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March/April 2010

Sick Plants? Protect Your Garden

from Volatile Organic Compounds Confessions of a Plant Whisperer Plant Physiology:

Carbohydrates (or Saccharides) Indoor Plants: Dieffenbachia Volume 5 – Issue 5

Memories of Haiti

ISSN: 1715-0949 – Bimonthly PP41129557

Tulips in Francine & René’s Garden (St-Stanislas, Qc)





8 12


By Daniel Fortin, horticulturist

Sick Plants? Protect Your Garden from Volatile Organic Compounds

By Pete Kovachevich (Pro Gardening Systems)

Confessions of a Plant Whisperer

16 24

By Kerrie R. Barney

Plant Physiology: Carbohydrates (or Saccharides)

By R. Raynal, Chemist


10 37

The Danger of GM Foods

By Josh Gulliver

“Superweeds”: Five Years of Unresolved Questions

By Third World Network & France 24



Master of Nutrients

By M. Cubaynes, J. Cuffley and F. Leduc


20 28 38 42 46

Winter Wonderland

By Glenn Milbrand

The Grocery Store Gardener

By Frank Nyikos

The Tale of Two Berries

By Glenn Milbrand

The Lazy Hybridizer

By Frank Nyikos

Bob & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in Indoor Gardening

By Loup-Claude Leblanc (with Bob & Ted)

And our usual features: Editorial________________________ 6

Industry News___________________ 6, 51, 56, 64 & 65 Q&A __________________________ 36

Tips & Tricks ___________________ 50 & 51 Destination Profile (Haiti)_ _______ 58

Discovery_______________________ 62 N.B. Should you need to refer to our conversion table, you’ll find it on our website:

Published by: Green Publications • Directors of publication: Roxanne Lekakis and Stan Daimon Managing editor: Bruno Bredoux • Director of sales and marketing: Stan Daimon • Sales representative: : Maxime Villeneuve Contributing editor: Stan Daimon, Bruno Bredoux, Roxanne Lekakis, André Faucher, Maxime Villeneuve • Art Director: André Faucher Editorial coordinator: Bruno Bredoux • Collaborators in this issue: Ted B., Kerrie R. Barney, Bruno Bredoux, Stan Daimon, Daniel Fortin, France 24 (Clea Caulcutt), Josh Gulliver, Pete Kovachevich, Roxanne Labelle, Sylvie Laberge, Patrick Laberge, Rose Laforêt, Loup-Claude Leblanc, Fred Leduc, Glenn Milbrand, Frank Nyikos, Roger Raynal, Bob T., Third World Network (Chee Yoke Heong), Ethan Young • Rewriting/Copy editing/Proof reading: J.-M. Dessureault • Cover design: André Faucher, after a photography by by Bruno Bredoux (Tulips) Illustrations: see our photos credits on page 43 • Distribution: See the list of our distributors on our website Administration: R. LaBelle • Information: The Indoor Gardener Magazine, P.O. Box 52046, Laval, Quebec, H7P 5S1, CANADA Phone: 450-628-5325, Fax: 450-628-7758, website : © 2010, Green Publications Vertes, Laval, Qc, Canada

Articles, iconographic representations and photographs contained in this magazine cannot be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the written consent of the Publisher. The magazine (The Indoor Gardener) and publisher (Green Publications) are not responsible for mistakes or erroneous information provided by their authors. The publisher further declines any and all liability related to any problem stemming from the unsuccessful application of any advice provided by an author in an article. Publications Mail - Agreement number PP41129557. Canada Post: Return undeliverable items to Green Publications, PO Box 52046, Laval, Quebec H7P 5S1. U.S. Delivery and Subscriptions: Periodicals Postage Rates are paid in Laval, Qc, Canada, H7P 5S1 – Post Canada Agreement PP41129557. U.S. Post Master: Return undeliverable items to Green Publications, PO Box 52046, Laval, Quebec, H7P 5S1, Canada. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement number: PP41129557. Legal deposit: Second Quarter 2005. National Library of Canada. Bibliothèque nationale du Québec. ISSN: 1715-0949. Printed in Canada by Litho Mille-Iles Ltee, Terrebonne (Quebec) Canada J6Y 1N9

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March Attacks!

March, or when spring comes back... As popular singer Tom Waits wonderfully puts it in words and music:

“You can never hold back spring You can be sure that I will never Stop believing The blushing rose will climb Spring ahead or fall behind Winter dreams the same dream Every time (Refrain) You can never hold back spring Even though you’ve lost your way The world keeps dreaming of spring…” March attacks, and from herbs to grass, from turf-green to field weed, and from bud to flower, nothing is the same, nothing is as before, and at the same time, everything is back as it was a year ago! Perennial magic of spring. Enjoy it with this issue of The Indoor Gardener magazine. Bruno Bredoux INDUSTRY NEWS

MegaWatt HydroCulture Now a Distributor of SteadyGRO Products MegaWatt HydroCulture of Morin Heights, Quebec, Canada has added SteadyGRO to their line of soilless media and hydroponic products. MegaWatt has been providing and manufacturing quality horticultural products to the global market since 1978. In addition to the SteadyGRO product line, they offer an expansive number of products including fertilizers, garden accessories, horticultural lighting, and pest controls. The SteadyGRO line includes a wide variety of sheet, plug, block, and slab media for soilless and hydroponic growing. For more information, contact: SteadyGRO / Kelvin Frye 1-800-428-0515

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MegaWatt 1-800-575-2515


By Daniel Fortin, horticulturist, Centre de la nature de Laval, Québec

Among all indoor plants cultivated by hobbyists, none is as widely found as the Dieffenbachia. The genus includes about thirty species, all originating from tropical America. Aside from different species, horticulturists have developed a vast number of cultivars that set themselves apart through the beauty of their foliage

These perennial tropical plants, notably Dieffenbachias amoena and D. seguine, can reach 1.5 to 2.5 metres in height, thanks to their vigorous stems, which are usually not ramified and that become quasi trunks in the most robust specimens. Supple and thick leaves are oblong-shaped, often measuring over 25-40 centimetres in length and 7-20 in width—sometimes more. Some gardeners tie the stems on a wood trellis, or directly on wall coverings (generally bricks) to make them grow several metres in height and length. Stems of such plants reach impressive sizes, sometimes several dozen metres. There are also smaller species, notably Dieffenbachia picta (syn. D. maculata), whose stems don’t exceed on metre in height. For both hobbyists and professionals, distinguishing one species from the next is a difficult task: not only do they look alike, but the nomenclature varies. Dieffenbachias amoena, D. bowmanii, D. hofmanii, D. picta (D. maculata), D. leoniae, D. leopoldii, D. orstedii, D. seguine, and the many hybrids stemming from these species present many similarities. The limb (flat surface) of the leaf generally bears light green or yellowish green in a more-or-less regular pattern on either side of the central vein, between secondary veins. Some cultivars bear

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Winner of a Column for a Year (December/January Contest)

The Danger

of GM Foods Which happens to be about 70% of us—the majority of which are completely ignorant to the fact their food has been altered at all.

A rising population leads to a rise in demand for consistent food. Big pharmaceutical and biotech groups have taken full advantage of this situation. First let’s consider how many of us are getting sick and who profits. Then consider who makes the products inherently responsible for these illnesses. Bayer, for example, has been spreading imidacloprid over every vegetable it can get its pesticides on. Yes, Bayer makes insecticides. You would probably be surprised at how many of these pharmaceutical companies are moving into pesticides development. Spread the disease, sell the cure.

Plants modified to resist pests themselves are down right scary. These plants develop a toxin within every cell. It’s called Bacillus Thuringiensis or BT toxin. It should be known as something much more sinister. This BT toxin replicates itself over and over throughout every part of the plant. As insects eat the plant, the BT disrupts their digestive system, eventually killing them. So where does this BT go at harvest? The answer is... everywhere. We eat it, animals eat it, bacteria and fungi eat it as it decomposes in soil—but remember—the insects die. So now this replicating BT toxin is in many of our foods and perhaps in even our own digestive systems. Someone somewhere is making sure this is all safe for us. Right…?

As a long-time indoor organic grower and outdoor vegetable gardener, I’m well rehearsed in organic pest management. Diversity and environmental balance is critical to preventing various infestations. I’ve done extensive research on many organic-control methods, including various foliar applications and strategic planting to attract predatory insects and avoid localized pest infestations. I’m currently starting my own company in Northern California, called JWGConcepts. I specialize in the consultation and installation of organic, nongenetically modified seed stock. I offer a number of residential raised beds and a variety of indoor grow systems with a number of heirloom vegetables.

Wrong. Animals fed with only GM foods have simply died in some cases. Take a look at the rise of autism, cancer, immunedisease and infertility rates since the introduction of GM foods into agriculture. How about the random die-off of bees or even the rise in livestock disease as they also eat these GM foods? I often wonder why this is all occurring. We have fairly solid evidence of GM foods links to harmful side effects to us and the environment. Digging through the festering heap of dead and dying insects

Not only will I install the garden but I will maintain it on a regular basis, and I offer discounts to those who use this opportunity to receive some education. Basically, I will teach them about organic gardening with hands-on experience in their own garden, eventually allowing them to take the garden over. I’m very proud of sharing my ideas about organic gardening and my beliefs about environmental responsibility. Your magazine has some great information and I’d love to contribute

By Josh Gulliver

recently picked up an issue of your magazine and was happy to see your mention of pesticides in the “Consuming the Environmental on Credit” article. I frequently struggle in my attempts to describe the general rape and poison of the world’s agricultural lands. The list of simple, factual statistics will surely help in my future and typically wildly aggressive rants on the subject. I often ask myself where commercial agriculture is heading and the answer frequently sickens me. You mentioned many things in that article but failed to bring the subject of genetically modified foods (GM) up. I will admit this was my first issue, so I apologize in advance for the redundancy if the subject has been covered. GM foods are changed to better resist not only pests but often pesticides. Some of these plants are altered to grow under severe insecticide-application levels. This not only creates more residual insecticide on the plants themselves but the overabundance of these pesticides also kills soil life. A lack of soil microbial life takes away from any natural control plants and soil have against infestation in the first place. The ill effects of these pesticides can be seen throughout every aspect of agriculture and more specifically those of us who eat the food produced in this manner.

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for logical reasons to the obvious poisoning of the general population brings me back to the pool of money and greed that causes most problems on this Earth.


Sick Plants?

Protect Your Garden from Volatile Organic Compounds By Pete Kovachevich (Pro Gardening Systems)

Ok folks, this is a big one today: I’m going to address a very complex situation that is plaguing some indoor gardeners with chronic problems and leaving them completely stumped, frustrated and confused. Imagine this: you have grown in different environments, with variable results for decades; you have a confident sense of how to grow. You set up a new room, in a new place, and every crop in this new room has problems. Your instincts and experience tell you to check EC, PPM, pH, temperature, air flow, CO2 levels, water quality... You’re convinced you have an insect problem, you question your nutrient-feeding schedule, change plant foods, spray insecticides and other foliar feeds to combat pests and deficiency. You try every known possible thing you can, things that have been your tried-and-true proven solutions for years and you know firsthand should work as expected. What the heck does someone do when this happens? Relax, breathe, correct any negative intentions in your mind, and educate yourself on VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

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Plant Health | THE INDOOR GARDENER • Intended for use on most interior and exterior surfaces, including woodwork, drywall, plaster, paneling, masonry, brick, painted metal, and properly prepared glossy surfaces. **Per EPA Test Method #24. See product label for more details. But wait… it doesn’t end here! Let’s say you want to know the exact amount of VOCs in your air—not just in your garden, but in your bedroom, living room, children’s rooms etc. I found a VOC meter that is portable, accurate and reliable. Stop the guesswork and find out now if you’re suffering from a VOC toxicity issue.

Why Use the RI VOC Meter?

A botanist friend of ours had an amazing suggestion, and even had the exact product to use when addressing this issue. Kilz-brand primer paint has been conscientious enough to create a product with no VOCs. Give your garden even coats of Kilz Clean Start, and you can be assured that you’ve created a VOC-free barrier that will protect the entire garden from VOCs in general. While removing 100% of all VOCs from your garden environment may be almost impossible, we can take lots away, and prevent them from getting inside gardens. People who use a sealed-room technique may suffer from a mysterious VOC issue more than others, as the VOC gasses have nowhere to escape.

The RI VOC Meter is the smallest handheld monitor on the market. It is extremely sensitive and capable of detecting contamination at a level of 0.1 ppm. Simply start the device and use it to sniff out areas of high VOC concentrations. An alarm will sound in areas where VOCs are higher than recommended. For added protection, the unit can be wall-mounted and VOC levels logged continuously. Test results stored in the instrument may be easily downloaded to a personal computer for analysis and printing. With the software suite, users can sort and view results with ease. I’m seriously stoked on this because we have had a lot of people suffering from mysterious problems, and even with our 40-plus years of combined experience around here, we couldn’t determine the cause of some ongoing chronic problems. Fast forward to the great recall of Hydrohuts for their gassing off of VOCs and killing gardens all over. We suddenly all became aware of this VOC issue as a valid consideration when trying to determine serious garden problems. You can read more about this meter at: So here I have presented a very serious problem that could potentially go undiagnosed for years, a valid solution for VOC toxicity and a means to determine if you indeed do suffer from VOCs in your garden. Don’t let this mystery go unsolved for another second!

