We focused last fall on two alternative approaches to the traditional Farming & Gardening block: hydroponics and cold frames. Natalie had the hydroponics project (8th grade) and Leah the straw bale cold frames (6th grade). They both researched their topics and took notes. Natalie and Adam set up a succesful hydroponics system in our garage, until it got to be too cold for the plants. Leah, however, wasn't able to set up the cold frames until the following autumn, so her notes are incomplete. She worked hard on her research... it wasn't her fault that we didn't get the bales in time. (I am a HUGE fan of setting up straw bale cold frames in the Fall and then using those straw bales as planting beds in the Spring. Just flip them over so all the lovely moist fungus-y part of the bale is on top, and plant your seedlings directly in them as your soil. You end up with lovely inexpensive raised beds, chock full of nutrients, totally weed free, and which rarely need watering!)
Even though incomplete, I'm including these MLBs in the spirit of this project, which is to share what we did warts-and-all. Click on any picture to enlarge it and scroll through the pages with ease.
Grade 3 Farming & Gardening page on my website with tons of notes and book suggestions for whatever kind of project you'd like to try. The best resources we found for research on hydroponics and cold frames were:
AUTUMN: Straw bales as a simple cold frame with an old window on the top:
SPRING: Straw bales arranged in the garden in rows, to be planting beds:
HYDROPONICS: Adam did extra research on YouTube -- there are lots of hydroponics videos there -- and he took a TON of pictures of the hydroponics setup but unfortunately he never shared them with me for a blog post. And I never bothered to photograph it because I knew he was.
I'm working with a doctoral student on her thesis (why people garden) and she is helping me get motivated to set the system up again. And, should this ever come to pass, I will photograph the process and update this post.
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