Transplanting

In my last post I talked about how I got my Ph, water, and nutrient levels just right. Now it is time to transplant my sprouts into their new habitat, my Foody 12.

As always, the first thing we had to do was read the directions.

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They’re actually pretty simple steps. First, check to see if the roots are coming out the bottom of the plugs.

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The roots don’t need to be too far out the bottom. Just a bit, and they will find their way through the holes in the plant pockets. Next we place the hole plug in the plant pocket, and then put the hydroton plant!t clay pebbles around the young plants.

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For the plants on the bottom of the tower, above the reservoir, there is one extra step. We take a piece of the rope that is included with the tower, feed it through the cups, and cut it in half.

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Rocky lost interest in what we were doing.

These ropes soak up the water and give the roots something to grab onto as they grow their way down to the reservoir. Then we just repeat the process of putting the hydroton around the plants until the tower is full.

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We got Rocky’s attention when he saw the plants.
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Rocky is getting hungry.
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And there you have it, the plants are in their new home!

Prepping the Foody for Plants

This week I transplanted my sprouts into my Foody tower. Before I could get the plants in their new home though, I had to choose a spot to put my tower.

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I chose this spot as there is some sun and some shade. I live in Los Angeles where the sun can get pretty intense, so I figured my plants would appreciate a bit of shade. Of course the sun moves in the sky, and the tower spins, so the plants still get plenty of sun.

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I also chose this spot to keep the tower away from Rocky the hungry tortoise!

With the reservoir full of water, and the tower reassembled, I turned on the pump and watched as the trumpets on the tower filled with water. Once the trumpets seemed full, I put a some more water in the reservoir leaving about 3 inches off the top.

Then it was time to make sure the nutrient and PH levels were good before I could nestle the plans in their new abode.

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My tomato sprouts are on the left.

The PH was super easy to test. I filled up the little vile with water from the tower and put in 3 drops from the tester bottle on the left. This turned the clear water to greenish yellowish color, which means my tap water’s PH is optimum for growing. No need to even use the up or down.

For the nutrient levels, I used a handy little blue device called a TDS tester.

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The initial readings on my TDS test were around 350. Greg, Foody’s founder, told me to put in enough nutrients to get the test around 700-800 for when the plants are still sprouts, and then about 1,100 when they are larger.

It takes about 5 minutes for the water to fully circulate through the tower. So I measured out a 1 cup of Pure Blend Pro at a time until I got to around 750. I was pretty surprised by how little nutrients it took to get the tower at the appropriate level. Don’t over pour your nutrients!

Also, be sure to use the Pure Blend Grow first, the bloom is for later.

Anyway, I think that’s enough for now. My next post will be about actually moving the plants into their new habitat. Check out my earlier posts on assembling the tower and getting the sprouts ready in the tray if you’re curious to read more about my growing journey.

Sprouts

Today’s blog post will cover how to get your plants up and growing.  To help get my sprouts started, I used these Rapid Rooter plugs.

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The first thing I had to do was decide what to seeds to plant. I settled on tomatoes, peppers, and flowers for my girlfriend Katie.

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I also selected romaine, lettuce blend, and Italian large leaf basil for my hungry sulcata tortoise, Rocky.

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Using the Rapid Rooter plugs is super easy. All you do is put about 2 seeds about 1/4 inch deep in the premade hole. Then you pinch the hole closed, and add about 2 cups water to the bottom of tray.

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Then soon enough I had my very first sprouts. Every 2-3 days I added more water, making sure the cubes stayed moist but not drenched. Once the sprouts’ roots are poking through the bottom of the plug, they are ready to be transplanted into the Foody tower. I’ll post about getting the nutrient and ph levels right next! If you missed the post on setting up my Foody, click this link.

Assembling for Growth

Today’s rad and inspirational person is my buddy Garrett P.

