Technical growing workbook

Technical growing workbook

Por Adryc Menellsön

Hello, green world. Welcome on board of to start another journey together through this ocean that fascinates us alll. First off, let me thank each and every one of you for the great reception that the first workbook had. I wasn’t expecting such a good response, thank you again.

As you know, I am a sailor, therefore I don’t like wasting time or making anybody waste theirs. I also like having the route planned and everything on the ship enlisted before casting off, and I like planning and writing down, in advance, every little step that I will take.

In this second workbook I am going to give you an advance of what we are going to see and read in the next months; every sea and harbour we are going to visit this year. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

Every day that goes by new technologies for indoors gardening appear. They also come up with new things for outdoors growing, but the vast majority of novelties we find in exhibitions (fertilizers aside) are focused directly on indoors growing, Right?

It is also obvious that the power, meaning electricity, that our plants consume is more expensive every day. And the lighting system producers put more and more effort into offering equipment that can create more light at lower cost. The average expense for two months in a “normal” indoors garden, of 120X120X200 and 600W, is €37,5/45. Imagine they offered you the same result for a third of the cost… exactly.

The next workbook, number 3, will be dedicated to this subject, since the new LED technology offers precisely that, lower consumption and consequently lower costs. I had never thought of using this technology, even though it is not new, since the results, I heard, were not particularly good. That is why I asked a lot of growers that have already used it. Some of them confirmed those bad reports, but others said the opposite, describing the outcome as excellent, and especially in the summer, because of the little heat they produce.

World moves forward, and LED technology with it, hah… Being ignorant but curious, I collected information about it in the exhibitions. Those first, simple LEDs we knew years ago have become true mini computers that allow us to regulate and program light spectrum, etc… This opens a world of possibilities. We will discuss them deeply and we will see in detail a model presented in the first fair of the year in Cornellà. I’m talking about the new R420R model, of Max Spect, of higher lighting effectiveness than the previous model and better ventilation. Definitely one that I recommend you should see here, haha. They are wonderful. By the way, thanks to Jamie and Nicki, from and , who gently provided us with two screens of said model that we can see here in all detail. We were able to test them first hand. We grew crops and more crops of different varieties, to see whether they were effective or not.

But that is not all, in this chapter we will see an indoors instalation adapted to LED technology, and that will be a HomeBox Ambient, latest generation, and with a white reflecting fabric instead of the usual silver one, a very practical indoors gardening box.

What’s the reason for this? No specific reason, but as I said before, I am very curious, and lately I have observed in the photographs that my English and Scottish friends send that they use the reflecting white colour in their indoors. Moreover, Hydrogarden UK presented its reflecting devices ORCA in that way, while the German producers start presenting them in all sizes… So I think by testing it we will learn something, and we won’t lose anything. You can learn from mistakes, too!

Naturally, to judge the result and the LED’s results, those two crops will be duplicated in a different indoor with regular reflecting devices, the HortiLab that we have reviewed here already, with digital ballast and extractor hood Xtrasun.

Indoors que usaremos 2

Let’s move on.

As you know we visited the lastExpocáñamo 2016 in Seville, one of the nicest I have attended and one of which we will be talking soon on this web, although I imagine that you have already seen the preview, the short picture galleries we published at the time.  In said exhibition we were presented with several interesting products that we will be discussing at length in these workbooks. One of them is the MealFrass, an organic fertilizer that caught our attention because of one particular aspect: it is made out of the excrements of beetles. I know it sounds odd, but you will see, it is all true.

It is a farming fertilizer, 100% organic and natural, and guarantees anti plague/bug effect, complemented with prevention from diverse fungus and moulds.

It looks interesting, and so does its history, which will have its own exclusive workbook, since we will start several gardens, and we will use the fertilizer in one of them, and afterwards you will learn all about the results.

I told you that on these pages we only talk about what we grow and what we use, with accurate tracking and objectivity: if something goes wrong you will be witness to it, as well as the successes. My view is we’re not teachers, we only share the little we know.

