HydroponicsIf you are wondering what that tall, glowing contraption is in the corner of the pool room that is lit up for most of the day, we are happy to inform you that it’s our very own Hydroponic Garden Tower. The Barron County Senior Nutrition program was gifted this tower from the Marshfield Clinic Health System to start growing our own leafy green vegetables for the nutrition program.

The first seedlings have been planted and green leaf lettuce will be ready for harvest hopefully by the 1st or 2nd week in January. The plan is to use these fresh greens in the salad bars. Hydroponic gardening is a method to grow fresh produce in a water-based, nutrient-rich system. No soil is used. Instead, the root system is supported by planting the seeds in rockwool (made from volcanic ash and is completely biodegradable). The continuous pump filters and conserves the water so the plant nutrients are controlled and the water is cautiously pumped through the system. The LED lights are energy efficient and are on 18 hours during the day to promote growth. The pH of the water and amount of nutrients are monitored each week to ensure optimal growth.

This system will allow only minutes from harvest to your plate, meaning you will consuming the most nutrient-rich leafy greens! Once we get used to the system, we hope to grow other produce such as herbs and cherry tomatoes!

For food safety reasons, we ask that the system not be touched or messed with.

Barron County Nutrition Program Staff will be monitoring the system and if you have any questions regarding it, please don’t hesitate to ask.