan will automatically slow down. This thermostatic fan will permit full control of the environment. No remote sensors no problem! Can-Filters – Simply the Best. To learn more visit your local grow shop.


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Maverick Sun Introduces D Lux 1000 Watt HPS Horticultural Lamps

Last year after numerous tests, Maverick Sun had a breakthrough, making the perfect 600 watt HPS. These 600 watt lamps all run on the same ballasts and reflectors and deliver six to eight per cent higher yields than the competitors’ lamps. The specifications are backed up by lumen and spectral distribution test reports from Lighting Sciences. Now, after months of development, they have perfected the 1000 Watt D Lux HPS lamp. The 14,000 lumen level is the right spectrum, making it better for growing vegetation than anything on the market. Available now, this high yielding lamp comes with a full year warranty. The 1,000 watt HPS completes the family of D Lux metal halide and HPS lamps. To find out more about this exciting breakthrough, contact an indoor gardening retailer.

CubeCap™ Canada’s DripCap™ Not yet for commercial sale but already admired internationally is a new invention from CubeCap™ Canada. The new DripCap™ is designed to replace traditional drip-pegs, combining irrigation with the advantages of the CubeCap™, which is mainly applied in ebb and flood systems. DripCap™ is manufactured for ease of application and removal; it wraps around the plant securely and can be locked into place at any stage of plant growth. The patented design allows water droplets to completely saturate the media without having to relocate the device, as is common with standard drip-pegs. Further benefits from the use of DripCap™ relate to the reflection of light, which helps creates a desirable micro-climate for new roots to form. The slower evaporation rate also allows for savings in the amount of water and nutrients required by the plants for optimum growth. DripCap ™ almost completely eliminates persistent algae and fungus gnat problems present in grow facilities. MY Ask for the DripCap at your local indoor gardening store.

You can find all of our products online at Each month your favourite new product profiles will be featured on our website. Get the latest information on what will make your garden grow. Do you want to be included in the product spotlight? Contact the editor at 1-250-279-2677 or email

CHECKgrowing YOUR I.Q.

by Erik Biksa


1. How are amino acids beneficial when incorporated in nutrient formulations? a)  stabilize pH of solutions b)  replace conventional nutrients c)  help to improve the availability of nutrients d)  none of the above 2. Although most synthetic nutrients are highly available for absorption, what is a significant advantage to having multiple sources for any single nutrient element? a) nutrient absorption is possible through a range of conditions; different nutrient sources perform better in different soil chemistries b)  there is no advantage c) false statement: too many sources creates “nutrient lock-up” d)  none of the above 3. Why is EC a more universal measurement than PPM (parts per million) with regards to measuring the concentration of nutrient solutions? 4. Green filtered light will minimize the interruption of photoperiods if entering the growing area during the “dark” period. a)  true b)  false

ANSWERS: July/August 2009 quiz

5. Which of the following cultural practices may help to shorten internodal distances: a)  artificial lighting supplied higher in the “blue” spectrum b)  maintaining equal day / night temperatures c)  avoiding fertilizers high in ammonium nitrate d)  all of the above 6. In planting seeds as a rule of thumb, seeds should be sown a the depth three times the diameter of the seed. a)  true b)  false


1) d 2) converts starches from roots to crop available sacharides 3) a, b, c, d 4) True 5) b 6) False

Answers to this quiz will be printed in the November/December 2009 issue of Maximum Yield. Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009



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MAXIMUMdistributors YIELD ALBERTA Double AA Garden Supplies Ltd. Bay 9 2820 Centre Avenue Calgary, AB T2A 7P5 403-273-9188

