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UK May - June 2011






Indoor gardenING expo VANCOUVER BC, CANADA May 14-15

SAN FRancisco California, USA July 16-17

long beach california, usa october 22-23


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011



may / june 2011



Plant Solutions: How to Deal With Yellowing Leaves


Grow Your Own Superfoods in Your Home Garden This Year

28 30

Maximum Yield’s Special 10th UK Anniversary Feature


The Short and Vicious Life of a Fungus Gnat


Grow Tents for the Constructionally Challenged

by Matt LeBannister by Aaron Turpen

The Ins and Outs of HVAC by Lee McCall

by Gabriel Bronsztein



From the Editor


Letters to the Editor



Simon Says


MAX Facts


Product Spotlight


You Tell Us


Talking Shop


Do You Know?


Coming up in July/August


Max Mart


30 Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2011


FROM THE editor

jessica raymond

Welcome to our 10th Anniversary edition of Maximum Yield UK! It’s been an incredible decade seeing the growth and advancement of the indoor gardening industry, not only in the UK, but worldwide.Ten years ago LEDs were non-existent in grow rooms, coco was the latest in grow medium material, reflectors and fans were rudimentary (but they worked) and aero hydroponic (or aeroponic) systems were deemed the growing method of the future. Since then we’ve grown tenfold, and in celebration our industry’s leading manufacturers, distributors and retailers reflect on the changes and growth experienced over the past 10 years and predict industry trends going forward. In addition, this commemorative anniversary issue is packed with advice and education on grow tents, HVAC, solutions

letters to the editor Inspired Reading

Recipe for Success

Dear MY, I have been reading your magazine for nearly a year and I think it is great. I always look forward to getting your mag when it becomes available; I get your magazine from my local grow shop for free. I enjoy reading back issues on your website, and I was wondering if it would be possible to download your back issues. I do not have my own Internet connection, and I am limited to when I can read your mag online. If I could download your back issues I could read them in my own time. I would also like to subscribe to your magazine.

Your magazine is a great source of information. I appreciate the diversification of articles. New to this world, I realize nutrients are a major part of your industry. I am focused on aquaponics and bioponics. I would appreciate direction to articles on studies of nutrient deficiencies with these systems and what should be monitored and supplemented, plus suggested amounts. Some of us are not chemists so maybe a baby-step kind of approach would be ideal to bring us up to speed. I glaze over trying to read and comprehend some of the articles out there. Thanks again for all of the information that you provide.

Yours Gratefully, Arran Griffin

Back issues of Maximum Yield are available to download on http:// will need to sign up (http:/ in order to download past issues.You can subscribe to Maximum Yield by visiting or by calling our office in Canada at 1-250-729-2677.Thanks for reading.

Delightful Design Sweet designs you guys are pushing out lately. I was really impressed with the “Biological Products in Indoor Gardens” article in the January/February issue of Maximum Yield UK. The spread caught my attention immediately, with an organic, easy-on-the-eyes feel. “Insect Invasion” from the November/December issue was fun too. Keep up the good work. I would love to see more on LEDS and green options for pest and disease prevention. Meghan Porter 6

for yellowing leaves, fungus gnats and superfoods, plus the latest products to hit the UK market and news and views from the UK and around the world. We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone that has supported us every step of the way.We will continue to bring you the best information, products and articles to help your modern gardens thrive into the next decade. I welcome all of our readers to keep sending me your Jessica Raymond, Editor letters and questions. It is through your feedback that we are able to bring you what you want. E-mail me at and your letter may be printed in an upcoming issue.

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

Frank Feiller is a great source for information on aquaponics and bioponics; as well as nutrients and deficiencies, fertilizers, additives and supplements. Our website features hundreds of articles for beginners and expert growers alike. If your questions aren’t answered, or you require more specific information, I recommend you drop Simon Hart, our resident expert, an email at We Want To Hear From You! Write Us At: Maximum Yield Publications Inc. 2339A Delinea Place, Nanaimo, BC Canada V9T 5L9 or

Coming up on the Web Upcoming Events Vancouver, B.C. Expo 2011 Maximum Yield is thrilled to be hosting the 2011 Canadian Expo in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia—the host of last year’s world-class Olympic Games—May 14 to 15, 2011. We have chosen a great new location for our eighth Vancouver Indoor Gardening Expo at the Pacific National Exhibition Forum building, offering easy access, a superb location and the perfect venue for our expo. Don’t miss this world-class Canadian event. We hope to see you there. Visit today for full details.

Featured Articles Plant Steering The principles of crop steering—a useful technique employed by many commercial greenhouse growers that balances the vegetative growing phase with the generative phase—is examined.

Hybrid Hydroponics Indoor growers in Europe have devised a system that produces fat plants in small spaces. This hybrid hydro set-up could be the ideal system for you.



VOLUME 11 – NUMBER 1 May/June 2011 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. 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 EDITOR - Jessica Raymond ADVERTISING SALES 250.729.2677 Linda Jesson - Lisa Lambersek - Ilona Hawser - Christina Indseth- Ashley Heppell - PRODUCTION & DESIGN Mike Linden - Daniel Peters - Jenn Duong - Tina Skujins - ACCOUNTING - Lee Anne Veres

LEDs – Making Your Investment Worthwhile Spend your grow light dollars wisely with these tips that serve to help you navigate the LED maze with ease. Connect to instantly from your Smartphone with our Quick Response (QR) Code, found on the cover of every issue of Maximum Yield. Now you can access the best products, the most in-depth articles and information and the latest news, at high speeds. Simply download the QR Code Reader software compatible with your Smartphone, scan the QR Code and your phone’s browser will automatically launch, redirecting you to www.maximumyield. com. It’s that simple!

Connect with Maximum Yield • •

Tell us what you think at We’d love to hear from you.


Gabriel Bronsztein is president

and founder of Everest Garden Supply, a wholesale-only distribution company based in Northern California. Involved in the hydroponics industry for over 15 years, Gabriel focuses on market leadership through product innovation and superior customer service. He is a member of the Progressive GardeningTrade Association and The International Carnivorous Plant Society.

Lee McCall graduated from

Johnson and Wales University with a concentration in Culinary Arts. Culinary school opened the door to research and work with hydroponics and organic production. Currently, Lee attends business school in Denver and focuses on continuing advancements with Maximum Yield and indoor gardening technology.

Matt LeBannister developed a

green thumb as a child, having been born into a family of experienced gardeners. During his career, he has managed a hydroponic retail store and represented leading companies at the Indoor Gardening Expos. Matt has been writing articles for Maximum Yield since 2007. His articles are published around the world.


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

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

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 Humboldt Wholesale Hydrofarm Hydro International National Garden Wholesale / Sunlight Supply R & M Supply Tradewinds AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTION Dome Garden Supply Futchatec Growth Technology Holland Forge House N Garden Hydraspher

SIMON says

Simon, When I use plain, reverse osmosis water, my EC is zero. To water my plants, should I add a calcium/magnesium supplement? If so, how much should I add? Thanks, Matt My tap water is 30 ppm on my TDS meter. What level should I raise it to with a calcium/magnesium supplement? Thanks, Joe

These questions are so similar I will try and help both readers with one answer. Unfortunately, while both questions are straightforward, neither question has an easy answer.You’re both very lucky to be starting with good quality water. Nutrient manufacturers assume a low EC or TDS reading when suggesting application rates so all readers should strive for the best quality (lowest conductivity) water to start with. Generally this means reverse osmosis (RO) filtered water, but in some cases just exceptional tap water. Regardless, be sure that you are adding a quality base nutrient with all the essential elements present prior to considering any supplemental calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), as these two essential nutrients cannot grow plants on their own. If you are using untreated water with a dissolved solids value prior to adding nutrients, it’s imperative to get your water tested. Once you know what elements are already in suspension, you can try and tailor your additional nutrients to correspond to the inherent levels. An RO system takes away this headache. In a water system or soilless mix, a calcium-to-magnesium ratio of approximately 3:1 is standard. This is much different with outdoor garden soils where a spread of 7:1 or 8:1 is more common. For indoor gardens, providing a moderate level of calcium at 150 ppm, be sure your magnesium is at 50 ppm. Most crops will require between 50 and 300 ppm of calcium and most will fall in the middle of this range. Remember that all calcium supplements vary in the form they are delivered. Some will come from a chemical source, such as calcium nitrate. Others might provide calcium with a mineral source such as calcium carbonate or even an amino chelate (usually calcium chloride).To verify the calcium source, check the ingredient list.


