Do you wish you had gardening supplies to make the growing season a little easier? Are you a farmer who struggles to keep your greenhouse, well, green? Bootstrap Farmer might have the kind of products you need.
The company was first founded in North Carolina in 2015. Since then, they have become a trusted national supplier to farmers all over the country. The firm sells seeds and other propagation tools to help farmers succeed in their growing seasons.
The brand is extremely popular among farmers and has competitive pricing. But is it actually worth all of the hype? We've taken a closer look.
About Bootstrap Farmer
The company builds sturdy trays and cells for plant growth. These are much more robust than the majority of the competition, which means you can get several seasons of use from them. Comparative products often break after very little use.
The firm was created by a family farm. The creators grew their own produce for a food truck. But they were having consistent trouble with the seed-starting options on the market, which was leading to ongoing struggles.
They began to make supplies that lasted longer than the market ones. Then they began mass producing those supplies so that other farmers could access them as well.
There are quite a few different seed starting products available. Some are:
The right products for you will vary depending on what you're growing and what kind of struggles you've been having with your harvest.
Seed Starting Supplies
The biggest appeal of the company is that they create products which can last through multiple seasons. That means that farmers don't need to worry about constantly replacing their brittle and worn-out trays at the end of every season.
When compared to normal plastic seed trays, the Bootstrap trays are significantly more durable. They can last through a harsh growing season without becoming brittle or broken. In fact, they should be good for use through multiple different harvest cycles.
One of the big problems with seed trays is that the soil goes through serious temperature fluctuations. That's especially true for places with unpredictable winters, like the Midwest and Northeast. When the ground freezes, the trays might freeze with it.
Some farmers don't leave their trays outside all the time. Instead, they bring the trays outside when the sunlight is directly overhead, and then they bring them back inside in the evening. This allows the seedlings access to sunshine but prevents them from being frozen by the cold.
If you're a farmer who often carries seed trays around, you've probably dropped your fair share of them. Average plastic trays can become too damaged for use with just a single fall. But the Bootstrap trays can handle a bigger beating.
You can bang a Bootstrap tray against the hard ground or a sharp rock, and the materials won't break. The trays have even been shown to withstand weights of up to 30 pounds without crumpling. This makes them much easier to maneuver, since you don't have to worry about ruining them with a single misstep.
Another advantage of the Bootstrap products is that they're created by actual farmers, for actual farmers. The designs have been refined based on actual planting data. You know that you're getting seed trays calibrated for a successful harvest.
For example, with the 72 cell tray, every cell has been perfectly spaced to make the most of your soil. The seeds have just enough room to grow and take root so that they can propagate successfully.
Many farmers report that even after the trays have been through the stress of transplantation, none of them have been damaged. You likely won't need to replace any of the trays you buy from Bootstrap at the end of your first year - or even your second!
A gardening plan is one of the most important parts of farming. If you plan your garden before you plant your seeds, you can make the most efficient use of your space. This is how you can make sure that your plants have enough sunlight and room to grow while maximizing your soil.
Bootstrap offers easy plans for planting in different sized areas. These detailed sketches help you to plant your produce where it needs to be planted and maximize your harvest at the end of the year.
The most important guideline that the company emphasizes is spacing. It's vital that you know the amount of space that each plant needs prior to planting it. If you don't, you might end up with cramped roots that don't have enough nutrients or space to spread out.
Once you know the spatial requirements, you can actually put your design on paper. It's important to know how big your farming area is so that you know where you can place different types of produce.
Another consideration is how tall your crops will be. If you're planting tall stalks of produce, you should orient them to the north. Short plants and root produce should be oriented to the south. That helps prevent your tall crops from blocking the sunlight from your shorter ones.
Bootstrap's plans also utilize a method that they call "companion planting." This is when you plant different plants that grow well near each other in the same soil bed. Some crops might have a symbiotic relationship, where each helps the other grow. But others might negatively impact each other by competing for resources.
Beans and maize grow well together. The beans produce proteins that enrich the soil, allowing the maize to grow better. At the same time, the plants don't need to compete over nutrients because of their individual nutritional profiles.
To make the best use of a Bootstrap plan, you'll need to understand how you should pick what seeds to sow. Different climates are adapted to different seeds. It's important to choose produce that will thrive in your soil, temperature, precipitation level, and average amount of sunlight.
