Welcome to our best STASH Awards ever! This cultivation compendium has been growing bigger every year, identifying the products that will make your growing experience bountiful and trouble-free.
The competition is getting fierce, as the quality and quantity of choices for cultivators are at an all-time high.
Significant Technological Achievements in Secretive Horticulture (STASH) awards are given to products that are Ã¬breakthrough-- new ideas. We also recognize that sometimes it takes time for a product to build a reputation that stands out amongst competitors. The highly specialized T.H.C. Test Team guarantees that every product listed below meets or exceeds all claims made by their manufacturers.
Remember that we haven"t won the war yet, so grow-store etiquette is as important as ever. Many award winners can be found at your local gardening supply. We"ve listed contact information for specific products so you can find a local retailer. Don"t do or say anything that would compromise yourself or the business owner.
BEST HIGH-INTENSITY DISCHARGE LAMP
Gavita High Pressure Sodium With Built-In Reflector
After years of reliable use in Europe, Gavita HID lamps are now available in the US. Gavita has produced a uniquely shaped bulb with a reflector built into it. One half of the bulb"s inside is specially coated like a mirror. State-of-the-art design produces an incredible 95% rating on usable light. Advantages for the indoor horticulturist are numerous.
Bulky reflectors can be heavy, requiring special care when hanging. Without the bulk, lights can be placed closer together, to maximize small spaces. There"s nothing surrounding Gavita bulbs to contain heat. The considerably less heat build up means they burn much cooler, so plants can be kept closer and receive the most intense light. Instead of buying a single 1,000-watt HID, hang three 400-watt or two 600w Gavitas. The light pattern they throw is similar to that of your average horizontally mounted Ã¬grow wing-- type reflector, but with no reflector, you can hang them anywhere, at any angle you like.
For now Gavitas are made in 400w and 600w HPS versions only. Hopefully success in America will lead to a metal halide as well. Gavitas have a full one-year warranty covering breakdown of performance, materials or workmanship. There"s even an air-cooled option, for extra cool running.
Gavitas come with a matching ballast and 6" cord, socket and all the necessary hanging hardware. These kits cost $265 for the 400w model and $365 for the 600w. Bulbs may also be purchased separately, costing $90 and $110 respectively. Available from Alternative Garden Supply, (800) 444-2837, and AltGarden.com
BEST HYDRO KIT (PERSONAL)
Microgarden & Turbogarden by American Agritech
Formerly called Sea of Green Hydrogardens, these kits have now been renamed individually as the Microgarden (12-- x 30-- space) and Turbogarden (2" x 3" area) Perpetual Growth Machines. Don"t let their size fool you; the Microgarden accommodates up to eight full-size plants, or can be used to propagate 35 clones. The larger Turbogarden grows 14 full-size plants or 64 clones. They are the most versatile hydroponic-gardening systems ever created.
Purchase Micro/Turbogardens ready to grow in one of several growing configurations, including ebb-and-flow, top-feed drip, deep flow and aeroponics. They are also easy and inexpensive to reconfigureÃ³a good way to gain experience with different growing methods and mediums like rockwool, ceramic stones (geolite) and coir (coconut fiber).
Perfected features include micro-jet sprayers, ample 10-gallon (Micro) and 25-gallon (Turbo) reservoirs, and sliding access port for quick checks of pH or nutrient concentration. A convenient drain fitting makes nutrient changes simple. However, it"s easy to remove the grow tray without disturbing your plants, if necessary. Every piece of these kits is industrial strength.
Available nationwide, prices start at just $160 for the ebb-and-flow Microgarden. Prices rise incrementally through six models, to a mere $310 for the Turbogarden Turbo Flo System. The aeroponic cloning machines cost $260 for the Micro and $450 for a Turbo. Each kit comes ready to run with everything you need, even a supply of the STASH-award-winning Power Series nutrients and Pur Blend organic supplements. For info: (877) 753-0404, AmericanAgritech.com.
