Bucks County Herald

Frenchtown class grows garden in lab



Checking on the morning glories is Delaware Valley Regional High School student Noah Meyers. The flowers and much more are growing without the benefit of soil in a hydroponic arrangement.

Delaware Valley Regional High School’s Room B-100 is now a vegetable garden, using three different techniques that are suited for cramped spaces.

The beans, strawberries and lettuce are growing in a vertical wooden frame that used to be a pallet.

The pumpkins, broccoli, carrots, morning glories and marigolds are growing without soil in white plastic tubes with nutrient-rich water circulating through it, using a deep plastic tray beneath it as a reservoir. A few koi swim in the reservoir, contributing their personal effluvium to the water.

And more strawberries, beans and lettuce, plus kale, tomatoes and rosemary are growing in a 3-foot-tall orange plastic “grow tower” that looks like part of a child’s outdoor play set. Earthworms inhabit the tower’s inner core, dining on shredded paper and producing a waste product that is a delightful treat to the vegetables.

The project, a semi-experimental living lesson in alternative gardening, is being carried out by teacher Lissa Mulherin for her Science Foundations class, with the assistance of science teacher Chris James.

The project is funded by a $2,000 “innovation grant” that was approved by the school board in December, and the teachers are stretching that money with energetic scrounging. The pallet was donated by Van’s Auto Body, and the aerating filter for the hydroponic tanks was donated by Hunterdon Medical Center.

Delaware Valley Regional High School is located in Frenchtown, N.J.

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