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

If a product guarantees calcium it must declare the source. None of these inputs will be pure calcium so the adjusted EC or TDS will read higher than the actual value of calcium provided.This is a case where manufacturer suggested application rates are useful. If you want to be more specific in your adjustment, you must calculate the calcium supply based on your source input. This will vary depending on the compound used. All possible calcium inputs will also affect the pH of your solution in various ways so be sure to adjust after adding them to your reservoir and monitor for ongoing pH fluctuations. The level of calcium and magnesium will vary tremendously from plant to plant. To assess your specific requirements I suggest reviewing available university extension information or garden forums. Both will have good advice specific to your crops. Growth rate and stage of growth can have a considerable impact on the levels of Ca and Mg necessary. When adding supplemental Ca/Mg it’s important to remember that calcium is immobile so be sure to provide a consistent supply. For prolifically flowering plants such as tomatoes and peppers, an elevated supply will be essential to avoid substandard fruit development due to deficiencies such as blossom end rot. In periods of high temperature it is also possible that evapotranspiration can actually be the limiting factor in calcium supply—regardless of how much you are supplying, deficiencies can occur. In extreme cases, experiment with foliar application to try and work the nutrients directly into the leaf tissues surrounding the fruit set. Also work to decrease the daytime temperature if your plants are displaying nutrient deficiency symptoms.

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011




hydroponic news, tips and trivia from around the world

Calorie Crops: Planting a Garden to Feed a Family As more and more of us turn to local, small farms, CSAs or our own garden plots to fulfill at least part of our dietary needs, there are a few things we should all be growing to provide ourselves with more than just salads. Salads are great, but “calorie crops” are the way to go if the goal is feeding yourself and your family more often from your own garden. Calories crops include: • Potatoes • Corn • Beans • Wheat • Winter Squash What’s so great about calorie crops? 1. They fill you up: a potato or a half of a baked winter squash will give you more energy than a plate of lettuce. 2. They are generally less work: plant them, water them occasionally and harvest them; these crops work for the gardener. 3. They are endlessly versatile: Potatoes can be stored for quite a while and then used throughout the year in a variety of ways—even ground into flour. Corn can be eaten fresh, canned or dried and ground into corn meal or corn flour. Winter squash stores well for months and can be used in a variety of ways. Squash can even be dried to make for an even longer storage time. And beans will keep for years in jars in your pantry, ready to be cooked into soups, stews or as a meal unto themselves. (Source:

Britain Buyers Beware Recently a government body announced that foods in England and Wales labeled “local” actually came from other European countries, and even from as far away as New Zealand. Inspectors tested 558 items labeled as local and found that nearly a fifth were falsely claimed. Misleading labels included: “Welsh lamb” which actually came from New Zealand, “Somerset butter” from Scotland and “Devon ham” from Denmark. All the more reason for savvy shoppers in Britain to get to know their local farmer, or better yet, become one. (Source:

Ultraviolet Light Boosts Carrots’ Antioxidant Value Exposing sliced carrots to UV-B, one of the three kinds of ultraviolet light in sunshine, can boost the antioxidant activity of the colourful veggie, according to preliminary studies. The carrot investigation suggests that a moderate, 14 second dose of UV-B can boost fresh, sliced carrots’ antioxidant capacity by about threefold. The dose is energy-efficient and does not significantly heat or dry the carrots. (Source:


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011




hydroponic news, tips and trivia from around the world

Humans Now Consuming 25 Per Cent of all Plant Life Growing Each Year Plenty of research on both personal and national ecological footprints has shown that we are using Earth’s resources at unsustainable rates and that we are using them up faster than they can be regenerated. Now, some new work from NASA digs a bit deeper, examining how plant consumption is increasing as both population and consumerism levels increase. Though population growth and rising demand for resources as more of the world enters into consumeristic lifestyles both play a part in the rising amount of plant life consumed, on a global basis rising per capita increases in consumption have far outpaced the influence of population growth. Lead researchers say that this does not present a “doomsday” scenario. Though consumption and population growth are often looked at as separate issues, the biosphere doesn’t care if it’s a small number of people consuming lots of resources or a lot of people consuming very little, it’s the total consumption rate that matters. (Source:

When Will the Food Bubble Burst? Demand for Greens Leading to Salad Slaves Last week The Guardian exposed one of the dirty secrets of Europe’s insatiable demand for fresh salads 52 weeks of the year. In the south of Spain, thousands of hectares of arable land are covered with greenhouses, and inside those greenhouses, the under-employed of Africa and Eastern Europe labour at low wages to help deliver those hothouse veggies to the colder cities of the North. It’s an industry worth €2 billion annually to Spain, making it unlikely that it will go away any time soon. (Source:

Over the last few decades we have created a global food production bubble—one based on environmental trends that cannot be sustained, including overpumping aquifers, overplowing land and overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. Food appears to be the weak link for our global civilization as well. The food bubble is based on the overuse of land and water resources. It is further threatened by the climate stresses deriving from the excessive burning of fossil fuels. When the bubble bursts, food prices will soar worldwide, threatening economic and political stability everywhere. The principal threats to our future are climate change, population growth, water shortages, spreading hunger and failing states. What we now need is a mobilization to reverse these trends. The challenge is to quickly reduce carbon emissions, stabilize population and restore the economy’s soils, aquifers, forests and other natural support systems. This requires not only a redefining of security but a corresponding reallocation of fiscal resources from military budgets to budgets for climate stabilization, population stabilization, water conservation and other new threats to security. (Source:


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

Are Environmentalists Ready for ‘Third Wave Green’? Great movements must constantly reexamine themselves if they are to evolve and survive over time. They must self-generate their own “waves” to “make it” into popular culture. It’s time to ask what this means to the Green movement. Consider First Wave Green to have been 20th century activity surrounding basic environmental laws and practices. The current, Second Wave has targeted the consumer, focusing on lifestyle issues such as green consciousness and health choices made by individuals. But the evidence shows that green is still niche and has failed to grip the national consciousness in a mainstream way—something that needs to happen to manifest the kind of change required to “save” our planet and ourselves. A third wave works when a movement has the courage to both embrace its diversity and look critically at previous incarnations and current paradigms, and then has the courage to evolve. If the Green movement is to survive and enjoy a Third Wave, it must open its arms to diversity of thought and practice from within.

Tangerine Tomatoes Surpass Reds in Preliminary Lycopene Study Ounce for ounce, heirloom tangerine tomatoes might be a better source of a powerful antioxidant called lycopene than are familiar red tomatoes. (Source:


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011


PRODUCT spotlight

Ask for them at your local indoor gardening store.


All New Packaging for the Canna AkTRIvator Canna AkTRIvator is now available in newly designed packaging. Canna AkTRIvator is a substrate-strengthening beneficial soil mould that contains a complex of various clay types. The product has a buffering effect on substrates and provides a medium in which beneficial micro-organisms can grow. Canna AkTRIvator has a protective effect against damaging parasitic micro-organisms such as moulds and bacteria. The beneficial microorganisms produce endochitinase, which protects the root system. Look for the new Canna AkTRIvator packaging on hydroponic retailers’ shelves today.

Growing Accessories New From Future Harvest Development (FHD) Expedite Filtration With the Small Cone Kit From Boldtbags The new Small Cone Kit from Boldtbags speeds up filtration with the total micron lining and tapered construction. They’re made with the same full micron spectrum as the regular Boldtbags. Available in three, four and eight bag kits, the small cones fit standard 23 litre buckets. Order Boldtbags’ Small Cone Kit from your local gardening shop today.

