Green Acres Hydroponics Tips and Articles

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10 Good Tips for a Grow Room..

Posted on August 20, 2019 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)

10 Good Tips for a Grow Room

The cliché, “an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure” may well be overused, but it is still a good measure to use when growing your plants. If enough attention to detail is taken during the setup phase of a hydroponic grow operation, then the chances for a successful crop are greatly increased.


The precise course of action taken will depend on your unique space and resources, and of course any unique needs of the particular strain of plant that you are growing. All that aside, there are still some tasks and practices that should be observed in any hydroponic growing area to keep your plants as healthy and productive as possible.

1. Start with sterile tanks and equipment- If you can afford to buy all new equipment to start your growing operations, this step may not be necessary at first, but eventually all tanks, reservoirs, pipes, filters and any other physical part of your hydro system will need to be sanitized to prevent the development and spread of pathogens, especially root rots. Plan on having several bottles of isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide on hand to disinfect your equipment on a regular basis.

2. Make sure you start with clean, pH neutral water- Ideally the water circulating through your hydroponic system is at a pH of 7. If not, a reverse osmosis (RO) system will create and provide neutral water. Distilled water can be used as well until an RO system can be obtained.

3. Watch your temperatures- Ideally the water flowing through your system will be about 65 F (18 C) to facilitate good nutrient absorption and to prevent the build up of algae. The air temperature, however can be warmer. If you can achieve about 75 F (24 C) in your grow room, your plants should be quite content.

4. Maintain proper humidity levels- plants do best in varying levels of humidity based on their stage of development. When your “girls” are young, they need to have humidity levels in the 60-70 percent range. As they develop and move into the blooming phase, they only need about 40 percent humidity. This can be best achieved with a humidifier and dehumidifier used accordingly.

5. Attain proper lighting- There are numerous types of grow lights out there and champions and critics of all. The right types of grow light for your setup will depend on your space, the distance between your lights and your plants and your budget. High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights are better for larger grow rooms with good airflow and ventilation. Compact Fluorescent lights (CFL) are better for smaller rooms. Light from Light Emitting Diode (LED) fixtures is good for small grow areas, but is more costly than the CFLs. Whichever type is selected, make sure that it can produce light in sufficient amounts between 400 and 700 nanometers. A relatively inexpensive light meter can help to determine if your grow lights are getting the job done.

6. Maintain proper ventilation/air flow- Keeping the air moving around is critical for plant health and aids in even temperature distribution. Fans should be mounted or placed so that they can cover the most area unobstructed. Proper ventilation will help to maintain appropriate air temperatures if it gets too hot, but will also help with air exchange.

7. Understand pH- Fortunately this is not difficult and there are meters that can take pH readings. This is important because if the pH of your water is not in the proper range, your plants will not grow well or may even die. For hydroponic plants, aim for a pH of about 6.0, but allow for a range between high 5s and low 6s.

8. Understand EC readings- Electrical conductivity (EC) is a measure of the total dissolved solids (TDS) in your hydroponic water. Like with pH, there are many effective meters on the market and there are many that take both readings (pH and EC). The EC level will tell you how rich in nutrients your circulating water is. If the EC is too low, your plants aren’t getting enough; if it’s too high, you can “burn” your plants with too high of a nutrient level. The EC for hydroponically grown plants will fluctuate depending on the stage of growth. As seedlings or clones are first put into a system, the EC levels should be less than 1.3 and can be as low as .5 for clones. When they start to grow however, expect to maintain an EC level that continually climbs toward 2.0. When your plants finally reach the flowering phase, they may need an EC up to almost 2.5 depending on the strain grown. Check your EC levels often. The closer you can maintain proper EC, the more productive your plants will be.

9. Find a reliable seed source- All of the planning, preparation and procuring of necessary products can’t make plants of poor genetics into a robust strain. A plant can only produce what it is genetically predisposed to produce. Improving its growing environment and attending to its needs ensures that it will come as close to this potential as possible.

10. Keep good records - You cannot improve what you cannot measure. Even the best growers have bad crops and sometimes novices get lucky. To remove as much of the “luck” factor and to focus on results, keep track of everything. The more detailed notes you keep on temperatures, planting dates, EC levels, pH levels, humidity levels and any other factor that you can measure, will allow you to make informed decisions going forward to make continual improvements or to maintain high yields.



Posted on June 18, 2019 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)




In every human endeavour we should always strive for excellence, and there is always many different routes to achieve it. We are constantly searching for that extra ‘edge’; the hidden advantage over our competition.


In the hydroponics industry this is generally sold in the form of ‘Bloom Boosters’ or generative growth enhancing products. There’s an enormous range of products that fall into this category. Some are scientifically proven to excel whilst others are nothing more than badly bottled snake oil. In this article I outline the good, the bad and the downright ugly about achieving those ‘monster yields’.


Fertilisers promoted for increasing floral growth have historically been utilised in the ornamental flower industry and in almost all varieties of fruit and vegetables. These products can generally be classified into three different categories: PK based, organic bio-stimulants and synthetic PGRs (Plant Growth Regulators). Purchasing these products can be a little confusing and problematic for the consumer as many contain a mixture of several different types of growth enhancers, and not all labels are necessarily 100% accurate or truthful, but more on that predicament later.


The biggest market in Australia for bloom boosters is for hobby hydroponics and small commercial users. These magical bottles are predominantly PK based but in reality, the PK isn’t actually ‘boosting’ your bloom. So why is there such a large demand for these products?


To understand this blossoming market we first need to investigate the physiological and nutritional demands of the plant. We understand that florae utilise different ratios and quantities of mineral nutriment during the different stages of growth and according to their environmental conditions. The hydroponics industry is tragically guilty of inaccurately marketing that drastically increasing phosphorus and potassium ratios during floral growth will massively intensify flower sites and overall floral mass.


