Day 57 – Mar 8

Eight weeks in! I expect another week before my first harvest, two till my first market day. I want to have a bumper crop for my first week, and I realize that I under-planted in my first couple rounds of seedings. I’ve nearly got my 2nd unit of 16 towers fully planted and my 3rd unit of 16 towers has been delivered and awaiting construction. Slow, steady, measured progress.

Ain’t she purdy?

One thing I’m doing to maximize the square footage of space and lighting is to mix and mingle quicker plants, like mustards, spinach and boc choi with the slower herbs and lettuces with the intention of eating them as the main crop matures to take up its space.

Day 35 – Feb 14

Just plugging along with steady planting and production. I’ll finish transplanting my first 16 tower unit tomorrow, which will necessitate building the second tower before next Friday. I expect it will take significantly less time and mods to complete than the first one.

I’ve been working on micro green production as a logical addition to the leafy vegetables in the vertical towers. So far I have pea shoots and sunnies, but spinning off into blends, broccoli and red amaranth. They’re chock full of nutrition, packed into their tiny little profiles.

Microgreen blend with arugula, kale, pac choi, radish, mizuna, and fenugreek

I’ve booked a regular stall at the Qualicum Beach Farmer’s Market starting early in March. Come drop by my booth and see what’s on harvest.

Day 28 – Feb 7

I’ve got all 8 towers planted in my first FarmWall, lights are on and I’m looking forward to enjoying the fruits of my labour. This is my first crop, so it’s exciting to see some real progress after a few missteps and growing pains. See below for a list of my #fails.

Full side 8 Tower Farewell

Day 23 – Feb 2

Happy Groundhog Day. Just to catch up on the last week’s progress, which amounted to quite a lot. I finished the frame for the first 16 tower grow rig, which will serve as the template for the next ones, or at least until I get a better idea. Enough supplies for another rig just came in the mail from Zipgrow, so I’ll need to construct it within 3 weeks to keep ahead of my weekly seedings.

The finished wooden frame, 2 by 8 tower Zipgrow Farmwalls, back to back, with Sunblaster T5HO lights.

I actually, finally, at long long last, got my first seedlings into 4 of the towers and fired the lights up. Initial rows of kale, Swiss chard, butter crunch lettuce and basil are all fired up, a full 21 days after seeding. The next week’s seeds are doing better, probably because I added a Sunblaster T5HO into the mix. .

1st transplants!

In addition to that, I started exploring micro green production on my seedling shelf. Why not? They’re popular and it will help diversify my products, and most of my infrastructure is already in place, or on its way. I started two trays of sunflowers and peas, the most popular, and ordered another 4 varieties.

1st peashoots!

Day 15 – Jan 25

Finally starting to see the first true leaves on the kale and chard! Plus, I finished seeding the tray with some weekly standards (kale, lettuce, basil), plus chives, spinach, oregano, catnip. The full tray will be enough seedlings to fill my first 16 vertical towers. I did my best to align the timing between tower delivery and assembly, and seedling progress, but what can I say, I’m a rookie.

First true leaves poking out on the chard and kale, 1st and 3rd rows from the left.

Day 14 – Jan 24

Day 14 since my first planting, and I’m getting impatient to see my first true leaves so I can transplant into the towers and fire up those lights! Research shows that I’m more or less on schedule, but that doesn’t make any difference.

So, to keep moving forward, I have another round of seeds to go in today.  I can also finish building the second tower and get it all ready to go, aware that I won’t actually need to put it in use for another 2 weeks at least. Waiting is hard. 

Year-Round Vertically-Grown Hydroponic Greens

I’m journalling my adventure in urban vertical hydroponic farming, starting with the seeds of a good idea, and on through to planting, harvest and my own market stall. Beginning this January 2019, I spent some money and cleared some space in my garage to accommodate a few Zipgrow Farmwall towers. I love technology, and I have a farmer’s heart. I recognize that, with 8 billion of us, and a less than reliable climate, we’re going to need to rethink our food production and distribution network.

I started this project officially on Jan 11th 2019, and I’m trying to keep track of my daily progress and findings.