Moreover, we learn something true everyday; and almost every time from those least expected. I’m saying this because we discovered a product on the Seville fair, the PK Compost Tee by BioTabs, a new organic product very easy to use that was brought to our attention by our beloved friend and grower-legend Karel Schelfhout. He couldn’t attend Seville, unfortunately, so his children introduced us to the new product.

It’s a new compost that mixes bacteria, seaweed, fish feces and a new component, grapes. It is of very simple usage, like every other BioTabs product, and we will review it in another workbook, as with every other thing we talk about here.

Here’s an anecdote: My wife Inma, Gonzalo and I were enjoying a relaxing time and Valencia’s sunset in one of its many wonderful terrace bars, Casa Pepe. We were enjoying a cold beer and resting from the agitation of Expocáñamo, when the subject of this new compost of Karel’s and the grapes came up. We were talking about it and discussing its possible advantages and benefits for growing,  when the waiter, a dark-skinned tall man, nicely addressed us and said: “if you don’t mind my saying, gentlemen, my dad in Cuba was an agricultural expert, and there they gathered the remains of sugar cane, as well as the remainders from the sugar cane crushing, and they would spread them on the fields after the crop. They did this to help the soil recover, because the remains of sugar are good for the bacterian life in the soil. My father would explain all this to me when he took me with him to work.  But it is nothing new, the remains of the grape are used in the same way near here, in Requena, in the vineyards”. And in one moment he taught us a real lesson of ecological and sustainable agriculture, explained in a simple, clear way. He also talked about the coffee growing, and about how the hens were released in the coffee plantations so their feces would fertilize the soil in a natural, not excessive, way. “Hens defecate here and there, they don’t stay on the same place”, he told us, amongst many other things that deserve a single chapter. After his explanation, he said goodbye just as nicely as he had introduced himself and went on to serve other tables. And he left all three of us (an expert on ecologic forest farming, the director of a cannabic themed website and me, three “experts”) in awe, thinking, “How about that…”

I guess that he must be the owner, because he really elaborated in his explanations. Next time I go back to Valencia I hope I find him in the same spot again, because I would love to talk some more.

We continue with more novelties, in this case from Top Crop and the AminoPearls they presented, with a certificate crediting they are suited for SHC ecological gardening.  As its name unveils, the product comes in the shape of tiny pearls, rich in humic acids and amino acids that are slowly liberated. Looks promising. And Nitroguano gathered from 100% ecological bat, also interesting. We will test it, we don’t like wasting our time with useless things.

And let’s get on with the plants, and of course the banks that produce them:

One of the policies of this web is to support the newcomer seed banks, the ones that have been experimenting on their genetics for five or six years and, once they reach their goal, a solid variety, they have to introduce it into an almost saturated market. It is a tough, difficult task, so when we discover one seed bank that we believe is worth it, we test their varieties.

We start this section with Evogrun, a really young bank, almost unknown. It’s not what people call an “author” bank, but has spent more than five years developing the varieties that are now available: three feminized seeds, one Somango x Critical, another White Widow and last, a Northern Light x White Widow. As for autoflowering seeds, they also offer three varieties: Critical, AK47 and Jack Herer. We start today, June 8, a crop with one of their varieties.

Sistema Lights in line 1

We finish this workbook with the Lights in Line system, a product that we also discovered on this fair. It is a system composed of steel wires and tensioners running up to 5 meters in length. It allows the placement of 5 screens along with the lamps, optimizing the connections and making their installation easy. Altogether a really attractive system, especially for those who need lots of lamps on their garden.

And that’s it for today as an advance, green world. I hope I didn’t bore you. The space is short and I think I have talked too much already. Don’t miss  out on the next workbook, that’s my advice to you.

It’s time to say goodbye and also time to smoke my Syrup Bong. See you soon, Best of smokes from my cove, and Here’s to your health!


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