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UK November - December 2009

I N D O O R

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CONTENTS november / december 2009 FEATURES 18

18

Water as a Substrate: Aeroponics and Aero-hydroponics

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Drying and Preserving Herbs

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Dosing Procedures for Nutrients and Additives

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Seaweed: A Precious Material for Plant Nutrition

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Nutritious and Delicious: Tomatoes

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What is pH? Part II

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Little Growers’ Roots are Spreading

by Noucetta Kehdi

by Matt LeBannister

by Bob Taylor

by Luis Bartolo

by Kathy Anderson

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by Grodan

by Heather Pearl

32 DEPARTMENTS 4 From the Editor

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4 Letters to the Editor

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6 MaximumYield.com 8 Ask Erik 10 MAX Facts 12 Product Spotlight 43 Check Your Growing IQ 46 You Tell Us 49 Do You Know? 50 Coming up in January - February

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

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FROM THE editor

jessica raymond

Get ready for an issue full of tips and tricks to get your garden rolling, and if it is already in full swing, how to keep it in top shape for maximum growth and yield. This issue touches on some important details that can make or break your garden production. Nutrient dosing, knowing the perfect pH for your crop, learning about seaweed’s important role in your garden and, to help with the final stages of your crop, we share tips on drying and preserving your herbs. The world is realizing that hydroponics is going to be the primary means for food production and it is great to see the UK leading the way with its educational initiatives for children. This issue we feature an article on Little Growers, a school program which gets children involved in growing and learning about the environment, sustainability and healthy eating.

This month marks the East Coast USA Indoor Gardening Expo in Orlando, Florida (Nov. 7-8). Although the trek may be far, we promise it will be well worth your time. Companies from around the globe will be available to answer all of your questions and inspire your growing ventures. We hope you enjoy this read and the new look and feel of your UK edition. Jessica Raymond, Editor We have lots of great stuff editor@maximumyield.com planned for 2010, so keep reading and keep growing!

letters to the editor Foliar Advice

The Right to Search I really wanted to search on your website, but found there was no such feature. Any chance you are planning on adding a search bar to your website? I love your work. Great job!

.

Thanks Rod Maley We are, in fact, developing an article-based search for the site to be released once a thorough testing process is completed. Our goal with maximumyield.com is to provide as much quality content and features to our online readers as we can. However, we also want to ensure this is not done at the expense of site usability or ease of navigation. Having said that, you may have noticed we recently introduced several new article navigation tools such as author lookup, additional articles by author and a library of complete back issues of all editions of Maximum Yield. Thanks for reading and keep growing. Wes Cargill

I was wondering when is the best time to foliar spray. When there's light "Always experiment by just or no light? spraying a few leaves on one of your plants before Thanks subjecting the entire crop to a Chrissy Pamplin potentially damaging spray." With most foliar applications (leaf sprays), it is safest to your crop to spray just as the lights are shutting off. Avoid making contact with the lamps when spraying, as this could be dangerous. Reduce your air circulation too, as typically you want the spray to be absorbed, not evaporated for better results. By the time the lights come on again, the spray will have been absorbed and the foliage dry. If you spray under bright light with no light inhibitors in the spray, the liquid on the surface of the plant may cause scorching of the foliage. Some types of products are more prone to cause "sun scald" than others, so you can always experiment by just spraying a few leaves on one of your plants before subjecting the entire crop to a potentially damaging spray, either in light or dark conditions. Additions of non-ionic surfactants will improve the effectiveness of most types of foliar sprays. Erik Biksa

Natural Killers How can I get rid of spidermites without chemicals in my indoor grow room? They gotta go! Please reply. You guys rock! Harry Campbell Prevention is the best defence. Predator mites can be effective if spidermite populations haven't gotten too out of hand, and the growing environment suits the predators. Sometimes the environment is too hot and dry or otherwise not optimal for the predators, making them less effective. Derivatives of neem, while not chemicals per say because they are natural, can reduce pest insect populations if applied properly. There has also been some success with careful applications of "kill level" carbon dioxide levels during the plants dark cycle. It won't harm the plants while suffocating other organisms such as spidermites without the use of chemicals. Careful consideration is required if applying killlevel CO2 for insect control. Good Luck. Erik Biksa

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MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

Fresh Water

Do you have any articles or data on reverse osmosis for hydroponic growing? Thank you! Donette Lamson Richard Gellert has a great article: RO Logic: A Thinking Man's Guide to Reverse Osmosis is an excellent feature that is sure to provide you with the background and education that you are seeking on this topic. You can find RO Logic by following the link below: http://maximumyield.com/article_sh_db.php?articleID=356&yearVar=2008&issueVar =July/August from November/December 2008 UK Maximum Yield reserves the right to edit for brevity.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Email us at: editor@maximumyield.com


Coming up on the Web Speed Read

I N D O O R

G A R D E N I N G

VOLUME 9 – NUMBER 4 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 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. If undeliverable please return to the address above.

1. Thermal conductivity of water is 23 times greater than that of air. That is why water-chillers are super-efficient and, despite a high up front cost, they make sense in the long run. Read more in Stephen Keen’s Chill Out: Water Chiller’s Explained, with Pat King. 2. Even though winter surrounds us, we can still get that summerfresh taste on a chilly evening with Dr. Lynette Morgan’s guide to indoor strawberries. 3. Sustainability: Buzz Word or Legitimate Agenda? Well that is the question really because we throw it around like we created the idea. Matt Geschke of Sure To Grow takes us on a journey through the Incan and Aztec cultures to discover that, surprisingly, the term has been around for centuries.

“Sustainability is the act of producing all of the necessities for life in a manner that does not degrade the quantity or quality of resources for future generations.”

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 jessica@maximumyield.com ADVERTISING SALES 250.729.2677 Linda Jesson - linda@maximumyield.com Lisa Lambersek - lisa@maximumyield.com Julie Madden - julie@maximumyield.com Ilona Hawser - ilona@maximumyield.com PRODUCTION & DESIGN ads@ads.maximumyield.com Pentti Tikkanen - pentti@maximumyield.com Alice Joe - alice@maximumyield.com Wes Cargill - wes@maximumyield.com ACCOUNTING - Lee Anne Veres leeanne@maximumyield.com

-Matt Geschke-

Events East Coast USA Indoor Gardening Expo Now is the time to pack your bags for the East Coast USA Indoor Gardening Expo in Orlando, Florida. The Greener Places, Sustainable Spaces event, November 7-8, will be held at the beautiful Orlando-Marriott World Centre. Join Maximum Yield for a fun-filled and informative weekend. Visit www.indoorgardenexpo.com for more information.

Latest News • The Maldives made headlines earlier this year when they vowed to become the first carbon neutral nation by 2020. • Hydro Masta Pty Ltd. of Australia has been awarded a contract to supply 2,000 plant hydroponic lettuce systems for the island of Futuna in the Pacific. • Cho Woong had designed a fridge-based growing system hoping to eliminate the harvest portion of growing by picking produce fresh from the fridge.

Tell us what you think at editor@maximumyield.com. We’d love to hear from you.

contributors

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Noucetta Kehdi is the co-founder and administrator of General Hydroponics in Europe. Noucetta got involved in hydroponics in the early 1990’s and in 1996 she moved to the southwest of France where she took care of a greenhouse educating herself on all things hydroponics.

Bob Taylor is the chief chemist of Flairform (www.flairform.com) - an Australian based manufacturing company. Bob was an approved NATA signatory and an official registered analyst for the government’s chemical analysis monitoring program of all fertilizers registered in Western Australia.

Heather Pearl is completing her BA in development geography at Kings College. She acts as fundraiser for the Little Growers team, helping to increase its exposure and endorsements. She is keen to champion the Little Grower’s cause for worldwide youth education in the fields of health and horticulture.

Jose Luis Pinheiro Bartolo is the

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

president of Biobizz Worldwide Inc., a global leader in the production of hydroponic organic fertilizers and soil mixtures. He is passionate about the organic market and providing the highest service and perfectionism that comes direct from his heart and is projected to all aspects of his life.

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

Matt LeBannister works at

Homegrown Hydroponics, the 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.

Become a Maximum Yield contributor and have your articles read by 250,000 readers throughout USA, Canada, UK and Australia. Maximum Yield is the largest free-to-consumer indoor gardening magazine in the world. Every issue is available on maximumyield.com, which has thousands of unique visitors monthly.


ASK

erik

Do you have a question for Erik? Forward it to editor@maximumyield.com 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

“By the time you read this in print, there will likely be more advances in the way of LEDs.” 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 trialling 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. 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 “The extra “warm” and visible light wavelengths emitted by the fluorescents seem to give flowering plants that little something extra.”

