You only need to go online to order your favorite seeds right now to discover you’re not the only one thinking about gardening. For the past two seed buying seasons, even the basics have been in short supply. Self-sufficiency has been on everyone’s radar and millions of new gardens have been meticulously planned and planted.
“Growing food is in our DNA,” says Jacob Pechenik, the visionary behind the wildly popular Lettuce Grow FarmStand. This indoor/outdoor hydroponic garden system is a giant leap forward for home growers, especially compared to those small indoor gardens that have been available to consumers in the past.
Here’s everything you need to know right now about the Lettuce Grow FarmStand, and why you’ll want this eco-friendly garden for your home, whether you’re planning to grow indoors or outside.
What Exactly is the Lettuce Grow FarmStand?
The Lettuce Grow FarmStand is a hydroponic growing system. In the simplest terms, that means you’re growing in water instead of soil, and we’re talking water right out of your tap – nothing fancy. That H2O, along with a few nutrients (included with your FarmStand) will get your garden growing at lightning speed.
This garden uses 95% less water than raising the same number of plants in a traditional garden, plus you’ll never have to pull weeds. (Major bonus!) An automated watering system keeps plants perfectly hydrated and fed on a schedule that works for your growing environment, and with simple weekly maintenance, vegetables actually have a higher nutritional content than those grown in raised boxes or garden beds. A quarterly cleanout keeps the growing environment pristine, and you can simply remove your plants from the stand during the process.
Seedlings Make Things Easy
There’s another key difference between the FarmStand and other hydroponic options. The Lettuce Grow garden is designed to use pre-sprouted seedlings that grow and can be harvested rapidly. According to Pechenik, that was part of his vision from the start – to make growing food simple, even for inexperienced gardeners. “I thought, let’s grow baby plants and just let people finish growing them at home.”
That’s proven to be a fair bit of genius because growers are rewarded with nearly instant gratification – delectable and aromatic lettuces and herbs in as little as three weeks’ time. That simply doesn’t happen when you grow in the ground. Better yet, there are hundreds of starts to choose from, including herbs, vegetables, and even strawberries.
Can You Actually Grow Enough Food For a Family?
If you’re looking to grow more than a little kitchen garden, size really does matter, especially when you’re trying to feed a family. The FarmStand has capacity options ranging from 12 to 36 plants. While it’s far larger than other home hydroponic gardens, the FarmStand’s vertical design means you can grow a lot in a conveniently small footprint. In just three square feet of space, it’s easy to produce a wide variety of your own organically raised goodness.
The beauty of the FarmStand is that it works indoors or out, so you’re not limited by a short growing season or one that’s too hot. For outdoor growing, you’ll simply need access to electricity to run the water pump and a supply of clean water.
Indoors the needs are basically the same, except you’ll want to locate your FarmStand in a sunny window. To maximize your chances for a successful indoor garden, you can add Glow Rings – specially designed LED light halos that will supercharge your growing plant babies, sans natural sunshine.
The Ideal Garden For People Who Care About the Planet
“So many people think – oh, I don’t have a green thumb, and I can’t call a farmer who does,” says Pechenik. “These days 50% of people live in the city. They don’t have space. They don’t have the time, and they don’t have experience or perhaps even the clean soil to garden, so hydroponics was really the thing that could tie everything together and make growing accessible to everyone,” he says.
But for Jacob, there’s a greater good at the heart of Lettuce Grow’s philosophy. “As I said, it’s in our DNA to grow things. But we really just wanted to get the FarmStand in front of people, because even though they might only grow 15% of their food with it, they’ll start to think about that other 85% of their food and where it comes from.”
Pechenik says he hopes the FarmStand will awaken people to the fact that our food system is flawed. The freshest and healthiest foods are almost always more expensive than the bag of chips next to the cash register, and the reason is simple. “That perishable produce might have to travel up to 1,500 miles to the store where it lasts 7-10 days at most.” Because up to 40% of that produce might spoil along the way, farmers make less money and consumers pay a higher price. “I think once people become conscious about that, the whole food system overall will completely change.”
Gardening Made Easy, Even Without a Green Thumb
Using the FarmStand is simple. It’s quick to get set up, and if you need or want to tap into someone who can help you right away, the Lettuce Grow customer service team is always looking to enhance your growing experience. Additionally, an enthusiastic Lettuce Grow Facebook Community is available 24/7 to help. This interactive group of avid FarmStand fans offers advice and support for both new and experienced growers.
And there’s no need to worry about the negativity of social media. The FarmStand Facebook folks are markedly different. “That’s probably why I’m very active in the group,” says Natalie Santiago, a regular contributor. She enthusiastically shares her wealth of knowledge on a daily basis. “Our Facebook community is happy, helpful, and informative.”
Natalie’s advice to anyone considering a FarmStand is simple. “Don’t be intimidated. It’s super easy to succeed at.” But she also offers a word of caution. “Once you have one FarmStand, you become addicted and want more.”
Emily Marsh, a small business owner in Sonoma County and a regular contributor to the Facebook group agrees. While they have a 36 plant FarmStand growing outdoors, she and her fiancé are hoping to add an additional one to grow indoors during as well. Asked why she’d want more than one, Marsh says “Honestly, it’s the peace it gives me as well as the nutrition it adds to each of my meals.”
Emily also values the learning aspect it has brought to her life. “My FarmStand has become a friend as well as something that keeps me learning more. It listens to my problems and in return gives me a glimpse of hope and new life.”
Editor’s Note: It’s been 10 days since I set up my sample FarmStand from the folks at Lettuce Grow, and I’ve found myself checking on my plant babies many times throughout the day. (Yes, I talk lovingly to them as well.) I can’t stop sharing tons of progress pictures with family and friends, as well as pinching leaves of arugula, chard, and lettuce, and plotting where I’ll put the additional units I plan to order for the upcoming summer growing season.
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