In reality plants biologically require a complete balanced profile of macro and trace elements throughout all growth stages. Inadequate or excessive quantities of any required macro or microelement would negatively affect plant growth. In technologically advanced commercial tomato production the NPK ratio is precisely adjusted by analysis and monitoring of plant tissue. During generative growth the ratio reduces Nitrogen and increases Potassium delivered to the plant. This fine- tuning occurs according to the changing light levels and the different stages of plant development. Earlier in the season, the plant is predominantly developing vegetatively and the increased nitrogen allows for the crop to more efficiently utilise the high light conditions.


The correct use of PK products is a hotly debated topic, and there is no unanimous answer for every situation. It’s widely accepted that phosphorus and potassium are used in fluctuating quantities for different developmental functions within the plant at each stage of growth. During the earlier and later stages of floral expansion, crops have a slightly increased demand for phosphorus and potassium, which aids in root growth, flower set and fruit bulking. Recent research also indicates an increase in Iron (Fe) is beneficial in the middle stages of flower. That being said, it’s definitely not a case of ‘more is better’ as some hydroponic retailers may have you believe. Phosphorus and potassium toxicities can easily and quickly occur and can be very difficult to remedy. Most leading international hydroponic nutrient companies have accurately calculated nutriment regimes providing for the correct ratios throughout the different stages of growth. It’s always advised to follow appropriate feed charts with a ‘less is more’ approach, and learn to read what your plants are telling you as they develop.


So how do we acquaint PK products alongside the bio-stimulants in common bloom boosters?


By ensuring you’re providing adequate nutriment including delicate adjustments to the NPK ratio, you’re giving your plants the best chance to reach their genetic potential. However by including various organic or synthetic ingredients, we can begin to manipulate the genetic limitations of the plant in our favour.


Organic bio-stimulants are rapidly gaining popularity with both soil and hydroponic growers. As we increasingly understand the interactions between organic nutriments, the plants rootzone and mycorrhizal/bacterial life, new products are giving growers increases in both quantity and the quality of their yield. Ingredients such as amino acids, enzymes, guanos, and complex sugars can be successfully used in almost any situation as they naturally and gently encourage increased floral growth through various physiological changes in the plant. Amino acids incite enzyme production and promote the natural breakdown of nutrients within the medium for increased plant consumption. These organic bloom boosters may also include a variety of biological by-products such as compost tea, worm juice, rock phosphate or naturally occurring plant hormones. Globally these practices are proving more sustainable and giving farmers impressive results without hazard to the plant or their environment.


Generally as organics break down into their medium and interact with the plant in a more natural fashion, they also encourage greater beneficial bacteria, trichoderma and mycorrhizal activity to aid in overall plant development. It’s worth discussing with your local hydroponic retailer about the base ingredients and supplier of organic bloom boosters, as some brands tend to lack quality control in the manufacturing process.


Which leads us into the ugly side of floral enhancement - synthetic PGRs and some seriously suspicious labelling practices.


A huge market exists for products that can promote unnatural growth, albeit with an assortment of dire consequences. Many of these products are sold over the counter and some from behind dusty closed cupboards; few contain any genuine warning labels, occasionally stating in small text “For growth control of container grown ornamentals only.” Commonly recognized as PGRs (Plant Growth Regulators) these commodities are peddled by retailers ‘to stop vertical growth’ or ‘to initiate earlier flowering with heavier fruit set’. In Australia, it’s possible to register these products with the APVMA but many manufacturers don’t bother with the effort or the expense.


Over the past century, commercial farmers have used PGR’s in a wide range of fruit and vegetable crops but only recently are we beginning to understand the resulting health and environmental harm. The most popular in the current market generally contain a combination of paclobutrazol, daminozide or chlormequat chloride. When used effectively, they inhibit the natural plant hormone gibberellins, which is responsible for cell elongation and cell division. This limits height and internodal length. Fruit and flowers density is drastically increased and paclobutrazol even improves mould and fungi resistance. However for all of these ‘benefits’, there is an abundance of negatives to follow.


Firstly, the quality of the end product is drastically reduced. The impacted flow of gibberellins also reduces essential oil and resin production, reducing the flavour and scent of fruit and flowers. It can also result in drastic mutations to the plant. The far more worrying aspect of these products is the damage to user and consumer health. In the United States, all three of these PGR’s are illegal to use on plants grown for human consumption and completely banned from sale in several states. Daminozide is listed as a human carcinogen; chlormequat chloride has been linked with developmental problems and paclobutrazol has negative effects on the reproductive system and causes foetal malformations in rats. Paclobutrazol also has low mobility and low volatility so it lingers in soil and can contaminate a growing medium for years without degrading.


Ominously, even the registered products contain industrial/technical grade ingredients that can be just 95% purity. The remaining 5% can contain toxins, heavy metals, preservatives or toxic adulterants. More concerning is the subversive market of unregistered PGRs with no real quality control, labelling or adequate directions for use, but that’s a topic for another day. While the registered PGR’s are clearly bad, there’s currently a demand for the product in the market and suppliers will continue to meet it. If you still choose to use these products because it’s the only way you can get that heavy harvest, please try to investigate safe dosing and flushing practices, and relevant withholding periods.


So I’ll finish with the question you’re all asking, what’s really the best ‘bloom booster’ to get me a high quality and quantity harvest?


Well that my friends, depends entirely on you! Different techniques of cultivation will be more or less effective with certain products. If you’re growing in soil or soil mixes, it’s much more worthwhile to use organic blends that will improve your soil over time. Always talk with the friendly hydroponic retail staff, they know the new and innovative products, but always be sceptical for anything that seems too good to be true. I personally recommend picking a reputable nutrient manufacturer and sticking with their scheduled regime, they have calculated the ideal feeding requirements and balanced the distinctive components in different bottles to all work beautifully together.


