How to grow chili

Although Plantui’s smart gardens are mostly used to grow herbs and salad plants, there’s nothing stopping you planting chilies in a Plantui indoor garden. However, there’s a few little things to keep in mind when growing them. Read our chili cultivation tips from this article.

 

Choosing the right variety

Chilies grow thick and tall. Therefore, it’s worth choosing a chili variety that is compact enough in size to be grown in your Plantui device. The Demon Red chili in Plantui’s range is just such a chili, as it remains a suitable size. If you use your own chili seeds along with empty plant capsules, keep the size of the plant in mind when choosing a variety. Two seeds of your own chili can be added to each empty Experimental Plant Capsule.

 

How to adapt the Plantui Smart Garden to suit chilies

Chilies need a lot of space and light. Plantui’s six-slot smart garden can either be used to plant six chili plants or used by leaving every other opening empty. If you leave empty spaces in the smart garden, cover the empty holes, for example with a piece of cardboard. This prevents light from entering the device through the opening, which can cause algae to form.
If you grow six chilies in a six-slot Plantui indoor garden or three chilies in a three-slot Plantui indoor garden, it’s especially important to make sure that the plants get enough light. It is then a good idea to get a boosting light block to ensure that the lower and innermost parts of the plant do not suffer from a lack of light. In general, the best place for a boosting light block is at the very bottom section of the column. This additional light is useful even when empty spaces are left in the device.

No matter how many chilies you grow, we recommend using a blooming light block to accelerate flowering and fruit formation. This additional light is activated when the first buds appear and should be placed at the same height as the buds. The blooming light block should always be placed where the flowers and ripening fruit are, at any given time.

A total of five height blocks can be used in the Plantui smart garden. Two of these may be boosting light blocks.

 

Pollination of flowers

When the first flowers open, shake the whole plant from its stems. This is how pollen is spread between the flowers. The pollination is always repeated every few days, to ensure that even new flowers are pollinated.

 

Harvesting

Warning! Hot! The crop is always harvested as the chilies ripen. It’s worth remembering to peek behind the leaves, as some chilies may hide away.

What are Microgreens?

Microgreens are a quick and simple superfood that always delivers a spring-fresh taste!In a Plantui Smart Garden 6, growing microgreens is easy, fast and hassle-free.

Microgreens are small plants that grow from the seeds of vegetables and herbsin just a week or two – the baby versions. In addition to their first leaves (i.e. cotyledons), the microgreens also produce a stem and roots. You can eat both the leaves and stems of microgreens, which are full of flavour, vitamins and minerals.

How microgreens taste

 

Microgreens look pretty similar to each other, but when you eat them, you’ll notice the difference. If you want something juicy and gently sweet, you might want to try pak choi. Those looking for a stronger, peppery taste are guaranteed to adore the radish microgreens. If you’re looking for something to pep-up a salad or help fill-out a tortilla then the salad rocket microgreens are the best choice. In addition to its fresh and mild peppery flavour, red cabbage is also an eye-catcher, as the shoots come through beautifully red-green in colour. The broccoli microgreens are mild and crunchy – a version even the kids will enjoy.

Try all our microgreens to find your own favourites.

Sown on Monday, eaten on Sunday

 

Microgreens are very fast to grow, with radishes and broccoli, for example, ready for harvest in seven days. Red cabbage, pak choi and salad rocket don’t take long to grow into microgreens either – you can enjoy their harvest no later than two weeks after sowing.

 

A small package packed with plenty of goodness

 

In addition to the wonderful taste and quick rate of growth, the added benefit of microgreens is their amazing nutritional value. Microgreens are full of minerals and trace elements, as well as vitamins, all packed in a small space. Compared to the adult versions, the levels of vitamins and minerals in microgreens are 40-50 times higher. For example, a small plate of red cabbage microgreens is equivalent to the same amount of vitamins and minerals in a whole red cabbage.

A lot of kick with just a little chewing!

