| HCC HORTICULTURE STUDENTS USING HYDROPONICS TO GROW
WELDON, N.C. – The Halifax Community College (HCC)
Horticulture Technology Program is celebrating the 40th anniversary of
the college, Apr. 29-May 5. Students in the program are currently
converting a film-developing table donated by Advertising & Graphic
Design Instructor Gloria Tysinger into a hydroponic system to grow
Hydroponic production is the technology of growing
plants in a nutrient solution of water and fertilizer. The earliest
recordings of hydroponics were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. A
number of different hydroponic systems exist. During this conversion,
students took the stainless steel sink and added a pond liner. They
also added tubing to the center drain for the ebb and flow, also
called flood and drain, system to work.
“Many people are going this way to grow plants. In
fact, a lot of tomatoes are grown this way,” said student Jerry
Dickerson. Plants can potentially grow bigger and faster this way.
This particular hydroponic system pumps nutrients
and water to the plants for a certain amount of time, four times a
day. When the pump is turned off, air is then pushed up to enhance
“You don't have the diseases that you would have
with soil. The roots get everything and you can get quicker growth.
You have more control over the plants by giving them the nutrients
they need,” said Dickerson. “You don't need as much land with this
Advantages of hydroponics include more efficient use
of water and fertilizers, no soil is required, space requirements and
growing time are lessened, heavy work is reduced, nutrients are
recyclable, weeds are lessened, and crop rotation is no longer needed.
Primary crops grown in a hydroponic system are peppers, tomatoes,
cucumbers, lettuce, herbs, and strawberries. According to Dickerson,
about 60% of the tulips grown in Holland are grown this way.
Some disadvantages include potentially high set up
costs, skill and knowledge of pH levels are necessary for optimum
production, and not all plants are suitable. Also, plants can have
quick reactions to any conditions.
The Horticulture Technology Department is also
holding an online trivia contest for the campus during the week. Free
herb plants will be awarded to winners.
Horticulture Technology is a two-year associate in
applied science degree program that prepares graduates for careers in
greenhouses, nurseries, landscape companies, and as business owners.
Graduates are skilled in landscape design and installation, starting a
horticulture business, designing and managing a nursery or greenhouse,
and plant propagation techniques. Courses in the curriculum include
plant materials and propagation, turf management, and landscape
For more information about the Horticulture
Technology Program, contact Horticulture Technology Instructor Carolyn
Evans at (252) 536-7209 or via e-mail at