Category Archives: Projects

All Blog posts concerning projects should go here.

Construction at the Boro Park Y

BoroPark_LettucesGrowingOur first major construction project in our new space — other than the space itself, which we’ll update you on as we make progress — has been a system for the senior citizens at the Boro Park Y. We’re doing a hydroponics and education program with them, and wanted to use our new space to optimize some new building techniques. Here’s what we’ve got:

We decided to go with a deep water system, as they are easy to maintain and also the most tolerant of pump failure. We’re installing three 2′ x 4′ deep water systems in total, each with its own powerful pump system and air stones to support water circulation.

Because we knew we couldn’t do much construction on site at Boro Park, we were keen on building something that could be loaded, pre-constructed, into our van for transport. As for the construction techniques, we’ve made a few updates to our previous deep water system approaches:


1. Framing. We’ve traditionally used PVC in our frame construction because it’s easy to work with and very effective. For this project, though, Lee decided that wood was a better option, which gave him and Bryant the opportunity to try a few new construction techniques.

2. Which brings us to item two. Lee wanted to try a new method of joinery using dowel pins. This was successful and quick — about an hour to cut the wood and drill the holes, and half an hour to glue.

Once the frames were constructed, it was onto finishing (something that we remembered takes much longer with wood). Luckily Bryant had a spray gun!

3. Pond liner, begone! Pond liner is expensive and not very beautiful, although it does have the upside of being malleable enough to fit any sized box. Luckily, we’ve recently discovered some new hydroponic flood trays that are perfect for the 2’x4′ deep water systems. (They’re also great for flood and drain!)


We drove the deep water systems over to Boro Park (always a traffic adventure) and have them set up to grow red and green oak leaf lettuce. The senior citizens in the class have had amazing success with their germination rate (over 90%), and the systems are now transforming the lobby of the Boro Park Y. We’re having a great time working with our class! More updates to come.

Wyckoff Farmhouse: old building, new project.

We’ve been thrilled to work with the folks over at Wyckoff Farmhouse, the oldest building in Brooklyn, to install a new hydroponic project. We’ve partnered with Sustainable Flatbush on the solar capacity. This is our first project that will be run off solar power, and we’re really excited to see how things shape up.

For now here’s a photo of the build in process (and one of our van loaded to the greatest capacity yet!), but we’ll keep you posted with more. We already got a shout out in Edible Brooklyn for this work, so we’re pretty psyched.

Our friends at Project ORE.

Our friends at Project ORE (a program for Jewish Elders that’s a part of the Educational Alliance) have become avid hydroponic farmers after 8 weeks of classes with us this summer. They’re growing lettuce, basil, arugula, thyme, and other salad greens and aromatic herbs to use in their cafeteria, or to enjoy at home.

Plants growing at Project ORE

Project ORE is using a raft system with four reservoirs: two for smaller plants, and two for larger plants. Although there is some natural light in the room, we installed some additional lighting to make sure that the plants are healthy and strong. The systems are surrounded by drawings made by Project ORE clients, as well as some hydroponic fun facts that we all put together.

Congratulations to our newest “crop” of farmers. L’Shana Tova/Happy New Year to all!

Los Sures: building community through hydroponics.

We’ve been hard at working building a system with Los Sures, a social service organization in South Williamsburg. Robin, our main contact there, was kind enough to send along these photos that she took of the progress so far.

It’s been amazing to work with this team. Their dedication to grassroots community support is amazing. Plus, we’ve gotten to practice our Spanish — an important skill when you’re working in New York City.

The first seedlings were planted and they’re already sprouting! We’re looking forward to supplying the Los Sures Community Choice Pantry with ultra fresh, maximally local produce.

United Cerebral Palsy Construction

Done for the day!This past Monday, some of the Boswyck team headed over to United Cerebral Palsy to set up their new hydroponic system. We are thrilled to work on this project partially because it gave us the opportunity to show off our customization skills. Being that the individuals who would be learning from and working with the hydroponic system at UCP are those with disabilities, we had to consult with UCP and figure out the best way to customize the system to fit with their needs. For example, many people at UCP use wheelchairs, making it difficult for them to go directly up to the bed to plant, harvest, or maintain. We designed this setup to be higher than normal, making wheelchair access possible for easy access.

The construction of the actual bed was done at Boswyck Farms, which was then transported to UCP and put together on site. Lee, Alex M. and Alex T., and Sara helped set this whole system up, including the lights, reservoirs, and tubing in about 2 hours.

We also took a really cool time lapse video of the process from start to finish (you can even see the clock ticking on the wall).

Check it out here!

Reservoirs and Tubing

Putting the Legs on the BedDrilling the hanger on for the lights

Working away

LED lightingDrilling the hanger on for the lights