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MAKING YOUR INVESTMENT WORTHWHILE

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


CONTENTS May/June 2012

30

FEATURES 24

Hybrid Hydroponics With Bio Buckets by Casey Jones Fraser

30

66 56

42

48

The Future of Hydroponics…No Power Required by Heather Pearl

50

Trellises, Super-cropping or Ladybugs—Increase your Yield by All Means Necessary! by Lee McCall

Bumble and Bumble - Star Pollinators in the Greenhouse by Donald Lester

34

Growing Japanese

42

10 Tips for Starting Your First Garden

by Dr. Lynette Morgan

by Grubbycup

24 DEPARTMENTS 8

From the Editor

70

Talking Shop

by Karen Wilkinson

10

MaximumYield.com

72

Industry’s Latest

Oceans of Life: Deriving Nutrients From Marine Life

12

Letters to the Editor

73

Do You Know?

14

Simon Says

76

Max Mart

Beyond the Basics: Classifying Hydroponic Growing Systems With MIST

16

MAX Facts

78

Distributors

by Ryan M. Taylor

20

Product Spotlight

81

Coming up in July/August

62

Master Media

68

You Tell Us

66

LEDs - Making Your Investment Worthwhile

54

Seeds or Clones?

56

by Matt LeBannister

60

by Shane Hutto

by Theresa Ryan

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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FROM THE EDITOR | Jessica Raymond

After 11 years publishing Maximum Yield UK we’re still amazed by the growth of the industry, the changes, and the introduction of many new products and technologies to help you grow greener, more sustainable gardens. In celebration of this milestone anniversary and to help you jump-start your summer grow season, this issue is filled with up-to-the-minute information on hybrid hydroponics, media maintenance, super-cropping and powerless hydroponics. Our new product spotlight section is filled with exciting new products and technologies that we know you will love to get your hands on. Don’t want to miss a single issue of Maximum Yield UK? Take advantage of our free online subscription and receive the digital copy in your inbox! Simply visit maximumyield.com/subscribe-digital.php to subscribe. Our ‘Win A Grow Room’ competition continues to gain momentum and if you have not already entered, I recommend you do. Check out all that could be yours in this completely outfitted grow room and make sure to enter online today at maximumyield.com/wagr-uk.php. Jessica Raymond, Editor All entries must be received by December 15, 2012. editor@maximumyield.com Summer is the perfect time for a holiday, and we welcome you all to our North American “Grow Like A Pro” Expo Tour. The second stop on the 2012 tour is in Novi, Michigan June 3; then we’re off to San Francisco, California July 22; our final stop will be in beautiful Long Beach, California November 4. Visit indoorgardenexpo.com for more information and to register to attend for free!

contributors Dr. Lynette Morgan holds a B. Hort.

Casey Jones Fraser owns Garden

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 www.suntec.co.nz/ consultants.htm and www.suntec. co.nz/books.htm for more information.

Grove Organics, in Northern Kentucky/ Greater Cincinnati. He has a degree in communications and electronic media. He believes that indoor gardeners can achieve the highest quality crops and maximum yields when proper science is applied. Since 1998, Casey has been testing various nutrients and supplements in search of outstanding harvests.

Heather Pearl is completing her

Grubbycup has been an avid

Donald Lester is the plant

Lee McCall is an alumnus of Johnson &

Ryan Taylor is the founder and

Matt LeBannister developed a

Shane Hutto is a technical advisor

indoor gardener for over 20 years. His articles were first published in the United Kingdom, and since then his gardening advice has been published in French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Czechoslovakian and German. He is also considered one of the world’s leading authorities on crochet hydroponics.

president of the Taylor Horticulture Company. In addition to growing a wide variety of hydroponic and bioponic crops, he also specializes in the manufacturing of hybrid hydroponic systems and consults with horticulturalists on methods for optimizing their production processes. Ryan is obsessed with hydroponics and his cat.

Theresa Ryan is the director of operations for AIBC International’s LED Grow Lights Division in New York. She conducts product research and development, improves quality standards and measures for indoor grow lighting and creates educational content for ledgrowlightsoutlet.com and aibcusa.com. Prior to AIBC, Theresa worked on organic farms across Europe and the United States to promote sustainability.

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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.

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

Karen Wilkinson works for EZ-

CLONE Enterprises, Inc., as its social media editor. She came to them with a background in journalism and technical writing and is learning to grow, clone and write for the hydroponics community. She’s a budding gardener and loves growing her own vegetables.

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

Wales University. His extensive culinary background helped him gain experience in and knowledge of fine dining and food production, which developed into a career in the hydroponics and year-round gardening industry. Lee and his business partner use their Denver-based businesses to educate the public on sustainable gardening and high quality produce.

at Grodan Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in horticulture at Oklahoma State University and received a research assistantship for his master’s degree. During his graduate studies he researched production and extraction of surface waxes on horticultural commodities. His passion for growing is complimented by his experience in many types of controlled environment operations and design.

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


Coming up on the Web Upcoming Events

Maximum Yield’s ‘Grow Like a Pro’ Indoor Gardening Expo Tour Hits Michigan Celebrate with us on the second stop of our ‘Grow Like a Pro’ Tour at our Great Lakes Expo in Novi, Michigan, June 3, 2012. The vibrant and rapidly growing East Coast indoor gardening industry will be in for a treat as exhibitors from around the globe showcase the newest and most innovative products at the Suburban Collection Showplace. Stay tuned to indoorgardenexpo.com for event details and updates. Free Digital Subscription to MaximumYield Now you can receive Maximum Yield UK free to your inbox every month. Subscribe to the digital edition of Maximum Yield by simply filling out the form at maximumyield.com/subscribe-digital.php

Got Questions? Get Answers.

VOLUME 12 – NUMBER 1 may/june 2012 Maximum Yield is published bi-monthly by Maximum Yield Publications Inc. 2339A Delinea Place, Nanaimo, BC V9T 5L9 Phone: 250.729.2677; Fax 250.729.2687 No part of this magazine may be reproduced without permission from the publisher. If undeliverable please return to the address above. The views expressed by columnists are a personal opinion and do not necessarily reflect those of Maximum Yield or the Editor. Publication Agreement Number 40739092

PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER - Jim Jesson GENERAL MANAGER - Don Moores BUSINESS MANAGER - Linda Jesson EDITOR - Jessica Raymond jessica@maximumyield.com ADVERTISING SALES 250.729.2677 Linda Jesson - linda@maximumyield.com Raymond Henderson - raymond@maximumyield.com Ilona Hawser - ilona@maximumyield.com Hayley Jesson- hayley@maximumyield.com Ashley Heppell - ashley@maximumyield.com PRODUCTION & DESIGN ads@ads.maximumyield.com Alice Joe - alice@maximumyield.com Jenn Duong - jennifer@maximumyield.com Liz Johnston - liz@maximumyield.com Denise Higginson - denise@maximumyield.com ACCOUNTING Tracy Greeno - accounting@maximumyield.com Tara Campbell - tara@maximumyield.com

Maximum Yield’s resident experts are available and ready to answer your modern gardening questions. E-mail editor@maximumyield.com or fill out the Ask the Experts question form on maximumyield.com

Connect to MaximumYield.com instantly from your Smartphone with our Quick Response (QR) Code, found on the cover of every issue of Maximum Yield. Now you can access the best products, the most in-depth articles and information, and the latest news at high speeds. Simply download the QR Code Reader software compatible with your Smartphone, scan the QR Code and your phone’s browser will automatically launch, redirecting you to maximumyield.com. It’s that simple!

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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UK DISTRIBUTION Direct Garden Supplies Dutchpro Future Harvest Developments Europe Growth Technology Hydrogarden Maxigrow Ltd. 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 General Hydroponics Humboldt Wholesale Hydrofarm Hydro International National Garden Wholesale / Sunlight Supply Nickel City Wholesale Garden Supply R & M Supply Tradewinds AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTION Dome Garden Supply Futchatec Growth Technology Holland Forge House N Garden Hydraspher


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR More and Better

Maximum Yield—A Must-Read

Hello Max Yield, I want to start by saying I love your publication and am always learning new things from your magazine. What I was wondering is why you guys have different issues that touch on different topics for different parts of the world. I feel like I might be missing out on some information that someone somewhere else is getting. Also, the issues that I get from the local hydro shop differ from the ones online, meaning the issues don’t match up to what I have in hand. It would be greatly appreciated if you could shed some light on this. I just want to make sure I have the best information possible and I’m not missing anything. Thanks, Steven Cooper The major difference between the various editions of Maximum Yield USA, Canada, UK and Australia/New Zealand—is the + products featured in the Product Spotlight depart2012 ment. We always ensure to only feature products available in the various countries. We also gear the Max Facts—hydroponic news, tips and trivia—and special features to local readers by printing information that is relevant to their geographic location and interests. The most current issues of Maximum Yield Magazines are always available on our website. Most of the retail shops that carry Maximum Yield should have the most current issue as well. If they don’t, they should make sure to request new boxes of magazines from their distributors every time they order product for their store. To ensure you get every issue of Maximum Yield, I encourage you to subscribe.Visit maximumyield.com/subscriptions.php to download the form. We also now offer free digital subscriptions to each edition. To subscribe, fill out the form at maximumyield.com/subscribe-digital.php Australia March-April

2012

FREE

It’s just a suggestion but I’d like to see more technologydriven articles. It seems like you have some interesting stuff on plant DNA, propagation, tissue and things of that nature, but I would like to see more equipment reviews and progressive technology coverage—new ways of doing things rather than the same old stuff. Regards, Victor Schroyer This issue of Maximum Yield contains some fresh tips and new tricks for growing. Check out Hybrid Hydroponics (page 24), The Future of Hydroponics (page 48) and Beyond the Basics (page 60). And make sure to check out Product Spotlight, featuring 14 of the hottest new items available now at hydroponic shops across the country.

www.maximumyield.com

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Every month we give away a special issue of Maximum Yield to one lucky E-News subscriber. If you aren’t subscribed, you can’t participate. Get involved, share your thoughts and participate in discussions monthly and you could win. Sign up today at maximumyield.com/newsletter.php so you can start winning! Maximum Yield Team

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

We want to hear from you! Maximum Yield Publications Inc. Snail-mail: 2339 Delinea Place, Nanaimo, BC V9T 5L9 E-mail: editor@maximumyield.com Twitter: twitter.com/max_yield Facebook: facebook.com/MaximumYield


SIMON SAYS Simon, Is crop rotation important in hydroponics? What are the most common issues or pests that the serious home hydroponic grower might face when using this technique? Thanks, Stevan For centuries people have been using crop rotation when producing agricultural crops. Even today, rotation is recommended as a great method for the backyard gardener producing food for the family. There are several reasons to practice crop rotation. On a commercial scale, things like economics, commodity prices and sometimes water use can be determining factors, although for the home gardener, these aren’t the likely reasons. Cycling of crops to avoid pests and disease is another function of rotation that benefits home and commercial growers alike. This is a tremendous benefit to annual food production, compared to perennial systems where you can move crops away from a problem and restart. Nutritional needs are also an interesting reason to keep the flow of crops dynamic. Some plants feed very heavily, some lightly; others can actually renew fertilizer values in soils. One example would be legumes, which associate with nitrogen fixing bacteria for a net positive benefit of N in the soil at the end of the crop. This shows another possible benefit of modifying or enhancing soil biology and in turn, soil quality. The last benefit is related to the use of different plant’s root growth to change soils texture. As you can see, there are a variety of reasons for crop rotation. How does this relate to hydroponics, and is it important? My first impression is that it is hard to see any of these benefits being important in a hobby hydroponic 14

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

system. However, the rotation to reduce disease and insect pressure could come into play, which brings us to the second question. Greenhouse growers and indoor gardeners have similar issues when it comes

“If...production managers are choosing biological, it is not because they are feeling warm and fuzzy about the environment.” to pests. At the core of the issue is the artificial environment, which in many cases can be useful to the horticulturalist but in the case of pest pressure is an Achilles heel. Without the balance of a natural system, when something detrimental infiltrates the system, the spread can be shockingly quick without the biological balance of the outside world. Those of us that have seen powdery mildew or mites move through gardens know how vigilant the grower must be. There is no substitute for the observational diligence of the grower managing any pest-related issue quickly and effectively. The most common issues will be regional and also directly related to the plants being grown. As always, I defer to the local shop as the authority on local problems and the solutions they have found to be effective. Air intake into the grow room is a major source of contamination and there are now products

available to reduce this possibility by filtering the intake air. Remember that movement of people in and out of the grow room is probably the second most common contamination source, so be aware of this vector as well. Looking at commercial greenhouse systems we can use their incredible research to really look at the most cost effective solutions, albeit on a commercial scale. Because of the contained artificial environment, the use of pesticides has always had a major role, and chemical pesticides still have a strong presence in the market. Attending commercial shows and browsing industry magazines I have observed a tremendous shift to biological solutions. With the lean margins in greenhouse vegetable production, if these production managers are choosing biological, it is not because they are feeling warm and fuzzy about the environment. It’s because those parasitic wasps or predatory nematodes are functioning to a higher level that the chemical option and can be a more effective solution to keep their systems running at the highest efficiency possible. Keep this in mind and see if your local shop has some biological solutions the next time you visit. MY

Do you have a question for one of our resident experts? Send it to editor@maximumyield.com or fill out the form on maximumyield.com and your answer might be printed in an upcoming issue.


MAX FACTS

hydroponic news, tips and trivia

Blue Light Good for Lettuce Japanese scientists have discovered that treating lettuce seedlings with blue and red-blue light promotes the yield and antioxidant content of lettuce plants after transplanting. Researchers reported that at 45 days after sowing, higher leaf areas and shoot fresh weight were obtained in lettuce plants treated with blue-containing LED lights and that polyphenol contents and total antioxidant status were also greater in lettuce seedlings treated with blue-containing LED lights when compared to seedlings that had been treated with fluorescent lights. (Source: sciencedaily.com)

MAXFACTS hydroponic news, tips and trivia

Vodka With a Kick

UK Daffodil Industry Tops

A chili vodka made with one of the hottest chili peppers it is possible to grow is set to go on sale in UK supermarkets. Measuring 1,000,000 on the Scoville scale—the international method of rating pepper intensity—the Naga Jolokia pepper-infused spirit will be the most potent chili vodka ever to be sold. The vodka is said to be hotter than most law-enforcement grade pepper sprays. (Source: dailymail.co.uk)

The UK is the world’s largest producer of cut daffodils, according to an article in Chemistry and Industry magazine. The British daffodil trade contributes around £23 million each year to the country’s economy, while the UK also produces about half the world’s daffodil bulbs. The climate of the UK is perfect for daffodils, which flourish in long, cool, damp spring conditions. (Source: soci.org)

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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MAX FACTS

hydroponic news, tips and trivia

Photosynthesis Hot Topic Scientists from the United States and the United Kingdom presented papers detailing their work toward engineering or enhancing photosynthesis to benefit food and fuel production at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting. Some ideas presented at the meeting included an artificial leaf capable of converting the sun’s energy to liquid fuel, a ‘biological turbocharger’ that might allow more efficient photosynthesis and a study that looked into ways to harness excess solar energy collected by cyanobacteria by transferring it to a fuel-producing cell. Professor Douglas Kell—chief executive of BBRSC, the funding agency behind the research— explained that funding work of this nature is vital: “We are facing global challenges in food and energy security that must be addressed. Improving photosynthesis within plants, or externally using synthetic biology, would bring huge benefits.” (Source: sciencedaily.com)

A Future in Flowers BBC Three’s recently crowned ‘Young Gardener of the Year’ collected flowers as a child while his friends were buying Star Wars figurines. John Foley, a 24-year-old from Lancashire, runs a successful nursery in Bolton-by-Bowland in the Ribble Valley first started up by his father as a hobby in 1979. The young horticultural entrepreneur beat out 700 hopefuls to take the title and hopes his win “inspires young people to think about horticulture as a career.” (Source: telegraph.co.uk)

Young Gardener of the Year

Roots Under the Microscope A team of researchers from the schools of biosciences and computer science at the University of Nottingham have unveiled new image analysis software based on the X-ray technology used in hospital CT scans to allow scientists to look for the first time at the shape and branching pattern of roots in soil. The researchers believe the revolutionary technique—which has already been tested on the roots of maize, wheat and tomato plants— will improve the chances of breeding better crop varieties and increasing future yields. (Source: sciencedaily.com)

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


Meeting World Food Needs, Sustainably Agroecology—which takes a whole-system approach to the production of food and draws on traditional knowledge, alternative agricultural practices and local food system experiences—relies on simple farming techniques, which increase crop yield by promoting beneficial interactions between soil, nutrients, crops, pollinators, trees and livestock and has so far led to average increases in crop yields of nearly 80 per cent in 286 projects in 57 countries around the world. (Sources: makingitmagazine.net, theurbn.com)

Chemical Manufacturer Applies for Potato Approval BASF, the world’s largest chemical maker by sales, has applied for European Union approval for Fortuna, a potato genetically modified to resist a common plant disease. Fortuna potatoes are resistant to late blight—the world’s most damaging potato disease—and are the first genetically modified food plant BASF has sought to market in Europe, where opposition to such products is widespread. (Source: newsdaily.com)

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

YOUR GUIDE TO THIS ISSUE’S

HOTTEST ITEMS Ask for them at your local indoor gardening store.

