Tag Archives: urban gardening

How to Start Seeds in the Smart Farm – Preparing Your Growing Medium

Growing food using hydroponics can be easy with the Smart Farm.  Once you have your Smart Farm assembled, it is time to begin growing by adding your growing medium.  While you can use soil in the Smart Farm, we recommend using a mixture of 80% coco peat and 20% perlite, gravel or growstone for hydroponic growing.

Why grow hydroponically? Hydroponics can create a cleaner and more controlled environment for the even distribution of water and nutrients to your plants. The coco peat helps retain moisture without a lot of compaction, while the perlite, gravel or growstone that we recommend in the Grow Guide creates space for roots and encourages healthy drainage. Roots need room to grow and don’t do well when soggy.

Mixing your growing mixture is easy, but you need to make sure you have everything you need. Gather the following items:

  • Mr. Stacky coco peat block (You will need 12.5 gallons of the fully hydrated block)
  • Perlite, gravel or growstone (Hint: You will need 12.5 quarts. If you also raise chickens, a #50 bag of Cherry Stone #2 grit is just enough with leftovers.)
  • Smart Farm reservoir
  • Smart Farm shipping box (Seriously. Why waste a good container?)
  • 16 gallons of water
  • An old pitcher
This picture shows grit and coco coir being mixed to form the growing medium.

Directions:

  1. Place the unwrapped coco peat block inside the empty Smart Farm reservoir and add 16 gallons of water. As it expands, break up the coco peat block with your hands.
  2. Once the coco peat is hydrated, you want to create a four parts coco peat/one part grit mixture. (Use your pitcher to pour four equal parts of coco peat  into your empty packing box.)
  3. Next, add  one pitcher of grit on top of the coco peat in the packing box.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all the coco peat and/or grit is used.
  5. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the coco peat and grit together.
  6. Once your Smart Farm is fully assembled, use your hands to fill each stacking tray.
  7. Rejoice! It is time to plant!

If you have any questions, our gardener is available to help on our Facebook page.