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MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

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. 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

MY


MAX

facts

hydroponic news, tips and trivia from around the world

World’s Largest Gardening Event Features Hydroponics Elements

Evolution not a One-Way Street Research Proves

The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show held in West London featured hydroponic technology for intensive food growing in small urban spaces. The idea was to further ignite people’s imagination to make the most of their small spaces, and to educate attendees on growing without soil. The event showcased an edible spaces feature with three small gardens and six balconies, which included entertaining and recycling elements. Three designers, Adam Frost, Matthew Biggs and Chris Myers, were the brilliant minds behind the three edible themed urban gardens featuring vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. London is making a strong effort to encourage sustainable gardening through their Grow Your Own campaign, which has helped half a million people to grow food across the UK. They have also sponsored the city’s Capital Growth program created in 2008, which aims to create 2,012 community food growing spaces by 2012. At this time there are nearly 100 spaces already being cultivated across the capital in canal banks, schools, roofs and private gardens.

Scientists from the John Innes Centre and University of St. Andrews in Birmingham have identified a key gene that was Groundsel transferred from a Sicilian plant into a close relative in Britain. The researchers unravelled the history of an Italian interloper, a close relative of the common British weed Groundsel, that was first brought to the UK 300 years ago. This region of DNA modifies the flowers, making the weed more attractive to pollinators. The results demonstrate how natural genetic exchanges can allow important traits to be transferred between species. This goes against the typical view of evolution as a one-way street in which each species evolves as a separate, independent genetic lineage. Hybridisation between closely related forms may allow evolutionary cross-talk in which valuable genes can be exchanged and preserved. The result is greater flexibility and potential for diversity during evolution. (Source: Norwich BioScience Institutes. "Sicilian Plant Gene Enters British Genetic Language." ScienceDaily 25 November 2008. 9 July 2009 <http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2008/11/081113181158.htm>)

(Source: www.rhs.org.uk)

UK’s Garden Organic Launches Wonky Vegetable Competition In an effort to celebrate an increasing number of city dwellers who have taken to growing their own as part of Growing Coventry, Garden Organic, the UK’s leading organic growing charity, launched a “Wonky Veg’ competition. The competition celebrated Coventry and Warwickshire’s most bizarrely shaped, yet still entirely edible, home-grown veggies. According to Garden Organic’s chief executive Myles Bremmer, the purpose of the competition was to celebrate that produce isn’t always as it seems when we purchase it at the supermarket. The point is that the veggies were fresh and delicious. Green-thumbed entrants had the chance to win a range of gardening and food related prizes. Growers of all ages and abilities took part. Entries included a carrot couple, dinosaur gourd, heart-shaped potato, twisted carrots, conjoined cucumbers, a 1.22 kilogram potato, smiley tomato and a Mickey Mouse look-a-like potato, to name a few. (Source: www.gardenorganic.org.uk)

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MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

East Coast USA Indoor Gardening Expo

The “Greener Places, Sustainable Spaces” Indoor Gardening Expo in Orlando, Florida (November 7-8, 2009) promises to be a fun and exciting event for growers from around the globe. The event will be held at the beautiful Marriott-Orlando World Centre, and will feature educational seminars, leading industry innovators and the newest and best products and technologies – truly something for everyone. General public is encouraged to join us on Sunday, November 8 from 12-5 p.m. This is an event you don’t want to miss. For all show information, accommodations and exhibitor listings, visit www.indoorgardenexpo.com


LED Leads in the Race against CFL-based Lamps In a study of the greenest lighting options with regards to life-cycle, CFL and LED-based lamps are neck and neck, but because LEDs are still improving, and they do not contain mercury, their disposal is less hazardous. According to a Carnegie Mellon study, only two per cent of the total energy consumed by LEDs is used in their production. The whole life-cycle of the product was taken into account, including the manufacturing process, how it is used and the disposal at the end of its life. The U.S. Department of Energy has already released a few life-cycle assessments of LED lights, and the conclusions found that production is a relatively small portion of the total life-cycle impacts of the different light bulb technologies. With LEDs and CFLs, over 98 per cent of the energy used is consumed to generate light. LEDs produce about 30 lumens/watt to CFLs, although the results are very close. Studies predict that efficiencies of 150 lumens/watt are possible for LEDs. (Source: www.treehugger.com)

British Polythene Industries Sponsors Young Person's Environmental Innovation Award For the second year, the annual Valpak Awards ceremony celebrated the younger generation’s commitment to the environment with the Young Person’s Environmental Innovation Award. Entries were open to all recyclers and young business people under the age of 21. UK youth with clever product designs, green business ventures or great reduce, reuse and recycle ideas were encouraged to enter for their chance to win the impressive environmental award. The Valpak Awards invited all short listed entrants to the awards dinner held at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Entrants enjoyed a three course dinner and after dinner entertainment courtesy of Professor Heinz Wolff, best known for his television and radio work, including the TV series “The Great Egg Race.” MY (www.recyclemore.co.uk) MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

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PRODUCT spotlight

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

The Brand New Elements is here The new Nutrifield Elements is a premium four part nutrient specifically optimized for grow and bloom phases. It has been scientifically formulated by Dr. Mohammad Dakakni using pharmaceutical grade salts. Nutrifield Elements contains each of the 16 key macro-, secondary and micro-elements required for plant nutrition and also contains essential amino acids, enzymes and natural plant stimulants. Two years of scientific research is contained in every bottle. Available in one litre, five litres and 20 litres. Visit an indoor gardening retailer to learn more.

Grodan Introduces Big Mama™

Introducing the HOMEbox® Mini

You asked and we listened; the big mama of all blocks is now here! Big Mama™ is the largest block ever produced by Grodan. It is 20 centimetres cubed and contains well over twice the amount of wool as the popular Hugo block. This block is big enough to grow a large plant for its entire life - even a mother plant! When your plant outgrows its current block, just place it on top of Big Mama. Due to the height of this block we recommend top watering methods. Big Mama is solid wool and does not have a pre-cut hole thus making it suitable to hold any size smaller block on top. At Grodan we take your suggestions seriously. Visit your local indoor gardening shop for more information.

The HOMEbox Mini is the little sister of our large HOMEboxes, originally designed as a show box for retail stores. Despite its small size of only 30 by 30 by 60 centimetres, it matches its big sisters with regards to finish and the materials used. Both the inner material of our white classic series and the inner material of our classic silver series are used in the Mini HOMEbox. And naturally the poles and connectors are the same as for its big sisters. Visit your indoor gardening retailer to learn more.

Sunleaves Guanos Move into a Bigger “House”

Grodan Introduces GrowChunks™ Grodan’s GrowChunks™ are super light and versatile. GrowChunks are a larger version (two square centimetres) of the popular GrowCubes™. They are great for direct planting or for use as a filling around blocks when in containers. They can be easily mixed with other media for increased aeration and added moisture holding capabilities. Available in a ½ cubic metre bag. Visit a hydroponics retailer to learn more. 12

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

The new Sunleaves International House of Guano Large Kit has even more of the best natural plant food on the planet! Included are five pounds of Mexican Bat Guano, and 11 pounds each of Jamaican Bat Guano, Indonesian Bat Guano and Peruvian Seabird Guano. This comprehensive plant nutrition program provides plants with the perfect level of nutrients for each stage of development, and comes complete with an easy-to-understand feeding schedule for flowering and non-blooming plants, indoors and out. For more guano options, visit your local grow shop.


The Waterpack-ACS The Active Circulation System is the latest invention from General Hydroponics Europe, which allows you to keep a central supply for several growing systems connected together, and automatically maintains the solution at the right level. The Waterpack ACS is a small, practical, efficient and userfriendly hydroponic system, made of four WaterFarms connected to a central active reservoir. The new ACS Controller offers a larger range of essential characteristics: • Circulates the nutritive solution in the whole system in less than 30 minutes, allowing for rapid homogenization of the solution. • Helps stabilize pH and EC levels, guaranteeing a constant and optimized root environment. • Practical, one small air compressor is enough to move the flow in the whole system. • Adaptable to all systems, including those of other manufacturers and DIY systems. To learn more about the Waterpack ACS, visit your local grow shop.

Merlin-Garden Pro goes Green Hydro-Logic is pleased to offer the new Eco Green Drain Elbow for the Merlin-Garden Pro. This green elbow replaces the existing black drain elbow and saves 25 per cent of the drain water. By forcing more untreated water through the RO membranes, less water goes to waste out the drain line. Recommended only for those with less than 250 PPM in their untreated tap water. Any PPM reading above 250 may result in having to change the membranes more often as they are working harder removing contaminants. Others that may consider using these green elbows are those on metered wells or those wanting to conserve their water usage. This is a custom manufactured product offered exclusively by Hydro-Logic Purification Systems. Continue producing the purest water for your plants and family and help the environment by saving precious water. Ask your local retailer for more information. Pure water’s not magic. It’s logic. MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

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PRODUCT spotlight

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

Introducing Subculture from GHE SubCulture is a beneficial mix of micro-organisms that will help increase the vitality and yield in all plants. It surrounds the roots with a protective barrier, and inhibits growth, propagation and thus survival of their predators. Whether in soil or hydroponics, our proprietary blend of bacteria and fungi colonize the root zone and media to form a symbiotic relationship with your plants. Root systems will increase, as well as nutrient absorption. Use it year round, but mainly in hot weather and high temperatures, as this is its best application. For more information visit your local grow shop.

