After losing a hose on my hydroponic setup and having the plants nearly die, the plants made quite a recovery!  I chopped them down yesterday at the end of week 10 of flower.  They got a full 70 days of LED glory!  First, I remove all the shade leaves and the larger sugar leaves. (Sugar leaves are the leaves which are not fully protruding from the bud.  They are named for the fact that they usually have trichomes covering them at the end nearest to the bud.  Trichomes are the name for the crystals that cover the buds.)

rhiza nova harvest bud



At this stage, I prefer to leave them attached to the branches if it is feasible.  After that, I set my buds in a drying rack.  Next, I leave them in the drying rack until they have no obvious moisture left to them.  This usually takes about a week in my coastal Southern California climate.  Your time will vary depending on the level of humidity in your space.  When drying the buds, I recommend using the air so that you don’t dry them too quickly.  If the air in your drying area is over 50% humidity, this may not be an option for you.  In that case, I recommend drying in a space with a programmable dehumidifier that is set to 50% humidity and closely monitoring the situation.  There are professional products to help speed along drying times, but the ones that I have found to do so effectively are very expensive humidor like devices.  For me, it’s not worth it, but your results may vary.  Once the buds appear to have little give to them when squeezed, it is time to put them into glass jars.  You can also break any stems that are still attached to buds to test their readiness for the jars.  If the stem snaps clean and easily, they are ready.  Before you put the buds into the jars, trimming is necessary.  To trim, you will use scissors to cut off the leaves protruding from the buds.  You will follow the natural contours of the buds, but you want to make sure you get all the leaves and achieve a uniform non-textured surface.

Drying rack

the cure

I use half gallon size Ball jars.  Regular plastic is not suitable for curing because it is not an oxygen barrier.  That’s why you can often easily smell cannabis through a plastic bag.  I have heard that there are advanced polymers that can be used for this purpose, but as of the time of writing, there is nothing I can recommend other than glass.  To check the humidity, you’ll want to buy a cheap hygrometer or two.  I have a few that were designed for small cigar box sized humidors, and they work very well.  Take all the buds off the stems and place them in the jars, sealing them in with the hygrometers.  A couple hours after they are sealed, check the hygrometers.  If they are over 65% humidity, you will want to burp the jar.  In this case, burp means to open the jar to let some of the humidity out and some fresh air in.  If the humidity goes over 70%, you might want to consider giving the buds an extra day to dry on the rack.  You don’t want the buds to get below 55% humidity.   This is because there are bacteria that exists naturally within the buds that eats chlorophyll. (Chlorophyll is the natural chemical in the plant that it uses to produce its energy, FYI.)  The sun hits the chlorophyll in the leaves, and the plant uses that light to turn its nutrients into usable forms.  Think of it sort of like how we digest our food and use it to build muscle, bone, etc.  Unfortunately, once the plant is chopped down, the only thing chlorophyll does is give it a grassy smell and taste. We want the chlorophyll gone, and the bacteria that eats the chlorophyll dies if the humidity in the bud gets too low.  This is why your buds will smell and taste grassy unless they are properly cured.  CURING PROPERLY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR GROW.


curing jars

f your cure is not done properly, the taste will be grassy or moldy.  Too much humidity in the jars, and mold will happen.  Too little, and the bacteria that eat the chlorophyll will die, and the cannabis will be stuck with a grassy/green taste.  If you hold it for 2-5 weeks in jars between 55% and 65% humidity while burping the jars every few days, the only aromas and flavors that remain will be those of the terpenes.  Those are the substance in the plant which give it its smell.  They can be citrusy, piney, or the familiar skunky smells, but there are many more.  Once you achieve the desired smell, you are finished, and you can enjoy the delicious tasting fruits of your labor!


Aquaponics: Design Considerations

While our product (from our cannabis grow) is curing after our demo of Rhiza Nova Great Grass, I wanted to start talking about Rhiza Nova’s aquaponics applications.

We have received several inquiries from commercial aquaculture operations as well as related inquiries from potential retail partners. While we have tons of data regarding Rhiza Nova’s benefits in this area, none of that information has been first hand before now. There are several aquaponics design considerations that we had to deal with on this project, and we will cover those here. Some specific details of results will be covered in a later article.

