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UK November - December 2010


water for hydroponics getting the most for your plants

pH - Why it Matters INSECT INVASION

Be Prepared!

Coming up on the Web



VOLUME 10 – NUMBER 4 November/december 2010 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.

Featured Articles Demystifying Nutrient Solutions The objective of this article is to provide the reader with an understanding of how to formulate and use a nutrient solution for a hydroponic growing system. Maddening Mildew Powdery mildew, a frustrating and oftentimes reoccurring disease, can be conquered. This article helps you understand how it develops and spreads and exactly what you’re up against. Agricultural Apocalypse Urban gardeners around the world can hone their skills for the day when small scale food production takes its rightful place in the food chain and becomes a prestigious and lucrative activity.

Get in the Know Are you a subscriber to Maximum Yield’s E-News? You should be, and here’s why: Every month, Maximum Yield mails out our free newsletter full of the latest news, grow tips, upcoming events and more. Subscribe today at and get in the know.

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If undeliverable please return to the address above. The views expressed by columnists are a personal opinion and do not necessarily reflect those of Maximum Yield or the Editor. Publication Agreement Number 40739092 PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER - Jim Jesson GENERAL MANAGER - Don Moores BUSINESS MANAGER - Linda Jesson SALES DIRECTOR - Lisa Lambersek EDITOR - Jessica Raymond ADVERTISING SALES 250.729.2677 Linda Jesson - Lisa Lambersek - Ilona Hawser - Gaby Morin - Ashley Heppell - PRODUCTION & DESIGN Mike Linden - Wes Cargill - Daniel Peters - Nicole Tennison - ACCOUNTING - Lee Anne Veres

Our industry has some cool new offerings that will help your garden grow. This month on we spotlight: CubeCap’s newest DripCap, the award winning EarthBox and so much more.

Connect with Maximum Yield • •

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


Dr. Lynette Morgan holds a B. Hort.

Roland Evans is lifelong gardener

Donald Lester is the plant

Peggy Bradley is the executive director

and CEO of Organic Bountea. As a student and teacher of Holistic Systems, he actively promotes an ecological approach to cultivation using the Soil Food Web. Trained as a psychologist, Roland also writes on the interface between gardening and personal growth.

Tech. degree and a PhD in hydroponic greenhouse production from Massey University, New Zealand. Lynette is a partner with SUNTEC International Hydroponic Consultants and has authored five hydroponic technical books. Visit consultants.htm and www.suntec. for more information.

for Carbon Question International. She has a master’s degree in civil engineering and works in the field of hydroponics, specializing in using the technology to help humans reduce their impact on the earth. She was nominated for the Japan Institute of Technology Environmental award and completed the Children’s Hydroponic Exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

products manager at JH Biotech, Inc., a California based agricultural technology company with 27 OMRI certified products. Donald has a master’s degree in agronomy with an emphasis in entomology. He is an agricultural scientist with over 10 years of research experience and 50 scientific publications to his credit.

Emma Cooper is the voice of the

Alternative Kitchen Garden podcast and writes about kitchen gardening and environmental issues. An edible plant geek, she tries to grow her own food sustainably with the help of a reluctant husband and two pet chickens. Visit for more information.


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, which has thousands of unique visitors monthly.

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

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

CONTENTS november / december 2010 FEATURES 18 24


Hydroponic H2O: Water Quality and Treatment


Insect Invasion


ISH in Niger: Ongoing Food Crisis Addressed on the Edge of the Sahara

by Dr. Lynette Morgan by Charlene Rennick

by Peggy Bradley


Why Should I Care About pH?


Sun and Soil: The Wonders of Winter Maxi Mulch


Understanding and Using Trichoderma Fungi


Pass the Parsley

by Charlene Rennick by Roland Evans by Donald Lester

by Emma Cooper





From the Editor


Letters to the Editor


Simon Says


MAX Facts


Product Spotlight


Talking Shop


You Tell Us


Do You Know?


Coming up in January/February


Max Mart


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


FROM THE editor

jessica raymond

As the weather gets colder, the passion for indoor gardening accelerates. Knowing that you can be eating your own grown fresh vegetables for your Christmas dinner is inspiration to get started with a new crop now. This issue we help you with all the tools to get growing, starting off with an article by Dr Lynette Morgan outlying the importance of water quality on the health of your garden. Follow that with ph care and how to be prepared for the possibility of insect invasion you will have some great tips to improve your grow. Add that with four pages of great new products you can find at your favorite grow shop or even add to your Christmas wish list, you will be on your way. This issue features an exclusive interview with marketing director of Future Harvest

Development Europe, Peter Common. Here Peter discusses the benefits of phosphorus and potassium and environmental control in the grow room. Know that you will love the feature and the additional interview feature with Peter on this month. Our retail spotlight this issue showcases Greensea Hydroponics, a family owned hydro shop in Mildenhall, Suffolk. For over 20 years, owner Jackie, Justin and Jon have shared their knowledge and passion for helping others master their grow. Stay connected to for updates on our exclusive 2011 contests for our UK Jessica Raymond, Editor readers. Happy holidays from Maximum Yield!

letters to the editor Food Grows in Concrete Jungle

Growing Green for Free

What an awesome world we live in where even crowded urban centres offer a chance to connect with the natural world. I appreciate that you recognized “Wildman” Steve Brill and his foraging adventures. I talked my partner into joining me on one such adventure. Not only did we have a great time, but we learned a heck of a lot and got the real, unveiled view of our city and its food offerings. I frequent YouTube to check out his videos. Another naturalist to check out on YouTube is Andrew Price, based in South Wales. His videos follow him on an outdoor food journey—on the beach, in hedges and in the woods—as he discovers nature’s edibles. You should check it out.

I am so excited to have won the Green Air HyperGrow hydroponic kit in your Win Big…Grow Big contest. I can’t wait to try out my new grow pot. Your magazine is great and you have very informative articles. I really look forward to reading your upcoming issues. I always learn something new. Keep up the good work and thanks for having this contest and giving out some great free stuff. Paul Garces

Adam Garrison

Helping Hands Worldwide

One of my customers recently told me how helpful your magazine is. I would like to receive a few copies for myself and customers of my market stall where I stock books on vegetable, fruit and herb cultivation. Please can you let me know how much it costs to receive in the UK? Look forward to hearing from you. Lynda Clark

Maximum Yield is available for free at thousands of indoor gardening retail stores across the United Kingdom and on Personal subscriptions are also available by visiting or calling 1-250-729-2677.


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

Maximum Yield reserves the right to edit for brevity.

We Want To Hear From You! Write Us At: Maximum Yield Publications Inc. 2339A Delinea Place, Nanaimo, BC Canada V9T 5L9 or

SIMON says

Hello Simon, I grow about 30 tomato plants each year hydroponically and have employed cloning techniques using the plant’s laterals as new plant starters. This ensures that I am growing the best plants all season long by selecting the best specimens. I have to replace plants regularly as the vines become somewhat unmanageable after a while. My question is why don’t commercial tomato growers use cloning techniques? Is it because of the resultant: root structure, plant longevity, premature fruit formation, authenticity of the clone or some other reason that I have not considered here? A clone can be developed between five to 10 days and takes about half the time of a seedling to produce without the cost of the seed, which is very high for hybrid varieties. Thanks Gerald Rim

Great Question Gerard! As you no doubt are aware, tomatoes root easily from cuttings. For the home gardener this can be a great way to use unwanted vegetative growth to stagger production times. Remember to take off this suckering material on indeterminate (vining) tomatoes or the plant will focus on foliage production and not tasty fruit. In commercial greenhouses there are other considerations at work beyond a new batch of plants to grow. First this would increase the production costs for the grower. There would have to be space set aside for the facilities required for this stage in growth and also workers would have to be trained with new skill sets. Most growers will start from plugs or small plants that have been shipped in. It is also difficult to the uniformity of plant material that growers want from young plants when using asexual reproduction. Seedlings are generally much more consistent to work with because foliage and root development is generally quite homogenous throughout the crop.

As you alluded, there is also the issue of breeder’s rights. Unlicensed propagation is a serious issue in horticulture. Working to develop new varieties is a long and expensive process. Once tested and positioned in the market breeders need to recover their costs. The lifespan of a new variety in mainstream production is a limited window of three to five years before being replaced by a new variety. As an organic grower, I would also mention that breeding of new varieties isn’t necessarily geared towards things the home gardeners are looking for. Taste and texture are generally far less important than vigour and shelf life when commercial breeders are developing new varieties for market. Although the newest varieties are never available for home gardeners, remember that heirloom options can sometimes offer better attributes than the latest and greatest hybrids in seed catalogues. Good luck in the garden.