VitaLink Professional Enriched Soil— Super Soil for Super Plants VitaLink Professional Enriched Soil, also known as Super Soil, is an easy-to-use blend that is scientifically proven to deliver fast, healthy plant growth and heavy yields. This unique mix of 40 per cent wood fibre, 20 per cent bark fines and 40 per cent peat is ideal for potting and gives brilliant drainage, aeration and re-wetting. It contains beneficial microbes that improve plant establishment, prevent disease and boost nutrient uptake, whilst the high nutrient content will feed your plants for up to four weeks. VitaLink Professional Enriched Soil is perfect for today’s eco-minded grower because it contains less peat than most other soil blends on the market. For more information, ask your retailer for it today.

LUMii Range LUMii is a range of professional quality lighting products for growing plants. The range has been designed by growers for growers and is packed with unique features to make your life easier and allow your crops to flourish. In addition to ballasts, this growing range now includes a range of reflectors, CFL and HID lamps, hanging ropes (the LUMii Rope Ratchets) and lighting accessories. LUMii reflectors feature the unique adjustable lamp holder. This lock-and-load lamp bracket is designed to fit all HID lamp types. With the addition of the LUMii HID to CFL converter set, the LUMii MAXii reflector can also accept a CFL lamp. Visit your local retailer today for more information.

CANNA Nutrients—Find Your Match

Maxibright Mk3 600W Compact Pro

CANNA’s products are tailored to meet the needs of plants cultivated under a variety of circumstances. A plant requires the same nutritional elements no matter what growing medium is used. However, the medium does influence the availability of nutritional elements. Rockwool, for example, doesn’t contain any nutrients whereas coco absorbs nutrients from the solution. This is why plants need different kinds of nutrients; it’s also why CANNA has developed Terra, Coco, Aqua and Hydro nutrients. For a limited time you can win great prizes when purchasing CANNA Nutrients. To find out how and for information on CANNA Nutrients, visit your favourite hydroponic shop.

The Maxibright Mk3 Compact Pro ballast is potted in resin to dissipate heat and is encapsulated in an injection-moulded, wall-mountable enclosure for silent operation. The ballast is precision wound, providing excellent thermal and electrical durability. Maxibright products use only quality components and exceed CE standards. The Maxibright Mk3 is now available to purchase in the new gloss finish packaging. Features: • Intelligent digital timed igniter • 10 year life expectancy • High quality components from Venture Lighting • Flying lead IEC connection • Runs both sodium and metal halide lamps Visit your favourite indoor gardening store for further information.

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


Auto Flowering Grow and Bloom Feed for Hydro, Coco and Soil The breeding of auto flowering strains of food crops is becoming more and more popular and they should be able to grow into fully flowering plants in far more lenient conditions. An auto flowering seed should be able to grow in constant light, and should not require any changes to the set-up in order to kickstart the flowering process. To support the whole process and ensure the plant is able to develop fast we specially designed this hydro/coco and soil feed in both hard and soft water formulations. In short, this product has all the essential macro and micro growth nutrients necessary for exuberant growth and will achieve the best results quickly. Auto Flowering products are now availble at hydro shops across the UK.

VitaLink Professional Coir Mix If you want better drainage and bigger plants all from one bag, VitaLink has the solution. VitaLink Professional Coir Mix is a perfect blend of fine coir (70 per cent) and coir chips (30 per cent). VitaLink Professional Coir Mix (coco mix) delivers fast root growth and encourages healthy plant development. The addition of coir chips to fine coir enhances the plant’s physical structure, which increases its resistance to root pathogens, improves drainage and boosts aeration. VitaLink Professional Coir Mix is simple to use straight out of the bag. It’s naturally biodegradable, environmentally friendly and can be reused as an excellent soil improver. For more information, ask your local hydroponics retailer.

RAM Z2 Mix-Flow Inline Fans RAM (Rapid Air Movement) is a high quality professional brand of air control products specialising in high performance and, in the case of fans, low noise and long life. The RAM Z2 industrial series inline fans offer innovation and performance at a great price. They are reliable, have the best air movement and the lowest noise as well as a three year warranty. The RAM range consists of a full line of heavily constructed fans to meet your growing needs. Each fan has a high quality moulded impeller along with CE/ROHS recognised components. Mounting brackets are included. Ask your local retailer for more information.

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

AutoPot AQUAbox Spyder The new AQUAbox Spyder offers a revolutionary self-watering solution for ‘grow your own’ enthusiasts. No power, pumps or timers are required—simply connect to an existing water barrel. The AQUAbox Spyder is positioned directly into the ground, making it ideal for watering conventional beds or the increasingly popular raised beds. A series of capillary wicks fan out from the AQUAbox Spyder distributing water under the soil, across an area of up to 1.2 square metres. With the AQUAvalve at its core, the AQUAbox Spyder draws on the water supply as needed by the plants, ensuring an efficient use of water. A level built into the lid of the AQUAbox Spyder ensures the AQUAbox is level once positioned in the ground. Ask for the AQUAbox Spyder today at your local hydroponics shop.

Maxibright DigiLight 600W Digital HID Power Pack The Maxibright DigiLight is a sophisticated digital ballast with soft start technology to gently start your HID lamps with a low current, significantly improving lamp life. Other unique features include end-of-life detection, which prevents the ballast from attempting to start a degraded lamp, and a shut-off circuit feature that cuts off the ballast in the event of a lamp short-circuit. Maxibright products only use quality components and exceed CE standards. The DigiLight is guaranteed to deliver the correct power to your HID lamps. This commitment to quality is why the DigiLight ballast is the best on the market. Visit your local hydroponic shop for more information.

VitaLink Professional Coir Chips

Award-winning Leaf Green From Dutchpro Dutchpro’s award-winning organic Leaf Green enhances leaf development and gives plants a healthy and vibrant appearance. Leaf Green is especially recommended for plants that have noticeable difficulties during initial development. Leaf Green turn plants with yellowish dis-colouring a far more attractive and fresh green colour whilst also improving nutrient uptake. Leaf Green is available in one, five, 10 and 20 litres. Dutchpro nutrients are stable and clear and available at your local hydroponic shop now.

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

If you want better drainage in coco, soil or hydroponics, VitaLink has come up with the perfect solution. VitaLink Professional Coir Chips (coco chips) are a naturally biodegradable alternative to clay pebbles. They are scientifically proven to deliver excellent results and increase a plant’s resistance to root pathogens. VitaLink Professional Coir Chips offer excellent aeration and drainage due to their lightweight and fibrous structure. This media can be used for mixing with coir or compost. The chips will also reduce drying, prevent nutrient imbalances and protect the root zone against soil-dwelling pests when used as mulch. VitaLink Professional Coir Chips are easy to handle, environmentally friendly and easier to dispose of after use than manmade growing media. Visit your local retailer for more information.


EnviroGro Professional T5 Lighting Fixtures The new EnviroGro T5 lighting range delivers performance, flexibility and high lumen output. The range includes the 61centimetre, two tube; 61 centimetre, four tube; 122 centimetre, four tube; and the 122 centimetre, eight tube T5 lighting systems. These T5 systems can be hung in three ways: overhead, vertically or horizontally. They combine German specular aluminium with energy-efficient high-output T5 bulbs, and produce double the lamp energy of standard T5 fluorescent systems. The EnviroGro T5 122 centimetre, eight tube system has two separate power switches that allow either the outside two lamps, the inside four lamps or all eight lamps to be on. Ask your nearest retailer today for more information.

dutchpro terra cotta series Every mix in the Dutchpro Terra Cotta collection was carefully selected and tested to guarantee the best quality vegetables, fruit, herbs and bonsais. Obviously we can only guarantee the best results if you make use of the Dutchpro nutrients included. Available mixes: Bonsai Mix: picea, juniperus, pinus Health Care Mix: Echinacea, valerian, calendula Herbal Tea Mix: peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm Kitchen Herb Mix: chives, basil, parsley Kitchen Herb Mix: thyme, sage, marjoram Oriental Mix: Thai basil, Japanese mustard, coriander Pepper Mix: sweet, hot, extremely hot chillies

Have You Ever Heard of Elektrox®? Elektrox® energy-saving lamps are equipped with built-in ballasts ranging from 85 to 250 watts. Elektrox® lamps are available for the grow phase, the bloom phase, and both the grow and bloom phases (Dual). Elektrox Grow stimulates growth during the vegetative stage and strengthens stems and leaves. Elektrox Flower stimulates the plant’s blossom and fruit formation, thus increasing yield. Lastly, Elektrox Dual encourages growth and bloom. For even better results Elektrox® also offers more money-saving products like reflectors, fluorescent lamps, seedling starter trays and ballasts. For more information visit your local indoor gardening shop.

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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Hybrid Hydroponics   With

Bio Buckets by CASEY JONES FRASER

If you want to grow a small number of HUGE plants, try hybrid hydroponics with bio buckets. Your roots and yields will be bigger than anything I could ever describe in this article.

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


Please don’t handle your roots. I had to lift them out of the bucket for the photos.

Great root systems give us great plants. Large yields just aren’t possible without large root systems, and most indoor gardeners can tell you their favourite method for achieving thick mats of healthy white roots—although their advice will vary widely. Some growers will even combine multiple techniques to reap the benefits of different styles of gardening. Top-feed drip systems and deep water culture are two common hydroponics methods known for creating amazing root systems. Some of the most popular

growing media are soilless mixes and grow rocks (usually expanded clay), both of which are known for generating luscious root growth. While researching root growth, I heard about some European growers running an interesting hybrid hydroponics garden and obtaining yields higher than I ever thought possible. I dug up as much information as I could about their operation, and then I built a small grow focusing on those same hybrid techniques. The plant growth was so fast I could barely keep up

Roots grow quickly in the deep water culture inside each bucket.

“If you want to grow a few really BIG plants...[hybrid hydroponics] might be the ideal hydro system for you.” Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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hybrid hydroponics with bio buckets

“In the past, I would have flowered nine small plants in this space, but with the bio buckets I am now able to grow four monster plants.” with it, and the roots were massive. If you want to grow a few really BIG plants, this might be the ideal hydro system for you. Each individual planter includes a 25 centimetre mesh container in a 13 litre bucket. The mesh basket holds several centimetres of grow rocks, a grow block in the centre and five centimetres of soilless mix on top. Two top-feed drip lines run constantly, and six centimetres of bubbling water sits just under the mesh basket, creating a level of deep water culture at the bottom of each bucket. I started with some well-rooted ‘pineapple’ tomato clones transplanted into 10 centimetre grow blocks. After about three weeks of ebb and flow in grow blocks, the tomato plants were really growing and roots were popping out all over the blocks. At this point, it was time to move them into a new hydro system and set the lights to a 12/12 schedule for flowering. My flowering garden space is two and a half feet by two and a half feet, with a 400 watt metal halide grow light specifically tuned for flowering. With the light hanging vertically in a 15 centimetre air-cooled glass tube, no reflector is used.

I used pineapple tomato plant clones, rooted in grow blocks.

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

Step 2. Add a mesh container to the bucket.

A two foot by two foot flood tray sits in the garden, the perfect size for four buckets. In the past, I would have flowered nine small plants in this space, but with the bio buckets I am now able to grow four monster plants. I drilled a 4.5 centimetre hole into the side of each bucket to allow the nutrient solution to overflow safely into the tray as the bucket is filled by the drip lines. The large size of the hole will also allow you to fit an air stone through it, which will keep the solution bubbling inside each bucket. After the buckets were drilled, I added the 25 centimetre mesh containers. These containers are made to fit on buckets and are available at your local grow store. Five centimetres of expanded clay grow rocks were then added to the bottom of each mesh container. The grow block, complete with a pineapple tomato plant, was placed on top of five centimetres of grow rocks. Then I filled in more expanded clay rocks around the block. With the expanded clay grow rocks surrounding the grow block, six centimetres of space remained at the top of each container. I filled in that space with five centimetres of soilless mix—made up mostly of peat moss and perlite—on top of the grow rocks. Once all four buckets were complete, they were ready for installation into the hydroponics system. The buckets were now in the two foot by two foot tray. The first step here was to add air stones to each bucket via the 4.5 centimetre hole. I ran two small round air stones off of a 1/2 centimetre air line into each bucket, which will ensure that the six centimetres of water in each bucket will never get stagnant or anaerobic (low in oxygen). This step is important because aeration prevents root rot.


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hybrid hydroponics with bio buckets

The next step was to add two drip lines to the top of each container. If one dripper ever gets clogged, the other dripper will keep flowing. If that dripper is also clogged, the DWC layer will keep the roots from drying out. The entire system is built above a 7.5 litre reservoir filled with a mild nutrient solution (750 ppm). Once the pump is turned on and the drip lines are flowing, the buckets will start to fill with nutrient solution. After the solution reaches the six centimetre level, the liquid will start spilling out of the 4.5 centimetre hole. Each bucket is thus constantly overflowing, with the solution draining back into the reservoir. So the nutrient solution is running through the various layers of growing mediums and dripping down into the bucket. The six centimetres of deep water culture is fed by the drip stream and bubbled by the air stones. The result is an oxygen-rich environment—perfect for roots and beneficial bacteria and fungi. To ensure this environment is not overtaken by disease-causing bacteria or fungi, a few precautionary steps should be taken. First and foremost, the water temperature should never rise Step 3. Add expanded clay pellets to the container.

above 22°C. Higher temperatures will decrease oxygen and encourage anaerobic bacteria and mould, while lower temperatures—between 16° and 22°—will create an environment that is safe for roots and friendly breeds of microorganisms. Always inoculate your garden with various strains of oxygenloving bacteria and fungi. Bacteria strains should include several types of Bacilli, including Paenibacillus, while fungi strains should include Glomus mycorrhizae for root expansion and Trichoderma for disease protection. These microorganisms are available in granular, powdered and liquid products, although some of the most diverse mixes of beneficial microbiology come from high-end compost teas. Get a recommendation from your local hydroponics store. Some readers are probably shuddering at the thought of a soaking wet soilless mix setting on top of their valuable roots— “I thought oversaturated soil causes root rot?” Allow me to explain. Plants become overwatered when they can no longer obtain oxygen in the root zone, but with a rich blend of beneficial bacteria and cool temperatures, the water will contain

“Higher temperatures will decrease oxygen and encourage anaerobic bacteria and mould.” copious amounts of oxygen regardless of how wet the medium gets. Overwatering becomes impossible. After a day of continuous flowing, the hydro system will start to show a frothy layer of foam, both around the drains and in the reservoir. An ebb and flow system with the same nutrients 28

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


Step 5. Surround the block with more expanded clay pebbles.

and supplements is only a few dozen centimetres away, and has no foam. The levels of oxygen and microbiology are obviously much higher in the hybrid hydroponics system. After a few weeks in the bio buckets the plants were growing out of control and required steady pruning to shape them—I ended up pruning enough to get over 100 clones per month without even trying. Big ropes of roots were appearing in the buckets, surrounding the air stones. Looking at the roots, certain features become obvious. Root sizes include thick, tubular roots, medium roots and millions of tiny root hairs. These roots were attempting to grow in every direction, including upward. Roots typically grow outward and downward, but given such an ideal situation they can defy the norm and even grow towards the sky.

With the surprising amount of biomass produced in such a short period of time this system is obviously capable of huge roots and record-setting yields, and the vertical lighting system allows the plants to grow tall and full. A powerful blower keeps the light cool, and the plants will grow right up against the tube. Maintenance includes monitoring the pH daily, changing the reservoir weekly, checking drippers for clogs and general plant care. Considering the large yield and the amazing health of the plants, the amount of work required is actually minimal. Although the 75 litre reservoir is kept on a cold concrete floor—which keeps the water temperature around 16°C—during the summer some growers may need a chiller to keep reservoir temperatures in check. MY

Nutrients and supplements A and B (base nutrients) Biodynamic tonic (micronutrients) B vitamins and amino acids (metabolism boost) Microbe inoculant (beneficial bacteria and fungi) Enzyme concentrate (rootzone protection) *use only chlorine-free water

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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article title

Bumble and Bumble Star Pollinators in the Greenhouse by Donald Lester

As more and more greenhouses are constructed, the need for indoor pollination increases. Honeybees are generally thought of as the most common pollinators, and they are the most widely studied; however, bumblebees are as good—or better—than traditional honeybees at pollinating many seed and food crops. Keep reading to find out why.

