Welcome to our farm and hydroponics journey, where every day brings new growth and endless possibilities! At 3 Corners HydroFarm LLC, we're dedicated to pioneering sustainable farming practices, exploring the intricate dance between technology and nature to cultivate nutritious produce year-round.

Let's dive in and begin with the fascinating things we've learned so far in this journey.

For those of you who are new to us, welcome! Feel free to visit our About Us page to quickly glimpse who we are, what we do, where we live, and what makes our farm business unique. 

What We Have Been Growing and Doing

To recap a bit, we initially experienced significant success using our new hydroponics unit, producing a hundred pounds of lettuce when we first implemented this new system/unit. However, we encountered challenges along the way, resulting in a decrease to only 30 pounds per week. Through problem-solving and experimentation, we've successfully addressed these challenges and are now increasing our production once again. I will share more about the changes we made at the end of this blog.

For those of you unfamiliar with us, our specialty lies in growing salad mixes, though we've also introduced Radicchio and experimented with Romaine and Little Gem lettuce, along with various microgreens.

The seeds are all meticulously planted by our 15-year-old daughter, Megan, and nurtured in the nursery for three weeks before being transplanted to the wall panels of the hydroponics unit, housed within a shipping container. The growth period currently spans seven weeks from start to finish, with the greens flourishing in the panels for four weeks.

Trials involving radishes, microgreens, and other variations of greens will primarily be sold at the upcoming Farmer's Market in The Dalles Oregon, but the majority of our sales are catered to our main customer base of restaurants that require fresh greens in substantial quantities.

Freight Farm Nutrients

An Extra Fun Hydroponics Project

Exciting news! We've received approval to commission local artists to paint a mural across our shipping container, adding vibrancy to our farm and better integrating the hydroponics unit into our landscape. While we're not quite ready to reveal the images just yet, stay tuned to our future blogs for the big reveal! We anticipate the project to be completed by this summer, but there's still much preparation needed to welcome the professional painters and their equipment to our property. The grounds around the shipping container currently resemble a construction site as we continue our preparations.

As the earth gradually dries out after winter, we're gearing up to commence our clean-up efforts.

Garden Planting and Additional Hydroponics details

This spring, alongside our hydroponic farming endeavors, Travis is embarking on planting more salad mixes at a separate lot we lease in Odell, Oregon. While we can't yet quantify the additional produce yield from this venture, it promises to substantially boost our overall output. We just got that land prepped and weeded yesterday, and as I type this now, Travis is there planting at this very moment.

As I stated above, we've encountered some snags with our hydroponics system lately and now I would like to explain more of that outcome. After struggling to maintain a full healthy harvest, Travis reached out to experts from Freight Farms for assistance. Together, we identified and rectified issues such as imbalanced water levels, resulting in slower growth.

For those of you interested in learning about hydroponics farming more in-depth, you may find the following details interesting. 

We have formerly been keeping the planted seedlings in the nursery area for three weeks but we've learned we can double our growth by only allowing the young plants two weeks. The baby plants have been growing so well that they are too large at the time of transplanting which causes them stress and they don't thrive during the wall panel growth phase.

Nursery Table
The Nursery Table With Baby Plants Laid Out and Ready for Transplanting.

So now we will shorten the nursery phase by a week and the plants will get four weeks in the cultivation area where there are 15 plants per channel, with 45 plants per panel, and 22 panels per row.

Cultivation Wall
This is an Image of the Cultivation Area.

Here are the changes we need to make to the water cycles:

For the cultivation area, we will change the water from dripping at five-minute intervals every 40 minutes to ten-minute intervals every 20 minutes.

For the nursery table, we will change the water cycle from eight hours to ten, which will lengthen the time between that dripping watering cycle.

The outcome is promising — not only can we grow more, but healthier produce at a steadier rate! Adjustments in the transplantation process and water cycles are underway, ensuring optimal growth conditions.

A Quick Animal Update

In other areas of our small farm, lovingly referred to as our Homestead, our dozen or so animals, ranging from horses and goats to dogs and cats, are thriving. However, our senior mare and one of our small dogs require medication for various health issues. 

We completed the horse paddock platform that we were working on this past winter and we will continue to upgrade our property to ensure our animals' comfort.

Maintaining a diverse group of animals who need a forever home, despite health or behavioral issues, is an endeavor close to our hearts. They live out their days with us, receiving the care and love they deserve. Our small group of animals has become a local attraction, contributing to our farm's visibility within the community. We are grateful to have the addition of the hydroponics unit because it helps us maintain the funding for our special needs animals while also providing goodness to others. We are truly blessed.

So, Ta Ta For Now!

In our next blog, we'll share the impact of the changes we've implemented on our produce sales, updates on the Odell lot, and insights from the upcoming The Dalles Farmer's Market season.

And of course, don't miss the mural reveal!

Thank you for joining us on this journey of futuristic farming. May you embrace all the wonders this spring season has to offer, and may you be blessed!

Amy E. Darr

3 Corners Farm

Mosier, Oregon U.S.A.