Goldfish in our first aquaponics project

DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert in this area but will be speaking about my general understanding and personal experience. If anyone finds that I have misunderstood a key concept, I would ask that you email me at with any suggested edits. The last thing I want is to spread wrong information.

To give ourselves a better understanding of how our bacteria would have a positive impact on fish and plants, we set out to design a small-scale aquaponics garden. We routinely conduct in-house experiments using 10-gallon aquariums, so we used that figure as our starting point.

Given my 10-gallon aquarium, I considered the following:

  1. Grow media volume
  2. Grow media area
  3. Vertical grow height (for my own space requirements)
  4. System type (NFT, E&F, DWC)
  5. Stocking density

Grow Media volume

Depending on the type of system you have, this could be called bio filter volume. (Spoiler Alert: I went with an ebb and flow using hydrotron. I’ll go into the wherefores later.) The bio filter is where the all the beneficial bacteria (and/or fungus) are going to live. While your grow beds will also act as a mechanical filter removing fish waste solids and uneaten food, this is also where the ammonia in your reservoir will be converted into nitrites and nitrates.

I could not find a simple equation that would tell me the correct volume of grow media for my size aquarium, so I had to break the ones I did find down to the lowest common denominator. Anyone can feel free to check my math, but so far this is working out very well:

Where Grow Volume is Gv, Gv=1ft3/10gal

This basically means that you need the equivalent of 1 cubic foot of grow media (1ftx1ftx1ft) for every 10 gallons of aquarium water.

Grow Media Area

If one were to create a system with 10 gallons of fish juice and a grow bed that was 1ftx1ftx1ft, there would not actually be enough plants to remove the nitrates from the water.

In a system of this size, nitrification and nitrate buildups (and pH swings and CO2 depletion and…) can/do happen surprisingly fast. I had the same issue finding a good equivalence for grow area as I did for filter volume. Again, feel free to let me know if you find something grossly out of order here:

Where Grow Area is Ga, Ga=3ft2/10gal

I wound up with 3.6ft2 of Grow Area. The weird figure is due entirely to the availability of cheap containers on Amazon…take your highbrow judgements somewhere else.

Vertical Grow Height

I opted for a tower formation (Amazon 5 rack shelf) wherein the aquarium sits on the lowest level and pumps water to the top grow bed once ever 6 minutes. I made some modified bell siphons for each bed and timed the pump with an outlet timer.

If you’re not familiar with how a bell siphon works, here’s a quick video to demonstrate:

I can fit plenty of plants in four shallow grow beds, and they seem to keep the nitrates at a safe level so far. I do have to stick to plants that grow shorter than 13in, as that is about where the next rack starts.


Aquaponics grow beds with bulkheads


Red Romaine

Stocking Density

While some knowledge of aquarium mechanics is necessary, these fish are not living for free. They provide the base material needed for beneficial bacteria to make fertilizer for your plants. There is no way that I have yet devised to make an aquaponics system of this size double as a producer of fish for food, though that was a consideration in the beginning.

Stocking density in a standard hobby aquarium is about 1in of fish per gallon. Since the system is primarily designed to be a garden, the requirements are different.

Fish excrete ammonia in two ways:
  • Gills
  • Waste

To have enough ammonia to make enough nitrite, to make enough nitrate (to live in the house that Jack built) to feed your plants, the stocking density needs to be somewhere around 1 pound of fish (have fun with that math) per 8-10gallons.

I went with Goldfish for two reasons…cost and hardiness. I had an aquarium when I was a kid, but I was afraid that repeating that holocaust would put me on some kind of list. As my patience and sense have increased proportional to my age and good looks, I reasoned I would have greater success.

Goldfish will survive a greater variance in pH than some fish. I expected and observed swings on a couple of occasions without any loss of life. Right now, I am at .25lbs of Goldfish (I weighed them if you’re curious), and since I cycled the system before adding the fish everything is going very well.


I realize some of the terms in this post may be unfamiliar to some readers. I will be following up with some more detailed posts for people interested in trying this out very shortly.