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


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010



hydroponic news, tips and trivia from around the world

Elephant Dung to Power Green Energy Plans at Paignton Zoo _________ Managers at Paignton zoo in Devon aim to use their elephants’ digestive ruminations to create biogas that can be burned to generate electricity, helping to reduce the zoo’s energy bills and carbon emissions. The zoo’s two elephants alone produce two tonnes of dung every week. Paignton and its sister zoo, Newquay zoo in Cornwall, have signed up to the 10:10 campaign and pledge to meet the campaign’s goal to reduce their carbon emissions by 10 per cent by the end of 2010. The zoo has already set up an experimental vertical hydroponic food system, which allows it to grow animal feed on site. The zoo estimates that this will not only reduce its feed bill by up to £100,000 per year, but also cut emissions caused by importing specialist foods. The system uses five per cent of the water used by conventional agriculture. (Source:

A Woman’s Touch __________ When you’re trying to protect an entire planet, it seems pretty silly to leave half of its human inhabitants out of the discussion, but that’s exactly what’s happening to women in many parts of the world, according to a recent report on the Inter Press Service (IPS) news wire. Local projects in Afghanistan and Honduras, however, show what can be accomplished when women are allowed to take the lead on environmental issues. The IPS reported that “women provide up to 90 per cent of the rural poor’s food and produce up to 80 per cent of food in most developing countries, and yet they are almost completely ignored when policy decisions are made about agriculture and biodiversity.” According to figures from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the IPS added, women in developing countries collect 80 per cent of the wild edibles and save up to 90 per cent of the seeds used in small-scale agriculture.The U.N. hopes to tap this knowledge with a strategic plan for the Convention on Biological Diversity that will “ask countries to ensure women are involved in decisions regarding biodiversity—including agriculture.” (Source:

GM Salmon Deemed Safe for Human Consumption _________________________ With fish stocks around the world depleted by overfishing and disrupted by climate change, farm-raised salmon stands as a viable alternative. This fall, though, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a potentially dangerous step, ruling that genetically modified (GM) salmon is safe for human consumption. The agency found that even though the genetically altered salmon carry elevated levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a suspected carcinogen, those levels are so minute that they pose no health risk. Consumer and governmental wariness has so far prevented genetically modified foods from taking over our grocery shelves in the European Union, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Likewise, consumer organizations are fighting against genetically modified salmon, warning the population about the environmental, toxic and even allergenic hazards posed by “mutant salmon.” The FDA won’t make a final decision until later this year, after a round of public hearings. In the end, the battle over genetically modified salmon is emblematic of a larger problem: an ongoing shift away from real food in favour of substances concocted in a lab. (Source:

Subway Japan Rolls Out In-Store Hydroponic Lettuce Factories ____ A new branch of Subway Japan in Tokyo will feature a hydroponic vegetable growing station in the middle of the store. Lettuce will be grown at the Marunouchi Building location, and the company is looking into other such onsite farming projects to offer different types of fresh produce to its customers. Seats are arranged around the hydroponic set-up so you can enjoy a meal awhile watching lettuce grow. (Source:


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010




hydroponic news, tips and trivia from around the world

A Mini Living Garden Postcarden is the innovative company that has designed postcards, similar to the greeting cards with a seed implanted within, that grow into a lush garden in an adorable diorama after opened. After setting up the garden and adding water, seeds usually sprout within three days. The plant, a grassy herb-like fauna, will last approximately two to three weeks and requires minimal sunlight and care, making it an easily cultivated novelty for anyone without a green thumb. Postcarden’s cards are available in stores across the UK. Source: Unites Farmers with Willing Volunteers and Workers _________________ Are you looking to volunteer or work part or full time on a farm? Do you fancy picking fruit for a weekend or even for a season? Are you curious where your nearest local farm is that sells local, organic produce for the right price? is the site for you. This website is simple and easy to navigate. Their goal is “to help grow a community of 50 million new small-scale organic farmers.” You can volunteer, or you can look for a job. You can go and help pick fruit for a weekend, or work for a season. You can check out a farm close to where you live or take the opportunity to travel to a farm further afield and get room and board. There is also a section to post exactly what you are looking for, whether you are a farmer or a worker. Currently there are about 2,100 farms listed. (Source:,

Luteolin Stars in Study of Healthful Plant Compounds _____________________ Natural compounds in plants may protect us against unwanted inflammation. Certain kinds of inflammation can increase risk of cancer and of some other disorders, including heart disease and insulin resistance. On-going studies built upon earlier research suggest luteolin, quercetin, chrysin, eriodicytol, hesperetin and naringenin act as anti-inflammatory agents. All six plant compounds target an enzyme known as “TBK1.” Each compound inhibits, to a greater or lesser extent, TBK1’s ability to activate a specific biochemical signal. If unimpeded, the signal would lead to formation of gene products known to trigger inflammation. Of the six compounds, luteolin was the most effective inhibitor of TBK1. Luteolin is already known to have anti-inflammatory properties. The approaches that the researchers developed to uncover these compounds’ effects can be used by scientists elsewhere to identify additional antiinflammatory compounds present in fruits and vegetables. Source:

Nutrient Retention of Safer Salads Explored _________ Irradiating salad leaves after washing reduces harmful and non-harmful micro-organisms. Scientists have looked into the effect of various levels of irradiation on concentrations of four vitamins and four carotenoids in two popular baby-leaf spinach cultivars. For the study, two spinach cultivars were grown, harvested, sanitized and packaged according to industry practices. Each cultivar was packaged in both air or nitrogen gas to extend shelf life. The cultivars then were exposed to up to 2.0 kiloGrays (kGy) of radiation in 0.5 kGy increments. Following irradiation the four nutrients—folate, E, K and neoxanthin—exhibited little or no change in concentration with increasing levels of irradiation. Levels of lutein/ zeaxanthin and B-carotene were reduced on average by 12 per cent at the 2.0 kGy level, which is within the range of natural variation. In addition, irradiation decreased ascorbic acid levels by 42 per cent, mainly due to irradiation converting vitamin C to an oxidized form called dehydroascorbic acid. (Source:


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

An Urban Orchard Appears in London ____________________ The Union Street Urban Orchard, created on an abandoned site in the east end of London, was an essential component of the London Festival of Architecture. It served to bring urban spaces alive and bring back nature to the inner city. The garden housed a greenhouse, a living wall and a tire garden, among other features. There were also fruits and vegetables grown. The garden was also home to the LivingARK, a zero-carbon pod made of fir and insulated with sheep’s wool. The roof was green with layers of grass and sedum laid on a rubber undermat. It was completely off-grid” the water was gathered from Photo by Mike Massaro the rain and there was a compost toilet. Two hardy souls lived in it all summer long. They created ProjectARK “to gather and promote products, ideas and services that help against climate change. The Seed House was the most ethereal structure on the site consisting of an open shed and bottles. They were filled with donated seeds and then passed on to the next person that wanted them. Everything in the Urban Orchard was recycled and reused or given away at the end of the project. In September the garden was dismantled and all the trees were given to local estates and other community gardens to remain as a lasting legacy of the 2010 London Festival of Architecture. (Source:

Low-Maintenance Strawberry May Be Good Crop to Grow in Space _______ Astronauts could one day tend their own crops on long space missions, and university researchers have found a healthy candidate to help satisfy a sweet tooth—a strawberry that requires little maintenance and energy. Several cultivars of strawberries were tested and one variety, named Seascape, met the requirements for becoming a space crop. Strawberry plants are relatively small, meeting mass and volume restrictions. Since Seascape provides fewer, but larger, berries under short days, there is less labor required of crew members who would have to pollinate and harvest the plants by hand. Needing less light cuts down energy requirements. Seascape also steadily supplied fruit throughout the test period. The plants kept producing fruit for about six months after starting to flower. Researchers next plan to test Seascape strawberries using LED lighting, hydroponics and different temperature ranges. (Source:

Controlled Aquaculture _______________________________________________________ Fast-growing, farm-raised salmon and trout that are sterile can now be produced using a method that blocks reproduction. This method allows researchers to more efficiently and reliably produce fish that have three sets of chromosomes. Fish with the extra set of chromosomes can’t reproduce, so the energy from the food they eat is shifted from reproduction to growth. Bigger fish for consumers and sterile fish for producers and anglers are the goals. Researchers and biologists have investigated the earliest stages of fish development, and developed a more effective way to produce rainbow trout that have four sets of chromosomes. Those trout are then crossed with typical fish that have two chromosome sets, yielding offspring that have the desired three sets of chromosomes. Fish physiologists have improved on that method, and preliminary studies have expanded its application to Atlantic salmon, brook trout and brown trout. They are also in the process of breeding these fish for experiments that will determine whether three-chromosome-set fish are good performers in terms of production traits such as growth to market size, stress tolerance and disease resistance. (Source: MY Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


PRODUCT spotlight

See it. Want it. Find it at your local indoor gardening store. CANNA Calendar 2011 _______________________________________________________ The CANNA calendar girls have not been sitting still, working hard to bring you a beautiful calendar for 2011. The 2011 CANNA Calendar features 13 new pictures. Please visit your local hydroponics shop to pick one up. A special promotion for readers of Maximum Yield, we are giving away 10 calendars. The first 10 readers to email with the words CANNA Calendar 2011 in the subject line and a reason why they want to receive it, will win. You can also download the calendar from

GHE’s Award Winning WaterPack-ACS We are proud to announce that the WaterPack-ACS, our latest grow module, won the European Product Award 2010. The WaterPack-ACS is a small hydroponic system that is practical, efficient and user-friendly. It allows you to grow your favourite plants at home at little cost. The WaterPack-ACS is manufactured with heavy-duty, recycled plastic. It contains UV and light barriers to protect the roots from light and algae growth. Each unit comes with a free of one litre Flora Series, assembly instructions and “The Basics,” a short but detailed information booklet on nutrient and system management. Pick up a WaterFarm at your local indoor gardening shop.

LightWave T5 Lighting __________________ The most efficient, high-intensity low-heat horticultural lighting available is the LightWave T5 fluorescent fixture. The LightWave features a purpose designed wide dispersion reflector designed to cover a larger growing area than standard fluorescent fixtures. These lights have become a sensation in the UK marketplace over the last few months. Now there is truly a fluorescent alternative for all stages of plant growth as well as for fish and reptiles. We love these lights and cannot recommend them highly enough. Available from your local Growth Technology stockist.