Fusion 5 Organic Gardens Inc. PO Box 5821, 120B 1 Street, SW High River, AB T1V 1P3 866-652-2594 Hydro-Lite 12249 Fort Road Edmonton, AB T5B 4H7 780-477-7860 Niloc Wholesale Inc. Box 82008 Yellowbird RPO Edmonton, AB T6J 7E6 780-885-4769 Quick Grow 1-1204 Edmonton Trail Road NE Calgary, AB T2E 3K5 877-426-4769 Smart Grow 2456 - 23 Avenue, NE Calgary, AB T2E 8J4 403-236-9999 Twins Greenhouse 13 - 2235 30th Avenue, NE Calgary, AB T2C 7C7 403-273-2881 BRITISH COLUMBIA A+ Gardening Supplies 1450 Venables Street Vancouver, BC V5L 2G5 604-876-4769 Advanced Garden Supplies 7979 Aspen Road Vernon, BC V1B 3M9 250-545-9545 Advanced Wholesale Superstore 406 - 1952 Kingsway Avenue Port Coquitlam, BC V3C 6C2 604-945-0174 AJs Pets & Things 3219 - 31st Avenue Vernon, BC V1T 2H2 250-549-3222 A.R.I. Research 120 - 4111 Hastings Street Burnaby, BC V5C 6Y7 604 433 6067 Art Knapp 2855 Wentworth Road Courtenay, BC V9N 6B7 250-334-3024 Aurora Lighting 750 3rd Avenue Prince George, BC V2L 3C5 250-564-9888

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BN Garden Supply 4493 Boundary Road Vancouver, BC V5R 2N3 604-431-2977

Happy Acres Greens & Backroad Hydroponics Equipment 2058 Cambie-Solsqua Road Sicamous, BC V0E 2V0 250-836-3878

Buckerfields 587 Alberni Highway Parksville, BC V9P 1J9 250-248-3243

Hygro Gardening Supplies Inc. 1791 Tamarac Street Campbell River, BC V9W 5Y7 250-286-0424

California Hydroponics 9509 120th Street Delta, BC V4C 6S3 604-930-0565

Indoor Jungle 2624 Quadra Street Victoria, BC V8T 4E4 250-388-5611

Canadian Garden Supply 1730 Highway 3 Castlegar, BC V1N 4W1 250-304-2911

Interior Gardener’s Supply 221 - 1 McDermid Road, Box 1257 100 Mile House, BC V0K 2E0 250-395-3399

Chilliwack Indoor Garden Centre Ltd. 311 - 44500 South Sumas Road Chilliwack, BC V9R 5M3 604-824-2944

Jon’s Plant Factory 3925 East Hastings Burnaby, BC V5C 2H8 604-294-3000

Coastal Growers Supply 103 - 12824 Anvil Way Surrey, BC V3W 8E7 604-599-1778

Just-N-Tyme Greenhouse and Hydroponics Supply 1094 McKenzie Avenue Courteney, BC V9N 3C5 250-703-0476

Cowichan Hydroponic Supplies 4 - 2955 Jacob Road Duncan, BC V9L 6W4 250-746-0244 Double AA Garden Supplies Ltd. 2908 Commercial Drive Vancouver, BC V5N 4C9 604-876-8837 Duncan Plants & Ponics 6512 Bell McKinnon Road Duncan, BC V9L 6C1 250-746-5591 Excel Air Systems 200 - 20170 Stewart Crescent Maple Ridge, BC V2X 0T4 604-728-0757 Fat Eddie’s Systems 105 - 18758 96th Avenue Surrey, BC 604-690-0818 Garden Effects 200-2288 #5 Road Richmond BC V6X 2T1 604-214-6620 Garden King Supplies 7533 135 Street, Unit 109 Surrey, BC V3W OM8 604-598-1912

Kamloops Sunshine Gardens Greenhouse Superstore 5 - 1744 Kelly Douglas Road Kamloops, BC V2C 5S4 877-372-2270 Kootenay Bubble Refinery PO Box 81 Slocan Park, BC V0G 2E0 250-226-7753 Kootenay Grower’s Supply Creston 1134 Highway 21 Creston, BC V0B 1G6 866-468-4988 Kootenay Grower’s Supply Nelson 721-G Front Street Nelson, BC V1L 4B8 888-422-8333 Long Lake Nursery Hydroponic Supply 4900 Island Highway, North Nanaimo, BC 250-758-5012 Mr. Fertilizer 9 Burnside Road, West Victoria, BC V9A 1B2 250-381-4644 Mylo’s 3837 Squilax Anglemont Hwy Scotch Creek BC V0E 1M0 250-955-0525

Backwoods Hydroponic & Garden 10590 Carlson Road Prince George, BC V2K 5E5 250-963-9541