BEST HYDRO KIT (PRODUCTION)
Aeroflo 36 by General Hydroponics
Anyone concerned with production should consider growing aeroponically. Ideally suited for a space 3" x 3", the Aeroflo 36 by General Hydroponics requires just 30% more floor space, with the opportunity to get yields 40-50% higher than the previously described kit (relevant differences being number of plants and individual pot size).
They"ve optimized their highly successful Aeroflo line by significantly streamlining the design. With 36 individual 3-- grow cups, it"s a good thing a 40-gallon reservoir comes standard. You"ll need it, as the Aeroflo2 36 is compact and deadly fast, a home cultivator"s dream machine.
Extensive development programs lead to industry breakthroughs. The new Aeroflo2s don"t use submersible pumps, whose electromagnetic field can draw iron from the nutrient solution. A powerful Bluestone brand pump attached to leak-tight fittings forces water through an injection manifold, then through computer-designed, laser-cut spray tubes. No more clogged sprayers! Plus their new Coco cup liners encourage root growth.
Slide open an access lid to perform water checks and reservoir maintenance. Plus, an included adapter allows you to reverse the pump for draining your reservoir, making nutrient changes easier than ever. Every Aeroflo2 36 comes complete, including grow cups with Coco liners, grorox and GH"s best-selling Flora series nutrientsÃ³all for $599. For info: (800) 374-9376, GeneralHydroponics.com
BEST NUTRIENT LINE (HYDROPONICS)
Botanicare by American Agritech
Pure Blend Pro cinched this award, developing a hydro-organic, fully balanced, one-part liquid nutrient. AA scientifically combined the most beneficial organic compounds into stand-alone single-stage nutrients. Now anyone can grow hydro-organically. Growers reap benefits like increased hardiness and resistance to negative environmental stress, as well as improved flavor and the right to say Ã¬I grow organically.--
With Botanicare you have several choices. The power series consists of Power Plant and Power Flower, while their original Pur Blend hydro-organic tea, Blast Off growth stimulant and Cal-Mag Plus are all compatible supplements. This makes the Botanicare line adaptable, allowing customized feeding regimens. For info: (877) 753-0404, AmericanAgritech.com
BEST NUTRIENT LINE (SOIL)
Fox Farm Soil & Fertilizer Company
Based on a steady stream of positive feedback, Foxfarm products are overdue for recognition. They produce an extensive line of nutrients, in both liquid and powder form, with enough N-P-K variations to keep Betty Crocker happy.
Foxfarm is an environmentally conscious company. Every product is organic-based, providing readily assimilated nutrients derived from premium sources like cottonseed and blood meal, select earthworm castings, Norwegian kelp, bat guano, and other ingredients that Ã¬encourage beneficial organisms.-- Their Grow Big 12-7-7 (for the vegetative stage) and Big Bloom .01-3-.7 (for flowering) are liquid concentrates that make cultivating in soil trouble-free. Tiger Bloom 2-8-4 is a flower enhancer for soil or hydro. All three make excellent foliar feeds. There"s even a specially formulated Grow Big Hydroponic Concentrate 3-2-6. Also organic-based, it"s made with earthworm castings and seaweed.
Foxfarm granular products include Marine Cuisine 10-7-7, made from fish, crab, kelp and shrimp meal (which contains chitosan, a natural pesticide), bat guano and worm castings. Don"t forget American Pride 9-6-6 and you"ll be cookin" up chronic in no time.
Available at Alternative Garden Supply, (800) 444-2837, and your favorite garden center.
BEST GROWING MEDIUM
NatureMade from Hydrowerks
This soilless mix comes from the land of the free and the home we crave, Amsterdam. Intelligence sources report it"s used extensively by cannabiphiles, and thanks to very big boats, prices are nearly identical to domestic horticultural mixes. NatureMade"s perfect combination of black peat, white peat, coco, perlite, clay, sand and rice husks provides the perfect amount of drainage and water retention. It"s the best of all worlds.
As with other top-shelf potting mixes, directions state that additional nutrients won"t be necessary for 2-6 weeks. Enrich NatureMade with organic amendments, just as you would any other organic soil/soilless medium.
