As many of you know, I am a very passionate gardener and love to grow lots and lots of vegetables. I enjoy them in my daily green juice, and always share them with my daughter and grandchildren.
During the winter months, I am very fortunate to have my own indoor vegetable greenhouse, where I can continue to grow delicious and organic produce. I also have three Urban Cultivator units that allow me to sprout greens in appliance-sized devices right inside my main greenhouse. Urban Cultivator is a hydroponics company in Canada that creates these amazing indoor gardening machines. There's no need to use any pesticides or chemicals of any kind, so we know we're nurturing the highest quality plants. It's exciting to have all our favorite herbs and vegetables all year long.
My head gardener, Ryan McCallister, recently seeded some trays - enjoy these photos.
This is our commercial-sized Urban Cultivator. It is kept in the head house of my main greenhouse. It weighs 545-pounds and can hold up to 16-flats. http://www.urbancultivator.net
The unit has four grow drawers for the seed trays – well spaced so there is plenty of room for seedling growth.
There are also 16-grow lights – four on every shelf.
The seed trays sit over these reservoirs and are automatically watered from the back of the unit.
These Cultivators provide the proper aeration and circulation for its plants.
The Urban Cultivator’s pre-programmed control center adds just the right amount of water, light, humidity and air.
This is the Urban Cultivator residential unit. This unit takes up the same footprint as a dishwasher and is plumbed to water and electrical in the same way.
This smaller unit also has a pre-programmed control center to ensure greens get exactly the right amount of water and light.
The seeds that the Urban Cultivator provides have all been tested specifically for the machines. They are non-GMO (non genetically modified organism), organic, and come in a wide variety.
Seeds, seed sheets, humidity domes, and other cultivator accessories are stored neatly on shelves, where they can be kept handy and dry.
Urban Cultivator provides several options for growing seeds. For this option, Ryan filled a residential cultivator tray with about three-fourths of an inch of growing medium. This is a natural and organic mix recommended by Urban Cultivator. It’s called Sunshine Advanced Growing Mix 4, which includes peat moss, coir, and perlite for optimal plant growth and drainage. http://sunshineadvanced.com/
Ryan then sprinkles about a cup of seeds evenly throughout the entire tray.
After seeding, he adds a little more growing medium onto the seeds. It’s now ready to go into the Urban Cultivator.
Another growing option… Ryan lines the tray with a filter mat to keep the growing medium contained. One filter mat fits perfectly in a cultivator tray.
Growing medium is scooped into the tray – again, nearly an inch deep.
Ryan lightly tamps down the layer of soil and drops the seed. He adds a little more of the soil medium and lines it up to go into the Cultivator.
When seeding several trays, we often create an assembly line process.
This is a collection of various seed sheets, which fit perfectly into a cultivator tray.
Compressed peat sheets are used as an alternative to soil – they make clean-up much easier.
The compressed peat sheets come in pairs of squares that fit right into the tray – no cutting needed at all.
Ryan places one seed sheet on top of the peat sheets. Each seed sheet has seeds spread evenly across for best growing.
And that’s it – it’s ready to go into the Cultivator – so easy.
These seed sheets combine compressed peat with the seeds already on them. Here, we’re preparing a tray of basil.
Simply place two squares into the tray, and place into the cultivator unit.
Ryan places all the seed trays into the commercial Urban Cultivator.
Urban Cultivator provides humidity domes for each tray. The humidity dome remains positioned over the seed tray until germination begins. Each tray receives about 18-hours of light a day.
We programmed the watering intervals to once every four days.
Here, you can see the water coming out of the back of the Urban Cultivator. It is absorbed through the holes at the bottom of each tray.
About a week later, we checked on the trays. These trays are in different stages of growth. Inside the Urban Cultivator, they are receiving the best growing conditions. It is fascinating to watch the plants grow.
We had one tray of wheatgrass ready for Blackie to try – he loves it.
It’s wonderful to be able to grow all these delicious lush greens inside our greenhouse all year long.