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

Smarten Up With Smart Garden® Plant Starter by Nutrifield® Smart Garden Plant Starter® (previously X10 Boost) provides the essential nutrition for young plants during the cutting stage. It causes rapid root production to help seedlings and cuttings develop. Plant Starter stimulates the extension of a plant’s root system, ensuring reproductive success and increasing drought resistance. Plant Starter also provides protection from parasitic fungi and nematode infection by effectively increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in your medium, therefore, restoring the biobalance to your plant’s health. For more information about this product, please visit your nearest indoor gardening shop.

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


PRODUCT spotlight

See it. Want it. Find it at your favourite indoor gardening store.

Stimulate Your Rootz ___________________________________________ Cash Crop’s Rootz in an organic based root stimulator. Consisting of a special blend of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, humates, microelements and natural hormones derived from seaweed kelp, leonardite rock and natural minerals, Rootz is made for performance in hydroponic applications. Use Rootz in the early stages of plant growth. Can also be used as a stimulator for seed germination and root stimulant for cuttings. For more information visit a hydroponics retailer near you.

Hanna Instruments Upgrades Combination Meter ______________________ Humboldt Nutrients Honey Hydro Carbs for Every Type of Garden - Now in the UK Beneficial micro-organisms thrive on carbohydrates. Sugars allow multiple biochemical processes to take place effectively by supplying free energy to this microscopic world. The sugars, left over once these processes take place, are then used by the plant to increase the brix and sugar levels of fruits and flowers. Humboldt Nutrients Hydro Carbs increases the yield and quality of your crop. It supplies the same high quality sugars along with calcium in a thinner formula designed for use in hydroponic gardens. Try Humboldt Nutrients Hydro Hydro Carbs today and see what the buzz is about. Available at Sub-Garden Supplies.

Hanna Instruments presents the HI 9813-6N meter, upgraded from the HI 9813-6 meter. It is a versatile, water resistant, multi-parameter (pH/EC/TDS), portable meter specifically designed for agricultural applications such as hydroponics, greenhouses, farming and nurseries. It features a larger LCD screen, tutorial messages for calibration, a new battery level indicator and lowered calibration knobs, which prevents calibration loss. The HI 9813-6N uses our exclusive Cal Check™ feature to check probe calibration status at any point during measurement. Ask for the Order meters for the HI 9813-6N meter today at your local indoor gardening shop.

Smarten Up With Smart Garden® Compost Tea Organic Accelerator by Nutrifield® ______________________________________________ Smart Garden® Compost Tea Organic Accelerator by Nutrifield® (previously Take Off) speeds up the activation of your compost. This organic plant invigorator decomposes dead roots, and if used as a foliar spray, fixes food directly to the leaves to increase plant health. Compost Tea Organic Accelerator is your dormant micro-organism arsenal that invigorates your plant’s rhizosphere. It also includes predatory micro-organisms to ward off pathogens and has the ability to fix minerals to enhance the uptake of nutrients and water. For more information about this product, please visit your nearest hydro shop.


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

Humboldt Nutrients Proudly Introduces Myco Madness – Now in the UK Myco Madness is a high-powered, soluble powder containing a bio-stimulant package well suited to a variety of media, soil conditions, climates and plants. Myco Madness contains beneficial mycorrhizal fungi that colonize plant roots and extend the root system into the surrounding media. Root systems grow faster, larger and more vigorous. Myco Madness helps in forming an essential link between plant roots, organic matter and fertilizers of all types. Efficient nutrition creates large, lush and flavourful fruits, vegetables and herbs. Available at Sub-Garden Supplies

Black Tray Huggers go Green Make an earth friendly decision with Tray Huggers, eco-gardening trays made from 100 per cent recycled materials. Tray Huggers are made from post consumer product and manufactured in a facility powered by solar energy. Tray Huggers come in two choices – white (85 per cent post consumer with a thin durable UV coating), and now black (100 per cent post consumer product). Tray Huggers are designed extra tough so you can be sure you’re purchasing a quality, sustainable alternative. Ask for Tray Huggers at your favourite indoor gardening shop.

Alpha-Mix - 100% Organic __________________ Alpha-Mix is precisely formulated from the best quality organic ingredients. It is designed to meet the demands of professional growers who are aiming for the best possible plants. It is based on carefully selected fractions of black peat and white sphagnum peat which form the basis of the blending. Additions of pure worm manure, lime and organic nutrients contribute to an ideal matrix for vigorous growth. Lava sand is also added for extra drainage and enhanced aeration of the root zone. This soil is blended to the highest possible standards and is described by one professional as the “next level in formulated soils”. We highly recommend it. Available from your local Growth Technology stockist.

Continued on page 48

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


Hydroponic H2O by Dr. Lynette Morgan

Good quality water is vital for a healthy hydroponic system, but just because what comes out of the tap is clean, clear and good to drink, doesn’t mean your plants will love it as well. Water quality and treatment focuses on making water safe for us, even if that means using disinfectant chemicals to kill human pathogens. Secondary focuses are in treating water so it won’t cause other hassles such as pipe corrosion, scale formation on appliances, unwanted odours and staining minerals. However, with municipal water treatment no real concern is given to plants or hydroponic systems, so growers are on their own in determining if their water supply is a problem and what to do about it. 18

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

Water Quality and Treatment

Municipal water supplies Many indoor gardeners are reliant on municipal water supplies and have few other options for a better quality water source. It’s likely that some plant losses have and do occur as a result of some municipal water supplies, particularly in sensitive species and in water culture systems where there is no media to act as a buffer. On the other hand, many municipal water supplies are quite suitable and given that they have had organic matter and pathogens removed already, are a good deal as far as hydroponic systems go. Interestingly plants have rather different responses and requirements from a water supply than humans and this is where problems can occur. Municipal water treatment ensures that drinking water meets the World Health Organization (WHO) and EPA standards for mineral, chemical and biological contamination levels, making it generally very safe to drink and use. However, what is safe for us to drink may not be so good for plant growth, particularly when we consider many hydroponic systems are recirculating which allows build up of unwanted contaminants in the plant root zone. Water treatment options used by municipal suppliers change over time and hydroponic growers should be aware of the implications of these. Many years ago the main concern was the use of chlorine as a disinfection agent to destroy bacteria and human pathogens. Chlorine had the advantage in that it disinfected water effectively; however, residual chlorine in water sources, which could often be detected by smell, could be toxic to sensitive plants and where it built up in certain hydroponics systems. Also when chlorine reacts with organic matter it forms substances (trihalomethanes), which are linked

There are many options for water treatment and even small growers can use RO, oxygenation and UV treatment systems.

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


Hydroponic H2O - Water Quality and Treatment to increased risk of cancer and other health problems. Chlorine was, however, quite easy to remove from water with the use of aeration or even just aging the water a few days before irrigating plants. In the 1990s it was found that some organisms such as Cryptosporidium were resistant to chlorine and the resulting health issues from this meant that drinking water regulations were changed and alternative disinfection methods began to be used. These included use of ozone and UV light, chloramines (chlorine plus ammonia) and chlorine dioxide. Filtration, flocculation, settling, UV and ozone used for water supply treatment are non-problematic as far as hydroponic systems go, as they leave no residue and are effective. However, use of chloramines and some of the other chemicals by municipal water treatment plants may still pose problems where high levels are regularly dosed into water supplies. Chloramines are much more persistent than chlorine and take a lot longer to dissipate from treated water, so gardeners who are concerned can use a couple of different treatment methods just as those with aquarium fish often choose to do. There are specifically designed activated carbon filters that can remove most of the chloramines in a domestic water supply and also ‘dechloraminating’ chemical or water conditioners available in

Water quality problems and their effects on plant growth are hard to diagnose, although root browning and stunted growth are common symptoms.

pet shops. Carbon filters must be of the correct type that have a high quality granular activated carbon and allow a longer contact time, which is required for chloramines removal. Even then not every trace may be removed, but levels are lowered enough to prevent problems. Use of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is also used in the industry, and by laboratories to remove chloramines from water after they have done their disinfection job. Chemicals are also added to drinking water to adjust its hardness or softness, pH and alkalinity. Water that is naturally acidic is corrosive to pipes and sodium hydroxide may be added to reduce this. Sodium is a contaminate we don’t need in hydroponic systems, but may be present at surprisingly high levels in certain water supplies. Domestic water softeners may also contaminate the water with sodium, which is not seen as a problem for drinking water, but can run amuck with a well balanced hydroponic system and sodium sensitive crop. “Root rot pathogens may originate in water, but they can come from a number of sources, including fungal spores, blown in dust or brought in by insects.”

Recirculating solution culture systems such as NFT have less buffering capacity to water treatment chemical residues than organic media-based systems.


