“farm babyZ is causing a groundswell by developing our next generation of sustainable urban growers,” says farm babyZ Founder Recie Robertson. “We want to make hydroponic indoor growing available for all.”
farm babyZ LLC, a STEM.org Reviewed ™ organization, has created and packaged an educational hydroponic growers curriculum and American-made merchandise/grow kit for early childhood development agencies and other educators working with children between the ages of two to five years old.
As outlined in its mission statement, “The farm babyZ LLC pre-STEM program is committed to developing an academic understanding of science and agricultural development. To achieve this goal, we support student learning by offering a concise and elementary program designed to help all preschoolers meet the Stem academic standards.”
“We created farm babyZ with food deserts in mind,” explains Robertson. “In these areas, we’re trying to help change unhealthy eating habits brought on by land restrictions for growing everything from fruits to vegetables. By building a community through educating our youths and connecting people around life-giving plants –from 2-5 years old – on up to the 92+age shut-in population – we hope to reap countless therapeutic benefits from family bonding, to mentor relationships and facilitate cross generational interaction.”
For more information on farm babyZ, contact Recie Robertson at 313.737.8115 or recie@ONE5Consulting.com
We know light is important for photosynthesis. It is also key for photomorphogenesis (the development of form and structure in plants which is affected by light). Once the seed cracks, he says, you need to focus on proper light intensity and light duration. You cannot ignore one or the other. Otherwise you will end up with a number of issues. These can range from elongation to yellowing leaves suffering from lack of chlorophyll development.
Frequency and duration are key, says Rapaka, whether you are running a multi-million-dollar facility controlled with a Privasystem or a smaller operation using a Rainbirdcontrol system. Since most of us are growing crops like leafy greens and tomato seedlings rather than rice, you only need to water once a day or every other day. You do not have to bombard or flood your plants multiple times a day. The plant quality suffers because the roots can get excess water, which is not good for seedling growth.
To be clear, Rapaka is separating watering from nutrients. He disagrees with old hydroponics textbooks that suggest nutrients are not required until day 3 or 4. When growing crops in controlled environments where, for example, you’re providing light and CO2, if you do not have the right nutrients, you’re headed for trouble. You do not have to put the plants on a restricted diet he says, using human gluten free diets as an example. But, as soon as the seed cracks, he adds, it needs to see nutrients. Regardless of the media you’re using, make sure you are treating with nutrients starting with the very first watering.
Sometimes people think if they’re planting really high density, they can go with a smaller footprint or smaller plug size to save a few cents. Rapaka explains that you will lose dollars in the long run here because once leaves start emerging, there should be no shading effect. If there is, propagation quality suffers.
Turns out, timing is, indeed, everything. You have to do the right things at the right time, Rapaka explains. It’s wonderful to grow beautiful, quality seedlings, but it’s critical to transplant them at the right time. If plants get overcrowded or rootbound, you have a transplant delay. Whatever quality you are achieving at the young plant stage will not be transferred once you transplant.
During his presentation, Rapaka also shared updates about Fortify, Smithers-Oasis’ new liquid nutrient supplement, designed to optimize the growth performance and increase harvest weights while reducing production time by up to 20%.
In short, said Rapaka, hydroponic production is sexy, propagation is not … and it is often neglected. Everything starts with propagation. You’ve got to start strong to end strong, he adds.
The entire webinar, as well as many others in our new Indoor Ag-Conversations series, are available on demand. Simply visit our Indoor Ag-Conversations page to access the recording.