Microgreens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamins A, B, C, E and K, antioxidants and polyphenols. Check out the detailed information for each microgreen to see which particular vitamins and minerals they are high in and how they support your health.

At the same time, reduce your carbon footprint! Only a little water and energy is required to grow your microgreens, which are the most local form of food possible – grown in your own home. Plantui’s patented technology turns you into an urban farmer and helps you begin your journey towards a more self-sufficient life.

What you need to grow microgreens

To grow microgreens, you’ll nee the Plantui indoor garden with six plant slots and the additional microgreens tray, purchased separately. Along with the microgreens seeds, you’ll receive a plant nutrient that really makes the shoots thrive. The Plantui Smart Garden 6 ensures the shoots receive the right amount of light as well as water.

Buy your Microgreens Starter Kit here, which includes everything you need to get growing.

Here’s how you grow microgreens in your Plantui indoor garden

  1. Add water and nutrients to the bowl, with one spoonful (1.5 ml) of nutrients for every litre of water.
  2. Assemble the device in the normal way but leave the plant tray out, instead replacing it with a microgreens tray. Add the pump and lock unit attachments.
  3. Pour the seeds into the tray. The microgreens tray is divided into four sections and inside one microgreens bag there are four smaller brown bags: one for use in each section. You can fill the whole microgreens tray full with one package, or you can put a different microgreens variety into each section.
  4. Plug the Plantui into the mains electricity, add one height block and the light hat. To start the pump, hold your hand on the light hat for 15-20 seconds.Make sure the water can rise up to the microgreens tray. If the water doesn’t reach the tray, check that the tray is properly in place. NB! If you have an older Plantui device with a grey water tray, then read here for more instructions.
  5. If water moves the seeds into a cluster, you can spread them a little. However, do not move the seeds after the pumping begins as you might damage them.
  6. Cover the microgreens with the covers provided. Keep the covers in place for the first few days, until the seeds have started to sprout.
  7. Harvest the crop after 7-14 days. The microgreens produce a single crop and are cut from about 1 cm above their roots.You don’t have to harvest the whole crop at once, but you can pick shoots to eat piece by piece.
  8. After the microgreens are consumed, the tray should be washed. It is not necessary to change the water after each round of cultivation, as a new bag of seeds can be sown and grown immediately afterwards. Wash the indoor garden and water as and when required.
  9. You can also eat one half of the tray, wash it and add a new bag of seeds even if the other half has microgreens still growing.

 

See our entire selection of microgreens seeds here

No soil! What is hydroponics?

The word Hydroponics comes from, Greek words ‘hydro’ meaning water and ‘ponos’ meaning work. Simply put, the water does the work!  Hydroponics should be easy. You should be able to let the hydroponics do the work and just enjoy the results. Plantui Smart Gardens are using the hydroponics technology.

Hydroponics is a growing technology. It uses 80 % less water and nutrients and grows up to three times faster than soil-grown plants.

 

How hydroponics works?

 

How is it possible for hydroponics to do all of this? But it is quite simple. Hydroponic method uses water-nutrient solution instead of soil to provide plant substances needed for its growth.

The system uses water and nutrients efficiently because the nutrient solution circulates. The hydroponic system pumps the same water and nutrients to the roots, over and over again. The hydroponic systems are also usually covered so that the water can’t evaporate away.

Fast growth of the plants is also explained by the use of the nutrient solution, it provides a direct way to plants to get nutrients and water. With hydroponics, we can guarantee that the plant has everything it needs, and this makes it easier for the plant to get all the crucial nutrients from liquid medium than from soil.

Plantui Smart Garden uses so-called Ebb and Flow technique, which is an active form of hydroponics. Ebb and Flow, this refers to the tides of the ocean, the water rises and goes down. Roots are not submerged in the water all the time and this provides oxygen to roots. Plant roots need oxygen to stay healthy and to gather water and nutrients for the plant.

Read more about Plantui water pump.