It’s also worth noting that commercial crops can be ‘steered’ into stimulating increased vegetative or generative development. Steering a plant involves correctly controlling complete external and internal plant growth factors. This includes the environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, growing medium, light intensity, timing, quality and more) and the plants internal growth patterns through nutriment, dosage, natural and promoted hormones and initial plant genetics. Rather than looking for that ultimate product, firstly ensure you are correctly steering your plant towards a beautiful, bountiful harvest!


Tags: bat guano, big flowers, bloom booster, generative growth, paclo, pgrs

Harvesting Medical Cannabis for Maximum Strength and Quality

Posted on March 6, 2019 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Harvesting Medical Cannabis for Maximum Strength and Quality


Harvest is a crucial moment in a medical cannabis plant’s life, but the details on how to go about it are not always cut and dry. How do you know when the plasnt is mature enough to pick? What steps can you take to ensure that your bud is of the highest quality and has a smooth flavourful smoke? I will do my best to answer these questions and more as we delve deep into cannabis harvesting preparations and techniques.

Cannabis Harvest: Timing Is Everything

When it comes to harvesting, timing is everything. You want to cut down your plants as the flowers reach their peak resin and trichome production. If you harvest too early, your buds will lack THC and other essential cannabinoids. If you harvest too late, the resin containing the cannabinoids will begin to degrade.

There are countless strains and phenotypes available, each with flowering times unique unto itself. Environmental factors can also play a role how long a plant needs to flower before harvest. Plants grown indoors tend to have their flowers mature faster compared to the same plants grown outside. So, how does one determine the ideal time to harvest when there are so many factors at play?

Medical Marijuana flowers/buds take on average eight to 12 weeks to mature. Again, this varies depending on the strain. When buying seed or clones, check for traits such as flowering length when buying seeds or clones for a rough estimate on how long your plants may take. Once you’ve neared that estimated time frame, there are a couple relatively accurate methods you can use to visually inspect your flowers for maturity. The first would be to look at the pistols, the long hairs that grow on the surface of the bud. As the flower approaches maturity and peak resin production, these hairs will turn from white to an orange/brown color. Now, this isn’t always the case (I’ve personally sampled some incredible bud that was harvested with only white hairs), but it is a good general indicator.

An even more effective way of determining flower maturing is to examine the trichomes. These are the resin glands that contain cannabis’s psychoactive ingredients, and they look like white fuzz covering and contained within the bud. Take an up-close look at the trichomes using a magnifying glass, microscope, or a macro lens on a DSLR camera. (I personally recommend the later as it allows you to save a record of your plants’ progress, helping you make comparisons in future grows and allowing you to compare notes with fellow gardeners.) The glands look like balls at the end of stalks. On immature plants, the resin is almost clear. On mature plants, it is milky and opaque. If the resin has turned an amber color, however, it is already beginning to degrade.

(More on when to harvest cannabis? How do I know when my plants are ready for harvesting?_

Flushing for Flavor

Flushing is a process one does prior to harvest. It helps to remove all built up salts and minerals from your growing medium, as well as forces your plants to use up their sugar reserves. Using up the remaining sugars ensures a smooth, flavourful smoke with a fantastic scent profile.

To properly flush plants, you need to give them only pH-balanced water for the last one to two weeks of the flower cycle (you can use the estimated flowering time of your plants to calculate when to start the flush). If you are growing hydroponically, simply use only pH-balanced water in your reservoir. However, change your reservoir water every day for the first three days to get all the salts out of your system. Plants grown in soil or soilless potting mixes should be flushed with double the usual amount of pH-balanced water for three days and then only use water. Plants begin to show signs of nitrogen deficiency (the older leave yellow and die off) when they are flushed of nutrients. One trick you can use to tell if your flush is successful is to take a larger fan leaf from one of your cannabis plants, rip it in half, and taste the juices. If it tastes bitter, keep flushing. If the juices taste clean, your flush has been successful.

If you don’t have a full two weeks for flushing, there are clearing solutions available that can speed up the process.

The Final Prep

Two to three days to end of the flowering cycle, when your flushing is complete, you want to allow your growing medium to go dry. This is important for two reasons. First, it rids the plants of excess water prior to drying for a quicker dry. Second, it makes your grow room less humid. Dry air in the last few days before harvest has shown to increase resin production in many strains as the resin produced by marijuana plants was evolved to protect the flowers from the sun’s heat and UV rays.

Plant: Cut, Dry, and Cure

A few days before you plan on harvesting, start removing the larger fan leaves that haven’t fallen off on their own. This helps to remove excess water from the plants and allow for better air circulation during the drying process. This is also the time to prepare your drying room for the incoming plants. Clean it thoroughly and make sure your fans are operating. Fans are essential to circulate air, exhaust humid air out, and draw in fresh air.

Harvest first thing in the morning and do not turn on your lights. Turning on your lights causes your plants to begin drawing up sugars stored in the roots overnight. These sugars lead to harsh smoke if they are present in the buds.

Cut your plants at the base of the stalks, right above the root balls. You can hang your plants whole. If your plants are large, cut them into smaller branches for easier drying and better air flow. I personally like to hang my plants upside down to allow gravity to bring any remain juices to the bud. Keep in mind that even though your plants are cut, they are still alive until completely dry.

After five to seven days, your buds should be relatively dry. At this point, you can trim them from the branches and remove any excess, non-resinous leaves. These buds feel very dry and crisp on the outside but can still be somewhat moist in the center (this is especially true of larger ones weighing more than a couple grams). The curing process can help draw out this extra moisture. Many first-time cannabis growers make the mistake of not properly curing their flowers, leading to a harsh smoke and much of their crop lost to mold. To avoid that, place the freshly trimmed buds in freezer bags or, ideally, glass jars with rubber airtight seals. Then, open the container for 10 minutes three to four times each day for two weeks. The frequent sealing evenly distributes the moisture throughout your buds, while the unsealing lets the buds breathe and keeps that moisture from spoiling the flowers. After two weeks, the buds should be properly cured and are ready to be enjoyed now or stored safely for the long term.