Why Kilz® Clean Start? • Zero volatile organic compounds (VOC)**; • Addresses indoor air quality concerns related to VOCs while delivering the quality and performance expected from Kilz®-brand primers; • Allows for fewer top coats; • Sealing and stain-blocking power; • High performance; • Water-based primer; • Low odour during and after application; • Interior/exterior multi-purpose application; • Excellent adhesion and hide; • Easy soap-and-water cleanup; • Blocks tannin bleed; • Mildew-resistant finish; • Improves and strengthens top-coat appearance; • Perfect for at-home paint enthusiasts and professionals alike;

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I strongly suggest you read this page on VOCs (http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Volatile_ organic_compound) and get a grasp on the subject. PGS has plans to offer both of these solutions online and in our retail stores soon. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you suspect you have a VOC problem. Let us help!

Living with plants | THE INDOOR GARDENER

Confessions of a Plant Whisperer By Kerrie R. Barney

It happened AGAIN. There I was, calmly weeding my front garden, when my neighbour Liz walked up without me seeing her. Now, this should not have been a major disaster. It was a warm, sunny afternoon, and Liz certainly had no sinister intent. All she wanted was to talk to me about the community garage sale she was busy organizing. The problem was, I was already talking to my petunia plants, complimenting them on their flowers and telling them about the rain the weather man said was on the way. I’m not sure how long Liz stood there before she cleared her throat. But when I turned around she looked very uncomfortable. “They say that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness,” she said.

The Plant Whisperer Cap is available at

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THE INDOOR GARDENER | Living with plants My Golden Pothos Brian

It was not the first time I’d been accused of incipient mental illness while out in my garden. It seems like all my neighbours, along with my mailman, Fed-Ex delivery person, and several sets of local Girl Scouts selling cookies, have caught me talking to my plants and assumed the worst about my sanity as a result. Fortunately, the misunderstanding is usually short lived. I tend to flush, stammer a bit, and then point out that I’m not really talking to myself at all; no, I’m talking to the plants instead. This generally downgrades me from being completely insane to merely eccentric in my observer’s eyes. And sometimes it even interests people enough to make them ask me about it—just as my neighbour Liz did then. “Oh,” she said, peering curiously at my petunias. “I’ve heard that people do that when they want their plants to grow better. Does it work?” I never know how to answer this. The idea that talking to plants makes them grow better has been around for a very long time. The German scientist Gustav Theodore Fechner wrote about it way back in 1848. More recently, several scientific studies have suggested that plants really do respond favourably to sound, including a fascinating 2007 South Korean study that found two genes in rice plants capable of being activated by classical music. But that’s not why I talk to my plants. I talk to my plants because they are there, fellow living beings that share my space, and it just seems polite to include them in my conversations. It’s a bit like making small talk with the stranger checking out my groceries at the supermarket. It helps to pass the time and makes the day more pleasant. In return I get the sense—possibly imaginary, possibly not—that my words have made a difference, and the warm feeling of connecting with another being. It makes the world feel a little less lonely.

Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 17

Living with plants | THE INDOOR GARDENER

MacAiogdh, of Operation Puppy Proof fame!

But in a culture of increasing social isolation, where a friendly “Hey, how are you?” from a stranger is often seen as intrusive rather than polite, this is sometimes a difficult concept to get across. So I invariably fall back on the “Yes, it makes them grow better” excuse instead. Sometimes I even quote some of the aforementioned scientific research, which, if it doesn’t make my audience’s eyes glaze over completely, generally earns me an thoughtful “Hmmm”—which was what exactly what happened with my neighbour Liz. “Hmmm,” she said. “I guess it’s not so crazy to talk to plants after all.” Then she grinned and said the next thing people always say when they catch me talking to my petunias, the thing I’ve come to dread above all. “I guess you’re only really crazy when they start talking back. Right?” Well… Before I go any further, I should state unequivocally that my plants do not talk to me the way a human would, with spoken words and grammatically formed sentences. They don’t even talk to me the way my dog MacAiogdh does, who can signal his intense disapproval of his new healthy dog treats with just one dirty look. Nevertheless, a certain communication does take place. Right now, for example, I know my Golden Pothos Brian needs to be watered. He isn’t yet giving me any obvious visual cues: his leaves still shine with their usual luster, and his vines have yet to droop. And yet I know that if I run my fingers over his potting soil, I will find it dry. How? It’s not something I can easily explain. It’s just that when I walked by his pot this morning, I got a feeling I can only describe as “water me.” A similar feeling tells me when my schefflera is getting root bound and when my philodendron would appreciate some fertilizer. I don’t know how I know these things. I just do, and when I follow the feelings and break out the fertilizer drops or find a new, larger pot I am always richly rewarded. It’s a mysterious process, and because it’s so mysterious it’s easy to imagine that there’s some kind of mystic power at work. I must be psychic; Brian and the rest of my green family must be communicating with me telepathically. Right? The romantic in me, she who loves to read her daily horoscope and watch science fiction shows on TV, is more than happy with that idea. But my inner scientist wants a more logical explanation, so recently I concocted a theory to explain it. I was reading an article about Clever Hans, a German horse who took the world by storm in 1907 when it appeared he could solve complex mathematical equations on his own. His owner, Herr Wilhelm von Osten, would pose a question, and Hans would tap out the answer with his feet. In this way, Hans answered questions correctly 87% of the time… but only when Von Osten himself knew what the correct answer was. Eventually it was discovered that Hans wasn’t really doing the math at all. He was watching his owner instead: reading the unconscious, involuntary expressions of happiness and excitement Von Osten made whenever Hans reached the correct number of taps. Then Hans would stop tapping, giving the illusion that he’d solved the problem for himself. It wasn’t an intentional fraud. The physical signals Van Osten gave Hans were so slight Von Osten genuinely wasn’t aware he was making them. But despite the public’s inevitable

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disappointment, the discovery of how Hans really performed his clever trick ended up revealing a very wonderful truth. The fact that Hans could read body language cues so subtle his human owner didn’t even know he was sending them is a magnificent ability all on its own. And it makes me wonder: could I be a Clever Hans? Could I be noticing tiny changes in my plants’ “body language”—subtle shifts in scent, perhaps, or changes in the way they hold their leaves— that I read and respond to without really knowing I’m aware of them? The human mind is a mysterious place, after all, with all kinds of nooks and crannies we have yet to explore. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there was intense observation going on that only dimly gets reported to the consciousness I think of as “me.” It’s not as magical a theory as ESP. But it does explain a lot, including why it’s so easy for me to attribute human character traits to my leafy friends. I tend to think of Brian as a very intelligent and curious plant—why? Well, because he’s very responsive to light and is always sticking his vines inquisitively into every nook and cranny. Does Brian really have a personality that I’m picking up on? Or is it just a combination of observation and imagination? I suspect that the romantic and scientific sides of my nature will be arguing that one over for years, but one thing remains unchanged. Thinking of my plants as people, even though they have a very different shape from the human-type people I generally talk to, makes my indoor gardening adventures a whole lot more fun. And that’s the true miracle of human-plant communication. When I talk to my plants, the odds are good that I’m taking better care of them as well. The interaction makes me much more likely to notice their needs, and much more likely to meet them. It also transforms routine chores like watering and pruning into something I look forward to, a chance to spend some time with a valued friend. And that is the greatest magic I can think of.

Growing Experiment | THE INDOOR GARDENER


Wonderland By Glenn Milbrand

Most of us gardening types tend to feel a little bit down as the summer winds down and we slip into fall. With the days getting shorter, the air getting colder, and the outdoor garden tilled in for the winter, we are left with only our indoor house plants to give us the comfort that our summer garden did bring to us. We can no longer sit in the yard and admire the wonderful fruits of our labor. All we can do is wait for the warmth of spring to allow us to plant once again. Or maybe not.

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THE INDOOR GARDENER | Growing Experiment

It’s the 1st of October and my anxiety is already building, for it is time for me to order my indoor crop of strawberries. Yes, my indoor crop of strawberries. And I am not talking of a few plants that may or may not survive the winter on some windowsill possibly supplying me with a berry or two. I am talking of setting up my 160 site aeroponic system and growing a crop of strawberries! This will be my second winter of indoor stwawberry growing. I have news for those who think growing strawberries should be pretty easy. As I have found out many times, that is not at all the case. There are a few things about stwawberries that separate them from lettuce, cucumbers, peppers or tomatoes. Stwawberries are not propagated from seed like those other plants. They are runner plants which grow from mother plants. They are rooted and allowed to grow into the fall; then they are dug out and put into cold storage (1-3oC) for a chilling period which varies from one to several months depending on the cultivare.

year it was the middle of December. Another important thing to know about strawberries is that there are short day, long day, and day neutral types, all of which have different growing requirements. The short day types produce flower buds in the fall when days are short and they bloom in the spring when temperatures are warm enough to promote growth. The long day type set buds in the long days of summer and bloom when days get shorter at the end of August. The day neutrals are not affected by the length of days. They bud when temperatures are favorable (15-25oC ). Most commercial indoor growers grow the day neutral types. I personally grew both a short day and a day neutral type.

Most are stored through winter and sold in early spring for that season’s planting. My approach is somewhat different. I ask my friends at Nourse Farms to ship my plants as soon as the minimum chilling period has been reached, so that I may plant them in my indoor garden. This year they were shipped the first week of December; last Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 21

Growing Experiment | THE INDOOR GARDENER Another important characteristic of strawberries is that they may bring pests or disease into your garden area since they are prone to infestations by mites, aphids, thrips and the like. They are also sensitive to moulds and root disease. This explains why open field commercial producers use large amounts of methyl bromide to prevent low quality crop yields. It is therefore important to buy only high quality, disease free planting stock from reputable suppliers. Strawberries are often referred to as being a low light, cool weather plant. I disagree. My experience demonstrates that they, like most other plants, need all the light they can get. Temperatures should be varied depending on the different stages of the plants’ growth. For vegetative growth a temperature of 24-25oC is optimum. During flower and fruit formation a temperature of 15-18oC is best, with a day and night variation of about 10oC. Strawberries, like all other plants, require CO2 to grow. I have observed that the CO2 levels in my grow room will fall under 150 ppm throughout the day from a morning level of about 350 ppm. Last year I continually increased my fresh air intake to try to maintain an ambient CO2 level of at least 250-300 ppm. This year I have added a CO2 generator and plan on maintaining a level of 650-750 ppm throughout the day. We have all read that CO2 levels of 1500 ppm or higher will provide optimum growth potential for most plants assuming that all other growth factors are also ideal. However, such ideal conditions are

difficult to reach and maintain. I personally find it more productive to aim at keeping the CO2 concentration at a level approximately 30% lower and work on improving that with day to day adjustments. Strawberries are small plants but with rather large appetites. Unlike fruits formed singly like peppers and cucumbers, they form on trusses with a large primary fruit on top, followed by two more fruit, followed again by two more. On healthy, well-fed plants, it is not uncommon to find up to 7 or 8 berries per truss. For this reason, ample nutrients must be provided at all times. Crop

management also plays an important role in the yield of the plants. For example, it is very important that root and leaf development be complete to allow maximum fruit production. Some flower trimming in the early weeks should also be done to strengthen the leaf and root areas resulting in the production of fruits that will be larger and of higher quality. This should give you an overview of my winter wonderland. In future issues I will be covering the day to day, week to week, month to month experiences of this wonderful project. I will provide information and real life accounts on setting up the grow room and aeroponic system, planting bare root strawberry runner plants, designing nutrient mixes, maintaining the grow room environment, applying plant management, and, of course, my favorite part of the experience, obtaining and caring for the bumble bee hive! I am hoping that we will not have to use pest management or deal with plant disease. But realistically, I would not be surprised if we had to. Last year my plants were infested with the dreadful two spotted mite and it just about destroyed my whole crop. I feel that this experience will take away some of the winter blues and allow us to learn while enjoying a real life growing experience. As always: “HAPPY GROWING EVERYONE!”

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Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 23


Plant Physiology:

Carbohydrates (or Saccharides)

By R. Raynal, Chemist

Carbohydrates are substances that in everyday life we call sugars (because of their taste, although there are exceptions!). In fact, we make a distinction between:

a) monose, or simple sugars or monosaccharides that cannot be separated through hydrolysis; b) osides, glucids that are formed through the association of many monose molecules. Through hydrolysis, they give out monoses (but don’t be in a hurry—the reaction is often slow!)