 

Explanation of Plants Scientific Names

Each plant specimen represents one species that has its own scientific name. The scientific names of plants are based on taxonomy, the science of defining groups of biological organisms. The first part of the name (always written in capital first letter) identifies the genus to which the species belongs, and the second part (written in small letters) identifies the species within the genus.

Related species form a genus. Related genera belong to the same family. The names are usually in Latin language or in classical Greek. When you translate scientific names of plants, it’s often surprising how descriptive they are! For example, the healing properties of sage are revealed by its scientific name Salvia officinalis. Salvia (“salviya”) derives from the Latin salvere (“to feel well and healthy, health, heal”), and officinalis means “medicinal”. If you are interested in the meanings of plants Latin names, here’s a list with translations in English.

Sometimes scientist have to change the plant’s scientific name, if researches have revealed some new results about the plant’s evolutionary relationships with other plants. That’s why there might be several scientific names in use for the same plant species. Some people are used to using an old name, even though there is already a new, official name.

A good example is Pelargonium, a flowering plant commonly known as geranium. But Geranium is the botanical name (and also common name) of a separate genus of related plants often called cranesbills. Both Pelargonium and Geranium were first included in one genus, Geranium, and they were later separated into two genera in the late 1700s. So the old names may stick around for a loooooong time!

Why bother using Latin names instead of English names? Well, the previous pelargonium example gives one reason. The English names are often confusing because there might be several names for the same plant, but also one name for several plants. The only way of making sure that you really get the seeds or plants you want to buy, is to use the official scientific name. This way there won’t be any confusion between the buyer and the seller.

Professional horticulturists and gardeners use scientific names for that reason. Another practical thing with scientific names is that you don’t need to remember that sage is “sauge” in French, “Salbei” in German and “salie” in Dutch, but you can just remember one name: Salvia officinalis, and all the professionals in the gardening trade will understand which plant you are talking about!

When people breed new varieties, the variety name is not in Latin language. For example, leaf mustard ‘Fringed Red’ is known by Brassica juncea ‘Fringed Red’ in its scientific name. The variety names are always written inside simple quote marks in capital first letter.

Read also how new varieties are created.

6 Nutrients that are Good for the Body

It is common knowledge that vitamins are beneficial to our bodies; we all know that. But what types of vitamin are essential at what point in life? What is the appropriate amount to consume the vitamins?

The body naturally fights diseases and re-energises because of vitamins. If you eat lots of vegetables and fruits, you are guaranteed of lots of vitamins.

The types of vitamins that are good for the body

 

Calcium

Calcium is specifically for strong bones and teeth. If you had a lot of cereals, dairy products and kale during childhood, you are at a better position. The herbs which contain a lot calcium are basil and oregano. The mineral helps in growth and development of children for tough and effective muscles. While it is essential for every human being, women tend to lose bone density more likely than males at older age. Other foods rich in this mineral include nuts and salty fish.

Zinc

Body immunity is dependent on Zinc. Besides, the mineral helps in breaking down of protein and carbohydrates to energy. Zinc levels are lower in seniors; stress levels also interfere with zinc levels. Everyone is susceptible to stress; therefore, we should all strive to increase zinc in our bodies considering it is not stored. Consuming it on a daily basis, if possible in all meals is good to your body. If you bleed for long or your wound takes long to heal, you had better increase intake of the following foods: spinach, basils, parsley, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, tempeh and organ meats.

Iron

Suitability of iron levels in the body varies from one person to another. Iron is necessary for growth and development; young women in puberty will need more of this mineral. Expectant women also require huge amounts of iron. The primary functions of iron in the body include increased body energy, improving effectiveness of red blood cells and boosting brain function. If you don’t get enough iron it might lead poor oxygen absorption or even anemia. If you consume red meat frequently then you have enough iron. It is irreplaceable in human body. Especially coriander, basils and parsley contain this mineral.

Vitamin D

Calcium cannot be absorbed to the body without Vitamin D. The importance of calcium cannot be overemphasised. Therefore, vitamin D reduces occurrence of bone and back pains as well as hair loss. Vitamin D helps in boosting body immunity hence less prone to sickness.