FHD Bucket System Its back and its better! Future Harvest is excited to bring to market our new and improved bucket system. Our new bucket system has a large 60 litre reservoir, and new shorter bucket stands that require less room for height. The new system allows for drainage to be hooked up below or to the side of the buckets. Comes complete with everything you need to get growing. Contact your local hydro shop for more information.

Keep It Simple, Baby Comfortably situated between full-scale hydroponic systems and entry-level soilless gardening kits, the Bare Bones Baby Bloomer is a surprisingly effective option that will satisfy the needs of serious indoor gardeners without intimidating those who are just getting their feet wet. It's comprised of basic, well-made hydroponics system components: a tray, a reservoir and the appropriate fittings. This simplicity allows gardeners to make their set-up as basic or complex as they're comfortable with, and it’s compact 78 by 35 by 30 centimetre total size allows them to grow with a bona fide hydroponic system that doesn't take up a large amount of space. Look for Bare Bones Baby Bloomer at your local grow shop today.

Earth Juice Sugar Peak Line of Plant Foods Earth Juice Sugar Peak line of plant foods is a one part organic and mineral fusion plant feed and booster for hydroponics, coir and soil growing. The built-in convenience of a single formula is that it doesn’t require any additional supplements or additives. Sugar Peak’s liquid formulations are easily adaptable to a variety of plant requirements and growing environments and are the ideal choice for the hobbyist who demands premium results without the hassle and mess of mixing multiple formulas. For indoor/outdoor plants, soil and hydroponics. The Earth Juice Sugar Peak line of plant foods includes: Leaf Growth™, Flowering™, Grand Finale™ and Briximus Maximus™. Now available at hydroponic retail stores near you. 14

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009


SteadyGRO Launches Eco-Friendly Slabs and Blocks SteadyGRO has launched an eco-friendly line of soilless media slabs and blocks. SteadyGRO soilless media is available in seven by 15 centimetre by 36 slabs encased in a reusable and recyclable tray. The tray is pre punched with three – 10 by 10 centimetre squares to accommodate SteadyGRO blocks. The trays are white on the outside and black inside to provide ideal growing conditions. The trays can be reused and refilled with SteadyGRO slab media. The tray is also marked appropriately information for ease of recycling. SteadyGRO blocks are wrapped with a bio wrap made from recycled material. The wraps may be composted, and they easily biodegrade. The SteadyGRO soilless media is also designed for easy disposal. It may be incinerated without releasing harmful toxins or it may be ground or crushed to less than 11 per cent of its original volume. Go to an indoor gardening retail store to learn more about the entire line of SteadyGRO products.

Merlin-Garden Pro Pump Gets Upgraded Hydro-Logic has improved the popular Merlin-Garden Pro pressure booster pump. The pump is needed when the pressure entering the Merlin-GP reverse osmosis filter is less than 40 PSI. By boosting the pressure to 65 PSI, the pump allows the Merlin-GP to flow faster and produce more water per day. We have upgraded the armature components to allow the pump to run for longer periods before it thermal cycles. The original pump had a thermal cycle switch, which protected the pump from overheating. The pump would shut down for a short period of time when it got too hot from continuously running. Now those run times have been extended due to the upgraded parts. We have also added an external heat sink to help pull heat away from the pump. The heat fins snap directly onto the pump and enable it to help you produce the purest water possible. Contact your hydroponic retailer for more details. Pure water’s not magic. It’s logic.

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

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PRODUCT spotlight

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

SteadyGRO Introduces New Sheet Media SteadyGRO has introduced a new line of sheet media for the indoor grower market. SteadyGRO soilless media was developed specifically for the grower industry. The media is sterile and inert, and its composition allows for more oxygen to seedlings and roots for faster starts and ultimately healthier plants. SteadyGRO’s unique structure eliminates algae growth along the surface of the media. SteadyGRO sheet media comes in two types; SteadyGRO which is a low water retention media, and SteadyGRO H+, a high water retention media. SteadyGRO sheet media comes in packs of two and 20, and also is available in 276, 162, 104 and 50 cell formats. SteadyGRO sheet media packaging has been engineered for easy and damage-free removal of the individual sheets. For more information on SteadyGRO sheets and the entire SteadyGro line, go to an indoor gardening retail store.

The Missing Link – Oxy-Gen Generator Now Available The Oxy-Gen generator outperforms previous methods of aeration, due to increased levels of saturation. Oxy-Gen offers: • more sunlight – supplement with HID lighting • food – formulated high-quality nutrients • CO2 – injection of CO2 gas, CO2 generators • climate control – ventilation fans, air conditioners, humidifiers, de-humidifiers, heaters • water – filters, RO units Plants breathe oxygen through their roots. As the water warms, oxygen levels decrease, making oxygen supplementation necessary. The Oxy-Gen alleviates this problem by raising oxygen levels. The results – healthier water, increased oxygen levels, increased fertilizer uptake, faster growing and larger producing plants. This is all accomplished with one or less amps of electricity, in nutrient tanks up to 1818 litres. For more complete information about this innovative new technology, please contact your local indoor gardening retail store.

Grodan Introduces the Uni-Slab The Uni-Slab combines all of the benefits of our traditional slabs with the versatility of a block. With a size of 24 centimetres long by 20 centimetres wide by 10 centimetres high, the Uni-Slab has great stability for any size plant. The Uni-Slab is completely wrapped thus keeping all the roots of your plant safely contained within the slab, protected from light and outside contaminants. Yet it’s small enough to be manoeuvrable, allowing your plants to be spaced as the plant canopy requires. Due to its height, the UniSlab is suitable for both top drip and flood systems. The UniSlab is now available at hydroponic retail shops. 16

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009


Nature’s Solution Compost Tea Nature’s Solution Compost Tea is filled with beneficial aerobic microbes and is now available after four years of extensive research. Our organically approved compost tea comes in a "breathable" patent-pending package that keeps these organisms alive and active in an oxygen-rich environment with a one year shelf life. There is a wide range of species and diversity of micro-organisms in our compost tea - beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa and beneficial nematodes. These organisms are necessary to transform all organic nutrients into a plant-available form and provide plant protection on leaf surfaces and out compete pathogens in the soil. Other manufacturers have isolated only a few species which are cultured and put in a spore form and are not active, but asleep. No chemicals are added. The pH is not lowered. The tea needs no refrigeration. It is not a put-to-sleep tea. Available now from hydroponics retailers.

Introducing Aquaponics Grow Bed Media Ökotau Easy Green GmbH is proud to announce Aquaponics Grow Bed Media – the most essential hydroponic component for aquaponics systems. Great for growing all plants: vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers). • good plant and root support (sustains proper oxygen levels around the root zone) • higher plant growth and yield • better water buffering/excellent drainage • made from 100 per cent natural clay, and round and lightweight • pH neutral/contains no nutrient, no toxic chemicals/ compounds • medium (used within the hydroponics grow beds) will act as a bio filter (stripping off ammonia, nitrates and phosphorus, hence the freshly cleansed water can then be recirculated back into the fish tanks) • is available in 50 litre bags Commercial and hobby growers are encouraged to visit their local indoor gardening store for more information. Continued on page 44

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

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by Noucetta Kehdi

Water as a Substrate: Aeroponics and Aero-hydroponics

When choosing a hydroponic system, one of the important factors to keep in mind is substrate. Today there is quite a wide variety offered to the soilless gardener. Among the most common are rockwool, clay pebbles, coconut fibre, several peat mixes, lava rock, perlite and vermiculite. Of course it is important to choose the best adapted to your growing method. But do you really need a substrate? In fact, what does the substrate do? What is its action? There remains a misconception among growers that attributes substrate alone to the task of setting up the relations of air and water with the root system of their plants. In reality the role of the substrate is about 15 per cent in the plant’s growth, the other 85 per cent being in the hands of the grower.

“The role of the substrate is about 15 per cent in the plant’s growth, the other 85 per cent being in the hands of the grower.”

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MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009


“Substrate must hold water, oxygen and nutrient supply, drain correctly and stay neutral so that it does not interfere with the plant’s development.”

A substrate is the media in which a plant can grow. It generally is one, or a combination of materials, that provide support, aeration, plus water retention and distribution to the plant. Basically, as far as the plant is concerned, substrate must hold water, oxygen and nutrient supply, drain correctly and stay neutral so that it does not interfere with the plant’s development. For the grower, the substrate must respond to several other factors: it needs to be dependable, economical and light. It must be easy to handle - and easy to dispose of. Ideally it should be non-polluting and biodegradable. And if you grow green, you will want something that is all-natural. Some find all these parameters too tedious to depend on. So the next question is to ask how necessary is substrate then? Can you do without it or can you at least reduce it to the minimum? This is where aeroponics and aero-hydroponics come into the picture. These technologies respond exactly to these issues, and require little or no substrate. No more carrying bags up the stairs; no more dumping loads of used material to the rubbish; no more substrate related pests and diseases; no more weight to clean and move around.

