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The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently awarded Roosevelt Academy the Community/School Garden grant. The grant is part of the Specialty Crop Block Grant awarded by the United States Department of Agriculture. The funding will be used to purchase soil and nutrient testing equipment, soilless media for the schools’ hydroponic farm, seeds and fertilizer.
Students are responsible for planting, pruning and maintaining the crops grown at Roosevelt Farms, a school- based enterprise. The vegetables and herbs are sold the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month at the Lake Wales Farmers Market and at the Lake Wales Care Center.
But beyond traditional gardens, students maintain vegetation grown using hydroponic growing methods.
The literal interpretation of the word “hydroponics” is working water. In Greek, the word “hydro” means water and “pronos” means labor. Simply, hydroponic gardening is the art of gardening without soil. Water and nutrients like nitrogen, calcium, potassium and phosphate are applied directly to the roots in precise amounts in soilless mixes that retain both resources.