The mineral is available in egg yolk, fatty fish, and fortified foods like milk and cereals. Be sure your multivitamin contains at least 600 IU of vitamin D.

Magnesium

Magnesium does more than enhancing energy production in the body. Here are some benefits of magnesium to your body:

  • Balances body sugar levels
  • It calms the nervous system
  • Alleviates stress
  • Reduces sleep disorders

Most body complications can be taken care of by consuming the right foods with magnesium. If you opt for supplements make sure you are consuming at least 350-mg in your doses. An easy and healthier option is eating pumpkins, soybeans, spinach, brown rice, artichokes, and beans.

Folic acid

Folic acid is integral for the body, it helps in protecting nerves and neural fibres from rupturing or any form of infection that interferes with their functionality. Nerve communication is at the core of all body functions. The brain cannot control sensitivity and movement of any body part when the neural tubes are affected. It is more important for pregnant and breast feeding women. 400 mg a day is enough. Folic acid is found in dark green vegetables, kales, bread, pasta, legumes, and cereals.

Circular Economy & Sustainability 

Sustainability and Circular economy have always been in the heart of Plantui. We take our responsibility of the planet and health- & wellbeing of people seriously and have set circular economy & sustainability to be our core values.

The recent trend in growing our own food has increased the knowledge about the length of food supply chain and urban indoor gardening possibilities. At the same time the willingness to decrease the food waste and the use of plastic has been a hot topic. The grow-where-you-eat movement is something Plantui wants to support. Our patented technology can be used to support urban growing in effective vertical farming and in all homes around the globe. Being a little self-sufficient when using your Plantui Smart Garden at home will not only give you a positive feeling of growth but also will help you to reduce your ‘herb food miles’ to 0.

1. Modular design, ling-life product and 100% recyclable material 

Plantui uses food safe, ASB mono-material, whch is easy to recycle. The Long-Lasting product has been designed so that all components are replaceable. Plantui has been designed to be a life-long friend.

2. Low energy consumption – less than a light bulb a year  

Plantui growth platform is as energy-efficient as energy-saving lamps! While your plants get the light they need, Plantui also illuminates your life! We use high efficiency LED lights with special spectrum designed to give the best growth to your plants with minimum energy consumption.

3. Lower footprint compared to your supermarket herbs 

One Plantui plant capsule will bring you greens equal to 10 x supermarket herb bunch,with 10 x less plastic. As you’ll have your herbs ready and fresh when you need them, the amount of food waste coming from herbs/salad will also naturally decrease.

All Plantui calculations are based on LCA modelling done by LCS Life Cycle Simulation GmbH. The calculations has been done by using Plantui Smart Garden 6 and taking into account for example packaging, transportation and energy consumption. The elements examined in the calculations.

Optimising plant growth and development with lights

Photosynthesis – The source of life

 

Have you ever thought how fascinating plants are? In our daily life they seem not to be so important, just trees growing by the streets and some weeds sticking out of the pavement, salad on our plate. But this green stuff is the key to our whole being. I am talking about the most important chemical reaction on earth, photosynthesis!

In photosynthesis energy from light is captured and put together with carbon dioxide and water to make oxygen and sugar. This means that the plants and some other organisms create the air that we breathe and the food that we eat. All the oxygen in earth’s atmosphere is created by photosynthesis and all the energy we get from our food is created by it too.

Sensing the light

 

We humans can see light with our eyes, but plants sense the light. Plants can sense the quality, quantity, direction and duration of light and use it to guide all the aspects of growth and development. Plants do not only absorb the light they need for the photosynthesis but sense the whole variety of spectra and utilize it in optimising growth and reproduction. Have you seen sunflowers turning towards the sun or long pail plant growing in the shadow? Light means everything to plants!

By giving different colored light to plants we can influence on the growth of plants. With knowledge on light it is possible to naturally customize plant size, color, taste, nutritional value, and growth speed. Look at the picture on the top. You can see a red and green salad growing out from same seeds of red salad. In the left one, the light used does not contain any blue light, which is essential for developing the pigment, hence the green colour.

