Plants are growing in a classroom at Cherokee High School (CHS) using a technique known as hydroponics. Students in Tagan Crowe's Horticulture I class are learning the process first-hand and are growing a plethora of plants, including the much sought-after ramp – a traditional Cherokee plant.
Crowe noted, "While I was at Oregon State, I did my senior thesis on hydroponics and how to grow traditional medicines and crops that we have. So, we're trying to keep these ramps from going dormant and seeing if we can grow them on a full scale. I'm working on a grant right now with USET to grow nothing but traditional herbs and crops hydroponically."
Students built several of the tower gardens in the classroom and are growing ramps, lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, broccoli, and arugula. Crowe said each tower costs around $800, and they were purchased through a grant from Harrah's Cherokee to supplement the CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs at CHS.
While the students are excited about the entire project, growing ramps are of particular interest to them due to the cultural tie-in. Crowe said, "The reason we didn't do a whole tower of ramps is because I don't know how they're going to grow just yet. Obviously, they're looking really good. But ramps have a natural circadian rhythm… they do this over a long period of time. So, ramps go dormant around now, and then they sleep for those few months. When people go to harvest them in January or February, they're harvesting the first shoot of those ramps. What we're going to be curious to see here is we're simulating a perfect growing condition."
Read the entire article at The One Feather