What is aeroponics and what is aero-hydroponics? Have you ever seen growing systems that mist the solution at the root level in a fog form? These would be aeroponic systems, a technique where water is delivered to the roots as a high-pressure fog. This technique is not often used in its pure form. Although some companies like to call their systems “aeroponic” systems, you will generally find them only in research laboratories and universities. Aeroponics has its advantages and its inconveniences. It saturates the nutritive solution with oxygen, which gives the plant’s roots the healthiest of environments. Its most interesting application is plant propagation. But if you want to keep the crop all the way to maturity, you will notice that the root zone will develop too fast and too much, at the expense of the aerial part of the plant. This is not what we are generally looking for except in the case of root crops. And even then, it is not always practical because the roots often stay soft from being immersed in water, and won’t offer the firm characteristics needed, like for instance in the case of liquorice. Aero-hydroponics is an adaptation of aeroponics. It really started in the mid 80s in California, where Lawrence Brooke of General Hydroponics decided to bring aero-hydroponics into the mainstream market. He started with the “EGS” (Ein Gedi System), a unit invented at the University of Davis in MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

19


Water as a Substrate: Aeroponics and Aero-hydroponics

“vortex” spray. Today there are loads of aero-hydroponic growing systems on the market, some very efficient, some less, depending on the experience and the know-how of the manufacturer.You can even build your own with a little help from the many magazines and books found in hydro shops.

“A well-conceived aero-hydroponic system must offer a good balance among its different components, and proper ratios between the different flows of water and the shapes of its different components.”

“EGS” (Ein Gedi System)

California, which was used essentially to study the content of oxygen in water, and transformed it into one of the best propagation systems around. This unit will spew out mist to the roots, not in the form of a fog system, but rather as a

20

In aero-hydroponics water fills with oxygen through different methods: spray, injection and cascade. It relies on a pump pushing water through different sprayers and irrigation tubing, and falling back down into the reservoir. A wellconceived aero-hydroponic system must offer a good balance among its different components, and proper ratios between the different flows of water and the shapes of its different components (tubes, reservoirs, sprayers and irrigation devices). Both aeroponics and aero-hydroponics need little or no substrate. They use only

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

plant supports in the shape of coconut pots, plastic net-pots or just neoprene rings, and leave you with only water as a substrate. Indeed, now the game is into the water, and in the gardener’s hands altogether. One thing you know is that you have eliminated the most “gruesome problems” of substrates, but you may wonder if you have switched to others that are just as difficult to address? No, not really. To eliminate safely the traditional substrates, you must ensure water is available to the plant.You must also ensure there is good aeration, and a neutral environment. In aeroponics and aero-hydroponics these are the basics. Perfectly well oxygenated water is presented to the roots and drainage is ideal. Once this is said and done, the rest is, once again, in the hands of the grower. He or she must ensure a well-balanced and comprehensive nutritive solution, a correct level of EC and pH, good ventilation, temperature, humidity and cleanliness, as you would generally do for any plant, and any other growing technique. Some people may think that aero-hydroponics is a difficult technique, and they may be right to some extent. The only real advantage of substrate is its buffering capacity, which means that contrary to water where parts of your roots hang bare in the air, the substrate will surround the root zone completely, and thus protect it from environmental variations like temperature, humidity and accidents. This is why it is often recommended that a beginner starts with substrate systems and switch to aero-hydroponic systems once they have


acquired a little more experience. Some manufacturers will offer “dual” growing units, with special kits that allow you to switch from one substrate machine to a machine that doesn’t require substrate, as soon as you feel more confident. And they will guarantee fast and free technical advice and follow up with their customers. You can even choose aero-hydroponics as a beginner, if you wish. Just follow the instructions that come with your growing unit, and you’ll see how simple it is. And don’t forget that, whichever technique you choose, it is not the system nor the fertilizer alone, but the gardener who ensures the plant of a healthy development. A few weeks ago in Berlin, I had the good fortune, and the pleasure, to meet Melchior, from High Five in Holland. As most Dutch growers, he used the traditional rockwool and drip system, and was quite happy with it. Last year, an Australian friend of his left him with a small aero-hydroponic system. Melchior played with it for a few months and was definitely persuaded. His plants looked perfect, uniform and harmonized. His harvest was much better than any other he had in years and he is a qualified, experienced grower. One of his biggest satisfactions is not only the excellent yields he achieved, but the fact that he was ridden from substrate and all the hassles related to it. Let’s see what we can accomplish with aeroponics and aero-hydroponics. MY Find Noucetta Kehdi’s articles at www.maximumyield.com under our author archive.

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

21


Drying and Preserving

Herbs

Throughout history many cultures have utilized herb gardens for medicinal and culinary purposes. The tradition of preserving herbs dates back as early as the great pharaohs of Egypt and the first Chinese emperors. Archaeologists even found a small satchel containing dried medicinal herbs on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ice Mummyâ&#x20AC;? recovered in the Italian Alps. Herb gardens are small and easy to tend to. This is leading to a resurgence of gardeners willing to grow, harvest and preserve their own herbs. Most of us prefer to consume herbs fresh, since the potency of the plant diminishes when it is dried for preservation. By drying the herbs, they become impervious to moulds, mildews, disease and other problems. This also means that the herbs will be available for consumption or application during seasons when it is not available fresh.

Basil

22

by Matt LeBannister

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009


The only way to preserve herbs is to remove all moisture from the plant. There are three main methods for drying herbs effectively. Oven drying, frame drying and natural drying are the most common techniques. Each technique has its pros and cons and some are preferable to particular herbs. Which method is used depends on the individual grower, but the desired outcome is the same: to preserve and store the herbs for use at another time. The first method of herb preservation to be explored is oven drying. Oven drying takes about an hour and is the quickest method of drying. This artificial drying technique is more often used to dry herbs that contain a lot of moisture such as basil or mint. "Oven drying your herbs means they will retain less of their original potency than herbs dried naturally."

Basil prepared for oven drying.

To properly oven dry your herbs place them uniformly on a baking tray. Make sure that the herbs are not touching each other. Cover the tray with tin foil leaving the corners uncovered to allow moisture to escape. Place the tray in an oven preheated to 65째C. Flip the herbs every 15 minutes until they are evenly dried. There are disadvantages to oven drying your herbs; for instance, they can be easily over-cooked or burnt. If this happens, the herbs retain zero per cent of their original potency, making them worthless. Furthermore, oven drying your herbs means they will retain less of their original potency than herbs dried naturally. When herbs are being preserved for medicinal purposes, this loss of potency might be a good reason to try one of the following two drying techniques. The next two herb drying techniques are considered natural drying because they each use a different method to dry the herbs in the open air. The first method is quite easy, because it simply involves hanging the entire plant upside down and allowing the surrounding environment to remove the moisture from the herbs. An easy way to do this is to wrap an elastic band around the bottom of the plant. A paper clip can then have one end hooked into the elastic band and the other end can be used to hang the plant from a clothes hanger or string. Hanging the MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

23


Drying and Preserving Herbs â&#x20AC;&#x153;Drying culinary herbs in the dark can preserve the taste and smells, whereas drying the herbs in direct sun can often alter the taste of some herbs.â&#x20AC;?

plant upside down allows essential oils to flow from the stems into the leaves or flowers that one wishes to keep. While easy, this method is the slowest process of drying herbs. This natural process is most often used on herbs that do not contain a significant amount of moisture, such as dill and rosemary. Some gardeners prefer to hang dry their herbs outside. If you choose to do this make sure that there is plenty of sun. Herbs that are dried outside will encounter such risks as exposure to mould and other pathogens. It is safer to dry herbs indoors in a room with a dehumidifier or a room with excellent airflow. If a room like this is available, drying in the dark can be safe and effective.

the glass lid should be fixed in place. The frame should not be airtight, to allow the moisture to escape. Now the frame is ready to be placed outside in a sunny area. The sun will penetrate the glass and reach the herbs. The sun will also hit the reflective side of the tinfoil and the grass will keep the heat of the sun inside the frame, making it more effective at drying herbs than simply hanging them outdoors. The herbs should be flipped once a day to ensure that they dry evenly. The main advantage to using either of these natural open-air herb drying techniques is that there is no chance of over-drying or burning. Also, the final product will retain more of its original potency that herbs dried in an oven.

Oregano

Winter savory

Drying culinary herbs in the dark can preserve the taste and smells, whereas drying the herbs in direct sun can often alter the taste of some herbs. Similarly to hang drying, frame drying is another method that involves natural open-air, but it utilizes a different apparatus to dry herbs. Instead of hanging the plant upside down, the herbs should be spread evenly across the frame. In order to provide enough room so that the herbs do not touch each other, the frame should be at least one to 1.2 square metres. Line the bottom of the frame with tinfoil, keeping the reflective side facing up. Once the herbs are placed uniformly inside the frame, 24

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

However, the disadvantage of these methods is that there is a risk of under-drying. This can allow mould to grow on the herbs, and ruin the final product as a result. These open-air drying techniques are, of course, slower than oven drying, for they can take one to six weeks to fully dry the herbs. Now that your herbs have been properly dried they need to be stored properly. The three most popular herb storage techniques are sealed plastic bags, plastic containers or glass mason jars. Sealed plastic bags, such as sandwich or snack bags, are good for shortterm storage of dried herbs. Despite what some people believe, these plastic bags are not completely airtight. Herbs stored in sealed plastic bags for long periods of time can take on the smells of any herbs stored near them. For these reasons sealed plastic bags or not recommended for storing herbs except as a last resort. Plastic containers and glass mason jars are far superior to sealed plastic bags for storing your dried herb. Plastic containers are still slightly permeable to air, but far less than the bags. Since most


Winter savory hanging to dry.