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It is estimated that 30 per cent of the food grown for human consumption is pollinated by bees. Bees are used in over 30 different countries on more than 25 different crops. In 2000, researchers examined the economic value of honeybee pollination based on agricultural statistics and interviews with beekeepers and research personnel. They estimated that there were 2.5 million colonies rented for pollination purposes in 1998 and that pollination services amounted to $14.6 billion of agricultural output in 2000. Bumblebees may be best pollinators of the following seed and food crops:

In the past, greenhouse operators traditionally hand pollinated their crops, but as the size of the operations increased, producers started looking for alternatives. Bumblebees are far more efficient than hand pollination. In fact, a study concluded that “tomato growers who eliminate pesticides in the greenhouse can use bumblebee hives to pollinate their crops, saving 15 hours of labour per acre [per day] required for manual pollination. Research indicated that bumblebees pollinate more efficiently, leading to yield increases of as much as 25 per cent.” Not only are bumblebees better for greenhouse pollination than hand pollination, they are also better suited for Fennel Pears Alfalfa greenhouse pollinaGherkins Peppers Apples tion over honeybees Plums Gooseberries Blackberries Pumpkins Blueberries Gourds for several reasons. Raspberries Broad beans Kiwi fruit First, honeybees sufRunner beans Buckwheat Lemons fer from the ‘colony Lima beans Soybeans Celery collapse disorder’ that Squash Lupins Cherries we have heard so Strawberries Clover Marrows Melons Sunflowers Coriander much about in the Tomatoes Mustard Cotton news lately. Honey Turnips Cranberries Oil seed rape producers also add Oranges Vetches Cucumbers plastic strips impregWatermelons Peaches Currants nated with pesticide eggplants to their hives to fight Varroa mites, thereby increasing the chance of pesticide residues in honey, while bum“Bumblebees are generally regarded as blebees do not suffer being less aggressive than honeybees.” from Varroa mites like honeybees do. Finally, bumblebees have an advantage over other bees in that they can warm

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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Bumble and Bumble - Star Pollinators in the Greenhouse

themselves on cold mornings and operate at lower ambient temperatures. A common assumption is that the buzzing sound of bumblebees is caused by

It is best to place the hives along the south side of the main path in the greenhouse in order to have maximum shade from the crop on sunny days. It might even be necessary to provide extra shade, with a piece of Styrofoam or other “It is estimated that 30 per cent of the water-impervious material that does not food grown for human consumption radiate heat. Distribis pollinated by bees.” ute the hives evenly along the pathway, in plain view, approximately 1.2 to 1.8 the beating of their wings. The sound is metres above ground level with the flight actually the result of the bee vibrating its hole facing east. The best position for the flight muscles, and is achieved while the hives is on a horizontal platform so that muscles are decoupled from the wings. the sugar solution will not leak. Bumblebees have been known to reach The placement of the hives is important. an internal temperature of 30°C using Carbon dioxide is often used by entothis method. Because of this warming mologists to anesthetize insects for short mechanism, bumblebees are most active periods of time in order to handle them in the mornings and afternoons at temsafely, and prolonged expoperatures between 10° and 30°C. They sure to carbon dioxide function best at temperatures between can reach dangerous 15° and 25°C, although they are known levels for bumbleto operate at temperatures down to 5°C bees. In highwith windy and cloudy conditions. These carbon dioxide temperature ranges are only averages, growing ensince there are over 250 known species vironments, of bumblebees. therefore, Bumblebees are sold commercially it is best by several vendors. They come in a to restrict maintenance-free cardboard box, often any carbon containing fewer than 50 individuals. The dioxide supply typical colony includes a queen, workin the immediate ers and brood (pupae, eggs and larvae), vicinity of bumbleand a bag with sugar solution provided as bee hives. a food source. This solution is intended The side walls and roof to keep the bees going for the total life vents should be covered with inexpectancy of the hive, since crops such sect screens (50 mesh) to restrict the as tomatoes have blossoms that do not entrance of pest insects into the greenproduce nectar. The box has two tubes house and simultaneously keep inserted into it: one tube is a two-way bumblebees and beneficial valve to let bees in and out of the box, insects from escapwhile the other tube is a one-way valve ing. Overhead air to let bees into the box but not back out circulation fans again. This tube is useful for locking bees and exhaust fan into the box during spray applications or outlets should when moving the hive. be covered with 32

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

screen as well, to prevent the bumblebees from being sucked out of the greenhouse or being killed by hitting the fan blades. Ants can raid and destroy a hive, so it is important to keep them away from the bees. Use a bead of grease or petroleum jelly around the hives as a physical barrier, and avoid contact between plants and the hive, since this can act as a bridge for ants to reach the hive. Before opening the flight hole, allow the colony to calm down for a minimum of half an hour after placing in position. Open the flight hole of newly placed hives on the day they arrive during the brightest time of the day, and allow for a minimum of four hours of effective pollination per day. Bumblebees are generally regarded as being less aggressive than honeybees. However, there are certain precautions one should employ when handling any bees. For example, do not wear perfume, makeup, cologne, aftershave or any other odorous materials


that might attract the bees, and do not let children play near the hives or disturb them. Bumblebees are also attracted to the colour blue, so it is best to avoid using blue sticky trap cards or wearing blue clothing that may attract the bees. Bumblebees need ultraviolet light for orientation and navigation. When artificial lights overpower the natural light, bumblebees have problems with their orientation in the greenhouse, especially during the darkest months of the year. When this happens, bumblebees might become damaged by flying against the hot lights, and in order to compensate for the loss of worker bees it might be necessary to add extra hives to the greenhouse. Bees in general are very susceptible to insecticides and other chemicals. Use pesticides selectively, since many of the

traditional classes of insecticides will have a negative impact on the hive and could damage the bumblebee population. Contact a bumblebee vendor for specific information about persistence and compatibility of specific materials and the timing of any pesticide applications. In fact, rather than using pesticides in the greenhouse, it is important to remember that bumblebees perform best when used in conjunction with natural enemies to control pests. So—if you are going to make the switch to growing insect-pollinated crops in the greenhouse, consider using bumblebees. They offer many advantages over honeybees, and they will save you countless hours of hand-pollination labour. Why not let Mother Nature help you become more natural in your indoor food and crop production? MY Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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article title

Along with wasabi there are a number of other Japanese herbs and vegetables that are quick and easy to grow indoors and just a little bit unusual.

Fiery green wasabi paste is well known to many a sushi lover, and its flavour and heat can become almost addictive. This exotic and expensive Japanese herb has a reputation as being difficult to grow, requiring high-quality cool running water, specific conditions and just the right climate to thrive. In reality, however, wasabi is an almost perfect crop

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

for hydroponics, as in its natural habitat it grows on stony riverbanks and is considered to be semi-aquatic. Hydroponics set-ups that include flowing nutrient (which can be chilled if necessary), coarse-grade growing mediums and control over the environment are just about ideal for this eastern delicacy.


Growing wasabi Wasabi japonica, also known as Japanese horseradish, is a member of the crucifer or mustard family, which contains other commonly grown plants such as watercress, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, mustard and horseradish. Wasabi has the typical mustard or horseradish heat, but it also has a subtly different and distinc-

cancer-fighting isothiocyanate compounds common to the cruciferous family, many of which might have medicinal and pharmaceutical applications. Both the leaves and smaller, lowerquality stems of the wasabi plant can be processed into a paste, while the largest, higher-quality and thicker stems are usually sold whole, with three to four top

Wasabi flowers.

tive flavour, which is released from the leaves still attached. Fresh wasabi needs to stem tissue when it’s prepared or grated be eaten within 20 minutes of preparafor eating fresh. The flavour of freshly tion, as the volatile compounds released grated wasabi is far superior to that of the by grating dissipate rapidly. Since fresh processed product sold in ready-to-use wasabi has such a limited shelf life, wasabi tubes, but lovers fresh wasabi want to stems are an be able expensive to harvest “Fresh wasabi needs to be item with a suiteaten within 20 minutes of a limited ably sized preparation, as the volatile shelf life. It is stem from compounds released by also thought their grating dissipate rapidly.” that wasabi hydrocontains the ponically Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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growing japanese

grown plants and be consuming this within an hour in order to get the greatest kick of flavour from the distinctive volatile compounds before oxidation occurs.

Hydroponic systems for wasabi

trees on a moist, cool riverbank, and that’s what wasabi will thrive in. Wasabi prefers temperatures in the 10 to 20°C range, as conditions warmer than these result in leaf wilting during the day and reduced growth rates, with the plants tending to decline as a result of tem-

For a small wasabi system growing just a few plants, the ideal set-up is one that “For a small wasabi system growing replicates the natural just a few plants, the ideal set-up environment wasabi is one that replicates the natural plants evolved in. environment wasabi plants evolved in.” Wasabi prefers conditions similar to those we might provide for orchids or ferns: a cool shady area with good air movement perature stress. Wasabi is also prone Wasabi plants at 10 months old. under and through the plant’s foliage, and to a number of fungal and bacterial moderate humidity levels with no direct Larger sized nutrient reservoirs—which pathogens, so prolonged leaf wetness and sunlight or bright overhead lights. For take longer to heat up during the day— high humidity should be avoided. Apart those growing indoors this means that and a well-shaded growing area usually from an airy, shaded location, wasabi provide the correct temperature, but if wasabi is a crop that doesn’t need a lot of plants also need cool, high-quality water the solution temperature is climbing then expensive high-intensity grow lamps, and with a good level of oxygenation—natua chiller unit can be installed. Most goodproduction under compact fluorescents rally occurring conditions in a Japanese is usually ideal. Think of the conditions mountain stream. Optimum temperatures quality hydroponic water supplies are suitable for wasabi, although high levels under a dense canopy of well-developed for the nutrient solution are within the of water treatment chemicals or contami13 to 18°C range for maximum growth, nation with pathogens such as Pythium so warming in winter might be refrom ground water may mean RO treatquired in some areas, while ment is required. in summer the nutrient Wasabi plants reach a substantial size for should stay below a vegetable herb—many can be well over 22 to 24°C. two 60 centimetres and 46 centimetres at maturity, although it might take as long as 18 months to reach these dimensions. For this reason, a media-based system, which is deep enough to fully support the large plants as they develop is required. While wasabi has been grown in NFT and other solution culture systems, the plant and root system is more suited to media-based beds, which slow the rate of temperature rise in the root zone and hold the plant upright. Despite being considered a semi-aquatic plant, wasabi does not seem to thrive in a continually submerged system or where the nutrient stagnates and excludes oxygen, which the 36

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


root system needs in abundance. Clean river gravel or stones or clean and sterile largegrade chunky perlite or other rock-type media makes an ideal substrate. Smaller plantlets can initially be grown on finer grade sand or gravel or perlite until they are large enough to plant out into a hydroponic system. For the hydroponic system, beds or containers that are at Misome plants growing in an NFT system. least 30 centimetres deep are required, with plants spaced 46 week for optimum growth. It seems that centimetres apart in intensive systems. wasabi is one of those crops that produces The nutrient solution is best applied via a lot of organic root exudates, which drip irrigation or an intermittent flow accumulate in recirculating systems, and system, which will not flood the plants growth seems to be boosted when the during the flow cycle. Flooding of the nutrient is replaced regularly. plants—like that which occurs in an ebb Propagation of wasabi and flow system—can induce black stem Once there are mature plants in the rot and root die back, and does not seem system, propagation is relatively easy— to work as well as drip irrigation. These mature plants usually produce a number types of small wasabi hydroponic systems of small offshoots around two to three are different from those traditionally used larger main stems. These can be gently in Japan, which often divert cold water cut or pulled away from the main plant from a mountain steam to run beside and planted up for new stock. Many of raised growing ridges which hold the the young wasabi plants or plantlets being plants, then divert the water back to the sold are grown from these offshoots when stream. Given that most hydroponic systhe main stems have been harvested. tems recycle the nutrient, drip irrigation Wasabi can also be grown from seed, with a nutrient reservoir is required and although this can be slow and unpredicthas been proven to work just as well and able as the seed is dormant at harvest and provide the plants with readily needs a period of cool storage before available nutrients. Wasabi prefers a relatively low EC in the germination will begin. Wasabi plants can also be raised in tissue culture, which is nutrient of 1.0 to 1.2, or slightly lower during warmer weather. Standard grow or particularly good for preventing some of the fungal pathogens that can be transvegetative nutrient formulations are usually fine, although this is a crop that needs ferred when offsets are used for propagation. regular complete solution changes every Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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growing japanese

Young wasabi plantlets being propagated from seed.

Japanese radishes make a great condiment.

Large-grade wasabi stems suitable for harvest develop over an 18 to 24 month period; however, smaller stems and leaves can be harvested before that for immediate use, and will still have that distinctive wasabi flavour—although not the same degree of heat as a mature stem. As the older leaves develop and age they fall from the stem of the plant, leaving a leaf scar, and it is this increasing length of leafless stem that is the harvestable portion of the plant. Stem thickness ranges from one to three centimetres, and length at harvest is usually at least 15 centimetres.

Harvested hydroponic wasabi stem ready for use.

germination rates. Seedlings for hydroponic systems can be grown in much the same way as basil transplants; in grow cubes or small pots of media with between two to six seedlings per cube being sown. Perilla crops grown hydroponically also need a higher EC than would be used for most herbs: EC levels of 1.6 to 2.0 help develop and maintain intense red colouration and help keep the plants compact and well flavoured. In Japan, perilla is commonly grown as a seedling crop and cut at the 35 to 40 day stage, but plants grown for home use can be cropped for longer, so that the edible flowers can also be used in Other Japanese herbs and greens Japanese cuisine. Other intriguing Japanese vegetables include the radishes, Fast-growing greens such as mizuna, mibuna, misome, komwhich hold a special place in Japanese cuisine and have multiple atsuna and mustard are all well suited to the same hydroponic systems and conditions that are used for lettuce and other salad uses. Daikon, aomaru, koshin and minowase are all large radish crops. Generally these greens are all incredibly fast growing— types that can be grown hydroponically, and generally the flesh producing dense clumps of attractive green foliage within a few is succulent, crisp and well flavoured if grown rapidly. The long weeks—and are a nice complement to have alongside wasabi. white daikon radish is a large plant, with the root reaching over Perilla, also known as shiso, or the sushi herb, is available in two pounds in weight in many cases, and is best suited to large, attractive green and reddish purple forms with its appearance deep media beds of coco fibre or similar material, which won’t resembling that of ornamental coleus plants. Perilla is an essenrestrict the expansion of the root. The smaller, round green- and tial Japanese herb commonly used as a garnish of whole leaves, purple-fleshed Japanese radishes take up less space and will grow sprouted seeds well in temperatures of 16 to 26°C at shorter day lengths or or seedling lighting cycles, as the plants are prone to going to seed (boltleaves with ing) if long days are encountered. In good growing conditions, cooked dishes, smaller Japanese radishes can be harvested in as little as 50 days from sowing, and can then be used grated, steamed, pickled or stir fried “Perilla is raised from seed, for a distinctive hot/sweet flavour. but the seed must be relatively We are no longer restricted to fresh as viability falls with age growing those plants and vegetables and older seed may have low suited to the climate and the soil of germination rates.” the area we live in—indoors we can now create pretty much any growing environment a plant is likely to need. pickles and raw fish. The flavour of perilla is similar to basil, Now we are able to replicate the conditions of a cool, shady although often milder, with overtones of cilantro. Japanese mountain stream, where we can grow succulent wasabi Unlike many other Japanese greens, perilla is not cold-tolerant and fresh exotic greens as well as ferns and many other beautiful and requires warm conditions and reasonably high light levels and relaxing plants. MY for maximum colour development. Temperatures in the 18 to 26°C range produce good growth rates, and in Japan the crop Sources of information and plantlets richters.com is produced in winter in greenhouses with heating and artificial mountaingardensherbs.com/specialties.html light. Perilla is raised from seed, but the seed must be relatively cityfarmer.org/wasabi.html fresh as viability falls with age and older seed might have low 38

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


article title

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


10 Tips

for Starting Your First Garden by Grubbycup

A respected and successful gardener breaks it all down into 10 easy steps.

Gardens can produce vegetables for the table and flowers to brighten your home; they can also provide healthy exercise for the body and comfort for your soul. If approached properly, gardening can be an inexpensive hobby that gives more than it takes. However, since a successful garden is a lot more fun to work in than one that isn’t doing so well, here are some helpful tips to get new growers off to a good start: 42

Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2012


Plants need a plan

Take a look at your potential garden spaces. Well-lit spare rooms can become homes to indoor hydroponic systems, patios make ideal locations for container gardens, sections of back lawns can be transformed into productive plots and every balcony and windowsill can become an oasis of thriving greenery. Whatever the location, though, every garden space needs both light and water in order to thrive—so make sure your plans include ways to supply these needs.

