Our strategic partner, Terrafarms India is pleased to unveil a custom MicroFarm installation at the Andaz Delhi. Managing Director Linesh Pillai designed and manufactured this initial installation to custom fit the requirements of Chef Alex of the AnnaMaya restaurant in this spectacular property. Scroll down on this sway to see the story ...
We just got our lighting unit and have started our internal testing. We have observed that microgreen growing can be done with relatively low levels of growing lights. We have also found that the red/blue LED's or high K whites can produce great results. We are using a 16hr light cycle in our application.
These inexpensive lights provide enough lighting to grow out nice crops microgreens in a normal amount of time. The color mix works to create healthy and vibrant products. Problem is the light bar providing a horizontal "point" source of lights so the plants will tend to bend to the middle of the trays. You can counteract this by rotating the trays themselves, but it should be enough to harden the crops by finishing under a more diffuse light or sunlight.
You can find these in our curated Amazon store where we have highlighted two inexpensive LED light units that work well. Each unit will provide enough light to grow at least 16 our our trays and 32 if you rotate them out. The trick is to manage the height of the light to allow for enough spread to cover your crops. Pictured is our 2ft test unit that fit our space better, but for actual production the 4ft units in our store are more optimal.
We have just posted our Farmers Market kits in the new Urbafresh Store which can now be found at urbafresh.biz. The complete kit contains enough supplies and accessories to grow 16 containers of our purple microgreen mix for sale. These trays are designed to be sold at $5 - $7.50 per container but you will need to check the viability of that pricing in your local markets.
Each kit contains 4 10"x10" trays, 16 grow containers with hydroponic grow pads, Non GMO seeds and a reusable seed spreader, a sprayer head to use on a recycled plastic bottle, and trace mineral nutrients to water your trays.
Also in the store you will find refill kits for 8 containers w supplies both with and without trays but including the mats, seed and nutrients.
Grow Your Own and know that you have a Non GMO food. Simple yes, check out our GYO kits to ensure what you eat is live and vital. Grow your own microgreens so you get enhanced nutrition while enjoying tending your farm right in your home or apartment.
There is no disputing that broccoli and kale are superfoods by any measure. These nutritional powerhouses have proven to be highly effective versus cancers and cardio vascular diseases. By adding nutrients to your diet through natural and live sources you provide these essentials nutrients the way nature intended.
Researchers have also shown that microgreens can provide anywhere from three to forty times the amount of these vital nutrients versus their mature forms you buy in the supermarket. Not only are microgreens far more potent, but by GYO, you ensure the absolute finest fresh and live food available anywhere!
One of the common questions we get is from people wanting to try their hand at producing microgreens for small commercial use. Farmers Markets provide a nice test bed for growers just starting out. We have designed a kit to answer the need for a starter commercial microgreen operation.
In order to see if this will work for you, simply go to some farmers markets in your area and see if anyone is selling microgreens and what is the common prices being paid. Our kits will provide live microgreens and we suggest selling them by the tray and not processed. In most venues, by selling the live trays of microgreens, you bypass a lot of health regulations dealing with processing microgreens for sale (research that also as regulations vary by locations).
The pictures are of our basic kit that features a 10"x10" holding tray that is basically 1/2 a standard seed tray. Each holding tray will house four 5"x5" growing trays that are your unit of sale. We have foung a fair pricing is anywhere from $5-$7.50 per tray as pictured below. Our kits will be available as hydroponic, our coir based growing wafers or you can use your own media as several of our customers are doing. The kits will be available here this week and we will also feature a lighting system for indoor growing. Kits will also include Non-GMO seeds as shown. We will provide specific growing instructions and support. Our suggestion is to grow out a tray or two to familiarize yourself with microgreens, but most crops take from 7-10 days so your initial learning curve can be fairly quick. We wanted to get these kits to market so you would be ready for spring and the markets.
Contact us for further info on your situation and stay tuned this week for the release of our Farmers Market Kits!
