FAQ 2 - Plants and Growing
What type of plants can be grown in the UrbiPod™?
The larger and deeper Pods mean that a larger variety of plants can be grown in the UrbiPod than competitor products. Most herbs, micro greens, salads and micro vegetables can be grown. Larger items like melons & those requiring deep roots are more suited to deep garden beds outside.
Can I plant my own seeds in the UrbiPod™?
Yes. Unlike other indoor micro herb gardens, we don't force you to use only Urbotanica seeds or coir or nutrient. You can use other products. We think you may not get the best growing results using other products because we have designed the UrbiPod to get the best results using all natural materials.
Why do you use coir as the growing medium?
There are many other growing mediums. We chose coir because it is a 100% natural by product of growing coconuts. It's eco- friendly and has a high water retention capability - perfect for growing in Pods. And its all natural, so its aligned with Urbotanica's all natural ethos.
How long will the coir last before it needs replacing?
Quite a long time. The challenge, if you want to grow a new plant in a used coir disc, will be to remove all the roots from the used coir.
Can I use other growing mediums?
Yes there are other growing mediums that can be used. They may not all be 100% natural as our coir is and may not give you the same growing result. Note that organic growing mediums may create stronger odours - organic is after all rotting natural material.
Are the plants organic?
No the plants are not organic. They are however, to the best of our knowledge, non GMO.
Why is the Urbotanica™ nutrient in liquid form?
Plants absorb 12 minerals from the soil that are absolutely essential for plant growth and development. Roots can only absorb these minerals if they are dissolved in water. They cannot absorb minerals from slow release granules until they dissolve into the soil water first. The most desirable growing situation is if each of the 12 minerals are dissolved in water at concentrations for each mineral needed by the plant. This is what you get with liquid nutrients. However, with slow release granules the minerals dissolve at different rates before they can be absorbed by the roots. This means the soil water has some but not all minerals available at any one time, which is second best compared to having all the minerals available at their correct concentrations. Also, slow release granules dissolve quite slowly when it is cold and incredibly fast when it is hot. This causes a feast or famine feeding regime which isn’t what you want. This produces second rate plants. Minerals from liquid feeds are all available at the right concentrations all the time. The result of this is faster and better quality growth. The nutrient is not organic. Organic material would be a little on the nose in your kitchen! Organic is essentially means rotting natural material. Perfect for outdoors but not your indoor growing solutions.
Can I use other types of nutrient or fertiliser?
Yes you can. However, you may not get the same results as with our all natural liquid nutrient. See the question above regarding liquid nutrients vs. granules or capsules. Also note that organic nutrient may give you a smelly ambience for your kitchen, so choose wisely!
How often do I need to add nutrient to the plants?
Nutrient is added to the water tower, not added to the Pods. Add a capful (5ml) for young plants and 2 capfuls (10 ml) for mature plants each time you fill up the water tower.
Can I put different types of plant seeds in the same Pod?
Yes you can. The growing Pods are larger and deeper than most competitor products and enable you to plant say basil at one end and thyme at the other end of the same Pod. How's that?
How does the water get from the reservoir to the roots without a pump?
Ah ha - good question. Mother nature has been moving water around without pumps for centuries. With its specifically designed wicking system, the UrbiPod uses the same capillary action to move water from the reservoirs to the plant roots. For the curious, capillary action (sometimes referred to as wicking) is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces without the assistance of, or even in opposition to, external forces like gravity. Think a plastic straw in water. Our wicks draw the water up to the coir in each Pod. Clever heh?
Do I need to water the plants?
You don't need to water the plants. You do need to make sure that the water tower has sufficient water in it. If you are going on holidays be sure to top up the water tower. It contains enough water to keep the plants irrigated for around 3-4 weeks - depending on your room temperature. 2 bottles of water will fill up the water tower and reservoir.
Where do I get help for growing problems?
There is a blog, videos with tips on growing & harvesting and a newsletter that will provide tips to be successful. Check out our Technical Stuff page on the website. Also our web chat line will be available to answer your questions.