Plants need light

Select an area that gets enough light for the plants you intend to grow. To do this, monitor the amount of sunlight the space receives throughout an entire day, preferably during the growing season. Make note of how many hours of full and partial light the plants will receive. Greenhouses and indoor gardens will also require additional lighting such as high intensity discharge (HID) lamps or fluorescent T5s. Because it adapts so well to a wide variety of lighting conditions the human eye has trouble discerning the actual magnitude of available light, but with an inexpensive light metre empirical readings can be recorded quickly and easily. If you’re using an artificial light source, remember light disperses exponentially over distance so plants twice as far away only receive a quarter the light. With natural sunlight height is much less of a factor because of the intensity and amount of available light, but shadows become more important since the light source moves over the course of the day.

Plants need water

You might be able to supply a small indoor or windowsill garden with just a watering can, but for a large container garden or an outdoor soil garden of any size you should consider adding a drip system—or at the very least make sure your garden hose will reach far enough to meet your needs. Drip systems allow water to be released slowly over time in specific areas and can be a much more efficient use of water than irrigation rows or sprinkler systems. Drip systems are particularly advantageous in container gardens. Regardless of how the plants are watered, however, it is important that the Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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10 tips for starting your first garden

garden has sufficient drainage and that slight watering mishaps will not cause unintended damage to floors or muddy puddles in foot paths.

Plants need a good home

Once your space has been selected, it must be prepared. A simple hand drawn map can be a good organizational tool in figuring out your layout. Empty pots can be arranged and rearranged in a space a lot easier than full ones, so take advantage and find a configuration that takes into account lighting, watering and access and is pleasing to the eye as well. Indoor spaces should be cleared of clutter and surfaces protected from drips and spills. Keep in mind that neither carpeting

nor hardwood floors tolerate spills well and both can be easily ruined. Outdoor spaces should be cleared of debris and any large unwanted plants removed. If the area has never been worked, then you will likely have to dig and turn it to level it out. Covering the area with a thick layer of organic mulch and compost, preferably over a layer of newspaper (a good way to recycle!) will give you the benefits of weed control without exposing the area to herbicides or your hands to excessive blisters.

Plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (NPK) and more

Mix up a batch of the following and apply at four litres per three by three metre area: • 16 parts seed meal or alfalfa pellets (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) • Four parts bone meal, rock phosphate or guano (phosphorus) • Four parts kelp meal (many micronutrients) • Two parts dolomitic lime (calcium, magnesium) • One part agricultural lime (calcium) • One part gypsum (calcium, sulphur) Reapply at four litres per three by three metre area every couple of months throughout the growing season.

Plants need the right home

Look at plants that do well in gardens in your area—nearby gardeners are often great sources for information and if they save seeds they can also be a source of open-pollinated cultivars. The sunset and plant hardiness zones can help determine which store-bought plants are appropriate for your climate: check the available sunlight hours in your space and compare them to the listed requirements of prospective seeds and plants. Plants not normally grown locally can sometimes be successfully cultivated in greenhouses and indoor gardens, but for beginning gardeners stick with plants suited for your zone.

Plants can often make more plants

Seeds from heirloom and open-pollinated cultivars can be saved and even many hybrid varieties can be reproduced vegetatively from cuttings. Many plants produce pods with seeds that only need to be collected and dried to be used the following year. Some seeds—like tomatoes—require fermentation or some other treatment to render them viable, but this is often easily done. Check the specifics of each plant to find out how they are propagated. Purchased seeds tend to come in larger quantities than one gardener can use and swapping leftover seeds can be a cost-effective way to grow additional varieties without additional expense.

Baby plants need special care

Newly sprouted plants are vulnerable to a variety of perils. Environmental changes, water deficiencies and physical abuse can quickly kill tender sprouts before they can become

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250W 2 4 6 8

400W 2 4 6 8

600W 1000W 2 2 4 4 6 4 8 4

For your local stockist visit: www.maxibright.com/retailers Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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10 tips for starting your first garden

established. For plants that tolerate transplanting well, starting sprouts indoors can give them a sheltered environment and a way for gardeners to get a start on spring planting even before the last frost. Plants started indoors should be hardened by gradually exposing them to their new environmental conditions. This is done by moving them to less-sheltered locations in steps, or by introducing them to the new location for first a few and then several hours a day, over a period of a week or so. Plants moved from a sheltered indoor environment to the harsher conditions outdoors without hardening may die from shock, so care must be taken to allow them to get used to their new conditions gradually.

Plants make compost, and compost makes plants

In many places in the UK green waste made from lawn and garden trimmings is picked up from homeowners for a fee, taken to a facility, converted and sold back to the consumer as compost for another fee. This process is profitable for the garbage men and compost facility, but not very carbon efficient or budget conscious. Green waste ingredients are a resource that can be made into valuable compost without incurring shipping costs or middleman markups.

A pile of garden trimmings will eventually breakdown first into compost and then later into humus. To speed the process up substantially, use approximately equal portions greens and browns. Greens—such as alfalfa hay and grass clippings—have a low carbon-to-nitrogen ratio: only about 20 to one. Browns— like leaves, cardboard and straw—have much higher ratios: from 40 to one up to 100 to one, or more. Since the ideal ratio for composting is around 30 to one, equal parts 20 to one material and 40 to one material will even each other out to the desired

“In many places in the UK, green waste made from lawn and garden trimmings is picked up from homeowners for a fee, taken to a facility, converted and sold back to the consumer as compost for another fee.” level. Stacked in a 90 by 90 centimetre pile, watered to the consistency of a wrung-out sponge, the centre of the material should start to heat up and become a hot compost pile. Hot compost piles break down plant material in a matter of several weeks and can reach temperatures of 54 to 71°C. If the compost pile doesn’t seem like it’s heating up, try stirring and turning the pile. Even if it doesn’t heat up, it will still make cold compost— which will just take a matter of months instead of weeks.

Plants prefer patient perseverance

It is very easy to get carried away in the spring and start off by planting something in every spare nook and cranny. The weather is nice, excitement is in the air and dreams of massive harvests of fresh veggies and flowers can cause the most reserved and stable among us to succumb to a slight case of gardening mania! When you’re just getting underway, exercise restraint and only start as many plants as you are honestly willing to see through the growing season. Twenty well-tended plants will produce much more than 40 that get ignored once the initial thrill wanes. Start small and care for your plants— learn their likes and dislikes. If all goes well, plant a bigger garden next year. If it doesn’t, try to find out why by learning more about gardening and then try again. Victory gardens were once commonplace and contributed heavily to the national food supply. Many homegrown vegetables are not only cheaper to grow than to buy, but are better tasting, too—the key to cost-effective gardening is to invest more knowledge and sweat into your garden than money. There is a kind of quiet pride that comes from a well-tended garden and you’ll certainly enjoy eating fresh produce that can go from living plants to the table in minutes instead of weeks. For those with enough patience and determination, the rewards of a successful garden can fill both bellies and hearts. Every successful gardener once grew their first plant—I cannot encourage you strongly enough to try it for yourself. MY

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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article title

The Future of Hydroponics…

No Power Required by Heather Pearl

An expert takes us on a quick tour of the gravity-powered growing revolution…

Ninety per cent of all growing systems available around the world require some combination of pumps, timers or electricity in order to operate. However, over the last decade several growing concepts have emerged that don’t require power sources to function. Obviously the main power-free method is still hand watering, although this requires constant monitoring and high levels of human input.

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In recent years gravity-fed watering systems have become increasingly popular in a range of areas, including garden centres, hydroponic systems and commercial crop applications. Public concern over the environment tends to encourage power-free watering for a number of reasons—as global warming raises the level of public awareness about sustainability and green issues, systems powered by gravity have impeccable environmental credentials. As food security issues loom and self-sustaining commercial sites continue to proliferate, power-free systems offer a solution for practicing horticulture on a large scale in regions where electricity might be scarce or even non-existent. Power-free systems are generally simple to operate and require minimal horticultural know-how to set up and maintain, which allows inexperienced growers to achieve good results without special training or outside assistance. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, gravity systems provide fuss-free solutions since there are often no recirculation of nutrients, many systems are modular so they can be easily extended and with no pumps or timers to worry about there are few extra components. Gravity-powered systems are often cheaper to install, they can be used either hydroponically or with soil and they offer versatility in choosing your growing media—unlike traditional hydroponic systems that require growing to be carried out in a set way. So how do they work? The gravity is provided by a raised water reservoir via a network of piping. The larger the set-up, the larger the reservoir has to be to provide sufficient gravity pressure. Power-free growing systems utilize a range of technologies, the two most important being drip and valve systems. Drip systems can be highly effective in certain scenarios, although one of their main drawbacks is the lack of control and the fact that a large percentage of the water distributed by the drippers can evaporate when it hits the soil surface.Valve systems work by flooding a tray to a preset level and only reflooding it when all the water has been consumed by the plants. This method is the most precise as it allows the plant to be in complete control of its own requirements and relieves the grower of the constant monitoring that is required in most power-driven systems. Gravity-powered growing set-ups are increasingly leading the way in the hydroponic industry. They are simple to install and operate and they offer the user a no-nonsense system that can be left unattended and does not require constant input. By placing so much control with the plant you remove the need for the grower to have extensive growing knowledge— the system allows the plants to dictate what they need when they need it. The future of power-free growing systems looks extremely bright and with the increasing trend toward ‘growing your own’ and environmental sustainability they offer what might be the perfect solution for achieving impressive yields with minimal input. MY

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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Trellises, Super-cropping or Ladybugs Increase Your Yield by All Means Necessary! by

Lee McCall

Lee McCall talks about increasing yields with trellis systems and super-cropping and preventative pest control maintenance without toxic pesticides or poisons Increasing the yield is always the key goal at the end of the day in any type of crop production. I always try and explain this in terms of space when gardening under lights, as opposed to talking about how many plants you can fit in the garden. Basically, understanding how to efficiently produce the optimum amount of fresh weight per surface area under each light will allow you to achieve the maximum possible yield and production. For example, when you grow a plant outdoors there isn’t really any space restriction because the plant has virtually unlimited root space and equal light penetration from the sun throughout the day.

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Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2012


This allows a plant to grow full and thick, without the sparse wispy straggler growth resulting from lack of light or restricted root development that you might see in an indoor plant receiving only overhead light from reflectors. Under normal circumstances, this wispy growth is always underdeveloped come harvest time and should be removed prior to initiating the flowering cycle—if not, the result is wasted time and plant energy that would have been better utilized in the primary tops, fruit or blooms on the plant. Indoors, using artificial lighting, a single lamp can cover only so much available surface area effectively— opposed to the sun, which covers the entire circumference of an outdoor plant. My personal translation of this logic is that outside plants can most definitely reach their maximum possible yield without pruning, trellising or training if they are given a sunny location and adequate water and nutrients and protected from things like pests and mould. Indoors, though, each grow lamp can only cover ‘X’ amount of surface area, most commonly on a horizontal platform; it’s up to us as growers to determine the most efficient way to produce a full canopy under this available surface area and turn wispy growth into primary growth. Trellising techniques and super-cropping can re-

“Trellising techniques and super-cropping can really benefit the grower in terms of maximizing production surface area with fewer plants." ally benefit the grower in terms of maximizing production surface area with fewer plants. Trellising utilizes a nylon or plastic monofilament grid sectioned out in specific increments of length and width. These nets—comprised of multiple squares—will allow you to train a plant from having what were once only a few tops (primary shoots) into dozens of tops, each one occupying an individual square in the trellis net. Common trellising techniques might include wooden or PVC custom frames that serve to hold and spread the trellis flat or parallel with the canopy. Trellis systems are usually applied to mature vegetative crops prior to the flowering cycle, so that each plant has enough time to train itself into the grids of the trellis.You should build your trellis supports in ways that will allow you to maximize the footprint of your available light. Traditionally, the common understanding is that a 1,000 watt light will support approximately a 1.5 square metre footprint; with a trellis this might be increased up to double the size, as long as there is enough plant mass to sufficiently fill in the surface area of the trellis. This technique will also Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

51


Trellises, super-cropping or ladybugs

encourage shorter finishing heights, as the plants will grow whiteflies. This scheduled group six insecticide is extremely out horizontally instead of vertically. Currently, this is defitoxic to humans, animals and the environment and should nitely the most popular way of maximizing yield without be reserved for use only on ornamental and non-consumincreasing the number of plants in the garden. This kind of able crops. The extreme danger associated with this product trellising—sometimes called SCROG or ‘screen of green’— is enough for me to never recommend it for use to anyone! might be conducted with many plants or few. Personally, I Imidacloprid is another pesticide ingredient that is befeel that fewer are generally better; otherwise, what is the ginning to gain some popularity among those who run point of the trellis? A downside to this technique is that loninto root-dwelling insect infestations. Root aphids, thrips ger vegetative growth periods are required in order to grow and fungus gnats stand absolutely no chance against this a larger plant capable of systemic toxin and even filling in a big trellis grid, though it is registered for “Super-cropping involves but at least you’ll only use on vegetable crops I have one plant to tend, would still caution against taking primary branches as opposed to the many it. Many countries have of a plant and creasing single plants you would banned this product due to or bending them in such need to produce the same the huge numbers of naa way that it not only yield. Outdoors—and in tive insects it has killed off. shortens the plant, indoor grows that utilize Although not ‘killbut promotes a denser vertical lighting—trellises on-contact’ effective, can also be spread vertiladybugs are an excellent canopy over a larger cally to function as sturdy preventative measure that surface area." supports for tall, longerwill work full time in season varieties. your garden so you won’t Super-cropping is not a have to. Ladybugs are new technique, but it has continued to be a popular solupredatory in nature and their favorite foods are planttion as the gardening industry has evolved. Super-cropping dwelling insects—including spider mites, aphids, whiteinvolves taking primary branches of a plant and creasing or flies, fungus gnats and thrips. Ladybugs are most effective bending them in such a way that it not only shortens the once their breeding colonies start to flourish—the larvae plant, but promotes a denser canopy over a larger surface will feast on smaller pests like mites while adults prefer area. Rather than having several tall primary tops on a fat juicy aphids. By no means are ladybugs the cure to a plant, these are creased over to the side between the nodes major pest problem in the garden, however—if you are of the plant and either tied down, trellised or left to heal as struck by a serious infestation you’ll need to employ a is. Over time, the crease will form a thick, callused, elbowspray that will kill bugs on contact in order to effectively like knot and permanently fix the branch in place without reduce their population. The reason for this is that plantthe need of bamboo or twist-ties. This super-cropping sucking pests breed much faster than most beneficial technique works well on most types of soft-stem plants insects, so trying to curb large infestations with ladybugs that have a tendency to grow tall—you can employ it in will usually prove ineffective. They’re more of a mainany situation where trellis grids are not available and plant tenance measure—you can put ladybugs in vegetative training is required. Tomatoes, basil and pepper plants are rooms and clones to ensure clean, pest-free starts and all great candidates for the use of super-cropping strategies they will even burrow down into the growing medium to increase yields. in order to retrieve tasty root aphids and fungus gnats. In order to increase yields and benefit from trellising Try using these tactics to improve your crop producand super-cropping, plant health must be also be carefully tion. For me, gardening is all about trial and error—in maintained. Bugs always seem to be a big problem for most order to become better, you must first fail. Trellising and gardeners across the board, no matter what their level of super-cropping are grower-devised techniques used to expertise might be. This is a part of gardening that I always improve crop yields by manipulation of plant growth recommend approaching with extreme caution, though, as patterns. Some failures are inevitable in order to achieve many products use harmful ingredients and plants usually success using these techniques—don’t freak out if you don’t respond in a positive manner to them. For example, break a branch off your first time trying to super-crop Abamectin is a systemic insecticide that many commeryour plant. As with anything, practice makes perfect, so cial or large-scale growers have used in their rooms in an throw up a grid and get started—soon you’ll begin to attempt to control infestations of spider mites, thrips or see maximized yields in your own garden. MY

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Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2012


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Seeds or

article title

Clones

by Karen Wilkinson

Do you like the same thing every time or do you prefer to be surprised? There’s no wrong answer… Imagine driving along a winding road without any clear destination.You might end up at the beach or a friend’s house, or—if you’re lucky—a magical meadow teeming with flowers, plants and creatures you’ve never laid eyes on before.You’re in for an adventure with a surprise ending. Now imagine driving along the highway in a GPSequipped car with the intent of exiting in exactly 10 kilometers. Your path is direct—you’re going to your favourite restaurant, the one that consistently leaves your belly feeling warm and happy. You know exactly what to expect and that’s what keeps you coming back. When it comes to growing a new plant, there are two very distinct, divergent paths a grower can take to accomplish the job—you can start from a seedling (the scenic route) or you can use a cutting from an established mother plant (the paved road). Neither approach is intrinsically better than the other and each offers its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

Growing from seed

Die-hard traditionalists will tell you growing from seed is the only way to go, that it’s the purest or ‘most real’ approach, that any kind of shortcut is lazy and without merit. While it’s certainly rewarding to see your plant progress from a tiny seed to a

Starting a plant from a seed is definitely challenging, but that also means it might offer potentially greater rewards.

