Monthly Archives: January 2012

January Planting

Here at Boswyck Farms, we decided to start the year off right – by planting a variety of peppers! We followed up last week with another round of planting which included red cabbage, echinacea, lavender, nasturtium, and fennel. We are all about sharing here, so we want to share the progress of our little seedlings as they grow – from planting to harvest – with you!

Drilled Holes in the Tray


First, we had to pick out a nice, sturdy tray for our red cabbage and its friends.

We used an electric drill to make holes in the tray for good drainage – about 4 rows of 4 holes in no particular pattern.

We cut away any excess material created from drilling with scissors.

Soaking the Rock Wool



Next, we placed a sheet of rock wool into the tray, and soaked it well with water. After soaking it, we let it sit on a towel for about 5 minutes to let the water absorb completely. This makes the tray pretty heavy!

Finally, it was time for planting. We chose our seeds and got to work.

Planting the Seeds



The rock wool sheet has pre-made holes for seeds to go straight in. Each hole in the sheet takes one seed – which can be tricky because some types of seeds are super tiny – like the cabbage. Of course we don’t want to waste any seeds by dropping them or putting too many in one hole, so this can be a little time consuming (but loads of fun!)



Once our seeds were safely planted in their new homes, we moved the entire tray over to the seedling bed. This bed has a lower hanging light, since these guys are just starting out and won’t need so much room just yet.

Into the Seedling Bed - Week 1

Additionally, we needed to make a customized cover for the edges of the bed (the white part you see around the edges there). By using a sheet of PVC , a straight edge, and a box cutter, it was pretty easy to measure and cut out a piece of PVC that would cover the edges up. This cover prevents water from evaporating and greatly reduces algae growth.

There was already another tray in this bed – which are the peppers that were planted the previous week (the tray in the back of the photo to the right). You can see the peppers were already starting to sprout up.


Now let’s take a look at how these guys are doing THIS week!

Cabbage & Friends -Week 2 Growth


WOW!! The cabbage is coming along nicely! The rest of the gang is also making a good effort. Some seeds just take a little longer to sprout than the others, which is fine, because this group is staying in the seedling bed for about another week before getting transplanted.

Cabbage Closeup - Week 2

The peppers were also coming along very nicely, and it was time to graduate them to a bigger bed where they will have more space to grow.


What we did was take the pepper tray out, and cut out each plant in a little cube (keeping it in the rock wool, of course), then transplanting it into a 2″ pot where they can then fit nicely into a floating raft on a bigger bed. We only transplanted those that had sprouted.

Transplanted Peppers


We have a ton of peppers, and there are a few different types including hot varieties and sweet varieties. In order to know which ones were which we labeled and separated them with  bright green tape.

Can’t wait to taste these guys!


Stay tuned for next week’s update on this round of crops!



Boswyck Farms Makes an Appearance on NY1!

Boswyck Farms is proud to be a part of an ongoing project with United Cerebral Palsy. Check out our recent cameo on NY1, where you can see our Operational Hydroponicist Alex Middleton giving a lecture on the basics of hydroponics, and part of our hydroponic set up at the facility.

Watch the 2 minutes clip from NY1 here

CDSC Workshop with The Brooklyn Food Coalition

On November 19, 2011, Boswyck Farms lead a Soda Bottle Workshop and “Intro to Hydroponics” lecture at the Child Development Support Corporation (CDSC) in collaboration with the Brooklyn Food Coalition.

Our very own Lee, Alex M., and Chloe were thrilled to have a full house of community members from the Brooklyn Food Coalition at the CDSC, who were interested in learning the basic principles of hydroponics, and were able to get hands on experience creating their very own mini-hydroponic set up via soda bottle.

The workshop was just a part of Boswyck Farm’s commitment to sharing hydroponics with the community through teaching and example.


The range of community members who attended was truly impressive – from children, to teachers, to food justice activists, to senior citizens and even community members from other neighborhoods like Bed-Stuy and Clinton Hill. We were so happy to see such diversity – reinforcing our belief that hydroponics can be learned and enjoyed by just about anyone.

Boswyck Farm’s work with the CDSC began in February of 2011, when the partnership was formed to provide fresh produce for the food pantry, and give children a unique hands-on learning experience with hydroponics.

Nancy from the Brooklyn Food Coalition provided everyone with a wonderful lunch, including cauliflower-cheddar soup and homemade cornbread. Yum!!


Check out the rest of the photos from the event here!