The practice of urban farming, where urban spaces are transformed into farms and gardens, is on the rise lately. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about the freshness and quality of their food, especially fresh produce. As a result, many are opting to grow their own food in order to guarantee a healthier diet and become more self-sufficient.
If you're interested in taking up the practice, two new options in Malaysia aim to help you: Plant Cartridge and CityFarm Malaysia.
Inspired by the plug-and-brew concept of the Nespresso machine, Liang Chan Ning founded Plant Cartridge, which works along the same easy-use principle – but with plants. Located in Bangsar, Plant Cartridge’s basic setup involves a Leev Home Kit, which comes with a set of eight plant ‘cartridges’ and nutrient-rich ‘plant food’.
Putting it together is a five-step process:
1. Fill the container with 3.5 litres of water
2. Add in the provided plant food
3. Plug the cartridges in the designated holes of the container
4. Peel off the tabs
5. Leave to grow.
That’s it! You can even expand the system if farming really catches your interest, making it perfect for commercial use as well.
The Plant Cartridge setup is designed to be as minimal fuss as possible, but you'll have to make sure that your plants are near a source of sunlight (even if it's behind a window) and provide climbing support for creeper plants like tomatoes - they recommend long nylon ropes hanging down from six feet overhead as that's how tall they can grow!
It's also recommended to replace plants that aren't single-harvest (for instance, herbs or creepers) as the roots will eventually overcrowd the container. Harvest times range from 28 days (leafy vegetables) to a few months (creeper plants like tomatoes or pumpkins) depending on your type of plant.
Check their Facebook page often for news on their new products, tools and a new community centre for all growers that's set to launch this month.
CityFarm Malaysia, founded by a group of friends who aim to make it the one-stop shop in Seri Kembangan for all things urban farming, offers everything from large-scale vertical indoor farms with LED lights and water pumps to smaller wall and balcony models (see top of article).
A little more work is required here: you might have to do some piping and electrical work depending on the size of your farm. Growing-wise, you’ll need to germinate the seeds in a special sponge in a water-filled container, transplant them to the actual setup and occasionally monitor the water and nutrient levels. This is to reduce the ‘downtime’ of the farm for those who want quick harvest turnaround times.
CityFarm Malaysia is hoping to push for the use of more indoor vertical farms in order to maximise unused urban spaces. Their systems tend to be more sophisticated as they believe being able to control the variables will give them the best results; as such, LED lights are commonly used in the absence of actual sunlight. Naturally, the balcony farm setup doesn't require this.
Worried you don't have enough space or can't figure out how to set it up? The guys at CityFarm Malaysia can give you a quote and a recommendation based on your space measurements, and for a little extra they can even come over and help you set it up. They'll also teach you everything you need to know about the growing and tending processes.
Want a tour? Book yours at their website (you might even get free vegetables if you're in luck!). We also love the adorable City Window Farm, which is designed for students to learn all about the growth process by growing a single plant.