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Die-hard traditionalists will tell you growing from seed is the only way to go, that it’s the purest or ‘most real’ approach, that any kind of shortcut is lazy and without merit.

fully grown, fruit-producing monster, it’s also a lengthy process when compared with growing rooted clones, although it does offer the opportunity to breed and cross strains. Here are some other pros and cons of growing from seed: • Female seeds can often produce greater yields than clones. • Seeds from known, trusted sources of known lineage and genetics should produce similar results. • If they’re from a healthy, pest- and disease-free plant, the seeds should inherit these desirable qualities. • Not all seeds are guaranteed to germinate! That in itself is a gamble. • Because seeds take longer to mature into fully established plants, more time, money and labour is required from the grower. • Seeds can be saved and stored in very little space, whereas clones require constant upkeep and care. • Seedlings need much tender loving care when their root system is forming—just like clones in their root-forming stage. The right balance of water and heat will get their roots popping, but too much or too little of either can be detrimental. Keep in mind that starting from seed is no easy task. From the time and energy you’ll devote to keeping it healthy and strong, to maintaining a balanced diet with plant-specific nutrients, to ensuring its lighting and

watering needs are consistently met—your seedling will seem a lot like a baby, without the crying and diaper changing. Starting a plant from a seed is definitely challenging, but that also means it might offer potentially greater rewards—who doesn’t want to be able to step back from their enormous flowering plant and say, “Yeah, I grew that bad girl from seed.” Am I right or am I right?

Growing from cuttings (or ‘cloning’)

There are lots of advantages to growing from cuttings, starting with their dependability. Growing rooted clones is also a time-saver as far as crop turnaround—you can take a vacation following harvest or keep going with another batch of babies. It will also take a significantly shorter time to go from a tiny cutting to a fruit-bearing plant than it would have if you had started with a seedling. Here are some other things to consider about growing clones: • They are super-sensitive, as they are at one of their most critical life stages! You have to seriously baby them until their roots are fully established—in some cases, this means keeping them away from direct light (their roots can get burned) and not feeding them nutrients. • Clones have nearly identical traits and characteristics to the mother plant they are taken from—expect similar growth vitality, resistance to disease and pests, and so on. • Conversely, if your clone is unhealthy or came from a mother susceptible to powdery mildew, pests or other issues, the plant that it grows into will inherit the same bad traits. There are bad clones and you don’t need either in your garden! If you’re still unsure of which route to take, don’t fret— experiment! That’s the only surefire way to learn what works best in your environment and what will ultimately produce the best results for you. MY

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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by Matt LeBannister

DERIVING NUTRIENTS FROM MARINE LIFE

Life is abundant under the sea, and some of these life forms can be excellent sources of complete nutrition above the sea for your plants.

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Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2012


Plants have to receive certain nutrients in order to survive and thrive. They need nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and an assortment of trace elements, amino acids and vitamins. When growing indoors, the gardener must provide the plant with these essentials—but with so many different products on the market these days, it is difficult to decide which nutrient sources are most complete and best for your plants. The sea can be a beacon of light for unsure gardeners. There are many different sources of plant nutrients that come from the sea—nutrients such as kelp meal or extract and fish emulsion are two examples of excellent sources of organic plant nutrition—but there are many other marine-based plant foods that are available to keep plants happy and healthy as well. Kelp is a type of seaweed that grows quickly and abundantly in the ocean. Kelp and other seaweeds are excellent organic sources of many of the nutrients that plants require for optimum growth, and they are available for gardeners as kelp or seaweed meal in a ground powder or as kelp or seaweed extract in a liquid treatment. Kelp meal is applied as a top dressing to plants or mixed into the soil before planting, while kelp and seaweed extract can be mixed into hydroponic

“Kelp meal is applied as a top dressing to plants or mixed into the soil before planting, while kelp and seaweed extract can be mixed into hydroponic irrigation solutions, watered to potted plants or foliar sprayed.”

irrigation solutions, watered to potted plants or foliar sprayed—each way is an effective means of delivering quality nutrients to your plants. Kelp contains nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, and is also a natural source of 60 to 70 trace elements that are in a water soluble state, which means they are instantly available to the plant. Kelp and seaweed are abundantly rich in many vitamins such as A, C, E and B-12 as well, and they also contain many amino acids and plant hormones. Kelp meal or extract has other advantages as a plant nutrient. Kelp will break down quickly—making nutrients available to the plant right away—and it contains vitamin B-12, which reduces plant stress, helping with shock from transplanting, environmental damages, insect damage or disease. Kelp or seaweed can also increase the bioactivity in the soil at root level, helping to break down organic matter and making it available to the plant as food. Kelp and seaweed in the soil can help with water retention as well. There is one downside to using kelp as a plant nutrient, however—because it would seem that earthworms do not like to eat fresh kelp. Earthworms break down organic matter and aerate the soil, and while kelp will not harm them in any way, the earthworms just do not seem to want to eat it.

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Oceans of Life: Deriving Nutrients From Marine Life

Our next set of marine-based nutrients comes directly from fish. Fish meal and fish emulsion are both excellent organic products that can be very nutritious for plants. Fish meal is dried and ground whole fish or fish trimmings with most of the fish oil removed during the drying process in order to prevent the fish meal from going rancid.

“Greensand may be rich in many nutrients essential for plant growth, but it is not ideal for the indoor gardener as it takes a few years to break down and become available to plants, making it more practical as a plant nutrient for outdoor organic gardeners.”

There are many reasons fish meal is a great plant nutrient. Fish meal is an excellent source of six to eight per cent nitrogen, five to seven per cent phosphorous and many trace elements, although it is not a good source of potassium. Just like kelp meal, though, fish meal is a great bio-activator, improving the breakdown of compost and organic matter. The downside to using fish meal as an organic plant fertilizer is really just the odour—it smells like fish. To control the odour, cover the top dressing of fish meal with some soil.You should also make sure to keep the fish meal in an airtight container to prevent pets and insects from getting into it. Fish emulsion is the liquid version of fish meal, and is made by using enzymes that digest and ferment fish remains. Fish emulsion is also a great source of nitrogen, phosphorous and many trace elements.

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There are certain benefits to using fish emulsion over fish meal. Being already broken down and in liquid form, the nutrients in fish emulsion are immediately available to the plant, whereas the fish meal needs to be broken down. Fish emulsion is hard to overfeed, making it safer to use than fish meal, and it is also an excellent bio-activator that can assist in the breaking down of compost and organic matter. Fish emulsion can be added into hydroponic nutrient reservoirs and hand-watered to potted plants as well, making it more versatile than fish meal. The drawback of using fish emulsion is again the odour. Even though you can find ‘deodorized’ fish emulsion, it will still have a distinct fishy smell. Another excellent source of organic nutrients is diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of freshwater or saltwater diatoms—tiny, hard-shelled algae. Diatomaceous earth can be mixed into soil before planting or top dressed as necessary, and is an excellent source of many trace elements, including magnesium, silicon, calcium, sodium, iron, boron, manganese and copper. Diatomaceous earth is also used as an organic insecticide. When an insect larva comes into contact with the microscopic fossilized diatoms, the sharp edges will damage the larva’s soft exterior. The diatomaceous earth dust will also stick to the edges of soil borne insects, where it will then absorb the lipids from the insects’ waxy exoskeleton, causing them to dry out and die. If an insect ingests diatomaceous earth, the fossilized diatoms will shred the insides of the insect, causing death. Another organic source of plant nutrition from ancient seas is glaucomite, commonly referred to as greensand. Greensand is an iron-potassium silicate that contains many micronutrients and trace elements and has been formed over millennia in ancient seabed deposits of shells and plant material.


“The oceans, seas and even bodies of fresh water contain an abundance of life. Such teeming marine life, both plant and animal, signals the availability of diverse sources of nutrition.”

Greensand might be rich in many nutrients essential for plant growth, but it is not ideal for the indoor gardener as it takes a few years to break down and become available to plants, making it more practical as a plant nutrient for outdoor organic gardeners. It can be top dressed as needed or mixed into the soil before planting. Another way to derive plant nutrition from marine life is to bring the marine life right into the growroom with aquaponics, which is becoming a popular method of hydroponic gardening. A reservoir is filled with fish or replaced with a large fish tank. The fish will eat fish food and any algae buildup, and the fish waste will be in the water that will be pumped into the hydroponic irrigation system feeding the plants. This is an innovative way of organic hydroponic gardening—the plants clean the water for the fish and the fish waste feeds the plants, creating a somewhat selfcontained ecosystem. The oceans, seas and even bodies of fresh water contain an abundance of life. Such teeming marine life, both plant and animal, signals the availability of diverse sources of nutrition. For gardeners, the marine world is a great organic source of renewable plant food. With kelp and seaweed extracts, different fish products and ancient sea deposits, plants can get all the elements, vitamins, amino acids and plant hormones they need to develop to their fullest potential. MY

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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Beyond the Basics:

Classifying

Hydroponic

Growing Systems With MIST

by Ryan M. Taylor

Hydroponic systems are traditionally classified according to the irrigation method employed, which can cause confusion to beginning growers. Ryan Taylor explains the MIST system, which classifies grow systems according to modularity, irrigation, substrate and technology. Believe it or not, I actually like my in-laws—since the time I began wooing their daughter, they have taken an active interest in my hydroponics career and have made me feel like part of their family. In other words, they are a far cry from the ‘monsters-in-law’ cliché. Recently they decided to build a hobby system of their own and it didn’t take long for them to become frustrated and call me for help.You see, hydroponic systems are typically named after the type of irrigation system they employ, regardless of the other features the system might include. Compounding this confusing tendency, readers might be talked into believing there is ‘one best way’ to build a particular type of system.

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I suspect that my in-laws are not alone among beginners in their level of confusion. If our industry is to continue to expand, we really need to develop a more useful and specific set of criteria with which to classify hydroponic growing systems—rather than just lumping them together based on the irrigation method they use. A set of four basic dimensions could be used to classify hydroponic growing systems, for instance, and each system could then be described according to how it employs each of these four dimensions. This classification protocol would make describing particular grow systems both simpler and more precise and would go a long way toward dispelling the confusion faced by many new growers.


The MIST Classification System

MIST is an acronym that can be used to describe the four major dimensions of any growing system: modularity, irrigation, substrate and technology. Each dimension describes a particular aspect of the system, with each aspect represented as a continuum of possibilities between extremes. Modularity refers to the degree to which plants are interconnected by substrate and nutrient solution. At one extreme, plants are grown in individual pots, buckets or bags that are completely independent of one another. At the other extreme, plants are densely grown in beds or troughs—we refer to this arrangement as being ‘tightly coupled’ because all the plants share the same substrate and nutrient solution. In between these two extremes is a virtually limitless array of arrangements where plants are ‘loosely coupled’ between each other—one example might be a flood-and-drain system in which individual substrate-filled buckets are packed densely on a bed: in this case, the plants share irrigation solution but not the root substrate. Irrigation refers to the method of supplying water, nutrients and other growth aids to the plants. This is a complex dimension with many sub-dimensions, four of which are described below: • Flow describes whether the system solution is moving or stationary and the rate at which it changes. • Level characterizes the amount of solution in the root zone at a given time, ranging from a thin film to a deep basin. • Origin refers to the point at which solution is applied to te plant; major points of origin include foliar (leaf) feeding, top-feeding of the substrate and sub-irrigation from below the substrate. • Waste is a sub-dimension concerned with the useful life of the nutrient solution: systems are said to be ‘open’ if solution passes through the root system just once before being discarded, whereas systems are ‘closed’ if the solution is re-circulated over the life of the crop—in practice, growers often use a hybrid strategy combining solution add-backs with periodic replacement of the entire solution.

A hybrid substrate composed of a 50:50 mix of coco and LECA.

Substrate refers specifically to the growing media in the root zone. At one extreme, plant roots are grown without media at all, absorbing nutrient solution through misted air or by hanging in a periodically flooded chamber. More often than not, though, an inorganic or organic substrate is used to provide both anchorage and nutrient solution to the plant. Substrates are characterized by their qualities, including water holding capacity, porosity and cation exchange capacity: by creating a mix that balances these properties effectively, higher yields can be produced than with stand-alone substrates. Technology refers to the operational power of the system. Fully passive systems rely on manual aeration and irrigation of the nutrient solution, while fully active systems are automated—with timers, water pumps, air pumps and so on. In practice, most systems use a combination of both passive and active modes, employing both grower-power and technology for system operations. The MIST classification system can help growers across all levels of expertise by providing them a useful framework for designing their own grow operations and allowing them to better understand the basic principles behind hydroponic systems and more critically evaluate the available literature. Although some combinations of system dimensions will work better than others, the possibilities are virtually infinite! MY

Table 1: The MIST Classification System Dimension

Aspect

Minimum

Hybrid

Maximum

Modularity

Containers

Independent

Loosely Coupled

Tightly Coupled

Flow

Static

Mixed

Dynamic

Level

Film

Variable

Deep

Origin

Top-feed

Mixed

Sub

Waste

Open

Add Back + Discard

Closed

Substrate

Media

None

Inorganic/Organic

Mixed

Technology

Automation

Passive

Selected

Active

Irrigation

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Master Media by Shane Hutto

Mr. Hutto takes us on a tour of all the different kinds of stuff you can use to grow other stuff. 62

Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2012


Rockwool is rather easy to prepare as well—the whole ’24hour soak’ requirement is simply a myth.

For most of us the beginning was all about what to grow—and we thought about that long and hard—but what we’d grow that stuff in was an afterthought. Once you have your light source and your space set up, though, you’ll finally start thinking about what medium to use. Most of the time you start with what your mentor uses: whether it’s your buddy, your local retailer or something you’ve read on the Internet, typically the first person who tells you what they use and sounds like they know what they are talking about is who you end up following. This usually gets you at least something in the way of yield if you’re lucky, but we all want to get the most out of our garden. Today’s consumer is bombarded with choices. Rockwool, hydroton, coco coir and peat mixes (what most call soil or soilless mixes) all have their pros and cons and each of these choices is available in its own particular varieties and brands, so obviously a beginner can be overwhelmed quickly. The fundamental questions to ask yourself before making this decision are: how well do you read instructions and how often do you plan to check on your plants? As a beginner you will have to learn when and how much to water and feed your plants, regardless of the type of medium you are using. Getting the most out of your garden is about finding a balance between how much effort you need to put in and how much time you have to devote to your hobby.

Regular sanitation

Another task that is a big consumer of time is regular sanitation. In any controlled growing environment, whether it’s indoors or in a greenhouse, regular cleaning is a must. Whether it involves picking up dead leaves and bugs or just general floor cleaning, there’s always something to do. Which medium you use will make a difference in how long your cleaning chores will take. Coco behaves a lot like peat in this category; when dry it flies all over the place and seems dusty. Hydroton is good in that it doesn’t fly around, but drop part of a bag or a net pot full of those round clay balls and they roll everywhere. Rockwool tends to be dust free after the initial wetting and once it’s in place it pretty much doesn’t move unless you move it!

