Tag Archives: hydroponics

MMJ Comes to NY State!


Etain’s 1,500 page MMJ application being officially filed!

We mentioned in our last post that our LED research for MMJ growing was leading to an exciting announcement. Now it’s time to let the cat out of the bag. As many of you may already know, New York State is approved for medical marijuana growing as of July 1st, 2015 (yesterday!). We’re thrilled to say that we’ve partnered with Etain, and are in the running for one of the state’s few MMJ growing licenses.

Etain is a family-run company based in upstate New York. Amy, Hilary, and Keeley Peckham, who founded Etain, hope to use the company revitalize the economically struggling area in Warren County. The Peckhams worked incredibly hard to put together the 1,500 page application with our support. If the project goes forward, we will be serving as the hydroponics consultants for their company, designing systems, and teaching Etain the best practices for growing. We hope to develop custom trainings on this subject — just as soon as we’re granted the approval to do so!

The state will be announcing the recipients of the licenses next week. To say that this represents a major development for us, both as a company and as a state, doesn’t even begin to express our excitement. We’re hoping to get back to you with excellent news very soon.

Adding automation with Doris the Doser

We’ve been adding some new automation features for ourselves and our clients. This post will detail Lee’s experiences using the GroHaus system. We noticed that the system we used didn’t actually have a name, so we called ours Doris. Doris the Doser.

Meet Doris!


Doris is by far the simplest and most straightforward automation system that we’ve found so far. To set her up, we built our own custom cart, which was probably the most time consuming part of the process.

Custom cart by Boswyck Farms.

Custom cart by Boswyck Farms.

From there, it was just a question of running plumbing, calibrating the system, and setting our target EC and pH levels.

Setting up Doris' electronic insides.

Setting up Doris’ electronic insides.

Plumbing was run between the nutrient pumps and our stock tanks of General Hydroponics nutrients (Flora Duo parts A and B, along with pH Down), between nutrient pumps and the reservoir, and between the reservoir and the sample pot for testing.

Doris' new home at Project FIND!

Doris’ new home at Project FIND!

We installed Doris at our client Project FIND. Their systems are on a rooftop, so we needed to build a weatherproof enclosure to keep everything safe. We used a case that was originally designed to house outdoor computer systems, which has temperature sensors and cooling fans to keep the system at the right temperature in case of warm weather.

All in all, this was a great experience: learning new automation technologies, building custom houses for them, and using existing materials to amplify what we can do in different environments. If you have questions about automation, we’re always happy to help! Just email us.

Daniel’s Visit to Sunsetview Aquaponics

Produce packaged up and ready to go.

Produce packaged up and ready to go.

Last week I (Daniel) took a trip out to Gap, PA to visit the nice folks at Sunsetview Aquaponics and tour their innovative greenhouse. Sunsetview is run by a second generation Amish plumber with the help of his family and a pair of beautiful bovines. Despite its name, it produces all of its produce using Aeroponic systems. With a capacity for 4000 plants from floor to ceiling, strolling through the lettuce orchard is a magnificent and futuristic experience.

Sam, the owner and head grower has been working on designing their own aeroponic systems that were under development, so I couldn’t snap any photos, but what I can say is that they have some truly impressive and innovative systems that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Who doesn't love chickens?

Who doesn’t love chickens?

A large part of the philosophy at Sunsetview is to include the local community and schools with enriching opportunities to participate throughout the growing process. Once a week a group, of handicapped students from the local school district comes in to help with everything from seeding to harvesting. Engineering students from Messiah College helped to develop the water dispersion cap that delivers nutrient solution to the roots in their growing towers. The greenhouse also serves as a community hub for sustainable and green-focused workshops.

When lettuce monsters attack.

When lettuce monsters attack.

My good friend Dr. T.H. Culhane from Mercy College took the trip down with me to give a presentation for local community members on biodigester technology to create natural gas, compost, and liquid fertilizer all from organic waste.

Sam’s greenhouse is truly beautiful – vertical, focused on simplicity and easy maintenance. Sunsetview does tours throughout the year so if you’re interested in touring their greenhouse for yourself give ’em a call! (717) 768-3597

Summer Certification Course: update!

We’re super excited for our upcoming Hydroponic Certification Course. But . . . our new space won’t quite be ready by June 7th. So we’re bumping the course back by a few weeks. Sign up! The summer course will run starting on July 12th, and you can see the full dates here.

Want to know what you’ll be doing? Check out some albums of photos from our previous certification course (in our old space, of course), and then prepare yourself for our awesome new rooftop and indoor workshop space.

If you have questions, just email us.

Hydroponics on an island paradise

The island nation of Barbados was host to Agrofest 2012 last month.  The theme of their event, hydroponics powered by renewable energy.  Given that Barbados is one of the most densely populated islands in the world with no shortage of sun, it seems an obvious route.  While on your next tropical getaway putdown your umbrella drink and check out one of the many hydroponic farms the island nation has to offer.

Find out more at:



Kickstarter Celebration at the Bushwick Campus High School


Last Saturday, Feb. 25th, Boswyck Farms and partner Ecostation cut the ribbon on a new greenhouse at Bushwick Campus High School.2012-02-25_16-40-53

The greenhouse will serve as a classroom and season extension for their already impressive farming program. It currently features three hydroponics systems designed by Boswyck Farms – including an NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) system for leafy greens, an NFT system for peppers, and an aquaponics system which will be holding lots of tilapia in the near future!


We’d like to especially thank Chrissy’s Cooking Club, who worked with students to supply food for the party, and all who donated to the Greenhouse Kickstarter campaign. We couldn’t have made it happen without your support!

The event was well-attended — lots of people from the Bushwick neighborhood as well as visitors from further afield.


Chloe, Boswyck Farms’ Communications & Outreach Specialist explains, “It was great to give greenhouse tours and explain the full range of programming that’s going to happen in the space. We also had delicious snacks cooked by high school members of Chrissy’s Cooking Club, and were visited by two tv stations: Brooklyn Channel 12 and BCAT“.



Keep an eye out for us on those channels, and stay tuned for our upcoming events and workshops! You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn!

Workshop at the Horticultural Society

Boswyck Farms had a blast this past Wednesday, the 22nd, at the Horticultural Society of New York giving our “Intro to Hydroponics” lecture, followed up by our famous soda bottle workshop.


We had a great group of 15 students who had varying levels of experience with hydroponics. Some had never seen a system, and this workshop was their first real exposure to what hydroponics is all about. Others in the class had not only seen a setup before, but maintained their own hydroponics and aquaponics system in the past (something Boswyck Farms will also be venturing into in the near future).

Our lectures and workshops are geared towards anyone who is interested- regardless of experience level, and all the students had a great time learning from us and each other, asking questions and getting hands-on experience building their own mini-hydroponic system.

Our next workshop will be this Saturday, February 25th at Just Food, where we will be giving the soda-bottle workshop. All you need to do is sign up, bring the bottle, and have a great time learning a new skill! Sign up here!

Check out general info on our workshops here. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get the latest news on when and where our next workshops will be held.

Boswyck Farms’ Sample NFT System

Lee explaining nutrients to students

Chloe instructing during the workshop

Lee Starting the Lecture

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

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