We have been working with a new media composed of cellulose for several months now and are ready to roll out our new grow kits using it. The new media is 100% wood fiber from sustainable production. So the cellulose is free of any contaminants, biodegradable and fully compostable as waste in garden composting.
Our first kit is with snow pea shoots that provides a great tasting, visually appealing, and nutritional powerhouse. The new kits provide another hydroponic grow setup for our self watering trays. The new media is great in the kits and is so clean for growing and cleaning up. This kit provides enough materials for 6 trays as pictured and includes 2 of our self watering grow systems and a small LED grow light. You can see and buy it here.
Lately we've been working on new techniques of growing microgreens and since we had an extra tray of organic broccoli microgreens, we decided to share them with our neighbor who happens to be The Maui Cookie Lady.
She sent me this picture and was delighted with the great taste of the broccoli and a novel way of using microgreens. When asked for her method she replied, "We essentially made a microgreens pesto using olive oil, black truffle salt, garlic and fresh parmesan. Blend in a vitamixer then spread on garlic bread and baked at 350 degrees for 15 min."
What a glorious way to add broccoli flavor and extra nutrition to your next meal!
Since we started on this journey over 7 years ago, we have always wanted to do some sort of charitable giving based on our sales. With the launch of our new store microfarms.xyz we have been empowered to realize that dream. Our new store is powered by Shopify and there is an app that allows us to donate a share of all sales to a charity or cause.
Our initial effort in this direction will be to power a group of charities that provide nutrition to global populations. We intend to broaden our scope of giving in the future and welcome any inputs you might have.
You can click on the screenshot of the store below to be redirected ...
Indoor microgreen growing presents challenges that are similar but yet different from other indoor challenges. We are basically dealing with two phases of plant growing, germination and early leaf production. We have researched and adapted multiple systems and present three distinct systems for your indoor growing pleasure. Microgreens are a great source of fresh food and nutrition, our MicroFarms give you a convenient was to grow them.
You can see these offerings in our store and order now to grow your own microgreens. They take only days to grow and give you year round fresh and nutritious food!
In our sister website, Urbafresh we posted today a much requested idea for unique uses of microgreens. We have posted on two such cases, a pesto made with cilantro and some bread baked with a tray of our basic salad mix. Go to the blog here ...
True leaves are the first actual leaves past the first or cotyledon leaves in microgreens. True leaves are the set of leaves that are what you will see in mature vegetables.
Here is an example of some true leaves grown from our Red Russian Kale microgreens. These appeared at about 30 days of growth and normally indicate a transition from microgreeds to baby greens. The flavor profile will change at this stage along with the more fibrous stems so we normally harvest quite a bit sooner than this stage. Some of you might like this look so we encourage you to experiment.
What if we could engineer a better plant without having to do all the exotic things normally associated with modifying foods. We thought that by combining the profiles of similar microgreens might produce a better result nutritionally than from a single crop like broccoli (which by the way is considered a superfood because of the nutrients).
Here is a screenshot of our analysis by taking info from skipthepie.org which uses data compiled from most recent USDA information. This combined spreadsheet points points to a simple 50/50 mix of broccoli raab and red cabbage microgreens that yields a more balanced and complete profile for our crop. Thus the birth of our Better Broccoli mix of broccoli raab and red cabbage.
You can order our Better Broccoli kits now, click to order
In an earlier blog "Cress to Supercress" published back in 2016 we described creating an even more potent microgreen by using blue single sourced LED lights. Our original light system finally failed so we replaced them with larger (24W vs 10W) blue LED lights. With our new growing systems we have also cut down the grow times considerably.
Our new test setup was done growing dahong pak choi or purple chinese cabbage. We chose this plant due to quick growth and the purplish colors which are markers for anthocyanins in the plants. These anthocyanins are believed to help prevent CVD (Cardio Vascualar Disease), cancer, and may help cognitive function.
Our initial tests were run on the cabbage grown for 10days under the same conditions and planting density. The only difference is that the sample on the left was exposed to the blue LED lights for the final 3 days of growing. There is a significant size and color difference between the blue crop and the control. Notice how much stronger the plants were (the leaves on the blue were so dense that the leaves were fighting for space) and the colors showing the deeper and stronger purple coloration. Note that both samples were grown under red/blue LED's initially and for the duration on the control sample.
We will be running further tests and production under the blue LED's and look forward to increasing the nutritional value of our microgreen crops.
Not often seen but spectacular Tokyo Bekana cabbage has been called the japanese version of chinese cabbage. The beautiful lime green micro provides a striking contrast to the deep greens of most of our crops. It has a nice crunch and sweeter flavor that gives you a nice flavor boost in your microgreen arsenal.
Recently chosen as a leafy green for space travel, Tokyo Bekana is introduced in a recent blog entry from NASA. "The crop was chosen after evaluating several leafy vegetables on a number of criteria, such as how well they grow and their nutritional value. The top four candidates were sent to Johnson Space Center’s Space Food Systems team, where they brought in volunteer tasters to sample the choices. The Tokyo Bekana turned out to be the most highly rated in all the taste categories."
Here is NASA's take on it, "For the first time, a Chinese cabbage variety named Tokyo Bekana will be grown in space. The cabbage was chosen as a good candidate because it is a quick growing leafy green that is rated highly from a nutritional and taste perspective. "
So we offer you a way to have the benefit of NASA research and space agriculture to bring this superior microgreen to your table ... no need to be in space!
See our Tokyo Bekana microgreen kits here.
Urbaform is a technology integrator and developer specializing in food production in the urban environment ...