Garibaldi Nurseryland & Florist 38917 Progress Way, Squamish Industrial Park Squamish, BC V0N 3G0 604-892-3892

BC Hydroponics 3 - 20092-93A Avenue Langley, BC V1M 3Y4 604-888-5716

Good Guys Gardening Center 250 McKenzie Avenue, South Williams Lake, BC V2G 1C6 250-392-2069

Better Than Nature Kelowna 725B Evans Court Kelowna, BC V1X 6G4 250-868-8978

Green & Clean Energy Co. Ltd. 2875 Cudlip Road Shawnigan Lake, BC V0R 2W0 250-732-7224

Northern Lights Greenspace 3 - 2706 45th Avenue Vernon, BC V1T 3N4 250-558-4757

Better Than Nature Penticton 101 - 78 Industrial Avenue, West Penticton, BC V2A 6M2 250-770-8978

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Nutty Zone 5 & 6 - 33201 London Avenue Mission, BC V2V 4P9 604-814-2223


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Natural Choice Garden Centre, The 5500 48th Avenue, SE Salmon Arm, BC V1E 1X2 250-832-7151 Nico’s Nurseryland 830 - 28th Street, NE Salmon Arm, BC V1E 2S7 250-804-2004

Oasis 12 - 1771 Cooper Road Kelowna, BC V1Y 7T1 250-763-4769

Spruce Capital Feeds 1694 Quinn Street Prince George, BC V2N 1X3 250-564-6010

Pacific NW Garden Supply 109 - 20110 Lougheed Highway Maple Ridge, BC V2X 2P7

Sun Beam Central 3444 River Road Chemainus, BC V0R 1K4 250-246-1379

Pacific NW Garden Supply 107 Nicol Street Nanaimo, BC V9R 4T1 250-754-5292 Pacific NW Garden Supply 2137 East Hastings Street Vancouver, BC V5L 1V2 604-254-4765 Pacific NW Garden Supply Unit 14- 104 Silica Street Nelson, BC V1L 4M1 250-354-4767

Trees Company Nursery & Garden Supplies G9 C17 RR1, 7030 Powell Road Winlaw, BC V0G 2J0 250-226-7334

Pacific NW Garden Supply 15374-103A Avenue Surrey V3R 9V8 604-588-4769; 800-443-4769

Triple Tree Nursery 20503 Lougheed Highway Maple Ridge, BC V2X 2P9 604-465-9313

Pacific NW Garden Supply 1139B Industrial Road 3 Cranbrook, BC V1C 5E3 250-489-4761

Valley Indoor Geenhouse Supplies 103 - 44195 Yale Road West Chilliwack, BC V2R 4H2 877-702-1169

Pacific Rim Indoor Garden & Lighting 170- 12111 Bridgeport Road Richmond, BC V6V 1J4 604-232-4468 PG2 1798 Nicholson Street Prince George, BC V2N 1V6 250-612-4769; 1-888-817-4769

Van City Garden Supplies 6542 Victoria Drive Vancouver, BC V5P 3X9 604-322-8558

Progressive Growth 41 - 1925 Bowen Road Nanaimo, BC V9S 1H1 800-405-4769

MANITOBA All Grow Distributors 410 Madison Street Winnipeg, MB R3J 1J1 204-231-1694 Better Than Nature Winnipeg 2B - 2 Donald Street Winnipeg, MB R3L 0K5 204-453-3032 Gro Pro International Hydroponics 101-904 Porthee Avenue Winnipeg, MB R3G 0P4 204-956-1389

21st Century Gardening 20 Bayside Drive St. John, NB E2J 1A2 506-657-9982

NOVA SCOTIA Den Haan’s Garden World 12688 Highway 1, Brickton Annapolis County, NS B0S 1M0 902-825-4722 Greenfield Grow & Brew 69 Wilson Mountain Road Murray Siding, NS B6L 4N7 902-897-6568 Plant Manager Gardening 12 Industrial Drive, Richmond County Industrial Park Lennox Passage, Cape Breton, NS  B0E 1V0 902-345-2112

Warehouse Garden Supplies & Hydroponic 109 - 8173 128 Street Surrey, BC V3W 4G1 604-543-3177 West Coast Gardens Equipment and Supplies 113 - 805 Notre Dame Kamloops, BC V2C 5N8 250-851-2992