Follow the instructions When preparing your medium the most important advice I can give you is to follow the instructions: they are on the bag for a reason! Most peat mixes are ready to go and require very little preparation other than filling up your plastic pots. Rockwool is rather easy to prepare as well—the whole ’24-hour soak’ requirement is simply a myth, you just have to rinse the rockwool in ph 5.5-adjusted water for a few minutes. After the pre-soak it’s ready to use. Hydroton is similar in preparation to rockwool in that it must be rinsed—with plain water—but it must then also be agitated to remove the excess sediment. Then you just need to fill your system and you’re good to go. Coco coir is a preparation-intensive medium. It does come in bags but still usually needs the salts rinsed out. Mostly, though, it comes in bricks, which are convenient to carry but expand significantly once water is added. The bricks must be soaked and broken up—I like to use a garden spade and break them up while they are soaking. Coco coir must also be rinsed after it is broken up to ensure the high salt content is flushed away. Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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Master Media

Watering and feeding The next major task that needs to be figured out is to determine how often you need to water or feed your plants. This is also the job that is the easiest to mess up, no matter which medium you’ve chosen to use. The answer a horticulturalist will tell you is “when the plant needs it.”You can certainly overwater plants in an indoor garden—if you watered peat two times a day in an indoor environment the plants would be dead in a couple of weeks! Soilless mixes should be checked for moisture by feeling the weight of the pot or by sticking your finger a couple of inches below the surface to feel the moisture yourself. Another characteristic of the soilless mixes is they change to a lighter colour as they dry and if you practice this can be a good indicator of when to water. Hydroton feeding is almost the opposite; it can pretty much be watered throughout the daily light cycle and remain viable because it retains virtually no moisture. Coco retains nutrients well, but it also drains well. Rockwool also falls in the middle: it’s designed to hold air and water evenly so it can be watered frequently, but it still holds enough air for the roots to breathe. The amount of water your plants need will fluctuate the most in rockwool. On the hottest days (or under strong light) they should be watered often with short-duration soakings, but for cool windless days they may be watered only once. Factor in all these considerations when deciding whether a medium is going to be easy for you to work with. The truth is they are all user-friendly to a degree and you must decide which is best for your needs. The peat mixes are user-friendly in that you do not have to monitor the pH too much and you’ll still get a nice plant. Hydroton is great because it’s really hard to overwater. Rockwool and coco both have their ups and downs for new growers. Rockwool is an easy medium to use because what’s in it is what you feed it; there are no hidden nutrients or

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other factors to consider in the root zone and it allows you to know exactly what you’re doing—whether you’re doing it right or wrong. I do tend to advise most new growers of the somewhat temperamental nature of coco as a growing medium.

Cost comparisons Once you have chosen your preferred medium you’re off to the store to compare prices. Many of us start rethinking our options at this point! On first impression the peat mixes seem like the clear winners for cost, but then you must consider the amount of peat it will require to handle the size of plants you plan to work with. Hydroton has a very good structure and will allow plant roots to penetrate outside the clay, forming massive roots. Coco holds nutrients very well; it’s expensive but can produce quality root masses. Rockwool actually has the best root massto-product volume in the hydro industry—it is manufactured so that a rock will expand to 50 times its size, with an equivalent amount of rock fibre. All that extra space is air space, into which roots can grow.


Which medium you use will make a difference in how long your cleaning chores will take.

Media maintenance All growing media require regular maintenance, which means that at some point your crop’s lifecycle will come to an end and the media will have to be replaced or reused. The one thing to keep in mind when reusing any medium is that plant diseases are almost always species-specific. Media like hydroton are cost-effective because they can be reused several times, but must be thoroughly washed between crops. The other thing about hydroton reuse is that after several uses the rocks begin to break down and fall apart: remember, we are dealing with water—the same destructive force that made the Grand Canyon! Rockwool can be reused but it has to be reprocessed first, back at the factory. In Europe a very high percentage of commercial growers send back their used rockwool to be melted down and made into ‘new’ rockwool again. In North America, used rockwool from indoor growers is sometimes made into bricks for house building. Your used rockwool can be tilled into the garden for aeration or it can also be reused for other species in potting containers. Coconut coir is not reused often, due to its propensity to hold high microbial counts. This happens because root zones establish beneficial fungi and bacteria that thrive as long as plants continue to grow, but once they are harvested the roots will begin to decay and diseases will be present in the medium. Peat mixes are very similar

to coconut in this respect, it can be steam sterilized under high temperatures and pressure—but not everybody has the kind of expensive equipment this process requires. Once you’ve mastered growing in each of the media we’ve discussed you’ll probably begin to think about plant

quality, but that’s material for another column. For now, you should realize that each medium offers its own set of challenges and benefits, but finding the one that’s right for you and your situation is key to success early in your gardening experience. MY

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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LEDs

Making Your Investment Worthwhile by Theresa Ryan

LED grow lights are flooding the market with the promise of saving energy, enhancing the growth cycle and glowing for years. Here’s how to choose the best LED indoor grow lights and make your investment worthwhile. will be under five per cent. If your power supply fails and the chips are protected, you can easily replace the power supply for under $10. After all, your LED chips are meant to last 50,000 hours, and in most cases the power supply will die before that.

What to look for when buying LED grow lights I’m sure you’ve noticed that LED grow lights are not cheap—and if they are, you need to know why. An educated consumer ends up with the best value for their dollars spent. The LED grow light market is filled with manufacturers churning out plastic models that are inefficiently designed in order to lower costs. The consumer buys an LED light with no ventilation that burns out in five months, just when the warranty expires—perfect. In order to prevent this frustrating scenario, you need to know who you are buying from and develop trust in the company before purchasing their LEDs.

LED bulbs LED bulbs (or chips) are the most important components of your new light. Cree, Bridgelux and Semiled are the world’s leading providers of highperformance LED chips. Can’t find this information on an LED grow light manufacturer’s website? Simply ask your retailer who manufactures their chips; this will ensure that your lights 66

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Heat dissipation

are bright, efficient and long lasting. Some manufacturers keep costs down by using poorly designed plastic LED chips, and I can assure you these will not provide optimum illumination and will die very quickly.

Power supply Small, precious LED chips need protection from their power supply, so specially designed circuits protect the chips even in the event of a power failure. Ask your potential supplier what their power supply failure rate is—a safe design

At this point you are beginning to see a trend—you really have to care for that little chip. After all, it’s pumping out the light that grows your crop. LED chips are very sensitive to heat, and if the design of the chip and the material used allow heat to build up, the light will burn out very quickly. The chip needs to breathe—it needs air circulation. A heat sink base houses the chips internally, and while some manufacturers use thin pieces of flat aluminum board or plastic to increase surface area, this configuration does not allow heat to dissipate, and in this situation the chip will overheat and die in about four to six months. A solid lighting fixture, on the other hand, will use a cast metal heat sink with fins or a column structure to ensure the chips have proper airflow. Better heat flow equals peak performance—and a longer lifespan.


“Find a company who can give you a reliable guarantee on their product. With a big initial investment, you want to be covered in case of any defect and ensure the lights are actually saving you money on energy.”

Warranty Find a company who can give you a reliable guarantee on their product. With a big initial investment, you want to be covered in case of any defect and ensure the lights are actually saving you money on energy. If the new LED lights you’re considering aren’t very good, the supplier will probably not be willing to offer you a substantial warranty, because low-quality LED lights deteriorate very quickly. Some foreign factories state they offer warranties to customers, but even if the warranties are legitimate, the logistics of returning the defective items can be extremely difficult if they don’t have a branch in your country. If your lights stop working, you would have to ship the lights back, wait a very long time for a diagnostic—and then who knows if you will ever see the light again? Check out companies that offer at least a two year warranty and a return process online for you to check out. If you’re feeling like a real social animal, you might also want to call them and talk to a customer service rep to get some answers.

Company location, information and a live contact If a company does not freely offer contact information such as a phone number, address or a contact person, stay away. Some will just display an e-mail address. Be extremely wary with these companies. Whether they offer great prices or not, you’ll want to avoid getting scammed by sellers overseas looking to make a quick buck.

Wavelength Lower efficiency ratings on HID bulbs stem from the fact that their light wavelengths are not directed 100 per cent onto the subject—instead, they emit their light at a full 360 degrees. The beauty of LEDs is their direct wavelength—there is no wasted light bouncing off the top of the housing and reflecting back, or spreading out in other directions away from where the growth is happening.Your LEDs should boast a strong, direct wavelength with a chip housing designed to reflect directly onto wherever you position it, thus ensuring the output is being used efficiently and is keeping your plants as strongly illuminated as possible.

Price Some companies boast super-low prices on their LEDs—you need to think about what materials they are using in order to keep the prices so low and still be a profitable business. Investigate, and look for the key qualities we’ve discussed. LEDs are the future for indoor growers who are serious about consuming less energy to produce higher crop yields of strong, healthy plants. Replace those lights that make your metre spin like crazy now, and invest in LEDs that’ll save you energy, time and money—but first be sure to do your homework. Follow these guidelines and find a reputable company that uses state-of-the-art technology and the best materials available to produce the high-quality LED fixtures you’ll need to achieve your best crop. MY Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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you tell us

Maximum Yield recently had a chat with Justin Human from Potz Systems in order to get a little insight into this fascinating company and the innovative growing systems they design and manufacture...

Maximum Yield: What do your product lines consist of? Is it just pots, or is there more to it than that? Justin Human: Potz Systems is a UK-based company that designs and manufactures the most innovative and original hydroponic and aeroponic growing systems on the market today, offering a fantastic range that covers the most popular methods used by growers in the UK, including: Aeroponics. Aero Potz are designed to maximise the potential of your plants and push them to their limits to produce the best yields possible. Drippers. Drip Potz are the most versatile dripper systems available and can be used with any type of pot that fits into the saucer—round, square, root pouch or air pruning pots—and you can recirculate or run the nutrient solution to waste. Deep Water Culture. DWC Potz are deep water systems that can recirculate the nutrient solution permanently around the system or—if preferred—at timed intervals. Flood and Drain. Flood Potz are combined with deep water to aerate the solution as the Potz fill, to eliminate roots being submerged too long in an un-aerated solution. Maximum Yield:Your products look they are quite modular in nature—can you mix and match different pots and systems to create customized growing set-ups?

Justin Human Justin: Potz Systems are of a modular nature, which allows us to manufacture very large systems that can be assembled and broken down easily. Drip 60 Potz is our largest size available and it can be shipped to a shop and received by the customer with little fuss, arriving in plain brown boxes with the reservoir neatly wrapped. When it comes to storing our systems at home they can be disassembled and neatly packed away, taking up very little space when compared to some of the moulded tray systems that are available. Our systems are designed for one specific method of cultivation—you cannot combine two types together—but you can extend to Aero, Drip and DWC Potz systems if you wish to, with the additional parts that are available. Maximum Yield: How did the company get started? Who came up with the original product design? Who comes up with new product ideas? Justin: The company was first set up in April 2011 and launched at a grow expo in Manchester. I am the director and designer of all our systems; I previously worked for 12 years as a pipe fitter in air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration applications and have also been growing with hydroponics since 1990. New ideas are created with my wealth of experience and that of the team’s and there are a few ideas yet to be released. Maximum Yield: How many people do you employ? What are your facilities like? Are all your products manufactured in the UK? Justin: The company is a family-run business, with my brother Jon running the manufacturing facilities and the production of

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parts and my wife Jackie in charge of the office, taking care of orders and sales for the company. Our premises are well equipped for manufacturing and we now also have a moulding machine to create the saucers for our Drip Potz. This means that everything is now manufactured by us, so we can ensure it is to the highest standard possible. Precision pipefitting machinery punches and cuts parts so they are clean and tight-fitting to ensure there are no leaks when in use—as large amounts of water with rough drilled holes is not a good combination! This also helps with customer service because if any parts are required urgently we can have them delivered next day to a shop for the customer to collect, enabling their gardening to continue with no delay.

Jackie

Jon Maximum Yield: Do you have plans to expand into other markets? Justin: We have manufactured several DWC systems for Brooms Barn Research Centre in Suffolk—this has created an opening for us with several universities who also work closely with them on projects and now also use our systems for research and development. In the near future we will be working closely with a large nursery company who wish to use our Drip Potz systems to raise their plants automatically. Maximum Yield: Where do you spend your marketing dollars? What’s been most effective for you? Justin: Advertising in Maximum Yield UK has certainly brought us a lot of attention from the public and also from shop owners, but the biggest seller for us has to be word of mouth. It seems when one system is sold to a certain area in the UK the trend follows and many more orders soon arrive from roughly the same location. Maximum Yield: Do you have anything new and exciting in the research and development pipeline? Justin: Sales of our systems vary each month, but we must say that deep water culture seems to have a huge following in the

UK, so we have set to work on this method of cultivation and are in the process of creating a more economical system that will be a lot more appealing to growers who are on a budget. Maximum Yield: Any insights or predictions on the future of our industry you’d like to share with us? Justin: In England, hydroponics is booming—with new shops opening weekly around the country. It looks like we have finally got through to many more people than ever before about the enjoyment and the possibilities that hydroponics can bring to their homes. If the trend continues we can see most UK households growing in some form or another and producing their own fresh crops, whether it is with hydroponics indoors or just a simple plot in their garden outdoors. MY

Maximum Yield UK  |  May / June 2012

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talking shop

AT A GLANCE Company: Ashton Hydroponics Ltd Owners: Darren Traynor and Thomas Hartley Location: Unit 3, Park Parade Industrial Estate, Welbeck St, Ashton-Under-Lyne Phone: 0161 339 1673 E-mail: mail@ashton-hydroponics.co.uk

Ashton Hydroponics can fill your order right away—even if you need enough gear to kit out a football stadium… When Darren Traynor and Thomas Hartley decided to open Ashton Hydroponics it seemed like a no-brainer—the two already operated an electrical product wholesale business and they figured since they already knew everything about lights, how hard could it be? So how hard was it? “Everything was a massive struggle!” Darren laughs. “Being new to the industry we only knew about the lights and ventilation stuff from our electrical background. We realized we needed more knowledge.”

Darren and Thomas quickly learned the hydro business is all about continuous learning and they set out to pick the brains of everybody that could help them. “We discovered pretty fast we came from a totally different background,” explains Thomas. “So we read everything a million times and asked more questions than you could imagine. We got massive help from certain suppliers and we approached our customers with great respect—for we knew nothing. In return we built relationships out of honesty and hard work. We

Motto: “The future’s bright, the future’s green.”

Darren Gerrard (store manager), Shame Gerrard (sales), Tom Hartley (branch manager)

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strived to provide them with the best customer service they had ever had. The same customers still come to our store today and they love what we have.” The two partners had been making a go of things in the electrical business, so what made them decide to get into hydroponics? “We owned an electrical wholesale distribution business that was actually very successful,” Darren tells us. “We had always sold our electrical products to hydroponic customers, so it was a natural transition. But we decided we wanted to open a business that was more relaxed, fun and exciting—and a business based on relationships, not just monthly spending and not as cutthroat. It was also a better business option to work on a cash-sale basis rather than trade accounts, with the UK being in recession at the time.” Darren and Thomas struggled getting the business off the ground but they did get a bit of a boost early on from their experience in the lighting trade. “We opened our first shop around the corner from our current megastore,” Thomas reminisces. “It was a great starting point. We struggled with all the pallets of coco and stuff but it was worth it—we are what we are now because of it. There were just two of us in the beginning. Our roles covered every aspect from ordering to general day-to-day running of the business—and a lot of hard work and hours had to be put in to become the trusted brand we are today. We started selling two ecosystems—they were very popular at the time—and we had a complete order for 70 lights when we were just getting started, which in retrospect

was a great confidence booster for us.” Things have definitely picked up for Ashton Hydroponics—they now have five employees, a new location and a lot of very loyal customers. Darren and Thomas put it all down to customer service and a great selection of brand name products.

“Darren and Thomas quickly learned the hydro business is all about continuous learning and they set out to pick the brains of everybody that could help them.”

“We stock only the best-quality products and brands so that customer satisfaction is guaranteed,” says Darren. “We don’t sell budget items, either—only branded products like Canna, House and Garden, Metrop, Ionic, FoxFarm, BioBizz, Dutch Pro, Grotek, Plant Magic, Rhino Pro Filters, Uvonair, IWS Systems, Systemair, Homebox and Gavita. Our product range and buying power is massive and we have the stock to back it up as well. We carry everything you’ll ever need and can accommodate everyone from the smallest set-up to rigging out a football stadium if required.” Thomas continues: “We launched the UK’s first £60 complete grow light, which has taken off massively, selling

thousands a month. It’s been amazing and created huge, phenomenal interest for our superstore. Where we lead, others are now following suit—and it’s helping the growing community a lot.” Ashton Hydro is in a good place now and its two owners are pretty upbeat about their future in the industry. “The industry is always growing and expanding,” Darren says. “New products are always being brought into the market and you have to know what to stock and what not to. Customers are always changing their minds so you have to adapt to them to keep them up and running. Our philosophy hasn’t changed at all since day one—we still strive to be the best at what we do. We now have all the main distributors knocking our door down asking to sell their products, where just two years ago it was the other way around—it’s funny how things change.” “We sell a service and a reputation,” Thomas adds. “We advise on products, we don’t push them on people. Honesty to the customer pays off tenfold in the long term—we pride ourselves on what the client thinks and in return we gain their loyalty. We build relationships.” Darren thinks for a moment and then sums everything up for us. “It always pays off to keep up-to-date with new products and methods of use. People are always going to want to know about new tips and tricks, so it helps to be clued up about everything there is to know. And our final words of wisdom are: if you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done…” MY Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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IndustrY’s Latest

article title

fRESH INDUSTRY NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS, PLUS EXCLUSIVE GIVEaWAYS FOR GROWERS

The VitaLink Website— vitalink.eu— Now Updated!

