$6,980
pledged of $11,000pledged of $11,000 goal
76
backers
5days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, December 23 2018 7:59 AM UTC +00:00.

$6,980
pledged of $11,000pledged of $11,000 goal
76
backers
5days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, December 23 2018 7:59 AM UTC +00:00.

About

(Delivery available in time for Christmas! See rewards sidebar.)

The perfect introduction to growing your own food

You'll get your first crop of fresh baby greens about 2 weeks after you sow the seeds! 

The Self-Watering Microgreen Kit makes it easy for you to grow your own microgreens using a handcrafted product you can feel good about.

What's in the Kit?

The kit contains everything you need to grow microgreens:

1.  A self-watering terracotta pot, handmade to last a lifetime in our Oakland California studio.

2.  Seeds: Open pollinated seeds from Hudson Valley Seed Company, in 4 different varieties.

3.  Organic soil, enough for 4 crops of microgreens

4.  Illustrated instructions for:

  • growing microgreens
  • starting tomatoes
  • rooting herbs and succulents
  • saving seeds.

And when you’re done, you’ll be left with zero waste (all packaging is compostable or recyclable) and a planter that you can reuse over and over.

What Else Can I Do With My Planter?

 Use the planter for lots of other projects too:  rooting succulents and herbs, and starting your veggie seeds in the spring.  

These are the additional instruction cards that come with the kit.  Your planter works for lots of gardening projects!
These are the additional instruction cards that come with the kit. Your planter works for lots of gardening projects!

Glaze Color Choices 

Left to right, glazes are Bat Ray, Fog, and Stinson
Left to right, glazes are Bat Ray, Fog, and Stinson

We've spent the last 2 years fine-tuning our eco-friendly non-toxic glazes, and are happy to announce three new colors, all named after natural phenomena near our studio here in Oakland.  Bat Ray, a dark bluish slate, is named for the fish that lives in the Oakland Estuary; Fog for our most common weather; and Stinson for a lovely beach nearby.  All these glazes are formulated to allow us to fire the pots only once, saving half the energy used in making most pottery.

Progress 

When I launched my first Kickstarter project 5 years ago, I honestly had no idea what I was getting into.  Before the project went live, I had 2 manufacturers lined up to fulfill the rewards.  In case something went wrong with one, I’d still have the other one, I reasoned.  But they both backed out after the project was funded, leaving me with the choice to either disappoint my backers or make the pots myself.  

I made each of those pots in my driveway (which was inconvenient when it rained).  I took a break when my daughter was born, but came back to work, this time in a proper studio, and with my first employee we fulfilled all the rewards.  I am forever grateful for everyone’s patience and support through that learning curve.

The risks are much lower this time.  We’re now a team of 5 skilled artisans who know how to make Orta’s unusual slip cast forms.  Here are a few of the things we can do reliably now that I didn’t even know I needed to know 5 years ago:

  • We make all our own clay from raw materials, from a recipe I developed over 6 months of experiments.  I did this to increase consistency (store-bought casting slip is quite unreliable, I learned the hard way) and to eliminate the toxic barium that is in most casting slips.
  • I spent 2 years developing glaze recipes that are durable, don’t crackle (which can cause leaks), are non-toxic, and allow us to fire the pots only once, saving half the energy compared to most pottery.
  • Because we have several years of data now, we can predict fairly accurately how long it will take us to make things, which means you'll get your rewards on time!

The small microgreen planter is in production now, and we have working prototypes of the large planter.  In order to produce the large planter at scale, we need to re-carve the original, create a master mold, block-and-case molds (molds for each mold part), and 10 working production molds.

I've also learned a LOT about communication, updating people, and setting realistic expectations.  

Details

 Small Planter:

Small planter dimensions: 5" x 5" x 3" (12.7 cm x 12.7 cm x 7.6 cm).  Made from terracotta clay and ceramic glaze.

 Large Planter:

Large planter dimensions: 10" x 5" x 3" (25.4 cm x 12.7 cm x 7.6 cm). Made from terracotta clay and ceramic glaze.

Because we have to re-carve the original of the large planter by hand to make the production molds, the finished version will be a bit different from the prototypes.  The dimensions and overall architecture will stay the same.  The biggest change will be that we'll curve the edges a bit more like the small model.   We found in testing that the curvier edges came out of the molds and held glaze better than the sharper corners.  And they look really nice!

Factory Seconds:

Not all our pots come out perfectly.  Everything we do is handmade, and sometimes pots come out a little extra handmade.  Factory seconds pots that still work perfectly, but have cosmetic flaws.  The most typical flaws are:  glaze smudges, holes that aren't perfectly round, and overall asymmetry of the pot.  So if you're ok with irregularity, you can save a bit by choosing these rewards.

Timeline

Risks and challenges

While the risks are lower this time, there is always uncertainty. If anything, I appreciate the challenges much more now that I have been making slip-cast pottery for 5 years.

The biggest risks are the factors we do not control. Because we buy raw materials for the pottery, as well as seeds, soil, and packaging, any interruption or delay from those vendors can cause delay for us. We have established relationships with all of the vendors, and plan to make all our purchases well ahead of time in order to have extra time to find new vendors if necessary.