As promised last week, here is our followup post chronicling our two crops started last week. The growth has been astounding and the development of the leaves and flavors outstanding. Here are the photos from today at exactly 7 days from planting on our hydroponic mat. Proper watering was easily accomplished as simple visual inspection allowed us to maintain a constant pool of water for the root systems.
The photos below show what the crops look like after 3 days when we first exposed the plants to light and the top row was taken today showing what the microgreens look like at one week.
We are now doing a finishing grow by placing our trays under some blue LED lights for another 3 days to accentuate the colors and nutritional content of the Pak Choi microgreens. We should have part three later this week so you can then see the entire process. We will have hydroponic kits available before the end of the month that will allow you to grow these amazing crops.
In our search for methods of growing microgreens we have tried multiple approaches and it appears we may have finally found an approach that works well. We are using a natural fiber mat that is produced in the US and is sustainable. The binder used is FDA approved.
We are testing our configuration presently with just water and also a liquid nutrient to boost growth. Initial results are good and we have decided to offer kits based on the hydroponic system. It simplifies the growing process as water level is easily achieved by visual examination of your grow tray.
Here are photos of two crops of our purple pak choi hybrids that are both quick to grow and highly nutritious. These photos are of the seeds after three days of germination in low light. We will grow them out for 7-10 days and followup with a post next week of the final product.
In our search for better crops, we have combined one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables in a hybrid with color as a marker for further benefits.
Pak Choi is one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables as measured by the ANDI Scale (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index). Pak Choi microgreens contain even more density per unit of weight (studies by USDA scientists show anywhere from 3-40 times the density of key nutrients).
Now consider that anthocyanins have shown to be another step in creating healing or wellness functions in our food. A reliable marker for anthocyanin content is red or purplish coloration in vegetables.
So here is our newest specialty kit for micro farming wellness, Purple Pak Choi hybrid. Kits will be available this week on our www.urbafresh.com website. Looking great, tasting great and giving your body a dose of feeling great!
Our last blog entry highlighted upland cress and pointed out that it was one of the most nutrient dense microgreens to be found. We highlighted how microgreens by their nature are superior to the mature plant matter because of the exceptional concentration or nutrient density within the small structure of the microgreen.
Earlier information led us to coloration as one of the markers for powerful compounds (anthocyanins) that have shown positive effects on cardio vascular disease, cancer and can boost cognitive function. Further research has shown that you can enhance compounds in plants by exposing them to different wavelengths of light. We noted the effect of blue LED lights had on the tested vegetables.
We attempted to see if we could duplicate these results on our simple microgreen system here. Again, the last blog highlighted growing out our upland cress microgreens so we built a grow bench that provided our blue LED lighting to grow out our microgreens. The photos here show the results of growing out our cress for a six week period and using the blue lighting for the last two weeks on the tray on the right side. Notice the enhanced purplish color of the right tray. I do believe now that a final finishing grow for a week or so on our standard growing crops should enhance the nutritional compounds available in our microgreens.
In searching for microgreens that can deliver nutrition and taste we found a great little tool provided by Whole Foods for their shoppers. Their ANDI (Aggregate Nutrional Data Index) is an attempt to quantify all sorts of nutrients contained in foods. A good discussion on the method and interpretation can be found here. Even with shortcomings, it is interesting to note that answers to this question also were also arrived at by taking a measure of what they isolated as the 17 powerhouse nutrients and ranked the 41 most nutrient dense fruits and vegatables.
Sitting at the top of both lists was watercress and our microgreen of the day, upland cress. A large European and American supplier of micro vegies, Kopperts Cress finds "Upland Cress has more vitamin C than oranges, and more vitamin A than broccoli! It is said that Upland Cress can be used as a cancer preventative since it is rich in antioxidants.In the old world, Upland Cress was used to heal wounds since it has an abundance of Vitamin E, iron and calcium. During colonial times, it was consumed in the winter, when its natural full bloom was most effective for warding off scurvy."
Our new Super Cress kits provide you with home grown super nutrition on a year round basis. Kits come in two sizes, starter and deluxe and contain all the supplies needed to get growing.
Urbaform is a technology integrator and developer specializing in food production in the urban environment ...