Last year, DMARC received funding for two Tower Gardens to grow fresh produce indoors through Webspec Design’s Game On: Celebrating Our Community challenge. And now, some of our first plants are finally coming in!
Patrick Minor, Warehouse Associate, has taken charge of the project, putting the towers together, working to balance the pH, and ensuring the towers have everything they need to be successful. The reservoir built into the bottom of each tower holds slightly acidic water that is distributed to each plant. The pumps built into the tower propel the water to the top, then the water filters down, nourishing each plant through the holes on the inside. This process occurs automatically about every 15 minutes.
Each plant is rooted in soil-like nutrient foam. The towers are capable of growing larger fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and tomatoes when a cage attachment is in place. Patrick rotates the towers every six hours to ensure that the entire tower receives the proper amount of sunlight.
In 7-8 weeks, all of the plants will be ready to be harvested. Each tower is said to be capable of producing 600 pounds of produce annually!
Right now, the first produce yield will likely be donated to the Central Iowa Shelter & Services kitchen across the street from DMARC.