In house, our biggest risk is that the new large planter is a shape we've only made in small batches. As we scale up, we anticipate tinkering with our processes for about a month to increase yields before we're up to full capacity. We won't know exactly what the challenges are, and what fixes will be needed until we start production. But because we've made many similar forms, I'm confident that we'll figure it out. And we'll keep you updated along the way!

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Support

  1. Make a pledge without a reward

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Thank you!

    We'll send you a thank you post card with one of the unique illustrations created for the instruction cards included with the kit. Plus, you can follow our story with access to all the backer-only updates

    Includes:
    • Thank you postcard
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    One Year of Seeds and Soil, Small

    Fresh microgreens for a whole year! Every three months we'll send you seeds and soil to replenish your small kit. Please add the amount of this pledge to any other reward to include this reward as well.

    Includes:
    • 16 packages of seeds plus soil for 16 small crops of microgreens
    • Free shipping in US
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Small Kit, Factory Seconds

    Same as the regular self-watering small kit, but with a pot that's cosmetically flawed. All our pots are handmade. Seconds are *extra* handmade, but guaranteed to work perfectly.

    Includes:
    • Small (5" x 5") planter, factory second
    • 4 different types of microgreen seeds
    • Soil, enough for 4 crops
    • Illustrated instructions for microgreens, plus 4 other projects.
    • Plastic-Free compostable / recyclable packaging.
    • Free shipping in US
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Self-Watering Microgreen Kit, Small

    Includes:
    • Small (5" x 5") Self-Watering Planter
    • Soil, enough for 4 crops
    • 4 different types of microgreen seeds
    • Illustrated instructions for microgreens, plus 4 other projects.
    • Plastic-Free compostable / recyclable packaging.
    • Free shipping in US
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (97 left of 100) 3 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    One Year of Seeds and Soil, Large

    Every three months we'll send you seeds and soil to replenish your large kit. Please add the amount of this pledge to any other pledge to combine them.

    Includes:
    • Free shipping in US
    • 32 packages of seeds plus enough soil for 16 crops of microgreens
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    Large Kit, Factory Seconds

    Same as the regular large kit, but with a pot that's cosmetically flawed. All our pots are handmade. Seconds are *extra* handmade, but guaranteed to work perfectly.

    Includes:
    • Large (10" x 5") Planter, Factory Seconds
    • 4 different types of microgreen seeds
    • Soil, enough for 4 crops
    • Illustrated instructions for microgreens, plus 4 other projects.
    • Plastic-Free compostable / recyclable packaging.
    • Free shipping in US
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Christmas Delivery Small Kit

    We have 20 small microgreen trays in stock right now, and will ship them as soon as our Kickstarter reaches its goal. Even if we reach the goal on the very last day, we’ll still have enough time to ship them for Christmas gifts. Also, we’ll wrap them nicely, even if it’s just for you!

    Includes:
    • Small (5" x 5") Self-Watering Planter
    • Soil, enough for 4 crops
    • 4 different types of microgreen seeds
    • Illustrated instructions for microgreens, plus 4 other projects.
    • Plastic-Free compostable / recyclable packaging.
    • Free shipping in US
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (11 left of 20) 9 backers
    $
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    Large Microgreen Kit

    Kit includes large (10" x 5") self-watering microgreen planter, soil and seeds for 4 different crops of microgreens, and illustrated instruction cards. All packaging is compostable or recyclable.

    Includes:
    • Large (10" x 5") Self-watering planter
    • Soil, enough for 4 crops
    • 4 different types of microgreen seeds
    • Illustrated instructions for microgreens, plus 4 other projects.
    • Plastic-Free compostable / recyclable packaging.
    • Free shipping in US
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (92 left of 100) 8 backers
    $
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Hand Decorated Large Kit

    The planter in this kit will be hand decorated by the illustrator who created the drawings for our instructions. You can choose the color and theme of the decoration.

    Includes:
    • Hand Decorated Large (10" x 5") planter
    • Soil, enough for 4 crops
    • 4 different types of microgreen seeds
    • Illustrated instructions for microgreens, plus 4 other projects.
    • Plastic-Free compostable / recyclable packaging.
    • Thank you postcard
    • Free shipping in US
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (6 left of 6) 0 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    $30 Gift Card

    Christmas delivery! We'll mail a lovely gift card to anyone you choose with a code that can be redeemed on our website. You can make your gift card for any amount up to $5 more than your pledge. (International cards may arrive after Christmas, but we'll send you the code digitally)

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Early Bird Small Microgreen Kit

    Savings for the first backers!

    Includes:
    • Small (5" x 5") Self-Watering Planter
    • Soil, enough for 4 crops
    • 4 different types of microgreen seeds
    • Illustrated instructions for microgreens, plus 4 other projects.
    • Plastic-Free compostable / recyclable packaging.
    • Free shipping in US
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 20 backers
    $
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  14. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    Early Bird Large Microgreen Kit

    Savings for the first backers!

    Includes:
    • Large (10" x 5") Self-watering planter
    • Soil, enough for 4 crops
    • 4 different types of microgreen seeds
    • Illustrated instructions for microgreens, plus 4 other projects.
    • Plastic-Free compostable / recyclable packaging.
    • Free shipping in US
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 20 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.