Scott’s Nursery Ltd. 2192 Route 102 Highway Lincoln, NB E3B 8N1 506-458-9208

Ultimate Hydroponics PO Box 1191 Hampton, NB E5N 8H2 506-639-5948

Vancouver Garden Supply 4894 Fraser Street Vancouver, BC V5V 4H5 604-879-8167

Progressive Growth 111 - 1790 Island Highway Victoria, BC V9B 1H5 250-391-9519

Raw World Organics 1 - 1455 West 14th Avenue Vancouver, BC V6H 1R4 604-902-2740

Jardins Notik Gardens 798 Gray Road St-Charles NB E4W 4N9 506-876-9100

Sunwest Garden Supply 2035 Unit B Louie Drive Westbank, BC V4T 1Y2 250-768-1636

Tridon Hydroponics 12 - 1708 Bowen Road Nanaimo, BC V9S 1G9 250-755-1900

Quick Grow Kelowna 1945 Kirshner Road Kelowna, BC V1Y 4N7 877-861-4343

Craft N’ Grow 60 Micmac Road Eel Ground, NB E1V 4B1 506-624-9317

Sundogz Garden Supply & Hydroponics 30 - 1365 Old Alberni Highway Parksville, BC V9P 2B8 250-954-2046

Pacific NW Garden Supply Unit C1 - 1810 Kyle Court Kelowna, BC V1Z 3Z4 250-769-4791

Planting Plus Greenhouse Supplies and Hardware 22394 Dewdney Truck Road Maple Ridge, BC V2X 3J2 604-466-5949

NEW BRUNSWICK Atlantic Hydroponics & Greenhouses Inc. 42 Brandon Street Moncton, NB E1C 7E8 506-858-0158

S&L Worx Hydroponics 135 Main Street, Unit 14 Dartmouth, NS B2X 1R6 902-434-GROW (4769) Steve’s Hydroponic Headquarters 131 Sackville Drive Lower Sackville, NS B4C 2R3 902-865-7764 Sweetleaf Smoke Shop and Hydroponics 3132 Isleville Street Halifax, NS B3K 3Y2 902-454-6646 Woodland Farm Nursery 3544 Highway 1, Annapolis Royal, NS B0S 1A0 902-532-7617 Woodin Nickel Hydroponics 3393 Central West, Highway 4 Pictou County, NS BOK 1H0 902-695-7640

Kleen Gro Hydroponics 224 Osborne Street South Winnipeg, MB R3L 1Z3 204-475-7096

ONTARIO AKA The Indoor Gardener 207 Exeter Road, Unit D London, ON N6L 1A4 519-652-4224

My Two Sons 2 - 2055 McPhillips Street Winnipeg, MB R2Y 3C6 204-339-3489

AKA The Indoor Gardener 3014 Highway 29 Brockville, ON K6V 5T4 613-342-2700

Skytek Indoor Solutions 833 4th Avenue Prince George, BC V2L 3H5 1-800-975-9835

Nature’s Nutrition 1819 Portage Avenue Winnipeg, MB R3J 0G4 204-889-2979

All Grow Hydroponic 391 Marwood Drive, Unit 14 Oshawa, ON 866-606-4723

Solar Greenhouse and Hydroponic Supply 4752 Imperial Street Burnaby, BC V5J 1C2 604-438-7244

Ready Set Grow! 375 Henderson Highway Winnipeg, MB R3C 2H2 204-668-GROW

All Seasons 1000 Dundas Street East Mississauga, ON L4Y 2B8 905-848-2619

Rocky Mountain Greenhouse Supply 1043 Industrial Road 2 Cranbrook, BC V1C 4C6 250-489-5770 Room 2 Grow 901 Laval Crescent Kamloops, BC V2C 5P4 250-372-3663

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


MAXIMUMdistributors YIELD

Ozone Environmental Technologies 361 Rowntree Dairy Road Unit 4 Woodridge, ON L4L 8H1 905-264-6618

Best of Hydroponics 360 Richmond Street London, ON N6A 3C3 519-858-1533

Homegrown Hydroponics Inc. 15 McCulloch Avenue 3 Rexdale, ON M9W 4M5 1-800-INFO-GRO