Osides + water


What about the sugar you put in your coffee? We will see that it is, in fact, made up of two monoses—and therefore is an oside. In this brief biochemistry lesson, we will only examine the most important aspects of these molecules, and we will look at their biological roles.

1 – Let’s Discuss Monoses

The best known monose is glucose: you’ll find it in all candies, in your blood, in fruit (in fructose form) and it even is, for many of your cells, the only acceptable nourishment.

a) How a Monose is Made: Formulas Used to Represent Monose Molecules Which atoms form a monose? Only C, O and H!

After discussing acids in a previous article (Volume 3, Issue 4, pages 22-24), we will now analyze a much “sweeter” aspect of fruits, vegetables and plants: carbohydrates. This term is mostly used in biochemistry, where it is synonym with saccharides. If you have a sweet tooth, you will probably salivate when reading what follows, but you will also discover what chemical substances explain your taste for those sweet fruits and vegetables that you enjoy so much. 24 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

In what proportions, you may ask? Well, we always find the same number of C and O, and twice as many H. This means monoses follow the general formula (Cn H 2n On)x times. Monose are also called carbohydrates (water + carbon). It is true that monoses are carbohydrates, but not all carbs are simple sugars: the lactic acid produced by your tired muscles (following the formula C(H 2O)3) is a carbohydrate but not a monose. The value of n in the formula (Cn H 2n On) varies. For example:

• Glucose: n=6, C6H12O6. • Ribose: n= 5, C5H10O5. • Fructose (sugar produced by fruit): n=6, same basic formula as glucose!


These two molecules thus share the same molecular mass, since they contain the same quantity of the same atoms. The simple formulas are not precise enough, but they do allow us to distinguish the different simple sugars:

• those with six carbon atoms are hexoses (hexo = 6 + oses): glucose, fructose, galactose...; • those with five atoms of carbon are pentoses (pento = 5 + oses); • those with four atoms of carbon are tetroses (tetra = 4 + oses); • those with three atoms of carbon are trioses (tri = 3 + oses).

b) Where We Use More Precise Formulas (called Structural Formulas) A simple sugar is always made up of an unbranched carbon skeleton that bears atoms containing O (oxygenated functions) or not. The nature and the position of functions only appear on semistructural formulas, which represent the relations between atoms more precisely. N. B. : Atoms attach to one another by exchanging electrons. Atoms can only exchange a certain number of atoms, never more. Carbon (C), for example, can only exchange four electrons, not more. Oxygen, O, can only exchange two and hydrogen, H, it can only exchange one electron (because it only has one!).

2 – Let’s Start By Looking At Glucose First, let’s review the name of functions. Groups containing O and H grafted onto carbon can bear different names (chemistry is a well organized science!). Let us recall three that can be useful: • The alcohol function: OH. It is found in all… alcohols, of course! • The ketone function: C=O (C double bond O, not C equals O! This means that C and O exchange two electrons instead of one). • The aldehyde function: CHOH.

One monose thus contains many alcohol functions and either a ketone function or an aldehyde function. What you see below are three ways of representing glucose. At the top, the structural formula gives us a map of the molecule. Every atom is separated by its bonds, but the formula is unwieldy. In the middle, the “semi-structural” formula: groups branch out of the carbon axis but are not detailed.

Pablo Jardinage, Exclusive

Advanced Nutrients Distributor for Mauricie

With eight years of experience selling hydroponic products, Pablo set up his own shop in July 2007, with the opening of his first Pablo Jardinage store in Trois-Rivières. The following year, he opened a second location in Drummondville. In 2008 also, he obtained an exclusivity contract to distribute Advanced Nutrients products for all of Mauricie, from Maskinongé to La Tuque. Success came knocking. When asked why he succeeded, Pablo talks about “the Pablo in his Trois-Rivières store. original manufacturing quality of Advanced Nutrients products, the originality of their marketing, which puts local distributors first and, of course, the incomparable design of the company’s famous labels. What’s more, the nutrients are hyper concentrated, giving the buyer an exceptional quality/price ratio.” Best-sellers in his stores are Sensi Bloom A and B, Sensi Cal Mg Mix Bloom, Big Bud, and Overdrive. Pablo has also developed his own product line (“Pablo Jardinage”), which includes a flowering accelerator (0-50-30), pH adjusters, etc. When you enter the Trois-Rivières store, an imposing indoor-fountain setup will astonish you. We must say Pablo Jardinage also distributes Laguna products, with water basins—both indoor and outdoor ones—gaining in popularity among members of the public. – B.B. For more information: 819-693-6000 (Trois-Rivières), 819-475-2525 (Drummondville) or by email:

Underneath, the formula is more condensed: all similar groups have been combined. We can thus classify monoses with the help of two criteria: number of C atoms in the molecule and presence of an aldehyde or a ketone function.

Danny Dubé in the Drummondville store.

Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 25

Biochemistry | THE INDOOR GARDENER Number of carbon atoms: Monose with aldehyde function: aldose




Monose with ketone function: ketose Fructose Ribose








four four


Carbohydrates are not absorbed at the same speed in the different types of fruits or vegetables. Indeed, each fruit or vegetable has its own glycemic index (or GI). Potatoes, rice and carrots have a high glycemic index. Oranges, apples, cherries, plums have a moderate glycemic index while beans, peas, bulgur and lentils have a fairly low glycemic index. For a good and healthy diet, it is recommended to eat carbohydrates at every meal (bread, starchy foods, fruits, vegetables, etc.). From now on, carbohydrates must be on your grocery list!


(Sources:, and


Coming up in our “Plant Physiology” series, the invisible, and—later—, flowers.


3 – Stereoisomers

Glucose and galactose share the same formula, even when using the “semi-structural” formula: they have the same functions in the same positions, leading you to believe that they are the same molecule. Look at your hands (I will assume you have two): you will find the same fingers in the same positions (well, I hope so for your sake!). And yet, a left hand is not the same as a right hand: your fingers do not have the same spatial orientation (which is obvious at the thumb). It is much the same for glucose and galactose: a carbon atom (called alpha carbon) is the palm of the hand, and four “fingers” make up the bonds with the rest of the molecule.

In a Nutshell: Acids 1. A Few Fruits or Derivatives and their Acids

Most organic acids are weak and inoffensive. We absorb them in fruits and vinegars. Wine and grapes contain tartaric acid.

Their only difference is in the asymmetrical orientation of the functional groups making up the stereoisomers (an important point, since they have many peculiarities among living beings!). These stereoisomers are represented using Fischer projections: vertical carbon chain + aldehyde function above + H and OH couples towards the front. On the alpha carbon, OH to the right: D series; OH to the left: L series.

4 – The Pear, a Fruit Rich in Carbohydrates

The fruit that best provides our human body with its daily intake of carbohydrates is the pear. Rich in water, pears contain a lot of carbohydrates which provide energy, an average of 50 kcal/100 g. In nutritional terms, 100 grams of pear is equivalent to a carbohydrate intake of 12 grams (or the equivalent of 84 grams of water, 2.3 grams of fibers, 0.3 gram of protein, 0.1 gram of fat and an energy intake of 50 kcal). The amount of carbohydrates in a pear depends on the variety and the maturity of the fruit. The concentration of fibers—an average of 2.3 g/100 g—changes according to seasons and varieties. If summer pears must be chosen ripe, such is not the case with fall and winter pears. In order to mature, the latter need a period of cold weather that they can only benefit from while still on the tree. Our grandparents were well aware of this requirement. They picked their pears slightly green and allowed them to mature in a fruit basket or a cellar. Today, if you buy green fruits, it is necessary to keep them at room temperature so that they can fully mature. Fall and winter pears can therefore survive a few days. Summer varieties cannot and must be consumed immediately after purchase. But whatever the season, a ripe pear will not wait.

26 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid.

Vinegar contains acetic acid.

Green apples and pears contain malic acid.

Oranges and lemons contain citric acid.

2. An Old Trick: Litmus Paper Reaction

Blue litmus allows one to know whether the solution is acidic. Litmus is an indicator: any solution that turns the paper from blue to red contains an acid. Red litmus paper does not change upon contact with an acid (right). Of course, a pH-metre will also more accurately do the trick!


Pizza Margherita is Celebrating its 120th Anniversary Boasting the three colors of the Italian flag—red (tomatoes), white (Mozzarella) and green (basil)—the pizza was invented in 1889 for the visit to Naples by Italy’s Queen Margherita of Savoy, the wife of Italy’s second king, Umberto I. Last June, the pizza’s birthday celebration was highlighted by a parade of local aristocrats in 19th century dress, flag throwers, archers in medieval costumes, and hundreds of Neapolitans and visitors who joined in the fun. The parade, with “Queen Margherita” escorted in a coach, started at the San Carlo opera house, snaked through the narrow streets of the old Spanish Quarter, stopped briefly in Pizza Plebiscito, next to the royal palace, and then ended up in front of the Brandi pizzeria, where the “Margherita” was invented and which has been making pizza since 1780.

Last year the Margherita was officially recognized as the “real Neapolitan Pizza” by the European Union and given the coveted TSG (traditional speciality guaranteed) status by Brussels. In order to qualify as a “real” Margherita, the pizza must be made from durum wheat flour, fresh yeast, water and sea salt, with a topping of olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes (in slices no thicker than 8 mm) and mozzarella made from buffalo milk. It is one of the few dishes composed almost exclusively of the Campania region’s three PDO (protected designation of origin) products already recognized by the EU: San Marzano tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil from Campania, and “mozzarella di bufala”.


Illustration by Éric Braün


28 | Volume 5 – Issue 5


The Grocery Store Gardener By Frank Nyikos

It is easy to recognize a curious gardener. It is

someone that will attempt to grow any plant that comes his or her way. Such a person is always

looking for something new to try and will even

collect plants at the neighborhood food market or during a vacation to try to keep them growing at home.

Well, that is me. I have tried quite a few specimens from various produce found in my local market. My first and favorite plant was a grapefruit tree. When I was growing up, I remember that we always seemed to have some fresh oranges and grapefruits around the holiday season. I got the idea of trying to grow grapefruits myself when I found some seeds germinating inside a fruit. I promptly planted them in a small pot with some defrosted garden soil. Today, I cannot really explain how any of those seeds could sprout. At that time, I was probably in middle school. Remembering to keep those sprouted seedlings watered must have involved some help from my guardian angel. In any event I managed to grow a

healthy plant which I kept for many years, until the end of my undergraduate studies at college. And for years after its demise I used the twisted main trunk as a walking cane. Ginger is another species that I try growing periodically. Getting it to sprout is very easy. Simply place the piece on moist soil and gently press it down. I have produced some beautiful plants that way. However, I somehow fail to provide them with enough attention to get them to a stage where I could harvest some home grown tubers. Keep in mind that ginger requires a warm environment. Nice looking plants need an ambient temperature of at least 70 oF. I suspect that there are different sub-species as well. I

have grown some at an average height of one foot while others reached nearly two feet. What makes ginger such a great house plant is that it does not require a great amount of direct sunshine. During the summer my plants get just a few hours of direct light each day. The rest of the time they receive indirect light. They grow really well with my smaller hosta. How many of you have grown a sweet potato plant? Not enough as these make wonderful house plants with medium to dark green leaves and trailing vines. They will look great in window boxes or on your patio. The added benefit is that you will have some to eat at the end of the growing season. And they will certainly be delicious. Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 29

Home Grown Plants | THE INDOOR GARDENER I plan to try several new herb seeds. At the top of the list for next year is to grow a small plot of brown mustard. This will be done in my garden. The wild variety of mustard that populates the early spring at my home in Unionville (IN) is quite a robust plant. The intense brilliant yellow bloom is spectacular. I think trying brown mustard will be a good experiment. It will mean that I will have to finally break down and buy a seed grinder so that I can make a batch of homemade mustard.

I remember once finding a fairly fresh looking piece of lemon grass with a tiny bit of root on the end. I simply put this piece in the soil and kept it moist. Within a month I noticed the first new leaf beginning to come out. It was not long before the plant was gaining mass and size. I was lucky to find this piece. Under normal circumstances, what passes for fresh lemon grass in my corner of the world is past its prime and refrigerated. Usually, the crown of the plant has been severed from the roots. But with care, it can become a very nice tropical house plant. All you need to do is convince your grocer (with a small tip maybe) to find a specimen that is still alive and save it for you. Natural food stores offer the added benefit of having herbs that have not been irradiated. Irradiation may sterilize unwanted pathogens on the herb but it will also sterilize the seeds as well. I have experimented with quite a few herb seeds. I have plans for several more. Some of my favorite are celery, alfalfa and coriander. I like to keep a small pot of cilantro in my kitchen window in the winter. Even if I do not use the herb I have the intense fragrance to cheer me during those long gray days. Celery is a relatively new find for me. As an experiment I once spread about a teaspoon of seed on top of a flat and got an incredible number of seedlings to plant out

30 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

in the garden the next spring. In addition to making a superb garden plant, celery is the most attractive of house plants. It loves water, something I personally relish as I tend to overwater. These plants are not finicky in the least. They are able to take both direct and indirect light. They thrive in cool temperatures like those in your home while you are at work. These are not a plant you will want to grow for the flower.

