Grantee Blog

Saving Seeds and Hydroponic Indoor Planting

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Garden Squad put their garden to bed in mid-October.  During this process, we started lessons on seed saving and indoor hydroponic growing systems.  We opted to save seeds from our basil plants.  Each student learned how to dry, recover, and properly store the very tiny basil seeds (about the size of a pinhead).  We then planted the seeds in a rockwool base (pulverized rock that is spun like cotton candy then molded into a growing medium) and covered it to create a simple terrarium.
Our next step was to paint large glass ball jars; which each student painted to both protect the plants roots from sun damage and personalize the jars.  Once our seeds sprouted and grew to the appropriate size each student transplanted the seedlings.  They did this by nestling the rockwool cubes into a basket surrounded by clay pellets and hung those within their ball jars which they filled with water to promote the next stage of growing.  The last and final step of the process will be to harvest the basil and teach the students to make homemade pesto with our hydroponically grown fresh herbs!
This has been an incredible journey for the Garden Squad at OLMC!   In the last two years the students have successfully promoted healthy living and eating with both the bicycling and garden components of this program.  This journey has included so many different milestones, including learning about the importance of food security, how to plant and maintain a garden through four seasons, and creating delicious recipes with the food they grew in their low carbon footprint school garden!

About the Grantee

Project U.S.E.

Project U.S.E. is an experiential education organization based in Newark, New Jersey with over 40 years of experience providing hands-on learning experiences for groups of all ages and backgrounds. Project U.S.E. provides diverse programming, including school and community gardening, professional development workshops, and outdoor education programs at our Wildcat Mountain Wilderness Center.