This year the BEST Afterschool class at Weiser Middle School is going to grow their own basil. But first they must build their own hydroponic system in which to grow their plants. 

Hydroponics (translated literally from the Greek “water culture”) is a method for growing plants without soil or organic growing medium by supplying nutrients via water. There are many different types of hydroponics, some dating back to the Romans, but all involve enclosed systems in which water is either recirculated or aerated. The advantage of hydroponics is that plants can be grown literally anywhere—on the back porch, in the garage, in an apartment, or in the basement! No garden plot required! All you need are a few parts, some water, and a little ingenuity. 

The BEST Afterschool class will learn about the different parts of a hydroponic system, tools needed to build one, and some of the calculations needed to select equipment. The first week the crew learned a little about growing plants without soil and started basil seedlings that will be transplanted into the hydroponic system they will build. The class hopes to grow a nice crop of the popular herb which they will learn to process and use. So far, the class has tested pump capacity and learned about the effects of pipe sizes as well as how to use pipe cutters. The next step is to cut and assemble the pipe for the system. The class will build two units. One of which will be on display at the Extension office.


-Courtesy photos (Jessi Moser) & article