Harvesting is such a critical moment for your cannabis plants. Careful record taking, keen observance of trichome development, and a patient drying and curing process are the keys to a successful and potent cannabis harvest.



Written by Gibson Lannister



Keeping your cool: Growroom ventilation tips and tricks

Posted on October 16, 2018 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Keeping your cool: Growroom ventilation tips and tricks



Modern commercial glasshouse climate control for production horticulture is a mammoth task; it includes the control of vents, windows, fans, heaters, shades, misting, humidity systems, carbon dioxide (CO2) dispersal and the list goes on. Recent technological advancements in machine automation involve precise computer control and regulated growing environments that are remotely monitored by external experts on a regular basis. For hobby and personal horticulturalists it can be a daunting and expensive task to set up an optimized and controlled environment but hopefully we can help to simplify.



Ventilation is as important as water, light, heat and nutrients (Cervantes, 2015). If we understand the basic requirements of our chosen crop it’s actually quite a simple and affordable process to optimise the environment. We need to recognize the required hardware capabilities and the desired ranges to select the appropriate ventilation and environmental control equipment.



The most important factor for hobby indoor or small greenhouse growers is selecting the appropriate fan(s) and vents to control airflow and temperature. Fans are predominantly used to control growroom climate by extracting the stale warmer air and by providing your plants with a source of fresh, cool air. Calculating the ideal fan size for small growrooms in the Australian climate generally states that we require a complete exchange of the air in the room every 60-120 seconds (Palmer, 2015). This provides enough air movement to remove most of the heat from HID lighting and prevent stagnant pockets of stale air forming. With stale air, stratification around the leaves is likely to slow growth and cause problems with mould and rot. The internal air must be moved via the use of natural currents or mechanically to imitate outdoor climates and environmental conditions.




Calculating the fan size for a small growroom is a fairly basic formula. It’s important to remember that we should balance the air intake and extraction to create atmospheric negative pressure. It’s important to use a larger exhaust fan than intake and the generally accepted ratio is 1:4 (Cervantes 2015). This ensures that all extracted air passes through a carbon filter for the removal of pathogens and undesirable odours. This can put some pressure on the grow tent stitching and wall lining. If the intake fan is more powerful than the exhaust, your growroom will balloon and leak odour. Most common indoor grow tents have lower mesh vents that lightly filter the inward airflow and these importantly reduce the strain on the tent if an appropriate intake fan is not used.



To determine the cubic size of a growroom, we must calculate the length x width x height of the area. For example, if you have a 1m x 1m x 2m tent – the cubic volume is 2m3. Once we have established the volume of the room we add 25% to factor in the reduction from ducting, friction and filters (Palmer, 2015). For our ‘example tent’ the required air exhaust would be 2.5m3 per minute (2 + 25% of 2). To allow for a complete air exchange every 60 seconds we multiply our 2.5m2 x 60 = 165 CMH (Cubic meters per hour) The recommended corresponding intake fan would be ¼ - ½ the size of this exhaust fan. It’s better to purchase a fan with a larger CMH capacity and run the fan at a lower setting for better longevity and quieter audible fan noise.



It’s also worth remembering a useful lesson from high school, hot air rises, so our exhaust will ideally be pulling air from the top of the room and our intake ducting pulling fresh, cold air into the lower expanse of the room. A vent fan will pull air much more efficiently than it will push it; try to arrange your fan location accordingly. Additionally, indoor gardens can often take advantage of existing air-conditioning, household heating or ventilation systems but be careful of expensive operating costs for these units!



Once we have installed the exhaust and intake fans our plants should be receiving a plentiful amount of clean air. Delivering fresh air to plants ensures they will have adequate CO2 to continue plant growth. An internal air mover and intake fan can assist with providing fresh, CO2 rich airflow. Without CO2, plant growth ceases and a plant is unable to produce the sugars/fuel for growth and metabolism.



In commercial greenhouses one industry trick is to capture the CO2 generated by flue emissions from the heating boilers, then vent it back into dispersing mechanisms for the plants to use. As most home horticulturalists lack this equipment, there are a number of innovative products for small-scale CO2 dispersal using chemical reactions, decomposition or compressed gas that can all be implemented effectively. Using a CO2 tank with a regulator and solenoid valve is the most cost-effective means of improving your growroom CO2 levels during the day. Plants cannot use CO2 during the night, boosting during dark hours is a waste of money, natural resources and can be harmful to the plant.



For small indoor tent environmental control ventilation is also fundamental for temperature and humidity management. Always plan your temperature management to be able to cope with extreme high and low temperatures expected in your climate. Grow room temperatures should always be kept above 13oC and below 30oC as temperatures outside these parameters will slow/stop plant growth.


If we control sudden temperature fluctuations drastic changes in humidity are reduced, which diminishes the chances of rot and mould forming. Smart dimming switches and controllers for HID lighting are beginning to replicate the sunrise and sunset in nature with the intention of reducing drastic temperature and humidity fluctuations. If humidity is too high it will slow evapo-transpiration, reduce water movement in the plant and diminish the plant’s cooling ability (Cervantes, 2015). High humidity also encourages disease spores that can attack during the day or night!



In Australia, heat management is generally the biggest issue in small growrooms. HID lamps and ballasts radiate warm temperatures, however with smart reflector selection the heat generated by your lamp(s) can be directly exhausted outside the room. Coolcells or Cooltubes directly attach ducting and fans onto your luminaire and can be linked together for superior heat control efficiency. It’s worth investigating if you can dissipate the warm air into the roof or outside the building (through a chimney or into the walls) but always ensure you consider any unwanted fragrances and your neighbours.