“During week 5, we had a hose pop off the ebb and flow controller.  Fortunately, I caught it before any of the plants died, and the hose pushed off the controller and fell back into the reservoir.”

growing from good to great
Photo from week 5

miraculous recovery

week 7 photo 

We are now beginning week 7(day 43 of flower), and there have been some unexpected occurrences. During week 5, we had a hose pop off the ebb and flow controller.  Fortunately, I caught it before any of the plants died, and the hose pushed off the controller and fell back into the reservoir. 

I could have had a mess to clean up and a bunch of dead plants.  The Jet Fuel/G7 crosses continued their stretch into the 5th week.  I have never experienced anything like this.  It roughly tripled during stretch.  I had to keep cutting it back because it grew up to the light and the limits of the cabinet.  This did not make the plant happy.

Great Grass

Great Grass Crystal Garden Week 7

A growing problem

I had to keep cutting it back because it grew up to the light and the limits of the cabinet…

On top of this, the 2 Jet Fuel/G7 crosses experienced the water deprivation within a couple days after I gave them one last cutback.  The combination of this and the final cutback sent one of the plants into shock.  It has now recovered, but it lost about half of its leaves.  The second one was impacted, but not nearly as much.  The two Fast Cherry Pie phenos were impacted a bit, but they were so far into flower and I caught the hose problem early enough that they were minimally impacted. 

A few days after the water incident, I discovered that I had a spider mite infestation. I cranked up the CO2 in the cabinet overnight to over 10,000 ppm (See warning below) for the dark cycle, and by the next time the light turned on, the spider mites were dead.  I will need to repeat the process in a few days to kill any new hatchlings, but for now, all is good again.  Fast Cherry Pie are so far into flower that they are relatively unaffected.  Pest control is an important part of any grow, and it is important to be proactive.  I usually make sure to make a foliar spray of SM-90, and during veg, I spray the entire plant lightly twice a week.  The entire cycle, I spray this SM-90 foliar spray on the top layer of hydroton in my buckets.

This protective layer discourages various root bugs, just like dousing the leaves helps to prevent future problems with molds, fungi, or bugs.  Once flowers appear, I cease all pesticide activity on the plants, save the occasional use of Green Cure to spot treat any powdery mildew that may arise towards the end of the flower cycle.  The nice think about running CO2 in a system that is relatively sealed is that CO2 if one of the best pesticide free ways to combat bugs, but YOU MUST EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION.  WARNING: CO2 at the levels that kill bugs are also not healthy for humans and can result in injury or death if proper precautions are not taken.  Remember that this is only to be done in a sealed room/cabinet that can be ventilated to outside.  If at any point you begin to feel lightheaded, get outside.  I give the grow room 12 hours of elevated CO2 levels with the ventilation turned off while the lights are out.  This process is repeated a few days later to make sure to get any eggs that may have hatched after the last CO2 treatment.  In spite of everything, the Fast Cherry Pie is looking great.  The Jet Fuel/G7, despite being an Indica dominant hybrid with tight internodal spacing, is not very well suited for a grow cabinet.  In the future, I would choose a different pheno, especially with the Fast Cherry Pie, which has proven to be a fast grower. 

An update from week 8:

We had all but written off the possibility of a full recovery of the Jet Fuel/G7. The loss of irrigation for 12 hours right after a massive trim job at a critical stage of growth can be devastating. 

It appears that dosing the plants with Rhiza Nova Great Grass has given all four plants more than enough vigor to bounce back. This is going to be a massive harvest. 

Primary Nutrient Price Comparison
Total Cost for 25 Gallon reservoir

We’ve decided to examine the costs of the following popular feeding regimens:

Jack’s Professional Hydroponics, General Hydroponics Flora Series (Lucas HID), Fox Farm.”

Is your nutrient schedule costing you too much?

We believe anything worth doing is worth doing right…but the right way doesn’t have to be the most expensive.

In fact, we recently started our own packaging operation and will be announcing some serious price cuts to our own product very soon. In the meantime, we thought a look at some of the other costs associated with hydroponic growing would be helpful to those of you who are serious about home growing.

We’ve decided to examine the costs of the following popular feeding regimens:

Jack’s Professional Hydroponics

General Hydroponics Flora Series (Lucas HID)

Fox Farm 

see for yourself

Full disclosure: We use the Jack’s Hydro regimen listed in the graphic. We have no professional relationship with Jack’s, we just love great results without spending a lot of money.

