Tag Archives: seeds sprout

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.

The Latest Innovation from Boswyck Farms

Check out one of the latest innovations from Boswyck Farms! We have recently developed a way to use aeroponics without the pesky, clog-prone nozzles.2012-02-06_13-37-33

Our Vertical Rain System includes a box-like structure mounted on the wall with holes drilled into the front for plants. Then, a piece of  piping with small holes drilled in it is suspended directly above vertically stacked net pots. A water pump sends the nutrient solution up to the pipe, and then it rains down through the holes and onto the net pots. Roots eventually grow out into the open air and the rain provides a healthy balance of nutrient solution and oxygen. This awesome system was designed and built by Aleksandra Galczaka, a City College mechanical engineering student.


Work is currently under-way on a nozzle-less high pressure aeroponic system that will provide roots the ideal ratio of nutrient solution to oxygen at the ideal droplet size. This, we believe, will speed plant metabolism to optimal rates!

Stay tuned for more updates, or better yet, come visit us at the farm!

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!



Farm Report: The Death of a Sunflower

The title pretty much says it all so I’ll start off this report with the obvious: our last sunflower has died. I’m sort of sad as I love sunflowers. At least we’ve learned that 2 giant sunflowers in one pot on a very hot roof = a bad ending. On to happy news.

Round 2 of radishes has begun. We had a great harvest 2 weeks ago and are excited to taste this batch (except for me because I don’t like radishes).

Out with the old, in with the new. Bye to our tomatoes in the aeroponic system. We’ve replaced that whole system with a bucket flood and drain. Lee planted a new batch of tomatoes, which I am very excited to eat.

Our outdoor NFT system is looking fabulous with sage, Swiss chard, kale and more. Lee snapped some very pretty pictures of them after a rainfall.

Thanks to LunchNYC for shooting at the farm last week. We’ll be on an upcoming show. Details to follow.

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Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

Farm report

We’ve had a very busy week at the farm. The heat wave a few weeks back took its toll on our rooftop installation but thanks to Lee’s quick thinking and ability to lug pounds of ice up some steep stairs, everything is back on track. I’m loving the sunflowers which are now enormous. Our cumbers are kicking right along and the Fine Verde basil is busting up out of the NFT system. We also had our first lady bug sighting. Win!

New to the farm this week are our carrots which have just sprouted. Our pea shoots are back. There was a sad turn of events for the peas when it hit 103 degrees on the roof so we’re happy to see them again.

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lettuce seeds

Robert and I planted half the bed. We will see how they get through this cold spell. We are going to plant the rest of it on Tuesday. As soon as seedlings come up we will work on getting the second bed on line.