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    Issue 001 Articles

    Urbanana

    The French go bananas for vertical farming...

    The great humourist S.J. Perelman once reflected that “a farm is an irregular patch of nettles bounded by short-term notes, containing a fool and his wife who didn’t know enough to stay in the city.” Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Of course, he was born in 1904 and therefore a bearer of old prejudices, had he been alive today he may have been forced to eat his words – possibly literally, because as scientifically improbable as it may sound - the future of farming is here, and it comes in the shape of a banana. Or an Urbanana.

    No it’s not slang for an inner-city grandmother, nor is it a verbal mangling of the word banana by some adorable two year old with a wonky palate. It is instead a wonderful Portmanteau word devised by the French architectural company SOA to describe their latest project – a vertical banana farm in the heart of Paris.
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    Cuttings - An easy to follow fool proof approach to taking cuttings

    Cuttings, or clones, are the genetic twin of their Parent, or Mother plant. Because a clone has an identical genetic make-up to its progenitor it allows the Horticulturalist to focus on adjusting other elements in a growing environment to produce the desired results from their crop. Cloning also circumvents the inherent lottery of growing from seeds. It is also a reasonably simple process and a fundamental tool of any commercial grower. Here is a basic guide to getting started with cloning.

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    So You Want an Indoor Garden?

    This is a reasonable assumption for us to make. You are, after all, reading a magazine that’s very raison d’etre revolves around indoor gardening. Perhaps though you’re sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, passing the time nervously flicking through these pages before a testicular examination?...

    We don’t know who you are, or what your motivation is for perusing this particular article – how could we? But what we do know is what we do best – educating the plebs, the soiled masses, about hydroponics. And since this is “Beginners’ Corner”, let’s presume you’re starting from square one. And square one, surely, has to be “I want to grow something indoors. Am I mad? Is it even possible in my two-bit dump of a flat / house?” Ever eager to help our fellow man, we provide here an essential guide that should put all your hydroponically-virginal concerns to bed. Or at least a few of them. Read on, you might learn something (or if you’re still waiting for the doctor: read on – this is bound to be more entertaining than Marie Claire or Harper’s Bazaar).

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    Neem Oil - Organic Pest Control

    The Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is affectionately known as ‘the village pharmacy’ in its homeland of India.

    Also known as Indian Lilac, it has as many names as there are dialects stretching from Nigeria in West Africa to Thailand in Southeast Asia. Muarubaini is one such name, which means ‘the tree of the forty’ in Swahili; so named because it is said to treat forty different diseases. Ancient Ayurvedic texts indicate that Neem has been used for centuries to treat ailments as various as Leprosy, Malaria, Tuberculosis and even good old Acne. Western science has taken an embarrassingly long time to catch up with the local ‘witch-doctors’, but thankfully for us Neem products are now widely used and internationally recognised for their many beneficial qualities; and there are a lot of them.

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    The Evolution of Digital Ballasts

    The world has well and truly gone digital. Electronic EC, pH and Hydrometers have become standard fair in most growrooms. A plethora of additional sensory equipment is available on the market today, from float sensors to smoke detectors.

    Most of it can be hooked up to a computer where software collects and analyses the data before making any necessary adjustments. Some of it will only work when attached to a computer, refusing to belittle itself by accommodating the all too fallible faculties of increasingly redundant humans. Combined with automated door and window locks, motion detectors and the almost inevitable internet based auto-ordering system, it’s easy to think the little digital bastards are colluding to cut you out of the equation entirely. In an act of patronising aplomb your laptop will even take a time-stop image of the progress of your plants, forgoing the tiresome trials of having you enter their closely controlled workspace to gawp in wonder. Soon the day will come when we’re little more than slaves to the occasional “bing” of an alarm denoting your need to fulfil one of the ever diminishing acts that an automated system can’t perform for itself. This final act of indignity will be the last vestige of self-worth we mortals are allowed before our silicon based progeny finally expunge us from existence….

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