I’m linking each product so you can see for yourself.

JACK’S 3-2-1

Jack’s Professional Hydroponic (3 grams)

Cost per gallon:  $0.02(1.85 cents per gallon)


Jack’s Calcium Nitrate (2 grams)

Cost per gallon:  $0.01(0.95 cents per gallon)


Epsom Salt (1 gram)

Cost per gallon:  Less than $0.01(0.54 cents per gallon)

General Hydroponics Flora Series (Lucas Formula HID)


FloraBloom(16 ml)

Cost per gallon: $0.08 (7.75 cents per gallon)



Cost per gallon: $0.04 (4.23 cents per gallon)

Fox Farm (average use across the entire cycle according to the official feeding schedule for hydro)


Big Bloom (17.08ml)

Cost per gallon: $0.14 (14.23 cents per gallon)


Grow Big (9.58ml)

Cost per gallon: $0.10 (10.33 cents per gallon)


Tiger Bloom (3.33ml)

Cost per gallon: $0.04 (3.52 cents per gallon)

Let us know what you think by filling out our contact form!

Until next time…have a great grow!


growing from good to great

Growing from good to great

flower stage: week 2

When I had the lights on 18 hours a day and off for 6, that caused the plant to continue to grow larger.  This is called vegetative growth.  Usually that phase lasts 3-4 weeks for indoor growers.  Once I am done with that, I adjust the plant to equal length 12-hour days and nights.  This tricks the plant into thinking winter is coming since the day drastically shortens.  Then, it makes one final push to get bigger. This is commonly referred to as The Stretch

The Stretch lasts about 2 weeks, and small buds begin to appear. When growing cannabis, growth is commonly tracked by the week of your light cycle rather than the overall week.  For example, I flipped my lights to flower on February 6, which was 13 days ago. This means I am in week 2 of Flower.

Canopy management is important, especially at this phase of the grow. Canopy management is a term for pruning, and training techniques that can be utilized to increase your final yield. The undergrowth that gets little light will make lots of flowers that just suck resources and aren’t worthwhile. If you strip those buds and leaves, they will redirect the resources to what remains, and you’ll gain more weight in your final product.

An extreme version of this is called lollipopping. This is where all but the top most portions of each branch are left to receive the now ample light.  Lollipopping is not recommended for beginners, because it is difficult to know when you are taking too much off without experience.  Taking too much can send the plant into shock, which can stunt or delay bud production, or even kill the plant. Experience will tell you which buds will grow, and which can be safely removed.


Topping, and

seas of green

Topping is a common technique to redirect plant growth outward.  To top a plant, you pinch the top node or two (the COLA) a couple of inches down on the stem. Do not remove it. What you’re trying to accomplish is a squeezing of the stem.  When this happens, the plant redirects growth outwards.  This can be very helpful for filling in dead space between plants, as they will naturally attempt to grow up towards the light first and foremost. When utilizing this technique while inoculating your plants with Rhiza Nova: Part I, you’re going to notice the plant is very tough to pinch when compared to plants grown in sterile reservoir.



week 2 flower


Other commonly utilized techniques are SOG and SCROGSOG stands for Sea of Green.  This is the most commonly utilized technique for indoor gardening.  Electricity in California is expensive, so maximizing your yield in the shortest amount of time is important.  SOG has you grow lots of smaller plants rather than a few big ones, and saves lots of time spent in veg, which is the most energy intensive phase of the grow.  Therefore, most indoor growers only do a 3-4 week veg cycle.  SCROG is a modification of SOG.  It stands for Screen of Green.  In this technique, you utilize the SOG techniques, but with a lattice like net which helps to support the heavy buds you will be producing.  This is a good technique to combine with topping, as the outward growth really helps you fill in that net.  Sometimes, a second net may become necessary or advisable depending on how much your plants grow beyond the first net. 

Most growers agree that it is crucial to get your canopy management done before the end of the stretch.  Once you get beyond this time frame, the plant does not handle any further pruning well.  It is said by many that any pruning you do beyond the stretch takes away significantly from your flower production.  When the plant exits the stretch, it begins to put all its resources into flower production.  The plant does not tolerate any injury well at this point, including pruning.

