November 30, 2010 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
It’s like a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that delivers but, instead of just delivering the produce, it delivers the farm. Home Grow Micro Farms, a new service in the greater Los Angeles area, delivers pre-planted, high-productivity, low-maintenance organic vegetable growing boxes directly to your home or business. Having identified the “growing” demand for home grown produce, Home Grow’s service offers customers the opportunity to grow their own vegetables anywhere there is sunlight, including balconies, decks, and rooftops. The “micro-farms” are delivered equipped with a self-watering irrigation system, and the company claims they are nearly twice as productive as a traditional raised bed garden. All you do is watch them grow and then harvest the fresh vegetables.
Growing your own food like this is generally a great way to reduce your environmental impact as eliminates the need for long distance transport–except that this service requires delivery, so maybe it cancels out that benefit?
According to founder, Lucas Brower, who holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from Stanford University, “We strive to take as much of the work and the waiting out of the gardening process as is possible.” Vegetable boxes are delivered with the plants already established.
It takes about 30 days before the first harvest is ready. Once the vegetable boxes have reached the end of their productive lifespan, new boxes are delivered, pre-planted with the next season’s crops, and the old boxes are removed.
Home Grow Micro Farms believes its self-irrigation system offers an advantage over a traditional garden by greatly reducing water consumption. “Our self-watering irrigation system uses a sensor to provide the plants with the exact amount of water that they need,” says Brower. ”Additionally, our special potting mixture is covered to reduce water loss caused by evaporation.”
This is How it Works
After a brief consultation, a Home Grow farm “technician” delivers the boxes to the client’s location. The garden boxes are placed in the client’s chosen location, and the automatic water system is generally installed in less than 10 minutes. Micro farms are expandable and can include any number of 1 x 3 foot boxes. Home Grow Micro Farms are priced starting at $180 per season.