FHD square growing pots provide greater capacity for growing mediums, and fit better in flood and drain tables. These commercial greenhouse quality pots are made of durable and recyclable black polypropylene. Available in 4.5, nine and 14 litres. A 20 centimetre square saucer is available to help retain your valuable nutrients. Round saucers are also available in 20 to 36 centimetre diameters to fit most containers. Complimenting these new products is our heavy duty 1020 trays, with twice the thickness of standard 1020 trays. Available with a reusable 1020 vented dome. Order the new FHD growing accessories from your local indoor gardening shop.

Introducing FloraKleen From General Hydroponics Europe FloraKleen from General Hydroponics Europe is formulated to remove fertilizer residue and salts that can accumulate in hydroponic systems, growing media and potting soils. FloraKleen is not enzyme-based and can be used at any time throughout the plant’s life. FloraKleen reduces plant stress from excess and imbalanced nutrients and breaks nutrient bonds that attach fertilizer salts to growing media, also correcting nutrient lock-out. It also nourishes the microbial life in the substrate. Its high concentration and low price make FloraKleen the economical choice to protect your plants in both hydroponics and soil based environments. Visit your favourite indoor gardening shop for more information.


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011


PRODUCT spotlight

Your guide to this issue’s hottest items.

Amazon Aeroponic System The Amazon Aeroponic System from Nutriculture offers experienced growers the incredible performance and yield of aeroponics at an affordable price. Available from just 80 centimetres long for an unbeatable yield per square metre. Plants grown in an Amazon Aeroponic System have constant access to nutrient solution and oxygen. Transplant 50 millimetre pots directly from the X-Stream Propagator into the Amazon or transplant cuttings into the 80 millimetre pots with a few clay pebbles. The Amazon System is clean with very little waste. Available in five lid options to suit any growing arrangement. Ask for the Amazon Aeroponic System today at your local indoor gardening shop.

Great White® - Complete Mycorrhizal and Beneficial Bacteria The cutting edge Great White formula contains 15 different species of mycorrhizal fungi, 19 different species of beneficial bacteria, two species of Trichoderma, plant vitamins and glycine. This powerful formula ignites plant and root growth giving plants the tools they need to maximize yields. Great White’s concentrated formula ensures optimum colonization of root systems by the fungi. The water soluble powder makes application a snap and delivers the spores directly to the roots for immediate germination. The key to healthy and vital plants starts with a vigorous root system and a vigorous root system starts with Great White. Available now at indoor gardening shop across the UK.

Revitalize Old Seeds With Seed Booster Plus Seed Booster Plus is a new germination accelerator that revitalizes old seeds and speeds up the germination process by 40 per cent via innovative enzyme technology. The essential nutrients in Seed Booster Plus ensure safe germination and powerful, healthy root development. Seed Booster Plus also protects plants against harmful fungi and bacteria during the germination process. Seed Booster Plus can be used with all substrates and is suitable for all types of watering systems. Seed Booster Plus is highly concentrated—just seven drops per litre are needed. Visit your local indoor gardening shop for more information.

The New SunBlaster T5HO Lamps The new edition Sunblaster T5HO lamps have been reengineered incorporating the most advanced on-board electronics in the industry. T5HO lamps are now driven at optimum temperatures, lowering heat production and extending lamp life. These improvements ensure every SunBlaster T5HO provides maximum performance and light output. Plus, pair the new T5 High Output Lamp with SunBlaster’s NanoTech T5 Reflector and you have the most advanced T5HO lighting system available today. The end result? Bigger, healthier plants faster. Even we were amazed by their combined performance. Ask for the SunBlaster T5HO Lamps from your favourite indoor gardening store today.


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

Bucket-less Filtration With the New Suspension Kit From Boldtbags The new Suspension Kit from Boldtbags is essential for easy bucket-less filtration using 23, 91 or 145 litre bag sets. Militarygrade nylon webbing and reinforced stitching guarantee its strength. The one metre extensions simply connect to the grommets of Boldtbags, with a one metre length to secure over your leverage of choice. Order the new Boldtbags’ Suspension Kit from your local gardening shop today.

Environmentally Friendly CannaCure CannaCure is Canna’s first environmentally friendly, multi-tasking pest control that stimulates growth. When you have a heavy pest infestation of whitefly, spidermite or mealybug, simply use CannaCure until the infestation is gone. Heavy pest infestations will not occur when CannaCure is applied thoroughly to upper and lower leaf surfaces on a weekly basis until harvest. CannaCure ensures your healthy plants concentrate on producing bigger fruits and increasing yields. CannaCure is now available in many hydroponic shops in the UK.

Root Pouch Presents Degradable Plant Containers Root Pouch degradable fabric containers can be used with a variety of growing media, are suitable for hydroponic systems, ebb and flow and drip irrigations and are less expensive than other fabric pots. Root Pouch plant products have a new look, but are the same award winning product. These sustainable containers help reduce our environmental impact, plus they’re better than black plastic by boosting plant growth and yields. The fabric allows roots to breath and helps eliminate circling roots. Root Pouch pots last for multiple seasons. Ask for Root Pouch degradable plant containers at your local indoor gardening shop.

continued on page 46

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011


Plant Solutions:

How to Deal With Yellowing Leaves Yellow leaves giving you the blues? Matt LeBannister sheds some light on the condition. Consider the following nutrient deficiencies to cure this common plant ailment. by Matt LeBannister

Intro Page Photo Credit: Nick Persichilli


Maximum Yield UK  UK | May |  May / June 2011

Plants are complex organisms that require certain environmental and nutritional conditions to survive. Given the right levels of sunlight, air temperature, root zone temperature, pH and nutrients, plants will not just survive, but thrive. With all the advances in indoor gardening it is now possible for every indoor gardener to totally regulate all aspects of a plant’s growing environment and nutrient intake. If any aspect of this sensitive system is allowed to go out of sync, however, problems can arise. If the EC or nutrient levels get too high or low, for example, or the pH moves out of the plant’s optimum level, plants can develop yellow leaves. Usually, though, yellowing leaves are a result of a deficiency in any one of a number of specific nutrients. The most common cause of yellowing leaves in plants is a nitrogen deficiency. Nitrogen is a mobile macronutrient that is needed for the production of chlorophyll. Plants deficient in nitrogen will be

unable to produce enough chlorophyll, causing leaves to yellow. The symptoms will begin with the older leaves closest to the base of the plant. This is because the plant is sending what little nitrogen it has to the newest growth at the top of the plant. The leaves will begin to yellow in between the veins and this will spread to the whole leaf—if the problem is not corrected, the leaf will die and fall off. Other symptoms include the stem and leaf undersides turning purple, and overall stunted growth. The main cause of nitrogen deficiencies is having a pH that is too high. Every plant has an ideal pH range that allows for a maximum uptake of nutrients, and the water they are given should be pH balanced to be in the plant’s specific requirement zone. Soil and soilless growing mediums are very forgiving and can handle a wider pH range, where hydroponics and aeroponics need the pH range to be very specific for plants to thrive.

“The most common cause of yellowing leaves in plants is a nitrogen deficiency. Nitrogen is a mobile macronutrient that is needed for the production of chlorophyll.”

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011


Plant Solutions: How to Deal with Yellowing leaves

For instance, tomatoes grown in soil can handle their water pH from 5.8 to 6.8, whereas tomatoes grown in hydroponics prefer the water pH to remain between 5.8 at the lowest and 6.4 at the very highest. To effectively treat a nitrogen deficiency, you must first determine whether enough nitrogen is being added to the nutrient mix. If the nutrient is high quality and being added at the directed rate this is not likely to be the source of the problem, however. An overly high pH—causing nutrient lockout—then becomes the most likely cause. Simply correct the pH levels and begin to check them more often. Another common cause of yellowing leaves is an iron deficiency. The symptoms of iron deficiency and nitrogen deficiency are similar: the leaf begins to turn yellow between the veins, which always remain green. If left untreated, the leaf will eventually die and fall off. The one symptom that can help you differentiate an iron deficiency from a nitrogen deficiency is that the leaves first affected will be the youngest leaves, closest to the top of the plant, and the yellowing will then spread from the youngest to the oldest leaves.

