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Tower Garden Success

cynthia maloney,   Glenbard North High School
The Power Behind the Play
Access to Healthy Foods, Community Involvement, Success with Funds,  Teamwork
Tower Garden Success

The Tower Garden is now in its second year with the transition program. It has been a great asset to the class and has sparked interest from students and staff as to growing vegetables hydroponically. Last year we grew tomatoes with little success (by the end of the semester we had only two tomatoes but one heck of a large plant we called the "green monster"). BUT we learned so much in the process about what plants really need to produce ( light / wind / pollen / nutrients, etc.). This last semester we focused on broccoli and basil. The basil has been a HUGE success and we even use it in our food labs with foods we have made (lasagna / chicken sandwiches with basil and cheese). Broccoli grew but did not produce (again not a failure as we look at the reasons why). Students have learned to take responsibility and work with staff to set timers / add nutrients with staff / prune plants safely and correctly/ add correct amounts of water....I could go on. We are now investigating what vegetables we want to plant for this next semester as the basil is in its final stages. We have our own mini indoor greenhouse that we start our vegetables and then transplant them to the Tower Garden. Students have also have shown such an interest that they are working with staff to build their own hydroponic garden with items that normally would be thrown into the landfill. We are hoping to get this working in the next week and will be one of our featured items at our GBN Earth Day Fest where students from the elementary schools will learn about different ideas to create a better earth. We also will feature the Tower Garden system as the spark that led us to the creation of this project.

How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?

The students have designed a paper bag with a a name created "Brown Bag Gardens." The sale of our production of herbs and vegetables will provide resources to continue with nutrients needed to keep the tower functioning.