You will want to encourage the growth cycle as long as possible. To this end you will want to avoid fertilizers with a high middle number. They also need a lot of room for their roots so the larger the pot the larger the specimen. The best thing about them is that they thrive in a hydroponic environment. If you want a quick start with celery, you can simply put the waste stump of the last bunch you bought. It will work. However, it will seed fairly soon after producing new roots and growth.

We can sometimes get fresh dried dates at Bloomingfood’s, my local natural food grocer. There must be a way to force these to sprout. Thank goodness we live in an age where we have information at the tips of our finger! There is no single aspect of humanity we cannot explore on the web. I would look up the procedure now but it presents a future challenge for me and you. My guess is that the seed requires stratification unique to the habitat it grows in. To me this means that the outer shell needs to be breached or weakened by the gastric juices of the indigenous life. This would mean camels for one. The seeds that are not crushed by the camel’s teeth make their way to the stomach for digestion. They end up encrusted in body wastes and are rejected by the animal. Since watering holes are prime targets the seed has a chance to be spread to other locations. That is my guess. I will of course check this out when I get a chance to experiment. This is what makes being a grocery store gardener so much fun. I would also like to try some of the new tropical fruits that are now appearing in our markets. I am thinking of guava, mango, fig or maybe even pomegranate. Sure these may be a challenge. And, I do not hope to grow a plant to full size. I sort of view this as one would an avocado. Who hasn’t sprouted an avocado pit? These are quite large trees in their natural environment. Yet, many of us have grown one for a period of time. Why not try to sprout some of these other tropical trees? A true gardener finds an opportunity to grow a plant whenever the chance occurs. The best place to find new plants may just be your local grocery store. And the two logical places to find these new specimens are the produce and the herbs sections. Let your imagination take flight. If you want to see what a fenugreek plant looks like then sprout some seed. You never know when something fun will come your way.

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Masters of Ventilation:

From Can- to Max-Fan

The regular series of fans come equipped with industry standard sized motors with quietness and cost kept in mind. The regular series of Can-fans are ideally suited for the hobbyist gardener looking to move air affordably with peace of mind. See the table below:

– by W.S.

Founded in 2000, Can Fan Group, Inc. is a leader in airfiltration innovation based in Nelson (B.C.), Canada. The company develops an entire family of well-known ventilation and air-filtration products. Every indoor gardener has heard of (or experienced) their Can-Fan®, Can-Filters®, 38 SpecialTM, Can-Lite and Max-Fan. With these tried-and-tested products, every gardener can feel confident he (or she) is getting the best for their ventilation needs. Can Fan Group can truly deliver on the promise of producing top quality products.

Can Fan Group has some great instructional videos available online (at or The videos perfectly show all steps in installing ventilation and/or air filtration setups and they give the gardener the opportunity to learn “how to set up his new CanFilter”, “how to install his 8- or 10-inch Max-Fan”, etc.



Can-Filters, a Must in Odour Control

Below is a quick overview of the company’s most successful products:

The Original Can-Fan

Can Fan Group has raised the standards for all inline-fan manufacturers with the Original Can-Fan series of inline fans. Can-Fans have two series of fans (high

Table 1 Fan Model

output or regular). The high-output series of Can-Fans are ideally suited to match up with Can-Filters carbon air filters. The high-output series come equipped with higher wattage motors to overcome the resistance of the Can-Filter. All Can-Fans come with a five-year warranty and power-cord attached.

Max Watts

Max Amps






Odour control is no child’s play. CanFilters has been designing and manufacturing activated-carbon filters for over 15 years. This experience has helped build the best filter available for the indoor gardener’s job. The packed-bed design, pelletized carbon, and large surface area give high flow, low-pressure drop, and long life. Can-Filters’ high carbon weight gives you the longest life. Continued on page 45




1,5 po

Max PS.

Duct diam.

















4” HO
































6” HO
































8” HO
































10” HO
































12” HO
















(n.b.: In the table above, performance shown is for installation type D: ducted inlet, ducted outlet. Speed (RPM) shown is nominal. Performance is based on actual speed of test. Performance ratings do not include the effects of appurtenances in the airstreams (static pressure in inches/wg)).

34 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 35


To keep on getting the best service available, send your questions to Our gardening specialists will answer your questions and comment your remarks. Hi, and congratulations for your nice magazine. I’ve been using a propane CO2 generator with an electronic controller for some time to stabilize the CO2 concentration at 1,500 ppm in the room. Since the installation of the generator, I’ve noticed that plants have been drinking a lot more water. The delay between waterings went from 5 to 4 days, allowing me to say there’s been a 20% increase in nutritive-solution consumption. That’s quite logical, since the CO2 input is higher and the plants can extract more carbon from the air, which they then use to convert nutriments into sugars. I’ve also noticed that plants seem to transpire a lot less: even though I maintain the temperature at 30 degrees Celsius (to improve the gas exchange), the air-humidity ratio is lower than before and easier to control. I use Canna Coco as a substrate, in containers with the appropriate fertilizers, at a stable pH of 5.8. I calibrate the nutritive solution at a maximum value of 1.8 EC at mid-flowering. The remainder of the time, I keep it around 1.6 EC (recipe suggested by Canna).

in your plants. A sure sign of trouble is an EC that continues to get higher and higher after each watering. The great thing about this technique is you can diagnose a serious nutrient issue and resolve it before it becomes a problem. And it makes it easy to determine if you have nutrient burn or a deficiency.

I’m wondering: since there’s much more CO2 in the atmosphere and since plants can transform fertilizers into sugars, would it be better to increase the nutrient rate in the nutritive solution at each watering, for example going to 2 EC rather than 1.6 for each watering, in order to allow plants more access to a higher concentration of nutrients?

Another way to determine if your plants are absorbing nutrients or just sitting in solution is to use a refractometer. How can you tell if a plant is truly growing to its full potential other then watching it turn green and form flowers and fruits? The answer is with a refractometer. This is a device that allows one to measure the amount of sugars in a given plant. You take a daily measure of your plants Brix levels (oB) and if the sugar levels are going up then you know your plants are turning light into sugars and then into fruit, flowers or leaf. If your plant is not increasing in sugar production, then you know you need to make some adjustments.

Will increasing the nutrient dosage be beneficial, or will it rather affect the roots and weaken them? Thank you for your answer, for which we can hardly wait. – Marcel B. & Cindy Mayfair, Qc Hi Marcel and Cindy, You are indeed very diligent in pursuing the perfect crop. I have a very clear answer for you. Never give your plants a blanket electric conductivity (EC) set in stone by a nutrient company. First of all, plant genetics vary so greatly that there is no way to say that one level of EC is perfect for every plant. The EC of the water AFTER you water your plants is the telltale variable for success. If the EC of your water goes down after you water your plants, then the plants are absorbing nutrient from the solution. If the EC goes up, then you know that you are giving your plants too much food. Remember EC is measuring the amount of electricity that can be carried in the water. The higher that number is the more nutrients are available in your water. Therefore, if the EC is fluctuating, then you know you have metabolic response occurring

36 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

Wine producers and other fruit farmers use Brix refractometers to measure the exact amount of sugars before a harvest, allowing them to get their product to market with the perfect amount of sweetness, not too much, not too little. You too can control your harvests to this high degree of refinement. Even with crops that are concerned with essential oil and fragrance, etc... Everyone interested in growing better plants will benefit from a refractometer. (This answer was taken from my article: blog/2009/07/03/highly-advanced-and-technical-science-appliedto-your-garden). – Pete Kovachevich – Pro Gardening Systems N.B.: You can also mail your questions or comments to: Green Publications, P.O. Box 52046, Laval (Quebec), Canada H7P 5S1


From Sinapis arvensis, the first “superweed”, to Amaranthus retroflexus:

Five Years of Unresolved Questions In July 2005, a government research in the United Kingdom has reported on the discovery of the first genetically modified (GM) superweed in the country. This was the result of GM oilseed rape crossbreeding with a common weed, charlock (Sinapis arvensis), a phenomenon that was earlier thought to be impossible. The English government study monitored gene flow from Bayer’s herbicide resistant GM oilseed rape to related wild plants during the government-sponsored farm scale evaluations of GM crops. At one test site, the researchers found a GM version of the common weed charlock growing in the field the year after the GM trial. The plant was resistant to the weed killer used in the GM trial and was confirmed as containing the gene inserted into the GM oilseed rape. This was the first known case of such an occurrence in the United Kingdom, and it

overturned previous scientific assumptions that charlock was unlikely to cross-breed with GM oilseed rape, according to Emily Diamand from “Les Amis de la Terre” (Friends of the Earth). The discovery raises fears that herbicideresistant superweeds could develop in the British countryside if GM crops were grown commercially. There is also the possible fallout for the environment as this means that more and deadlier herbicides will need to be employed to kill the GM weeds. Currently only two countries in Europe have banned GM oilseed rape. They are France and Greece and both have been subjected to pressure to lift those bans. Superweeds have since alarmingly appeared in parts of the United States, particularly in Georgia, as well as South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri, according to media reports. Roundup (from Monsanto) contains the active ingredient glyphosate, which is the

most used herbicide in the United States. Today, 100,000 acres in Georgia are severely infested with redwood pigweed and 29 counties have now confirmed resistance to glyphosate, according to weed specialist Stanley Culpepper from the University of Georgia. According to farmers, the new resistant species is identified as redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.). “Palmer pigweed is the one pest you don’t want, it is so dominating,” says Culpepper. Pigweed can produce 10,000 seeds at a time, is drought-resistant, and has very diverse genetics. It can grow to three metres high and easily smother young cotton plants. In the face of the weed explosion in cotton and soybean crops, some American farmers are even considering moving back to non-GM seeds. (Sources: Chee Yoke Heong/Third World Network and Clea Caulcutt/France 24)

Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 37

Growing Experiment | THE INDOOR GARDENER

The Tale of Two Berries:

Planting to Harvest By Glenn Milbrand It is a beautiful winter morning, and my spirit is high, for today I am going to set up the grow room for my indoor winter garden. I am going to grow two varieties of strawberries, AC Wendy, a short day June bearer, and Evie II, a day neutral type. Most commercial indoor (greenhouse) growers will grow day neutral varieties, but I like to try growing different varieties to see what happens. Will they grow and mature faster? Will they produce more berries? Only one way to find out, that is by planting some.

The Set Up The set up is a 160 site Aeroponic unit. It is a General Hydroponics 60 site with a 60 site extension, which work off of two 40 gallon reservoirs and one pump. Also a self built 40 site, which works off of one 40 gallon reservoir and 1 pump. The setting up of the aeroponic system does take some time. First you need to position the units properly under the lights and you must also use a very compact layout in order to get the most out of your lighted area. You must also leave ample free space to allow you to get to all areas in order to maintain both the plants and the unit. Keep in mind that this type of system requires a lot of maintenance. You need to check and clean the spray lines should they become clogged. It will also be necessary to clean the inlet filter screens regularly. With this type of system, clogged lines or filters will quickly cause damage to the plants since they will not be getting oxygen, nutrient or water. Also with an aeroponic system it is necessary to change the nutrient mix about every second week. As we will experience given the proper environment your plants will really suck up the nutrients.

38 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

THE INDOOR GARDENER | Growing Experiment

The Lighting I am using four lights mounted from a solar revolution circular light mover. I like light movers because I am convinced that this installation allows you to grow more plants with fewer lights. I also believe that plants receive more light energy when light is applied from all directions. Moreover, moving the light source continually prevents heat build-up in the areas directly under the spots. You can therefore position the spots closer to the plant canopy, which increases their effectiveness. I use different variations of light combinations depending on the growth stage of the plants. When I first plant the runners, I use two 400 watt metal halide lamps and two 600 watt metal halide conversion lamps. The reason for this approach is simple: when the runners are first

best at warmer temperatures (24-25oC or 75-77oF). They achieve better pollination and fruit set when the temperature is lower (15-18oC or 59-64.5oF). During the coldest winter months, the lights alone can keep the air temperature around 18.5 to 20oC (65 to 68oF). At night, the furnace maintains the temperature around 17.2oC (63oF). I use a ceiling fan above the grow area 24 hours a day to keep the air moving at all time. I also use two or three oscillating tower fans directed just above the top of the canopy. This keeps the air in movement at leaf level and contributes to pollination once the flowers have bloomed. I also have a shuttered vent fan that is able to exhaust the air should it become too hot or humid and one more smaller fan that I set up with a cycle timer that runs 4 to 8 minutes per hour to bring fresh air into the grow area regardless of the temperature or humidity levels. This year I am also using a CO2 generator for the first time. It is set to maintain a CO2 level of 650 ppm with a 50 ppm offset. I have read that levels of 1,500 ppm will provide optimum growth but that is based upon all other factors being optimum also. This year, I will leave it set at 650 and observe the results.


planted, they have not yet developed a canopy which needs to be penetrated by light. Doing this allows you to save a few bucks in energy costs. I position the lamps at about two feet above the plants until they start to produce there first set of leaves and the roots start growing out of the net pots. This first stage usually lasts about two weeks. At this point, I switch over to all 600 watt lamps using three metal halide conversion bulbs and one high pressure sodium bulb. I feel that with strawberries the red spectrum of the sodium bulb stimulates the flower buds in the crown, while the halide bulbs promote the leaf growth needed to feed a large fruit set later.

