Curious about starting your own Window Sill Garden with Urban Leaf, but got a few questions first? Hopefully it’s covered below, but if not our contact details can be found down the bottom of this page.

 

How long does it take to grow?

 

Your seeds should typically sprout within 2-7 days. You won’t have to do much at all for the first 4-6 weeks, other than make sure it’s sitting in a full-sun window sill.

Growth rates vary based on type of plant, and amount of light you give them (more is better), but you should expect to have a harvestable quantity of leaves at around the 1.5 – 2 month mark.

 

How long does it last?

 

Everything we grow is edible – mostly culinary herbs. The leaves of most herbs taste better when they are young. Although still edible, as they get older the leaves get thicker and woodier and lose some flavor. For this reason we’ve engineered the product to keep each plant alive for 5-6 months. At the end of this period we recommend harvesting the entire plant, enjoy it on your dinner, cocktails or salad, and start over. That way you can continue to enjoy the tender young leaves.

 

Can I use my own seeds?

 

Although you could use other seeds, and some people do, we do not recommend it. The reason is two fold:

  1. We only sell varieties of seeds that we know work well in our product. Not all plant varieties are suited to growing this way
  2. Within each variety of plant (for example ‘Thai Basil’) there can be dozens of different cultivars, or strains. A bit like us humans, they’re not all the same. Some grow quickly, others slowly. Some grow tall, others grow wide – etc. We test dozens of cultivars in our kits and pick the best ones. You might get lucky and find a cultivar that works better than the ones we’ve tested, but you may also not – and find that your Thai Basil (again, for example) performs very differently to the one we provide.

Is it reusable?

 

Most, but not all, of the parts are reusable. You will be able to reuse:

  • The green plastic case. Although it you do decide to throw it out it’s made of biodegradable corn starch based plastic.
  • The seeds. We include far more seeds in each packet than you actually need to get started. Save these somewhere cool and dry and you can either plant them in soil outside or in our product again.

The parts that are not reusable are the smart soil inserts. These contain only enough nutrients for one plant growth cycle. Replacement inserts are available separately online however for $8 per set of 3.

 

What sorts of bottles can I use?

 

We recommend dark brown or green glass bottles, because they do a good job of blocking out the frequencies of light which would otherwise cause the water to go yuk. Do not use clear bottles.

As far as size goes, 750 ml (i.e. a red wine bottles) is great – but we’ve successfully grown plants in sizes ranging from 500 ml to 1.5 L. Just remember that the size of the bottle you use is going to be directly proportional to the required watering frequency. Bigger bottle = less work for you.

Here’s our Top 5 Tips for finding the perfect bottle.

 

How do I add water?

 

To add water, carefully pull the insert out of the bottle – leaving the roots hanging in the bottle’s neck. Add room temperature tap water. Gently reinsert being careful not to damage the roots. Place your plant back in its sunny window sill. #EasyPeasy.

 

What happens when it outgrows the bottle?

 

We designed this product to live its entire life in the bottle, and when it outgrows your plants are probably getting past their prime in terms of taste and flavor, but that said some people do like to keep them alive longer. There are a few options here:

  1. Relocate it into soil. After removing your plant from its bottle and being careful not to damage the roots, you could transfer your plant to soil – either indoors or out. If you are going to do this be mindful of potential environmental shocks that you might be subjecting your plant to. To the extent possible, try to give your plant a chance to adjust gradually. Remember that up until this point your plant has been peacefully living indoors, where temps may have been climate-controlled in the low 70’s F / 20’s C. Once it goes outdoors you could be subjecting it to a range of 50 – 90F (for example). We recommend moving it to a pot of soil indoors initially, and then making the transition to outdoors gradually.
  2. Get a bigger bottle. One of the issues you’re likely to run into with an older plant is the size of the root structure. If you plan to keep your plant a long time in the bottle them we recommend looking out for a bottle with a wider neck so that it will be easier to remove the insert (and roots) for watering.
  3. Add nutrients. We enrich the smart soil that comes in our product with enough nutrients to last 5-6 months due to this being the optimal age for the edible plants that we grow. At the end of this time the leaves are likely to start looking paler and you may also notice some splotching. Plants cannot survive on water-alone, so you will need to top up the nutrients. A simple Amazon search for hydroponic nutrients will yield a bunch of options, but if you are going to go down this route note that we do not recommend mixing different brands or types of nutrients. Instead, you should flush out your bottle of all the old water/nutrients and add new water along with the new nutrients. This is definitely a more advanced step, so if you want a hand or some more tips feel free to shoot us an email at help@geturbanleaf.com.

 

Where is it made?

 

Our products are 100% US made from eco-friendly materials. Both the plastic injection molding, which most people associate with China, and the assembly of the kits themselves, is done in upstate New York. Our main manufacturing partner is Mid Hudson Works, located in Pougkeepsie NY – a non-profit organization that provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Still got questions? Shoot us an email at help@geturbanleaf.com.