“The symptoms of iron deficiency and nitrogen deficiency are similar: the leaf begins to turn yellow between the veins.” The use of poor quality nutrients is one cause of an iron deficiency in plants. Cheaper nutrient formulas do not always have the right amount of micronutrients to promote ideal plant health. Switching to a more complete nutrient or adding kelp spray to your feeding schedule is usually a quick solution to the problem. Iron deficiency can also often be caused by having a pH over 6.5. If soil or water becomes more alkaline than pH 6.5 it will cause the plant to lock out some nutrients, including iron. By correcting the pH level and checking it often you will be able to address this problem and prevent it from happening again in the future. Iron deficiencies in plants can also be caused by an overabundance of potassium or phosphorous. Just like having an overly high pH level, potassium and phosphorous toxicities lock out other nutrients. To ensure that plants do


Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2011

not develop toxic levels of nutrients one should always follow the nutrient instructions carefully. Plants in soil or soilless mixes should be flushed with straight pH-balanced water every other watering to prevent a build up of nutrients. For plants grown in hydroponics, using an EC (electric conductivity) meter or a PPM (part per million) meter can help prevent nutrient toxicities. These meters do not tell you the exact amount of each nutrient, but give you a reading of the overall nutrient level. If a quality nutrient is being used, this is a safe method of measuring nutrient levels. If the toxicity has reached a dangerous level in the plant you may want to use a clearing solution to leach the excess nutrients out of the plant—this may save plants before they become too damaged and crops are affected. Another very common deficiency that results in yellowing leaves is a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is a nutrient essential to the production of the chlorophyll the plant needs in abundance to absorb photons to enable the process of photosynthesis. The symptoms of a magnesium deficiency also include leaves yellowing in between green veins, but with this particular deficiency the leaf tips become brown and turn upwards, and the area first affected will be the middle leaves of the plant. Magnesium deficiencies are common indoors and have many causes. Plants growing in soil or soilless mediums could have lots of magnesium present but it may not be available to them because it has become bound in the medium. This happens with soil and soilless mixes that are too acidic.

Simply adjust pH to the ideal level and continue to check more frequently. Magnesium also becomes bound in soil when the soil is too cold or too wet. To correct this problem, allow plants to drain and dry before their next watering. Adding perlite to your soil/soilless mix can also improve drainage and air retention. When a plant’s root zone becomes too cold it is also unable to take up adequate amounts of magnesium—to have an ideal root zone, keep the temperature between 18 to 24°C. Magnesium can also become deficient in plants when there is an overly high EC. Having too much potassium, nitrogen and calcium in soil/soilless mixes or reservoir nutrient solutions will cause magnesium to become locked out of the plant. Adjusting the EC levels in the nutrient and checking more frequently can fix this problem and prevent it from happening in the future. If your problem is simply poor quality nutrients devoid of magnesium you can try watering occasionally with water treated with one teaspoon of Epsom salts per litre.

“Sometimes leaves begin to yellow and there is nothing wrong with the plant.”

This is a safe, low-risk way of increasing magnesium levels in the nutrients without burning your plant leaves. Sometimes leaves begin to yellow and there is nothing wrong with the plant. Yellowing leaves are just a natural part of the plant’s lifecycle—they turn yellow and fall off when they get old. This can trick gardeners into thinking that the plant has a deficiency, when really the old leaves are simply falling off due to old age. These old leaves are no longer photosynthesizing efficiently and it is in the plant’s best interest to shed them, allowing the plant to focus its energy on growing new leaves that will photosynthesize at maximum efficiency. There are many different possible causes for a plant’s leaves to yellow, but a nutrient deficiency is usually to blame. Deficiencies generally result from fluctuating pH and EC levels, but overly saturated and cold root zones can be responsible as well. Sometimes yellowing leaves are just a symptom of old age—the old leaves are dying and falling off to be replaced with newer and more efficient ones. The important thing is to investigate the root of the problem to prevent nutrient deficiencies from reoccurring in the future. Vigilantly monitoring your pH and EC levels for any fluctuations away from the ideal zone can make all the difference when gardening. MY Maximum Yield UK | March / April 2011


Grow Your Own Superfoods in Your Home Garden This Year by Aaron Turpen

When most people think of the term “superfood” they think of exotic fruits or imported vegetables from faraway places with foreign names. In reality, many of the foods you eat and grow in your garden are superfoods.


Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2011

The common definition of a superfood is any food that you can consume that has a high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants. Many of these are probably foods that your mother told you to eat if you wanted to leave the dinner table—or to grow up to be big and strong. Here is a list of superfoods that can be cultivated in just about any location or garden. If you decide to grow them outdoors, they can be started from seed indoors to maximize your growing time outdoors.

Broccoli is probably the best-known and most often cited superfood that is commonly grown. Broccoli has several benefits, including being a great source of antioxidants. Carrots are likely the other most well-known of superfoods commonly grown and eaten. Carrots are thick with phytonutrients, antioxidants and nearly every vitamin you can name. Garlic is a favourite spice for cooking. This stuff is loaded with nearly everything good for you that you can imagine. It’s a known cardiovascular booster and it’s anti-microbial.

Green beans have to be one of the easiest things to grow and are cultivated in garden plots as well as potted indoors to vine up walls or along racks. Beans are good for kidney stones and arthritis and are packed with minerals. Spinach isn’t just for Popeye. It’s a very easy plant to grow, gives edible leaves throughout the season and has some of the highest concentrations of vitamins A and C and folic acid you can get. Squash of nearly any type is great for you. Acorn, butternut, pumpkins and many others are packed with fibre, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium and much more. Tomatoes are garden favourites, and the subject of intense scrutiny and competition. Tomatoes are also full of antioxidants, vitamin C and light acids that aid digestion.

These are just a few of the many superfoods you can grow in your own garden this year to promote better health. Gardening can not only be a fun, healthy way to spend your spare time, but it can also lower your food bills, raise your health and nutritional levels and bring your family closer together—so start gardening and grow your own superfoods this year. MY

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Aaron Turpen is a professional writer living in Wyoming. He is also the director of Gateway’s Needy Animals, a local animal shelter and rescue in the eastern Wyoming area. His blog,, covers organic/ sustainable living and environmental considerations.

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011


IN CELEBRATION OF MAXIMUM We want to know: what changes have you seen in the last 10 years and what trends do you predict for the indoor gardening industry as we move into the next decade? Retailer Robert Taylor for Aztec Garden Hydroponics Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk The hydroponics industry has changed dramatically over the years with a very aylor Robert T

limited choice of products available in the early days here in the UK to an absolute explosion of new systems, nutrition and associated products that seem to be increasing year on year. The future of the hydroponics industry is exciting and always evolving and I am sure the coming years will provide an even greater choice of products to hobby and commercial gardeners alike.

Retailer Lee Crabtree for Cheshire Hydroponics Ltd. Stockport, Cheshire Here at Cheshire Hydroponics Ltd. we are proud to offer our customer over 60 years of combined growing knowledge between our staff. If our customers have any growing issues we have the answers to help. We have seen many changes over the recent years in all areas such as nutrients, additives and growing systems. Cheshire Hydroponics Ltd. is always searching for that next game-changing new product and we feel that we carry the three top new products to hit the UK this year. They are: Growstar Gold complete plant nutrients, OptiClimate and the MiniMax 150. Don’t take our word for it. Try them; we guarantee you’ll be impressed with the results.

