We have visited using low lighting levels to grow microgreens in an earlier blog and now find and offer what we call a Micro Lighting environment to grow out microgreen crops. In a previous blog we visited the idea of growing microgreens and how a low light environment can be effective. An extension to that work is now a product we call the MicroLED grow light system.
The system revolves around an 3w micro LED unit with matching power supply. We took some raw measures to compare this unit to our normal CFL growing racks that we use. Our CFL units are multiple 26w units in reflectors. We measured the light intensity with a simple lux meter and obtained a centered maximum 15,000lux reading on our CFL lights at a distance of about 7" from the microgreens leaves. Our MicroLED unit had a reading of 1,500lux at approximately 3". So simply taking these raw measures we are comparing intensities that are 10 times more with the CFL's.
Now on the the actual growing of the microgreens. We immediately noticed the better growth from our MicroLED units. Here are some pictures of actual methi microgreens at 10 days of growth along with some other crops done so far. The results are dramatic and actually make a case for more work on using the MicroLED's on other crops. The initial MicroLED grow kits are now available now for you to try.
Methi or Fenugreek seeds have long been a staple of Indian cuisine. Methi has an incredibly interesting aroma, our first impression was the first smell you get when creating pancakes for breakfast layered with maple syrup! Such an interesting aroma meets you on opening the seed package.
Methi is one of the main flavors in Indian curries and cooking and has a distinctly sweet-bitter complex taste. Here is a recipe for methi paratha which is a flatbread like breakfast or meal staple. The recipe calls for leaves and substituting our methi microgreens will give you all the goodness and tender nutrition of these tiny powerhouses.
Our new Exotic Methi Microgreen Kits will be rolled out this weekend but we have included photos of our trials and crops that we have done with our methi seeds (organic and Non GMO sourced seeds from India). These beautiful microgreens will be ready to harvest in 8-12 days depending on your taste.
We have been following the NASA food growing experiments in space since day one. They have been fascinating to say the least and we have tried to grow some items here inspired by our space pioneers.
Knowing that space travel to Mars and beyond will entail needing supplies of fresh and local produce (as in grown in space), the work becomes more than a simple experiment, but a critical part of man's journey beyond the moon. The first experiments we did were based on NASA's choice of Tokyo Bekana cabbage as the vegie to be grown, it was selected by it's fast growing traits and exceptional taste and nutrition.
Microgreens inherently provide a multiple of the nutritional content of the mature vegetable and grow out in a fraction of the time, so we set out to grow some of the Tokyo Bekana in microgreen form. Our microgreens provided a dense plant material with great taste and potent nutrient content (anywhere from 4-40 times the amount vs mature vegetable). The plants shown have grown out for 2 weeks which is half the time of the recently harvested space cabbages on the ISS. Microgreens could be valuable in our race to space.
A second experiment dealt with the use of "pillows" to grow out the space vegies. We postualted that we could create such a growing system by starting with some of our hydroponic grow mats to create a similar starting system for our plants. We simply cut some slits to insert the seeds, and added a second layer below the holes. We inserted a few seeds and here is the result of our experiment which shows red cabbage at a week of growth.
We hope to give you out there some ideas and inspiration. Have fun!
Our companies are always moving forward so it is with great pride today that we formally unveil our new logos and the start of a new direction.
Let's first begin with our new logos. We are entering our fifth year in business and want to face the future with our new identity. Our logos represent our commitment to bringing you the finest in microgreens, micro farms, kits and products. We will be unveiling over the next few weeks exciting products and innovation to lead us into our next chapter for the Urbaform family of companies.
Exciting products, new technologies, kits and foods promoting health and wellness are all part of our new look and direction ... stay tuned!!!
Just wanted to share some new seed that we have growing now. Green stem radish that really surprised us with the enormous size and colors. Feast you eyes on the giant of a microgreen pictured at 7-8 days! This is by far the largest and most robust microgreen we have grown. It has a distinct radishy bite to it and is so large as now we are considering it more as an ingredient in our cooking rather than a garnish.