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

What water problems may look like It’s extremely difficult to determine if something in the water supply is causing plant growth problems. Root rot pathogens may originate in water, but they can come from a number of sources, including fungal spores, blown in dust or brought in by insects. Mineral problems can be a little easier to trace if the water supply analysis is available to check levels of elements. Plant problems which may be caused by water treatment chemicals are difficult to diagnose as some plants are much more sensitive than others and the type of system also plays a role. Research studies have reported that chloramines in hydroponic nutrient solutions can cause growth inhibition and root browning in susceptible plants. One study reported that the critical chloramines amount at which lettuce plant growth

Young seedlings and clones are particularly sensitive to water quality problems.

was significantly inhibited was 0.18 mg Cl/g root fresh weight, however, the levels at which some other species would be damaged is as yet undetermined. Similar problems exist with the use of other water treatment chemicals; chlorine and hydrogen peroxide are good disinfection agents, but too much in the hydroponic nutrient will cause root damage and just what is a safe level is dependant on a number factors such as the level of organic loading in the system. Hard water Hard water is water that has a high mineral content, usually calcium and magnesium, with calcium present as calcium carbonate or calcium sulphate. Hard water can occur in wells and municipal sources and has a tendency to form hard lime scale on surfaces and equipment. A hard water supply is generally not a major problem for hydroponic gardens; calcium and magnesium are useful elements for plant uptake, however, high levels in the water can upset the balance of a nutrient solution making other ions less available. Commercial growers routinely use hard water supplies and adjust their nutrient formulation to take into account the Ca and Mg naturally occurring in the water and also adjust for any alkalinity problems with water acidification. Smaller growers can use one of the many excellent ‘hard water’ nutrient products on the market to get a similar effect. Ground water – wells Many commercial hydroponics growers use well water for hydroponic systems and adjust their nutrient formulations to suit the natural mineral content of their water supply. Smaller growers would be advised to find out what is in their well water source just to check for potential problems as water which has percolated through soils tends to pick up some minerals and in some areas, high levels of unwanted elements such as sodium or trace elements. Well water can also contain pathogens and may need Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


Hydroponic H2O - Water Quality and Treatment

Hydroponic lettuce plants are sodium sensitive and water supplies with high sodium levels may need RO treatment or frequent solution replacement.

treatment before use, although often it is just the mineral levels that need adjustment. Water from dams, lakes and springs is usually similar to well water, but can contain much higher revels of sediment, organic matter and fungal pathogen spores. Rain water Rain water collection can be a good way to bypass problems with municipal or well water in some areas; however, there are still some risks. Acid rain from industrial areas, sodium in coastal sites and high pathogen spore loads in agricultural areas can still occur. Generally rain water is low in minerals, but in the process of collection from roofs and other surfaces, can collect wind blown dust and fungal spores. While this is generally not a problem for healthy plants, rain water should be treated before use with young seedlings and clones where pathogens could infect sensitive tissue and open wounds. Solutions to water quality problems Organic material such as coconut fibre gives a greater buffering capacity for some water problems, including residues from chemical water treatments, than solution culture systems. Drain-to-waste media systems are also useful where the water supply contains unwanted elements such as sodium as these aren’t as susceptible to the accumulation that can occur where the solution is recirculated over a long period of time. Where problems with unwanted minerals and very hard water exist, frequent changing and replacement of the nutrient in the system can also be useful to keep things in balance. Water with a high alkalinity will need considerably more acid to keep the pH down to acceptable levels than water with low alkalinity;


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

however, by acidifying the water first before making up a nutrient solution or adding to the reservoir, much less acid will need to be added to the system to adjust pH over time. There are a range of other treatment options that indoor gardeners can use to improve the quality of their water supply. If pathogen contamination is an issue, slow sand filtration is one of the most effective methods, although perhaps not that practical for those with limited space. Chemical disinfection methods for pathogen control include hydrogen peroxide, chlorine and other compounds, although care should be taken that most of the active chemical has dissipated before the water is used to make up the nutrient solution. Heat, distillation, reverse osmosis and UV treatment can all be used for pathogen control, with many small RO and UV treatment systems now on the market. UV filters for aquariums can be used for small hydroponic growers to treat water with good success, provided sufficient contact time is allowed. If excess minerals or unwanted elements such as sodium are present in a water supply, reverse osmosis (RO) or distillation can be used to remove these. Organic matter in ground water sources can be removed with settling and filtration and treatment with H2O2, while chemical contamination problems and removal of water treatment compounds are more easily treated with the correct type of activated carbon filter with a sufficient contact time. Super-charged water for hydroponics While it seems logical that pure, clean and demineralised water is the best place to start when making up a hydroponic nutrition solution, the possibility of creating a water source that has certain benefits for plants is a relatively new

concept. Water is not just a carrier for essential nutrient ions, the nutrient solution becomes a whole biological system in its own right with organic matter, root exudates, various species of microbes including fungi, bacteria and their by-products (both good and bad), beneficial and unwanted mineral elements and a range of ‘additives’ growers may be using. Some studies have found that inexplicable growth increases could be obtained using certain ground water sources compared to rain or RO (essentially pure) water to make up a hydroponic nutrient solution Good quality water is the basis of a clean and indicating there healthy hydroponic system; contamination issues should be cleaned up before adding water to a may be natural system. factors in such waters that have benefits. Not all ground water sources have this effect; in fact, some can have negative influences on plant growth. Furthermore, another essential plant nutrient—oxygen in dissolved form—is usually present in water supplies; however, some water treatment processes can drive much of the dissolved oxygen (DO) out of a water source. In theory it Salt build-up and plant damage would be possible to not only remove those things in the can occur where certain high mineral water sources are used water we don’t want—pathogen spores, unwanted minerals, and not adjusted for. chemical residues from water treatment—but to also ‘boost’ the water with useful properties such as a high DO content, a population of useful and disease suppressant microbes and some natural and potentially beneficial minerals and compounds. One way of achieving this would be with the use of slow sand filters or mineral filters for water supplies, which are inoculated with beneficial microbes and with oxygenation of the water for a few days before making up nutrient solutions or topping up reservoirs. Further down the track we may see quicker and easier methods of ‘supercharging’ water for hydroponic systems, taking water quality to a whole new level of science. MY References: Effects of chloramines concentration in the nutrient solution and exposure time on plant growth in hydroponically cultured Seed germination is particularly sensitive to water quality, both in terms of chemical residues and pathogen spore contamination.

lettuce. Date S, Terabayashi S, Kobayashi Y and Fujime Y., 2005. Scientia Horticulturae Vol. 103 issue 3, pp 257.

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


t c e s In n

by Charlene Rennick

o i s a Inv

Meanwhile, back at the greenhouse... There are many ways that plant growth can be disrupted: insufficient light, not enough or too much water, imbalanced nutrients, not enough or too much humidity or lack of root development. In a hydroponic garden, these environmental controls are stabilized by the gardener, but occasionally indoor plants can be compromised by outside influences. Insects can destroy a crop in a relatively short period of time if the grower is not prepared for the onslaught. Bugs are sneaky. They can hitchhike into your home on fresh produce, potted plants, clothing or through an open door. These chompers with wings have different ways of attacking a plant. They can munch off the leaves it needs for development before it flowers or infiltrate the growing medium around the root system. Much like a military operation, the invasion of insects is organized, swift and specific. These flying teeth have goals. Sometimes an insect invasion is specific to one species of plant while others create a wider scope of destruction. What to look for and how to defend yourself Pests with teeth go for the fleshy part of the leaves, stems and flowers. They eat until there is nothing left but veins; a mere skeleton. Those without teeth still manage to make effective use of their mouths and will suck the sap right out of the plant. These bugs are trained in subterfuge and opt to attack from underneath the skin of the plant where they remain invisible to human detection.

! t a n g e th

Spot insects before the damage is done Even the stealthiest of insect attackers leave a trail of clues to follow. These can be used to establish their


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

c i x o t non-

Brightly painted strips of paper slathered with vaseline will attract and trap a variety of pests, keeping them away from your prized plants.

location and to expose their weaponry: teeth or without teeth. If teeth have been used, the carnage is obvious. Alternately, sap suckers are harder to detect. Plants that drop seemingly healthy leaves that have not discolored are one indication. A lifeless stem that cannot support the weight of the plant and failure to grow is another. An assessment of damage should be completed before any counterattacks are made. Can the plant come back from the injury or is it irreparable? Are the parts of the plant the bugs are using for food the same as yours or will you still have your harvest when it comes time? Is the damage to the plant going to prevent it from completing its growth cycle? Non-toxic pest control for hydroponic gardens If you think the plant can overcome the attack, there are non-toxic treatments that can be used to save the plant without making its fruit inedible for humans. If your problem is mites or other chomping bugs, spraying the plant with a canola oil mixture will suffocate them. Pyrethrin is a natural pesticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers and has been successful in destroying insects without harming to the plant. Other effective organic substances available that destroy bugs without causing harm to the plant, the environment or people include: • brightly painted strips of paper slathered with Vaseline • predator bugs • cider vinegar/dish soap mixture


Ongoing Food Crisis Addressed on the Edge of the Sahara by Peggy Bradley A food crisis is occurring in the Western African Country of Niger. In 2005, thousands of people died of hunger after a prolonged drought. Another drought of two years has created a far greater crisis with nearly eight million of Niger’s 15 million people in real danger of starvation. The United Nations Development Program ranks Niger as the second least developed country in the world. One Nigerian child in four dies before reaching five years of age. Food insecurity and malnutrition are widespread problems in Niger; the country suffers from food shortages every year. Now, aid agencies need $371 million to feed eight million people, including 925,000 acutely malnourished infants. So far, only $142 million has been received.


