Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Agrow Cube?
A: Agrow Cube is a self-contained agricultural system that combines a walk-in insulated box with a hydroponics growing system. The first growing environment, now available, is designed to grow lettuces, herbs, and other leafy greens. The second, coming soon, will be optimized for strawberries, and the third will be designed for tomatoes and peppers.
Q: Why choose Agrow Cube instead of a hydroponics system in a solid box?
A: Agrow Cube’s unique paneled construction means that you will not need to rent a crane in order to move it. Each panel is small enough to fit inside freight elevators, and can easily be installed in any location, including rooftops, alleyways, and parking lots. We apply our decades of experience with creating custom walk-in coolers and freezers to each Agrow Cube we manufacture. We use only the best XPS insulation in our products, a non-toxic insulation that is environmentally friendly, is extremely resistant to moisture and corrosion, and provides much stronger protection than the spray foam often used in solid box systems.
Q: Why should I choose Agrow Cube instead of a greenhouse?
A: Unlike a greenhouse, you can grow all year long in your Agrow Cube no matter where you are located. Agrow Cube’s self-contained system captures the best growing day in the season and recreates that environment all day every day. You have complete control over the growing environment, including lighting, temperature, water level, nutrients, and pH, which enables you to supercharge plant growth. Greenhouses do not provide this complete control, and in many parts of the country, can’t be used for growing all 12 months of the year. In addition, greenhouses lose a lot of water and nutrients to waste water runoff. Because Agrow Cube is a closed system, the only water loss is to plant use and slight evaporation.
Q: Why choose Agrow Cube instead of traditional farming or gardening?
A: Unlike traditional farming and gardening, crops grown in your Agrow Cube are not subject to bad weather or pests. Agrow Cube gives you complete control over the growing environment, which is impossible to achieve in traditional farming and gardening. In addition, your Agrow Cube uses 90% less water and 80% less nutrients than traditional farming and gardening. It is low maintenance, and requires no weeding and no pesticides. It is easy to use for beginners.
Q: Why start with lettuces, herbs, and leafy greens?
A: Different plants require different growing environments and have different temperature, light, and nutrient needs. Our research shows that lettuces, herbs, and leafy greens are the best plants to grow to maximize the return on your investment. They grow faster than many other plants. In your Agrow Cube, you will be able to grow them from seeds to harvested plants in just a few weeks.
Q: Can I have multiple growing environments inside one Agrow Cube?
A: Yes, an individual Agrow Cube can be zoned for different growing environments so you can grow dissimilar plants in the same box. However, the growing environments require distinct systems controlled separately, and therefore adding multiple environments drastically increases the cost.
Q: What can I grow in my Agrow Cube?
A: In the first option, you can grow lettuces, herbs, and other leafy greens, including microgreens, kale, cabbage, arugula, basil, parsley, mint, spinach, chicory, and fava greens.
Q: How do I grow plants in my Agrow Cube?
A: There are three stages to the growing process in your Agrow Cube. Each stage should be staggered so you do a little every week.
Stage 1: Planting seeds. You will prepare a tray with the rockwool cube at the seedling workstation, plant seeds in the rockwool cube, and fill the tray with water.
Stage 2: Transplanting seedlings. If you plant seeds each week, after the first few weeks, seedlings should be ready to be transplanted each week as well. You will remove the seedlings from the seed tray (the roots remain in the rockwool cube), and plant them in the clay pebble substrate in the grow spaces. You must be able to carry seedlings from the seedling workstation to the grow spaces and climb a few steps to reach the highest level.
Stage 3: Harvesting plants. If seeds are planted and seedlings transplanted each week, approximately one month after the first seedlings are transplanted, you will be able to start harvesting plants weekly. (Time may vary based on plants.) You must be able to climb a few steps to reach the highest level, remove plants from the grow spaces, and carry plants into storage or package for distribution.
Q: How do I harvest my Agrow Cube?
A: You can harvest in two ways. The first is to remove the entire plant being harvested. We recommend this harvesting option for three main reasons: (1) the roots will hold some water when they are pulled out of the grow space, which helps extend the shelf life of the harvested plant, (2) commercially, harvested plants are often sold by weight, so harvesting the entire plant increases the selling price, and (3) if you transplant a new seedling into the space rather than letting the existing plant regrow, the transplanted seedling will reach harvest faster than the regrowth, maximizing total harvest.
