WHAT IS AN EDUCATIONAL GARDEN?
An educational garden is a space within a teaching environment where students learn everything needed to grow plants, vegetables and / or fruits.
It’s an educational project that involves creating a dynamic classroom and offering students the chance to enrich their learning on different topics through interactive experiences that have personal meaning for them. The garden therefore serves as an educational tool.
HOW DOES HYDROPONICS WORK?
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral solutions instead of agricultural soil.
Plants are in direct contact with water or very humid air which contains the amount of nutrients necessary for the development of the plant. Many of the foods we eat in everyday life are grown using hydroponics.
WHAT DOES SCHOOL URBAN AGRICULTURE CONSIST OF?
Urban agriculture in schools stimulates student engagement and learning while raising awareness of well-being and various environmental issues.
HOW TO CREATE A SCHOOL GARDEN?
Vireo works in collaboration with several educational establishments to develop various school garden projects. Our services include equipment, seeds, access to a digital platform, education and support.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE GARDEN DURING LEAVE OR ANNUAL SCHOOL HOLIDAYS?
Our school interior garden is autonomous for 12 to 15 days. If you have to be away for an extended period, it’s possible to close the system easily (harvest the vegetable garden, then clean it completely). On return, substrates and seeds should be integrated into the vegetable garden and the system restarted.
WHAT DOES THE EDUCATIONAL KIT CONTAIN?
It contains educational activities developed in partnership with the ‘’Chaire de leadership en enseignement sur le développement de l’esprit d’entreprendre et de l’entrepreneuriat’’ as well as the ‘’Chaire de leadership en enseignement des sciences et développement durable’’ of Laval University. The educational kit is improved from year to year and complies with the Québec Education Program (QEP).
You can enrich it with exercises and related projects that you like and that are in line with the needs of your students. It’s a wonderful tool that promotes learning in fun ways and allows you to use the indoor vegetable garden to its full educational potential.
IS THERE AN ORDER TO FOLLOW FOR THE USE OF PEDAGOGICAL ACTIVITIES?
The kit is very dynamic and favors a project-based approach. Thus, it can be adapted to different teaching-learning contexts. We have created an order as a reference, but it’s up to you to choose whether you follow this structure or not. We very much encourage exploration and experimentation, you are free to choose your own teaching path! We can also design an educational path personalized to your project and your educational objectives.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO START GARDEN CULTIVATION ANY TIME IN THE SCHOOL YEAR?
Yes but it’s important to note that the cultivation time is different depending on the type of plants. Thus, the number of harvests could vary depending on when you started your first sowing.
AT THE END OF THE YEAR, COULD A SCHOOL DECIDE TO MAKE SEEDLINGS WITH THE HYDROPONIC SYSTEM AND THEN TRANSPLANT THEM TO AN OUTDOOR VEGETABLE GARDEN?
It’s possible but the plants will be under stress, as the change in environment affect different aspects:
- Photoperiod (Light per day)
- Temperature (Indoor to outdoor)
- Change of culture medium (Liquid solution to fertile soil)
At the end of the year (in June), the days are usually quite long and the daytime and nighttime temperatures are quite warm. It’s not a big cause for concern but it’s still important to note that this is an experiment – we can’t guarantee the result.
IS OUR HYDROPONIC VEGETABLE GARDEN ECOLOGICAL?
Vireo aims to provide the most eco-responsible indoor hydroponic gardens available. No pesticides or herbicides are used. The proximity of food and the constant freshness of edibles, made possible by the vegetable garden, greatly reduce waste by users. Growing crops on site also helps reduce the transport of food to your plate!
Know that our research and development team is continuously working on advances to reduce the impact of inputs and increase ecological assets. This is why we favor local suppliers.
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF A HYDROPONIC GARDEN?
A hydroponic system is made up of a water system, an electrical system and a structure made of water-repellent materials of your choice. There is therefore a water basin, an air pump, a water pump, LED horticultural lights, hydroponic tanks, baskets, substrates and seeds. All of this is included in the package!
IS A WATER SUPPLY NECESSARY?
The water from the aqueduct or well will suit the plants. A water intake is not necessary.
WHAT ARE THE ELECTRICITY NEEDS?
Electricity is needed to power the air pump, sump pump, and LED horticultural lighting. Like humans, plants need rest. Lights can be turned off 8 hours a day.
DO I NEED NATURAL LIGHT OR ARE THE INCLUDED LED LAMPS ENOUGH?
The energy-efficient horticultural lamps integrated in the hydroponic vegetable garden are sufficient because they are designed to ensure a light supply that is constant and stable over time. With a timer that allows you to adjust the period of brightness, there is no need to have an extra supply of light.
WHAT IS HYDROPONICS?
Hydroponics is simply a culture without handling soil or pesticides. It is therefore accessible and easy to integrate into your school. Plants benefit from constant irrigation, nutrients and oxygen. Their growth is faster and the crops obtained are healthy and more abundant. With all these crops, you can even distribute them to organizations of your choice.
AFTER HOW LONG WILL THE SHOOTS APPEAR?
The growth period varies depending on the type of seed, between 5 and 21 days. It’s possible to incorporate a nursery into the system to develop future plants in advance.
SHOULD YOU PUT NUTRITION SOLUTION IN THE NURSERY?
It’s very important to put the plants in the nutrient solution only when the first true leaf emerges. Before that, the solution could harm the growth of small shoots. Therefore, it’s important to avoid putting the solution in the nursery.
HOW TO POLLINATE FLOWER AND FRUIT PLANTS IN A HYDROPONIC CONTEXT?
There are three types of pollination: insect pollination, forced contact by a human hand and the displacement of pollen generated by the wind. In a hydroponic indoor vegetable garden, it’s necessary to intervene with one of the last two methods. Without intervening directly, the usual air currents in a room (passage of a person, open window, etc.) may be sufficient.
DO I HAVE TO START THE SEEDS AT THE SAME TIME OR CAN I START THEM IN SEQUENCE TO HAVE A CONTINUOUS SUPPLY?
It’s possible for you to start seedlings in sequence to have a continuous supply. However, this requires much more management and frequent monitoring. When starting your project, ask your urban farmer for advice and they will work with you to assess a solution that meets your supply needs.
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