Lee Cra b


Manufacturer Noucetta Kehdi for General Hydroponics Europe Fleurance, France With our planet’s population increasing at such an unsustainable rate and the majority of


tta Keh


us living in cities, local food production via urban and indoor gardening is an essential activity for our survival.Ten years ago, hydroponics was just starting to gain popularity in North America, but it hardly existed in Europe.Today growers across the globe use not only mineral based hydroponics but also bioponics (or organic hydroponics)—another great achievement for our industry.This is thanks, in part, to the interaction and sharing of information between the North American and European markets. In the coming decade this industry will keep developing with more countries and more growers joining the revolution.tion.

Manufacturer Peter Common for Future Harvest Development Europe Washington, Tyne and Wear The hydroponics industry in the UK has grown by 800 per cent in the last three years, which has increased the public’s awareness of what hydroponics is about.This has facilitated new ideas, new products and has increased education and knowledge among retail Peter C ommo storeowners and staff and wholesalers.We predict that this heightened level of knowledge and competition will n serve to consolidate the industry by creating a standard at which retail stores must operate in order to be successful. In turn, customers will support reputable, experienced stores that work to this standard of quality and customer service.


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

YIELD UK’S 10TH ANNIVERSARY, Manufacturer Colla Breuers for Plagron Weert, The Netherlands The Netherlands has always been and still is a role model for many countries when it comes to indoor gardening. This number one position will remain maintained in the future. The supply of substrates, fertilizers and other grow supplies is enormous just like the number of growers. The Netherlands is distinguishable from other countries not only by the comprehensive range of products, but also by the quality of the final products. In the future constant product development will be required to meet the high demands of the growers. This is exactly what ron Team Plagron guarantees. Our intention is to help gardeners achieve good growth, flowering and yield g la P e h T and perfecting tasting crops every time.

Manufaturer Jim Averna for Root Pouch Portland, Oregon, USA I would say, for the most part, the past 10 years in the indoor gardening industry has been for the adventurous and inquisitive few. That is changing fast. The advancements in technology and the availability of indoor gardening supplies have made this exciting and beneficial industry accessible to everyone. Whether it is food crops or ornamental horticulture, the outdoor industry is moving indoors—into controlled environments and protected from disease, toxins, weather and the elements. Think of plants like people. People are living longer and healthier because we are taking better care of ourselves and our quality of life is improving. The same holds true with plants. Plants that live in a healthy clean environment are stronger and more productive. The indoor gardening industry is now accessible to everyone from the hobbyist grower right up to the largest commercial growers. Everyone is able to get higher yields of healthier foods while using less toxic materials. It is by far the most exciting and fun thing I can think of that individuals can get involved in.


Aver na

Retailer Zak Stephenson for Sub Garden Supplies Walthamstow, Greater London In the next decade I predict more people will return to their soil


Zak Step

growing and organic gardening roots, although hydroponics will still have a place in the market. A more comprehensive pool of information and education is growing in the UK. Today’s gardeners are more aware of the products they’re using, what’s in the products and what makes them work. For instance, they know that Mycorrhiza can act as a natural chelate for fertilizers in soil substrates. The latest breed of modern gardeners seems to prefer a more natural, organic process and approach.

Distributor Warren Costa for Damrak Distribution Ltd. Stockport, Cheshire My first introduction to hydroponics was over 20 years ago when my father and I invested in a couple of primitive NFT systems and a pair of diesel-powered lights and ballasts. The advancements in technology have been amazing in every aspect especially in nutrients and air quality control. At Damrak we distribute Growstar Gold Nutrients partly because we have seen them work. The science that has gone into the range is impressive, especially the protector, which is a patented product. With regards to air quality the OptiClimate is the most remarkable kit I’ve ever seen.

Warren Costa

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011


by Lee



The In

s and

of HV



Does your grow room need a lift? Likely what it’s missing is a strong dose of ventilation. The pros and cons of a sealed room (with respect to heating, ventilation and air conditioning) are detailed in this article so you can make up your own mind and recreate your space. Don’t be daunted by the equipment list.


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

The grow room is an isolated environment constructed to control and influence plant production. Several aspects such as lighting, nutrient regimen and strain characteristics might be regarded as primary pillars of the grow room, but ventilation is every bit as important as any of these aspects and will ultimately influence the quality of the end product and the efficiency of grow room operations.Ventilation is concerned with temperature, humidity and CO2—three major factors that revolve around efficient lighting and environmental control and which are vital for healthy growth. As a grower, a definitive question when setting up a respectable new grow is deciding whether to run a sealed room. Many people argue that sealed rooms create more problems with temperature, humidity and CO2 than they solve, but others prefer this method in order to maintain higher CO2 levels for longer periods of time and keep the expense of running fans to a minimum. As with any grower, to each their own; great results are achievable in a multitude of ways and styles.

“Ventilation is concerned with temperature, humidity and CO2—three major factors that revolve around efficient lighting and environmental control and which are vital for healthy growth.” Personally, I steer away from sealed rooms if at all possible, because I prefer to keep air movement high and CO2 levels at normal numbers for most of the day. I also favour air-cooling grow light reflectors separately from carbon filters.

Grow room diagram.

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011


The Ins and Outs of HVAC

Although it is initially cheaper to use the filtered air from a carbon scrubber to vent heat out of grow light housings, I feel that overall efficiency is reduced through the effectiveness of VOC (odour) removal from the filter and heat from the grow light. In the long run, investing more can end up returning more from the crop. Take for example a high-output inline fan that is capable of 700 CFM of free-flowing air with no static pressure. As soon as that fan is paired with a carbon filter of the appropriate size the static pressure rating is increased, thus dropping the CFM level of the fan. If an air-cooled reflector is being used with 15 or 20 centimetre ducts, it is best to keep the fan running in sync with the cycle of the lights. If the lights turn on, a fan should also turn on to keep them cool during operation. As stated earlier, “clean” air that is projected from any carbon filter may be used to partially remove heat from the reflectors, although this eliminates the ability to efficiently use supplemental CO2 in the garden. The reason for this is because CO2 levels are generally


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

most effective on plants “If an air-cooled reflector is being utiat levels ranging from 800 lized with 15 to 20 centimetre ducts, to 1,500 PPM, and for periods in excess of at least it is best to keep the fan running in 30 minutes. In order to sync with the cycle of the lights.” successfully build a CO2 PPM level of 800 to 1,500 from the normal 300 to 450 and maintain it for intake and exhaust air for the garden itself at least 30 minutes, the garden must be free of exhaust or intake air during this should be set up on its own ventilation time—virtually sealed. Leaving several loop separate from that of the grow lights. A 1,000 watt lights (or even just one) on separate intake point will allow fresh air to in a confined space without adequate enter the grow area and refresh any depleted air-cooling could result in exposing CO2 levels. All grow room air that comes in contact with plants should be exhausted the garden to temperature extremes in excess of 35°C or more. If you are using through a carbon filter and dumped outside or into another area adjacent the grow a carbon filter to air-cool your lights, can room. Let’s recap: a minimum of two fans is you turn the carbon filter off for at least required in order to achieve this ventilation one hour, or even 30 minutes, without concept. One fan is dedicated to cooling reaching a dangerous temperature in the only grow lights and has no other purpose garden? Theoretically, if air-cooling a grow light is dependent on the operation of a carbon filter, then the carbon filter would have to be turned off in order to allow CO2 levels to rise in the garden; otherwise it would all be exhausted out of the room with the heat from the grow light. Since the main source of generated heat from a grow room is derived from the lights, there will probably be a discrepancy in maintaining a safe and consistent temperature in the garden during times when CO2 would be used and the carbon filter would have to be turned off. To avoid a dilemma such as this and ensure that you are being cost effective with CO2 operations, air-cool any and all grow lights with their own fan, on their own ventilation loop. Basically, air should be pulled from a remote area—i.e. outside, an adjacent room, a crawl space, an attic, etc.— and projected through the grow light(s) to remove heat, then exhausted outside or to another area separate from the one where air is originally being taken from.When set up this way, the grow lights will be able to stay air-cooled as long as they are on, Closed loop ventilation for grow lights. and will have no affiliation with air flow from a carbon filter or room exhaust. Next,

