Why do we call it a STEAM Garden? Maybe it’s because the garden uses STEAM concepts to grow delicious vegetables. Or maybe we call it a STEAM Garden because of the nutrient fog/spray the plants grow in. Maybe it’s both! Perhaps what is more important is that dirt is not a component in our garden. Instead of dirt, a solution of measured nutrients is sprayed onto the root system, this is called Aeroponics.
Aeroponics is an alternate form of gardening related to Hydroponics and Aquaponics. This spray is what differentiates Aeroponics from hydroponic or aquaponic systems. The process we currently use is a low-pressure aeroponic system, a common variant. These alternate forms of growing foods may help us meet nutritional needs in the world as the world population continues to grow. Systems such as these will be vital for feeding space explorers who travel beyond our planet, such as manned missions to Mars. Such growing systems will provide the first continuous sources of food on planets void of life. After generations of growth, it may be possible to begin terraforming with the compost made from these gardens. Such gardens may also be instrumental to air purification in the early settlers’ enclosed bio-domes.
Back here on Earth, systems like these are proving to be powerful replacements to traditional farms. They require less space and resources. In most cases Aeroponics will require 90+% less water than a traditional farm. Such farms can be found within cities around the world and even in the desert. Since they require very little floor space, and can be stacked vertically, such systems can be grown in apartments and homes with little yard space and can offer an excellent source of fresh greens all year round. (Plus the sound of trickling water is very soothing)
[Further Reading: NASA and the VEGGIE program | NASA ]
[Further Reading: How the Netherlands Feeds the World | National Geographic ]
[Further Reading: Dubai will be Home to World’s Biggest Vertical Farm | Smithsonian Magazine ]
[Further Reading: Growing Greens in the Spare Room… | New York Times ]
Interested in seeing the Aeroponic system at the Club? Schedule a Visit!
Periodically I get asked some interesting questions about our method of gardening at the club. If you have any questions you’d like to have answered leave a comment below or stop me during the day and ask! Here are some of the questions already asked. – Jason Q Wouldn’t it just be cheaper to grow everything in the ground? A On Earth, maybe / maybe not. The purpose behind our garden is to explore the problems settlers might face when humankind finally decides to send manned missions to extra terrestrial locations, like an asteroid or Mars. In such locations, dirt is non-existent and water hasRead More →
The club’s STEAM Garden uses STEAM ideas to grow organic vegetables. Or maybe we call it a STEAM Garden because of the nutrient fog they grow in. Or maybe it’s both. Whatever the reason, dirt is not a component in our garden, instead it rely on a nutrient solution that becomes vaporized. The vaporized solution then reaches the roots and the plants grow. The process we currently use is one known as fogponics, a variant of aeroponics. Later we plan to upgrade the system to a low-pressure aeroponic system. Aeroponics is an alternate form of gardening related to Hydroponics and Aquaponics. These alternate forms ofRead More →
The STEAM garden has gone through various updates and upgrades to increase the rate at which the plants grow. The first iteration of the garden utilized nothing more than a ultra-sonic device to atomize (vaporize) the water and nutrient solution to feed the seeds roots. While this method gave us some success, it wasn’t very reliable and couldn’t sustain a large plant for very long. In the quest to build a better unit, some research was made into the various aeroponic solutions – such as a common low pressure system and the NASA endorsed high pressure set up. A High pressure system was discovered toRead More →
It’s now a cold January day in 2018 and the STEAM garden is still going strong. This winter we will be taking a look at how the productive the garden is, what is needs to improve, and prepare to plant a new batch of crops. The fact that we can grow nearly anything year-round is proving to be beneficial on a variety of levels. The STEAM garden was nominated for an impact award last fall. The following video was produced to introduce the garden to the judges. Without any dialog, the video attempts to illustrate the social emotional learning benefits and how it functions mechanically.Read More →
Taped to the side of one of our pods is a little paper that reads: “Planted on June 13, 2017.” In just 3 weeks the STEAM Garden will be 1 year old. This experiment got off to a rough start, but today the garden is thriving. To date we have harvested 10 Jalapeños and 15 Tomatoes and the Basil continues to grow, we trim it back and it just grows some more. Our tomatoes have been very sweet and meaty and our Jalapeños have been reported, by the members who have tried them, to be very sweet and “hotter than the sun,” as one memeberRead More →
In about 4 months the STEAM Garden will be 2 years old. It is largely self-sufficient with minimal maintenance. We have continued to make minor adjustments to the solutions, re-thought our lighting, and replanted. STEAM Garden Final Phase The STEAM Garden has been the centerpiece of the Creative Lab (Formerly STEAM Room) at the Club since we began focusing on STEAM Principals. The Garden hits every aspect of STEAM – The science of growing and the use of chemistry to feed the garden, The Technology of Aeroponic growing and LED Lighting, Engineering comes in the form of garden’s creation, and most recently, the use ofRead More →