A new program within the Clinton County High School Agriculture Department that was featured in the Clinton County News last week, took another step forward this week when students returned to class following a week-long spring break absense.
As was profiled last week, the new project is aimed to both teach agriculture students about one of the newest vegetable growing methods – hydroponics – as well as a secondary advantage of supplying the Clinton County School District with tomatoes for consumption by students and faculty during the summer and early fall months.
Clinton County High School Agriculture Teacher Matt Johnson spent most of his 1 p.m. class Monday putting the finishing touches on the new hydroponics growing system, as shown in both the above photo and the photo right.
During the spring break, Johnson built the irrigation system that will feed the tomato plants. Monday, his class transplanted the tomato plants into the growing compound used with the hydroponics.
Hydroponics is a relatively new growing process that eliminates using soil to get nutrients to the plant. Fertilizer is added directly to the water source and the nutrient enriched water is then sprayed onto the plant’s roots where they are absorbed.
Johnson said his watering system will be automatic and should activate every two minutes and spray the plants for 20 seconds.
According to Johnson, the 154 plants should produce around 200 to 300 pounds of tomatoes per week.
In the photo above, Ag students observe Johnson as he explains the proper method of making the transfer in the transplanting process before the students began planting the tomato plants in the remaining containers.\
Right, Katie Melton, a sophomore at CCHS, planted a tomato plant in the center of the pot and adjusted the sprayer to maximize its growing potential.