Maximum Yield UK  |  November / December 2010

ISH Response

Current Crisis

The mission of the Institute of Simplified Hydroponics (ISH) and Hydro for Hunger is to bring the technology of simplified hydroponics to those in need. ISH has partnered with a UK group called Quest Zoura to help a small village on the edge of the Sahara. Quest Zoura was started by Mervyn Church. It now supports a project in Handaga, a village on the edge of the Sahara with a population of approximately 750. The project is named after a child Mervyn sponsored through World Vision. Mervyn took advantage of the World Vision sponsor option to visit the child. He was the first child sponsor to visit the village of Handaga and since then there have been no others. He was the first white person to visit the village as far as can be ascertained from the villagers. Mervyn was far from satisfied with what he saw or the explanations proffered by World Vision Niger and the UK counterparts when they were challenged to provide full accountability for their project. In Handaga, 300 children have sponsors who pay about $32 per month to World Vision for their support. Mervyn estimates that $600,000 has been collected on behalf of these children in the nine years of the program’s operation. Mervyn has made eight subsequent visits. During each of these visits he has become disillusioned with the work undertaken by World Vision and the overall situation. The only help provided by World Vision was the construction of two bore holes and two classrooms for the school. No food or support has been offered to any of the 300 sponsored children.

The current crisis is very critical. Mervyn says people are going without any food for three days at a time. The school director, Ibro, reports children are born premature due to malnutrition and are dying without the fundamental basics: food, water and medical care. The temperatures are +44°C in the early afternoon, and the ground is dry as there has been no rain since last September. When Mervyn departed, there were still three months before the new millet could be harvested. The community exists on a basic diet of millet with no supplements, no vegetables—dried or otherwise—and the only additives are from tree leaves. All food is supplied via the WFP (World Food Programme). Traditionally the growing season is during the rainy months of June, July and August so the crops grown, such as millet and okra, are harvested at the end of the rainy season. These are then dry stored to provide food for the remainder of the year. Recognizing that this is not sufficient, the WFP, through donor countries, provide rice, millet and cooking oils to the village of Handaga and hundreds of villages throughout Niger. The latest mission to Handaga was completed in August 2010. Will Prosser, a California filmmaker, was with the group both to document the crisis in film and to help with the hydroponic instruction. Will has been producing training films for Grodan, and enlisted the help of ISH through the Grodan contacts. Mervyn and Will used the ISH Easy Gro kit to introduce simplified hydroponics to the villagers. The nine lesson

Village women lk

Millet on the sta

working in JTS


Handaga garde

Handaga village

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


ISH in Niger: Ongoing Food Crisis Addressed on the Edge of the Sahara

course was shown on computers powered by solar cells. Quest Zoura took six donated copies of the video course to Handaga and showed it to classes at nearby villages. As Mervyn explains, “The real hurdle is to somehow engage the villagers fully and immerse them in the process. For this reason, the team aims to show the villagers a film about how hydroponics can help to take charge of their own destiny. With hard work and determination they can take charge of their own destiny and not rely on the handouts from the WFP, which doesn’t always reach this particular region of Africa.”

Previous Efforts In past visits Mervyn built a tropical garden area, a design from JTS Seeds in France. He ring fenced the garden area to keep out goats and camels. The garden has nine metre long trenches that are first lined with a plastic membrane and then filled with compost and fertilizer. The trenches have a drip irrigation system that does not yet use fertilizers. The JTS tropical garden consists of plastic lined troughs, and a surface area of 60 square meters, can produce 700 kilograms of vegetables a year. The basic kit includes plastic sheets, covers for seed germination and plant growing, a drip irrigation system, fertilizer, a soil water retainer, a watering can with a fine spray nozzle and a cord and dibber, all costing about $800.

t husks

Gravel and mille

There are some problems with the JTS garden, most having to do with the need for water. By placing a plastic sheet underground, there is a danger of flooding during the rainy season. ISH has suggested modifications to the JTS Garden. The plan is to place aboveground troughs made of mud bricks about 20 centimetres tall. The bottom is again lined with plastic, but a drain hole is placed on the side of the grower to let out excess water. The other innovation is to add the nutrient for the plants to the water, or to grow with hydroponics. This should increase the growth rate of plants by about four times. The troughs should have a substrate of sand and gravel, and experiments are needed to find methods to reduce evaporation from the substrate surface.

Water Conservation The JTS garden uses a mesh over the plants to reduce evaporation. This innovation could be very useful in existing simplified hydroponic gardens. In the Tehuacan Mexico simplified hydroponic gardens, shade cloth is used to cover the crops and this can reduce water use by half. An unshaded garden uses two gallons per metre per day and a shaded garden uses four litres per metre per day. The existing drip irrigation system from the JTS garden can be used with hydroponic nutrients. That can be either an imported inorganic fertilizer or an organic fertilizer produced in the village.

Recent News On August 28, Will reported they completed the training at the village of Handaga. The school director in Handaga has requested a Simplified Hydroponics garden at the school to support the curriculum for elementary school children. Church and Prosser had meetings with several potential agencies to request funding for the Handaga Project and to introduce Simplified

stic is laid

Garden before pla




Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

Hydroponics to World Bank, UN FAO director in Niger, UNICEF administrator and the Farmer’s Cooperative. There is interest in starting school projects throughout Niger. Will pointed out they are looking for new ideas in Niger. “As fate would have it, we walked in as they are looking for a new approach to agriculture in Niger on a village level.” They gave an hour long presentation to the entire staff at the headquarters in Niamey on August 31. They used the presentation included in the support CD of the Easy Gro training course in addition to some French materials.

Help Needed Now The Institute of Simplified Hydroponics has a further donation of supplies for the Handaga school garden. This includes black plastic, seeds, nutrients and drains, all supplied by the donations of stores and manufacturers participating in Hydro for Hunger. The International ISH is also now writing grant proposals for all schools in Niger to build school gardens and experiment with local crops. While this may not be of immediate help in this critical time, it could help in reducing the need for more food aid in the future.

Anyone wishing to donate can send money to the Institute of Simplified Hydroponics 1860 E 166 Rd., El Dorado Springs, MO, 64744. Since the ISH is a 501-C-3 non-profit, donations are tax deductible. All funds collected by ISH will go directly to schools to help build and support Simplified Hydroponics gardens and curriculums. MY Simplified Hydroponics gardeners


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010



ABOUT pH? by Charlene Rennick

Have you ever wondered why the “p” in “pH” is a lower-case letter while the “H” is capitalized? What does it mean?

“The level of pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 with 0 representing the highest concentration of acid and 14 representative of the most alkaline.”


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

The “p” stands for potential and the “H” stands for hydrogen. Okay, so that makes it as clear as mud. What is potential Hydrogen? A scientific explanation would state that pH refers to the plant’s ability to attract hydrogen ions. A less scientific explanation says pH is the acid/alkaline balance. Translated into a language those of us without a PhD can understand, pH level refers to the acidity and alkalinity of both the water and the growing medium. If the environment is too acidic, that means the plant will not attract enough hydrogen, while an environment that is too alkaline will attract too much hydrogen. An environment that continually fluctuates from one extreme on the pH scale to the other is unhealthy for the plant. Hydrogen is one of four elements all living plants need to survive. Without hydrogen, the plant would wilt and not be able to take in nutrients. Plants absorb hydrogen through the water via a process called osmosis*. This hydrogen-osmosis cycle is what keeps nutrients travelling from the water into the plant. Once a plant has died due to lack of water, there is no amount of water that can be added to it that will revive it.

The level of pH is measured on a scale of zero to 14 with zero representing the highest concentration of acid and 14 representative of the most alkaline. Seven is the magic figure for pH because it means that there is a balance of acid and alkaline in the solution and is often referred to as pH neutral. It is usually sufficient to say that a pH neutral environment is perfect for most plants, but some vegetation requires water or a growing medium that is more acidic than alkaline in order to flourish or have the right colour of blossoms, while other plants prefer the opposite. Testing strips for pH can be purchased to determine exactly what the acid/alkaline balance is in your water or growing medium. A variety of instrumentation and meters are also available. These products make it easy to adjust the pH level for home gardeners or for mixing nutrients for your own hydroponic garden.

“Reverse Osmosis is contrived. That means it is not a naturally occurring phenomena.”

*Recycling Water via Osmosis Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a method of removing pathogens or disease-carrying organisms from water, especially in areas where safe drinking water is scarce. When used in hydroponics, rainwater is collected and then filtered through an RO system to make it clean and safe for agricultural use. Hydroponic systems collect the water used by the plants, filter it through reverse osmosis and then add nutrients to make it nutritious for plants. Osmosis is the name given to the process by which molecules, naturally and without any scientific intervention, move from a weaker solution to a stronger solution through any porous (permeable) membrane. Reverse Osmosis is contrived. That means it is not a naturally occurring phenomena. Pressure is used to reverse the flow of water back through a permeable membrane from a stronger, more concentrated area of mineral content to a weaker one. This forcibly removes salt and other minerals from sea water or very hard water that has a high calcium or magnesium content. The process uses a fine membrane as a filter to remove salt and minerals from water in addition to larger pieces of dirt and pollens. It doesn’t remove all harmful substances, though. Some contaminants and pollutants have particles that are so tiny that they slip through the membrane, so reverse osmosis is usually combined with a carbon filter to further purify the water. Because reverse osmosis strips most of the minerals from water, it becomes void of nutrients. In order to make it healthy for use in hydroponic gardens, nutrients have to be added for the plants. Neglecting to add nutrients to RO-filtered water would strip the plant of its own nutrients. MY

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


by Roland Evans of Organic Bountea

Sun And Soil:

The Wonders of Winter Maxi Mulch


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

Leaves in the garden

December is a dreary month for many outdoor gardeners—time to huddle indoors, devour the seed catalogues and dream of spring. Of course there are a few devoted and well-organized souls who do not allow the cold season to dampen their passion. They keep the garden fever going throughout the darker days. In our local gardening group, one of these winter heroines is Barbara Miller. Barbara bubbles with enthusiasm for all things organic, alive and growing. During the summer, her 371 square meters garden overflows with every imaginable vegetable, enough to supply many neighbours as well as a local gourmet restaurant. The secret of all that fertility is mulch - lots of mulch.