The VitaLink website has recently been updated to include information on the new growing media range, which consists of VitaLink Professional Enriched Soil, VitaLink Professional Coir Mix and VitaLink Professional Coir Chips. In addition to this, there is everything you need to know about the VitaLink nutrients and additives. The website provides useful materials about the different products in the range and their grow charts, along with handy hints, tips, and questions and answers to help you to grow with the VitaLink range. VitaLink have also recently added downloadable PDFs about the different products, which means you can access and print out the individual product pages. For more information about the range or to find your local retailer, please visit vitalink.eu

AutoPot UK Summer Trial

AutoPot is pleased to announce they will be conducting a trial at their farm site in Oxfordshire, England. They will be growing 1,000 chilli plants using 500 AutoPot easy2grow systems starting in April and ready for harvest in July. AutoPot predicts they will harvest two kilograms per plant with a total harvest of two tonnes. They will be using the easy2grow liquid feed and coco as the medium for this trial. There will be updates via the AutoPot site at autopot.co.uk. If you have any questions or want to find out more e-mail mail@autopot.co.uk

The Latest Innovation in Propagation

Maxigrow Puts Ballasts to the Test

Maxigrow Ltd. has released a new range of Maxibright flyers on ballast testing this month. The first in a range of free informative flyers are out now, explaining how to test your ballast’s performance, what the results mean for growers and which ballasts pass the tests. The Maxibright ballast testing campaign is to raise awareness of advertising and labelling standards in the industry. After conducting tests on all the new 600 watt ballasts on the market, results showed that most of these ballasts are failing to deliver 600 watts to the lamp. Results also revealed that a properly functioning ballast delivers up to 33 per cent more light than some of the other underperforming ballasts. All Maxibright test results have been independently verified by Venture Lighting International. To test a ballast for yourself, see the online calculator at maxigrow.com/BallastTesting.asp. For more information, e-mail Maxigrow Ltd. at info@maxigrow.com

Want to know all the ins and outs when it comes to propagating and getting the very best from your seedlings and cuttings? Look no further than ROOT!T’s dedicated website, propagateplants.com. ROOT!T’s website features the full ROOT!T range of propagation products, many of which include the unique Natural Rooting Sponge, which has demonstrated time after time superior rooting ability. Not only does the website give you detailed information about the ROOT!T range, it also includes free downloadable grow charts and propagation information to help make growing that bit easier. Need help deciding which growing media to use? The ROOT!T website helps you choose the perfect media to suit your needs. Take a look at the website today at propagateplants.com or ask your local retailer for details of the product range and much more.

ESSENTIALS Growroom Management

Maximum Yield Travels to Europe

The Dutchpro team and their lovely ladies in orange handed out copies of Maximum Yield UK to growers at the expo in Spain in February. The verdict: Spain loves Maximum Yield.

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The ESSENTIALS website growcontrol.co.uk has been updated with new products and grow room information. For advice and tips on creating and maintaining a successful grow room, look no further—growcontrol.co.uk has all the information you need. From simple tips to detailed information and solutions for grow room management, this website has got it all covered. The website even features free downloadable guides and brochures, as well as a product and nutrient advisor. Take a look at the new and improved range of ESSENTIALS professional grow room products, proven to help run hydroponic grow rooms and greenhouses more efficiently, resulting in faster growth and more yield. Visit the website for more information and to discover the full product range at growcontrol. co.uk or ask your nearest retailer today.


DO YOU KNOW?

1.

The sunset and plant hardiness zones can help determine which store-bought plants are appropriate for your climate: check the available sunlight hours in your space and compare them to the listed requirements of prospective seeds and plant Wasabi japonica, also known as Japanese horseradish, is a member of the crucifer or mustard family.

3.

2.

Traditionally, the common understanding is that a 1,000 watt light will support approximately a 1.5 square metre footprint; with a trellis this might be increased up to double the size, as long as there is enough plant mass to sufficiently fill in the surface area of the trellis.

4.

In 2000 pollination services amounted to $14.6 billion of agricultural output.

LED bulbs (or chips) are the most important components of LED lights; quality chips ensure that your lights are bright, efficient and long lasting.

Rockwool is rather easy to prepare as well—the whole ’24-hour soak’ requirement is simply a myth.

7. 8. 73

5.

6.

Hot compost piles break down plant material in a matter of several weeks and can reach temperatures of 54 to 71°C.

Despite being considered a semi-aquatic plant, Wasabi japonica does not seem to thrive in a continually submerged system or where the nutrient stagnates and excludes oxygen, which the root system needs in abundance.

Maximum Yield UK | March/ April 2012

9.

Research indicates that bumblebees pollinate more efficiently than manual pollination, leading to yield increases of as much as 25 per cent.

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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MAX-mART

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


The Future’s Bright... The Future’s Green 600w grow light kits for £60–the cheapest in the UK! Unit 3, Park Parade Industrial Estate, Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester OL6 7PP

Tel: 0161 339 1673 | Mobile: 07968 123456

www.ashton-hydroponics.co.uk

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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MAXIMUM YIELD distributors

1st Hydroponics Unit 5 K-Line House, West Rd. Ipswich, Suffolk UK IP3 9FG Tel: +44 (0) 1473 279829 www.1st-hydroponics.co.uk 21st Century Garden Unit # A6., Bounds Green Ind. Es., Ringway London, Greater London UK N11 2UD Tel: +44 (0) 2083 614659 www.21stcenturygarden.co.uk 3 Counties Hydroponics Unit 52, Robert Court Ind.E s. Britten Rd. Reading, Berkshire UK RG2 0AU Tel: +44 (0) 1189 874758 3 Counties Hydroponics The Lodge, 113 Invicta Rd. Dartford, Kent UK DA2 6AY Tel: +44 (0) 1322 273444 3 Counties Hydroponics Unit 13., Chiltern Bus. Ctr. Cowley, Oxford UK OX4 6NG Tel: +44 (0) 1865 771747 3 Counties Hydroponics Unit #11, Olds Close, Olds Approach Watford, Herts UK WD18 8RU Tel: +44 (0) 1923 774486 3 Countries Hydroponics Unit 12., Yew Tree Ind. Es., Mill Hall Aylesford, Maidstone UK ME20 7ET Tel: +44 (0) 1622 790456 3 Countries Hydroponics Unit 10., Woodley Yard Cherstsey Bridge Rd. Chertsey, Surrey UK KT16 8LF Tel: +44 (0) 1932 562174 3 Countries Hydroponics Unit 9., Galley Hill Yard Waltham Abbey, Essex UK EN9 2AG Tel: +44 (0) 1992 652301 A-Zee Hydro Ltd. Unit C4, Suttons Bus. Ctr.New Rd. Rainham, Essex UK RM13 8DE Tel: +44 (0) 1708 551199 Acorn Horticulture 65 Deep Ln.  Sheffield, UK S5 0DU Tel: +44 (0) 1142 458581 www.acornhorticulture.co.uk Addloes Lighting & Hydroponics 16-A Maple Rd., Winton Bourmouth, Dorset UK BH9 2PN Tel: +44 (0) 1202 524525; www.addloes.com Allbright #6., The Rise Edgware, Middlesex UK HA8 8NR Tel: +44 (0) 2089 582426 Amazing Garden Supplies (Bridgend) Unit 6 Eastlake Close., Litchard Ind. Es. Bridgend, South Wales UK CF31 2AL Tel: +44 (0) 1656 663030 Amazing Garden Supplies (Bristol) Unit 3 Moravian Bus.Pk., Moravian Rd. Kingswood, Bristol UK BS15 8NF Tel: +44 (0) 1179 605566 Anglia Hydroponics 62 A Straight Rd. Boxted, Colchester, Essex UK C04 5RD Tel: +44 (0) 1206 272677 www.angliahydroponics.co.uk Aquaculture Unit 79 (A) Carlton Ind. Es. Barnsley, South Yorkshire UK S71 3HW Tel: +44 (0) 8456 445544 www.aquaculture-hydroponics.co.uk Aquaculture Unit 3, Asher Ln. Bus. Pk. Asher Ln. Ripley, Derbyshire UK DE5 3RE Tel: +44 (0) 8456 445544 www.aquaculture-hydroponics.co.uk

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

Listed alphabetically by shop name.

Aquaculture Unit #3, Pkwy One, Pkwy Dr. Sheffield, South Yorkshire UK S9 4WU Tel: +44 (0) 8456 445544 www.aquaculture-hydroponics.co.uk Aquatech Horticultural Lighting Unit 3F, Spa Fields Ind. Es. New St. Slaithwait Huddersfield, West Yorkshire UK HD7 5BB Tel: +44 (0) 1484 842632 Ashton Hydroponics Ltd. Unit 3 Park Parade Ind. Es. Welbeck St. S. Ashton-Under-Lyna, Manchester UK O4L 67PP Tel: +44 (0) 1613 391673 www.ashton-hydroponics.co.uk Aztec Garden Unit 1A Roughan Ind.Es. Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk UK IP30 9ND Tel: +44 (0) 1359 271876 www.aztec-garden.co.uk Basement Lighting Ltd. Unit #3, The Old Maltings, George St. Newark, Nottinghamshire UK NG24 1LU Tel: +44 (0) 1636 650189 Big Stone River Garden Center Unit #1 East Gate Grimsby, Lincolnshire UK DN3 29BA Tel: +44 (0) 1472 241114 Blooming Borders Unit 3, Borders Bus Pk. Longtown Carlisle, Cumbria UK CA6 5TD Tel: +44 (0) 1228 792587 www.bloomingbordersltd.co.uk Bradford Hydroponics 9597 Manningham Ln. Bradford, West Yorkshire UK BD1 3BN Tel: +44 (0) 1274 729205 www.bradfordhydroponics.co.uk Branching Out Unit #E, The Old Brewery, Durnford St. Ashton Gate, Bristol UK BS3 2AW Tel: +44 (0) 1179 666996 www.hydroponics-online.co.uk Bright Green UK Ltd. 42-44 Princess Rd., Hull, Yorkshire UK HU5 2RD Tel: +44 (0) 1482 341925 www.brightgreen-uk.co.uk Brit Crops Ltd Unit 9 OJ’s Ind. Pk.Claybank Rd. Portsmouth, Hampshire UK PO3 5SX Tel: +44 (0) 2392 669111 www.britcropshydroponics.co.uk Britlite Hydroponics Unit 11 Roman Ind. Es. Croydon, UK CRO 2DT Tel: +44 (0) 2086 834424 www.britelite-hydroponics-uk.com Chrissie’s Garden Unit 33 Portsmouth Enterprise Ctr. Quartermain Rd. Portsmouth, UK PO3 5QT Tel: +44 (0) 2392 667887 Clever Green 35 Ketley Bus. Pk. Waterloo Rd., Telford, Shropshire UK TF1 5JD Tel: +44 (0) 1952 257200 www.clevergreen.co.uk Crofters Bio Gardens Unit 2, Bloomsgrove Ind. Es.Ilkeston Rd. Radford, Nottingham UK NG7 3JB Tel: +44 (0) 1159 782345 www.croftersbiogardens.com Discount Hydroponics 1 Bus. Bldg. Waltergrave St. Hastings, East Sussex UK TN34 1SJ Tel: +44 (0) 1424 428186 Eastbourne Hydroponics 47 Upperton Rd. Eastbourne, East Sussex UK BN21 1LT Tel: +44 (0) 1323 732241 Eighteen Twelve Ltd. Unit 11 Whitehall Properties Towngate Wyke, Bradford UK BD12 9JQ Tel: +44 (0) 1274 694444

Elements Hydroponic Center 44 Auster Rd. Clifton Moor, York UK YO30 4XA Tel: +44 (0) 1904 479979 www.elementshydroponics.com Enhanced Urban Gardening 152 London Rd. Workingham, Berkshire UK RG40 1SU Tel: +44 (0) 1189 890510 www.enhancedurbangardening.co.uk Esoteric Hydroponics Ltd. 8 Martyr Rd. Guildford, Surrey UK GU1 4LF Tel: +44 (0) 1483 596484 www.1-hydroponics.co.uk Garden Secrets UK Ltd. Unit 3 Hollybush Est. Whitchurch, Cardiff UK CF14 7DS Tel: +44 (0) 2920 651792 www.gardensecretsuk.co.uk Garforth Hydroponics Back off 11a main street Leeds, UK lS25 1DS www.garforthhydroponics.co.uk Great Stuff Hydroponics 24 Collingwood Ct. Riverside Park Ind. Es. Middlesbrough, UK TS2 1RP Tel: +44 (0) 1642 224544 www.hydroponics-hydroponics.com Great Stuff Hydroponics 30 C Ellemeres Ct. Leechmere Ind. Es. Sunderland, UK SR2 9UA Tel: +44 (0) 1914 474098 www.hyroponics-hydroponics.com Green Daze Hydroponics Ashington Unit 9 Waterside Ct. North Seaton Bus. Pk. Ashington, Northumberland UK NE63 0YG Tel: +44 (0) 1670 818003 www.greendazehydroponics.co.uk Green Daze Hydroponics Gateshead 10 Wellington St. Gateshead, UK NE8 2AJ Tel: +44 (0) 1914 789107 www.greendazehydroponics.co.uk Green Finger 190 Hessle Rd. Hull, East Yorkshire UK HU3 3BE Tel: +44 (0) 1482 222425 Green Spirit Hydroponics Ltd 8-10 Stanley St. Sheffield, UK S3 8HJ Tel: +44 (0) 1142 753353 www.greenspirit-hydroponics.com Green Stream 12-14 Vivian Rd. Harbourne, Birmingham UK B17 ODS Tel: +44 (0) 1214 262675 www.greenstream.co.uk Green World 1618 Market Vaults Scarborough, UK YO11 1EU Tel: +44 (0) 1723 370900 www.greenworld.ne.uk Greener than Life 575- 577 Holderness Rd. Hull, East Riding UK HU8 9AA Tel: +44 (0) 1482 374201 Greenfinger Ltd. T Marchant Est., 42-72 Verney Rd. Unit #59 Bermondsey, London UK SE16 3DH Tel: +44 (0) 2073 940629 www.greenfinger-hydroponics.co.uk Greenfinger Ltd. 16-18 Park Rd., Unit 3 Park Works Kingston, Surrey UK KT2 6BX Tel: +44 (0) 2085 463444 www.greenfinger-hydroponics.co.uk Greengrass Indoor Gardening Supplies Unit 5A Alexander Ct. Hazleford Way Newstead, Nottingham UK NG15 0DQ Tel: +44 (0) 1623 755055


Greenhouse Effect Unit 2 Eagle Farm Cranfield Rd. Wavendon, Milton Keynes UK MK17 8AU Tel: +44 (0) 1908 585283 Greenleaf Systems Unit 26, Millers Bridge Ind. Es., Seymour Bootle, Liverpool UK L20 1EE Tel: +44 (0) 1519 331113 www.greenleafsystemsmerseyside.co.uk Greens Horticulture Unit F Totterdown Bridge Est, Albert Rd. St. Philips Bristol, Somerset UK BS2 0XH Tel: +44 (0) 1179 713000 www. greenshorticulture.co.uk Greensea Hydroponics Unit 1G. Gregory Rd. Mildenhall, Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk UK IP28 7PP Tel: +44 (0) 1638 715350 www.greensea-hydroponics.co.uk Greenstream Hydroponics 12-14 Vivian Rd. Birmingham, Harbourne UK B17 0DS Tel: +44 (0) 1214 262675 www.greenstream.co.uk Greenthings Hydroponics Unit 1, Adjewhella Chapel Barriper Camborne, Cornwall UK TR14 0QW Tel: +44 (0) 1209 611870 www.greenthings.co.uk Grotec Hydroponics 393 Manchester Rd., Rochdale, Greater Manchester UK OL11 3PG Tel: +44 (0) 1706 750293 www.grotec.co.uk Grotech Ltd. Unit 21. Saddlers Hall Farm, London Rd. Basildon, Essex UK SS13 2HD Tel: +44 (0) 1268 799828 www.grotechonline.co.uk Grow 4 Good Ltd. 22i Beehive Workshops Durham, UK DH1 2X1 Tel: +44 (0) 1913 757667 www.grow4good.net Grow Den 2 Horthfield Rd., Rainham, Kent UK ME8 8 BJ Tel: +44 (0) 1634 239333 Grow Shaw 96-98 Shaw Heath Rd., Stockport, Manchester UK SK3 8BP Tel: +44 (0) 8452 725266 www.growshaw.co.uk Grow Zone UK 40 Surf View, Camullas Way Newquay, Cornwall UK TR7 1PP Tel: +44 (0) 1637 850488 www.growzoneuk.com GroWell Coleshill Units 8-11 Coleshill Trade Park, Station Rd. Coleshill, Birmingham UK B46 1HT Tel: +44 (0) 8453 442333 www.growell.co.uk GroWell Dudley Unit 52 Enterprise Trad. Es. off Pedmore Rd. Brierly Hill, Dudley UK DY5 1TX Tel: +44 (0) 8453 456991 www.growell.co.uk GroWell Fullham 1 Royal Parade 247 Dawes Rd. Fullham, London UK SW6 7RE Tel: +44 (0) 8453 445174 www.growell.co.uk GroWell Hockley Heath Ivy House Farm, Grange Rd. Hockley Heath, Solihull UK B94 6PR Tel: +44 (0) 8433 571640 www.growell.co.uk GroWell Mail Order Division PO Box 3255 Warwick, UK CV34 5GH Tel: +44 (0) 8453 455177 www.growell.co.uk

