14 Months of Growth and Countless Lessons Learned

If you follow this blog regularly, please excuse the lack of recent updates … we’ve been devoting so much of our time to our operations here at Lansdowne Urban Farms. Even though we now have more than a year’s worth of experience in hydroponic farming, there is still so much for us to learn as we grow.

After solving some ethical and practical challenges regarding where we obtain our supply of nutrients, we established a new, improved diet for our growing greens. That’s not to say that there weren’t some hard lessons learned along the way, though. Our new nutrient was unfortunately a bit too strong for young little seedlings, resulting in us “burning” through a number of them, costing us growing time. To solve this, we needed to experiment and recalibrate just about every aspect of our operations to find the right balance.

Scheduling our grow cycles has been challenging enough without the costly errors. Additionally, Zachary and I have made variety a priority in our scheduling, with our ultimate goal each week to make sure that we have from seven to 10 different greens available for you. That means that just as a item is ready to go out the door, we also need to have a supply that will be ready in two weeks, and four weeks — staggering consecutive crops. It’s a delicate balance and involves plenty of science and math to get it right!

Finally, we’re still figuring out the best use of our space and our equipment here at the Farm. In the course of building another growing unit recently, we also basically rearranged the entire place. This new unit was the first one that we designed and built by ourselves (except for a last minute save by our friend Bill!), and we love the results. Together with our machines we purchased “off the shelf” (and subsequently modified), it’s been a rewarding learning curve getting the hang of building the ideal mix of equipment to grow our greens.

Again, our endless appreciation goes out to all of you for your interest and patience with us. I realize there have been days when we haven’t been able to be open, or may not had the lettuce or green you wanted in stock, but brighter days are definitely ahead and it feels awesome to be growing.

It’s hard to believe that we started this just 14 months ago with only three machines. Today, in May, 2022, we have eight machines growing the greatest variety of greens we have to date. There’s been lots to learn for sure, but each of the small steps involved in growing food this way has been completely rewarding! It feels (mostly …. lol) fabulous — thank you for being a part of it!

Layout of Farm May 4, 2022