Medicinal herbs will stay potent for up to five years if they are kept in mason jars and stored in the freezer. Herbs are good for us and many are delicious. Herb gardens are springing up in backyards, balconies and indoor grow rooms. With the precious knowledge of how to dry and preserve herbs properly, there is no reason to ever go without those home grown chives on your baked potato or the garden basil in MY your favourite pasta sauce.

References: herbs deplete in quality after one to two years, plastic containers are adequate for storing culinary herbs that will be used up relatively quickly, but such is not the case for medicinal herbs. Medicinal herbs are preserved best when they are stored in glass mason jars. Mason jars are airtight, so they will keep herbs potent much longer than sealed plastic bags or plastic containers.

Hallowell, M. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Medicinal Herbs." Mother Earth News, April/May, 1992.

Matt LeBannister has dozens of articles published with Maximum Yield. View them all online at www.maximumyield.com under our author archive.

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

25


by Bob Taylor: Chief Chemist for Flairform

Dosing Procedures for Nutrients and Additives

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MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009


Nutrient performance is far more complex than simply using a quality brand. Although growers typically blame the nutrient for poor plant performance, failure to follow basic dosing procedures is the cause of many problems.

1

Step 1. Volume of nutrient solution: As a guide, allocate at least 11 litres of nutrient solution per large plant (e.g. tomato), or around a two litres for smaller plants (e.g. lettuce). This is especially important for re-circulating systems because larger nutrient volumes will undergo smaller changes in concentration (EC) and pH. In hot weather, insufficient nutrient volume could result in EC soaring to toxic levels, which could seriously damage your plants. Larger nutrient volumes will also reduce how frequently top-up water is needed.

2

Step 2. Dosage rates: The dose rate depends upon your growing medium (soil, expanded clay, etc) and the phase of growth seedling, vegetative or flowering. Refer to the manufacturer’s dosage chart.

3

Step 3. Add the majority of water before adding nutrients and additives: Never mix nutrients and additives together in small amounts of water. With two and three-part nutrients, the “parts” are kept separate for good reason. When these parts are mixed together in concentrated form (or in too little water), a white precipitate will form - as is often seen in nutrient reservoirs (Figure 1b and two).

4

Step 4. Thoroughly stir the nutrient: Always stir immediately after adding each nutrient and additive (or even top-up water). This eliminates regions where less soluble nutrient species are concentrated. It also removes regions of extreme pH (either high or low), thereby preventing the destabilization of nutrients that are unstable outside of the pH window of 5.0 to 6.5.

“Allowing pH to rise above 6.5 is a common cause of white precipitate in nutrient reservoirs.”

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

29


Dosing Procedures for Nutrients and Additives Copyright @2008 www.flairform.com

1a

1b

Figure 1a and 1b This is what can happen when an undiluted, high pH additive is added to the working nutrient solution (see 1a). Unless pH is quickly corrected to below 6.0 - 6.5 the precipitate will remain (see 1b). A similar result can also be expected when other dosing techniques are not followed.

5

Step 5. pH control: Do not leave pH unchecked for a long period of time. Quickly add all nutrients and additives then, after thorough mixing, immediately check pH and adjust if necessary. Allowing pH to rise above 6.5 is a common cause of white precipitate in nutrient reservoirs.

6

Step 6. Maintaining nutrient concentration: (Does not apply to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;run-to-wasteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; systems). As plants grow they simultaneously remove both water and nutrients from the nutrient solution. This may cause the nutrient strength to either increase or decrease â&#x20AC;&#x201C; depending on which is being consumed at the faster rate. Typically the nutrient concentration tends to increase, especially in hot weather because water loss can be excessive due to both plant uptake and evaporation. Therefore, ensure the water level is kept relatively constant. When this is done, the concentration or conductivity (EC) will be relatively predictable. (Concentration will slowly decrease as the plants consume nutrients). Check the EC about every second or third day and if necessary add sufficient nutrient to stay within the target range.

Figure 2 A white precipitate forms when the separate 'parts' of a two or three part are combined in too little water.

Copyright @2008 www.flairform.com

NOTE: High salinity (salty) make-up water may cause EC to increase.


“Avoid “roughly measuring” out the nutrient dose - always add the correct amount of each part.”

7

Step 7. Further notes: + Beware of high pH additives: The best dosing technique to adopt with additives that increase pH significantly (silica, PK additives) is to add them to the water and adjust the pH down to 6.0 prior to adding the nutrient. The less preferred but simplest alternative is to pre-dilute the additive in a separate volume of raw water. Then once this solution is added to the nutrient solution, quickly lower the pH to below 6.5. Note: A white cloudy precipitate (calcium sulphate) may form where the pre-diluted additive initially merges with the nutrient solution. However, because the initial particle size of the precipitate is small, it will usually re-dissolve if the pH is immediately re-adjusted (Figure 1a). + Two and three part nutrients: Avoid “roughly measuring” out the nutrient dose - always add the correct amount of each part. In the case of a two part, 'under' dosing part 'B' for example, could cause a deficiency in over half the nutrients required (i.e. P, K, S and all of the trace elements - except iron). MY

For an archive of Bob Taylor's articles visit www.maximumyield.com

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

31


Seaweed A Precious Material for Plant Nutrition

by Luis Bartolo

Seaweed has been harvested for food, fertilizer and medicine for thousands of years. History books record that the Chinese used seaweed for medicinal purposes as early as 3000 B.C. The Greeks for example used seaweed as animal food as early as the first century B.C. One translated text written in 46 B.C states: "The Greeks collected seaweed from the shore and having washed it in fresh water, gave it to their cattle." Today China and Japan are the biggest consumers of seaweed worldwide, with China harvesting 500 million tons a year for food use alone.

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MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009


Seaweed has been as a source of organic material to add to soil or soilless cultivation. It is only during the latter half of the last century that techniques were developed to fully understand the physiological responses which seaweed clearly produces. Parallel to laboratory and industrial studies to characterize and understand seaweed, techniques were developed to extract and concentrate active ingredients used to influence the plant physiology. So the use of seaweed in agriculture has moved from using a simple dried product, which was harvested by hand and spread on the soil, to distribution of so called seaweed derived products manufactured into small dried flakes, suspensions or solutions containing active ingredients produced from the seaweed raw material.

But what is seaweed exactly? In the classification of all living things, seaweed is classified within the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;plantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; group, although they are apparently a little behind in evolutionary terms compared with the more familiar plants seen every day. Seaweed may belong to one of several groups of multicellular algae: the red algae, green algae and brown algae. As these three groups are not thought to have a common multi-cellular ancestor, the seaweeds are a paraphyletic group. In addition, some tuft-forming blue green algae (Cyan bacteria) are sometimes considered as seaweeds. "Seaweed" is a colloquial term and lacks a formal definition. Botanists refer to these broad groups as Phaeophyceae, Rhodophyceae and Chlorophyceae, respectively. Brown seaweeds are usually large, and range from the giant kelp that is often 20 metres long, to thick, leather-like seaweeds from two to four metres long, to smaller species 28 to 58 centimetres long. Red seaweeds are usually smaller, generally ranging from a few centimetres to about one metre in length; however, red seaweeds are not always red. They are sometimes purple, even brownish red, but they are still classified by botanists as Rhodophyceae because of other characteristics. Green seaweeds are also small, with a similar size range to the red seaweeds. Seaweed contains all known trace elements. These are present in a form that is acceptable and available to plants. Trace elements can be made available to plants by chelating - that is, by combining the mineral atom with organic molecules.

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

33


Seaweed: A Precious Material for Plant Nutrition

Effect of Seaweed Research shows that high quality seaweed extracts can have a five-principle effect on plant growth. All of them remove or reduce the influence of a number of growth constraints, with the result that treated plants function better, and produce higher yields and better quality crops. Seaweed supplies all trace elements required for plant growth across the entire spectrum. Seaweed and seaweed products also exert some form of biological control over a number of common plant diseases such as pythium. Soil fungi and bacteria are known to produce natural antibiotics which hold down the population of plant pathogens, and when these antibiotics are produced in sufficient quantities, they enter the plant and help it to resist disease. The production of such antibiotics is increased in soil high in organic matter, and it may be that seaweed still further encourages this process. Seaweed also acts as a soil conditioner. It has the ability to transform light and sandy soils into denser mediums by creating organic polymars which bind the soil particles together. This creates better structure and also assists in water retention.

