- Lighting Our Way to the Future
Like many other small businesses, Lansdowne Urban Farms is an operation that is in constant change. Being our first and only venture into hydroponic farming, we are always looking for that next adjustment we can make to improve our operations. The end goal of these minor (and constant) tweaks is almost always to create a […]
- Spring on the Farm
Spring has arrived in Lansdowne, including here at Lansdowne Urban Farms. Although the climate we operate in never changes – a consistent indoor temperature between 70-72 degrees – this time of year is still a season of renewal for us. For Zachary and I, renewal at the Farm includes a near-constant reevaluation of our growing […]
- Looking Back – With an Eye on the Future
When I first decided to chronicle the adventures of Lansdowne Urban Farms as part of this website, a good friend warned me that maintaining a blog — especially an engaging one — can be challenging. As I have learned, unfortunately, he was right. The posts on this blog have been far less frequent than I […]
- Going Vertical
Growing, Learning, and Teaching As we continue to refine our schedule and get our growing processes dialed in here at the farm, we’ve also kept ourselves busy by taking on an exciting new community outreach project. Thanks to a partnership with a Pre-Kindergarten group, we have installed new vertical growing systems at their three Philadelphia […]
- Microgreens On the Way
Since many of you have inquired about various microgreens, we’ve decided to make a foray into growing this trendy genre of specialty greens. For the uninitiated, microgreens are very small (hence the “micro” in the name) greens that are harvested immediately after developing one set of leaves. These trendy specialty greens have become especially popular […]
- It’s Been a While
I have the utmost respect for content creators that keep their website or blog consistently lively with fresh content. It’s not an easy task. Between my primary business, minding the Farm, and managing a work-life balance that makes the people important to me feel valued (and there are a lot of you!), sitting down to […]
- 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 […]
- What does it take to run a hydroponic farm?
During these somewhat unnerving times, working at Lansdowne Urban Farms has been a perfectly pleasant escape from the world’s chaos. Here inside the Farm, its always “sunny,” a comfortable 72 degrees, and an overall happy place. Of course, it does take some work to keep it that way. Curious about what happens here in a […]
- In Farm Hours
Our online store is ALWAYS open. But, if you’re looking to buy in-person AT the farm, be aware that our hours usually Thursday 4-7pm, Friday 12-4pm and Saturday 11-1pm. Open hours at the farm are posted weekly at the online store, so please check before stopping by.
- Hard Choices
As our hydroponic farming business has evolved over our first 18 months, we’ve faced a number of challenges, most of which we’ve been able to overcome with hard work, creative problem solving and the occasional stroke of luck. However, the recent news that the nutrient we use was no longer being manufactured – a vital […]
- It’s Always 72 Degrees in Lansdowne
On this frigid day in early January, the temperature outside in Lansdowne is a bone-chilling 24 degrees – conditions that are far more conducive to growing icicles than growing fresh greens and produce. Yet here inside Lansdowne Urban Farms, the thermometer says it’s a relatively balmy 72 degrees, which is just about the same temperature […]
- Youthful Perspective
A couple of weeks ago, students from Lansdowne Friends School took a class trip to downtown Lansdowne where they visited two local small businesses: Lansdowne Urban Farms and Kia’s Cakes. Zachary and I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent with the group during their visit. We loved sharing our knowledge of hydroponic farming with them, […]
Thanksgiving is just about here. What does it mean to you? To some, Thanksgiving means gathering for a dinner with turkey and plenty of side dishes, celebrating each others milestones from year to year, and enjoying the company of family and close friends. To others, the holiday means parades, football games, and getting ready for […]
- Indoor Farming: A Growing Industry
Climate-controlled indoor farming is increasingly playing an important role in our food supply chain. From smaller operations such as us, to national grocery chains, produce grown in controlled environments is becoming much more common as demand increases for healthier, sustainable foods. And you, as a part of the Lansdowne Urban Farms community, are helping to […]
It’s been a while since our last update, as we have been rather busy here at the farm. The process of getting our new machines up and running has required a fair amount of troubleshooting, but we’re finally up and running with new seedlings now well on their way. As we have learned, patience is […]
- At Last: Progress!