Nutrients and additives like Rhiza Nova are very important to a successful grow, but there are a lot of techniques available to get your grown from Good to Great! We recommend beginners stick to a simple nutrient regimen like Jack’s 3-2-1 or Mad Farmer, supplemented with a nitrogen and carbon fixing microbe like Rhiza Nova: Part I. Keeping your feeding formula simple will give you one less thing to worry about while you gain experience in canopy management and can save a lot of frustration. Remember that the result should leave everyone involved super chill and not stressed out and annoyed.




Since beginning our testing of Rhiza Nova on cannabis, we have discovered some differences between how it reacts versus how our traditional agricultural crops reacted in earlier tests. The other crops (tomatoes, lettuce, alfalfa, etc.) could only tolerate 25% of normal nutrients, so I began testing with this amount. The cannabis responded with slow growth. After the first week of slow growth, I upped the dose of nutrients to 75% of normal, and when that was tolerated well, I gave them the full strength dose at the beginning of week 3. They have been absolutely thriving!

Also nice is the water savings. Using Rhiza Nova instead of running a sterile system has meant that I now have the ability to simply top off the water. The Rhiza Nova acts as a natural barrier for harmful bacteria. All I have to do is add a quarter teaspoon of molasses once a week to feed them, and they keep everything else at bay. No need to change the water weekly to keep the reservoir safe!

Another adjustment I decided to make was to increase the CO2 enrichment and temperature. The CO2 enrichment was boosted from 900ppm to 1300ppm. This was done so that the plants could tolerate a higher temperature. Cannabis plants do not like temperatures above 85°F (29°C) because their metabolism starts to run faster than they can breathe. Think of it like being winded from jogging. If they are exposed to high temperatures for long periods, they need extra CO2, which is what plants breathe, just as people breathe oxygen.  Once they can catch their breath, they can grow faster and stronger without stress. 

I boosted the temperature because the light was producing extra heat, which I had been fighting by exhausting the grow space frequently.  The sensors were cooling the cabinet every time it hit 85°F(29°C) during the “day.”  This was causing the fans to run nearly constantly.  Now, fans running all the time is not a bad thing, but since a grower friend had such success with his own minor adjustments, I decided to follow suit.  Now, my garden will be at 92°F(33°C), and thanks to the extra CO2, each one will be able to grow at a full sprint without losing their breath. 

Note:  My experience is that CO2 loses its effectiveness in the last 4 weeks of the flowering stage.  I typically cut it out at this point.  Some growers swear there are minute differences simply by using CO2 all the way through, while others feel that it is a waste of money after you are done with vegetative growth.  Do your own research and experiment. 

First time grower tip:  Less is more.  Start out simple, and make changes slowly.  Remember that this plant grows on its own in the wild, and it only needs small bits of help from you to go from okay to great. 


water reduction

It is generally agreed that water conservation is important where possible. It should be noted that while people can reduce water usage, both plants and people need a minimum amount of water to survive.

Areas highlighted for water conservation are familiar to just about everyone…Shorter showers, low flow toilets, and reduction in lawn irrigation. The logic of these areas is basically sound. A shorter shower can still get you clean. A low flow toilet can still remove waste (individual results may vary ?).

A reduction of lawn irrigation, however; will kill your grass if you cross the minimum threshold your landscaping needs to survive. What’s a boy (or girl) to do? We can agree that, given a choice, the priority must be given to human water needs over that of grass…right?

There are some options for people who want nice landscaping while recognizing this priority. Hardscaping/Desertscaping pictured here has been popular in the American Southwest for years. These landscapes are beautiful, but often grass less. Is there a way to be a responsible neighbor, save money, and keep your grass? The answer to all three is: YES!


© Ameret 2018


The ingredients in Rhiza Nova Complete Concentrate increase the efficiency of nutrient uptake in plants by breaking down the carbon, nitrogen, and essential minerals plants need. The carbon and nitrogen are then captured inside living microbes that the plants then absorb through root stoma. Since they are already “digested” when they get to your landscaping, energy the plant generates through photosynthesis doesn’t get spent “digesting” these elements. The other minerals (Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, and Potassium) are chelated in the soil by the humic and fulvic acid of Rhiza Nova. Chelation is a necessary process that occurs in soil to make certain minerals “processable” by plants.