How Barbara gets her leaves.

For most of us, mulch means a layer of protective material a few centimetres deep. That is small potatoes for Barbara. Throughout the growing season she is always on the lookout for organic material to add to her garden beds and paths. Barbara is not too fussy. Sawdust and shavings from wood shops, spent hay and straw from the roadside or local farms, coffee grounds from coffee stores, grass clippings from the neighbour’s yards, even pine needles; everything is scavenged for her garden. Barbara is a proponent of the nodig school of organic gardening. Even when sowing seeds, she turns over only a few centimetres of soil and loosens it a little to allow the seeds to germinate. Planting vegetable starts is even simpler. She pushes aside the mulch, digs a hole and pops in the plant. Every seedling is surrounded and protected by layers of organic matter, growing deeper as the plant develops. After 10 years of mulching with little or no soil disturbance, Barbara has generated over 30 centimetres of moist crumbly dark humus; all she needs to grow amazing amounts of organic produce. After the fall harvest, as the garden is cleared, Barbara gets to work on her winter project – maxi mulching. From October onward, her mulch scavenging really takes off. Barbara puts a sign out on her street asking people to donate their plastic bags of dry leaves.

Bags in the snow

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


Sun and Soil: The Wonders of Winter Maxi Mulch

Greens during the winter

Last year, over 600 bags of leaves were left outside her door. She takes the plastic bags and tightly packs and layers them on specific parts of her garden, without emptying the contents. As Barbara puts it, “When I say mulch, I mean layers of bags two or more feet deep.” By November, her garden begins to look a bit like a municipal dump. She pays particular attention to all her root crops planted in late spring—potatoes, rutabaga, turnips, carrots, celeriac, parsnips and beets. When the plant leaves die back, she covers the roots with the insulating bags. The ground does not freeze. Instead, the bags creates a virtual root cellar in which the damp soil keeps the roots crisp and fresh; the moderate cold makes sure the veggies taste sweet. To harvest her winter carrots for example, she digs through the snow, lifts her bags and pulls the roots straight out of the soft ground. Her tender perennials are treated in a similar manner. Some she insulates where they grow. Others she moves from their summer home and buries in the ground on the north side of her garden shed, covered with her favourite leaf bags. The bags do double duty, protecting the plants from cold but also making sure the soil and roots do not dry out in the winter sun and wind.


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

I asked Barbara what happens to all those bags of maxi mulch. “In February or March I open up the bags and spread the leaf mulch all over the garden. So it doesn’t blow away in the wind, I cover it with hay. That helps it compact down,” she informed me. “What happens next is one of nature’s miracles. In short, the worms pull the leaves down into the ground, chew them up and create another layer of fertile leaf mould. By summer the leaves are all gone.” One question springs to mind about the effects of maxi mulching; does preventing soil from freezing foster more soil borne diseases? When I asked Barbara, she said she had never thought about it. In her vigorously growing garden, disease is not a problem. This may be because her soil ecology is so extraordinarily healthy. As Barbara says, “When I lift the bags of mulch in the depths of winter, the earthworms are writhing under there.” Massive colonies of worms are a clear sign the soil food web is vibrant and whole. Keeping the soil cool but not frozen may generate a more consistent growth of microbial life. Many soil bacteria are vulnerable to freezing and take time to regenerate as the soil warms up in the spring. Barbara’s mulching protects these colonies and gives her a jump-start to the growing season. Worms in the leaves Talking to Barbara makes me rethink my meager mulching program. I am going to keep an eye out for free organic matter, start scavenging for more bags of leaves and pile that maxi mulch on deep for the MY winter. I am sure my soil will be grateful. 

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


Understanding and using

trichoderma fungi by Donald Lester

There are many species of fungi, bacteria, viruses and protozoa commercially available for the biological control of insects, diseases and weeds. Some products offer mixtures of different organisms. This article will cover one particularly easy-to-use type of fungi that occurs naturally in soil and helps control soil diseases and break down crop residues to makes otherwise unavailable soil nutrients available to plants—Trichoderma. Trichoderma fungi have many positive effects on plants: increased growth and yield; increased nutrient uptake; increased fertilizer utilization efficiency; increased percentage and rate of seed germination; and induced systemic resistance to plant diseases (Harman et al., 2004). Moreover, their use as biological control agents is due to their modes of action: competition, parasitism, production of inhibitory compounds and enzymes or inactivation of the pathogen’s enzyme systems. Trichoderma actively takes over a root zone and makes it difficult for pathogens to compete for space on the roots and for nutrients. And in terms of parasitism, Trichoderma coils around the hyphae of pathogenic fungi and then produces enzymes to dissolve the pathogen’s cell walls. There is another kind of beneficial fungi that is commercially available to growers and also covers the roots to physically prevent disease infection and make nutrients available to the roots—Mycorrhizae. People often confuse the two fungi but mycorrhizal fungi are not parasitic like Trichoderma fungi. Trichoderma fungi produce powerful enzymes to dissolve crop residues and attack soil pathogens like pythium, Fusarium, and Rhizoctonia. Trichoderma produces two main types of enzymes:

cellulase and chitinase. Cellulose is a major component in plant fibres and crop residues. The enzyme cellulase breaks down cellulose. Similarly, chitin is a structural component in fungal cell walls. It is a strong material that is also a key component in insect exoskeletons. The enzyme chitinase breaks down chitin though Trichoderma and is not known to attack insects. Trichoderma switches back and forth on which enzymes to produce depending on the type of food source available. For example, when fresh bark is used in composts, Trichoderma fungi do not directly attack the plant pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. But, in decomposing bark the amount of readily available cellulose decreases, which activates the chitinase genes of Trichoderma, which in turn produce chitinase to parasitize Rhizoctonia solani (Benhamou and Chet 1997). What this means is that in the spring time when temperatures are low and pathogen activity is low Trichoderma will feed on the readily available cellulose from crop residues. Later in the season when the crop residues are exhausted and the pathogen load has increased Trichoderma will switch over to parasitizing the pathogens. It should be emphasized that the enzymes produced by Trichoderma are industrial strength compounds. Many people are unaware that their stone washed blue jeans are made using Trichoderma. There is no such thing as a true stone washed blue jean because no stones are used in the manufacturing process. Rather, the manufacturer puts denim jeans into a vat of Trichoderma reesii until the cellulase enzymes break down the denim to give the desired, faded, worn appearance (University of Wisconsin).

“Trichoderma actively takes over a root zone and makes it difficult for pathogens to compete for space on the roots and for nutrients.”


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

Aeroponics and Hydroponics Listed to the right and on the next page are some general guidelines and expectations for using Trichoderma in various greenhouse and hydroponic environments. As with any product, strict adherence to the label instructions is necessary for optimum performance.

Trichoderma use in aeroponic and hydroponic systems can eventually form a fibrous mat that can block pipes and nozzles used to irrigate the plants. Removal of this material is a time consuming process, which involves temporarily dismantling the irrigation system pipes and spaghetti tubing. In warmer weather this needs to be done frequently.

Transplanting into Containers Apply granules or liquid formulation directly into the planting hole making sure that the root ball has good contact with the Trichoderma. As the plants grow maintenance applications can be applied as granules to the soil surface or soil drenches. A soil drenching solution can be prepared from bulk granules by soaking the granules in water for several hours to release the organisms and activate them. This liquid can then be used as a soil drench. The activation process brings Trichoderma out of its dormant stage so it will be actively growing. Once activated Trichoderma should be applied within 24 hours.

Changing with the seasons, Trichocerma will switch from feeding on cellulose in the spring to parasitizing the pathogens from crop residues.

Mix with Growing Media Many commercial potting mixes already contain Trichoderma fungi. However, bulk granules of Trichoderma can be mixed in with the soil before transplanting. Or Trichoderma can be applied to the soil surface after transplanting, in the same manner as application of a granular fertilizer. Incorporation of Trichoderma fungi is especially important in sterilized soils to restore or establish a population of beneficial microorganisms to out-compete pathogens. Trichoderma are aerobic, meaning they require oxygen, so it is best not to waterlog the growing media for too long.

Maximum Yield UK  UK | November |  November / December 2010


Understanding and using trichoderma fungi

Bare Root Bare root plants can be dipped into solutions containing Trichoderma fungi that have been pre-activated. Trichoderma fungi are compatible with most common commercial rooting powders and water-absorbent gels. Granules can also be soaked in water for a few hours with the water being used as a base for a dipping solution.

Sawdust Trichoderma will produce the enzyme cellulase and feed on the most available food source, in this case the sawdust itself. In fact, Trichoderma is often used as a compost addition in conventional gardening systems to break down straw, sawdust and other fibrous materials. So, Trichoderma is not recommended as an augmentation to sawdust bags or sawdust-based media.

Sand Culture Trichoderma will not be self-sustaining in sand culture because of the limited food supply. Since there is relatively low amounts of organic matter in sand, Trichoderma will suffer because there is nothing for the cellulase enzymes to work on. The only other source of food for Trichoderma would be pathogens that the chitinase enzymes can break down. But when the pathogens are gone Trichoderma is once again left without a food supply.

