June 03, 2017 | DR. SCANDERSON FOR NORTHWEST LEAF
The ever-expanding Cannabis industry has birthed a few innovative companies that have genuinely changed the mineral-based nutrient game.
By and large there are very few mineral-basednutrient companies that have come to market in the past several years offering anything new to the dizzying number of existing and established nutrient lines—with rare exception. It’s into this exception that I would like to dive for month’s Growtech.
The ever-expanding Cannabis industry, it appears, has birthed a few innovative companies that have genuinely changed the game. As a water grower, I’ve always taken great caution in what I add to my medium and have become accustomed to a stripped down, bare bones version of most manufacturer’s recommendations for their nutrient application schedule. As a result, I’ve always found the best formulas to tout simplicity as a priority. Few formulas, few bottles and fewer products always produced more results for me in all forms of hydroponic growing systems. The nutrient industry, it appears, is starting to prioritize the same. Four companies in particular have formulated and released new nutrient lines that are noteworthy in my experience with them.
Thankfully, the permaculture and regenerative farming practices movement has spread mighty wings of knowledge throughout the Cannabis farming community, allowing those indoor gardeners deeply committed to organic cultivation methods an elevated platform to operate from. The impact of that knowledge has made the plethora of “all organic” nutrient lines all but obsolete. Newer nutrient formulas seemed to have responded to the trend and began more specifically producing formulas for hydroponic, mineral based feeding systems instead of an “all in one, feeds any medium” marketing. Each of the companies reviewed are geared for and perform well in several forms of hydroponic mediums, safely, cleanly and reliably.
Featuring a simple, easy to understand approach to feeding, Elite Nutrient is a well formulated, extensively tested line made with the Cannabis gardener in mind. Featuring the ABC’s of nutrient, Elite offers a single “A” and “B” base formula used from regenerative phase through bloom. The “C” comes in the form of a balanced root tonic safe to run in Recirculating Deep Water Culture and effective from vegetative through near end of bloom. They also include a “D” formula, comprised of a powerful late term bloom stimulant that packs on weight and size during the last three to four weeks of bloom.
Unlike most manufacturers I’ve become accustomed to, the “D” formula is recommended by the manufacturer’s nutrient at the lighter end of the dosage range. A bit more research into their website reveals a robust blog that follows the producers of Elite along some the R&D process as well as the growth of the company. Very accessible for assistance with their nutrient line, I achieved improved results using some of the information from the website in combination with some quick online exchanges with their team. Elite also has a mycorrhizae product, effective in a high mineral environment they call the Root Ignitor that can be run from vegetative stage through mid-bloom.
Another new brand out of California, Greenstone Nutrient provides a bit more of the “traditional” approach to nutrient formulation. Greenstone still adds simplicity to the ethos and openly makes recommendations to omit certain formulas based on the mediums and methods you employ. The more extensive product choice allows a greater variety of medium to be successfully fertilized with their line. Combined with a foliar spray that promotes health and vigor for rapidly growing plants, it has Greenstone has firmly held its place. Again, using one “A” and “B” base from vegetative through bloom, simplicity pervades with one “A” and “B” specifically formulated for hydroponics and one for soil and coco application. Still very effective when using the bare essential formula in rockwool Greenstone is an effective system and a wonderful alternative to anyone familiar with General Hydroponics’ two-part formula now that GH is owned by the demon of all human existence, Monsanto. Of particular note are two powders Greenstone makes: Foundation, a well-designed endomycorrhizae product devoid of any ecto which cannot colonize Cannabis roots in a mineral-dense environment as well as Aquafish, powder hydrolyzed fish which is loaded with nitrogen and greens up a plant like almost no other product I’ve used, equaled perhaps only by nitrozyme.