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Garrett earned this accolade for his recent mitzvah, helping me set up my brand new Foody 12. The Foody 12 is a hydroponic growing tower made by Foody Vertical Gardens. In these towers you can grow roughly 40 plants. You can grow tomatoes, peppers, kale, herbs, and more. Step one to growing these greens is assembling the tower.

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Initially Garrett and I were a bit intimidated by all the parts that came with the Foody, but the directions were really helpful and we had the ball rolling in no time. The first thing we did was set up the pump and put it in the base reservoir of the tower.

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One really cool feature of the Foody is that the tower rotates giving every plant an equal opportunity for precious light. The mechanism for this is that the tower sits on a ring of ball bearings.

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Of course there is one more piece on top of the bearings, a gear that locks into an (optional) automatic pump that slowly rotates the tower.

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The next step was to figure out how to get the plumbing worked out. Here is Garrett diligently reading the directions.

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What a patient mensch Garrett is.

The plumbing actually turned out to be really simple. The pipes have wedged stoppers attached – all you have to do is push the stoppers into pre-fashioned holes in the tower trumpets.

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Once you have all the pipes set up, you simply snap the growing pockets onto the trumpets.

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Then stacking them up with the rubber hose through the pipes is easy as 1,2,3.

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Lastly you pop a lid on the hose and another lid on top of the tower – then you’re done! All in all, a very easy assembly process. The directions actually made sense unlike the all too common product assembly nightmare we’ve all experienced at least once in our lives.

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And there you have it, a fully assembled Foody 12.

The only thing stopping this tower from being a habitat for roughly 40 plants is that I haven’t set up the hydroton (growing medium) and that I haven’t planted my seeds yet. You’ll have to check back in a few weeks for an update on the actual growing!

To learn more about the Foody Vertical Gardens, read my interview with their president, Greg Hendick or visit their website.

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A special thanks to Garrett for all his help!

 

A Man Who Grows

The rad person highlighted in today’s post is a man I actually got to meet, the CEO of Foody Vertical Gardens, Greg Hendrick.

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I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Greg through The Association for Vertical Farming. You might be wondering, why would the AVF introduce Greg to an industry outsider like Andrew?

It all started last month when I reached out to the AVF with a nice letter. Their Director of Engagement, Zjef Van Acker, a super great guy to have a conversation with, liked what I had to say and invited me to Skype. We had a nice call and at the conclusion, Zjef was willing to invite me to contribute to AVF’s October newsletter.

Now that the newsletter and interview are complete, here are my reflections on my first month of volunteering:

For the first time in my life, I felt like I was actually using my talents in some small way to service the 7 billion hungry people on our crazy planet. I felt like I was taking responsibility for myself, and my footprint. This is just the beginning, I know I can do more. We all can.

My grandma has a saying, “From your lips to God’s ear.”  It means if you have a dream, you have to say it out loud. You have to live your dream with your mind, body, and life force. My dream is to follow in the footsteps of a man like Greg Hendrick. My dream is to do something meaningful in the world of vertical farming.

If you would like to read my discussion with Greg, the interview has been posted here on Agritecture.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your support, love, and encouragement as I attempt to grow into this new dream.

A Man With A Powerfully High Perspective

Sid Meier is the creator of a game that changed my life, and it can change yours too. Beware though, learning to play is not easy! Sid Meier’s Civilization, is a deep, complex and demanding game that is chock full of meaningful choices. To win, one must build a civilization that stands the many tests of time. From the dawn of man to the space age you must lead your civilization:

 

Waging War
Conducting Diplomacy & Espionage
Researching New Technologies
Nourishing Culture, Happiness, Commerce and Growth
 

 

As your civilization’s leader you must cultivate your people.  Like a deity, your decisions sway the worlds’ paths. You determine your nation’s character– traditional or liberal, commercial or cultural, rational or pious, autocratic or free. Whether you’re raising armies, building monuments, establishing trade routes, or erecting world wonders like The Great Wall, The Tahj Mahal, and Machu Pichu; every civilization has a unique identity.