All grow rooms need to be controlled. Like most amateur growers, I hold a full time job, have a family and all sorts of other responsibilities. I can therefore not stay in the grow room and concentrate exclusively on its daily needs. I rely on a Plant Pro total greenhouse controller, which controls the light cycle, the exhaust fan, the CO2 level and can also control pump cycles. I utilize that feature as the cycle timer for my fresh air inlet fan cycle. It is a very nice piece of equipment and is worth every penny

I run the light on a 16 hour light cycle (16 hours on and 8 hours off). I believe that plants need a dark period. I observe the most noticeable growth in the morning. I think that the most cell swelling and elongation happens in the dark phase when plants seem to consume more water and nutrients. I think that the higher humidity levels at night are linked to the plants higher transpiration rate during the period of darkness.

Air Air temperature and quality must be kept at an optimum level. I use a forced hot air furnace to maintain adequate temperatures during the day and the night. Like most plants, strawberries grow Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 39

Growing Experiment | THE INDOOR GARDENER

Plant Food:

phase, i.e. from week one through week six or seven: N = 220 (20 is NH4), P = 65, K = 231, Mg = 60, Ca = 225, S = 80, Fe = 4, Mn = 2.5, Zn = .3, B = .5, Cu = .05, and Mo = .05. I am using city water with a .25 EC and a total mix EC of 2.5. I also am maintaining the pH at 5.8 to 6.0. With daily monitoring of the EC and pH, I am able to evaluate how the plants are doing. For example, I have observed that when the pH is going down, the plants are using more water and the EC also climbs. When the pH goes up, the plants are using more of the nutrients and the EC goes down. I prefer to see the latter since I worry more about overfeeding and burning the plants than underfeeding and only delaying growth. At the moment, we are at the end of week three and all is stable.

I paid for it. It allows me to go about my daily duties without my garden being neglected and me worrying about it all day long. I keep the maximum temperature set at 26.7oC (80 oF), the maximum humidity at 75%, the inlet air fan on for 5 minutes per hour, the CO2 at 650 ppm, and the lights on for 16 hours. The pumps on the Aeroflow are on 24 hours a day.

Planting Out Strawberries are not generally propagated from seed like most other plants. They are pre-rooted runner plants that have been dug, cleaned of soil, and put in cold storage for a chilling period. This can last from a few weeks to many months depending upon the variety. So we take our runner plants and dip them in an anti bacterial like Flora Shield and then we place them in net pots with some hydro rocks for support. It is important to pay attention to the depth of the crown. If it is too deep, it could develop a crown rot. If it is too shallow, the crown could dry out. We then place the net pots into our chambers setting the return nutrient levels so that the bottom quarter inch of the net pot is submerged in the nutrient solution. This will allow the dormant roots to wick the water and nutrients to the crown for new root development. I am pretty specific with respect to the nutrient solution. I mix various products to achieve the desired mix. At initial planting, I will run the recommended levels at half strength and allow them to run for about ten days. Then I will run the solution at full strength and change it at seven to ten day intervals. During those periods I monitor the EC and pH levels almost daily. Based on the research that I have done with regards to the mix, these are the ppm levels that I am using for the beginning vegetative

40 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

It is the beginning of the fourth week and the growth is just amazing. The AC Wendy plants are developing flowers daily, and I am trimming from 30 to 50 a day to build more leaf and root mass. The Evie II plants are just starting to develop some buds; I will also trim some of the first few flowers. Next week I will let the flowers develop and I will order the Bumble Bee Hive! With that, I am going to continue with the above plan and monitor all systems daily, including the daily life of the Bumble Bees. I will keep good notes and fill everyone in on those experiences in the next issue. I may also have some information on nutrient usage and possibly some on garden pests. We will have to see where we go from there. But by then, I also hope I will be eating some of the reward! Till then: “HAPPY GROWING!�

Growing experiment | THE INDOOR GARDENER

The Lazy Hybridizer

By Frank Nyikos

When you get right down to it I am not a very good gardener. I certainly know quite a bit about how to grow plants. I know what should be done to make them grow better. The problem is that I am not consistent enough in my attention to their needs. I tend to alternate periods of overwatering with periods of drought. I overfertilize and then I forget to give any food to the plant. I guess that makes me a normal gardener. I would like to be better. I am often pulled from one plant emergency to another. I follow one type of weed to the next. No, being a good gardener is not my strongest ability with plants. 42 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

THE INDOOR GARDENER | Growing experiment

Don’t miss a single issue of The Indoor Gardener! Go online at

and subscribe today My greatest talent is as a hybridizer. I have a keen ability to produce interesting high quality plants. My primary interest is in the genus hosta. I have experimented with daylilies for a number of years as well as a bit with daffodils. My knack for hybridizing is accentuated by my skill as an observer, note taker and futures predictor. I can see where certain traits come from. I can use these visible traits to predict how to amplify them. This is an ability and an art which I treasure. Hybridizing helps me to continue to enjoy growing my plants.

Sharing this interest does not mean that you need to take it as far as I do. I have a desire to know exactly what plant is the mother or pod parent as well as who is the pollen parent. I have an interest in finding out how to reproduce and encourage desirable traits. I use an array of techniques such as producing a F2 generation, back crossing, line breeding, and all the other commonly used ways to mix up genetic coding. Being the lazy hybridizer works just as well especially on a smaller scale. It requires only a minimal amount of intervention from you apart from the care of the plants themselves. If you are using potted plants on your deck or balcony then you do not even have to worry about playing the role of the bee. All that is required is to produce high quality fruit and to save seed from the best of the best. Here’s how it works. Group at least two but hopefully as many pots of the plant you choose to work with in close proximity to each other. Care for and cultivate the needs of your plant to encourage good growth and a large supply of fruit. Allow your fruits to reach full maturity. Harvest and save as much seed as you can from the best possible fruits. You will then need to clean and save your seed in a manner that will promote the best germination possible when it comes time to start next year’s plants. Most seed like annual vegetables and flowers easily store in envelopes once dry. Other seed may require to be stored at special temperatures or humidity levels to seed properly. For example daylily seed requires a short

or offer a subscription to your gardener friends! By phone: 1-450-628-5325 Find us on

Contact us and showcase your store in the magazine There finally is a great magazine on hydroponics

Contact our sales representative Mr Maxime Villeneuve at 1 514 661-5325 or by email at

Join us And grow with us! Photo Credits

On the cover: design by André Faucher (after a photo by Bruno Bredoux); Advanced Nutrients: 4, 52, 53, 54, 56; AzaMax: 50; Barney, Kerrie R.: 17, 18; Braün, Éric: 28; 44; D.R.: 4, 12, 14, 16, 25, 26, 29, 30, 36, 37, 58, 59, 60; Dorestant, Noé: 58, 59, 60; Fortin, Daniel: 8, 9; 44; Future Harvest Development: 46, 47, 48; Grodan®: 51; Kovachevich, Pete: 12, 13, 14; Laforêt, Rose: 58, 59, 60; Landscape Ontario: 56; Leduc, Fred: 4, 24; Lorthios, Marielys: 5; MegaWatt; 5; MGM Studios: 62, 63; Milbrand, Glenn: 20, 21, 22, 38, 39, 40; Northern Lites: 4, 52, 53, 54, 56; PGSGrow: 12, 13, 14; SteadyGro: 5; Tigmag (Bredoux, Bruno): 5, 37, 42; Warner Home Video: 62, 63; Worm’s Way: 64, 65.

Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 43

Growing experiment | THE INDOOR GARDENER period of time in your salad crisper; six week should do the trick before you will be able to plant the seed. Just be sure to store the daylily seed in a container with a lid to prevent too much dehydration.

most desirable elements of the mother plants. In the long run you will be promoting maternal traits. That cannot be helped. This does not mean you will not have a successful program. You will definitely produce some quality plants.

When possible it may be necessary to clone a particular plant depending on your judgment. It may be wise to maintain a particular plant for your program since you may need it as a backcross parent. You may like the fruit that one made especially well. You may want that plant to stabilize and encourage more seedlings like it. Some plants will clone and some will not. Peppers can be grown as a short lived perennial. Tomatoes will root through air layering, hydroponic jet cloners or even dipped in a rooting gel and immediately stuck in a growing media with a humidity dome. Dahlia form engorged bulbous roots that can be dried and stored over the winter and started again next season. There are some plants, especially annuals, you may not be able to clone and grow again the next season.

Selective seed saving will be your greatest tool, something the lazy hybridizer can easily do. It is an easy way of line breeding since you are choosing to save those seeds from fruits that most closely match your idea the variety you want to to develop. Being able to use clones from preceding generations allows the lazy hybridizer to take advantage of back crossing or hybridizing using a parent and a seedling. You will be able to produce a F2 generation by limiting your plants to only sibling seeds from the same fruit. You will be able to encourage normal hybridization by purchasing new seed of another variety to be grown with your collected seeds.Peppers come to mind here. Let’s say that you have a small chili pepper you have succeeded in stabilizing.

The lazy hybridizer, through selective seed saving, mirrors mankind’s historical impact on plant development. For reasons linked to culture or family survival, man learned to save and grow many of the plants we eat as distinct vegetables today. In all the various forms we know today, cabbage originated from a delicate eastern leaf cabbage similar to mustard and has become the hardly unusual Brussels sprout or the all familiar green head cabbage. Peppers come in a great number of shapes, colors and tastes. All come from different regions of the world. Different peoples have made them evolve to meet their needs and adapt them to the environment of their territory. The lazy hybridizer often relies on chance in selecting seeds for the next generation. However, one key element is to choose seeds from the best fruits, which are the ones most likely to perpetuate the

Amusing Novelties

USB Tulip Hub


Turn your desk into a blooming garden with this pretty tulip USB hub! Four USB high-speed ports are included, with one colourful red flower for each. Compatible with most USB plugs, for both Mac and Windows systems. Product contains plastic parts. Size: 2.5”x3”.

44 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

You like everything about it except that it is not hot enough for you. A good suggestion would be to purchase a habenero plant or some other hot style seed, for example. If you plant a habenero plant with your prized chili peppers, there is a strong possibility that it will transfer some of its spiciness to your chili seed for the next generation. You will then have to go through some more selection in the future to further develop the spiciness. Why should you do this and how can you be sure you can actually to it? Just think of the craze that has surrounded heirloom tomatoes in this country over the past few years. How did this happen? A few hard working gardeners simply continued growing them and saving their seeds even if those varieties were not in favour. Through their dedication and foresight, these “lazy hybridizers” have collected and saved the seeds of those wonderful fruits that we can all enjoy today.

Xmas Tree in a Can Be ready for… next Christmas! Grow your own mini Christmas tree, to decorate and enjoy! This fun and easy kit includes seeds and soil in a cute little can; just pop it open and add water for a great gift that keeps on giving! Size: 4” tall.


Continued from page 34

• Pressure drop at maximum CFM: 180 pa/0.75 wg; • Recommended Can-Fan: Fan 8» HO, Max 10», and Max 14».

Can-Filters provide one of Nature’s best odour-control materials: virgin activated carbon. The Can CKV-4 (carbon type) is specially developed for this purpose. Activated carbon can hold up to 10% of its weight in contamination. More activated carbon gives more capacity and longer life. Less activated carbon equals less capacity and shorter life.

The Max Series Offer Unmatched Aerodynamic Efficiency Charity: Can Fan Group Supports Hydro for Hunger

The 38-Special Models

The 38-Special is designed for commercial and light industrial odour and pollution control. It is rated at 0.08 second contact time at maximum CFM. The 38-Special offers the best-rated buy! All models come with flange and pre-filter. Models available are ranged from CF50 (15 kg, 50 cm, 420 CFM, and 713 m3h) to CF150 (44 kg, 150 cm, 1,260 CFM, and 2,100 m3h).

The Max-Fan™ is Can Fan Group’s latest-developed series of fans with many aerodynamic-design features used in the fan industry for the first time. The Max series’ prominent features are compactness and the high degree of fan efficiency. The Max series are also extremely quiet.

