The dream of growing your garden from just about anywhere you may be in the world is now a reality.
Entrepreneur, chef and restaurateur Craig Borlik, has moved into a second phase of a project started in 2019 that allows individuals to even set water times on their virtual gardens over their smart devices.
The Grogrub app was introduced last year, with Borlik hoping investors would like the idea of providing fresh-grown produce to apartment dwellers in metropolitan areas or maybe just to people who don’t have the time.
“We were fortunate enough to find an investor who was thrilled with our model and who helped us establish the first Phase 1 test gardens,” Borlik said. “We’re now testing out our technology, and it works.”
With all the warm summer sun in Utah, Borlik said the first fresh organic produce is ready to pick.
The unique concept uses Borlik’s Grogrub app which is based on virtual farming technology to remotely manage actual 12-feet-by-12-feet garden plots that are purchased or leased on a monthly basis from small, family-owned organic farms.
Client gardeners use the Grogrub app to plan and design their individual gardens, remotely control the watering cycles, and to schedule the harvesting of their produce, which will then be shipped overnight to their homes in specially designed containers, according to Borlik.
Strategically placed web cameras and the specially developed app-controlled watering system allow the remote client gardeners to oversee their garden plots in real time.
Borlik is currently using eight test gardens in American Fork to experiment with soil mixtures and watering quantities to optimize yield.
“We are carefully logging and measuring what comes from each garden so that we can provide good yield estimates that people can use to make informed decisions about what they would like to grow and in what quantities,” he said.
Borlik is also keeping honey bees in a “honey bee habitat” providing pollination and raw honey sales online.
In November, as part of Phase 2, there will be 200 garden plots, along with version 2.0 of the Grogrub app, available to the public.
Borlik also believes that these types of gardens are a good answer to some concerns brought on by COVID-19.
“We’re providing healthy, organic food for people who are concerned about both safety and access,” Borlik said. “We’re helping small farmers, and we’re creating jobs.”
Interested residents can come out and work the gardens as volunteers.
According to Borlik, the produce from one of the test gardens is being donated weekly to the Center for Women and Children in Crisis in Utah County to help provide meals for the shelter.
Borlik said this has been a 22-year dream of his. The gardens also are there to grow medicinal and floral gardens as well.
He says the idea is helping to save the planet one garden plot at a time.
While Borlik says he has been dreaming about watching something grow over web cam, it could only have become a reality 10 years ago with the birth of phone apps.
“All the planets came into alignment about three years ago,” Borlik said. “I spent every spare dime getting a patent.”
He got the patent Nov. 26, 2019, after a 2.5-year process. He also has the right to patents in 117 countries.
“No one in the world has this intellectual property,” Borlik said.
So just what is this app about and how would it work for the average person? Borlik says the process will be easy.
Just download the app, check out the “visit my garden” page and select what you want in your grow box garden.
Each garden has four quadrants where produce can grow and be watered at the level that is best for that vegetable. The phone screen will show you the quadrants and water needs.
The app also will give the daily weather conditions and show the owner a 360-degree view of the garden, zoom in on a tomato or zoom out to see the whole plot.
According to Borlik, there is a complete plant library, seed pricing and space requirements. If you want a specialty garden, the app will help you design it.
“There are also pre-selected gardens like a salsa garden or medicinal herb garden or a pizza garden,” Borlik said. “It’s up to you.”
The cost will be about $490 for the year lease, but there is a special on now for next year’s season of $390. That cost includes planting, maintenance, harvesting and shipping.
“There will be a discount for disabled veterans that can’t grow,” Borlik said.
For more information, visit http://Grogrub.com.