When regulating the temperature and humidity, it’s important to remember that accurate monitoring is essential. Modern technology has provided digital thermometers, hygrometers, thermostats, humidistats and much more advanced sensory and regulating equipment. Ensure you are testing the temperatures and humidity readings above and below the canopy level for an accurate interpretation of your growroom climate.



The last tip for growroom environmental optimisation comes in the form of appropriate crop management and pruning techniques. De-leafing in commercial production horticulture encourages easier crop management and considerably improves air circulation around the plant. Depending on your crop, it’s recommended to prune out lower spindly branches and foliage that are not receiving much light.



Calculating ideal environmental conditions isn’t overly difficult, it just requires a little planning and preparation. Always plan for the entire duration of your crops lifespans, especially coming into summer or winter extremes of our harsh and unforgiving Australian climate.


Prepare for the worst, so you can provide the best and give your plants an immaculate environment!

Mills Nutrient and Additives (New Product)

Posted on August 9, 2018 at 1:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Mills Nutrients is designed from the ground up for performance, versatility, and ease of use. Made in the Dutch tradition of a two part base along with additives that provide your plants with everything they need and nothing they don’t. Mills is a pioneer in the field of bio-mineral plant nutrients, utilising the best sources to optimise growth rates, yield, flavour, and aroma. Years of testing in soil, coco-coir, and hydroponic systems; in sterile systems or with beneficial biologics; in professional greenhouses and with hobbyist growers alike have led to a complete, easy to use line of products of unprecedented quality, providing all the nutritional elements your plants need with any growing method.


Mills Nutrients is designed, manufactured and bottled entirely in Holland.


Mills Basis Nutrient



Basis A&B Nutrient

Made from top quality ingredients with a focus on bio-availability, Mills Basis A&B has all the macro and micro-nutrients your plants need, carefully balanced to insure proper nutrition in both vegetative and bloom stages.


With everything in the right proportions it makes it easier for growers of all skill levels. Novice growers can simply use as directed, confident that their plants are receiving a balanced diet; advanced growers can save precious time not having to identify and address specific nutrient deficiencies one at a time. Tested thoroughly in soil, coco, and hydro, Basis A&B is a solid foundation for your plants’ to grow on.



Start-R - for use with seedlings, vegetatively growing plants and plants in early bloom. It has 2 forms of nitrogen that, when used with our Basis A&B, change the NPK to a higher Nitrogen content suitable for seedlings, vegetative growth, and plants in early bloom.


Mills Start-R


Mills Nutrients C4



C4 is designed to assist plants’ delivery of carbohydrates, macro and micro-nutrients, and trace minerals to developing flowers and facilitate the triggering and maturation of complex essential oils appropriate for the early and mid stages of flower development.


When used with Basis A&B it alters the NPK to have a higher phosphorus and potassium levels to help initiate growth of fruits and flowers. C4 is works in conjunction with beneficial biologics to feed tender flower sites and maintain overall health of the plant.


Ultimate PK

Ultimate PK is a unique Phosphite based bloom stimulant formulated for the last weeks of flower development. Phosphite is an extremely available form of Phosphate that promotes healthy root systems and helps insure proper nutrient intake and plant health late in the bloom cycle. Ultimate PK is specially designed to act as a hardener, bulker, and ripener to push your production to the limit.


Mills Ultimate PK


Mills Vitalize



Vitalize is formulated to make your plants healthier, heartier, and more resistant to stress. Developed in conjunction with Rexil Agro BV, the inventor and leader in Silicic Acid Agro Technology, years of testing in various environments around the world have led to a uniquely bio-available form of silicon that can be used as a root soak or foliar spray to improve growth and yield, increase nutrient uptake, and improve pathogen and stress resistance. In addition, when used in combination with beneficial biologics, Vitalize stimulates the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the soil and works synergistically with them to promote overall plant.


Mills Pays The Bills



See Mills Australia on Instagram

Comparing EC, CF & PPM

Posted on August 9, 2018 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Comparing EC, CF & PPM

Electro Conductivity or Conductivity Factor (EC x10) is the ONLY Accurate measurement if relaying Nutrient strength to another Person as different PPM meters have been made with different scales for some reason? Ie EC X500 ECx560 or the most Common in Hydro ECx700



0.2 2 140

0.4 4 280

0.6 6 420

0.8 8 560

1.0 10 700

1.2 12 840

1.4 14 980

1.6 16 1120

1.8 18 1260

2.0 20 1400

2.2 22 1540

2.4 24 1680

2.6 26 1820

2.8 28 1960

3.2 32 2240

3.6 36 2520


Posted on December 18, 2017 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

It's Finally Here! Terpinator is the one and only 100% organic product of its kind, formulated to increase the concentration of Terpinoids in aromatic plant oils and glands.


Terpinator is completely water-soluble and a certified organic product and can be used in both a soil and hydroponic-systems.


Terpinator has been formulated to increase the concentration of terpinoids in aromatic plant oils and glands. This increase in terpenes occurs by utilizing fundamental plant metabolites through a proprietary reaction.


The unique composition of the Terpinator provides the basic building blocks that plants require to produce flavorful oils. Plants that produce these flavorful oils have a unique chemistry that we have captured through a patented scientific process. By using naturally occurring plant and biological compounds, unique enzymatic pathways within a plant's body are utilized to enhance the production of Terpinoids and plant oils.


Herbs like sage, mint, rosemary and many others have trichomes that contain Terpinoids. These glands are brought to their maximum potential and size using Terpinator along with any nutrient regiment. Terpinator also catalyzes steps in a plants normal metabolism that will protect, and prolong fragrances of your plant's dried fruits and flowers.


Terpinator shows best results at the recommended regiment of 15-30 ml's per gallon. It is recommended using this product during your entire flowering cycle throughout every feeding and during flush.