Different light for different growth needs

 

To grow, plants need water, nutrients, air and light. In Plantui we use hydroponic growing method with LEDs to give special designed lights! During the early phases of growth, when plants are germinating, Plantui Smart Garden gives purple light to make seed germinate and seedlings to grow and develop. When adding height blocks, Plantui light will change to mimic the light of Finnish Lapland. In the North, the light from the sun is bluer. This Lapland blue light makes them grow stronger and produce more vitamins. Plantui light might look dimmer compared to many other indoor gardens and farms, but actually Plantui gives more light that plant can use for photosynthesis, because blue and red light are much more effective for photosynthesis than plain white light.

Extra light for bushy herbs and salads

 

With Plantui you can also use special Light Height Blocks to optimise you plant growth. Depending on what you are growing in your Smart Garden there are two types of light blocks to choose from. Use Boosting Height Block if you are growing plants that grow horizontally and are bushy. It ensures that all the leaves get enough light and makes them grow stronger and produce more leaves.

Plants that have flowers and create fruit benefit from Plantui blooming light. Blooming Light Height Block emits more red light that plants take as a signal to start blooming. This method is commonly used in professional greenhouses to grow flowers and fruits.

Future indoor gardening lights

Light is one of the most important factors in plant growth and we at Plantui are very fascinated about it. We are actively doing research and learning how can we grow best plants in the world and believe that the future indoor gardening and farming will be revolutionized by modern light solutions and biotech.

How to grow cherry tomatoes

In addition to varieties of herbs and lettuce, you can also grow cherry tomatoes in a Plantui garden. To get the best possible results, you should keep these few tricks in mind. Read on to learn how to grow the tastiest cherry tomatoes possible in your Plantui indoor garden.

Choose the right variety

Several varieties of cherry tomatoes will grow tall quite quickly. For a Plantui smart garden, it is therefore important to choose a variety that stays short enough for the plant to grow inside and still develop well. The “Red” cherry tomato and yellow “Venus” varieties found in our selection don’t grow tall, so they are perfect for growing in Plantui’s smart garden.

If you want to use your own cherry tomato seeds, remember to choose a low-growing variety and add 2-3 seeds to each empty seed capsule. Use the empty plant capsules from our selection to get started.

Keep enough space

Regardless of variety, cherry tomatoes will still grow tall. You need 3-5 height blocks so that the cherry tomatoes plants have enough space for them to grow in height.

The red cherry tomato can be grown by placing a capsule in every open slot. The yellow cherry tomato, on the other hand, needs a little more space, so we recommend the larger, six-slot Plantui indoor garden, so that you can grow three plants with a slot between each. Place a piece of cardboard on top of the empty slot openings. This prevents light from entering the device and algae from forming in the water.

Once the seeds have germinated and the seedlings are visible, it is time to add the first block. At the same time, it’s advisable to peek into the seed capsules to check if more than one seed has sprouted, in which case the others should be removed.

Allow enough light

All cherry tomatoes need extra light. The plants can receive additional light to their lower parts with the help of a boosting light block. This light block is best placed at the very bottom section. Additional light is helpful even when slots are left vacant in the device.

Flowering and ripening of tomatoes can be accelerated with a blooming light block. When the first buds appear, this additional light should be activated and placed at the same level. Always keep this light block level with the flowers and fruit, which will ripen later on.

If necessary, the lowest leaves can be pruned if they overshadow the ripe fruit.

You can use a total of five height blocks in your Plantui smart garden. Two of these can be additional light blocks.

Activate flower pollination

When the first flowers open, the plant can be gently shaken by its stem. This will help to release and spread the pollen from flower to flower. You can also use a small brush or cotton swab to dust the pollen around.

The pollination can be repeated every few days, so that every new flower is pollinated.

Harvesting

The ripe tomato comes off with a gentle pull. Remember to keep checking behind the branches and leaves: you may find more treasures waiting to be picked.

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