Immune system: A regular application to the foliage of plants induces Localised Acquired Resistance (LAR) against a range of fungi, bacteria and viruses. There are indications that this effect may also be systemic. Applications also improve the plant's ability to withstand certain levels of environmental stresses and reduce the attacks and flare-ups of sap-sucking insect pests on the plants. As well as resistance to frost through this method, a localised resistance to heat stress can also be utilized by the plant through the application of seaweed. The plantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cells respond to the seaweeds nature of existing in deep cold, helping the plant to cool down.

"Applied to plants that can cold acclimatize, seaweed extract initiates or speeds up the acclimatization process even when the plant is not subjected to a cold stress." Chlorophyll: Foliar application of seaweed extracts will result in greater maintenance of chlorophyll, leading to greener plants. This is in part due to a complex family of different betaines in the seaweed extract, which help reduce natural damage to the photosynthetic process. Research has shown that application through foliar sprays and watered into the growing medium has the same effect on enhanced chlorophyll, and in most cases produced actual higher levels of chlorophyll in the plants.

Microbes: Specific carbohydrates in seaweed extracts serve as a source of food for beneficial and benign soil bacteria, resulting in a large increase in microbe numbers. These microbes produce plant growth stimulating compounds that encourage root growth and a significantly larger root mass. The increased bacterial population can also both physically exclude and compete with potential plant pathogenic soil fungi. Research has proven that seaweed contains qualities that make plants more resistant to insect and fungal disease. The activation of the natural microbial structure of the soil or medium in combination with all trace elements makes the plant stronger and better able to deal with attacks. The carbohydrates in seaweed and seaweed products work in natural combination with the iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, zinc and other trace elements. That is why these trace elements in seaweed and seaweed products do not settle out, even in alkaline soils, but remain available to plants which need them at all times.

Nematodes: The complex range of compounds found within seaweed extracts can help reduce nematode damage. This includes a reduction in hatch and a disorientation or simple 'burn-out' of immature nematodes (J2s), minimizing root penetration.

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MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009


Frost: Applied to plants that can cold acclimatize, seaweed extract initiates or speeds up the acclimatization process even when the plant is not subjected to a cold stress. This allows plants to tolerate greater levels of cold, reducing the amount of damage. As you can see seaweed is one of the unique organic compounds that can be used in agriculture in many different ways. Beside the immune system the usage of seaweed has a lot of benefits: • beneficial for the environment • does not harm birds or any other animals • increases root depth and branching • fortifies the plant’s natural defenses • increases plant’s nutrient absorption capacities • improves color/quality of vegetables, ornamentals or lawn • breaks down large organic molecules into easier to absorb subunits

MY

Learn more about natural nutritional alternatives including seaweed at www.maximumyield.com under our article archive.

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35


Nutritious and Delicious:

by Kathy Anderson

T mat es

Tomatoes are such a staple in the modern diet that it is hard to believe there was a time when this versatile fruit was once thought to be poisonous. Thankfully this member of the nightshade family has been known for centuries now to be a delicious and healthful addition to our diet and is now one of the most popular garden vegetables. For many people, tomatoes are the most challenging, yet desirable vegetable crop to grow. But a ripe, juicy homegrown tomato is so delicious and nutritious, people will go to great lengths to produce as many as they possibly can in their gardens. One look at the pale, hard, orange baseballs that grocery stores pass off as tomatoes will also explain why so many gardeners eagerly await the first ripe tomato from their gardens. 36

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

Considering that tomatoes are a tropical fruit native to South America, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing that we can grow them at all in northern climates.Yes, the tomato is technically a fruit since it grows on a vine. There are literally hundreds of tomato varieties out there to choose from but there are only two types of tomato vines; determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomato varieties grow more as a bush, growing only to a certain height and producing most of their fruit all at once. Determinate varieties are most suitable for gardeners who are interested in canning tomatoes since the crop will ripen over a relatively short period of time. Determinate tomato varieties are also a good choice for gardeners with limited space


“A tomato plant that is restricted to producing on only two to four main stems will still produce plenty of fruit and the tomatoes will tend to grow larger than those on an unpruned plant.” available, and some determinate varieties are well suited to container growing and are an excellent choice for indoors. Determinate tomato plants should never be pruned, as this will severely limit the number of blossom sets the plant can produce, thus reducing the number of tomatoes on the plant. However, an indeterminate variety will continue to grow and will keep producing fruit for the entire life of the plant, or up until frost. Each new set of blossoms will grow farther up the vine as the plant grows. Indeterminate tomato plants also require a bit more care to keep the plants manageable in the garden. In order to keep these big plants from sprawling all and creating an impenetrable mass of foliage, indeterminate tomato varieties should be pruned and trellised. A tomato plant that is restricted to producing on only two to four main stems will still produce plenty of fruit and the tomatoes will tend to grow larger than those on an unpruned plant. To prune an indeterminate tomato plant, simply pinch off the little shoots, or “suckers” that grow out from the main stem in the crotch between the stem and each leaf branch. Each one of these suckers can grow to become another big stem and would grow its own tomatoes and eventually grow its own suckers. But you don’t want your tomato plant to waste time and energy by growing all those suckers. By pruning off most of them, the plant will devote more energy to producing ripe, juicy tomatoes. Since you’ll want more than one main stem for tomato production, allow the suckers nearest the bottom of the plant to grow.These will have more blossoms and will be easier to trellis than suckers that sprout higher up on the plant. Pruning will also improve air circulation through the plant which can help prevent disease problems, especially in humid weather. Once you decide whether to grow determinate or indeterminate tomato

varieties, it’s time to peruse the garden centres or seed catalogs to find the seeds or plants that will produce your prized fruit. Although a few of the more enlightened garden centres are now selling a wider variety of tomato plants, many still offer only a few of the old standby hybrid varieties such as “Big Boy” and “Early Girl.” You’ll have more varieties to choose from if you decide to start your tomato plants indoors from seed. Imagine growing tomatoes with names like “Cherokee Purple” or “Mortgage Lifter.” Add more colour to your favourite tomato salsa recipe with yellow “Garden Peach” tomatoes, “German Pink” or “Green Zebra.” For stuffing tomatoes, try “Striped Cavern,” and for salads grow some “Christmas Grape” tomatoes. If you plan on preserving tomatoes to enjoy over winter, you will want a meatier tomato such as “Martino’s Roma” or “Amish Paste” for sauces. “Wisconsin 55” and “Ace” are two varieties that are especially good for canning or freezing. There are even varieties that have a lower acid content for the folks who can’t eat a high-acid tomato, and varieties that have more Vitamin C than oranges. Tomatoes are one of the most versatile garden vegetables. There are as many ways to prepare tomatoes as there are tomato varieties. Whether you like to eat them fresh out of the garden like an apple, or you make your own spaghetti sauce or tomato salsa, whether the variety you grow is red, orange, yellow, purple, white or striped, tomatoes are the most useful and tasty garden vegetable. MY

About the Author: Kathy Anderson has been an avid gardener for many years and has grown tomatoes by the acre, along with many other vegetables, flowers and landscape plants. Kathy recommends www.freeplants.com as a great place to learn more about gardening. Article provided by http://gardening-articles.com

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

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What is pH? Part II by Grodan

Monitoring pH in the slab Monitoring pH in the slab is an essential part of weekly nutritional monitoring and should be undertaken on a daily basis. Sampling should take place in a number of representative slabs in order for a meaningful and accurate assessment to be made. Sampling is easy; simply push a syringe into the slab and extract a small quantity of nutrient solution (three ounces). Record the value and plot this on a graph this will make it easier to identify trends.

Early season vegetative growth pushes slab pH up. During the strong vegetative growth phase of the crop, the plant will be influencing the pH of the slabs in an upward direction. Measuring and tracking the pH in the slab will help you take the proper steps to control this important, yet often overlooked, factor. 38

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

During the strong vegetative growth phase of the crop, the plants will be taking in proportionately more negative ions than positive ions. The influx of negative ions such as nitrate-nitrogen (N-NO3-) will result in the plant's roots giving off either the negatively charged bicarbonate ion (HCO3-) or hydroxyl ion (OH-). When this occurs, the pH of the root zone will increase. The influence of the plant on its own root zone environment is so strong that the grower may be inclined to continue to irrigate with progressively lower and lower pH feed solutions. However, there is a significant risk associated with this strategy. If the grower chooses to irrigate with a low pH feed solution in an attempt to bring the pH of the root zone down, then the risk of root damage and crop damage, leading to poor quality fruit is significantly increased. Also, as the pH of the feed decreases, the solubility of certain micronutrients is decreased. Under these conditions, zinc, manganese and phosphate uptake by the plant is reduced. Thirdly, if the grower continues to reduce the pH of the feed (drip) solution in response to an increase in the pH of the slab solution, then more and more of the bicarbonate, the pH stabilizing factor in the feed water, will be destroyed. The result will be loss of pH stability in both the feed and slab solutions. Consequently, the pH of the slab solution may fluctuate widely on a daily basis.


