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 to be very complex and expensive to build. Additionally, a low pressure system was also outside the affordability of the newly born STEAM room’s budget. So a compromise was made and we obtained some low-cost fish tank powerhead pumps from a local pet shop, some lengths of food-safe polyethylene tubing from a local farm supply and went to work. After several hours of experimentation and about a dozen hot glue sticks, we had a solution to our problem. The kids and I quickly got to work constructing a new setup that continues to use the ultra-sonic foggers and also pumps the solution from the reservoir below into fine streams directed at the net pots holding the plants. We call it a Hydroponic/Aeroponic hybrid. It wasn’t long before we had some incredible results. Seemingly overnight, our tomato plant grew nearly two feet taller and our tiny pumpkin vine had stretched out another two feet in various directions as well. The basil sprouted new branches and the leaves grew bigger and fuller. We decided to start over with a whole new batch of seeds to see what kind of change we might see. Now a new batch of watermelons, pumpkins, cucumbers, peppers and flowers have been born. Stay tuned to see where things go next…

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