The Hurst School produces home-grown crops with Hydroponics

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Posted on 13th Jul 2022

Img 5369If you visited our school fete recently, you may have noticed that we had a stand selling produce, grown here at school by our Urban Group. Led by Dr Hennah, Head of Geography, the students have been really busy this year growing a range of different crops including herbs and salad leaves, flowers, tomatoes, pak choi and chard, using Hydroponics, which is the cultivation of plants without using soil.

Hydroponic flowers, herbs, and vegetables are planted in inert growing media and supplied with nutrient-rich solutions, oxygen, and water. This system fosters rapid growth, stronger yields, and superior quality. When a plant is grown in soil, its roots are perpetually searching for the necessary nutrition to support the plant. If a plant’s root system is exposed directly to water and nutrition, the plant does not have to exert any energy in sustaining itself. The energy the roots would have expended acquiring food and water can be redirected into the plant’s maturation. As a result, leaf growth flourishes as does the blooming of fruits and flowers.   The produce is beyond organic and fresh and uses on average 90% less water and energy than traditional growing methods.

At school we have three Hydroponics systems, which have been paid for byImg 5364 generous donations from Hampshire County Council and AWE. These are installed in the Geography classrooms and used by the students as part of the curriculum. Hydroponics exposes students to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in multiple ways, from understanding how a sustainable system works to grow plants and calculating correct nutrients and water levels to using problem-solving skills to discover issues with plants and make changes and tweaks to help determine what could have gone wrong.

The Hurst School is currently the only secondary school in the country to have Hydroponics Systems, and as Dr Hennah, Head of Geography explains, the students take a great pride in cultivating their plants/flowers/salad leave/vegetables from seed and then being able to take organic fresh produce home to share with their family. Katie Broadribb, HIAS Inspector/Advisor & Geography Subject Lead said, “This is simply marvellous – what an achievement and the students must have been so proud to sell the produce at the fete.  There are great links to Science and Geography, but also what an amazing experience for pupils to get involved with.”

To find out more about our Hydroponics system, please click here Urban vertical farm in a UK Classroom. - YouTube

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