Bluewater Hydroponics 1173 Michener Road, Unit 12 Sarnia, ON N7S 5G5 519-337-7475

Homegrown Hydroponics Inc. 521 Dunlop Street West Barrie, ON L4M 2C8 705-721-8715

BMA Hydroponics 404A Maitland Drive, Unit 2 Belleville, ON K8N 4Z5 613-967-9888

Homegrown Hydroponics Inc. 5386 Greenlane Road Beamsville, ON L0R 1B3 905-563-6121

Brite-Lite Indoor Garden Centre 4373 Steeles Avenue West North York, ON M3N 1V7 416-663-2999

Homegrown Hydroponics Inc. 79 Woolwich Street South Breslau, ON N0B 1M0 519-648-2374

Brite-Lite Indoor Garden Centre 1671 Cyrville Road, Meadowbrooke Plaza Gloucester, ON K1B 3L7 613-842-8999

Hydro Culture Emporium Inc. 150 Robertson Rd Unit 22 Nepean, ON K2H 9S1 613-715-9472

Second Nature Hydroponics 4 - 2133 Royal Windsor Drive Mississauga, ON L5J 1K5 S e c o n d 905-403-4769 NATURE HYDROPONICS

Hydrogarden 1122 Paul Street Cornwall, ON K6H 6H5 613-360-6996

Supply For You 3615 Weston Road, Unit 6 North York, ON M9L 1V8 416-741-8062

Hydrotech 2436 Kingston Road Toronto, ON M1N 1V2 416-267-4769

Sweet Hydroponic Gardens 776 Bruce Street Renfrew, ON K7V 3Z8 613-433-9600

CN Garden Equipment Supplies 207 Edgeley Boulevard, Unit 4 Vaughan, ON L4K 4B5

In-Home Gardens 279 Caborne St. Brantford, ON N3T 2H3 519-754-9090

Vantage Hydroponics 1 Adelaide Street North London, ON N6B 3P8 519-451-4769

D&M Gardens 2961 Main Street Blezard Valley, ON P0M 1E0 705-897-3727

Indoor Gardens Canada 2952 Thompson Road Smithville, ON L0R 2A0 905-957-6969

Yield of Dreams Hydroponics 559 Steven Court 12 Newmarket, ON L3Y 6Z3 877-778-7960

Envirotex P.O. Box 21069 Paris, ON N3L 4A5 519-442-1237

Indoor Harvest 3040 New Street Burlington, ON  L7R 1M5 289-337-9169

Friendly Farmer, The 343 Richmond Lower Street London, ON N6A 3C2 519-438-4446

J & C Hydroponics 343 Elgin Street, Unit A Cambridge, ON M1R 7H9 519-622-9969

Garden Depot 605 Justus Drive Kingston,ON Canada K7M 4H5 613-384-8882

Jungle Hydroponics 2215 Gerrard Street East Toronto, ON M4E 2C8 416-699-0861

Green And Clean 761 Barrydowne Road Sudbury, ON P3A 3T6 800-246-5503

Markham Hydroponics 95 Royal Crest Court 18 Markham, ON L3R 9X5 905-305-0698

Brite-Lite Indoor Garden Centre 1659 Victoria Street, North, Unit 6 Kitchener, ON N2B 3E6 888-670-0611 Canadian Hydrogardens Ltd. 1330 Sandhill Drive Ancaster, ON L9G 4V5 905 648 1801

Green Kingdom Hemp 1103 Cassells Street North Bay, ON P1B 4B3 705-494-7169

Nature’s Elements Box 119 500 Mill Street Neustadt, ON N0G 2M0 519-799-5323

Paradise Gardens Hydroponics 2158 Chiefswood Road Oshweken, ON N0A 1M0 519-445-2275 Peterborough Hydroponic Center 347 Pido Road, Unit 32 Peterborough, ON K9J 6X7 705-745-6868 Planetary Pride 372 Queen Street East Sault Ste Marie, ON P6A 1Y7 1-888-215-8970

