Just in time to celebrate Earth Day 2014 (Tues Aprill 22, 2014) we have created kits that can be used to promote recycling, sustainable gardening and really provide a fun activity for kids of all ages. We call them CapGardens as these tiny plants are growing in recycled or upcycled caps from water or soda bottles. They come in all colors and teach that us that we can find other uses for things than normally end up in our landfills.
This photo is of my Kale cap that sits on my desk ... the Kale is almost 2 weeks old now and growing nicely in this red bottle cap I got from a recycling center trash can. This was destined not to be recycled but discarded into our landfill. In the black cap on the left you can see peeking out the first Kohlrabi plant 2 days after planting. I kept some basil growing for a month in similar cap, there is something soothing about having a plant growing right below my monitor ...
The kits feature a pellet that expands with a little water to fill the caps perfectly with enough "earth" to grow out our Non-GMO Organic seeds that are included in the kit. The "earth" or growing media is actually made of compressed coir or coconut husks and thus sustainable and efficient use of another waste stream.
Will be listing these for sale in our store and through affiliates soon as the kits are ready to ship. These would make great activitities for schools, events or just for a quiet celebration. They also are a unique plant starter as you can simply put the growing matter and plant into your garden and allow them to mature to a great harvest of fresh vegetables !!!
Here is the first look at our new Live Microgreen product. This first crop is arugula and the product will allow the microgreens to stay live and fresh for at least 7 days in our initial testing. Conventional microgreen delivery has been cut and package. The problem is that microgreens by nature are a very delicate crop made to be harvested and eaten, not cut and bagged. Our new Urbafresh package will stay fresh in a produce chiller and once opened can resume growing and consumed as needed with minimal watering and care.
Our product highlights are:
USDA organic certified growing media that is full compostable and wood based.
Growing containers made of recycled plastic bottles
Seeds sourced organic and Non-GMO
Finally, purified water used to grow the microgreens .... Clean, Live, and Fresh !!!
Ongoing testing of other crops and a clean nutrient source ... stay tuned ...
Here are first "final" results from trials of our new hydroponic process for microgreens. From the very beginning of this journey our vision has been to deliver the finest microgreens in an easy kit to bring these wonderful plants to your table as living whole foods to establish the most potent source of nutrients you can buy ... it just doesn't get FRESHER than live !!!
Pictured above is Kale, Speckled Peas and Radish Mix (Kale and Radish Mix at 7 days and peas at 12 days of growth from seed). This is our "soiless" hydroponic microgreen kit that we have been testing and developing for several months now. An additional feature is the ability of our kits to stay fresh in a produce chiller for 7+ days. This solves the problem that all microgreens face, their delicate nature. By delivering live produce, the plants remain fresh and vibrant until harvest at your table.
Let's start with the fail and work our way up ... I saw a site that advocated really high density seeding of buckwheat lettuce so I thought I'd do a little experiment. We are working with a hydroponic setup and this would be ideal test. I am using our media (USDA certified organic and fully compostable) and the tray on the right is just plain purified water while the tray on the left is using an organic mix that is certified for food production by State of California. Just amazing, picture was taken at just over 7 days of growth ...
Now the fail part of this, due to the high density of seed, there appeared some mold. Not enough to kill the plants, but a troublesome problem I would rather avoid. We have various means to fight mold, and you can see that our plants are overcoming this. Success on the experiment and fail on the mold. Segue to sushi ...
The picture on the right is some 10 day old speckled peas that we are delivering to a local juice bar. The left hand shot is from one of favorite sushi places, NUKA, here on Maui. Look at what Chef Hiro can do with microgreen peas ... hope you're not too hungry now ....
Our new product exceeded our wildest expectations ... the results show the last blog after spending a week at one of our vendors placed in their produce chiller. Our expectation was that the arugula would grow, but slowly and it was important to see what condition the plants would be without any maintenance or additional water. This microgreen setup is simply water, media and seeds ....
If you look at our last blog entry and compare, it is amazing. The arugula is in great shape and now growing in the sun with the cover off and water added. This is the basis of our live sales model and kits that we are preparing to sell. We are also testing seeds that will work well in this container. There will be additional details on the product posted soon and some exciting new pictures of our experiments with our hydroponic line of microgreen kits that will be also introducing this month ... stay tuned !!!
Urbaform is a technology integrator and developer specializing in food production in the urban environment ...