Pictured left are two Aerogarden Bounty Wifi’s. I used the cherry tomato seed pods that come standard with Aerogardens. On the right is the garden using Rhiza Nova microbes. On the left is a garden without. Both are receiving the same nutrient regimen and both have water added whenever the Aerogarden control indicates a low water level. As you can see, the Rhiza Nova garden uses about 40% less water. It should also be noted that the nutrient dosage needed to be drastically reduced as well, probably due to a high concentration of nutrients building up with the reduced water usage.

These 8 tomato plants have 90% of their root growth bathed in water 24/7. Yet the 4 plants inoculated with Rhiza Nova are only taking water they need based on their maximum threshold.

A lawn of grass generally needs 620 gallons per 1000 ft², often 2 or 3 times a week.  That’s as much as 7440 gallons a month! That’s not my number so I’ve placed links to independent sites here and here.

Imagine there was something you could do to get that number down to 2200 gallons a month (33% of what is normally needed), or lower depending on the rainfall in your area. Now you can with Rhiza Nova Complete Concentrate. 32oz concentrate bottles should last all summer, saving as much as 15,000 gallons in irrigation cost throughout the season…without upending your entire yard, or hogging precious resources.


This may sound revolutionary, but that’s only because it is.





© Ameret 2018

“Failure to cut your nutrient dosage while using these microbes will cause severe stress on your crops.”

you say you want a REVOLUTION…


For our first cannabis demonstration we are going to be growing 2 Jet Fuel G7 (Bio-Diesel x Aspen OG from 303 Seeds) and 2 Fast Cherry Pie(Cherry Pie x Unknown Indica).

We have a metal filing cabinet (2 ft x 3 ft x 7 ft) that has been retrofitted as a grow cabinet.  Reflective Mylar® walls, intake and exhaust fans to control the temperature and humidity, and even carbon filters for the smell. 

We utilize a small ebb and flow hydroponics system with a 12 gallon reservoir, using a newer Greentrees Hydroponics brain and buckets with 3/4” tubing.  Hydroton is our grow medium of choice.  LED lighting is what we prefer, specifically the SolarSystem® 550 from California Lightworks with a programmable and customi(zable spectrum controller.  CO2 is introduced via a Titan regulator (Titan Controls®) and an Autopilot Greenhouse Master Controller, used to automatically controls the humidity and temperature. 

For nutrients, I use Jack’s 3-2-1 (thank you Capulator from along with a proprietary mix of extras, and of course Rhiza Nova, available soon from Nature Works. The Rhiza Nova Part 1 beneficial microbes fix carbon and nitrogen from the available nutrients so your plants don’t have to. This increases the efficiency of the plant tremendously. That means your plants don’t use as much water (up to 40% less!), and don’t need as many nutrients.

This is where we add a very important warning:





We are starting by cutting nutrients by 50% and stepping up dosage as necessary. This increase should be VERY GRADUAL, all while monitoring closely for stress

We don’t want you to take our word for it…We want you to try it for yourself!

The nutrients and dosages are listed as follows:

Jack’s Hydroponics nutrients ~ 3 Tbsp

Calcium Nitrate ~ 2 Tbsp

Epsom Salts ~ 1 Tbsp

Superthrive B-1 ~ 50 ml

Fulvics (.1%) ~ 90 ml

Dry, soluble cold pressed kelp ~ ½ cup

Note that the amount of Jack’s Hydro, Calcium Nitrate, and Epsom Salts are 25% the recommended dose for a 12 gallon system. This is NECESSARY because of the 24oz of Rhiza Nova Part 1 added at the beginning.

Try cutting your nutrients that much with any other nutrient or additive…or try it with Rhiza Nova.

Email to get a gallon today, and join the Second Agricultural Revolution! We have a no questions asked return policy if you aren’t 100% satisfied.

WHEN you decide you love it, give us your feedback and get your next gallon on us!

There is no downside to try. ENLIST Today!