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 had hoped.

Rest assured, if it has been a while since a recent update in this part of the site, it does not mean that things aren’t happening at the farm. Most likely, if we’re not working at our other vocations, or busy with family, you can find us here — working on some aspect of the farm in a continuous quest to do what we do here a little bit better every day.

Believe me, there is always room for improvement, as the last few weeks of 2022 taught us. Due to a few mistakes, we ended up suffering some disappointing losses. What was well on the way to becoming fresh, nutritious food ended up dying, due to our own error. Once you kill off a plant that you’ve spent time and resources on, there’s no way to get it back. Patience is indeed a virtue, one that’s definitely needed when there’s no other option but to re-plant and re-grow.

Nonetheless, we did accomplish quite a bit during 2022. We grew and sold more lettuce and greens then the year before, we upped our productivity by building more machines, and added an evolving mix of microgreens to our offerings. We helped introduce hydroponics to young people by hosting visits from many schools, pre-K students and scouts. As many of you who have stopped by the Farm have learned, we’re always thrilled to share our indoor growing experiences with others. All very rewarding stuff.

Finally, let us not be without some genuine optimism for 2023! We are looking forward to growing even more food, exploring new varieties, becoming more efficient and predictable about our inventory, and teaching as many of you who will listen about healthy, tasty food and how to grow it.

Stay in touch — and keep an eye on this blog for more exciting updates from us too!


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


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 an attribute we’ve had to learn as we navigate this new phase of growth!

We also have enjoyed the assistance of our newest workers here at the farm: Ladybugs! Yes, ladybugs are making a difference here, helping us keep the pests away. Believe it or not, even when growing indoors, pests can and will find your crops.

Ladybugs, however, are natural predators, and help keep our produce free from aphids and other insects who might want to take up residence on our leafy greens. So if you buy something from us and find a ladybug hitchhiker, there’s nothing to worry about – just remove it, put it in your garden, and say “thank you” for doing their job.


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.