We’ve got something new at the Big Tex Urban Farms and believe me, IT IS HUGE. Completed nearly two weeks ago, a second deep-water culture (DWC) tank was added to the Errol McKoy Greenhouse on the Midway. This brand-spanking new system features some really cutting edge technology and will help us grow even more greens and herbs to better serve the South Dallas community. Then we get to show it off as a large component of our new “Innovations in Agriculture” Exhibit during the 2018 State Fair of Texas.
Tanks A lot
Providing food to those in need is our primary initiative at the Big Tex Urban Farms, and we’re always looking for ways to increase productivity for those that we serve. That’s why we decided to venture into greenhouse hydroponic systems, like our original DWC tank that debuted at last year’s Fair. Measuring 14 feet wide by 30 feet long, the tank has served us well and continues to produce all kinds of greens. Adding this second tank, we decided to go even bigger! This tank measures in at a whopping 14 feet wide by 44 feet long.
Growing greens in Texas summertime heat is a tall task, even in a climate-controlled greenhouse. With that in mind, our new tank system features a really cool piece of technology named a “Nano-bubbler.” Made by an innovative company called Moleaer, the Nano-bubbler is a system that ties into the plumbing and creates very small bubbles of oxygen that stay suspended in the water for a long period of time. This will result in a super high level of dissolved oxygen (DO) within the tank’s water. This high level of DO will help offset the negative effects of heat that we experience in the greenhouse during the summer. With this new tank now operational, the Big Tex Urban Farms is well on its way to a larger crop of greens, thanks to our chief tank material supplier Hort Americas, who introduced us to this really cool piece of hydroponic technology.
Up and Growing
As soon as we had the tank completed and tested, we wasted no time filling rafts of seedlings to begin sprouting. Now in our second week of growing in this new system, the greens are already looking great! In this second tank, we are growing basil and five other varieties of lettuce, all of which are thriving. I am particularly excited about the new incised red leaf and oak leaf lettuce that we are testing in the tank. How impressive is it that although we have not added supplemental lighting yet, the plants are still growing so rapidly! We hope to have lights added in the next few weeks, which will help the plants grow even faster.
The Big Tex Urban Farms donates all of its produce to the surrounding Fair Park community, with an especially high demand for our greens. This new tank system will help us expand our outreach and hopefully add a new name or two to the list of organizations we serve.
Hot Days of Farming Ahead
This new tank is only one of many initiatives the Big Tex Urban Farms is involved with this summer. It is also about that time for us to move our outdoor farm to its Fair-time home (look for more on that later). Soon, we will help to start another garden venture in South Dallas and even another farm or two! There are also other exciting new systems we are adding in the greenhouse. To top it all off, it’s already time to start planning our fall crops.
Whew! I’m sweating just thinking about all we have going on this summer. Much more to come soon. Until next time, happy planting!