The Can-Lite: Maximum Airflow in a Lighter Package

The Max series only require a costeffective low-amperage AC motor to power the fan through any resistance (i.e. filters, ducting, etc.). The Max-Fan are manufactured with ease of installation in mind (the Max-Fan literally drops inside the Can-Filter to reduce noise). The 8-inch and 12-inch fans are available now. See the table below:

The Can-Lite 100 gives you the same packaged-bed design for maximum air flow and consistent performance as Can Fan Group’s regular line of Can Filters, but in a lighter package. Weighing in at only 50 lbs, Can-Lite is an easy install. Specifications:

• Maximum CFM: rated 1,400; • Recommended maximum airflow: 1,400; • Pre-filter: included; • Flange: 8 & 10» • Dimensions (with pre-filter): - Outside diameter: 37 cm/14.57»; - Height: 100 cm/39.37»; - Weight: 22.7 kg/50 lbs.; - Carbon weight: 17 Kilogram / 37.48 lbs; - Carbon-bed depth: 50mm/2»; • Maximum operating temperature: 80°C / 176°F;

Table 2

Thermostatically Control Centrifugal Fans

The Can Fan Group has added the thermostatically controlled fans in sizes 4 HO and 6 HO to the line up of centrifugal fans. These new thermostatic fans are controlled by setting the dial to the desired temperature listed on the dial attached to the fan in order to give you maximum control. Internal sensors in the fans monitor airflow temperature every 1.5 minute and adjust the fan speed accordingly.

Can Fan Group made a contribution to Hydro for Hunger in June 2009, helping to bring the grand total collected by the charity to over $108,000 (Hydro for Hunger is an initiative created by hydroponic industry leaders in 2002 to assist the Institute of Simplified Hydroponics (ISH) in its fight against world hunger.) Thanks to Can Fan Group and its other generous sponsors, Hydro for Hunger is helping to make a real difference in the lives of less-fortunate people around the world.

What’s New?

See what new products are coming in a distribution center near you on the CF Group’s Website at • Can 99; • Max-Filter 2500; • Speed Control; • Mini Muffler; • New Max Fan Models (16” – 18” – 20”, 240 VAC).

Contact: 2722 Highway 3A, Nelson, B.C., Canada, V1L 6L6 Phone toll free in North America: 1 800 825-4288 Phone: Fax: E-mail: Web :

250 825-2722 250 825-2723

Fan Model



Max Watts

Max Amps










Max PS.

Duct diam.

8” Max 675 cfm
















10” Max 1019 cfm















10 po

12” Max 1709 cfm
















14” Max 1700 cfm















14 po

(n.b.: In the table above, performance shown is for installation type D: ducted inlet, ducted outlet. Speed (RPM) shown is nominal. Performance is based on actual speed of test. Performance ratings do not include the effects of appurtenances in the airstreams (static pressure in inches/wg)).

Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 45

Bob & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in Indoor Gardening:

“We Did it to a Radish!”


46 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

THE INDOOR GARDENER | Growing Experiment

By Bob T. and Ted B. (with the collaboration of Loup-Claude Leblanc)

While the war on terrorism, tsunamis and epidemics were disturbing the tourist industry in south-eastern Asia, Bob T. and Ted B., two indoors gardeners who manage a scuba-diving school in Thailand, decided to return to British Columbia for the winter. They had no other choice at the time than to leave their diving school, wait for things to settle, in the hopes of returning to the peninsula someday, perhaps with their own diving boat. Back home, they decided to make an attempt in aero/ hydroponics. Here is an account of their experiment.

Preparing the Project “As soon as we arrived, we contacted a hydroponics store (Better Than Nature Indoor Garden Center – www.betterthannature. com) to find out more about the products and equipment required to obtain a yield of fruits and vegetables that would be worth it considering the chosen lighting power (we chose eight light bulbs, 1,000 watt each). Coming from an agricultural background, we knew how to increase quality and yield, but we must live with our times, and we wanted to experiment aero/hydroponic cultivation.» “After a few explanations on the functioning of every system demonstrated in the store, we were convinced to use a spacesaving system built in the shape of an inverted pyramid (V-shaped), the Plant Tier® (or Pipe Dreams) 160 made by Future Harvest. Three Plant Tier 160 can fit in our indoor garden, each system measuring 240 cm x 240 cm at its base. Our growing space is a room with a surface area of approximately 115 m³. The lighting comes from eighth 1,000-watt high-pressure sodium Plantastar lamps (from Sylvania).” “The cost of each system was approximately 2,465 Canadian dollars, including the cultivation tubes, irrigation system, high-pressure water pump (which will be submerged), a timer, and a V-shaped support. We also purchased three electronic controllers (one for each pump), for $380 each. Indeed, something needs to turn off the lights if ever a water pump broke down. We also added to our list of purchases fans, bulbs, carbon filters, a multiple-measure device (NutraDipTM’s Tri-Meter CMS, measuring pH, ppm and temperature), nutrients, and reflectors.”

From Growth to Flowering B


“We used Plantroids’s Quickroot rooting gel to start our various cuttings, and we were very surprised to discover that after eight days, nice long roots had appeared. We fed the plantlets a mixture of nutritive elements and vitamins (6 ml per 4 litres of Holland Secret’s Prop-O-Gator and 1 ml per 4 litres of Holland Secret’s Super B+). This last supplement can be replaced by an equivalent: SUPERThriveTM (concentrated B1 vitamins made by the famous Vitamin Institute), again at 1 ml per 4 litres. Cuttings prospered in a reproduction dome: Nutriculture’s Propagator®. We maintained the temperature in the dome at 27°C. As soon as the clones reached a height of 10 cm, we estimated it was time to transplant them in our three PT systems.” Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 47

Growing Experiment | THE INDOOR GARDENER


“Growth in the PT systems started quickly, and we modified our lighting cycle (18 hours of light and 6 of darkness per day) to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness per day once the plants reached a height of 12.5 cm That is the time when growth accelerates and when nutritive elements are optimally absorbed when the nutritive solution is maintained at a pH of 5.8. The nutritive solution’s temperature must also be stable (around 19°C). From then on, we emptied the reservoirs once a week, throwing out the already used nutritive solution and rinsing the system for 24 hours using only pure water with an unmodified pH.” “The average temperature is now maintained at 28°C during the day and between 15.5 and 18.5°C at night. The ambient humidity should not go above 60%, but rather should be maintained closer to 40%. Five oscillating fans are simultaneously in use to ensure a constant fresh-air circulation.


Two centrifugal air extractors at a speed of 3,200 RPMs exhaust the air through two 60-cm carbon filters. Equipped with an air-entry fan with a cooling capacity of 29 m³/min (cubic metres per minute), they completely evacuate the room’s air in less than four minutes (29 x 4 = 116 cubic meters – I remind you that our room is 115 m³), which prevents the garden’s air from becoming overly warm.” *If you need to, use this online tool to calculate the revolutions per minute:

A Few Problems (Quickly Solved) and the Tests We’ve Performed “When we transplanted our cuttings, we were surprised to see that they were infested with spider mites and their roots were invaded by black-gnat larvae. We sprayed Doktor Doom’s Botanics® insecticide twice against spider mites (during the first and third weeks) and saw no more afterward in our garden. We also added Wilson’s insecticide/fungicide Garden Doctor® to each reservoir during the second and third weeks. This managed to efficiently control the expansion of black gnats, but did not eradicate them. From now on, we will use the CubeCapTM made by www.cubecap. ca, which will be more efficient.”

48 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

“Here’s our tip to maintain the proper average temperature of the nutritive solution. Since the reservoir is located outside the garden, on the cold cement floor, the temperature it’s subjected to oscillates between 18.5 and 21.5°C depending on whether it’s night or day. We’ve run a hose from each reservoir, allowing for a constant flow of cold water. The nutritive solution’s temperature when entering the PT systems is thus maintained to around 19°C. That is the ideal temperature for roots to absorb minerals properly.”

“For our nutritive solution, we’ve used FHD’s Holland Secret nutrient line, as recommended by the salesman at our hydroponic store. Holland Secret’s Bada-Bing and Bada-Bang were used during the growth stage, at a dosage of 800 to 1,000 ppm. Flowering plants were fertilized using Holland Secret’s BadaBloom at a dosage of 1,000 to 1,300 ppm. The tenth day, we added Holland Secret’s G liquid nutrient Bud Bloom Plus. It increases the flowering yield. Over the last three weeks, we added Holland Secret’s Veg Bloom Plus liquid nutrient to each reservoir, and also used it as a foliar spray.”

Harvest Time “Six to four days before we harvested, we rinsed every conduit of the PT systems using Quick Grow South’s nutritive-solution cleaning-product Double Flush and water. During the three days before we harvested, we finished rinsing the conduits and reservoirs using only pure water with an unmodified pH so as to evacuate any nutritive-product residue.” “Two weeks before the harvest, we started cleaning out the systems, removing yellowing leaves and any excess foliage that was preventing the proper development of the flowering tops (or fruit). It’s essential to undertake a rinsing stage at least five days before harvesting (as we’ve seen, we did it in two three-day steps).” “With Future Harvest’s Pipe Dreams, some growers believe it’s not necessary to use reflectors. They recommend using only a black and white Mylar sheet. We didn’t dare listen to this advice this time around, but we will attempt another experiment using Mylar. For our second experiment, we’ll also add a carbon dioxide generator (CO2) in our garden. We’ll see what a difference in yield it makes. What we can say however after this first harvest using aero/hydroponics is that the Plant Tier system has made fulfilled gardeners out of us when it comes to yield and quality per light bulb. Happy growing!” ILLUSTR ATION CAPTIONS A / See the size of this pink radish? We think it speaks for itself. B, C / Close-up of roots in the Plant Tier system’s baskets. D / As in any proper garden, adequate ventilation is essential to evacuate heat. E / Global view of an empty system. The inclination due to the system’s V-shape optimizes the spreading out of light. F / Roots develop quite well in the Pipe Dreams system, and the system’s efficiency is quite obvious. G / Each plant can develop and each flowering top receives enough light. Source: Future Harvest Development


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Would you like to share your own cultivation tips? Send them to, and we may publish them in an upcoming issue! Here are the latest tips we received:

Solutions against Fungus Gnats

I’ve read with much interest the article “Know Your Enemy! Thrips and How to Address Them”, by Pete Kovachevich (from Pro Gardening Systems) in the last issue of the Indoor Gardener magazine. The article provides very informative tips in general, but ignores the problem of another kind of very annoying bugs: fungus gnats! Strangely enough, just a few days after reading the article, a friend texted me: “What is the best solution to fungus gnats? What is the best application and how often should I treat the condition? If possible, can you tell me how to solve this issue immediately? I have researched products such as AzaMax™, Azatrol®, etc., but I’m still looking for the best application possible. I really need help!” And he also gave me a list of priorities: “a) please list the products; b) their ideal application technique; c) frequency of the application; and d) expected results.” Thanks! To his first question, I would answer: “It depends!” If you choose a pesticide, go with AzaMax or another product based on neem oil. Treat only the soil (no foliar/spray application). This will start killing younger bugs/larvae but you will also scare up a bunch of other undesired organisms. Read directions and be careful with the recommended dilutions! One dose followed by preventative measures and your fungus gnats are gone. However, be aware that it takes weeks for adults to die. You can measure your progress with the rate of accumulation of dead bodies on sticky strips or air filters. Other things that help: cover your pots (the CubeCap™ is perfect for that)! If the bugs cannot get down to roots they cannot sustain their life cycle. Problem solved, and it’s especially important for clones or seedling with

small vulnerable root formations. Also crank up the air circulation and add filtration if needed! If the fungus gnats get blown away from plants they cannot survive. Another problem solved! Also do not water too frequently and make sure your medium has appropriate air diffusion via pumice stones substrate or whatever your substrate is. If your medium is constantly warm and very damp it will be perfect for raising fungus gnats too. Choose your own adventure using any of the above for added effect. Good luck! I hate those bugs as much as you do. Keep the green thumb up! - Winter M., IN, United States

My Best Way to Store Seeds and Start Cuttings

Keeping seeds alive when stored depends on a number of factors. If the seeds are stored in a dry and cool place, you will generally be able to store them for at least two years. If you do not know how long the seeds were stored before you bought them, know that they are generally commercialized shortly after being harvested. The ideal temperature at which to store seeds is 6°C (43°F). For long-term storage, place the seeds in a hermetic metal or glass container and put the container in the freezer. Do not freeze and thaw them more than once, however. Seeds have germinated? Then how do you get the cuttings process started? Six weeks at least are required before cuttings can be taken. After germination, you will need to wait four or five weeks before the plants are big enough to take cuttings from. Take the cuttings near the base of the plant. Use a sharp knife and do not leave the cutting exposed to air after the cut. Dip it immediately in rooting powder and transplant it into a mineral wool cube or your chosen substrate. Make sure you identify the cuttings’ origin. The rooting period usually lasts two to three weeks. The cutting is ready to be planted as soon as the root is visible on the side or at the bottom of the cube. Happy gardening! – William J., ON, Canada

To answer your questions, our articles are not offered on our website, nor on a DVD. If you’re looking for a particular article, contact us and we will send you a PDF file of that article. If you’ve found these cultivation tips useful, share your own with our readers by sending them to They just might get published!

