SSUK: Hi Rich, can you tell our readers about your background?
Rich: Thank you Soft Secrets, I’m Rich Hamilton. I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years now. I’ve done everything from running my own hydroponics shop to working for large distributors, designing new products for the market as well as managing sales. I have released three grow books to date and am the director and owner of the publishing house Machiavellian Media, where we produce the Growers Guide series. Additionally, I currently write for three international hydroponic magazines, and I’m a freelance consultant for hydroponics companies around the world as and when they need me.
How would you best describe your books?
When writing the Growers Guide I have tried to do it with the end user in mind and construct it in an accessible way, free from jargon and technical terms so ensuring that it is easy to understand and follow. The Growers Guide is constructed to feature bite-size paragraphs alongside clear images and illustrations, detailed product guidance and full shopping lists of equipment that are required for every stage of the growing process that everybody can follow and learn from whether they are beginners or more experienced.
My ultimate aim was twofold, firstly the hope that someone who has never grown before could pick up this book and successfully complete a full grow cycle from start to finish and secondly that a more seasoned grower could read this book and still learn from it and take something away that they may not have tried/thought about before.
What inspired you to write these books for the masses?
I first developed an interest in growing indoors when I was at university in London. With both space and money being at a premium in the capital the idea of growing my produce/herbs for both food and homoeopathic remedies seemed like a no-brainer to save money! I believe in today’s climate as populations rise and people become more environmentally aware of issues such as food wastage that there is a place for home growing/ self-sufficiency in all of our lives and that it will become more commonplace as time moves on. Also for consideration is the slow transition that we are now seeing with cannabis regulation as both medical and recreational use is gradually being legalised in more countries and States such as Canada and the US.
These factors, without doubt, open up the practice of hydroponics to the masses and the Growers Guide serves as the perfect companion for this increased appetite! Additionally, my inspiration also sprung from my day to day jobs, both working with a distributor and previously when running a store, I talked with a lot of fellow store owners and customers alike, and I found myself getting asked the same questions about hydroponics on a daily basis. Whether it was a novice, who was just starting out or more of a veteran experienced grower who just had gaps in their knowledge. It made me think that it would be great if there were somewhere that you could access all this information in a clear, user-friendly style and that you could refer back to as and when needed.
Was it a long process writing, illustrations and printing?
It took about two years from start to finish to complete the first book. I didn’t give myself a set time in which to finish it. It was a very natural process where the book was constantly evolving, which is how I wanted it to be. I wanted to ensure that it was right. I am a big believer in the idea that if you take short cuts, you end up getting cut short! Writing a book is one thing, writing a book with integrated step by step illustrations and photos that you have created and taken yourself is another Completely!
Factor into the equation also that I had to secure the many branded products featured in the book individually. On top of that I also designed the layout myself from cover to cover and brought it to print myself through my own publishing house and it is fair to say that It was one of the biggest challenges that I have ever taken on both personally and professionally. Without doubt, however, it was the most worthwhile experience and has taught me so much and I am extremely proud of the results and the feedback that I have received so far.
Which is your personal favourite way to grow from organic, coco and hydroponics?
I’m known in the UK for growing in Bubblers. A bubbler specialist, if you will. In fact I have a bubbler system being released later this year, which we have nicknamed the Peaky Bubbler as a pun from where I’m from, Birmingham in the Midlands, which is well known for the Peaky Blinders gang and subsequent BBC drama series of the same name. However I personally now grow predominantly organically. I believe you cannot beat hand feeding organics for quality and taste.
Where are these books available for our readers to get their hands on?
The Growers Guide, Coco and Soil (hand fed, run to waste) is currently on iBooks for digital download worldwide. Hard copies are available from all good hydroponics stores. If you would like to order online, there are a few options. If you are in the US, it can be ordered from the High Times website shop. In Canada, it is available from TNB naturals. In The UK/Europe, it can be ordered online from Hollands Hydroponics.
Do you have plans on releasing any more books in 2018?
Yes, I have two books planned for release in 2018. The First is The Growers Guide book 4 Passive Watering Systems. A complete guide to growing in passive watering systems from start to finish. It will be available on iBooks and in hard copy firstly in the UK, to take it to all countries shortly after that. The second is more of a paperback style book which currently has the working title The Truth About Cannabis . This book is an entirely fresh look at what cannabis was and is and the common misconceptions about it.
It will look in detail at the history of cannabis through to how it is perceived today, the science that we know about it already and it’s uses in the current world. It will explore the future of this great plant, looking at its growing and breeding development and also the positive impact that it can have on the world, society and even future missions to other planets. It’s going to be epic. Looking forward to this one. Again this will be released on iBooks and hard copy so keep a look out for up date via our Instagram posts.
Do you have any tips right now for our readers who want to brush up on their organic game?
Make sure that the nutrients you are using are Organic! It sounds silly but there are a few companies out there that can be misleading when it comes down to being 100% honest with what’s in their Nutrients/products. The other thing is…you get what you give. Love your plants, take care of them and treat them with respect. I even name my plants! A great thing I have just been getting into is used coffee mixed with your organic soil. It’s free from pretty much any coffee house. They give it away to everyone in my local coffee house.
If they don’t believe in yours, ask the manager and he will happily bag you up used coffee grounds to pick up at a later date. I’m still mid trials, perfecting mix ratios and coffee types…but my god the depth of the flavour profile I am getting using the coffee is incredible. It’s adding a balanced flavour complexity, which is out of this world. I’m really please with the progress so far. A few more grows and I will have it perfected. It’s a flavour game changer…Give it a try.
Finally, do you have a social media or web page the readers can follow you on?
We post nearly every day on Instagram/social media (so you will find me on there pretty much every day, any questions people can DM me) and any emails we look to get back to people within 48hrs. We try to be on the ball as much as possible and If you search any of the social media sites, then you should find us pretty easy. We are also on Instagram, Facebook ,Twitter and iBooks under The Growers Guide by Rich Hamilton. Additionally you can find me on www.thegrowersguide.co.uk and contact me directly with email@example.com.
Thank you for your time today Rich and great work producing such easy to follow guides. We look forward to catching up with you when you next release your newest work!
By Stoney Tark