The grow tray had some Rambo radish to give us a combined visual crop, but the Rambos were just amazingly outgrown by the Green Stems, note the size and color of the stems. Pictured below are the radishes compared to some Arugula at 10days vs the radishes as 8days. The measured harvest was some that we clipped at 7days to measure.
Yvon Chouinard the founder of Patagonia says, “If we want to feed the world, we’re not going to feed the world with with beef.”
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, predicts a plant-based revolution is coming. He named the number one “game-changing” trend of the future as the consumption of plant-based proteins instead of meat.
A plant-based diet is healthier for people and our planet, and our pea shoot kits make consumption easy and convenient. The shoots are packed with protein, fiber, iron and other essential nutrients. Increasingly we are seeing the appearance of pea protein in many products like mayonnaise and meat substitutes.
Our kits provide fresh and live supplements for your nourishment. Our kits typically will yield nice shoots anywhere from 7-10 days after planting and harvesting the shoots will give you multiple crops of delicious shoots. Pea shoots are particularly high in chlorophyll and living enzymes, in addition to several vitamins such as vitamins A, C and E, folic acid, niacin and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Join the revolution and give peas a chance!
So many times we have gotten items to eat in beautiful containers and wondered about the waste of one time use and disposal. Similar to the problems with plastic drink bottles we thought there might be a better use and wanted to produce kits that would enable an eco friendly reuse of food containers.
Our normal production containers are sourced from recycled plastic bottles and are made to be used as food containers of different capacities. We decided to take the process to the next level by allowing you to basically do the same things in containers you have now and reuse rather than throw them away to landfills. Some of the pictures here represent various food containers that were replanted with our microgreens.
We believe that simple is best so we have chosen a hydroponic system so all you need is a grow mat cut to your container shape and some microgreen seeds (Non GMO) to grow. Simply cut the grow material to your container bottom, soak the mat, seed and grow! Then 7-15 days later you will have fresh and live microgreens to snip, rinse, and enjoy! Click on the middle picture to go to our store.
Red Cabbage has long been a staple part of diets that were colorful and highly nutritious. Microgreens take all the goodness of the mature cabbage and package them into a tiny, beautifully colored new wrapper. Microgreens provide some 4-40 times the nutrient content of their mature counterpart so a little goes a long way as far as nutrients from you food.
Red Cabbage in particular has been found to help mitigate a high fat diet that is common today. Red Cabbage microgreens were found to be more beneficial than the mature cabbage itself and also benefits the CVD (cardio vascular disease) profile with a lowered LDL cholesterol and triglyceride readings.
Our Red Cabbage microgreen kits contain:
1 growing tray and humidity cover (approx 5"x5") made from recycled plastic bottles
1 custom blended Wonder Soil compressed coir wafer with worm castings and kelp (enough for three crops)
1 seed spreader container for easier seeding of your grow tray
1 small sprayer for misting of your seed and watering
enough seeds to grow 3 trays as pictured
complete instructions and support provided through our website
Easy to grow and great to eat ... seed to harvest in 7-12 days!!!
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.
Sitting at the top of both lists was watercress and our microgreen of the day, garden cress. Cress becomes bitter when heated, so this crop is ideal for topping or finishing dishes. It has a distinctive peppery flavor like watercress but is a delicate offering as opposed to woody stems of regular watercress.
Starter Kit includes supplies for 6 complete crops; 2 growing trays and top from 100% recycled plastic bottles. WonderSoil wafer growing media (custom blend w worm castings and kelp). A seeding container with enough Non GMO seed for the 6 crops. The standard growing trays are approximately 5" square. Instructions and support provided to you via the internet.
Our new Super Cress kits provide you with home grown super nutrition on a year round basis. Seed to Fork in 10-21 days
Not often seen but spectacular tokyo bekana mustards have 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 which highlighted the choice and the initiation of grow trials in space. The amazing plant was chosen by NASA since it is like a lettuce or cabbage but fast growing and contains a potent array of nutrients to provide for life in space.
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. "
Our new hydroponic kits will allow you to grow and taste this outstanding microgreen right in your own home, space travel not required!
Urbaform is a technology integrator and developer specializing in food production in the urban environment ...