50 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

THE INDOOR GARDENER | Spring Trade Shows


The Las Vegas International Garden Expo 2010 The Las Vegas International Garden Expo 2010 is dedicated to bringing hydroponics, nurseries, gardening supply, hardware and many other related industries together in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada, to the best gardening trade event yet.

Buyers, distributors, and manufactures from all over the globe are invited to come see the newest products in our industry. Gage Enterprises who started the Las Vegas International Garden Expo has been hosting trade only conventions for over 10 years now with one goal, to bring new buyers to the industry and new products to the buyers. The L.V.I.G.E. is a trade only event, the general public is not allowed. Come join us at Mandalay Bay Resort’s Convention Center on March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th 2010. For more information:


2010 PGTA Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX

This year’s PGTA (Progressive Gardening Trade Association) Annual Meeting and Eco-Product Showcase will be held April 10th and 11th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas.

The exciting educational program focuses on the drastic changes occurring throughout the gardening industry and across all major markets including: • Legal issues; • Regulatory issues; • Internet competition, etc. The 2010 Annual Meeting also features: • Educational seminars; • PGTA 2010 media awards; • On-site eco-products exhibitors like CF Group, Botanicare, Spray’N’Grow, Hydrofarm, Milwaukee Instruments, Greenstar Plant Products, Hydrodynamics Intl, Atami, High Caliper Growing, etc. For more information, visit:


Grodan® Dangles its Danglers!

What the heck is a dangler? It’s a new, free, promotional item specifically designed for Grodan retailers whose shops have limited wall space. In fact, the Grodan dangler measures 11” wide by 17” high and uses virtually no wall space at all. The danglers are FREE to Grodan retailers and are available by e-mail request only, while supplies last. These eye-catching, double-sided frog signs simply hang from the ceiling and slowly swing or shift with the flow of a simple air current. Moving or not, this fresh design is sure to catch the attention of the casual visitor or repeat consumer. In Sweden, Grodan actually means frog, so what better motif could there be? Posters bearing the same images as the danglers have been mailed out to Grodan retailers already. If you’re a Grodan retailer and haven’t received yours, it’s not too late. Just e-mail hydro101@ and request one. One final comment. If you are a Grodan retailer and this is the first time you’re hearing about the Grodan danglers or posters, it’s probably because your e-mail address is either missing or incorrect in the database. To correct this, or to be added to Grodan’s eNews Bulletin, just send a quick e-mail to and you’ll be included in the next release. For additional information on Grodan, visit

About Grodan:

Grodan has been manufacturing revolutionary hydroponic products since 1969, and is the industry leader in supplying superior stonewool. By consistently producing quality goods and providing excellent product support, the name of Grodan has become synonymous with excellence. – W.D.


Sunleaves is Proud to Support Hydro for Hunger

You’ll be supporting Hydro for Hunger with every purchase of newly-available 3.5 gallon sizes of Sunleaves Peruvian Seabird Guano, Jamaican Bat Guano, Mexican Bat Guano or Indonesian Bat Guano. Visit to learn more. Visit Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 51

Master of

Nutrients – By M.C, J.C. and F.L.


Products distributed by

A Quick Presentation Founded in 1996, Advanced Nutrient rapidly became specialized in the development of products specifically designed for indoor plants. Its products are ideal for the home gardener. They are recommended by many American government agricultural specialists, by professional horticulturists, by a Canadian institute on medicinal plant research and by various associations of horticultural producers. Advanced Nutrients has a team of five PhD holding specialists, three chemists and 65 employees, all working to provide you with the best nutrients, specifically designed for indoor plants. The proof is plain to see. The company regularly performs research, tests and studies, to ensure to gardeners sturdy plants with an incomparable health and vigour. Ask for Advanced Nutrients products at your local hydroponic store. And as says an authorized dealer in Mauricie: “don’t forget that Advanced Nutrients puts their local distributors first!” If you have any question regarding their lines of products, call Northern Lites in Gatineau, Quebec, at 1-866-969-7711. New growers are always wanted to experience Advanced Nutrients’ product lines.

A Quick Breakdown of the Most Famous Nutrients and Products The Magical Potion for Your Plants Once upon a time, there lived a gardener who couldn’t keep up with his plants. He felt too tired to take care of them. His harvests were small. Then he met a wizard who showed him a special formula that increased his energy and muscle size. With his newfound strength, he met and married a most-beautiful woman, and he was able to tend his garden with renewed vigour. And lived happily ever after in hydroponics heaven. The name of this wizard? Bud Factor X. Bud Factor X is derived from K 2O and contains 1% soluble potash (K 2O) among other specific (and secret) ingredients. Bud Factor X is guaranteed to stimulate your plants so they produce more of what you need. As an added bonus, your plants get stronger. Bud Factor X is guaranteed to make you a happy gardener at harvest time. Directions: Use two ml per litre during weeks 1 through 6 of the flowering phase. The best stimulator for your plants: order now! Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 53


The Latest in Bloom-Booster Efficiency Kushie Kush is the only bloom booster specifically designed and tested to give you more potency, value and weight from your favourite plants. All major sub-varieties of plants were tested so this formula contains exactly the ingredients your plants need to produce larger, more magnificent yields. Kushie Kush is the bloom booster plant lovers have been waiting for. Use it today.

problems that would otherwise harm your plants and shrink your harvests. Use in the vegetative stage (mix 1 ml per litre during vegetative stage) and fruit/flowering stage (use 2 ml per litre during that stage), but cut out two to three weeks before harvest. Rhino Skin is part of Advanced Nutrients’ new line of nutrients in which pH does not need to be adjusted. It may consequently be used as a mild pH up.

Sensi Grow and Bloom

You’re guaranteed to see larger, more potent yields from your plants. You’ll enjoy how effective and easy to use Kushie Kush is. Directions: Use two ml per litre during weeks one through six of the flowering phase.

If plants in vegetative growth phase are not properly fertilized, the quality and yield of your garden will be too low. Sensi Grow A and B is the quick, easy way to improve growth and quality of plants in vegetative growth phase.

Environmental warranty: Information regarding the contents and levels of metals in this product is available on the Internet at

This easy to use two-part grow formula contains special ratios of premium ingredients like calcium, iron and zinc. These ingredients make stronger, healthier hydroponics plants, resulting in a better platform for a higher-yielding bloom cycle:

A New Fantastic Potassium Silicate Content Rhino Skin is the replacement product for Barricade. Rhino Skin 0-0-13 has been improved by increasing the dissolution rate of the silicates previously found in Barricade. It has a fantastic potassium silicate content that strengthens plant’s cell walls so they’re sturdier. This very good

formula and its choice of extensive additives increase the plant’s cell-wall size and helps plants deal with stress. What do we mean by stress? Well it’s pretty simple: if plants are overexposed to heat, experience draught or have to deal with a pest infestation, these various types of stress can affect their health. With stronger cell walls, the plant can survive such stressful scenarios. The guaranteed result is that your plants will handle stress, pests, heat, and other

54 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

• Special Ingredients for fantastic vegetative growth; • Easy to mix and use; • Sets plants up for larger harvests. This custom-blended vegetative two-part formula can be mixed in different strengths- you can tailor it to the hydroponics plants you’re growing. Sensi Grow A and B is a guaranteed superior two-part formula that gives your garden a great vegetative start so your bloom phase will later provide massive yield. Extensive field testing has produced this two part nutrient that give consistent heavy yields. Advanced Nutrients Sensi Bloom contains precise ratios of macronutrients and micronutrients and uses nutrients not found in any other fertilizer. These additional components make an enormous difference on how well your plants respond. Sensi Grow and Bloom are sold separately for your convenience.

Scorpion Juice A while back, for the first issue of this magazine in the fall of 2004, when I asked the following question to Mike, a co-founder of Advanced Nutrients—“What can you tell me about your successful product

called Scorpion Juice? Will it help plants go further into the growing season? Make them more frost-resistant?”—he answered: “Not frost-resistant so much as disease-resistant longer towards the end of the cycle.” “When botrytis (grey mould) would strike, you spray the plant before the botrytis starts; most people know when putting out their plants when the botrytis starts. It’s an antiviral. It’s the first antiviral on the market place. It also kicks in the plants immune system. It’s a systemic required resistance.” “When the plant is being attacked, you spray Scorpion Juice on the plant and it will quarantine the infected area with a ring of dead cells around it. It also stimulates plants very well in the vegetative stage.” “You give it to a plant during the vegetative stage and during the flowering stage, every three weeks and it pumps the plant up.” “The size difference was huge between our controls and the ones we had given Scorpion Juice to.”

Bloom Booster and Big Bud When asked about bloom boosters, Mike told me: “People like to use different products. You don’t have to use all our products. It’s like a tool chest: you could take this product over here and that product over there and maybe you don’t like that product or you like this product better.” “I mean we have two different bloom boosters. We have Bloom Booster and we have Big Bud and we sell both of them. Big Bud sells the most, but some people still want to use the Bloom Booster.” “We have different tools for whatever you’re looking at. Some varieties of plants do better with certain types of nutrients than they do with others.”


Idiot Proof Nutrients’ Kit Always according to this guy from Advanced Nutrients: “We have a Sensi Pro box that’s idiot proof… well, that’s what we call it. It goes by every week and whatever is in the box, you just throw it into a 100 litre reservoir and mix it up and give it to your plants. It automatically balances the pH level.”

Nirvana Nirvana is a 100% organic, growthpromoting supplement designed to enhance the vigour, immunity, and metabolism of any crop all season long.

surfactants to help spread nutrients out over the largest surface area, providing broad, even coverage—so Nirvana is prefect for root and foliar applications in all types of gardens.

Watch your Plants Bloom Faster and Produce More Budding Sites It’s easy with Bud Ignitor! Ignite a bounty of extra budding sites that mature earlier and give you more flowers per inch of stem when you get Bud Ignitor and use it right away to make your bloom phase more profitable. Bud Ignitor contains the right ratios of phosphorus, potassium and other ingredients that ramp up your harvests and increase harvest size, giving you more and bigger harvests per year!

Iguana Juice

You see better growth and yield using Nirvana. Its unique combination of ingredients—including L-amino acids, vitamins, and extracts of kelp and alfalfa—combines with humic and fulvic acids to ensure rapid growth and larger yields with organic flavour and aroma. Nirvana also contains high-quality

Just what the doctor ordered: a 100% all-organic one-part liquid bloom nutrient that’s fully water-soluble in water. Iguana Juice directly spurs cellular growth so you get exceptional yields. Combined with Iguana Juice Grow, totally organic harvests were so impressive they came very close to equalling those produced by our legendary Sensi Pro comprehensive “synth/organic” feed formula. And when our researchers compared Iguana’s yield with yield produced by other popular fertilizers, Iguana Juice clearly gave better yield, taste

and quality. Iguana Juice produces optimal numbers of fruiting sites, induces strong flowering response, more bud formation, shorter internodes and fresh bouquet that only organics can produce. Iguana Juice contains nutrient-rich fish base from pristine ice cold North Pacific waters, plus more than 70 minerals, krill extract, yucca extract, earthworm castings, seabird guano, bat guano, and alfalfa extract.

Like Cotton Candy at the County Fair! Bud Candy is a bloom enhancer composed of a combination of the Advanced Nutrients products Sweetleaf and Carboload. This product is 100% organic and increases carbohydrate reserves so your plants can be healthier and produce larger, heavier fruits. Bud Candy does this by providing vitamins, aromatic esters and sugars to your plants, while also reducing carbon and nitrogen. Bud Candy gives your plants flavour, aroma, and enhances your plant yield while you enjoy the smells and aromas you enjoyed as a kid when you first tried cotton candy at the local county fair. Remember that time and bring those memories and flavours back to your garden! Our products are offered in the finest stores. For more information, call 1 866 969-7711. Visit:

Notes & News

Congress: International Horticultural Lawn and Garden Trade Show By Landscape Ontario Communication Last January, Canada’s 37th International Horticultural Lawn and Garden Trade Show and Conference was held in Toronto and was featuring Fencecraft, OPA Explorations and The Green Forum. As a unified industry we have an awesome, powerful and enviable face-to-face opportunity to learn from each other, discuss ideas and collaborate on projects that will generate prosperity for our businesses in the year ahead. Gardeners were invited to come and associate with all of the great people in our industry. Visiting the Congress was an opportunity to see some of the immense contributions made by all of the great people to the industry and to each other. Together we will build a prosperous future. Visitors from Canada and all over the world were in Toronto to meet more than 550 vendors and discover new products. It’s always exciting and interesting to see what new products and trends will shape the industry for the coming year! The Congress was also offering many conferences to expand your gardening skills and knowledge. The pre-show specialty sessions were held to cover landscape design, irrigation, IPM, OPA’s 54th Annual Educational Forum and more. During the show, visitors could choose from over 30 sessions in Canada’s premier green industry conference program. Visit to watch videos of the trade show and to view full information about the congress in an interactive brochure.

