Growing Excitement At the Bucyrus Campus
While the outdoor garden beds at the Bucyrus Campus were covered in snow, two indoor Flex Farms hydroponic units inside its Green Corridor were hard at work on food production well ahead of the traditional planting season.
The new system, set up in late February, is growing greens, herbs and other plants for the kitchens at both campuses to use in meal preparation.
It’s the same system in use at Northcott Neighborhood House, which provides up to 25 pounds of salad greens every four weeks.
Once seeds, planted in seed trays in a separate grow light unit, reach proper size, the seedlings are transplanted into the root chambers of the units’ 6-foot grow walls. They receive nutrients and water pumped through the walls. An LED light tower stands in for the sun, providing a steady source of photo energy.
The Flex Farms system was created by Alex Tyink of Green Bay. Unlike most hydroponics systems, its vertical grow-walls close around the light tower, to maximize the amount of photo energy the plants receive, notes Katherine Keller. As manager of the new playgarden, Katherine oversees the Flex Farms system as well as the outdoor garden beds, and conducts lessons for the childcare classrooms to teach children where food comes from.
The grow walls will be opened only for planting, harvesting, and in between, for viewing the plants’ progress, regulating the water’s mineral content and pH level.
The Green Corridor is an interior hallway with windows looking out over the playgarden outside to the east. Windows along the hall’s other side look into the art room. Both children and adult clients will have plenty of opportunities to see where some of the fresh food for their lunches is grown… and to remind them of the daily miracle involved in food production.