We introduced our new bottom watered SIP Micro Farm in a blog yesterday, showing the advantages of bottom watering on plant growth. We developed the system to solve a recurring problem with introducing micro farming to people with no experience. Water amount is a critical to success, and it can be difficult to gauge how much water to add in a growing tray by itself. The new SIP system solves this by taking all the guesswork out of watering your micro plants.
While undergoing development we often wondered just how our micro plant production would compare to conventional agriculture. It is a point of great concern that agriculture takes up approximately 70% of the worlds water consumption, and in the US it is an even higher 80%. This point hit home as we watched the unfolding drama of being trapped on Mars without fresh food in the recent movie "The Martian".
Knowing that our micro plants are extremely fast growing (7-30 days depending on crop) and hyper packed with nutrition (USDA research), we thought it might be interesting to conduct an experiment to figure out just how productive our SIP MicroFarm system is. Note that in the USDA research, the amounts of key nutrients contained in the microgreens studied were 4 to 40 times greater than in mature vegetables.
For our experiment, we grew snow peas for 8 days. We measured the water used to grow the peas, and it came out to approximately 8 oz. Our harvest yielded 1.5oz of delicious snow pea shoots. When you do the math, it calculates to taking less than a gallon of water to grow a pound of snow peas shoots!
Water Required to produce one pound of California foods
(University of California Agricultural Extension, working with livestock farm advisors)
tomatoes & lettuce 23 gallons
potatoes 24 gallons
carrots 33 gallons
apples 49 gallons
chicken 815 gallons
beef 5,214 gallons
Now consider that these pea shoots have 7 times more Vitamin C than blueberries, 8 times more folic acid than bean sprouts, and 4 times more Vitamin A than tomatoes, and you can see why we are excited by these results. Our initial experiment has the potential to turn things upside down!
Urbaform is a technology integrator and developer specializing in food production in the urban environment ...