to the operation of the garden. Another fan will operate the carbon filter to ensure any and all grow room air is cleaned before it is exhausted out of the area. A third fan is optional Mult-Tent: This set-up promotes thourough airflow through both tents using for intake one intake and one exhaust. air to the garden. I crop to breathe “normal” CO2 levels (300 highly recommend that air from outside to 450 PPMs) from a fresh air exchange be pushed through a HEPA filter before with the occasional CO2 blast of 1,500 being allowed to replenish the garden PPM, the sealed room design maintains atmosphere. HEPA filters will remove 1,000 to 1,500 PPMs at all times. Over more than 90 per cent of negative pathogens that could infect the garden and time the crop evolves and adapts to these high levels of CO2, and, as an effect, if 99 per cent of insects such as spidermites, CO2 levels are ever below 1,000 to 1,500 thrips, whiteflies and fungus gnats. This PPMs then plant production ceases.This ventilation design provides flexibility to theory basically confirms that CO2 is a the user and allows for a higher precision ‘supernatural’ occurrence for a plant in point of environmental control. Not only nature at such high levels, and that your garden can “Not only can carbon filters be cut off literally become addicted to what it is being served for extended periods of time to allow in excess. In retrospect, for optimal CO2 usage in the garden, indoor gardening is all but heat will also stay controlled due about efficiency as well to the fact that they are cooled from as quality. As a grower, if I can use less CO2 to an entirely separate fan system.” achieve the same results and also keep my garden healthier at the same time, why wouldn’t I? can carbon filters be cut off for extended So the answer to the ultimate question periods of time to allow for optimal CO2 usage in the garden, but heat will of whether or not to run a sealed room also stay controlled due to the fact is actually sort of simple. Keep the that they are cooled from an entirely temperature at 24 to 27°C with the lights separate fan system. I have provided on, humidity levels anywhere from 30 to some simple diagrams to help guide 45 per cent and at least 60 to 70 watts of those in need towards the ideal grow light per 0.10 square metres. Don’t overuse room ventilation design. CO2—less is always more—and document A rare, but true oddity: a handful of times all trial and error information.Whether I have encountered a grower who runs a your room is sealed or fully vented, if you as sealed room with no problems for years, a grower are able to meet the specifications but suddenly faces poor growth, low yield of the major grow room design pillars, and a drop in quality. Instead of allowing a success will inevitably follow! MY Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011


The Short & Vicious Life of a

Fungus Gnat


ungus gnats can invade any garden at any time. Although they are typically harmless to healthy plants, a healthy garden is not always immune. Even experienced gardeners can be puzzled by the symptoms of fungus gnats. The larvae of these pests can destroy a garden, working out of sight as they chew the plant roots and drain the sap. Even the adults—tiny flies that hang around the bottom of the plant and run across the surface of the grow medium—look harmless, Usually growers only see a few tiny flies, and sometimes the flies lay their eggs near the plant’s roots and escape unnoticed by the gardener.

This hidden activity by fungus gnat larvae separates gnats from top growth, attacking insects like thrips or spidermites. Even careful examination of the root zone may miss these tiny larvae; the grower would see only damaged and discoloured roots. Meanwhile, the baby bugs are: This last activity is the reason these insects got their name. They carry disease spores on their bodies that can infect the damaged roots easily, creating more problems for the grower.

1. Chewing and damaging root tissue, interfering with nutrient and water uptake. 2. Sucking sap from roots that was necessary for the needs of the plant. 3. Infecting the damaged roots with fungus disease.


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

“Plants recovering from fungus gnat problems still face the risk of disease problems. Remember that these bugs can spread fungus spores to damaged roots.”

New fungus gnat problems in a garden usually occur in autumn (as cooler weather forces insects indoors) or spring (when over-wintering eggs outdoors hatch and the flies find their way into the grow room). Fungus gnat problems can happen anytime of the year, indicating that an infected plant somewhere in the garden or nearby (houseplants or outdoors near the indoor garden) is serving as a continual source of these pests. Often the problem is traced to stock plants, which are usually neglected, old and root bound—and good riddance because of the severe damage these pests can inflict on a garden, store staff and growers must be aware of how to identify and handle them. Bright yellow leaves, normally shaped, no wrinkles or spots and very slow growth are strong clues to their presence in the garden. Have growers search for tiny flies—like fruit flies—hovering near the base of the plant or on the grow medium. Once spotted, treatment of all plants must be immediate, not just the ones that look sick. The larvae can already be present and start to damage plants that still look healthy, and untreated larvae turn into more flies to re-infect the garden. Plants recovering from fungus gnat problems still face the risk of disease problems. Remember that these bugs can spread fungus spores to damaged roots. As a precaution, these plants should be given a treatment with a fungicide a day

or two after pesticide application. A root drench is more effective than spraying the top growth. Follow a similar procedure to your use of pesticides, drenching the entire root zone with fungicide solution, with irrigation pumps off for at least several hours. Left over fungicide in the root zone will not interfere with nutrients, so it’s not necessary to drain and replace the fertilizer mix. Yellow sticky cards are very useful as an early warning system for these flying pests, since the gnats are often attracted to the bright yellow surface. Soon, new gangs of these bugs will be pulling “home invasions” on our gardeners as the milder weather will allow gnat eggs to hatch outdoors. Fortunately, treating this pest is very straightforward. Potting soil insecticide or fungus gnat powders will eliminate fungus gnats from the root zone, usually with a single application of pesticide.These products are very gentle on the plant, making them useful for all grow mediums. I do not recommend stronger, outdoor pesticides since these can cause major damage or death to an indoor garden. Stick with safe, effective products that allow plants to recover quickly. Using these products with potting soil plants is very simple: just sprinkle the powder on to the soil and water tin. MY Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011



Giles Gunstone

Maximum Yield (MY): How can British growers find out about the newest and most innovative products available from Growth Technology? Giles Gunstone: We send regular newsletters to our retail customers who then educate their customers, the end-consumers. We have representatives on the road visiting and educating them retailers as well and our website,, showcases our new products. MY: What products in the Growth Technology line are you most passionate about right now? Giles: We have a new soil product called Alpha-Mix that addresses the problem of peatbased soils waterlogging too easily. Alpha-Mix contains volcanic lava sand to make the mix slightly drier and improve drainage. This increases the air supply in the root zone and leads to amazing 36

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

Maximum Yield discusses product excellence, the problem with peat based soil mixes and protecting the planet with Giles Gunstone, managing director for Taunton, Somerset-based Growth Technology. crop performance. We developed this in consultation with a professional agronomist after trialling the current leading products on the market in our own greenhouse. We found many of the peat based products were prone to waterlogging and we have fixed that problem in Alpha-Mix. We are also very excited about our orchid products, which are becoming so crucial to our business. In particular, Orchid Myst won New Product of the Year at a ceremony in London. MY: What makes your products unique from the other available options? Giles: Clonex was our first truly unique product when it launched in the late ‘80s. As far as we know it was the first gel based rooting hormone on the market. Today there are many similar products available—I guess you could say Clonex was cloned—but it is still widely recognized as the market leader and the level of sales certainly supports that notion. The Ionic nutrient range was a true breakthrough when we introduced it and I think

it remains unique to this day. It was previously accepted that the macro elements in a concentrated nutrient solution are incompatible and will react with one another. This is why most products are presented as twin packs. We make twin packs too—have done since the mid-1980s—but we always had a dream of solving that problem. We saw many advantages to packing everything together in a clear stable solution, a complete nutrient solution in a single bottle. Our technical breakthrough led to the Ionic nutrient range and allowed us to make a whole suite of products including special formulations for orchids, roses, palms and so on. We were told, by experts, that it was impossible, and that is what drove us to achieve it. MY: What ingredients are used in your products to ensure superior excellence and ease-of-use? Giles: Our products are our strength; we never cut corners. We use a lot of mineral salts and we always use the

An assortment of Growth Technology’s breaththrough products.

