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Greenhouse project: shows promise

September 28, 2009

During July and August a small team of FREdome volunteers took over St Michael’s greenhouse and undertook some experiments with hydroponics (growing plants in water) and sea nutrients.
The test was to see if the Sholto 2 Hydroponics system devised by Harry Hart could be used to support vegetable growth.
A control test also took place to see if sea nutrients had any discernable effect on the growth and taste of lettuce.
The hydroponics system still needs work to ensure that it can be left for a period of time without drying out. Lack of water has restricted the growth of the leaf vegetables in the lower tray. The root veg in the upper tray are showing some promise.

Students test the letttuce grown with sea nutrients

Students test the letttuce grown with sea nutrients

Taste test
Students and teachers at the college were on hand to try out the lettuce at a handover session in early September.  A general consensus was that crops grown in compost and watered with a sea nutrient solution did have more flavour, although there was no obvious difference in the growth. 

All the lettuce was harvested an served to students in the school canteen. Catering staff were reported to be “impressed”!






Seedlings in the root tray

Seedlings in the root tray





Going forward
School project co-ordinator Ian Petrie said,  “Students need raised awareness of healthy eating and environmental issues to do with food miles. Up to now the hydroponics experiments have been abstract, but now we have a resource for our geography and science departments that is quite exciting.”

The hydroponics and sea nutrient experiments form the first stage in the Carbon Cycling theory. 

 For more information about this possible solution to global warming visit our project website
The experiment will be continued by the school’s Environmental Council with continued help from FREdome volunteers. Foot note:
Experts from the University of Southampton oceanography department are taking a positive interest in this experiment. We hope to bring you news of this soon!

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