Child Center Engages In Hydroponic Gardening

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(Youngsters at Purdue Calumet’s Riley Child Center have been learning about gardening, thanks to a “Healthy Sprouts” grant the Center received.  Photo and news story courtesy Purdue Calumet )

Children of Purdue University Calumet’s Charlotte Riley Child Center have been learning about hydroponic gardening this spring, thanks to a “Healthy Sprouts” grant the center received from Subaru of America and the National Gardening Association (NGA).

Hydroponic gardening is a method of growing plants without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions in water. Through AeroGrow, a type of hydroponic gardening enabling indoor plant growth anytime of the year, water circulates within a unit, artificial sunlight is provided and nutrients are utilized so plants have an optimal environment to grow, according to Purdue Calumet Child Center Director Tamra Bottomlee.


            Children from the center were introduced to hydroponic gardening to grow starts for outdoor garden boxes. Earlier this year, children and their teachers planted starts from sunflowers, corn and tomatoes.

“The children have learned that some herb plants return for another growing season,” Bottomlee said. “Introduction to new vocabulary words connects literacy with nature. The children now want to know more about annuals and perennials.”


The $600 grant package the Child Center received included a gift card from the Gardening with Kids online store, curriculum from the National Gardening Association, a hand tool set, gloves and a Plantcam. The Purdue Calumet center is among 50 grant recipients selected from 800 applications submitted.



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