May 7, 2019 // 10:16 AM

Aeroponic Experiment

Written by Juanita Fox

In January 2019, Jordis Patterson, 8th grader at Hinkletown Mennonite School, reached out to Garden Spot Village resident Barbara Slothower for help on her academic fair project. The question? Would Barbara help her with an experiment with seeds?

The experiment: Will lettuce seeds planted in aeroponic pods grow at the same rate as those planted in potting soil?

“I asked Barbara because I knew her from church and knew she would be able to connect me to the aeroponic greenhouse. I really wanted to see how seeds grew and wanted to learn more about aeroponics,” Jordis says.

Barbara, a retired science teacher from Haverford, was more than happy to help. Barbara says, “Jordis is such a nice girl. She knew I was a retired science teacher and I wanted to be able to help her with this project.”

Some of the challenges Jordis and Barbara needed to overcome included Jordis’s soccer schedule and her need to access the plants daily.

Barbara reached out to Scott Weaver to see if Jordis could use a tower in the Aeroponic greenhouse. Scott had a better idea. He supplied a portable pod and set it up in the Conservatory, which is open to the public daily, until 7pm.

On March 12 Jordis Patterson planted several groups of seeds. One group of seeds was planted in regular potting soil in small paper pots. A second group of seeds were planted in rock wool and placed in the portable Aeroponic towers.

Over the next six weeks Jordis visited the Conservatory faithfully every afternoon after soccer practice, checking the seeds, recording measurements, taking photos and adding water and fertilizer when needed.

“It meant a lot to me that Barbara helped me because I was able to learn about aeroponics and do the experiment the way I was hoping,” Jordis says.

On Thursday, April 25 Jordis received 1st Place at the Academic Fair for her experiment. The Academic Fair included submissions from 19 8th grade students at Hinkletown Mennonite School. Congratulations Jordis!