QUEBEC Aeroplante 66 Rang Prenier Chaloupe Est Notre-Dame-Des-Praires Joliette QC J6E 7Y8 450-752-8883 Amazonia Hydroponique 394 Boulvard Arthur-sauve St. Eustache, QC J7R 2J5 450-623-2790 B&S Electrique Inc. 2240 Pitt Street Montreal, QC H4E 4H1 514-931-3817 Benoit Dupuis Extincteurs Inc. 2503 Victoria Street Ste-Julienne, QC J0K 2T0 450-831-4240 Babylone Hydroponics 100 Duluth Avenue Montreal, QC H2W 1H1 514-284-6382

Green Thumb Hydroponics 3075 Ridgeway Drive, 25 Mississauga, ON L5L 5M6

Northern Hydroponics 236 Simpson Street Thunder Bay, ON P7C 3H4 807-623-3666

Grow It All Hydroponics Inc. 165 Geary Avenue, Unit 3B Toronto, ON M6H 2B8 416-588-9595

Northern Lights Green Supply 1938 Highway 20 (at 406), RR 1 Fonthill, ON L0S 1E6 905-892-3743

Grower’s Choice Hydroponics 1621 McEwen Drive 14 Whitby, ON L1N 9A5 905-725-GROW

Northern Lights Hydroponics 1185 Tecumsch Road Windsor, ON N8W 1B5 519-254-4015

Happy Hydroponics 68 Princess Street Hamilton, ON L8L 3K9 905-545-8434

Ontario Growers Supply 1540 Fanshawe Park Road West London, ON N6H 5L8 519-641-3992

California Hydroponic 12300 Rue de la avenir St. Janvier, QC J7J 2K4 450-433-3336

Home Hydroponics 289 Rutherford Road, South 22 Brampton, ON L6W 3R9 905-874-GROW

Ontario Hydroponics 103015 Grey Road 18 Owen Sound, ON N4K 5N6 519-372-1144

Concept Hydroponique 1257 Boulevard St Antoine Rte., 158 Est St Jerome, QC J7Z 7M1 450-431-1488


Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

Boutique L’Echologik 829, cote d’Abraham Quebec, QC G1R 1A4 418-648-8288 Boutique L’Echologik 790 St - Jean Quebec, QC G1R 1P9 418-648-2828 Brite Lite Hydroponics 940 Bergar, Laval, QC H7L 4Z8 450-669-3803

Distribution De la Plante 5498 Hochelaga Suite 910 Montreal, QC H1N 3L7 514-255-1111

Hydromax Montreal 9300 Lajeunesse Montreal, QC H2M 1S4 514-381-0111

Pousse Magique 515 rue Lanaudiere Repentigny, QC J6A 7N1 450-582-6662

Espace Culture Boutique 17 boul. Ste-Rose Est Laval, QC H7V 3K3 450-622-2710

Hydromax Terrebonne 1674 Chemin Gascon Terrebonne, QC J6X 4H9 450-492-7447

P.P.M. Hydroponique 504 Rue du Parc St. Eustache, QC J7R 5B2 450-491-2444

Ferme Florale Inc. (Botanix) 2190 Blvd. Laurier (route 116) St. Bruno de Montarville, QC J3V 4P6 450-653-6383

Hydromax Trois-Rivières 6157 rue Corbeil Trois-Rivières Ouest, QC G8Z 4P8 819-372-0500

Qué-Pousse - Grenville 13B Maple Grenville, QC J0V 1J0 819-242-5310

Fernand Corbeil Produits Horticoles Horticultural Products 17 boul. Ste-Rose Est Laval, QC H7L 3K3 450-622-2710

Hydroponique de l’estrie 2980, ch. Miletta Magog, QC J1X 5R9 819-843-8680

Qué-Pousse - Laval 940 Bergar Laval, QC H7L 4Z8 450-667-3809

Hydroponique du Millenaire 5700, rue Martineau, Local 7 Saint-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 8B1 450-253-5260