70-liter bags of loose NatureMade costs $29.95, and are slightly smaller than a 3-cubic-foot bale. Hydrowerks makes other products with NatureMade. Coco Starter Plugs come 84/tray for $11.95, Coco Rooting/Growing Blocks (4--x4--) 12/tray for 11.95 and Coco Growing Slabs (6--x?) for $6 each. Your plants will think they"re growing in clouds. Available at Alternative Garden Supply, (800) 444-2837, and AltGarden.com.
BEST GROWTH ENHANCER
Diamond NectarÃ´ by General Hydroponics
Marijuana grows well in natural soil because of humic acids. Humic acids are a crucial link between available nutrients and the plants. Fulvic acid is the most plant-active of all humic acid compounds. Diamond NectarÃ´ is the premium formulation of fulvic acid. To your plants, it"s liquid gold.
On a cellular level, fulvic acid is a carrier molecule that transports nutrients and minerals into plant roots. Accelerating nutrient absorption at the root-boundary zone results in faster growth, higher yields and better-tasting flowers. Diamond NectarÃ´ is rich in organic and mineral substances essential for plant growth. This supplement has high ion-exchange properties that convert mineral elements for absorption by plants. It"s nature"s natural chelate.
Diamond NectarÃ´ can be watered or applied as a foliar spray up until flowering begins. This micro-magic works with all growing media. Because fulvic acid is a tiny molecule, it"s well suited for use in hydroponic solutions. Professional horticulturists report that using humic (e.g. Rare Earth by GH) and fulvic acids together produce combined benefits.
Directions state Ã¬use during the growth phase only,-- but here"s a secret tip. Dilute an ounce in one gallon of water, then spray plants one week before harvest, and watch the crystals swell. A little of this stuff goes a long way, application directions are on the bottle. Sold in quarts ($15) and gallons ($40). For info: (800) 374-9376, GeneralHydroponics.com
BEST CO2 GENERATOR
Blu Ox by Reinhold Manufacturing Ltd.
The Blu Ox line of CO2 generators is the result of extensive research, development and testing. Rather than using conventional valves (a continuously burning pilot light that wastes gas) the engineers at Reinhold developed a system of burners lit by a glow-plug. On power-up the glow-plug heats up, then a valve releases the gas to light the burner. One burner lights the next, and so on.
Electronic ignition and specialized solid-brass impinged burners means you"ll never again have your pilot light blow out. Their design automatically relights a burner should its neighbor get blown out. Functionality continues, as Blu Ox CO2 generators are designed to allow venting of the heat generated without losing carbon dioxide. Available in 4, 6 and 8-burner models, all come ready to run on your choice of propane or natural gas.
Installation should be done by a qualified gas fitter and electrician, or by someone knowledgeable in these fields. The Blu Oxes are so new that distribution in the US is limited. The complete Blu Ox line is available at Alternative Garden Supply, (800) 444-2837. Check for latest configurations and prices.
BEST LIGHT MOVER
Sun Twist Light Rotators by American Hydroponics
Many growers have adopted the practice of using HPS lamps alone for flowering. I know betterÃ³blending MH and HPS light produces larger, denser colas. There are two ways to get a blended spectrum of light to all the plants in a large garden. You need to move either the lights or the plants.
Growers adopt practices which are the least labor-intensive, moving as few things as possible. Adding a Sun Twist light mover is an option that creates options, not work. It"s a great way to increase your growing area when added power is too great a concern, or to optimize the use of different HIDs by achieving even distribution and blending of light over the entire garden.
A Sun Twist comes ready to hang two or three lights, or, with the optional arm package it can accommodate up to five lights. It will rotate 180 degrees in four minutes, then back 180 degrees. It"s the only reliable unit that can hold up to five 1,000-watt HID lights.
Simple assembly and no required hard-wiring means you"re ready to rock. The Sun Twist (holds 2-3 lamps) sells for $250. The arm-package adapter, which raises capacity to five lamps, is only $30. For info: (800) 458-6543, AmericanHydroponics.com
BEST SEAWEED/KELP ADDITIVE
B. Seaweed by Technaflora Plant Products
Seaweed, also called Ã¬kelp,-- is considered to be a top-shelf organic amendment. With so many seaweed products on the market, it was necessary to update this category. Last year"s winner, Soluble Seaweed, is also from Technaflora. In retrospect, these sister products should have shared the award.
