CHS and CMS Students Investigate Alternative Farming

What some students initially believed was a phone charging station was actually the result of collaboration between two sciences classes, researching alternative farming methods.

A Chillicothe Middle School STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) class, led by Mrs. Lindsay Burns, is teaming up with the high school’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science students to construct hydroponic tower gardens to grow fruits and vegetables, according to Mrs. Jamie Metzger.

Mrs. Metzger discusses the hydroponic system with students in her AP Environmental Science course. (Hannah Dalaba/The Cavalier).

Metzger said that students are specifically involving themselves with a new form of gardening called hydroponics. This method involves the growing of plants without the use of soil by using the minerals from water solvent, said Metzger.

“Basically, we have to plant the seedlings, which need to be about 3 inches tall," said Metzger. "Then, we transfer them to the tower, which is set on a timer for the grow lights as well as the water so that they aren’t getting too much or too little water and light.”

The tower gardens currently are producing vegetation such as kale, cherry tomatoes, and other herbs and vegetables.

Once the plants are fully developed and ready for harvest, Metzger plans to invite and collaborate with the family and consumer science classes to hold a luncheon for all those involved with the project.

Each of the 6 towers was priced at around $250 and was paid for by grants issued to the district's STEM program, said Metzger.

Justin Wood contributed to this article.

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