11 March 2010

Thursday after school, members of the high school environmental science club traveled to the Finger Lakes Fresh hydroponic greenhouse in Ithaca to learn more about this amazing company run by Challenge Industries. This is a great local company that uses a workforce of employees with disabilities. Since we will be growing lettuce for the cafeteria in our new greenhouse this spring, we were out to learn as much as we could.
Marty Gold gave us a tour and explained the basics of hydroponics (growing vegetables in a water solution) and showed us their variety of leafy vegetables.
The first stage involves planting lettuce seeds in "rockwool" substrate.
After the seeds germinate and grow they are then cut in the rockwool and divided up and put into a foam board that floats on the water.
At the 2 week stage, the carpet of lettuce greens is looking pretty lush.
The roots soak up water and nitrogen from the water below.
After about a month in ideal growing conditions, the hydroponic greens have grown twice as fast as if grown outside and are ready to be shipped to Wegmans, Price Chopper, Tops, Greenstar, and Ludgate Farms. A couple restaurants, like Moosewood, also eagerly purchase the fresh, nutritious lettuce, basil, and pocchoi.
We were even sent home with a box full of samples. Thank you so much Marty and Finger Lakes Fresh! Be sure to vote with your dollar and support this great company next time you go shopping.


Anonymous said...

We should release our trout into their water and let the life cylce of nutients happen!

t-pach said...

that Pac Choi stuff was awesome!