The garden plans have guidance for newbie farmers. You don't need to be an expert to get started. They'll explain when seeds should be propagated and planted, and they'll also explain what soil works best for different seeds.
These plans are extremely worthwhile investments because they teach you how to plot your entire farm efficiently. Not only do they help you visualize how to use your space, but they also help you keep in mind all the factors you need to consider before you plant your seeds.
By following the detailed plan instructions, you maximize your chances of yielding an ideal harvest.
Cell Tray Planting
The company offers guides on how to use your cell trays to get the best results. These allow you to make the most of your purchases during the planting season.
The guide states that the trays should be halfway filled with your planting soil. Then you should place another tray over the filled model to compact the soil. Bootstrap trays are designed with tiny little nodules on the bottom, so the compaction process leads to small divots for the seeds.
A maximum of three seeds can be placed in every cell. Once you've done that, you can cover the tray to the surface with your potting soil. The seeds should be watered judiciously. If you have one of the company's humidity domes, you can put it over the tray until the seeds germinate.
The humidity dome traps the moisture inside so that the seeds have a damp environment to germinate. It's important to remove the dome after the germination period, though, so that the seeds don't become too damp and grow mold.
All seedlings should be labeled, and it's important to check on them consistently throughout the growth process.
These aren't the only guides offered by the company. You can also see guides for things like:
If you're not familiar with these topics yet, the guides are essential. Since they're so densely packed with information, you might learn something you didn't know even if you're an experienced farmer.
Bootstrap provides their guides for free through their blog.
Top Product Options
There are dozens of different products available from Bootstrap. We've taken a look at some of our favorites from a few different categories. As a general rule, the products are sturdy and thoughtfully made, plus they're easy to manage on a budget.
#1. 1010 Seed Trays
The 1010 shallow trays are one of our top recommendations because they outperform all of the other propagation trays on the market. They are durable enough to last through multiple seasons.
In addition, they have been specifically engineered to create ideal conditions for your sprouts to grow.
#2. Greenhouse U Channel Lock
This is one of many essential greenhouse accessories offered by the company. It provides a better quality lock than the majority of the competition.
The U Channel secures your greenhouse and ensures that there are optimal growing conditions inside.
#3. Starter Pots
Starter pots are different from starter trays. Certain types of seeds do better in pots than in the cells of trays. If you need a pot to start your seeds, this is a good choice.
The extra strength pots are much more durable than any of the competition. They can withstand heavy weather and rough handling. Many farmers report that they have been using the same starter pots for several years without needing a replacement.
#4. 1020 Colored Starting Trays
Like the other seed starting trays, these trays are extremely durable. They will withstand heavy use throughout the growing season, and they're unlikely to break down in cold weather.
One of the most appealing aspects of these particular trays is that they're available in bright colors. If you want to add a touch of brightness to your greenhouse, this is a great choice. It's also a good option for people who want to color code their seedlings instead of labeling them by hand.
#5. Clear UVA Greenhouse Plastic
The greenhouse plastic is also great for use in your indoor areas. It is specifically built to withstand UVA rays for at least four years, allowing you to protect your plants and harness the sun's energy.
Many people who tried the seed trays have then bought the greenhouse plastic because of the brand's quality. Like the trays, this plastic is built with attention and care to the real needs of actual farmers.
#6. 1020 Microgreen Trays
These trays are an unparalleled choice for anyone who needs a shallow area to grow their plants. Unlike other shallow trays, the design is built with sturdy materials that have been fortified to last for years.
In addition to the traditional black coloring, you can also buy lightweight microgreen trays in a variety of different colors. The light weight makes it much easier to carry plants inside and outside as the seeds begin to sprout.
Bootstrap Farmer is a farming company that creates incredible products. They have indeed succeeded in the mission they set out on. Since the company's inception, they have quickly become an industry leader in seed propagation products.
A big part of the appeal is that the company makes products that are meant to last. These days, it's common for manufacturers to create cheap items just so that the users will need to replace them. Bootstrap wants to give farmers quality supplies that they won't need to replace constantly.
Another important factor is the amount of knowledge that goes into each design. Since the products are all created by farmers, they take into account the specific hands-on challenges that farmers face. These aren't items that were built by uninvolved scientists in a lab. They were put together by farmers who wanted to use them.
The products are definitely worth the investment, whether you're a beginning farmer or an old pro. They take a lot of the hassle out of the growing season. You can also benefit from the detailed guides and plans on the company website, which show you how to make the most of your space.