National Science Foundation $225,000 Grant

SBIR Phase I:Next Generation Agriculture: Mobile, Energy Efficient, High Yield, and Cultivar Specific

Good news. Three review panels for our grant proposal at National Science Foundation said we are qualified, and we are in the process of addressing the weaknesses that they had mentioned, plus updating the proposal with the substantial revisions since we originally submitted it in December of 2017. 

Vint Cerf is on the Board of Directors at National Science Foundation, and gave me permission to use his quote about my patent pending design.

“Your ability to control light spectrum remotely and under computer management supports an intriguing scenario in which sensor feedback can be used to optimize growing potential.” Vinton G. Cerf, Internet Pioneer 10/2017

I had communicated with Vint Cerf about using Internet of Things (IoT) with IP on everything along with digital signal processing for closed loop control of urban agriculture light spectrum. We had met around the turn of the millennium, and had discussed using similar technology in the audio spectrum. Bringing that technology into urban agriculture will give us unprecedented control over the daily light integral over the entire life cycle of plants.


Regards,

Farmer Jim

Jim Ray, President/CTO & Founder
NetZero // Urban Agriculture – Grow Love. Feed. Every. Body.
office: 855-636-9114 cell: 984-459-0458
email: jim@hq.net0ag.com web: www.net0ag.com

ResearchGate and Technical Information

For those interested in the technical details, I opened up an account with ResearchGate, posted my profile, and started a project.

Jim Ray on ResearchGate

The project is APPARATUS AND METHODS FOR CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE WITH LIGHT EMITTING DIODES, and here is the direct link:

Here’s the goal for the project:

A system for controlled environment agriculture combines elements of mechanical and electrical design resulting in scalability and sustainability for agricultural production off the grid in a closed loop with network addressable components. The mechanical design includes a system of racks and stacked pans that increase the grow area without increasing the footprint, circulates the hydroponic solution that provides nutrients to the plants, maintains thermodynamic equilibrium of the water at the plant roots, transfers heat away from the light sources including Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), and oxygenates the water.

Enjoy!

Regards,

Farmer Jim

Jim Ray, President/CTO & Founder
NetZero // Urban Agriculture – Grow Love. Feed. Every. Body.
office: 855-636-9114 cell: 984-459-0458
email: jim@hq.net0ag.com web: www.net0ag.com

Microgreens Instructions

Link to Johnny’s Seeds to Buy Microgreens Seeds, and Instructions on How to Grow Them

Please visit the following link to Johnny’s Seeds to order seeds to grow microgreens.

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/microgreens/microgreen-mixes/

They have extensive information on seed varieties as well as instructions on how to grow microgreens. The following information from their web site may help you grow your microgreens.

Microgreens Instructions from Johnny’s Seeds

CULTURE:

Grow in a greenhouse or protected area. Follow the germination guidelines for the specific variety being grown. However, you can generally be successful by following the guidelines for Brassica family members: grow on potting mix or soilless medium of your choice in shallow trays or 20-row flats. Broadcast seed thickly on the media surface with seeds 1/8- 1/4″ apart, press seeds firmly into media for maximum soil contact, and cover lightly with sowing mix, vermiculite, or humidity dome. Micro greens can be germinated on heat mats, in germination chambers, or on greenhouse benches or floors.

WATERING:

Bottom water or mist to prevent sowing mix from splashing on the seedlings. Maintain even moisture and do not allow sowing medium to dry out.

TEMPERATURE:

Ideal soil temperature is 75°F (24°C) until germination, then reduced to 60°F (16°C). Optimal ambient temperatures are variety-specific, but 65–75°F/18–24C° is generally a favorable range. Temperatures above 75° can increase disease pressure and inhibit germination.

LIGHTING:

Consider supplemental lighting in any environment where natural light is insufficient, such as in a greenhouse during the short days of winter.

FERTILIZER:

For media that hold some fertility, such as potting mix, plain water is usually best. Watering with a dilute fertilizer solution is appropriate for media with no inherent nutrient value, or for slow-growing species that might exhaust fertility before reaching harvest stage. If fertilizing, incorporate fertilizer into the sowing mix before sowing, or use a bottom watering system for liquid applications to avoid residue on the leaves.

DAYS TO MATURITY:

Varies depending on the variety, growing conditions, and desired size at harvest. Fast-growing varieties are typically ready for harvest in 10-15 days while slow-growing varieties are ready in 16-25 days.

DISEASES:

Because they are planted so densely, micro greens can be prone to disorders, such as damping off, associated with poor air circulation and saturated media. Ensure air movement with horizontal airflow fans, use clean media and water sources, and use appropriate seeding density.

HARVEST:

Once cotyledons have fully developed, or once the first true leaves begin to emerge, depending upon your market. Typically, micro greens are harvested at 1/2-2″ in height. Cut with scissors or a sharp knife and minimize handling to reduce damage.

STORAGE:
Shelf life ranges from 5-10 days under proper storage conditions. Micro greens must be washed before serving.

Let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Regards,

Farmer Jim

Jim Ray, President/CTO & Founder
NetZero // Urban Agriculture – Grow Love. Feed. Every. Body.
office: 855-636-9114 cell: 984-459-0458
email: jim@hq.net0ag.com web: www.net0ag.com

Growing Microgreens

I buy my seeds for microgreens from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and they have a great article on their web site called the "Guide to Year-Round Microgreens Production" that I wanted to share:

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/growers-library/vegetables/year-round-micro-greens-production.html

The article includes planning, sowing, growing, harvesting, and marketing. The method they use may be different from the method I use; however, many of the steps are the same. Here are some tips in their article that may help others have the most success with microgreens.

Seed Density and Germination

For the floating tray technology I use to grow microgreens with the Speedling tray, I recommend that you follow the rule of thumb for seeds from the place where I buy my seeds:


"As a rule of thumb, sow small seeds at a density of approximately 10–12 seeds per square inch of tray surface, and larger or medium-sized seeds at a density of 6–8 seeds per square inch."


I use the Speedling soil-less media, cover the seeds with a light layer, and then water gently. It is necessary to cover the trays to keep the media from drying out for 2-3 days while the seeds germinate. Those trays that sit in our pans may be covered with a sheet of plastic across the top of the pan. Keep the lights off during germination.

Seed Density

Growing

Our system requires that the building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system regulate the temperature, air flow, and humidity. Our system may be installed inside a grow tent or clean room with a separate HVAC system. Here is the recommendation regarding temperature for both germination and for growth:

"Optimal ambient temperatures are also variety-specific, but 65–75°F/18–24C° is generally a favorable range. Temperatures above 75° can increase disease pressure and inhibit germination in some varieties."

Harvesting

Since microgreens lose much of their taste and nutritional value in 1 or 2 days after harvesting, I recommend that you do not harvest what you do not eat that day. You can cut with scissors what you want to eat whenever you want to eat, and keep the remainder growing for the next meal. As for when the microgreens are ready to harvest, here is a tip from the article:

"Microgreens are typically harvested at the first-true-leaf stage of growth, with the cotyledons still attached, or at the seed-leaf stage, at heights varying between 1–2 inches."

That’s all for now. Happy urban agriculture!!!

Regards,


Farmer Jim

Jim Ray, President/CTO & Founder
NetZero // Urban Agriculture – Grow Love. Feed. Every. Body.
office: 855-636-9114 cell: 984-459-0458
email: jim@hq.net0ag.com web: www.net0ag.com

Jim Ray