Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Rainbow Eco Farm Grand Opening

On Friday the 5th of September Wigan UTC attended the grand opening of the Rainbow Eco farm in Standish. Rainbow Eco farm is part of Compassion in Action who help vulnerable people in times of need providing them with food, housing and clothing. The eco farm will be working closely with the college providing vegetables for our production kitchen which will be converted into soup for them to distribute to the poor and needy of Wigan. 

Wigan UTC and Rainbow Eco Farm will be working closely 

Wigan UTC's stand showing our Vertical Farm and some of the soups that we will be making
Students at the Eco Farm

Students talking about their soups and work in the Vertical Farm

Mayor and Mayoress cutting the opening ribbon 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Media Visits to the Vertical Farm

Over recent weeks we have had various media visits from TV and Radio stations in Germany wanting to know more about the Vertical Farm and the ideas behind it. Last week we were filmed for a TV documentary that will appear on French and German television in the new year (ARD, Bayerisches Fernsehen and Arte). Followed this week by a visit from Lydia Heller from Deutschlandradio Kultur a nationwide german radio station who have a science show. Here are some of the pictures from the events.

Students being interviewed in the farm

Explaining the Science behind aquaponics to a group of students 

Demonstrating water tests to students

Film crew in the vertical farm
Harvesting basil in the vertical farm

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Vertical Farm Visits Lancashire Science Festival

Between the 26th and 28th of June the University of Central Lancashire held a science festival to promote science to children of a younger age. Over the three day event it was visited by primary schools, secondary schools and on the final day was opened to the general public. Wigan UTC Academy was asked to put on an exhibit for the fair and the Vertical farm chipped in by demonstrating a miniature but fully functioning aquaponics unit. here are some photos of the even and I will shortly be adding a how to guide so you can build your own mini aquaponics system.

Wigan UTC stand featuring aquaponics and a programmable PLC 

Miniature Aquaponics Unit  

Aquaponics and the Vertical farm generated a lot of interest with the public 

Display board showing aquaponic designs and photos of the vertical farm

Interested in building your own miniature aquaponics unit? Keep following us as we are soon to release a how to guide on how we built our miniature units.  

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Peppers on the Vertical Farm

Peppers have started to fruit on the vertical farm

Our first aquaponic Chillies and Peppers have started to appear on the vertical farm.  Aquaponics is normally  only used for producing leafy green crops (lettuce, herbs etc) because they only require nitrogen which is converted from the fish waste. This means that most aquaponic systems are low in the other elements required by plants (phosphorus, potassium, magnesium etc). in a traditional hydroponics systems these are mixed in the fertiliser however this is not the case in aquaponics and they must be added separately in order to produce peppers or a crop with fruiting bodies. To grow the peppers and chillies we have had to add phosphate and potassium to our system in an organic way so not to upset the fish.  

Phosphate: Phosphate can simply be added buy purchasing Phosphate rocks from your local garden centre and sprinkling them into your growing medium however you must be careful as you could induce algae to start growing in your tank. 

Potassium: Potassium can be added by burying banana peels in your growing medium and as they decompose they will release potassium in to your system to be absorbed by your plants. the breakdown can be speeded up by introducing worms to your growing medium as many people do.

Aquaponic system growing (lettuce and Red cabbage) green leaf crops that require mostly nitrogen   

Aquaponic unit growing Peppers and Chillies 

Pepper growing on aquaponics unit

Aquaponic Chilli 

Ripping up a Banana peel and mixing it in to your growing medium is a good way of adding potassium 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Farm Update 14th of may 2014

Hello and welcome to the latest farm update.

We have finished constructing our wormery made from recycled parts. Plants continue to grow well in the farm and produce continues to flow to our product and development kitchens with some interesting results. 

Wormery built out of recycled parts

our recycled wormery now takes pride of place on the Wigan UTC Roof allowing us to turn our waste in to an organic fertilizers.

Vertical Farm View from a far

A Selection of Herbs growing on the Vertical Conveyors (basil and corriander)

Peppers and Chillies Continue to Grow in the Farms Aquaponic Units 

Lollo Rosso Lettuce Growing in one of Our Aquaponic Beds

Red Cabbage Growing in an Aquaponic Bed

Basil Ice Cream Made from Farm Produce

The end product basil ice cream made from basil grown upstairs in the vertical farm. Zero food miles from seed to feed local produce as local as it can get.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Farm Update 29th April 2014

Hello and welcome to the Latest Vertical Farm update.

Harvests are continuing to go well with regular crops of basil and coriander being harvested for our production kitchen and used for making soup. Pepper and Chilli plants continue to grow well and some of them have started to flower meaning we will be adding phosphate rock to the aquaponic systems to boost production.

Recent Coriander and basil Harvest

Coriander shortly before harvest
Chilli Plant starting to flower

Flowering Chilli Plant

After a recent visit to a local country show it got me thinking how far agriculture has come in the last 100 years. Many of the crops produced in our vertical farm weren't even available when this steam engine was produced. Now we are able to grow whatever we want all year round in a shorter time. Makes you wonder where we will be in 100 years time will the vertical farm concept be out dated and replaced with something better?   

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Farm Update 22/04/2014

Here is the latest update of what is going on the vertical farm. the vertical conveyor belts are now full of plants growing like a conveyor belt with plants being harvested and new crops being sown everyday.  two of the aquaponic units are being used for growing peppers and chillies while the other is growing herbs in the form of basil and coriander and we have decided to add a wormery to the farm that will be constructed shortly.

Vertical Growing in the Vertical Farm

Aquaponic Chillies and Peppers by Reception 

Aquaponic Chillies in the Vertical Farm

Aquaponic Peppers in the Vertical Farm
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