Today, I wanted to take a few minutes to share how KTech Farms got started.
Everything begins with desire, and my desire to start a farm actually came many years ago, when I helped my grandparents on their farm in St. Louis. They had several acres and grew various specialty crops such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, okra, cucumbers, etc. I helped them sell produce at Soulard Farmer's Market on Fridays and Saturdays for about 8 years, and was able to help on the farm my last summer or two before leaving for college.
Fast forward a decade later and I came across the concept of indoor and vertical farming while working as a software developer for a company in Springfield. The idea of growing in a controlled environment with fewer resources and no pesticides was super intriguing. It also seemed like a perfect mix between agriculture and technology, since most of the methods I saw were much more technical than traditional farming.
Prior to actually trying the indoor farming myself, I built a couple raised beds and put them in my back yard where I started growing peppers and tomatoes. Next, I expanded to basil, squash, and cucumbers while trying out a few hydroponic mason jars inside on a window sill to see how they did.
I was surprised with how well the mason jars did, and harvested a bit of arugula and basil from them. At this point, I added a shelf to my closet and hooked up some LED grow lights to start growing over winter.
I ran out of room pretty quickly, but came across the company AC Infinity, which provides a variety of indoor growing equipment such as grow tents, ventilation, lighting, etc. Shortly after discovering them, I purchased a 5x5 tent with some higher quality lights and ventilation. With the extra space, I began growing full-size tomato and cucumber plants inside, and even added a grow shelf that utilizes an ebb and flow system.
Still not content with my setup, I decided to incorporate more vertical growing techniques through the use of ZipGrow's 5' vertical towers. I started with 4 towers in the 5x5 tent and have since added an additional 16 towers in a new 4x8 tent where I'm growing Basil, Arugula, Romain, and Strawberries.
This past year was my first farmer's market season, and although I was a bit nervous about it starting out, it wasn't all that bad! After 15 year hiatus, I ended up back where I spent my childhood.