B. Seaweed is made from 100% hand-harvested British Columbian seaweed. The variety macrocystis integrifolia contains over 60 essential elements and is an incredible growth stimulant. No less potent is the ascophyllum nodosum found in the powdered Soluble Seaweed. Use one or both to increase nutrient uptake, resistance to disease and stress and absorption of available nutrients.
Technaflora"s seaweed supplements are versatile. No matter how you use them, an increased yield will result. Usage directions on the label explain mixing for foliar, soil and hydroponic applications. B. Seaweed is sold in pint ($12) and quart ($23) bottles. Soluble seaweed is sold in 1-pound containers ($12). For info: (800) 586-1211, Technaflora.com
BEST EXHAUST FAN
AXC In-Line Centrifugal Fans
By Continental Fan Manufacturing Inc.
These fans are a must if you want to move serious air. Whether it"s removing heat (handling air up to 140?F) or supplying fresh air, you"ll find the right size AXC. These Ã¬air mover-- duct fans are far superior to any other. Sealed inner bearings are silent, maintenance-free and built for a long, non-stop lifespan.
Simple to install, centrifugal duct fans come in popular 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12-- sizes. Rated from 212 CFM to 1198 CFM respectively. Purchase (and install) the variable-speed rheostat for $30, giving infinite control over the fan"s output. AXC fans come with a full five-year warranty. They"re both UL and CSA listed. Prices start at just under $200 and go to just over $300. Available at Alternative Garden Supply; in Canada, (905) 890-6192, aeroflo.com
BEST CULTIVATION GUIDE
Indoor Marijuana Horticulture by Jorge Cervantes
Anyone interested in growing great pot should plan on making mistakes along the way. The best way to minimize the number of mistakes is by reading a book on the subject. Indoor Marijuana Horticulture by Jorge Cervantes is the crucial link in becoming a great gardener. Novices and serious students will benefit from Jorge"s vast knowledge and his access to cultivators of the best marijuana from around the world. Of course, if you cherish the suffering that mistakes can bring, then just wing it, you"ll undoubtedly figure it out over time.
To purchase Indoor Marijuana Horticulture go online at marijuangrowing.com, or call (877) 989-4800; foreign callers, use (360) 837-3368.
BEST SELF-CONTAINED GARDEN
Lil" Sprout Systematic Home Growing Appliance
If you"re anything like me, you"ll want one of these. I"m sure it took tremendous effort to produce a unit that is just as attractive as it is functional. This growing appliance should be the focal point of a room, much like an expensive fish tank. For now, however, most of you will wisely appreciate the convenience more privately.
This is a big unit, 29-- wide and 6"4-- tall. It"s on rolling casters for extra movability. The growing chamber is 3" tall, expandable to 8". Every part of the unit is built from durable materials, and if used properly, will last a very long time. Every phase and chore associated with growing personal chronic was thought of, built in and made simple by Lil" Sprout.
The top houses a convertible 400-watt HID fixture from Sunlight Supply. It also includes two high-powered, quiet fans, one mounted for intake and one for exhaust, to create the airflow necessary for fast growth. The grow chamber is plexiglass, and easy access is provided by two hinged doors with a magnetic seal. The grow tray can be fitted with seven 5-- pots, ten 3-- pots, or a cloner option with 37 pots, including a matching humidome.
Below the growth chamber is the 30-gallon reservoir. The under-cabinet draining and easy-filling port makes tank treatments a snap. The bottom of the unit contains a power strip for the electrical components and also includes storage space. Set to run in an ebb-and-flow or deep-well method, there"s also an aeroponic option for only $75. The Lil" Sprout comes complete; they even include three quarts of award-winning Botanicare nutrients, pH adjusters (up/down) and a pH kit!
Lil" Sprout costs $999 plus s&h, and comes with a 30-day no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. For info: (480) 768-0534, Lilsprout.com