Qué-Pousse - Montreal 2215 Walkley Montreal, QC H4B 2J9 514-489-3803

Fleuriculture Hydroponique 3570 Boulevard Thibeau Trois Riviers, QC G8W 2H5 819-374-3666 Fleuriste Savard Inc. 1833 boul. Louis-Frechette Nicolet, QC J3T 1M4 819-293-5933 G & L Electrique Inc. 13760 2 ième Avenue Saint-Georges, Bce, QC G5Y 5N1 418-228-3665 Gardins California 1689 Chemin Gascon Terrebonne, QC J6X 3Z6 450-492-7373 Gerard Bourbeau & Fils Inc. 8285, 1 re Avenue Charlesbourg, QC G1G 5E6 418-623-5401 Hydroculture Guy Dionne 8473 - 19th Avenue Montreal, QC H1Z 4J2 514-722-9496 Hydroculture Guy Dionne 1990 Cyrill-Duquet Local 150 Québec, QC G1N 4K8 418-681-4643 Hydro Expert 12752 Industriel Montreal, QC H1A 3V2 514-624-3091 Hydro Plus 149 avenue Principale A Rouyn Noranda, QC J9X 4E3 819-762-4367 Hydro Rive-sud 4721 Boulvard de la rive sud Levis, QC G6W 1H5 418-835-0082 Hydro Sciences 4800 de la Cote-Vertu Blvd. Saint-Laurent, QC H4S 1J9 514-331-9090 Hydro Times 1533 Boulevard Cure Labelle Laval, QC H7V 2W4 450-688-4848 Hydrobec 2145 Lavoisier Suite 4 Ste-Foy, QC G1N 4B2 418-687-1119 Hydromax Gatineau 3-1695 Atmec (porte 6) Gatineau, QC J8P 7G7 819-663-7470 Hydromax Laval 295 Boulevard Curé Labelle Laval, QC H7L 2Z9 450-628-8380 Hydromax Mont-Laurier 388 Rue Hebert Mont-Laurier, QC J9L 2X2 888-609-4476

Hydroponique Plus Inc. 405 - 18 Avenue Lachine, QC H8S 3R1 514-634-3677 Hydrosphere 2400 rue Canadian, Suite 104 Drummondville, QC J2C 7W3 819-478-9791

Qué-Pousse - Mont. Tremblant 462 Montée Kavanagh Mont-Tremblant, QC J8E 2P2 819-429-6145 Qué-Pousse - Point-Claire 1860D Sources Blvd Pointe-Claire, QC H9R 5B1 514-426-5057

Hydrotek 12300 Rue de l’avenir St. Janvier, QC J7J 2K4

Qué-Pousse - Sherbrooke 4394 Bourque Rt. 112 Rock Forest, QC J1N 1S3 819-563-0353

International Hydroponique 5478 Hochelaga St Montreal, QC H1N 3L7 514-255-2525

Qué-Pousse - St-Constant 6264 Route 132 Ste-Catherine, QC J0L 1E0 450-635-4881

La Cuve A Vin 6384 Beaubien est Montreal, QC H1M 3G8 514-354-8020

Qué-Pousse - St-Jerome 709A 14e Avenue, Sud Saint-Antoine, QC J7Z 4B8 450-436-3803

Les Grands Jardins Lavel 2900, Boul. Cure-Lavelle Chomedey, Laval, QC H7P 5S8 250-729-2687

Sherbrooke Hydroponique 3545 King Est, Sherbrooke, QC J1G 5J4 819-829-9299

Les Serres Binette Inc 2568 Boul. Mercurre Drummondville, QC J2A 1H2 1-800-231-7195

Ultimate Controllers Inc. 76 rue d’Avila Laval, QC H7M 3Y6

Magog Hydro Culture 25 Ste Rue Saint Catherine Magog, QC J1X 2K9 819-847-4141 MegaWatt Hydroculture 636 Route 364 Morin Heights, QC J0R 1H0 450-226-2515 Méristème Hydroponique 871 Dufferin Granby, QC J2G 9H8 450-991-1514 Momentum 11289 London Avenue Montreal, QC H1H 4J3 888-327-4595 Plant-O-Maxx 3169 Blais, Boisbriand, QC, J7H 1H2 514-968-7799 Pablo Jardinage Intérieur 2 Des Ormeaux Suite 500 Trois-Rivières, QC G8W 1S6 819-693-6000 Plant-T-Plantes 3439 boulevard Fiset Sorel-Tracy, QC J3P 5J3 450-780-0008 Point De Vue 880 chemin St-Féréol Les Cèdres, QC J7T 1N3 450-452-2878 / 1-877-510-2991

