As we’ve been building the farm, we have also been trialling and testing the produce that we will be growing on it for our customers. The GrowUp Box was in many senses our first testing station, allowing us, through trial, error and persistence, to gauge how aquaponically grown produce grows, looks and tastes. But the farm will be different in many ways. Firstly, we are growing in a much more controlled environment where everything from the humidity to lighting will be monitored and controlled. Secondly, we are growing on a much, much larger scale than the Box! And we will be concentrating on slightly different plants too.
With all this in mind, we built a mini test centre at the farm. In this grow room, we have been seeding Holy, Nufar and Thai Basil, Watercress, Mizuna, Rocket and Pea Shoots.
We are trialling key growing parameters for our farm system like growing media, growing density, watering frequency and intensity and cutting cycles for baby leaf. All these factors are important for us to plan for growing and harvesting fantastic quality produce for our customers. In the grow room at the farm we will generally be growing quick turn around crops on the bottom benches, such as micro greens and pea shoots, then medium turn around crops like baby leaf on the middle benches, and then longer turn around crops like whole head lettuce and basil crops on the higher benches. Therefore, it is important for us to know how quickly and in which optimised conditions these crops will flourish.
The trials have been a huge success. But if we told you anymore, we’d have to kill you. Growing techniques are a closely guarded secret of any commercial farm. But we can say that we are learning a lot, and give you some nice pictures to enjoy.
We’re continuing to work on trials of different crops including micro greens, other baby leaf varieties and some whole head lettuces too – so keep an eye on our Instagram account for more beautiful shots.