56 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 57

Destination Profile | THE INDOOR GARDENER

Before the Earthquake…

Memories of Haiti

By Rose Laforêt

Here I am again in the country of roosters, diri é dipoulè. Yet the rooster in my story is not the one you may have first thought of, even though he wanders headless through the garbage-strewn streets of Haiti. That’s because this time I’m travelling with an authentic “los tabarnacos.” He’s my colleague, better known in the office as “happy little character” because he strolls through the office mumbling, grunting and swearing at all times.

58 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

THE INDOOR GARDENER | Destination Profile

He’s the living image of the true “tourist.” Hawaiian shirt, white pants that he keeps on dirtying. I’d had a glimpse of what to expect during our mission to Colombia. At the heart of Bogota, at Bolivar place, a historic site where one can find pigeons, beggars, thieves, con artists, liars, salesmen... our buddy asked the cab driver to take a picture of us. Sugarcane plantation (Ganthier Valley)

From then on, forget about being inconspicuous. All pigeons, beggars, thieves, con artists, liars, and salesmen jumped on us. He’d identified us for all to see and hear: “tourists!” Having shown his camera, my companion was only missing an Expos ball cap and a t-shirt reading “I’m a rich tourist with tons of cash in the pocket of my white pants”. In Haiti, he roams the poolside shirtless, proudly wearing a cap that states “Denis.” Y’know, in case he forgets his own name! He speaks non-stop in a mixture of French and Spanish, his pronunciation gritty at best. He drinks beer, he swears, he calls everyone “amigo” or “my brave man.”

character will spend a good ten minutes trying to extort bananas for less than nothing, even though her starting price was close to nothing. Our character is only satisfied when he feels he’s swindled another.

The happy little character also has as a characteristic that he’s stingy. He’s a tightwad. It’s hard to see at work. Imagine a poor woman on a street corner with her basket of bananas for sale. She’s dressed in rags, she’s skinny and most likely sick. Our happy little

He chooses his food in function of its price, as he finds everything overly expensive. Even though, as a government employee, he gets a daily stipend for meals, and therefore spends none of his own money. He cares about public finances, you say? Oh no! He saves

Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 59

Destination Profile | THE INDOOR GARDENER to buy beer—and beer is never too costly for him. When he’s brought the check, our happy little character always makes the same joke: “oooh, oooh, donde esta el banco, amigo? (where is the bank, my friend?), ha, ha, ha, ha…” You can imagine the look on the face of a poor Haitian who already had trouble understanding Quebec-French and now needs to deal with a Spanish version of Elvis Gratton. The same goes for the poor Mexicans and Colombians who had to understand what he meant by “That... urr... mi amigo... does that come with potatoes?” Anyone he speaks to automatically turn their eyes, begging and questioning, to me. I’ve thus become an impromptu interpreter to a man who can speak French and Spanish well enough, but who seems unable to understand when and where to use each. As for me, I unwittingly terrorize immigration candidates with the innumerable quantity of mosquito bites that cover my face and body. I look like I have chickenpox. What’s more, I got the flu and

swarm or lie dormant in the decomposing garbage heaps all around public markets and commercial buildings. Montreal’s former mayor Bourque would have his work cut out for him here with his little white bags. Poverty, misery and helplessness in Haiti force people to eat pies made of butter, salt, water and dirt. Food prices are always rising. It makes you think when we’re complaining all the time we’re eating the same food or we don’t know what to cook for dinner… Valiantly, I do shop (chicken and rice!) and I’ll take this opportunity to share a very simple local recipe, which I was lucky enough to try in Haiti but that I adapted. Haitian cuisine can of course be much more sophisticated, but the “middle class” (if we can call it that in one of the world’s poorest countries) has little means to make the more elaborate dishes on a daily basis. For 6 servings, you’ll need the following:

I cough and hack. Being sick here is nowhere as dangerous as attempting to get treated. Everyone tries to have me swallow voodoo potions and mixtures. I’d rather have the flu that get my head reduced. Even though I disgust myself. Thankfully, there is more disgusting that me. Streets are strewn with refuse—the same that was there when I last came over, if I’m to believe the familiar putrid smell that is found all over the city. Walking the streets is dangerous—not because of likely assaults, but because death by asphyxia is likely, and one can catch the unknown-byme diseases that Chicken drumsticks as an appetizer

60 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

- 1 chicken (1.5 kg) - 3 tablespoons of olive oil - 500 g of long rice - 250 g of shredded Swiss cheese - 5 ripe tomatoes - garlic - fine herbs - breadcrumbs

Cut the chicken in pieces and brown those in oil so as to obtain a fricassee. Bone the pieces and mince the flesh. Cook the rice in twice and a half its volume in water. In an oven dish, spread a layer of rice and one of shredded cheese. Repeat until you run out of ingredients, finishing with a chicken layer. Dust with shredded Swiss cheese. Make a homemade tomato sauce with the tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Coat the dish with the sauce, add some breadcrumbs on top and bake in the oven. Serve hot with a Haitian punch. Haiti is like a Nutribar diet: the first week you can handle, but after that, no more!

Help support Haiti now: donateonlinenow.




E xperience


“The Dark Side of ” B


for the Movie’s 70th Anniversary By Gino Lechasseur

You’ve always wanted a great pounding heart, a brain with a superior IQ , or courage for two? Doesn’t that sound familiar? Yes, you’re getting there! We may have grown all over Canada, but few among us have never seen the movie The Wizard of Oz. Produced in 1939 by MGM Studios and directed by Victor Flemming, it was one of the first movies to use to Technicolor process.

need an introduction. In 1973, Pink Floyd released a pearl: The Dark Side of the Moon album. At this point, you’re looking for a link with the Wizard of Oz, aren’t you? Well the two are not as estranged as it seems. Two topics, two mediums, with different fans and from a different era, and yet they come together. Nobody knows quite why, but if you use Pink Floyd’s album as a soundtrack for the movie, you will experience a rare phenomenon, strange enough for some to call it eerie. The album’s songs comment the movie, cling to the action and to the characters’ evolution, give scenes a new meaning. Perfect synchronism.

home viewing in the seventies. His motivation remains a mystery, but keep in mind that in the seventies, people liked to do that kind of thing, letting their mind bathe in various substances, both intoxicating and illegal. The phenomenon gained slowly in popularity until it was broadly diffused in the mid-1990’s, when an American DJ mentioned the combo on a local radio station. The movie, with its Pink Floyd soundtrack, has since been shown in many independent movie theatres, all across North America. Even the urban legend has its own legend.

Inspired by a famous children’s book by L. Frank Baum dating from 1900, the movie tells the adventures of a young girl, Dorothy, and her dog, Toto. They are brought far beyond the rainbow by a tornado, to the country of Oz. To return So what is so fantastic about the experience? home to Kansas, Dorothy will have to Where does that discovery come from? vanquish many obstacles, and along the Nobody really knows. The most probable Simply, and almost continuously, a plunge road she’ll make friends: a lumberjack explanation, which is generally accepted by in the fourth dimension. The album’s lyrics fit the movie’s scenes. The album’s story made of tin, a scarecrow without a brain the Dark Side of Oz fans, is that someone, and a lion without courage. Dorothy a fan of both the movie and the album, offers a new narrative, while the speed and rhythm follow the moods, attitudes and travels in a magical and strange world, combined the two by coincidence, during a where the eternal forces of actions of the characters on good and evil struggle, screen. Sometimes, you’d “I haven’t [watched The Wizard of Oz synchronized with Dark with evil taking the shape swear Roger Waters’ lyrics are spoken by the of witches, monsters and Side of the Moon]. But I hope someone else will do it when I’m characters. Many are flying monkeys. there. I can never quite be bothered to do it. I can assure you we sceptical, but once the never worked with the film when we were working on the track. To make this more phenomenon has been That would be so convoluted a way of making a record.” interesting, let’s bring Pink experienced, all doubts Nick Mason – November 2001 Floyd into the mix. The vanish. What spell are we legendary group doesn’t under?

62 | Volume 5 – Issue 5

Instructions for

«Dark Side of Oz» By G.L F

One of the first theories – a rumour, really – was that Roger Waters had been inspired by the movie and its projection when he recorded the album with the group. Waters has denied this many times over the years, saying that synchronising an entire album, to the second, with a movie, would be a gigantic and extremely difficult task. Even though he is a fan of the movie, Waters said this synchronisation would be a life’s work, and the phenomenon is simply a coincidence. Less than satisfied with this explanation? We all are, and that is why many strive to solve the mystery. Theories abound all over the Net. Recent technology has made the synchronisation relatively easy to realize. In the 1970s, however, available equipment was not as sophisticated. Those who remember super 8 cameras and eight tracks will find it hard to believe that a group

Some of the “coincidences” between the movie and the music • The line “balanced on the biggest wave” comes as Dorothy balances on the fence. • The song “On the Run” starts as Dorothy falls off the fence. • “The Great Gig in the Sky” begins when the tornado first appears. • The song “Us and Them” is played when Dorothy meets the Wicked Witch of the West. • The line “black and blue” is repeated when they are talking to one another (Dorothy in her blue outfit, the Wicked Witch in black). • The line “the lunatic is on the grass...” coincides with Dorothy meeting the Scarecrow. • As the Scarecrow sings “If I Only Had a Brain”, Pink Floyd sing “Brain Damage”. • Side 1 of the original vinyl album (up to the end of “The Great Gig in the Sky”) is exactly as long as the black and white portion of the film. • As Dorothy listens to the Tin Man’s chest, the album ends with the famous heartbeat sound effect.


such as Pink Floyd would have wasted their time on a task that could only have mediocre results. On top of that, when the album was still being put together, the members of the group had trouble agreeing on how to put it together, length-wise: either as one piece, one song after another, or separately, with a pause between the songs. It’s another reason to believe that they had not planned the synchronism ahead of time. What to think of all this? Unfortunately, we will never have a definite answer. The hallucinatory experience, however, is cheaper than a trip to the Bermuda Triangle, and easier to make happen than a chance meeting with a ghost, so just try it! Send us your comments on your own “Dark Side of Oz” experience (!

Theater and Special Showings In the recent past, a number of theaters have had special showings of The Wizard of Oz synchronized with The Dark Side of the Moon. Some theaters, such as the Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, have shown this as a midnight movie. A retrospective of film adaptations of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books by the Ryder Film Series at Indiana University included a showing of The Wizard of Oz synchronized with Dark Side of the Moon in July 2000. The Blinding Light Cinema in Vancouver showed “Dark Side of the Rainbow” in February, 2001. After being damaged by fire, the Neon in Dayton, Ohio, reopened with a special showing of The Wizard of Oz synchronized with Dark Side of the Moon in February 2001. The most elaborate production occurred, appropriately enough, in Kansas at the Topeka Performing Arts Center in August 2000—a laser show with admission costing $17. Source:

Required material:

• 1 CD The Dark Side of the Moon, by Pink Floyd (released in 1973, re-released for its thirtieth anniversary) (Note: The live Pulse album contains all of The Dark Side of the Moon, but will not work. Neither will the CD you made yourself from MP3s. Tapes and records are not recommended either.) • 1 VHS or DVD version of The Wizard of Oz (1939), with Judy Garland.

And now, come aboard, the trip is about to begin! 1) Put your The Dark Side of the Moon CD in your CD player; 2) Press on “repeat” to continue the experience once the CD has played in its entirety; 3) Adjust the volume to your liking, but remember that the results will be evidenced by a louder sound. 4) Pause the CD at exactly 0:00 of the first song. 5) Insert the tape in the VCR or the DVD in your player. Mute the television sound or turn the volume completely down. 6) Press on “play” on the VCR or DVD player. When the MGM lion starts to roar for a third time, press “pause”. This step is crucial to the synchronization. 7) When the words “produced by Mervyn Leroy” slowly vanish, the transition between the songs Speak To Me and Breathe should coincide exactly. If the movie and the CD are not perfectly in synch, you’ll figure it out at that moment. It is worth starting over even if you are only two seconds off, to fully experience this. A - Let’s go! B - The Good Witch of the West C - L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) D - Pink Floyd, A1970s E - The “Wizard” F - The Dark Side… Of of Oz G - “We’re off to see...” “…the Wizard!”

Volume 5 – Issue 5 | 63

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Sunleaves Lightwave CF Reflector: the Next Wave

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Our Sunleaves International House of Guano is extremely popular as it supplies the nutrients plants need for every stage of development, and is available as a combo of four types of Guano in 2.2 pounds container each. The International House of Guano also comes with a handy feeding schedule so no matter whether you garden indoors or out, you’ll be able to encourage healthy plant growth from seed to harvest.

The Indoor Gardener Magazine March/April 2010 - vol. 5-5  

The Indoor Gardener is a magazine about the world of hydroponics which focuses on the indoor cultivation of plants, flowers, vegetable, and...

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