Shelby County College and Career Students in two different career technical areas are benefiting from a Tower Garden system, donated last spring by Vicki and Scott Everett and her company, Juice Plus. Students in the Landscape Design Technology program are using the tower garden to learn about the science of aeroponic gardening while students in the Culinary Arts Program are using the fresh herbs and vegetables in menu and meal preparation.
According to the Tower Garden website, aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil. It uses both water and air to produce more colorful, better tasting, better smelling, and incredibly nutritious fruits and vegetables.
“The Tower Garden is considered to be the next generation of urban farming,” said Julie Godfrey, Supervisor of Career Tech Education, College and Career Planning and Community Partnerships. “This highly efficient aeroponic growing system allows one to grow massive amounts of produce in a tiny amount of space and in about half the time of traditional soil-based agriculture using a fraction of the water and soil.”
Last spring, students planted tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, peppers, and oregano. Instructor Phillip Riggsby said the plants really thrived and grew well into the summer months. This year, the students are planning to try lettuce and some other types of herbs once they get some seeds sprouted.
“The weather has been too hot and we haven’t been able to get our seeds to grow,” Riggsby said. “Now that the weather is cooling off, we plan to get our seeds started and get some things growing in the Tower Garden again.”