Growing Life #6 Newington Green Rd. London, UK N1 4RX Tel: +44 (0) 2070 339541 www.growing-life.com Groworks 94 Upper Wickham Lane Welling, Kent, UK DA16 3HQ Tel: +44 (0) 2088 545160 Groworks Unit F16 Northfleet Industrial Estate Lower Road, Gravesend, UK DA11 9SW Tel: +44 (0) 1273 624327 Groworks Unit 4 Belltower Industrial Estate Roedean Road, Brighton, UK BN2 5RU Tel: +44 (0) 1322 838131 Happy Daze Hydroponics Unit 4 Craven Court Hedon Rd. Hull, UK HU9 1NQ Tel: +44 (0) 1482 224299 www.happydazehull.com Happy Gardens Ltd. Unit 9, Kelham Bank Ind Es., Kelham St. Doncaster, South Yorkshire UK DN1 3RE Tel: +44 (0) 1302 761386 HFM Pyrotechnics Ltd. 165A Londford Rd. Cannock, Staffordshire UK WS11 OLD Tel: +44 (0) 1543 500800 www.hfmgroup.com Hi9THC Unit 3. Rope Walk. Coach Rd. Whitehaven, Cumbria UK CA28 7TE Tel: +44 (0) 7821 914646 www.hi9thc.co.uk High Street Hydroponics Unit 56 Hebden R., Berkley Ind.Es., Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire DN15 8DT Tel: +44(0) 1724 857191 Holland Hydroponics 17 Rondin Rd., Ardwick, Greater Manchester UK M12 6BF Tel: +44 (0) 8458 720570 www.hydroponics.co.uk Holland Hydroponics Handbridge Mill 5 Parliament St. Burnley, Lancashire UK BB11 5HG Tel: +44 (0) 8458 720590 www.hydroponics.co.uk Home Grower Ltd. Unit 8, Oak Court, Crystal Dr. Smethwick, West Midlands UK B66 1QG Tel: +44 (0) 1215 411446 Web: www.thehomegrower.com Huyton Hydroponics & Gardening Supplies Huyton, Mersey Side UK Tel: +44 (0) 1514 820101 www.huytonhydro.co.uk Hydro 1 Stop Unit 35 Deykin Pk. Ind. Es. Deykin Ave. Aston, Birmingham UK B67HN Tel: +44 (0) 1213 280876 www.hydro1stop.co.uk Hydro Hobby Unit 4 Brook Farm, Stoneleigh Rd. Gibbet Hill, Coventry UK CV4 7AB Tel: +44 (0) 2476 414161 www.hydrohobby.co.uk Hydro Station Ltd. Unit 10 Hillfoot Ind. Es. Hoyland Rd. Sheffield, South Yorkshire UK S38AB Tel: +44 (0) 1142 491636 www.hydrostationltd.co.uk Hydrodragon Ltd. 113-115 Alfred St. Roath Cardiff, South Glamorgan UK CF24 4UA Tel: +44 (0) 2920 490333 www.hydrodragon.co.uk

Hydroglo Ltd. The Top Store South Rd., Towerhamlets Dover, Kent UK CT17 OAH Tel: +44 (0) 1304 203199 Web: www.hydroglowltd.co.uk Hydrogrow Systems Ltd. Unit 7, Acton Bus. Pk., Fields Farm Rd. Longeaton, Nottingham UK NG10 3FZ Tel: +44 (0) 1159 730007 Web: www.hydrogrowsystems.co.uk Hydrolite UK Ltd. 215 Denman St., Radford, Nottingham UK NG7 3PS Tel: +44 (0) 1159 785556 www.hydrolite.co.uk Hydroponic Corporation Unit 20, Deeside Ind. Es., Zone 1 Deeside, Flintshire UK SH5 2LR Tel: +44 (0) 1244 289699 www.t-h-c.biz Hydroponica Ltd. 130 Doncaster Rd. Wakefield, Yorkshire UK WF1 5JF Tel: +44 (0) 1924 362888 Web: www.hydroponica.biz Hydroponics.com Unit 24, Port Talbot Business Units Addison Road Port Talbot, UK SA12 6HZ Tel: +44 (0) 1639 888891 www.hydroponicsdotcom.com Hydropower 300 Holton Rd. Barry, Vale Of Glamorgan UK CF63 4HW Tel: +44 (0) 7725 551479 www.hydro-power.biz Hydrosense 47 Scarrots Ln. Newport, Isle of Wright UK PO30 1JD Tel: +44 (0) 1983 522240 Hylton Hydro Rockington Nursery Blackness Rd. Sunderland, UK SR4 7XT Tel: 01 9155 18453 Hytec Horticulture Old Wales Wood Colliery, Mansfield Rd. Sheffield, UK S26 5PQ Tel: +44 (0) 1909 772872 www.hytechorticulture.co.uk Kernow Grow Ltd. 11 D. Kernick Ind. Es. Penryn, Cornwall UK TR10 9EP Tel: +44 (0) 3300 104420 www.kernowgrow.co.uk King Of Green 18-24 Saint Helens Rd., Westcliff on Sea Westcliff, Essex UK SS0 7LB Tel: +44 (0) 1702 347536 www.kingofgreen.com Kitbag Hydroponic Warehouse 22 Pool Bank St. Nunaeton, Warwickshire UK CV11 5DB Tel: +44 (0) 2476 641033 ebaystores.co.uk/kitbagshop Lancaster Hydroponics Unit 18 Lansil Ind.Es., Caton Rd. Lancaster, Lancashire UK LA1 3PQ Tel: +44 (0) 7961 279279 www.lancasterhydroponics.co.uk Lothian Hydroponics 172 S Mid St. Bathgate, West Lothian UK EH48 1DY Tel: +44 (0) 1506 650501 Makes Sense Grow Shop The Annex Rear of #20, Barden Rd. Tonbridge, Kent UK TN9 1TX Tel: +44 (0) 1732 507201 www.makessencesrowshop.co.uk Manchester Hydroponics Unit 1A, Reliance St. Newton Heath, Manchester UK M40 3AG Tel: +44 (0) 1616 887333 www.manchesterhydroponics.co.uk manchesterhydroponics@yahoo.co.uk

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MAXIMUM YIELD distributors

Matilda’s Planet 1 Green Pl. Kenfig, South Wales UK Tel: +44 (0) 7895 567843 dale.hudd@grg.com Mellow Yellow Hydro Ltd. Unit B1A Towngate Works., Dark Ln. Mawdesley, Lancashire UK L40 2QU Tel: +44 (0) 1704 822609 www.mellowyellowhydro.co.uk. Mile End Hydroponics 265 Wick Rd. London, UK E9 5DG Tel: +44 (0) 2085 330497 www.mile-end-hydroponic.co.uk Mousehold Garden Center 63 Mousehold Ln. Norwich, Norfolk UK NR7 8HP Tel: +44 (0) 1603 413272 Mr. Beam Hydro Rose Grove Selby Rd. Askern, Doncaster UK DN6 0ES Tel: +44 (0) 1302 708297 www.mr-beam-hydro.com New Age Hydroponics Unit 1 Albert Pl., Albert Mill Lower Darwen, Lancashire UK BB3 OQE Tel: +44 (0) 1254 661177 New Leaf Hydroponics 1 Horsewater Wynd, Hawkhill, Dundee UK DD1 5DU Tel: +44 (0) 1382 202556 www.newleafhydroponics.co.uk Norfolk Lights & Hydroponics Centre Ltd. Unit 2 Guardian Rd., Ind. Es. Norwich, Norfolk UK NR5 8PF Tel: +44 (0) 1603 666199 www.norfolklights.com North Devon Hydroponics Unit 4 Abbey Rd. Barnstaple, Devon UK EX31 1JU Tel: +44 (0) 1271 314999 www.northdevonhydroponics.co.uk NuGreen Hydroponics Unit 4 Stirchley Trad. Es., Hazelwell Rd. Stirchley, Birmingham UK B3O 2PF Tel: +44 (0) 1216 855900 www.nugreenhydroponics.co.uk One Stop Grow Shop Unit 8, Fenton Ind. Es., Dewsbury Rd. Fenton, Stroke-On-Trent UK ST4 2TE Tel: +44 (0) 1782 212000 www.onestopgrowshop.co.uk Planet Hydro Unit 11 NorthBridge Works., Storey St. Leicester, Leics UK LE3 5GR Tel: +44 (0) 1162 510800 Plant Life Unit 11 Riverside Wy., Ravensthorpe Ind Es. Dewsbury, West Yorkshire UK WF13 3LG Tel: +44 (0) 1924 492298 www.plantlife.me.uk Plantasia Brill View Farm Ludgershall Rd. Bicester, Oxfordshire UK OX25 1PU Tel: +44 (0) 8707 555225 www.plantasia.co.uk Progrow 5 Westwood Units, Alphinbrook Rd. Marsh Barton Trad. Es. Exeter, Devon UK EX2 8QF Tel: +44 (0) 1392 276998 www.progrow.co.uk Rootzone Hydroponics Ltd. Unit 2 & 3., The Green Bus.Ctr., The Causeway Staines, Middlesex UK TW18 3AL +44 (0) 1784 490370 www.hydrowebshop.com

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

Sale Hydro 71 Dane Rd., Sale Manchester, Lancashire UK M33 7BP Tel: +44 (0) 1619 739899 Email: care@salehydroponics.co.uk Sea of Green UK 25 Eastcott Hill Swindon, Wiltshire UK SN1 3JG Tel: +44 (0) 1793 617046 www.seaofgreen.co.uk Somerset Hydro Unit 14., Yeovil Small Bus. Ctr. Houndstone Bus Pk. Yeovil, Somerset UK BA22 8WA Tel: +44 (0) 1935 420720 www.somhydro.co.uk South Coast Hydroponics Unit 8., Enterprise Ind. Es., Enterprise Rd. Horndean, Portsmouth UK PO8 0BB Tel: +44 (0) 2392 598853 www.southcoasthydroponics.com Southern Hydro Centre 9 Mamesbury Rd. Southampton, Hampshire UK S01 SFT Tel: +44 (0) 2380 704080 www.southernhydro.co.uk Southern Lights #1 25 Fratton Rd. Hampshire, UK PO1 5AB Tel: +44 (0) 1705 811822; Southern Lights #2 19A Grace Hill. Folkestone, Kent UK CT20 1HQ Tel: +44 (0) 1303 210003; 44 (0) 1303 252561 St Albans Hydroponics Unit 5 London Rd., Bus.Pk., 222 London Rd. St Albans, UK AL1 1PN Tel: +44 (0) 1727 848595 www.stalbanshydroponics.moonfruit.com/ Starlite Systems 226 Albert Rd., Plymouth, Devon UK PL2 1AW Tel: +44 (0) 1752 551233 www.starlitesystems.co.uk Sub-Garden Supplies 45-J Leyton Industrial Village, Argall Ave., Leyton, London UK E10 7QP Tel: +44 (0) 2085 399563 Sunrise Hydroponics 127 Newcastle St., Burslem. Stoke on Trent, Staffshire UK ST6 3QJ Tel: +44 (0) 1782 813814 www.sunrisehydro.co.uk The Green Machine Ltd. Unit 1A., Felin Puleston Ind.Es., Ruabon Rd. Wrexham, UK L13 7RF Tel: +44 (0) 1978 265090 www.thegreenmachineonline.com The Grow Den 2 Hothfield Rd. Rainham, Kent UK ME8 8BJ Tel: +44 (0) 1634 239333 The Grow Den Ltd. Unit 13., Eaves Ct., Eurolink Com.Pk., Bohan Dr. Sittingbourne, Kent UK ME10 3RY Tel: +44 (0) 1795 426264 The Head Gardener Unit 11, Barton Bus. Pk. Eccles, Manchester UK M3O OQR Tel: +44 (0) 1617 079860 www.theheadgardner.net The Home Grower Unit 8., Oak Ct. Odbury, West Midlands UK B66 1QG Tel: +44 (0) 1215 411446 www.thehomegrower.com

The Hydroponic Warehouse Unit 15., Bay Airport Ind.Es., Kingston Pk. Newcastle, Tyne and Wear UK NE3 2EF Tel: +44 (0) 1912 862045 www.thehydroponicwharhouse.co.uk The Inner Garden Ltd. Unit 14., Cornish Wy., West, Galmington Taunton, Somerset UK TA1 5NA Tel: +44 (0) 1823 274791 The Persy Grow Shop 4 Kings Mews. Brighton, East Sussex UK BN3 2PA Tel: +44 (0) 1273 777335 www.persygrowbox.co.uk The Plant Pot 69 Ratcliffe Gate Mansfield, Nottinghamshire UK NG18 2JB Tel: +44 (0) 1623 422711 www.theplantpot.co.uk Toddington Hydroponics Center Griffin Farm Unit 9., Toddington Dunstable, Bedford UK LU5 6BT Tel: +44 (0) 1582 664765 www.toddingtonhydroponics.co.uk Triangle Hydroponics 31B., The Triangle Bournemouth, Dorset UK BH2 5SE Tel: +44 (0) 1202 556661 www.trianglehydroponics.co.uk U Grow London Studio12, Imperial Studios, 3-11 Imperial Rd. London, UK SW6 2AG Tel: +44 (0) 2073 843388 www.ugrow.com Warehouse Hydroponics Bank Quay Trading Est., Slutchers Ln. Warrington, Cheshire UK WA1 1PJ Tel: +44 (0) 1925 637837 www.warehousehydroponics.co.uk ireland Northern Lights 9 Dunluce St. Larne Antrim, Northern Ireland BT40 1JG Tel: +44 (0) 2828 278485 www.northernlightsni.com The Grow Shop 14 Brews Hill Nauan, Co. M Fath Ireland OLI Tel: +44 (0) 1772 204455 www.thc.ie scotland Progrow Scotland Unit 6., Nasmyth Square Houston Ind.Es. Livingston, West Lothian Scotland EH5 45GG Tel: +44 (0) 1506 430830 www.progrowscotland.co.uk Abergreen Horticulture Ltd Arch 8 Palmerston Rd. Aberdeen, Granpian Scotland AB11 5RE Tel: +44 (0) 1224 574737 www.abergreen.co.uk Kingdom Hydroponics Unit #12 Carbery Pl., Mitchelson Ind. Es. Kirkcaldy, Fife Scotland KY1 3NE Tel: +44 (0) 1592 655611 Hydra Hydroponics 41 Tower St. Edinburgh, Scotland EH6 7BN Tel: +44 (0) 1315 611332 www.hydraonline.co.uk Glasgrow 15 Parnie St. Glasgow, Scotland G15RJ Tel: +44 (0) 1415 527522 www.glasgrowhydroponics.co.uk EZ Grow Perth 77 Scott St. Perth, Scotland PH2 8JR Tel: +44(0) 7521 597308


COMING UP IN July-August

Keeping Roots in Tip Top Condition Dr. Lynette Morgan provides proven tips and tricks that will preserve the health of your plants’ roots.

Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) Have you ever yearned to dig in the soil and learn about food-raising practices of yore, the practices of which were based on organic farming? WWOOF organizations are connecting folks with food and the Earth around the globe.

The Great Organic Hydroponic Debate Many hydroponic growers wish to apply organic components to their garden, but the process isn’t so simple. Find out what’s organic and what’s not and how these two concepts—hydroponics and organics— can work together under today’s certification standards. Plus: Measuring light intensity in the grow room, the benefits of citric acid, shop talk with local retailers and more!

www.maximumyield.com Maximum Yield UK (July/Aug) will be available in July for FREE at selected indoor gardening retail stores across the UK and on maximumyield.com Subscriptions are available at maximumyield.com/subscriptions.php

Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012

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Maximum Yield UK | May / June 2012


From start to finish this three stage heavyweight bloom boost programme is all about fabulous results! THENNEW EWNNAAM MEFO E FO RR

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Bud Start- Stage 1 Ton O Bud- Stage2 Bud Boom- Stage3

A Flying Start Take the Lead The Big Finish Activates the plant’s flowering stage Adds real weight to flowers and fruitsA nutrient packed formula to ripen for abundant bud site formation. in the middle stages of development and firm fruits and flowers at the end

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Maximum Yield UK May/June 2012