CULTURE SOLUTIONS H2O
Brought to you by the industry leaders in RDWC systems Cultured Solution runs especially well in RDWC due to its ultra clean, low to no suspension formulas. These features carry over well into other hydroponic mediums. Super simple, Cultured Solutions created a complete A+B Veg as well as an A+B Bloom formula that needs little else. Using nothing but “A” and “B”, depending on vegetative stage or bloom stage and you’ll get great results. The root product is designed specifically for RDWC sterile systems and should only be applied to sterile feeding environments. Since properly balanced microbiologicals are more effective than sterile mediums in just about every other medium scenario, many gardeners will not need to use this product.
For those looking to push production further, Cultured Solutions makes a flower boosting formula as well. As someone who tested one of their earlier released nutrient lines, I can tell you from personal experience they listened to feedback from their customers, made adjustment and I’m happy to report, improved their bloom booster formula. In this case, they broke the formula up to account for their already very complete “A” and “B” base bloom as well and the manufacturer’s recommendations for nitrogen application through the flowering schedule. Again, all formulas are concentrated, designed with the hydroponic gardener in mind and run super clean.
Grab your socks and pull. I have found my all-around recommendation for hydroponic gardeners of any medium and any skill level. Read the website name and it’s not hard to figure out what this company is about. It’s about creating the easiest to use formula ever created for Cannabis farmers that performs outrageously well. You can hear the other nutrient companies just shitting their pants with the advent of a formula like Veg+Bloom. Not only is this nutrient powerful and effective at creating high yields of boutique quality Cannabis but it is inexpensive when compared to any of the other more heavily marketed nutrients available. As a powder, you don’t pay anyone for water and mixing labor, they keep the costs down by providing their formula as a dry powder only. Further, this company saw a need to fill, and stepped up by creating a specific formula of even higher concentration made for those using automated nutrient dosing technology.
Their schedule and application recommendations are easy enough to memorize. They offer three products you can apply to medium and a foliar spray. A base that you use in every stage of growth, the whole shebang. I ran a full round with nothing but the base product and was deeply satisfied with the results so when they say it’s complete, they mean it. The base formula can be purchased in a hard and soft water formula to suite the mixture as well as a hydroponic or “dirty” formula, depending on what medium you choose.
The bloom booster is called Shine. While using it isn’t imperative to a successful grow, when used during the bloom phase it adds an unmistakable improved layer of frost to your flowers and plumps up yields by double digit percentages; given the simplicity and low cost of their base, I recommend investing some of your savings into Shine, the products kills.
Veg+Bloom makes two other products. A foliar spray called Push, which I didn’t use but have heard reports from respected farmers that I should have. My foliar testing was not in a place that provided a space for a new formula at the time that I was running Veg+Bloom. I have since started using it, and while I haven’t completed the test, I can tell you that it appears to be replacing several other products thus far. Lastly, they make a mycorrhizae product called Life, which is designed to run in salt-based nutrient environments and is very effective when using container medium. Again, I cannot speak with a high degree of intelligence of the efficacy of the product having skipped its application, however, I can’t imagine a company that produces so few products, three of which are of the highest performance standards I’ve come across that don’t follow suit with the fourth one.
A consistent feature you’ll see with all four of these companies is extensive customer research. Lots of Cannabis farmers have used and reported achieving outstanding results using these nutrient lines. Their strong product support and priority to create a quality product, instead of funding a massive advertising budgets, allows for a higher quality, more consistent, more dependable, more affordable nutrient that supports like-minded human beings.
High standards create high hopes for a new age, ushered in by innovators such as those reviewed in this article. Keeping the needs of the users in mind instead of the need of the shareholders provides for an easier to use, more effective product for Cannabis gardeners. As with any new product, I always recommend testing a small number of plants with any new technique or tip to learn how the information fits into your skill set, style and environment; these products are worth the investment to learn. They may suit your particulars to an even higher degree and elevate your game to the next level, or they could maintain your already stellar results but drop your total production costs, both favorable outcomes. Either way, you’ll likely walk away a better gardener from trying them out.
If you have specific questions on nutrient applications with these products, don’t hesitate to contact me at DrScanderson@protonmail.com and as always, HAPPY GARDENING!