Un Monde Sans Terre 565 Beausejour Alma, QC G8B 5V3 418-480-3274 Val d’Or Hydroculture 1261 3e Avenue Val d’Or, QC J9P 1V4 XXXtractor Inc. 1228 St. Marc Montreal, QC H3H 2E5 514-931-4944 SASKATCHEWAN Busy Bee Upholstery Box 811, 134 5th Avenue East Gravelbourg, SK S0H 1X0 306-648-3659 Waterboy Supply 401 Dewdney Avenue East Regina, SK S4N 4G3 306-757-6242 YUKON, NUNAVUT and NORTHWEST TERRITORIES Porter Creek Indoor Garden Centre 1307 Centennial Street Whitehorse, YT Y1A 3Z1 867-667-2123


ARE YOU CURRENTLY DISTRIBUTING MAXIMUM YIELD FROM YOUR RETAIL STORE? Email your contact information to: to have a distributor listing in an upcoming issue of Maximum Yield.

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009


COMING UP IN November - December 2009 Features

DO YOU know?

Getting Ready to Garden Indoors

Matt LeBannister provides a simple checklist that will ensure a successful and problem-free indoor garden this winter.

The Real Dirt on Humic Substances

As one of the most important components of soil, humic acid tends to be the least understood. Ryan Zadow helps to define this incredibly beneficial substance and addresses its qualities and benefits.

What’s in your Water?

Charlotte Bradley confirms why it is so important to “know” your water, the fuel that makes our hydroponic garden’s run.

Strands of Gold: Growing Saffron

Just because the hot sun is fading, doesn’t mean we need to expect a long winter without that yellowy-orange burst of colour. Dr. Lynette Morgan shows you how to grow your own spicy saffron indoors.

Using Perlite in Hydroponic Culture

There are so many different growing and propagating mediums used in hydroponics with perlite being one of the most versatile. Learn more about perlite with help from Paul Lavakis.

Automated Hydroponics for a Worry-Free Vacation

1 The presence of free, uncombined carbon dioxide tends to

lower pH because it reacts (only weakly) with water to form carbonic acid.

2 Chelating a nutrient means that instead of complexing the

inorganic nutrient to another inorganic substance, and thus making a salt, the nutrient is complexed with a protein, which is a better form of the nutrient for the plant to uptake.

Hydroponics provides a welcome respite from the winter cold, however, when we freezing cold Canadians are ready for a warmer climate via a vacation, our system needs to be able to take care of itself. That is where Ontarian Peter Jordan comes in with his plan for an automated hydroponics system.

3 Only 11 per cent of Canadian land is classified as having

All-New Products

4 Blanching green shoots by growing them in darkness gives

This issue’s featured products from world leaders in the hydroponic industry will help you fill the stocking of the avid grower in your family. Top them up with the latest in nutrients, lighting and “growgreen” technologies.

Win Big! Grow Big!

There is still time to enter your name in the September/October run of Win Big! Grow Big! Visit by October 15 in order to be eligible. Four winners are chosen every second month and this time it could be YOU! Online Extras for Maximum Yield Readers

In addition to our incredible selection of articles in November/ December 2009, you gain access to online extras. Visit for videos, articles, images and product comparisons that you won’t find anywhere else. 74

Maximum Yield Canada  |  September / October 2009

value for agricultural use. Of that parcel, only one per cent is fertile enough to grow food.

an interesting and contrasting colour and provides a milder flavour and softer texture to the shoots.

5 Every time insecticides are used on insects, gardeners are

inadvertently helping to breed superior and more pesticide resistant plant-eating insects.

6 Recirculating aquaponic system results in fewer root dis-

eases in the crop, and the crop yield from aquaponics, when compared with conventional hydroponic, is often increased.

7 Reverse osmosis systems will not prevent algae and neither

will water purifiers. Algae is not introduced into your system externally; it is caused within a system, directly or indirectly by HIDs.

8 Water-cooled air conditioners use water to reject heat from

the evaporative coil where air-cooled air conditioners utilize outdoor air to cool the coil.

Maximum Yield - Canada Sep/Oct 2009  

Hydroponics gardening resources by Maximum Yield, a free how-to hydroponics gardening and indoor gardening bi-monthly magazine that is distr...