Seeding Seeds can be placed in direct contact with Trichoderma at planting time. This ensures that the young roots are colonized early on for protection against water mould root rots like Pythium and Phytophthora. However, be sure that the Trichoderma are compatible with any fungicides that may be used as seed treatments or applied with the seed.


Maximum Yield UK  |  November / December 2010

Trichoderma does have a bad side. It is not only a powerful biological control agent, but it is a major pest in commercial mushroom production. There it is known as “green mould.” The powerful enzyme chitinase produced by Trichoderma creates big problems in commercial mushroom farms. If Trichoderma exists naturally in the soil then why should you have to add more of what is already there? Trichoderma fungi in nature are lost due to soil disturbances such as mining, construction or erosion; strong acid or chemical treatments; pesticides, excessive heat, drought, or flooding; and denial of oxygen or water by asphalt, concrete, soil compaction and roads. In indoor gardens Trichoderma should be added to potting soils to restore healthy population levels lost due to soil sterilization, the use of strong chemical sanitizers, waterlogged soils low in oxygen and excessive fertilization. The optimum temperature range for Trichoderma harzianum is between 30 to 38oC, whereas Trichoderma koningii has an optimal range between 32 to 35oC (Danielson and Davey). Once soil temperatures exceed 15oC, this is the best timing for Trichoderma to be introduced into the soil.

“If using Trichoderma as a disease control rather than preventative it is best to treat infections early.” Trichoderma has a lifecycle of about 28 days. It is self replicating but like any lifecycle it becomes weak. Therefore, it is necessary to re-apply the product to maintain strength. Trichoderma is non-toxic to plants so there is no danger of over application or phytotoxicity. Trichoderma fungi work well as soil inoculants. If using Trichoderma as a disease control rather than preventative it is best to treat infections early. If Trichoderma are applied too late then the results will be disappointing. Trichoderma fungi are not a miracle cure, but with proper usage and realistic expectations you can have Trichoderma working for you.

In general the favourable conditions in which to apply trichoderma are: • moderate moisture (no flooding or drought)

Shopping for Trichoderma Fungi There are a lot of Trichoderma products on the market today. Growers are often wary of new products that suddenly appear on the market and appear to be copy-cats of more well known products. Here are some features and specifications to look for when buying Trichoderma products. • Look for stable formulations. • Look for combinations of Trichoderma species in one product. • Look for a guaranteed analysis on the label. • Shelf life is important. • Do your homework and see how long the product has been on the market. • Look for products that operate over a wide range of temperatures. • Make sure the Trichoderma product is organically certified.

• temperatures between 15 to 32°C • morning or evening application • high soil organic matter content (or humic acid) • pH range of 5.5 to 8.5 • low chlorine* *Trichoderma can be sensitive to high concentrations of chlorine. It is best to allow water with a strong smell of chlorine to sit out overnight exposed to the air to let the chlorine dissipate before use with trichoderma.

Incorporating Trichoderma into your indoor garden is easy, safe and environmentally friendly. Look for Trichoderma fungi products in your gardening catalogue, local nursery or garden centre. By using Trichoderma you will be promoting a more balanced population of naturally occurring soil micro-organisms, and at the same time reducing your use of harsh, toxic chemicals. And you will save yourself costly and worrisome disposal problems associated with chemical alternatives. Now that you’ve learned a little about Trichoderma perhaps you will feel more confident in buying and using Trichoderma fungi in your garden, greenhouse or indoor garden.  MY

For a detailed list of tips when shopping for Trichhoderma fungi visit

Maximum Yield UK  |  November / December 2010



AT A GLANCE Store name: GreenSea Hydroponics Owners: Justin, Jackie and Jon Human Location: Unit 1g, Gregory Road Mildenhall, Suffolk, United Kingdom Phone: (0) 1638 715350 or (0) 8456 024086 Email: Web: Motto: “Be safe, be happy and keep on growing.”

We were introduced to hydroponics about 20 years ago while visiting family in Perth, Western Australia. Our family grew their herbs and vegetables hydroponically and they were eager to show us how this fascinating concept worked. We stayed for a few months, learning all we could. We became quite familiar with their favourite local hydro shop where we were overwhelmed by the vast amount of products available. Once back in the UK we purchased a system of our own and have been experimenting with different techniques, products and food crops ever since. Our team consists of myself, my husband Justin and his brother Jon. We come from a variety of professional backgrounds. Justin was employed for over 12 years as a pipe fitter and installation engineer for an air conditioning and ventilation company. Jon is a fully qualified bricklayer and worked full time in the building industry. My experience ranges from secretary to store keeper, giving me plenty of experience dealing with the public.

The GreenSea Hydroponics team from left: Jon, Jackie and Justin Human.


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

continues to grow as new innovations become available and consumers request better and more ecofriendly alternatives. Our customers keep coming back for our good advice with a smile. We recently opened another location for manufacturing, storage and packing for our online store. We still stock our original line GreenSea Hydroponics is located in the quiet market town of Mildenhall, Suffolk. of products from Canna, Biobizz and Plagron as they have all proven to be very reliable.We have added several new companies to our list of nutrient and media suppliers, many of which are local UK manufacturers.We recently added the Vitalink and the Plant Magic Plus ranges to our stock, and they’ve During week three, the Dahlia’s been just as popular as the impressive roots extend downward imported products. even farther; this plant is clearly thriving in a healthy environment. Due to the increase in online sales we now employ Dahlias grown in store during week two show healthy, white roots. We were manufacturers before part time workers to help we became retailers. Justin’s pipe fitting experience came in handy with the packaging.We run the store as a family; it’s just the three of when we made our first indoor growing system. Our various us managing the telephones and the store. Our company has grown hydroponic and aeroponic designs worked extremely well, and we and so has our customer base; this is mainly thanks to our honest, realized we could sell our systems to the public.This eventually led friendly and reliable service, and providing our customers with the us to opening a store. exact products they need at a good price. We opened our doors to the public February 2006 with a full Our customers range from hobby growers, allotment owners, range of lighting, nutrients, mediums and ventilation accessories schools, colleges and universities. Our happiest customer to date was from well known companies in from the Barrow Research Centre the industry including Canna, in Suffolk.They were studying Plagron and Biobizz.The first root growth from certain plants year was quiet. Located in and needed a system that suited the countryside of Mildenhall, Suffolk, it took several months for their project.They asked us to design a system that would solve word to spread of our existence.We advertised in magazines and their problems. Our design worked well for them and several weeks newspapers, and eventually had a steady flow of customers who later they returned to the shop to thank us and purchase several were more than happy to bring their friends to the shop.We also more larger systems of the same design. launched an online store, which was slow to catch on but has The hydroponics industry looks set for a great future. Our become a key player in our business. planet’s population increases daily and the demand for more From the beginning, our customers have been our priority. food is urgent. Luckily there are many wise companies and We deal with all inquiries in a polite and friendly manner, and people around the world who are now using hydroponics to we carefully listen to their challenges to ensure we provide the produce food crops more efficiently than ever before. Many correction solutions and offer the appropriate products for their people are starting to understand the ideas and principals behind unique situation. Our growing systems have been a big attraction hydroponics and learning to grow their own food at home. The as they are only available from GreenSea. Our product range future looks great, the future looks hydro. MY

“From the beginning, our customers have been our priority.”

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


by Emma Cooper

When I was growing up, one of my favourite meals was gammon with parsley sauce. So when I started my own kitchen garden, I was determined to grow plenty of parsley. I found that even with just a few containers on the patio, it was easy to grow plenty of fresh parsley and it was much cheaper than the herbs on sale at the grocery store. There are two main types of parsley. Curly parsley is very pretty, and looks great when it’s growing (try using it as an edging plant) and as a garnish on the plate. The other type, flat-leafed parsley, is thought to have a better flavour and is therefore the choice of chefs and keen cooks.


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

Parsley grows best indoors, as warm growing conditions initiate quick seed germination.

There are two main types of parsley. Curly parsley is very pretty, and looks great when it’s growing (try using it as an edging plant) and as a garnish on the plate. The other type, flat-leafed parsley, is thought to have a better flavour and is therefore the choice of chefs and keen cooks. Both types are grown in the same way. The seeds can be slow to germinate outdoors so growing them indoors is preferable. If you start them in pots undercover they will germinate faster, and the seedlings don’t mind being transplanted. Keep them well watered until they are established. Parsley grows well in containers, and can tolerate some shade. It likes a more plentiful supply of water than some other herbs, and you’ll get better crops if the plants aren’t thirsty. A container grown plant will need feeding to keep growing fresh leaves. Slugs will attack young seedlings, but once the plants have reached a reasonable size they’re pretty much trouble-free. Parsley is a biennial, so it will flower in its second season. If you have the space, try leaving a flowering plant in place. Outdoors it will attract beneficial insects into the garden, and you can try saving your own parsley seeds for next year. Two more unusual plants that you might want to consider growing are Hamburg parsley and Par-Cel. Hamburg parsley is a root crop, commonly grown in Europe, with a parsley flavour. Par-Cel is an herb that looks like parsley, but tastes like celery. Both can be grown from seed, so keep an eye out for them in your seed catalogues. MY 

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010



FUTURE HARVEST DEVELOPMENT EUROPE Maximum Yield talks with Peter Common, owner and managing director for Future Harvest Development (FHD) Europe, about the UK indoor gardening market, quality ingredients that produce big yields and environmental control.

Maximum Yield (MY): What is your best selling product in the UK market and what makes it so popular?

