Category Archives: Boswyck Farms

This is a generic category for informational posts about the farm (staff updates, information, and non-page level updates)

Grand Re-Opening Party!

Open House Fall 2014

You’re invited to our Grand Re-Opening event! September 29th, from 6 – 9 PM, join us on our rooftop to celebrate our new Astoria space. We can’t wait to see you. Share the invitation far and wide! All are welcome.

Press inquiries can be directed here.

 

Seeking summer (college) interns!

Spend your summer farming!

We seek a motivated intern who is comfortable working both independently and cooperatively, not put off some of the less nice aspects of farming (decaying plant matter, insects, bee stings, and rain), good with following directions, and always on time. No previous hydroponic experience is required, but we are hoping to work with interns who have a demonstrated interest in the sciences, food justice, and agriculture.

The intern’s duties will focus on general farm maintenance (at both indoor and outdoor sites), including plant care and insect control, crop harvesting and distribution, and data collection. Other tasks may include assisting Boswyck Farms staff during the construction of hydroponic systems for clients, and helping to set-up and teach workshops for farmers of all ages. It is also sometimes possible for interns to conduct their own research projects using Boswyck Farms’ facilities. If this is of interest to you, please let us know.

To apply, please email Chloë Bass, Communications & Outreach Specialist: chloe@nullboswyckfarms.org. Include a cover letter detailing your interest in the internship and summer availability, and an up-to-date resumé or CV that highlights relevant previous work experience. Please also let us know if you have a cat allergy, as we have a wonderful cat at our main research and development site.

This position is unpaid. However, we are happy to arrange for academic credit where possible. Please ask your college for more information about summer internships for credit.

Intern Profile: Chelsea Dow!

We’ve been meaning to do a series of intern profiles for a while, and now we’re finally getting around to it. We’ve worked with some amazing interns over the years — they really do keep our business running. We’re excited to introduce you to the current crop (forgive the pun). First up, meet Chelsea, our college intern from Pace University.

Name: Chelsea Dow
Age: 20 years old
School: Pace University
What brought you to Boswyck Farms?
I came to Boswyck Farms for my interest in sustainable agriculture and interest in supporting local farms/produce.
What have you learned so far from working with us?
I have already learned so much from working at the farm. After only a month I understand the basic steps towards creating and manufacturing a hydroponic system, and also the benefits it poses.
What are the surprising things about your internship?
I was surprised to learn about the false information people have been told about hydroponics. After working on the farm, I have had multiple people ask me if plants grown in a hydroponic system are not as flavorful as there soil grown counterparts. Hydroponic growing does not change the taste of any plant!
What do you want to do with your new urban farming knowledge?
Working at Boswyck Farms will greatly benefit me in the future. I want to take the knowledge gained from my internship and use it both for personal and educational purposes. For myself, I want to have a hydroponic system in my own space. After graduation I would also like to WOOF (world organization of organic farmers) and the knowledge from this internship would greatly improve my farming techniques.

January Planting – Week 3

This week was a big one for our little January seedlings! After a thorough root-check, we were able to transplant most of these guys into their new homes which have more space for them to grow. The seedlings that were ready to be transplanted were put into one of three locations – either a traditional raft system, a vertical wall unit, or an enclosed closet-type of unit.

The reason we split the seedlings up into different areas is to feed our appetite for experimentation – we are an R&D facility, after all! We’ll be taking note of which setup allows for the best growth of these seedlings over the next few weeks.

As far as the peppers go, they are growing away in their new home (they were transplanted last week).

In other news at the farm – the Boswyck Team spent several hours on Sunday preparing beds and reservoirs for an upcoming installation at United Cerebral Palsy. We’re super excited to be working with such a great organization, and are planning to begin our install early next week after completing the main construction at the farm.

And now for the photos! Enjoy!

 

Boswyck Team Hard at Work!

Lee and Alex building a bed

Peppers - Week 4

Wall Unit System Closeup

Wall Unit System

Red Cabbage - Week 3

Fennel and Dill - Week 3

Cabbage transplanted into the Closet-system

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!

 

 

Final Harvest of the Season

While the rooftop farm withstood the short taste of winter that blew in for Halloween, the end of November (and with it, diminished hours of daylight) brought the growing season to a close. The past two weekends have been spent cleaning systems and mats and reservoirs, getting all the equipment set for a few months of storage.

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That said, the last harvest was a marvel in itself. Check out the colossal collard plants below, winners of the Last Plants Standing Contest 2011.

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And of course, a huge thanks to our friends Keith, Quin and Barry who made it all happen!

Why, hello Winter.

Just as we were settling into the cozy,  crispness of fall, the city gets blanketed in snow. For our plants at the Bushwick Starr, this wasn’t terrible news- kale sure loves it some cold weather. The rest of us in the city, however, were not as pleased.  We hope those brave souls who did venture out on that historic Saturday popped in to the Calabaza Fest, presented by our friends at EcoStation:NY. Even though the snow forced the event indoors to PS 123, spirits were high, costumes were creative, and the pumpkins were plentiful.

While the weather seems to have returned to normal (for November), the Boswyck Farmers are gearing up for winter’s official arrival. This winter we will unveil: The Hoop House.

Hoop houses are great for outdoor hydroponic growing. Chances are good that even if you don’t recognize the term, you have seen one before. Take the long hollow pipe of a chain link fence, bend it into a half circle, repeat a couple of times, cover them with plastic and voila! A hydroponic long house (and a throwback to 5th grade social studies.)

If Halloween weekend was any indicator of what winter will be bringing this year, we will be needing to keep the hoop house plant roots toasty warm. Our plan? The ultimate in repurposed materials: COMPOST! Thanks to the composting expertise of Maggie from Ecostation:NY, Boswyck Farm’s hoop house will be rocking out a custom compost heating system all winter long.

This past weekend, Boswyck Farms had a hoop house raising at the Academy of Urban Planning, at the Bushwick Campus. As we start to winterize the systems at the Bushwick Starr, we will start building and populating systems in the hoop house. More photos to come!