The second option is to harvest partial leaves, clip back the plant, and let it regrow. This process is less efficient because you harvest less by weight each time and have to wait longer between harvests.
Q: How much does Agrow Cube cost?
A: The lettuce, herbs, and leafy greens option is available in two standard sizes: the 10’x20’ starts at $39,900 and the 10’x40’ starts at $59,900. Prices vary based on customizations.
Q: How much does it cost to run my Agrow Cube?
A: Exact cost will vary depending on usage, but on average, each month you will pay $300 for electricity, $40 for nutrients, and a negligible amount for water for the 10’x20’ box.
Q: What electric and water hook-ups do I need?
A: A water hook-up is not necessary for your Agrow Cube, as long as a garden hose can be run inside in order to initially fill the water tanks. Minimal water will be added to replace water used by the plants or lost through evaporation. A 240 volt 60 amp electric hookup is required.
Q: Does my Agrow Cube come with a generator?
A: No. While we recommend a generator backup in case of extended power loss, it is not required to run your Agrow Cube. The system is designed to protect plant growth in the event of a short term power outage (24-48 hours).
Q: How can I make money with my Agrow Cube?
A: Agrow Cube is designed to be a small business investment that requires part time hours for one box and is easily scaled into full time hours with multiple boxes. Depending on the time and energy you put into your Agrow Cube, your first harvest will be ready within 6-8 weeks of planting seeds. You will then sell your harvested plants at farmers’ markets or directly to restaurants, schools, and stores interested in responsibly grown local produce -- wherever you have developed a relationship during the time dedicated to marketing your small business.
Q: How much work does my Agrow Cube require?
A: The amount of work will vary depending on what and how much you are growing and how much time you spend marketing your new small business. On average, each Agrow Cube will require 20-25 hours per week, approximately broken down across the following categories:
2 hours planting seeds
6-8 hours transplanting seedlings
6-8 hours harvesting plants
2 hours light maintenance
5 hours marketing
Q: Do I need any farming or gardening experience to use my Agrow Cube?
A: The Agrow Cube is designed to be used by everyone regardless of previous growing experience. Users will need to be able to lift and carry plants and trays and climb a few steps to reach high grow spaces.
Q: What is hydroponics?
A: Hydroponics is a system of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution that doesn’t require soil. Plants grow faster and produce more crops than the same plants traditionally grown in soil. Instead of soil, hydroponics systems require a nutrient-rich water system, grow spaces filled with a substrate to support roots, and light.
Q: What hydroponics system is used in my Agrow Cube?
A: Your Agrow Cube uses the hydroponics nutrient film technique (NFT), where a continuous flow of nutrient-rich water runs over the ends of the plant roots and leaves part of the roots exposed to air. (Roots absorb more oxygen from air than from water, and this system encourages more robust plant growth due to the additional oxygen available). The water flows through the pipes and over the plant roots, then back into the water tanks where you add nutrients regularly. This closed-loop system eliminates water and nutrient loss to runoff, and gives you precise control over the nutrients and pH value of the water.
Your Agrow Cube uses clay pebbles as the growth substrate. These pebbles are made from naturally-mined clay, absorb and retain water, and provide a medium density bed that is light enough to easily be used in a hydroponics system but heavy enough not to be washed away in the water flow. The natural air holes located throughout the clay pebbles hold water so that plant roots can feed from the nutrients in the water even if the water pump temporarily goes down. Oxygen is easily dissolved into the clay pebbles, which aids in root development and limits the possibility of plant rot.
Your Agrow Cube uses an LED lighting system, which gives you more control over the light spectrum and is more environmentally friendly than alternate lighting systems because it uses less energy.
Q: How are there no pests?
A: Agrow Cube is a closed system in a controlled environment, and bug infestations are rare. If bugs are introduced into the environment (for example, if the door is left open or if someone brings a bug into the space on their clothes), they can be removed with organic methods, which use no harsh chemicals, including simply removing the bug by hand.