Our four brand-new hydroponic growing systems are now up and running. Just yesterday, we started our first seedlings in them, and it’s hard to contain our excitement! With the construction part of this expansion finally behind us, we can now turn our attention to the greens and lettuces that these new systems will be home […]
- Still a Work in Progress
One thing I have learned from starting a small business is that every single thing takes longer than you expect. After 30 years, you might think I’d be used to it, but the unfortunate truth is that time is a mighty foe, almost always winning out over looming deadlines and forcing us to change expectations […]
- Under Construction
Our growing capabilities are in the midst of a major upgrade, so if you stop by the farm this week, please pardon our appearance. The process of building four new machines on site has left the place looking slightly disheveled, but we’d like to think that’s just what progress looks like. The results will be coming soon: more […]
- I’m frilly.
and we don’t mean frivolous and inconsequential. The frilly leaf of our Scarlet Kale is rich in nutrition and flavor and while it might be slightly pink and frilly, our newest kale should be taken seriously.
- Thank You, Bill
We’re currently in the process of building four new hydroponic growing machines for Lansdowne Urban Farms, an addition that we hope will not only greatly improve our growing capabilities, but also offer better spacing that will elevate the quality of the greens we grow. With lots of positive feedback from our growing community so far, […]
- Milk Bok Choy
Milk Bok Choy is another vegetable that’s new to us, and we think it’s gorgeous, in addition to being high in vitamins and quite tasty too. What’s interesting about our Milk Bok Choy is that in our hydroponic environment, it took on some unique properties, most notably growing more outward than upward, as the picture […]
- Pink Mizuna!
Say hello to this visually exciting new offering at Lansdowne Urban Farms: Pink Mizuna! Why pink? Well, different colors in vegetables usually means that there are different nutrients inside. And Pink Mizuna is one of the healthiest vegetables that you can eat. Its purple-pink stems are exceptionally high in vitamin C, as well as folate […]
- Supply vs. Demand…
The realities of demand outpacing supply have caught up with us, and as a result, we’ve decided to remain closed this week (July 15-17).This news is, of course, a mixed bag. We are disappointed that we haven’t been able to keep up but we’ve just ordered enough equipment to build four new hydroponic units. And with […]
- It’s hot!
We have had some hot days. We lost our air conditioning at the Farm too. It was old so understandable but nonetheless, a curve ball.The plants are happy, the humans, not so much. The seedlings in the ebb are big as a result…apparently they like the heat.
- The Fourth of July!
The Fourth of July has always been pretty important in our family. On July 4, 1995, Zachary was born. Attached is a picture of him (second from the right), with his siblings, at the first farm he probably knew, my Mom’s Farm. So happy birthday Zachary, we are all super excited that you came up […]
- Ribbon Cutting – Thursday June 24, 4:00 PM
As of this writing, we are one day away from establishing Lansdowne Urban Farms as an official part of the local business community, during a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony. So what exactly is the significance of cutting a strip of fabric to mark the opening of a business? My good friend Google told me this […]
- Arugula’s Spicy Sister
I promise I will get over my Arugula posts…right after this one. Did you know there is something called Wasabi Arugula? It’s the spicy sister of Arugula with the taste of wasabi. The whole plant is edible. If you like wasabi, you should try some – spicy sisters need love too!
- Arugula…oh how I wished I loved thee…
Lots of folks love Arugula — I am just not one of those people. They tell me that the Arugula Lansdowne Urban Farms grows is very good. I’ve tried it…but its not going to be in a salad that I eat anytime soon. Maybe it should be on your salad?
- What gets you excited?
At Lansdowne Urban Farms its getting new seeds to try! This is a recent batch of new seeds. Can’t wait to see how they do in our hydroponic environment.
- This week at the Farm!
Ah…our crops are diversifying. Try something new like Tatsoi! It’s a super nutritious green not readily available in your local grocery store. We look forward to introducing you to new greens. More varieties are coming soon! Also this week, we have a Lettuce Leaf Basil special. Order early for best results.
- South Side Thursday Night!
Come on out tonight! Our Parris Island Cos Romaine is ready and delicious! In the next 10 days, we will have Black Magic Kale and Lettuce Leaf Basil and a new Japanese Green called Chijimisai that is loaded with flavor and nutrients. This stunning new superfood contains four times as much vitamin A as carrots! […]
- When is Lansdowne Urban Farms Open?