Terpinator may be used during the vegetative stages as well, suggested around 5-10 ml's per gallon for use.


The longer you use the Terpinator, the more pronounced your results will be. It has a neutral PH composition and will not raise or lower your nutrient balance more than 200 PPM.

Origns of Hydroponics

Posted on November 21, 2017 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Cannabis has its origins “on the steppes of Central Asia, specifically Mongolia and southern Siberia,” writes University of Kansas science Professor Barney Warf in his journal article “High Points: An Historical Geography of Cannabis.”


While pointing out that others have suggested its origins to be in China’s Huang He River valley, the Hindu Kush Mountains, or Afghanistan, Warf believes that “biogeography fluctuated over time, largely in response to the waxing and waning of Pleistocene glaciers from which it took refuge.”


According to Ernest L. Abel, author of Marijuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years, cannabis likely flourished in the dump sites of prehistoric hunter gatherers. There is much archaeobotanical evidence from the upper-Paleolithic period of the use of cannabis hemp, and the plant’s geographical distribution can be attributed to its value as a food source, for fiber, and for its use in shamanic rituals.


Just like dogs, cannabis came to hold great importance due to its versatility. This one plant could cover many crucial needs, including use as a high protein food source, a medicine, oil for fuel, and fiber for cordage, nets, clothes, and paper.


Indeed, cannabis became one of the first known agricultural crops. Considering the history of humans is widely regarded to have begun 250,000 years ago, with the development of agriculture coming only 10,000 years ago, the cannabis plant could be considered one of the catalysts of modern human civilization.


There is much evidence of cannabis use in ancient China. It is also believed the first writings on the medicinal use of cannabis appeared here in The Great Herbal. Dating back to 2737 BCE and credited to Shen Nung, this reference book is still used by many practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, although the validity of this text and its author remain puzzling to historians.


Also, The Book of Odes or She King, a book of Chinese poetry from 2350 BCE, contains numerous references to the use of industrial hemp. Modern researcher Ethan B. Russo adds in his article History of Cannabis and Its Preparations in Saga, Science, and Sobriquet that “physical evidence of ancient cannabis usage has been reported from the Yanghai Tombs in the Turpan District of the Xinghian-Uighur Autonomous Region in China.


A large amount of cannabis radio-carbon dated to 2,500 years ago was found in the tomb of a Caucasoid male, dressed as a shaman,” resembling other such findings throughout the Tarim Basin.


Traveling with Chinese farmers into Korea, cannabis eventually spread to India between 2000 BCE and 1000 BCE. Promoted in the Hindu sacred text Atharvaveda (Science of Charms), cannabis as one of the five sacred plants of India used as medicine and burned ritualistically as an offering to Lord Shiva.


It was used for its psychotropic qualities and became fully integrated in the Hindu culture as a religious sacrament. As in other cultures, the plant also became a common crop used to make flour, fabric, and cordage.


Over time, cannabis arrived in the Middle East between 2000 BCE and 1400 BCE. From here, cannabis spread throughout Africa. The Scythians carried it into southeast Russia and Ukraine. The plant was then picked up by Germanic and Scandinavian tribes and brought into Western Europe.


(The importance of cannabis hemp was not lost on the Europeans, but its usage did change. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII declared cannabis use satanic and sacrilegious, thus disconnected the European consciousness from the medicinal and psychotropic uses of cannabis for several centuries to come.)


Cannabis hemp also became of great importance for rulers seeking to build empires and maintain massive standing armies. Rome maintained huge hemp arsenals throughout the Roman Empire and hemp production assumed a place of great importance to European superpowers like France and Britain. The French developed a strong hemp growing culture over centuries, while the British relied almost entirely on colonies in India to provide for their substantial needs.


It was hemp sails, nets, and rope that propelled the great European fleets and armadas, enlivening trade routes and eventually bringing the cannabis plant to the Americas. The first cargo of cannabis seed arrived with the Puritans in the early 17th century and in the colonies, British law required settlers to grow cannabis hemp.


By the 18th century, hemp farming was well-established. It was considered a patriotic duty to grow hemp. George Washington heavily promoted it, while Thomas Jefferson bred different varieties of hemp and began developing early technology to process hemp fiber.


In the 19th century, the medicinal use of cannabis was inspired by noted German, French, and British medical scientists who came to obtain substantial quantities of the plant from colonies in India and North Africa.


By the latter part of the Victorian era, and only decades prior to the onset of the American prohibitionist mindset, cannabis medical products were as common as today’s toothpaste and cold remedies.


Pharmaceutical companies such as American Druggist Syndicate, Wm. S. Merrell Company, and Lloyd Brothers were mass producing cannabis products such as corn plasters, cough syrup, and elixirs for pain relief and numerous other ailments. The Victor Remedies company even marketed a soothing “infant relief” tincture that was one part cannabis indica, one part “sweet spirits”, and one part chloroform.


Meanwhile, recreational use of the plant had made its way to the art communities of Western Europe through their colonial connections to Africa and Asia, and in the case of the US, by way of immigration via poor migrant workers south of the border.


In the first two decades of the 20th century, numerous hemp processing machines were produced for farmers. By 1919, G.W. Schlichten was awarded a patent for a fiber-processing machine called a decorticator, a machine that would finally mechanize what had been up until then a slow process based on human labor.


For unknown reasons, though, the machine was never marketed. Hemp farmers and state agricultural departments eventually put pressure on farm machinery companies like International Harvester to invest their energy into fully mechanizing the hemp fiber harvesting process.


Advancements in the industrial processing of hemp would signal the return of a lucrative hemp fiber industry in the mid 1930s that could now compete head-to-head with the cotton gin. But this initiative to industrialize the hemp fiber industry would soon clash with a whole new set of industrial competitors: the new chemical and petroleum giants.


