Original Research by SGS – Green Energy Horticulture: Efficiency & Sustainability for Indoor Cannabis Cultivation

Original Research by SGS – Green Energy Horticulture: Efficiency & Sustainability for Indoor Cannabis Cultivation

The cannabis industry is booming and isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. Indoor cultivation is becoming common practice as the industry continues to evolve. With this, comes massive energy consumption and environmental implications. When compared to outdoor or greenhouse cultivation, indoor cannabis production requires an enormous amount of energy. A majority of this energy consumption comes from lighting and HVAC systems (38% and 51%, respectively).

Growers can reduce their carbon footprint and save on operating costs by transitioning to more environmentally friendly growing methods. Smart Grow Systems (SGS) has designed one of the most energy efficient systems in the world of cannabis cultivation today: growing sea of green in mobile, vertical racks with direct current powered LEDs. This system focuses on saving energy, space, time and money. Ultimately, the Smart Grow System is paving the way for a more sustainable future in cannabis production.

Many growers have converted from traditional lighting methods to the use of light emitting diodes (LEDs). Growers have traditionally used high pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) lights. LEDs have many benefits when it comes to growing cannabis. They have the ability to create customized spectrums tailored to various phases in the grow cycle. This allows active photonic energy (PAR light) to be delivered to plants, stimulating growth and photosynthesis. LEDs have a smaller thermal output when compared to their HPS or MH counterpart, and are 50% more energy efficient on average. For example, a 500 watt LED light can replace a 1,000 watt HPS in a flower room. However, savings go beyond just transitioning to LEDs. The way in which lights are powered will make a considerable difference in energy savings and heat production.

Most grow lights are powered with alternating current (AC) drivers. Smart Grow Systems uses direct current (DC) drivers which can extend up to 300 feet away from the light source. On the other hand, AC drivers can extend only about 12-15 feet away. Ultimately, this means that AC drivers will have to be placed adjacent to lights. This creates an excessive amount of heat in the grow room, as well as around the plants. Using DC drivers that extend hundreds of feet away allows growers to redirect heat out of the room. Not only does this reduce the need for HVAC systems, but it makes vertical farming a more feasible option. DC power also has significant advantages when it comes to amperage. Take a look at the table below outlining the differences between HPS, standard LEDs and Smart Grow System’s LEDs.

Vertical farming maximizes canopy area and yield per square foot. Vertical racks can be used for both the propagation and flower phases. Furthermore, using mobile, vertical racking systems can increase canopy area by up to three to four times (depending on the number of levels are used). Mobile racks also create one giant PAR map when they are pushed together. This will ensure even light distribution, leading to more consistent and high quality yields. Though many factors contribute the the overall efficiency of a grow, DC power is arguably the biggest technological shift in vertical farming.

Sea of green is the last component to the Smart Grow System, in addition to DC powered LED lights in mobile, vertical racks. Growing a large quantity of small plants will utilize vertical rack space most efficiently. Smaller sized plants require less water, space and time to grow. Thus, making sea of green a more environmentally friendly alternative. The sea of green application partners best with the living soil package: a light NPK soil with The Original CHO feeding regimen (zero drain to waste). Many growers have seen overall increases in yield and THC percentage when using a sea of green, living soil growing method. The Smart Grow System offers simplicity, savings and sustainability. The future of growing cannabis is green!

Eye Protection for Indoor Growers

Eye Protection for Indoor Growers

Indoor farming requires high levels of full spectrum LED light, in turn, increased levels of UV light. Without the right eye protection, an increase in UV light can create damage to a grower’s vision. The greater the amount of light the more likely the grower will experience vision wash-out and tired eyes resulting in diminished crop observations. In commercial growing industries, high exposure to UV rays can become a health and safety concern.

The main reason to use grow room glasses is the irreparable damage it does to your eyes. It’s not noticeable right away, but comes on gradually. Different UV light causes various types of damage to the eyes. UVA causes cataracts, UVB causes eye burns. UVC causes eye burns as well, according to Washington University. Another good reason to use grow room glasses is that most workers who spend much of their time in greenhouses need protection as required by the OSHA safety standards.

The LED lights emit UV rays which are capable of damaging vision. You, therefore, need these glasses to eliminate any damage to your eyes. An additional benefit is to be able to see the actual color of the plant to find problems such as with insects like spider mites or root aphids.

“Oh to be young again” is a cliche used by many people over 30. Never more true than with growers who have neglected wearing LED eye protection when working their grows. This brings us to the quest for the best protective eyewear which is the ‘focus’ of this review.

We will be looking at 3 brands and their models of LED protective eyewear, paying close attention to multiple factors:
– How much protection do they provide
– Color or true color visible
– Price
– Where to purchase

According to the Grow Room Glasses review by Sensi Garden, Method Seven, Apollo and VivoSun were the top three rated.

METHOD SEVEN

Recommended for this company:
Operator LED Plus  75.00

Features:
100% protection UVA, UVB, UVC
True color

Pros:
100% protection UVA, UVB, UVC
Color correcting without a distorted view
Silver coating on lens to provide a reflective surface against any light
Includes Styles to fit over prescription glasses
Comfortable fit reported
Cons:
One of the higher cost UV protective glasses

Other Method Seven models:
Agent 939 LEDfx 120.00
Cultivator LED Plus+ 75.00
Operator LED Plus 75.00
Classic LED Clip-on 50.00 – ideal to go over prescription glasses

Method Seven growroom glasses can be purchased directly from the Method Seven website.

 

APOLLO

Recommended for this company:
UV400  13.99

Features:
100% protection UVA, UVB
Pros:
100% protection UVA, UVB
Cost effective
Comfortable fit reported
Available on Amazon
Cons:
Not color correcting

Other Apollo models:

Apollo Horticulture AHFR-Cultivator  13.99
Apollo Horticulture Grow Room Over Glasses  13.99
Apollo Horticulture UV400 LED  13.99

You can purchase Apollo grow room glasses from Amazon

VivoSun

Recommended for this company:
Indoor LED with glasses case  16.99

Features:
Block UVA & UVB rays
Wrap-around lens design provides close-to-the-face protection and superior coverage
Not color correcting

Pros:
Nice wrap around frame with lens covering side
Lower price
Meets ANSI Z87+ and CSA Z94.3 safety standards
Offers 180 degrees of distortion-free, unobstructed vision
Block UVA & UVB rays, alleviates glare
Cons:
Not color correcting


Other VivoSun models:
LED Grow Room Over Prescription Glasses with case UV400  11.99

You can purchase VivoSun grow glasses through Amazon

You may, at first glance, search for glasses that look the best on you. However, the most important thing you should focus on when looking for growroom glasses is the maximum amount of UV protection. The light must shine through the glasses first, so make sure the lens wrap around the side some to keep the light from shining in through the side of your eyes. There are studies that prove a large amount of ocular damage is caused by UV light reflected off the backside of poorly fit UV-blocking glasses.

Once you’ve found the perfect pair, be sure to buy two. This will provide you an extra set on hand to allow someone to use to look at your grow or help you with a second set of hands. This will also give you a backup pair should you accidentlly leave yours at home.

Make a habit of wearing them every time you walk in by hanging them next to the door. They won’t do you any good just hanging there.

Now that you have this issue covered, you can “focus” on bigger and better things – like being able to clearly see the details of your grow.

References:

https://www.ehs.washington.edu/radiation/non-ionizing-radiation-safety

http://blog.phillips-safety.com/indoor-gardening-best-practices-led-grow-room-glasses/

https://www.maximumyield.com/eye-care-growroom/2/1458

Grow Room Glasses Review: The Best on the Market !

 

 

Original Research by SGS — The Future of Growing: Sugars

Original Research by SGS — The Future of Growing: Sugars

For as long as we can remember, chemical and synthetic fertilizers have been used for agricultural practices. While the major components of fertilizers are essential for plant development and growth, there have been environmental repercussions from using excess heavy salts and minerals in our soil.

Eutrophication and greenhouse gas emissions are just a few examples. Soil salinity also greatly impacts seed development, plant growth and health.

A plant’s dry weight is made up of 96.6% carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The remaining 3.4% is made up of salts such as nitrogen phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur and other trace minerals. Sugars are synthesized within the plant through photosynthesis. These sugars are crucial to carrying out metabolic and biologic processes such as cell signaling and gene expression. In addition, research has shown that applying exogenous sugar sources to plants helps fight off harmful pests and can increase total leaf area.

Salts and minerals can easily reach toxic levels in soil and plants. It would take an extreme and rare case for carbon, hydrogen and oxygen to reach toxicity. Excess sugars will get stored as starch or transported to soil to be utilized.

SGS Original Research, Published October 31, 2018

The Future of Growing: Sugars

Fertilizer is Not Plant Food, Plant Food is Sugars

Smart Grow Systems has developed an incredibly user friendly nutrient regimen system using The Original CHO. The Original CHO is a USDA certified biobased product designed to make the growing process simple, while giving your plants the exact ratio of sugars to salts that they need. Biobased products are derived purely from plant materials. They also eliminate the use of petroleum. Petroleum products are harsh on our environment and human health.

The Original CHO should be used in combination with a light soil mixture. Throughout each phase of the grow cycle, the feeding schedule stays roughly the same. This makes the growing process much simpler and reduces risk for human error. The CHO feeding regimen aims to keep plants in an aerobic state, making them less prone to disease and pathogens. Growing with a light soil mixture and The Original CHO has also yielded positive results. Cannabis plants grown with the CHO feeding regimen resulted in increased dry mass (by 20%), THC and CBD content in comparison to plants grown with a standard NPK fertilizer.

To remedy environmental impacts created over the years, we need to shift towards active sugar based feeding methods and eliminate the excess use of heavy fertilizers. Fertilizers are not plant food, plant food is sugar.

Original Research by SGS – Importance of Spectrum

Original Research by SGS – Importance of Spectrum

Importance of Spectrum: Indoor Cannabis Sea of Green Cultivation

Original Research by SGS through Research Team member Haley Bishoff

Smart Grow Technologies is proud to announce our newest white paper launch. This research contains the most current scientific information on the importance of spectrum when using the Sea of Green (SOG) method from beginning to end, clone to harvest.

 

Abstract:

The importance of cultivating indoor cannabis using full-spectrum LED lights that mimic the sun’s quantum response area of the visible light spectrum. Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density(PPFD), carbon dioxide (CO2) and temperature levels are the main variables that contribute to the rate of photosynthesis. Plants react to a range of photonic energy, between 400-700 anometers (nm). When cultivating indoor cannabis, there are two main phases: propagation and flowering. Both phases require full spectrum, while propagation needs higher blue light and flowering needs higher levels of orange and red light. Green light helps drive photosynthesis, specifically in the lower leaves of plants. The Sea of Green method focuses on growing a larger quantity of smaller plants, while traditional growers cultivate a small number of large plants.

Smart Grow Systems provides highly engineered LED, full spectrum lights for the propagation and flowering phases of the grow cycle. For standard size cannabis plants, 1,500 μmol m-2 s-1 PPFD at 25-30 C has shown to contribute to an optimal rate of photosynthesis during the last few weeks of the flower cycle. For Sea of Green, indoor growing conditions of 1,100 μmol mm-2 s-1 PPFD at 25-26 C exhibit the highest rate of photosynthesis during the last few weeks of the flower cycle.

More details at:
https://smartgrow.systems/plant-light-dli-calculator/

Differences in Pollinated, Hybrid, Heirloom and GMO Seeds

Differences in Pollinated, Hybrid, Heirloom and GMO Seeds

Today, seeds are bred in only one of three ways: 1. in a pollinated environment, 2. through a hybrid cross, and 3. through direct DNA modification in a lab. Let’s look at each one.

HYBRID SEEDS – HEIRLOOM SEEDS – GMO SEEDS

Hybrid Seeds. Heirloom seeds. Genetically-modified (GM) seeds. These labels can be confusing to people. Farmers and gardeners have been cross-breeding seeds for thousands of years. It’s a rather common thought by government agencies and industry companies that “GMOs are perfectly safe”. This is not true and it’s time to get our facts straight!

HYBRID SEEDS: WHAT ARE THEY?

Using selective breeding, farmers and gardeners have been cultivating new plant varieties for thousands of years. This was done by cross-pollinating two different, but related plants over 6 to 10 plant generations, eventually creating a new plant variety.

Patience during the process is hard, but rewarding. By selectively cross-pollinating related plants in this way, farmers could create varieties that were healthier and stood up to the farmer’s micro-climate — their soil, their weather patterns, their predatory insects.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Darwin and Mendel found a method of controlled crossing that can create these desired traits within just one generation. This method produces F1 hybrid seeds. These hybrid seeds are just as natural as their historic counterparts; they’re still cross-pollinating two different, but related plants.

HYBRID SEEDS: THE CONSEQUENCES

The biggest disadvantage of hybrid seeds is that they don’t reproduce the same in the second generation. If seeds produced by F1 hybrid plants are saved and planted, the plant variety that grows from those 2nd generation seeds may or may not share the desired traits you selected for when creating the first generation hybrid seed.

When two dissimilar varieties are crossed, the result is a hybrid which will often be bigger, brighter, faster-growing or higher-yielding than either of its parents, which is the idea behind it. Subsequent generations don’t have the same vigour or uniformity. Don’t save seeds from it, you just throw them away and buy more to start the next crop. This will set you back some when buying new seeds, but the seed companies make money on them and consequently gain increasing control of what we buy and grow.

There may not be anything inherently wrong with this process, however it does keep you dependent on seed companies year after year since you can’t save your seeds and expect the next generation you grow to be identical to the first. While this may be a small nuisance to a home gardener, it can be devastating to subsistence farmers around the world.

In fact, according to an article in Small Footprint Family, this is exactly what happened. When the peasant farmers grew these new hybrids, they were indeed more productive, even though they required more fertilizer and water. But when they collected and saved the seed for replanting the next season—as they had done for generations and generations—none of it grew true to the parent crop, little food grew, and these poor farmers, having none of their open-pollinated traditional varieties left viable, had no choice but to go back to the big companies to purchase the hybrid seeds again for planting year after year.

U.S. companies like Cargill intentionally disrupted the traditional cycle of open-pollinated seed saving and self-sufficiency to essentially force entire nations to purchase their seeds, and the agricultural chemicals required to grow them. Most of these poor subsistence farmers never had to pay for seed before, and could not afford the new hybrid seeds, or the new petrochemical fertilizers they required, and were forced to sell their farms and migrate to the cities for work. This is how the massive, infamous slums of India, Latin America, and other developing countries were created.

By the 1990s an estimated 95% of all farmers in the First World and 40% of all farmers in the Third World were using Green Revolution hybrid seeds, with the greatest use found in Asia, followed by Mexico and Latin America. The world lost an estimated 75 percent of its food biodiversity, and control over seeds shifted from farming communities to a handful of multinational corporations.

Heirloom Seeds

How experts define heirlooms can vary, but typically they are at least 50 years old, and are often pre-WWII varieties. Most heirlooms come from seed that has been handed down for generations in a particular region or area, hand-selected by gardeners for a special trait. Others may have been developed by a university a long time ago (again, at least 50 years), in the early days of commercial breeding. All heirloom vegetables are open-pollinated, which means they’re pollinated by insects or wind without human intervention. In addition, they tend to remain stable in their characteristics from one year to the next.

Genetically Modified Crops: should we be worried?

Genetically modified (GM) crops are produced through a procedure involving transgene insertion plus tissue culture. This is a highly mutagenic method that is completely different from conventional plant breeding and does not involve natural sexual reproduction methods. Adding to that, it allows the transfer of one or more genes between -totally unrelated organisms- crossing species barriers to reproduction in ways that do not (or would not) occur naturally.

Strawberries are strawberries, potatoes are potatoes, right? With Genetically Modified (GM) you can transfer a gene from any organism that you’d like. This includes bacteria, viruses, and unrelated plants and animals. The results are it allows combinations of genes that have never evolved to work together in a harmonious integrated manner.

At the time when GM crops were developed in the early 1980s, our understanding of GM crops was very rudimentry. Genes then were considered as isolated units of information and as a result they could be transferred between species with what they thought was total predictability. We have now found this is not the case. We now know organization in DNA not to be random and no gene works in isolation. Genes function as integrated wholes within a given organism or context. Therefore, when you take a gene from one organism and randomly insert it into the DNA of a totally unrelated organism, you’re placing a gene in an environment where it has not evolved to work in an integrated manner with the surrounding genes in that organism. As a result of that, GM brings with it an unpredictable component in terms of gene function.

In addition to that, the GM transformation process, as a whole, is highly mutigenic – it produces damage in the DNA throughout the geno or the totality of the DNA of the plant. So what we have is a situation where the combination of effects of the GM transformation process. The combinations of normal genes that would normally not come together plus the general destructive effect or mutegenic effect of the GM transformation process, combined always to a greater or lesser degree, destruct the biochemistry of the protein and biochemistry of the plant. If you disturb that, you run the risk of producing new toxins and new allergens and a disturbed autonutritonal value of the food which is a measured and proven phenomenon. This is why we need to thoroughly evaluate GM foods. We just don’t know for sure the chronic and long term toxicity effects. In the United States they’re a totally deregulated product where they are generally recognized as perceived as safe and no testing is needed.

Roundup Ready crops

Roundup Ready crops are crops genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup. Roundup is the brand-name of a herbicide produced by Monsanto.

Beyond drought and hail, insects and weeds lie the worst threats to agricultural crops. It’s not surprising that pests were the first to be targeted by genetic engineers.

In the 1980s, Monsanto produced the powerful herbicide Roundup. It works by disrupting the action of an enzyme that is found in almost all plants but not in humans. The problem was how to apply Roundup to the plants that you don’t want and keep it off the plants you do – get it on the weeds while keeping it away from the crops. That’s tough to do, so farmers were using Roundup early in the growing season to kill weeds that sprouted before the crops, and then switching to less powerful herbicides after the crops germinated.

Genetic engineers wondered if they could find a gene that would allow crops to survive and even thrive when they are exposed to Roundup. The reasoning was that the pesticide worked on enzymes, and enzymes are proteins that are produced by genes – therefore, there might be a gene that could protect the crop from the pesticide.

Scientists found their resistant gene in an unusual source that was actually natural. Monsanto, the company that developed Roundup resistance went looking for Roundup resistance in nature. And guess where they found it? They went to bacteria that were in the “residue of a waste water treatment facility” from one of their Roundup manufacturing plants!

In the early 80s, workers at a Roundup manufacturing plant in Louisiana noticed that bacteria were breaking down the chemical residue left over. Scientists took 20 different bacteria from the waste facility and found one was totally immune to the effect of Roundup or other glyphosate pesticides.

The next task was to put the gene from the bacteria into crop plants.

 

In 1987, Monsanto started field trials with GMO biotech plants. It took until 1996 to complete the tests, get the regulators to approve of the new hybrids and introduce to the world “Roundup Ready Soybeans.” Farmers could now plant the soybeans, wait for the weeds and the crop to come up and spray once with Roundup. The weeds would die and the crops would grow without the pressure from competing weeds.

In 1997, Monsanto introduced GMO varieties of canola and cotton.

For decades, agricultural scientists have known that a common bacteria found in the soil can produce toxins that are deadly to insects but seemingly harmless to humans. The bacteria are known as Bacillus thuringiensis and the toxins they produce are known as Bt toxins. There are thousands of different kinds of Bt bacteria and they produce different toxins that affect different insects.

In the early 90s, genetic engineers realized that the genes of Bacillus thuringiensis were what produced the Bt toxin, and they found a way to isolate those specific genes. They transferred those genes into a second bacteria – Agrobacterium – that has the ability to get into the nuclei of plants like corn and transfer genetic material to the corn. Then, they figured out how to find the specific plants that had been altered by including other genes that were resistant to chemicals like antibacterial drugs.

Agricultural scientists are now taking genetic modification further by “stacking” two or more genetic traits in a single plant. In one variety, there are eight different genetic modifications in a single hybrid of corn.

Many farmers have begun to use Roundup Ready crops. A recent news article in Scientific Daily suggests that farmers have becoming so reliant on Roundup as a herbicide that they may be weakening Roundup’s ability to control weeds. Monsanto, manufacturer of Roundup, funded the study. Few farmers consider resistance an issue until it affects them directly. Farmers are now being encouraged to use multiple herbicides. It is unclear how this will impact the use of Roundup Ready crops, as these crops are only resistant to Roundup.

Farmers have found themselves stuck between Monsanto and a hard place. It has become increasingly difficult for farmers to grow non-genetically engineered crops, as contamination has become a big issue. Additionally, it is very difficult for a farmer to advertise that their products are organic, and as such using home-grown seeds might not be able to be as profitable as using genetically engineered seeds. In one case, a farmer used to growing his own canola was sued by Monsanto when his canola seeds became contaminated by their Roundup Ready genes. More commentary on this issue can be found in the Greenpeace section

A good source for more information and studies on glyphosate, visit the GMO Awareness website

HYBRID SEEDS VS. GMOS

In short: Hybrid Seeds are nothing to fear, but you may not want to support them given that they fail to breed true and have caused so much global havoc. GMO seeds are far more unnatural and likely to cause harm — both to your environment and your health.

The non-GMO Hype

I just want to mention that when companies advertise non-GMO products, be aware of what they are claiming. One example of this is most companies advertise non-GMO peat to make it sound better than “GMO peat”. If you stop and think about it you’d realize there’s no such thing as GMO peat. Peat forms when plant material does not fully decay in acidic and anaerobic conditions. It is composed mainly of wetland vegetation: principally bog plants including mosses, sedges, and shrubs. As it accumulates, the peat holds water. This slowly creates wetter conditions that allow the area of wetland to expand. Peatland features can include ponds, ridges, and raised bogs.

Most modern peat bogs formed 12,000 years ago in high latitudes after the glaciers retreated at the end of the last ice age. Peat usually accumulates slowly at the rate of about a millimetre per year.

HOW TO AVOID GMOS

Unfortunately, because GMOs aren’t currently labeled in the U.S., you have no way of knowing whether or not you’re eating them. Roughly 85% of all grocery store foods contain GMOs, and there only a handful of sure-fire ways to avoid them:

1. Opt to buy single-ingredient certified organic food.
2. Choose Non-GMO Verfied labeled foods.
3. Grow your own open-pollinated, heirloom variety plants.
4. Know your farmer and ask pointed questions about his or her growing practices, then opt to support GMO-free growing.

A great company to purchase non-GMO seeds from is http://www.johnnyseeds.com

The Truth Will Set You Free

So, if anyone ever tries to convince you that hybrid seeds and GMOs are the same thing, or that genetic modification technology is “just another form of seed breeding”, you will know the truth:  Most seeds are created through guided natural reproduction, while GMOs are the product of high-tech, species-crossing methods used to create untested organisms that would never occur in nature.

While it is possible to use genetic engineering technology in the public interest (with the precautionary principle applied), the majority of GMO crops available today were created by chemical and pharmaceutical companies to create profit and dependency at the expense of people and planet.

References:

https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/hybrid-seeds-vs-gmos

Dr. Michael Antoniou: Health risks from GMO foods

Monsanto and Glyphosate

http://web.mit.edu/demoscience/Monsanto/players.html

https://www.foodrenegade.com/hybrid-seeds-vs-gmos/Gl

https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/hybrid-seeds-vs-gmos

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peat

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090414153529.htm

 

Humic and Fulvic’s Plant Derived Role In Nature

Humic and Fulvic’s Plant Derived Role In Nature

Humic and fulvic acids are some of the best biostimulant products in nature, improving the uptake of nutrients in both soil and hydroponics. Once you understand the difference between the two, you will soon discover many applications for your crops.

In this article we take a closer look at on how humic and fulvic’s enable the microbes in the soil beds to thrive.

Defining Humic and Fulvic and Their Purposes

Humic acid can be classified as humin, humic acid, and fulvic acid depending on its solubility at different pH. Humic acid precipitates at low pH, but fulvic acid is soluble. There are many complex compounds in the fulvic acid fraction; thus, the exact chemical structure is not well known. A plant biostimulant is any substance or microorganism applied to plants with the aim to enhance nutrition efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance and/or crop quality traits, regardless of its nutrients content. Humic and fulvic acids are not fertilizers. Any fertilizer must provide nutrient as its main function. This is clearly not the case of the biostimulants humic and fulvic, which by definition promote plant growth by other means than by providing nutrients. They provide the foundation for the nutrients. Humic and fulvic acid go hand in hand together eventhough they have different but complementing functions. They improve the uptake of nutrients and act as chelators. Chela means claw, so chelates are organic molecules that attach to mineral ions. These chelates are holding the ions in suspension so they don’t get held by the soil, and at the same time easily handing them off to the plant on demand. Green CHO and Purple CHO are good chleators. Humic acid molecules are larger than fulvic acid molecules which make them great soil conditioners. Fulvic acids are smaller, more biologically active molecules that are faster-acting and make excellent foliar sprays. Both improve the uptake of minerals, stimulate plant growth, and improve the plant’s natural resistance to environmental stresses. Both compounds have been shown to stimulate plant growth in terms of increasing plant height and dry or fresh weight as well as enhancing nutrient uptake. These effects seem to depend on the concentration (2,3,5) and source of the substance along with the plant species.

Humic substances or humus are the product of decomposing plants that have large molecular weights and complex structures. These substances are commonly found in peat or partly carbonized plant materials deposited underground in cool regions. Due to the nature of their chemical structures, humic substances can take up large quantities of water and cations and affect the physical properties of the soil, as well as increase the cation exchange capacity.

Why add humic:

– Enhance nutrient absorbsion by 50% – Increase plant’s resistance to stressors – Helps stimulate plant growth and vigor – Helps plants take up cations and water – Beneficial effects to living soil – Increase cation exchange properties

Humic and fulvic acids are the most characteristic compounds of soil humic substances. Humic substances are formed through the microbial degradation of plant material and the brown to black substances are the primary constituents of soil organic matter. Humic substances have the ability to hold seven times their volume in water, a greater water holding capacity than clay soils. Water stored within the topsoil enables plant roots to quickly access available nutrients required for plant growth and yield.

Fulvic acid has a much smaller molecular weight, and is more biologically active. Fulvic acid not only surrounds mineral ions, it can also help transport them through the cell membrane and release them inside the cell. Fulvic acid has many beneficial effects in soil amendments, such as increasing drought resistance to plants, improving uptake of nutrients, stabilizing soil pH, and reducing leaching of fertilizer. This means fulvic acid makes a great foliar spray, allowing trace elements such as copper, iron, manganese and zinc to be better absorbed through the leaves. Fulvic acid also stimulates the metabolisms of plants, which makes fulvic acid treatments a great way to quickly correct trace metal deficiencies while stimulating plant growth.

Why add fulvic:

– More bioligically active – Helps transport minerals through the cell membrane – Beneficial as a soil amendment – Increases drought resistance – Improves uptake of nutrients – Stabilizes soil pH – Reduces leaching of fertilizer – Makes a great foliar spray – Allows trace elements copper, iron, manganese and zinc so better absorbed through the leaves – Stimulates the metabolisms of plants

Helps To Improve Iron Uptake

Iron is one of the limiting factors in soil since it is easily oxidized and turned into rust. Once oxidized, iron becomes unavailable to plants, but humic and fulvic acids not only keep iron soluble, they also stimulate cell membranes to take up iron more efficiently. Iron is a catalyst for chlorophyll production. As plants take up more iron, they make more of the green chlorophyll that absorbs light energy to make sugars. Some of the sugars are used for energy to grow and reproduce, some are stored in the flowers and fruit, and some are used by the roots to feed plant growth-promoting microbes in the root area. Humic acid in the roots also stimulates the uptake of nitrates and other essential elements.

Promotes Root Structure

Root proliferation is a benefit from applications of humic and fulvic acids at low concentrations. These stimulatory effects also have been directly correlated with enhanced uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, zinc, and iron. However, use of these compounds at high concentrations also has been shown to decrease root and shoot growth. Stimulation of root growth may improve plant resistance to disease, and plant response to feeding by herbivores and nematodes, and water stress caused by drought. The use of soilborne compounds to protect seeds and enhance seedling growth is being investigated globally. Humic and fulvic acids are commonly used in organic crop production, greenhouse cropping of vegetables, and in horticultural programs. They also may have uses in Iowa’s large-scale production systems to improve seedling health and plant response to stress.

Another form of Humic

Humates, which are composed of various forms of carbon, are naturally occurring material that is very rich in humified organic matter and humic substances. Humates are now recognized as the single most productive input in sustainable agriculture.

In conclusion, agricultural producers worldwide are seeking to reduce dependency on synthetic fertilizers and chemicals. Humic products provide an efficient and economical means to return carbon to the soil. Without the replenishment of carbon, the addition of man-made synthetic nutrients is pointless. The use of humic products is thus the best path to coveted agricultural sustainability.

References: https://www.maximumyield.com/humic-or-fulvic-acid-what-kind-are-your-plants-on/2/1352 https://ac.els-cdn.com/S0304423815301850/1-s2.0-S0304423815301850-main.pdf?_tid=b3d7b4d5-fead-4e34-af9b-7b5371537d4c&acdnat=1525285385_095bebb59aa49a919b069edb6d014872 Korean Society for Horticultural Science and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2014 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13580-014-0004-y https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1193&context=extension_ag_pubs https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304423815301850