Good question. The simplest answer is: When we have greens ready to sell, we will be open. We will annnounce openings and available greens in four places: Via subscriber emails. Join our mailing list here. On Facebook On Instagram Our website We hope to be open for business as much as possible, but in light […]
- Think out of the Plant(er).
One of the most fun things about Lansdowne Urban Farms is that we give ourselves permission to think about different ways to grow food. We have only one requirement, that we use no soil, it has to be grown hydroponically. We are growing food in buckets and even in downspouts purchased at Home Depot. If […]
- Round #2!
We made it though our first Monster planting. We did not do everything right (lol) but still managed to grow and sell a very decent amount of Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce, Black Magic Kale and Lettuce Leaf Basil for our first time out. If you were among our first customers, thank you. If not, […]
- It’s time to sell some Lettuce.
Today (Tuesday), Thursday and Friday are our first open hours to the public. Come see why we think our Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce is better than anything you can buy in the store and way more nutritious.
- We are a Farm!
It’s really important to us that we are considered a farm. It’s time to re-think everything. Yes, you can have a farm in the middle of a small Central Business District (CBD). There are people in that District that deserve fresh, nutritious food so why not grow food right around them? On a more serious […]
- Level Up.
Here are what the 4 levels of the Monster look like right now. Level 1 (top level), Lettuce Leaf Basil; Level 2, A little bit of everything; Level 3 Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce; and Level 4 (bottom level) Black Magic Kale.
- Zachary and I. 21 Days Later.
On February 22, I posted this great picture of Zachary and I. Just 21 days later, our first big crop steals the frame.
- You are so pretty.
Yes, we talk to our lettuce. This is level 2 in our vertical NFT production unit. Full heads of Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce will be here in just weeks!
- So, What Exactly Does NFT Mean?
I was reminded this morning that I am always tossing around the term NFT rather casually, as if everyone else is as familiar with hydroponic farming as we are. “NFT this,” and “NFT that,” without even considering that everyone might not know what NFT means. Aren’t these the conversations you have in your home at […]
- Roots matter.
Good roots mean that your plant has access to the nutrients it needs. No roots, no growth. Zach was checking nutrients in the NFT Hobby system today and found this Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce with roots about 42″ long. They came all the way down into the water reservoir. We were quite excited.
- Introducing Lettuce Leaf Basil
Lettuce Leaf Basil (Baker Seed) has a huge leaf, it’s less dense than your average basil leaf, and it is not as sharp tasting. Some suggest this basil is perfect for using in place of lettuce for fresh wraps, stuffing, layering in lasagna and for making an abundance of pesto.
- Zachary and I
I am a third generation entrepreneur. My grandfather, my father and I each started our own businesses. If you would have told me that I would start a business with any one of my children, I would have told you that you were crazy. Well almost 26 years later, I may be crazy but Zachary […]
- First Monster Seedlings
Today we moved the first seedlings into the Monster. We are about half full and hope to fill the rest by Monday / Tuesday.
- The Ebb is Full
These are the seeds – soon to be seedlings – that will be the inaugural batch for The Monster. This is where the entire process begins. Four trays of 72 Rockwool Grodan Cubes fill the Ebb now. Each has been carefully seeded with Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Black Magic Kale (Eden Brothers) and […]
- Monster Assembly
Oh boy! Assembling The Monster was quite a project. It took two-and-a-half people (I’m the half – LOL) over three days! It’s all together now, though – super bright and massive. It has 24 NFT channels on four levels with 360 holes to hold our crops of lettuce, kale, and basil. We have lots to […]
- The Monster Has Arrived
Now the real work begins — the part that Zachary and I have been training for. This is what we hope our first NFT and Ebb & Flow setup prepared us for. The Monster is 10 feet long, four feet wide and eight feet high. It’s huge, and weighs in at a hefty 700+ pounds. […]
- Our Sink!
This sink brings us so much joy. We needed Bill for this, not going to lie. Up until this moment, this side of the building had never had water. Why the upside down Home Depot bucket? So the Grandkid can wash her hands, of course!
- Water is Important!
The water we use for our plants is critical. Like I said earlier, for the first four months, we relied on jugs of distilled water from Giant. That was not sustainable; we knew that. We also care deeply about not generating more trash than we need to. The first step in eliminating distilled water was […]
- …Isn’t this this the prettiest lettuce you have ever seen?
This is Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) at about 5 weeks. It tastes great too.