During the strong vegetative growth phase of the crop, the plant will be influencing the pH of the labs in an upward direction. This is the reason why you experience pH going up in your stock tank. The change of pH has nothing to do with the medium when you are using an inert medium such as rockwool. Ammonium (NH4+) The ammonium ion (NH4+) is readily absorbed by plant roots. This will cause the pH in the slab to decrease. The addition of this ion to the feed solution can be beneficial during periods of strong vegetative growth in order to keep the slab pH in balance. One question often asked by growers is: "Does the plant live mainly on the irrigation (feed) water from the drippers, or does the plant live off the water in the slab?" Both solutions are important to the plant - but at different times of the year. How does this question tie into the issue of pH in January? Under winter light conditions, the grower will be irrigating with long irrigation sessions (large volumes) fairly infrequently. As a result, the plant will not be experiencing the feed solution very often and, therefore, will be relying on the slab solution for sustenance. However, in the summer, when the irrigation volumes are smaller but applied much more frequently, the plant will be able to rely on the feed solution coming into the block for sustenance. The optimum pH for absorption of nutrients by the plant is somewhere between 5.5 and 6.0. Therefore, the pH of the feed solution coming out of the drippers must be set so that the slab solution (the important solution in the winter) is adjusted to the optimum level. During strong vegetative growth, the pH of the feed (drip) solution may need to be as low as 5.3 to 5.5 in order to achieve the desired pH in the slab without destroying too much of the stabilizing bicarbonate ion. If the grower neglects to monitor the slab pH and only looks at the feed (drip) pH, a high pH condition may develop in the slab. As the pH in the slab rises above 6.5, the uptake of phosphate, iron, manganese and boron becomes less and less. Furthermore, there may also be a deposition of calcium MY phosphate (gypsum) within the slab.

Effect of the slab pH of the health and productivity of the plant. pH 5.5 to 6.0 on average Optimum availability of nutrients for the plant pH Below 4.5 Root damage and as a result, crop damage leading to poor quality and yield. Often seen when the plant changes from a vegetative state to a generative state. pH on average 6.0 or higher This is usually the result of the plant being too vegetative. It has not been established if this will cost production but it may reduce fruit quality if it occurs at the wrong time of the year.

For part I of â&#x20AC;&#x153;What is pH?â&#x20AC;? see our Sept/Oct issue or visit www.maximumyield.com

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

39


by Heather Pearl

Little Growers’

Roots are Spreading “Children love to create; caring for plants, watering them and watching them grow instills confidence and sparks that creativity.”

40

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

Every parent wants their children to have what’s best; access to fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy nourishing diet is just one aspect of that. If only it were that simple! But that’s the challenge taken on by Jason Ralph-Smith, founder of Little Growers. He believes that getting youngsters to grow tasty produce is an exciting and educational way of involving them in what they eat. Children love to create; caring for plants, watering them and watching them grow instills confidence and sparks that creativity. Little Growers aims to harness youngsters’ eagerness and natural curiosity, encouraging them to grow and taste a variety of produce.


By enabling children to get involved in growing, Little Growers also encourages them to learn about their environment, sustainability and healthy eating. They produce their own healthy, fresh food and learn key life skills. Little Growers is responding to the nationally identified need for improved eating habits and better nutrition. Children and families are a key target group in the government’s current campaign ‘Change for Life’ on healthy eating and increased physical activity. Recent research in inner city areas of the UK found that many young children do not associate a carrot stick with a carrot grown in the ground or a chip with a potato. The Food Standards Agency has found that many school-packed lunches contain up to twice the recommended amount of sugar and high levels of saturated fats. So there’s plenty to be done and Little Growers is taking up the challenge and their philosophy is taking root in schools around the UK. Launched in 2008, Little Growers, a community-interest company, started work with seven schools around the UK. Following the success of the initial phase, a further 12 schools joined the project. Another 50 schools, which are in the beginning stages of their set ups, are using propagators whilst awaiting grant funding. Over 1,350 children ranging from four to 19 years old have now had direct contact with Little Growers’ initiatives. Childrens’ enthusiasm and innovation for their Little Growers projects is remarkable. Wandle Valley School regularly sell their Little Growers produce at the local farmers market creating a revenue for the school, healthy fresh produce for their community and an engaging experience for the children.

The older students at Hawthorn Primary are championing the cause for Little Growers with their school banner.

Faringdon Junior School have all hands on deck as they begin their Little Growers project in their environmental area, planting and growing their own produce from scratch.

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

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Little Growers’ Roots are Spreading

These youngsters from Hawthorn Primary admire their newly planted tomato and pumpkin plants, eagerly anticipating their first harvest of produce.

Jason says: “Our ultimate goal at Little Growers is to build the concept to the level where the produce grown by the children is sold in local supermarkets with branding of Little Growers so that the whole community can access locally grown food. Initially we aim to grow enough produce to supply the school canteens. Then as more food is grown, sales f “A database o to the parents will be incorporated to provide have healthy produce and added revenue for the 2,000 schools st school, with the supermarket distribution re te in n a d e s expres lved being the ultimate goal.” in getting invo Little Growers is also winning fans around wers.” the ro G e tl it L h it world, with interest from Japan, South w Africa and the United States but currently, their main focus in on developing school projects around the UK. Encouraging community support and development is a key area. Little Growers aims to establish volunteer networks to support schools and involve the wider community. By making links with allotment and horticultural groups, schools and pupils would benefit from specialist knowledge and share in expert growers’ enthusiasm and support.Volunteer networks give ongoing support for the Little Growers’ schools whilst providing an opportunity for the community to work together When they come on board, all schools are provided with for a sustainable, eco-friendly project. complete growing kits free of charge, so they can get started On the horizon for Little Growers are: school recycling immediately. They select which seeds to plant and learn what which will then be used to provide the raw materials for the they need to make them grow. Their fresh produce is then AutoPot growing systems, wormeries and composting to allow used throughout the school; during lessons, in the canteen and the schools to create their own fertiliser and compost and after school clubs, giving children a taste of 'home-grown' fruit expanding the projects to family gardens at home. All of these and vegetables. areas increase the impact and environmental sustainability of Little Growers provides all the necessary equipment including the Little Growers ethos, making a significant and long-term polytunnels, AutoPot self-watering systems, water butts, raised difference to children, the community and the environment. beds, liquid fertilizer, seeds and propagation units. Little Visit the Little Growers website at www.littlegrowers.co.uk, Growers offers continuous support, and if required ‘hands on’ which has photographs and progress updates on our present MY assistance with the set-up, either from Jason Ralph-Smith or activities. one of our volunteers.The schools are also provided with key Hawthorn Primary School children information via online video examples on how to maintain get stuck in planting their chosen crop varieties as they begin their the project and make it the greatest success possible for the Little Growers project at the start childrens’ enjoyment and learning. of the school year. Little Growers combines all the key stages that children need to understand healthy eating and environmental sustainability, from planting, growth, maintenance, harvest and eating. With a database of 2,000 schools expressing an interest in getting involved, Little Growers is applying for funding to expand and eventually plans to take their growing scheme into all schools in the UK.

“Little Growers touches on areas that are close to people’s hearts.” 42

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009


CHECK YOUR growing I.Q.

by Erik Biksa

Q

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

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

ANSWERS: September - October 2009 quiz

A

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 January - February 2010 issue of Maximum Yield.

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

43


PRODUCT spotlight

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

Continued from page 17

Nature's Solution Ancient Humate Nature's Solution Ancient Humate is a liquid that is taken directly from an ancient bog and then filtered. There are no chemicals used in the process. Each litre contains liquid humate, humic acid, yucca, soluble sea kelp, amino acids derived from sea kelp and compost extract. This is a nutrient used to feed micro-organisms in your soil or soilless growing systems. It is to be used in conjunction with Nature's Solution Compost Tea that contains the full-spectrum of beneficial micro-organisms necessary to transform the organic nutrients in Ancient Humate into a plant available form. The beneficial bacteria and fungi in the compost tea retain the nutrients in Ancient Humate, and then the protozoa and bacterial and fungal-feeding nematodes in the compost tea come along and eat the bacteria and fungi. The nutrients are then released from the protozoa and nematodes in a plant available form. Available now from hydroponics retailers.

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MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

The Hammer Future Harvestâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s PlantLife Products division introduces the Hammer. The Hammer stops vertical growth and makes your plants sturdy, lush and compact with strong stems and short intervals between nodes. This product is food grade approved and is safe for human consumption. Made by growers for growers. Contact your local hydroponic shop for more information.


Add the Divine Goodness of Grape to Your Garden Boost fruit flavour and aroma while you increase yields with Botanicare Sweet, now available in a formulation that allows you to add the delicious taste of grapes to whatever you grow! When used during the vegetative stage, its combination of carbohydrates, organic acids and vitamins aid plants in making an easy transition to the flowering stage. Continue using it through the fruiting stage to see your plants keep the correct balance between photosynthesis and respiration, leading to sturdy stem growth to support a multitude of flowers and fruit! Ask for Botanicare Sweet Grape at your local grow shop.

NeemShineâ&#x201E;˘ New from Hydro-Organics At last a Neem Oil Leaf Shine that easily mixes with water and covers more evenly than traditional neem oil products. HydroOrganicsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; NeemShine is available in a variety of formats. Ask for them from your favourite retail distributor.

Nature's Solution Mycorrhizae Nature's Solution Mycorrhizae is a very fine, watersoluble powder. There are five endomycorrhizae: Glomus intraradices, G. mosseae, G. aggregatum, G. etunicatum and also four ectomycorrhizae: Rhizopogon villosullus, R. luteolus, R. amylopogon, R. fulvigleba and Psolithus tinctorius. Mycorrhizae must come into contact with a root surface within 48 hours of putting the powder into the soil, soilless media or water or you have wasted your money. If you have plants already in the ground or soilless media then you can dig holes at an angle through the roots, fill the holes with pea gravel and put the mycorrhizae in with Nature's Solution Compost Tea and Ancient Humate. If you are transplanting, do not use with any other rooting mixtures or gels; simply mix the mycorrhizae with the compost tea and dip the roots just before transplanting or sprinkle some into the planting hole. Mycorrhizae is available now from your local indoor gardening retailer.

MY You can find all of our products online at www.maximumyield.com. 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 editor@maximumyield.com

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

45


YOU TELL US

Maximum Yield’s in-depth interview with Emma Louther-Wright of UKbased pioneers Nutriculture sheds light on active hydroponics, world record breaking tomatoes and putting an educational foot forward.

Nutriculture’s Ebb and Flood system, credited with growing the world’s longest tomato plant.

Maximum Yield (MY): Tell me a bit about Nutriculture’s start-up. Emma: Nutriculture has been pioneering hydroponic growing since 1976. So it’s no wonder that it is regarded by many in the UK as an iconic brand. We have come a long way since the first days when our founder John Molyneux, a doctor of botany, decided to develop small-scale hydroponic equipment for home growers. In those early days John and his wife Marie were based in a small industrial unit, without heating, where they made and sold all the products themselves.

MY: What is your view of the importance of education in our industry? Emma: One of the many ways we make a difference is through education. Many people think that hydroponics is growing under lights, whereas it is actually growing in an inert media.Very few people are aware of the superiority of active hydroponics over passive hydroponics; all Nutriculture hydroponic systems are active. Our job is to clearly communicate the benefits of active hydroponics so that growers can achieve greater yields and reduce the labour involved in growing. 46

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009


MY: How do you make hydroponic growing more enticing to new growers? Emma: As industry leaders we have always worked hard to encourage more people to grow hydroponically. The most effective way of doing this is to prove to them that hydroponics produces larger yields than other growing methods. What better proof than a world record? Our ebb and flood product produced the world’s longest tomato plant as recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as reaching 65 feet. In actuality, it continued to reach 92 feet, and produced tomatoes right up until we removed the plant.

MY: How does Nutriculture work to support new growers? Emma: In the UK we are working with small commercial growers and farming cooperatives to increase crop yields and provide a consistent volume and quality of crops – essential for growers who have contracts to supply shops and restaurants. We support these commercial growers from the start, explaining the principles of hydroponics, visiting their sites to understand their specific needs, hosting visits at our demonstration greenhouse, advising which products to choose and then providing ongoing support and advice if required. In order to attract more growers to hydroponics we keep everything very simple at Nutriculture. We believe that it’s no good

Managing Director , Glyn Jones

having great products if no one can figure out how to use them. Our instructions are clear. Shops that stock our products are offered training in each product and know that they can call us if they have a question – and that they will get through to someone who has the expertise to answer their questions.

MY: In what way do you work to allow a wider group of individuals to have access to hydroponics? Emma: We want all growers to have access to the benefits of active hydroponics. Our latest product, the solar-powered Flo-Gro, is set to make active hydroponics available to even more growers. We realized many years ago that active hydroponics’ reliance on a pump and, therefore, a power supply, means that many could not benefit from this method of growing. The pump on our new solar powered Flo-Gro is powered by a solar panel, meaning that growers can harness the power of active hydroponics outdoors or indoors in areas with no access to an electric supply.

MY: How can you be sure your products are of the highest quality? Emma: We are committed to ensuring that our products are as effective as possible. They are all continually tested in our demonstration greenhouse, grow room and polytunnel. Each product is used in trials with a variety of plants and a range of nutrients and media (if relevant). MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

47


YOU TELL US

The Nutriculture Greenhouse. Growing diaries available online at www.nutriculture.com.

We measure nutrient uptake, growth rates and yield as well as monitoring the general health of the plants. Each new product is also used in trials alongside non-active hydroponic methods in order to ensure that the new product outperforms other methods of growing.

MY: What expertise and background does the Nutriculture team bring to the table? Emma: To ensure we continue to lead we need to continually look for better ways of growing plants and of servicing our customers – that’s the shops and the people who use our products. This continuous improvement is only possible because of the high level of expertise of our people. Nutriculture stands out from the crowd because we are hydroponics experts. Several of our team members are qualified plant biologists, several are experienced growers and all have full training in hydroponics principles. When you combine this knowledge with huge amounts of company experience it should be no surprise that we consistently develop products that bring new benefits to growers. 48

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

Managing director Glyn Jones has been with the company for 14 years; our technical salesman Richard has been with us for eight; as has our sales team leader and many of our manufacturing staff.

MY: What does Nutriculture have planned for the future? Emma: Hydroponics is becoming increasingly popular as more people want to grow their own food and become interested in specialist plants and want to give them the best possible growing environments. Nutriculture continue to lead from the front by exploring new markets, supporting new growers and developing new products. In the 1990s we started to export to Europe and we are now pursuing opportunities in North America. We are very excited about the potential of our new solar-powered products; these are very exciting times. MY All of Maximum Yield’s “You Tell Us” features are available at www.maximumyield.com


DO YOU

know?

1 A pH of 6.0 or higher may result in the plant being

too vegetative. If it is not yet established, it will cost production but may reduce fruit quality if it occurs at the wrong time of year.

2 The dosage rate for nutrients and additives depends on your growing medium of choice and the phase of growth, whether that is seedling, vegetative or flowering.

6 Aero-hydroponics, an adaptation of aeroponics, is a technology that started in the mid 80s in California.

3 Winter sowing is great for seeds that need a cold

7 The best dosing technique to adopt with additives

4 As the pH of your feed decreases, the solubility of

8 To date, approximately 1,350 children ranging from

period to encourage them to germinate, and seeds of hardy plants that will germinate as soon as spring is on the way.

certain micronutrients is decreased. Under these conditions, zinc, manganese and phosphate uptake the plant is reduced.

5

There are literally hundreds of tomato varieties but there are only two types of tomato vines: determinate and indeterminate.

that increase pH significantly is to add them to the water and adjust the pH down to 6.0 prior to adding the nutrient.

four to 19 years old have now had direct contact with the Little Growersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; initiative.

9 Contrary to popular belief, the role of substrate is

about 15 per cent in the plantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s growth, the other 85 per cent being in the hands of the grower.

MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

49


COMING UP IN MAX-MART january-february 2010

FEATURES

In Search of an Adequate Substrate It may be difficult for a beginner to determine the media best adapted to their hydroponic module, but with Noucetta Kehdiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s assistance, consider those perplexities cracked.

Worm Power: From Waste to Worthwhile Emma Cooper shows you how to turn your kitchen waste into nutritious compost for your plants with vermicomposting.

Some like it Lukewarm: Beneficial Nutrient Environments Bob Taylor discusses what the ideal controlled environment looks like for your nutrients, with respect to temperature, disinfection, oxygenation and light exposure.

Atmospheric Excellence: If Plants Could Talk Because we may not always know what our plants need during the crucial grow and bloom phases of life, Hans Kersbergen delves into controlling climate conditions in this no-nonsense article.

Keep It Clean: Maintaining a Hydroponic System Grodan provides a step-by-step instruction guide on keeping your hydroponic system clean in order to protect your plants from disease.

Zoo-ponics In this Paignton Zoo exclusive, Dr. Lynette Morgan visits the grand opening of the vertical hydroponic farm and takes a closer look at the technology.

Talking Shop Maximum Yield will soon be featuring your favourite retail stores. Get to know your local grow shop just a bit better by learning of their history, their struggles and their successes. Nominate your favourite store by emailing editor@maximumyield.com

www.maximumyield.com Indoor Gardening Expo 2009/2010 Tour Visit www.indoorgardenexpo.com for all of the latest updates on the 2009/2010 Indoor Gardening expo tour dates. Add Orlando (November 7-8) to your calendar and Montreal (Canada), anticipated spring 2010.

Check indoorgardenexpo.com to stay informed about upcoming 2009 and 2010 Indoor Gardening Expos.

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MAXIMUM YIELD UK - November / December 2009

Maximize your exposure with Max-Mart! Get your ad in the next issue of Maximum Yield Call 250-729-2677 for more information


Maximum Yield - UK Nov/Dec 2009  

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

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