The powerful DuPont chemical company was in the early stages of developing synthetic fibers, including nylon. Industrialists such as William Randolph Hearst began to view hemp as a threat to their business interests in fiber and paper manufacturing.


(Alternately, Henry Ford saw hemp as an escape from the tightening control of oil magnates; he built a car that not only ran on hemp-based biofuel, but was also made from plastic compounds derived from hemp.)


Then Harry J. Anslinger entered the picture. Originally working for the United States Bureau of Prohibition, in 1930, Anslinger was appointed commissioner of the newly founded Bureau of Narcotics under the jurisdiction of the United States Treasury Department. Combining the financial might of government and industry in collusion with Randolph Hearst’s media, Anslinger eventually had every state sign on to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.


This required anyone interested in growing hemp to apply for a tax stamp, a stamp that the Treasury Department wasn’t handing out. This sleight of hand took the farmers by surprise.


Although this new war on marijuana was designed to vilify a resource that stood in direct competition with logging interests and newly founded industrial commodities such as synthetic fibers and pharmaceuticals, the plan was implemented through racism. Anslinger’s use of the Mexican slang “marijuana” in his propaganda, for example, was designed to fool American farmers who did not know that this was a word referring to the hemp plant.


In much the same way that Nixon would later energize the war on drugs to target hippies and African Americans, Anslinger used racism and fear as a powerful tool in his attempt to wipe cannabis and hemp out of the public consciousness.


Even though high-ranking figures like Mayor LaGuardia of New York City conducted their own studies proving that the recreational use of cannabis contributed to none of the anti-social concerns Anslinger used as justification for prohibition, Anslinger worked aggressively to have the report discredited.


Future governmental studies funded by the Nixon administration in the U. and the Pierre Trudeau government in Canada reached the same conclusions as the LaGuardia Commission, yet Anslinger, who ruled in his drug czar role from 1930 to 1975, made certain that very few would be allowed the opportunity to study cannabis under legitimate scientific conditions.


To this day, in the United States, cannabis remains listed by the federal government as a Schedule 1 narcotic, which means the cultivation and the study of the plant is almost completely prohibited.


Nevertheless, where you find tyrants, you will always find rebels. Since the 60s, anti-prohibition mavericks and historians such as Ed Rosenthal, Terrence McKenna, Marc Emery, and Jack Herer have tirelessly led a conscious reclamation of cannabis history.


Today, industrial cannabis applications have again entered public consciousness, and Canada is currently the world leader in hemp production with over 80,000 acres devoted to the crop.


There is also great interest in the future of cannabis medicine, especially since the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti, researcher at the University of South Carolina, believes that “these cannabinoids give us an opportunity to study the functions and see how we can exploit and manipulate these cannabinoids and their receptors to find cures for a large number of diseases for which there are currently no cures.”


In recent years, pharmaceutical corporations have also applied for patents on an array of synthetic drugs to target the endocannabinoid system.


It was recently reported in economic trade journals that the pharmaceutical market for cannabinoid medications could be worth US$20 billion by the year 2020.


These advancements have helped blow open the gates into the realm of experimentation and investment into new cannabis strains, as well as the development of numerous cannabis products including edibles, oils, and safer smoking technologies.


What’s more, the University of British Columbia has embarked on the first large-scale study to properly map the genetic makeup of the cannabis plant (due to its status as a controlled narcotic, the actual genetic history of the cannabis plant has been muddled).


Today, there is great pressure on governments to end the war on drugs. Though some are concerned that drug prohibition in the US could rise to new sinister heights under the Trump regime, Canada appears poised to usher in an era of legal cannabis and society as a whole appears to be on the cusp of a new era where cannabis may return to the position of reverence and service it once occupied.


There is little doubt that the cannabis plant deserves to take its place next to the dog as a contender for the title of “man’s best friend.”


Written by David Owen Rama

What is PH all about

Posted on September 27, 2017 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)

STEALTH GARDEN July 13, 2017

We received the following query through our website:


"Hi, I just wanted to know why soil A & B requires a higher pH level then hydro and cocos? What happens in soil substrate that makes it different? I love science, can you plz explain?



We thought our response might help others out there with similar questions.


Hi Bill,

Thanks for getting in touch,


That’s a fairly complex question, with no simple answer. But I’ll try to give you a basic run down of my understanding, and some links for further reading.


Firstly, I take it you understand the pH is a level of acidity/alkalinity of an aqueous or soil substrate. It essentially measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution.


The pH of a substrate influences the ‘cation exchange capacity’ of a soil, that is, it’s ability to hold and exchange different ions. Ions are positively or negatively charged compounds (divided into cations or anions, e.g Ammonium NH4+ or Nitrate N03- ) that interact to feed the plant, bacteria and fungal life in the soil.


Cations & Anions

(Image Credit



The ability for any plant to uptake nutrients is influenced by this exchange of compounds in the soil and in hydroponic solutions, as shown in the pH availability chart (attached). The different positive and negative compounds, bacteria, water, and other various lifeforms, enzymes and bits and pieces all interact in this delicious soil melting pot to change forms to ideally benefit roots and microbial activity.


ph nutrient availability chart fertiliser hydroponics soil


Hydroponic solutions are calculated so that the A/B nutrients and additives all mix harmoniously to achieve a stable pH with the right compounds for a plant to easily absorb.


In soil, the natural bacteria and enzymes play a more significant role in breaking down the different compounds into absorbable forms. It’s also shown that various forms of beneficial bacteria/mycorrhizae and trichoderma populate better in slightly less acidic conditions (e.g. closer to pH 6.5, but remember that pH is a logarithmic measure).


We also have to take into account that different pH levels can change the likelihood of various root diseases and negative organisms occurring in a substrate or water solution. Commercial hydroponic facilities generally run a fairly acidic solution (5.5 - 5.8) as this partially decreases the chance of root disease such as pythium. But the aeration, moisture content, water temperatures, dissolved oxygen, water movement and other factors also all contribute to bacterial populations and interactions, positive and negative.