 

 

The powerfully high perspective of Sid Meier’s creation makes it more than just a game, it is a reflection of humanity.

 

A Woman With A Legacy

Cleopatra is an excellent example of a leader who masterfully played her hand of cards. She could conquer hearts and armies with ease, despite her tumultuous beginnings as a leader. I would argue she has a lot of parallels with another powerful female leader we all love:

When Cleopatra’s father left the throne for her and her brother Ptolemy to share, Ptolemy exiled her. So Cleopatra fled to Syria and raised an army. When that wasn’t enough she had herself smuggled into Cesear’s Palace in a rolled up rug. There she used her alluring charm to seduce Caesar into falling in love with her. With Ceasar’s muscle she returned to Eygpt and crushed her brother Ptolemy.

When Ceasar was assassinated Cleopatra didn’t give up, she kept on truckin. Cleopatra quickly used her aesthetic and sexual appeal to bring Marc Antony, a powerful Roman, into the palm of her hand. Together they returned to Alexandria with triumphant flair. Cleopatra’s successive conquests held her country together and proved her to be as savvy of a leader as any of her male counterparts.

Cleopatra’s incredible love was ultimately her demise. When Marc Antony was falsely informed of her death, he killed himself. Cleopatra bravely followed suit, choosing to be bit by a poisonous cobra. Cleopatra is one of the first fearless women to overcome a male dominated society using passion, love, cunning, and might.

We Are The World

Today’s honoree is the maestro of the last century. His worked has spanned both decades and genres. He produced Michael Jackson’s Thriller, worked with Frank Sinatra, created the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and gave Oprah her first big role. With his talented ear and imaginative mind, Quincy Jones has carried an atmosphere of creativity to every project he ever got involved with.

Quincy is also an avid humanitarian. He was born in 1933, and thrived despite living in a segregated America until he was 31. Perhaps this is why Quincy is so driven work on a better tomorrow. One of his greatest humanitarian accomplishments was producing “We Are the World” raising $63 million for famine relief and creating a beautiful song in the process.

Quincy also tirelessly works for other charities including UNICEf, mentorship programs, and several arts/culture initiatives. Quincy’s life and legacy prove that we can all overcome adversity, if we aim for the beautiful notes along the way.

A blog? What? Why?

Greetings everyone who clicked the link to this page! Thanks for your curiosity!

Welcome to BlumersBoosters, a blog that will discuss significant people from the past and present. I decided to create this blog for three reasons:

  1. Shameless Self Promotion – I have written a dystopian sci fi novel. In the hopes of eventually getting my novel represented and published, this blog will serve as a platform with which I can begin to grow a readership.
  2. Character – In a world where indulgence, self projection, and instant gratification are rampant – a little character booster seems apropos. My goal is to write about noteworthy characters who reflect the best mankind has to offer while also being relate-able. The type of people who overcome adversity while staying grounded and humble.
  3. Advocacy – The planet is burning up and technology is racing forward. Humans are more able to influence and manipulate each other then ever before. By spending a brief moment every other day thinking about great people, together we can begin to understand how we can solve our great challenges.

     
    The subjects of this blog will exemplify immense self mastery and the power of one to propound ideas that surge the human context forward. So without further ado, our first subject:

Socrates taught us to question everything. His method of gaining wisdom and achieving a mutually agreed upon truth today stands as the foundation of the scientific method. We begin with a hypothesis and distill it until a definitive conclusion is reached.

 

Socrates was also a role model for a higher form of human excellence. He warned of the emptiness of materialism. Socrates wore no shoes and the same dirty woolen cloak all year round. Despite ridicule he was certain it was better to pursue well being rather then wealth. He was a role model for civil disobedience. He constantly challenged the Athenian government to be better, creating tension and ultimately getting Socrates sentenced to death.

 

As when he was merely ridiculed, Socrates stood tall for what he believed in whilst in the face of death. His life wasn’t in vain though, he taught us that an unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates was brave, wise, and committed to the well being of all.