Growth Technology’s production and packing line.

highest, most soluble grade that is practical. We generally use complex organic plant acids to ameliorate our formulations and support extra fertility in the growing medium. We formulate with great precision to avoid waste, and we analyze every batch in third party laboratories to ensure accuracy and consistency. MY: What educational materials do you offer that will help growers use your products efficiently and effectively? Giles: We offer full and detailed instructions with all of our products, many of which are accessible on our website. MY: How can a hobby or commercial grower in the UK choose the right options for their unique situation? Giles: We offer technical support—a phone call or e-mail is all it takes. We are growers ourselves and we started out by producing tomatoes and herbs for supermarkets and for Qantas Airlines.There is no substitute

for time spent in the greenhouse and we did our time—10 years in fact in Western Australia—perhaps the harshest environment imaginable for growing. This background enables us advise growers with confidence. We still formulate nutrients for commercial growers, mainly in Australia, and that has kept us in touch with changes in the technology.

rainforest—acre by acre—to be protected for the future. This land will be held in trust and can never be logged or cleared. We think this is an exciting way for us to give something back to the planet for all the cardboard and plastic we consume. I already sense that our journey will be a long one but we applaud the principles and we relish the challenge.

MY: What strategies has Growth Technology implemented to lessen their environmental impact on our planet? Giles: We are currently in the throes of a full environmental impact assessment. I am amazed how detailed this exercise is. For example, different plastic bottles vary quite significantly in their carbon footprint and now we can make significant reductions in carbon simply by changing our bottle suppliers. We actually found that one bottle we use can be replaced by another that uses half the energy to manufacture and produces half the carbon in the process. We have also embarked on a scheme to make regular purchases of pristine

MY: How does Growth Technology support local causes and community building? Giles: We provide employment for locals and contribute to local charities. Due to our strong focus on exports we are doing our bit for the balance of trade and we bring money into the local economy. MY: What can growers expect from Growth Technology in the future? Giles: As always, we have many new ideas at various stages of development. We plan to work even harder on improving our products—they have always been our strength and our future will be built upon them. MY Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011


Grow Tents for the Construc ionally Challenged by Gabriel Bronsztein

If building a garden space from scratch is not your idea of a good time, check out the various benefits and ease of set-up with indoor grow tents, which come in a variety of sizes and can be assembled by one person in a matter of minutes.

Why build a grow tent?

One of the biggest obstacles for indoor gardeners is designing and building or setting up the grow space. For the DIYchallenged, grow tents are an excellent alternative for those gardeners that don’t feel comfortable swinging a hammer or using a screw gun. Indoor grow tents come in many sizes from 0.14 square metres to one square metre. They are extremely compact, and even the largest available size fits in a single box that most people could carry. Grow tents are easy to set-up and can be assembled by one person in a matter of minutes. Many grow tents are lined with a highly reflective material, usually a metalized film to maximize light efficiency. Initially, due to the limited sizes available, these tents were most attractive to beginner gardeners lacking experience setting up a grow room. With the recent addition of many new sizes, these tents 38

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

have become much more attractive to a variety of gardeners with varying levels of experience. Even expert growers are finding grow tents to be convenient and effective for their needs. If you are considering the DIY route, consider this, you will spend more time at Home Hardware in line at the check out counter than it would take to assemble a grow tent! When you get home, laden with heavy lumber, sheet rock, screws, paint and primer, you’ve set yourself for more than a few days work. While I think it’s a great idea to build a custom indoor garden if you are a homeowner, it’s not the most logical option for renters. Indoor grow tents can be taken down and put up in a new location so easily and quickly your plants won’t even notice they moved.

Benefits of indoor grow tents

allowing temporary gardens to be made in just about any indoor space. The space returns to normal in a few weeks when plants are moved outdoors.

•  can be set up and taken down quickly and easily •  create gardens with a minimal impact to homes and rental properties •  allow for separate garden spaces to be created easily for separate vegetative and blooming gardens, quarantine areas or temporary gardens to establish plants for outdoor growing •  are sturdy but flexible to eliminate breaking or snapping •  are non-toxic •  are adjustable and can be modified

Really making it work It is becoming increasingly popular for vegetable gardeners to start their plants indoors before moving them outside in late spring. This gives them a head start allowing them to start their plants earlier without fear of frost. Indoor grow tents are so versatile

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011


Constructing a Grow Tent - Easy as 1...2...3


Begin to construct your grow tent by assembling the tent poles from the ground up. Start at one corner piece and install the top poles.


3 40

Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2011

After unpacking the tent, unzip its main zipper as well as the top and bottom too. Drag the tent over the top of the frame, ensuring the vent port is on top. The floor of the tent can now be pulled under the frame and positioned properly.

Once the tent is properly positioned, install the roof supports. The tent can now be zipped and the viewing windows opened if desired. Happy growing!

Today most indoor gardeners take cuttings or clone plants that have desirable characteristics. Too often these plants are shared among fellow gardeners. Inadvertently they are also sharing pests. It is good practice to isolate or quarantine new plants in a separate garden to observe them for pests. This quarantined area can also be used to treat plants with pests before you introduce them into the main garden. This is a great idea that can save you from a serious pest infestation in your garden. Often after building a grow room the grower realizes it would be nice to have a separate (second or even third) grow space. If not as a quarantine area, the additional space could be used

to grow parent material for cuttings (motherplants). Or, it could be a vegetative room featuring a long day light cycle to help your plants grow large and healthy before transferring them into a bloom room with a short day cycle. Having two (or more) separate areas allows you to grow your plants under 18 hours of light until they have reached the desired bloom height. Then you can

move them into your bloom room with 12 hours of light. This has a number of advantages. First, you can have a perpetual harvest by harvesting a few plants every week while having replacements ready to go in the garden. Another advantage is that by eliminating the veg time you can have more harvest cycles in a given period of time. MY

“Having two (or more) separate areas allows you to grow your plants under 18 hours of light until they have reached the desired bloom height. “

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011



Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011



AT A GLANCE Store Name: Aztec Garden Owner: Rob and Nicky Taylor Location: Unit 1 Rougham Industrial Estate, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk Phone: ++44 (0) 135 927-1876 Email: Motto:: “Quality products and quality advice. Why? Because our reputation depends on it.”


Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2011

ob and Nicky Taylor have a bit of a pedigree when it comes to their family-run hydroponics store—Rob grew up in a garden centre, and the two were already running a successful landscaping business when they caught the indoor gardening bug. “From quite a young age working at the family garden centre I managed to gain a pretty vast knowledge of various hydroponic systems and plant management techniques,” Rob tells us. And it wasn’t too hard for the couple to figure out where the industry was heading, he says. “Hydroponic systems have been gaining rapid popularity due to ease of use and relatively fast growth rates. With the big drain on the planet’s current resources, we both believe hydroponics is the future of crop production.” The Taylors opened their retail outlet in October 2010 in the quiet market town of Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, alongside Rob’s landscape design and plant strategies business. Every start-up retail shop has its challenges, and for Rob and Nicky finding a storefront with just the right combination of amenities was the most important thing. “Finding the right location was the hardest part,” says Nicky. “Customer parking with ease of access was essential. We eventually found a great place with all of those qualities and a loading bay, which meant we could assist customers with loading in bad weather.” The new location was exactly what the Taylors had been looking for, and business was pretty good right from the get-go. “Word spread quickly that the shop was open, explains Rob, “and with such a convenient location and a vast choice of products and systems to choose from, the business has seen a steady growth in trade.” Although Rob and Nicky are always around to offer informed advice, they have found that showing their customers what works by using the products in their shop is the best way to disseminate product information. “We believe in always giving honest advice and providing great customer service—along with carrying a huge array of

Hydroponics advocate and co-founder of Aztec Garden.

Rob’s wife Nicky and Aztec Garden’s co-founder.

products to choose from, all in a convenient location,” says Rob. “In the showroom, all the systems we stock can be seen working, and as such we are able to offer hands-on demonstrations.” It’s one thing to tell customers that a product works— but a far more effective method to actually show them what it does. “We believe demonstrating the products at work in the showroom gives our customers a better opportunity to make an informed decision on what system is best for them,” Nicky confirms. The Taylors started small—just the two of them at first while they ironed out the kinks in their new business and gradually got to know all their customers. “Aztec Garden is a family-run business—which allows us to provide a more personal approach with our customers,” says Rob. “For the first couple of months the shop was run exclusively by myself and my wife Nicky, who took care of the financial side of the business.” Things soon got busier, though, and with the landscaping business still to be looked after and sales increasing every day, it was time to look for the kind of part-time retail help that would fit right in with this close-knit family enterprise. “As trade increased,” Rob explains, “we took on knowledgeable staff to assist with the shop sales side of the business, which has allowed me to develop the online shop and my landscape design business.” For Rob and Nicky, listening to their customers is always the first order of business. “We listen carefully to what our customers want and offer quality products that we can truly stand behind,” Rob says. The other key to their business success has been keeping up with rapidly changing product innovations in the grow business. “The customer is the most important element in any business,” says Rob, “but product knowledge is also absolutely key, and the ability to keep ahead with all the latest developments in the fast moving world of the hydroponics industry is essential. For

“It’s one thing to tell customers that a product works—but a far more effective method to actually show them what it does.” instance,” he continues, “we were the first shop in Suffolk to stock the MiniMax 150 Digi Light—which was the first item to be sold from the shop—and this item has proven to be a big hit with gardeners where heat and confined space are issues.” Rob has some ideas about where the industry is headed. “Soilless culture in its various forms has increased in popularity over the years, although media-based growing is still very popular due to its forgiving nature,” he tells us. “More and more people are going to be turning to hydroponics due to the increased growth rates and the minimal waste these systems produce, and in our increasingly environmentally conscious society this has become an extremely important factor!” Finally, Nicky sums up the Taylor’s business philosophy for us: ‘‘ ‘Quality products and quality advice. Why? Because our reputation depends on it’—that’s our company motto, and it’s how we run our shop. We think our company’s strengths are the ability to keep ahead in a fast-moving industry by offering all the big brands and the latest products, coupled with sound advice and friendly service.” It sounds like the folks at Aztec Garden have got it pretty much figured out. MY Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2011


PRODUCT spotlight

Continued from page 19

Introducing General Organics General Organics (GO) is the first complete line of superior organic liquid nutrients and supplements from the global leader in premium plant foods General Hydroponics Europe. The products are sustainably sourced, and produced with solar power for the lowest possible environmental impact. BioThrive Grow and Bloom offer essential nutrients for thriving crops. BioMarine enhances soils and boosts plant growth. CaMg+ will benefit your plants’ ability to transport calcium and micronutrients. BioRoot encourages beneficial microbial activity in the root zone. BioWeed creates plant and soil vitality. BioBud provides flowering plants with minerals, humates and amino acids. Diamond Black is an exceptional source of plant active humates. To learn more visit a hydroponics retailer near you.

X-Stream Aeroponic Propagator The X-Stream Aeroponic Propagator from Nutriculture promotes fast and strong root development, with cuttings ready to transplant in just 10 to 14 days. Cuttings are placed in mesh pots using neoprene clone collars. The pots are then suspended inside a misting chamber and the stems of the cuttings are constantly sprayed with a mist of nutrient solution. Cuttings have stronger, thicker roots and the lack of growing medium means there is less risk of pests and disease. The X-Stream Propagator offers easy access to the pump and nutrient solution so you can check progress without disturbing plants. Suitable for transplanting to any growing medium or growing system. Available now at indoor gardening retail stores across the UK.

Plagron Start-up for Optimum Growth Plagron Start-up is an organic liquid fertilizer that offers every young plant the best start for the first weeks of life. Start-up contains a sophisticated blend of root stimulators, vitality products, natural growth hormones and stimulating nutrients for the proper development of germinated seeds, rooted cuttings and young plants. Start-up is the ideal product for growers who don’t want to have to closely monitor their crops day and night. The ideal ratios of all the required nutrients are contained in one single bottle. With Start-up you can be sure your plants get off to a good start. For further information visit your favourite indoor gardening shop.

New From Root Pouch - Hydro/Culture Fabric Pots Root Pouch’s new Hydro/Culture Fabric Pots were designed with one thing in mind, to create better roots in a sustainable and environmentally sound product. Made from the same porous, breathable fabric Root Pouch is known for, but in a lighter density fabric of only 90 grams per square metre, designed specifically for hydroponic applications. Root Pouch Hydro/Culture Pots allow for nutrients and air to freely pass through to nurture the root system and create dense and fibrous root structures. Perfect for flood trays, flood and drain, re-circulating, ebb and flow, drip systems, SWC and DWV. Available in hydro shops near you. 46

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

PRODUCT spotlight

Stay Clean With Utility Aprons From Boldtbags The Utility Apron from Boldtbags is the ultimate splashguard made of durable PVC-lined material that’s just a wipe away from clean. It features a large pocket and loop to keep a filter sheet and mixer handy and rustproof nickel plated grommet details for long-lasting strength. Order Boldtbags’ Utility Aprons from your local gardening shop today.

The New NanoTech T5 Reflector by SunBlaster SunBlaster Lighting engineers used the most advanced reflective surface available for this reflector. Made possible only through the application of nanotechnology, this revolutionary reflective surface has the ability to capture lost light (99 per cent), and simultaneously convert that light into the brightest, most brilliant light we have ever produced. The metallic crystal layer within the reflective surface helps spread the T5 light across the plant canopy diffusing it deep into the plant foliage. The NanoTech T5 increases lumen availability up to 300 per cent. The NanoTech T5 Reflector is made exclusively for the New SunBlaster T5HO. Order the NanoTech T5 Reflector from your favourite indoor gardening retailer today.

Do you want to be included in the product spotlight? Contact the editor at 1-250-279-2677 or email

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011



Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011



COMING UP IN march april july - august 2011

Root Chillin’ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

HEPA filters will remove more than 90 per cent of negative pathogens that could infect the garden and 99 per cent of insects such as spidermites, thrips, whiteflies and fungus gnats. Green roofs cool the air and reduce ozone formation, a process that is badly needed in cities where temperatures are much higher. Fungus gnats carry disease spores on their bodies that can easily infect damaged roots. Sometimes leaves begin to yellow and there is nothing wrong with the plant. Yellowing leaves are just a natural part of the plant’s lifecycle— they turn yellow and fall off when they get old. CO2 levels are generally most effective on plants at levels ranging from 800 to 1,500 PPM, and for periods in excess of at least 30 minutes. Scientists have shown for the first time that humans and plants share a common pathogen recognition pathway as part of their innate immune systems. When a plant’s root zone becomes too cold it is also unable to take up adequate amounts of magnesium. The ideal root zone temperature is between 18 to 24°C.

Heat caused by intense light, small spaces and limited air exchange can contribute to heat build-up in your plants’ root zones. Stay in control with these chillin’ tips.

Plant Nutrient Elements The six “accepted” macronutrients found in plant tissue are discussed, with their role in plants, hydroponic source, deficiency symptoms and excess symptoms highlighted.

For Peat’s Sake Peat is formed in unique ecosystems so when it is dug up, the ecosystems are disrupted. Luckily environmental alternatives do exist with advantages that your plants will love.

Talking Shop With… Cheshire Hydroponics, suppliers of quality hydroponic supplies at affordable prices.

+ Growing beets for health, climate control, plants and sounds, new products, industry news, event updates, new UK-exclusive competitions and more!

Maximum Yield UK (July/August) will be available July 1 for FREE at selected indoor gardening retail stores across the UK and on Subscriptions are available at

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011




Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2011

Maximum Yield UK 2011  

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

Maximum Yield UK 2011  

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