With effective plant nutrition in soil or hydroponics, a combination approach of mineral nutrients (in easily absorbable compounds), chelating acids (humid & fulvic) and organic additives (sea kelps etc that must break down to feed the plant/beneficial bacteria), all work symbiotically to provide the plant with a full and healthy diet, ensuring it can reach it’s full phenotypic potential.


So it’s not quite as simple as ’the plant gets more Nitrogen at pH 6.0 than 7.0’ as theres a plethora of factors all contributing to the different compounds and living organisms at work. But hopefully this gives you an idea why pH is crucially important to crop nutriment, and why there are so many theories about the ‘best’ approach of feeding your favourite plants!


References and Reading material:

Make sure to download our H&G Growers Journal for free at this link:



Posted on March 26, 2017 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)



While getting your tan on is a favorite holiday pastime, we often forget the nasty consequences of too much sunlight on our skin. UV light is harmful to plant tissue too, but research shows that it can also benefit our little green friends.


Sunlight is the portion of the sun’s electromagnetic radiation that includes infrared, visible, and ultraviolet (UV) light. It’s these ultraviolet light waves that can cause harmful radiation to our dermal tissue. But, how have our floral friends evolved to deal with this UV light energy?


Well, UV radiation can be harmful to plant tissue too, but modern research is proving there are also several distinctly positive responses to UV radiation.


What is UV light?

Let’s take a step backwards and look at the basics. Ultraviolet light is an electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength from 10-400 nanometers (nm). This is a shorter wavelength than visible light but longer than X-rays.


This radiation can be broken down into three bands:


UVA (320-400 nm)

UVB (290-320 nm)

UVC (100-290 nm)

Radiations with wavelengths from 10-180 nm are sometimes referred to as vacuum, or extreme, UV. These radiations propagate only in a vacuum. Thanks to the ozone layer, only UVA and UVB rays reach the Earth’s surface. UVC rays can’t make it through, which is lucky as they could have catastrophic effects.


How does UV light affect plants?

As sunlight shines down upon a crop, plants expose the surface of their leaves to capture solar rays. While some of this light energy is used in photosynthesis, some of it regulates different developmental processes—such as advancing growth in good conditions or causing deviations for survival during periods of stress—to optimize the photosynthetic processes and detect seasonal changes. This light-mediated development of form and structure is known as photomorphogenesis.


The different developmental or physiological changes are induced by a plant’s photoreceptors, which detect specific wavelengths of light. Photoreceptors are also sensitive to light quantity, quality, and duration.


For example, plants growing beneath the canopy use phytochromes to sense the reduced amount of light reaching the plant and regulate such processes as shade-avoidance, competitive interactions, and seed germination.


However, it is extremely difficult for scientists to match specific responses to individual photoreceptors. Typically, multiple photoreceptors will interact to produce a single change.


Also, some photoreceptors like phytochromes are sensitive to more than one light wavelength. (Phytochromes, which mediate many aspects of vegetative and reproductive development, are responsible for absorbing red and far-red light but also absorb some blue light and UVA radiation.) (See: On the Dawn of a Grow Light Revolution: How Plants Use Different Wavelengths for more information on this.)


When it comes to UV radiation, there are several other photoreceptors responsible for absorbing those wavelengths. Cryptochromes, phototropins, and Zeitlupe (ZTL) are the three primary photoreceptors that mediate the effects of UVA. UVB light is primarily mediated by the UV-R8 monomer (shown below, image credit WikiCommons).


UVR8 Monomer


It has been proven that UV light influences photomorphogenic responses including gene regulation, flavonoid biosynthesis, leaf and epidermal cell expansion, stomatal density, and increased photosynthetic efficiency. However, don’t forget that UV radiation can also damage membranes, DNA, and proteins.


That’s why many plants undergo photomorphogenic changes designed to protect them from these rays when their photoreceptors sense the presence of radiation. For example, numerous agricultural crops can synthesize simple phenolic compounds and flavonoids that act as sunscreens and remove damaging oxidants and free radicals.


In certain crop species, these phenolic compounds can be extremely desirable and it can be beneficial to the farmer to enhance this aspect of production.


How can growers use UV energy without causing damage to their crops?

Although this is a fairly recent field of botanical science, there are reports of dramatic increases in essential oil production by flowering crops grown under lightbulbs with higher UV output. Modern metal halide (MH) and ceramic metal halide (CMH) lamps often include precisely calculated and optimized amounts of UVA and UVB output.




High UV bulbs are generally recommended for use in the last two weeks of a flowering cycle once the generative development is completely established. This allows for a crop to continually develop in size and growth vigor while also protecting the flowers and canopy with increased resin production.


Like all aspects of horticulture, balance is the key to effective UV use. Too much or incorrect ratios of PAR/UVA/UVB will not help, but the correct amounts could encourage some incredibly useful results.


Timing is also an important part of UV application. When given UVB throughout the entire growth cycle, sensitive plants such as leafy greens often display reduced growth (plant height, dry weight, leaf area, etc.) and photosynthetic activity.


Generally, the effectiveness of UVB also varies both among species and among individual strains or genetics of a given species. If you’re looking to utilize UV in your garden, it’s worth discussing with your local hydroponics store about the best approach for your chosen plant species.


Overall, it’s worth discussing and researching the best applications of UV in your garden whilst catering to your specific plant’s physiological requirements.


If we use this technology correctly, we can enjoy the delicious benefits of plant sunscreen. This means your flowers will smell better, your fruit will taste superior, and your herbs will have a higher potency in the kitchen.


Enjoy the tan!


Thomas Forrest




*Forrest. T.A, 2017, originally published in 'Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening Magazine USA', March Online Edition, available at: