1. Discount Hydro Customer Appreciation Event

    Over the years we’ve fielded a lot of questions from curious and discerning growers like you who want to know everything there is to know about our products. So we’ve compiled a list of the 11 most asked questions from Sunshine Advanced customers. Be sure to check here first if you find yourself vexed by a growing question. If you don’t find the answer here, then leave a comment below with your questions, and we’ll get them answered for you.

    We want the best for your plants just as much as you do!

    11) What is the volume of an open bale of Sunshine® Advanced #4?

    For a 2.2 cubic foot compressed bale of Sunshine® Advanced #4, the volume after fluffing is approximately 2 times as much.

    10) Is there Bat Guano or Sea Kelp in any of your mixes?

    Sunshine® Advanced Rainforest Mix contains kelp along with other organic fertilizers. No Sunshine® Advanced products contain bat guano.

    9) What product do you recommend for growing vegetables hydroponically?

    Our entire Sunshine® Advanced line was developed for hydroponic growing in media. Your preference of ingredients would dictate which product you use. Just ask us!

    8) What are root aphids?

    Root aphids (Pemphigus aphid) are small, yellowish insects that feed on the plant’s roots, leading to wilting, stunted growth or yellow foliage. If these signs of stress are noted in your crops, inspect the root system. The telltale sign of root aphids are the white waxy strands which they leave behind in the rootball as they feed on the roots. Root aphids are introduced to your growing medis by either infested plugs or by being carried into the growing area unknowingly on your clothing from outside. If white, waxy, fuzzy strands are observed, look more closely and you may see the aphids. Females can lay live nymphs without the help of a male, thus producing large colonies quickly. Root aphids have a flying form as well; populations on other plants’ roots in the area are started by these. Drenches can work, depending on what is used. The product BotaniGard® has been shown to be up to 96% effective. The plants need to go without watering for at least 24 hours until the drench has time to take effect since watering washes the pesticide away. The white wax will still be evident, but the aphids should be dead. two or three applications are recommended, each three to five days apart.Azatrol® is another insecticide derived from Neem that is used. It is recommended to use every week in a hydroponic system and then once the infestation is under control, the application can be dropped to once every other week. Azatrol® is a systemic product: the plant takes it up and then the insect is killed after it ingests the plant it is feeding on.Submersion of the rootball in a botanical soap can also be effective, but the rootball needs to stay in the solution for at least 2 minutes, preferably about 10 minutes. There is a possibility that the roots could be harmed if left in solution for too long. The white wax may be dissolved away as well as the aphids being killed.

    7) Is it okay to reuse Sunshine® Advanced potting mix?

    We do not recommend reusing potting mixes in indoor growing situations, there could be bacteria or disease that was introduced to a planting from an outside source which may affect a new planting. Additionally, the physical structure of the mix changes during plant growth. The best way to reuse your potting mix would be to add to a compost pile and use in an outdoor garden.

    6) What are these tiny black flying bugs on my indoor plants?

    They are probably fungus gnats, which are attracted to decaying matter in a moist growing environment with poor air circulation. The larvae of these gnats can feed on the roots of plants, so it is important to get rid of them. There are a few different home remedies to try to combat the problem: hang Bounce® dryer sheets around the plants to repel the gnats. Sliced potatoes placed on top of the growing medium attract the gnats and they die. Some people add diatomaceous earth to the growing medium if they have an ongoing problem in their growing room.

    5) What products do you sell that are OMRI® Listed?

    Our entire line of Sunshine® Advanced mixes is OMRI® listed. Sunshine® Advanced #4, Sunshine® Advanced Superhydro, Sunshine® Advanced UltraCoir and Sunshine® Advanced Rainforest.

    4) How do I store your mix? Is there an expiration date?

    The best way to store unused mix is in a dry area, out of direct sunlight, where it does not get too hot. We would recommend that your mix be used within the next year.

    3) Should I wet the mix before planting in it? How do I know when to water my plants?

    Whenever potting up a plant, it is not necessary to wet the mix before potting. Once the plant is placed in the potting mix, water until the liquid runs out the bottom drainage hole. Watering is needed when you stick your finger down into the soil about 2” and it feels like it’s drying out. Indoor plants should probably be watered every 7 – 10 days.

    2) Is there fertilizer in your product? How long does it last? When should I fertilize?

    Our Sunshine® Advanced products have a “starter” fertilizer package which is a small amount of fertilizer to help plants get started. Plants in these mixes should be put on a regular fertilizer schedule starting after watering plants at least 2 times, or within 7 days of planting. These fertilizers are organic and OMRI® Listed.

    And, the #1 most asked question is…
    What pH do I want in my indoor growing situation? What is the recommended pH of runoff?

    Our Sunshine® Advanced #4 is formulated to stabilize at pH range of 5.8 – 6.2. This is the pH range that nutrients are most available to the plant.

    by Shawnee S Vetanovetz
    Shawnee has worked in the horticulture field for 35 years, specializing in nursery/perennial crop production and landscaping. She has a B.S. degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Delaware Valley College in Pennsylvania. Shawnee and her husband, Rick, who also is a horticulturist, live in Ohio and have 3 grown children (none of whom are horticulturists). In her spare time, she enjoys visiting children and friends across the United States, stockpiling fabric and yarn and, of course, gardening. She hopes to one day live close to the ocean and a beach again, with Rick, and a dog or two.

    8 Comments

    1. Sandra Dalton

      I have a couple of bales of sunshine advanced aggregate mix that is from 2011, that I am considering putting in vegetable beds for extra aeration. Is there any downside to this? Will it be more likely to generate fungus or other harmful developments in the garden?

    2. admin

      Hi Sandra,

      As long as it has been stored in a cool, dry place it should be okay for outdoor use, mixed in with garden soil. I would not recommend using it in pots alone, since it may have lost some of its beneficial myco impact after 2 years. It will not generate any harmful developments in the garden. In this time, naturally occurring airborne mold may have grown in the product, but would not be harmful.

      Happy growing! Shawnee

    3. Josh macdonald

      Hello could you please help me , i have soil mixes but i bought a bale of sunshine mix #4 aggregated soiless with perlite , i noticed alot of ppl saying there ph was 7 and using sunshine the runoff was 3.5 -4 , im using general organic line . It buffers my ph , once i fed my plants will the subshine mix effect my feed sense it buffers my nutes. Will it buffer the mix or will the mix throw it off? And can u add like 20% soil mix too it if you want even thou its a soilless mix ? If u could get back to me asap as my seeds r germinated ! Thanks hah

    4. Sunshine Advanced

      Hi Josh,

      There are guidelines for measuring pH runoff. When we test our products for pH runoff, we have allowed the lime to work in the mix actively for at least 14 days, then we test the runoff. It should be between 5.6 and 6.5. One factor affecting low pH may be fertilizing too often and testing runoff right after fertilizing.

      As long as the water being used is either distilled or R.O. (all salts taken out), the Sunshine Advanced Mix #4 should work well with the fertilizer you are using. We recommend a low phosphorus fertilizer (such as 16 – 7 – 7) so that the mycorrhizae can continue to thrive.

      Regarding the other question about adding a “soil” mix: if it is a mix of peat, compost, perlite etc., that would be fine. Our mix is termed “soilless” as are most mixes on the market because it does not have any mineral soil in it i.e. “dirt” dug up from the ground.

      Happy Growing!

      Shawnee

    5. veronica murillo

      I bought some sunshine mix 2 and the company that sold it to me told me it has to be used within three months because then the nutrition from it is lost, is this true?

    6. Sunshine Advanced

      Hi Veronica,

      As long as you store our product in a cool, dry place, the nutrients will not be affected. We recommend using our products within a year from manufacture date.

      Happy growing!

    7. Cory Ernst

      I have sunshine 4 mix. To get my runoff at 6.2 I need to pH my water to 8.3. My water is run through a carbon filter and then through an RO. I feel like that is very alkaline, am I shocking my roots by doing this. Don’t understand why I need to get above 8 to get into the target range for runoff. Please explain.

    8. Sunshine Advanced

      Hi Cory,

      If your plants are healthy after 2 weeks of the same practice of watering with a pH of 8.3, you should be fine. Fertilizer schedule is also key. Fertilizing can bring the pH down, so everything is mixing together to give a runoff of 6.2. Our products are formulated to give a runoff pH of 5.5 – 6.5 after regular watering for 2 weeks. So, it depends on how long your plants have been in the mix, how long you have been watering, and what kind of fertilizer schedule you are on. After the first 4 weeks you should have figured out a watering program with a pH that is working to give you healthy plants.

      Happy Growing!