Peter Common: Definitely, our GroStar range of reflectors, including the original 42 inch shade, and the Mini GroStar. After introducing them to the UK market we soon discovered there was a huge demand for quality reflectors here. There are many important things to consider in reflector design. Among these considerations are two main priorities. • Choice of material: Different metals conduct and dissipate heat differently whilst also reflecting light at varying degrees. • Shape: The shape of the reflectant surface determines how light is refracted/directed back down toward the garden. The GroStar reflector has both of these principles at the heart of its design. The material they are made from, MIRO, reflects 95+ per cent of available light. It is robust while lightweight. It even carries a 25 year guarantee on its reflectance lifetime meaning GroStars should shine on for more than quarter of a century. MIRO also has a high tolerance to heat.You can touch the top of the GroStar even when it houses a 1,000 watt HPS after a full 12 hours running and it will barely even be warm.


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

The shape of the GroStar also takes into account its application. The angles and radices of this reflector create the most even spread of reflected light. This virtually eliminates hot spots. Coupled with the reflectivity of the material, gardens illuminated with GroStars grow more level and get a deeper, more intense penetration of light. This means plants can produce fuller fruits further down than normal. The GroStar design dissipates heat from its sides and above through the hole at the top, creating very little downward heat and allowing the light to be place closer to the plant tops. The reason our GroStar range sells so well is simple—it works. MY: What do you feel are the most powerful ingredients in your products?

Peter: I feel that phosphorous and potassium additives help produce maximum yields. I believe fertilizers from all manufacturers work to some extent. Plants can benefit and be ‘tweaked’ with the use of additives, which can contain both essential elements and also some ‘non essential’ elements. It is up to the gardener to make sure all of these essential elements are available in the right ratios and at the right times to support healthy plant growth. Nowadays there is a wealth of products to choose from to make this task relatively simple. It is easy to pick up a manufacturers feeding schedule so many of the challenges in feeding plants are reduced. However, I sometimes feel that because of this a lot of new gardeners battle through their crops without really understanding what they are doing. A plant can survive and

produce perfectly bountiful crops from a standard diet of fertilizer alone without any additives or supplements as long as that fertilizer is complete (i.e. contains all essential elements needed for plant growth). If a plant food (when used alone without additives) produces nutrient deficiencies, then said plant food is probably very weak or not complete until some additives are used in conjunction. With the above in mind I feel the most powerful ingredients in FHD additive products for increasing yields are high grade phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) minerals. Bud Start promotes flowers in the beginning stages of a flowering cycle, Ton-o-Bud packs on mass in the middle of fruit development; and Bud Boom hardens and ripens the flower at the final stages of a crop. All of these FHD products contain, among other things, P and K in different ratios. I feel that base fertilizer schedules that do not take into consideration a flowering plants need for elevated P and K levels during flowering stages do an injustice to growers. MY: What is your favourite product in the Future Harvest Development line right now and how does it work?

Peter: The GroStar range of reflectors is my favourite right now. Second place goes to the FHD range of plastics, in particular our buckets and bucket-baskets. The preformed, large-hole mesh basket is designed as a lid and simply clips onto the bucket making it sturdy and ideal for a variety of systems from professional flood and drain and DWC systems to DIY drip systems. To purchase a bubbler or DWC pot in the UK previously, the store would have to buy a cheap bucket lid and insert a five or six inch basket into it; certainly not ideal and the baskets were often poor quality. Also very often the bucket lid did not fit snugly over the bucket meaning problems later for weighty plants. With the FHD range of buckets and bucket-baskets these are problems of the past. The customers can now invest in a quality system at a reasonable price. FHD plastics are made from approved 100 per cent recycled plastic. MY: How important is it to maintain environmental control? What products do you offer that can help growers attain optimal conditions?

Peter: We firmly believe in maintaining an optimum environment by exerting control. If the environment is not correct

then your plants will not achieve their full potential. Exact temperatures, humidity and water/nutrient levels must be maintained throughout the plant’s life to achieve maximum yields and premium quality.Your plants will see no extra benefits from additives and supplements unless these parameters are met. The Tri Meter has proved to be of tremendous benefit for UK growers as previously there were no 3-in-1 continuous meters available. The Tri Meter massively increases a grower’s control over their nutrient reservoir as it shows extremely accurate results on a large easy to read LED display 24/7. Just by looking at the meter you are forced to react if the reading is incorrect. This call to action means a grower can watch more closely for important fluctuations in pH, EC and nutrient temperatures, therefore, increasing day-to-day control. This extra control improves results by alerting the grower to the early signs of a problem; i.e. a sudden downward shift in pH is often an early sign of pythium or other bad bacteria taking hold, an unchanging EC level may indicate nutrient lockout and therefore would indicate the need for a flush; nutrient temperatures are often overlooked and are as important as PH and EC levels. Water holds less DO (disolved Oxygen) the warmer it is so keeping a cool reservoir prevents bacterial problems by creating an aerobic environment. A grower can prevent a lot of problems using this meter, which gives continuous, simultaneous readings of pH, EC and temperature. As well as preventing problems the Tri Meter is the ultimate tool for Growers; you can tune right into the plants needs before the plant has to tell you by ‘liming out’ or ‘burning’. The Tri Meter has been a faithful tool for growers since 1995 and with constant improvements over the years, the meter continues to grow in popularity globally every year.

Online Extra: Peter shares his opinion on LEDs (light emitting diodes) and digital lighting in the indoor gardening market and details the benefits of humic and fulvic acids on MY

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010


PRODUCT spotlight

See it. Want it. Find it at your favourite indoor gardening store.

Continued from page 17

Smarten Up With Smart Garden® Disease Protector by Nutrifield® Smart Garden Disease Protector® (previously Defence System) prevents and cures diseases like black spot, rust and powdery mildew and stimulates the plant to turn on its natural defence system. Defence System helps plants produce abundant, healthy roots while increasing their drought tolerance. Once the micro-organisms make contact with roots, they begin to colonize the surface area. They then flood the plant’s rhizosphere with beneficial bacteria. These micro-organisms can devour an enormous amount of fungi, including pathogens—Rhizoctonia, Scerotinia, Fusarium and Verticillium, and the Straminopiles Pythium and Phytophthora. For more information about this product, please visit your local hydro shop.

Green Sensation - New 100 ml Size Green Sensation, the popular bloom stimulator from Plagron for the final four to six weeks of the blooming phase, is now available in a 100 millilitre bottle. Green Sensation makes all other supplements such as P-K 13-14, enzymes and all other flowering stimulators unnecessary. You could save up to 50 per cent of the basic flowering feeding depending on the substrate used. Due to its sophisticated composition, the plant is provided with all the nutrients that are necessary for luxuriant flowering and fruit formation. Look for the latest Green Sensation at your local retailers in the new display.

SunPulse Element Controllers Plagron Cocos – The Best You Can Buy Based on the latest insights into plant needs, Plagron created Cocos A&B, a complete nutrient solution. High quality chelated trace elements ensure they are directly absorbed by the plant. Pure ingredients, humic acids, lack of bulking agents and a stable pH value guarantees optimal yields and optimal results. Nutrients dissolve easily and do not crystallize in the tank. Plagron Cocos A&B can be used with all types of hydroponic systems. Plagron Cocos A&B is made from the best quality materials from India, and is RHP certified with a guaranteed low EC value. For further information visit your local indoor gardening shop.

SunPulse Element Controllers give the user consistent conditions that remove stresses, and increase plant metabolic function. Real time functions interact with indoor and outdoor environmental conditions to give you a solution under any circumstances. Proper control of interior conditions for your plants will give you optimal results. No CO2 is required with this system. The Element Controller monitors and maintains the environment, so you don’t have to. For more information, visit your local indoor gardening shop.

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


Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010



COMING UP IN january - february 2011

Moisture Matters

According to Dr. Lynette Morgan, many hydroponic plants are lost through over saturation in the root zone. Growers need to be in tune with the growing environment because moisture matters.

are much more persistent than chlorine 1 Chloramines and take a lot longer to dissipate from treated water.


Parsley is a biennial, so it will flower in its second season.

living in the African village of Handaga exist on 3 People a basic diet of millet no supplements, no vegetables and the only additives being leaves from the trees.

fungi and Trichoderma fungi often get 4 Mycorrhizal confused, but Mycorrhizal fungi are not parasitic like Trichoderma fungi.


Many growth tents are thermally protected so they reflect the majority of radiant heat for superior insulation.


Domestic water softeners may contaminate the water with sodium, which is not seen as a problem for drinking water, but can run amuck with a well balanced hydroponic system and sodium sensitive crop.


Osmosis is the name given to the process by which molecules, naturally and without any scientific intervention, move from a weaker solution to a stronger solution through any porous (permeable) membrane.

Biological Products for Indoor Gardens

Biological products are beneficial living organisms sold to out-compete detrimental organisms. Discover the good and bad guys available on the market in this in-depth article.

Industry Meet and Greet Plus Expert Advice

Maximum Yield UK features manufacturers, retailers and growers form this ever-expanding industry. Get to know your indoor gardening comrades in Talking Shop, You Tell Us, How it’s Made and Your Best Advice.

UK Exclusive Competitions

Give your grow the best with products from top UK manufacturers in our UK exclusive competitions. Visit throughout the year for your chance to win, and keep reading Maximum Yield UK for more information on this and other giveaways.


Exclusive industry interviews, latest news, grow systems, tanks, meters and lamps.

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

Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010




Maximum Yield UK | November / December 2010

UK Nov/Dec2010  
UK Nov/Dec2010 FREE getting the most for your plants UK November - December 2010 Be Prepared!