Middle and Upper School Garden Takes Shape
Collegiate Upper School students have completed three raised garden beds behind the Upper School Science building, with one of them dedicated to the building and testing of Farmbot, a precision Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) agriculture device that plants and tends gardens.
Upper and Middle School STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math) classes, 5th Grade computer classes and the Middle School Lego League Robotics club started assembling the garden Farmbot after winter break.
Designed by California engineer Rory Landon Aronson, Farmbot is an open-source farming machine that allows hackers and agriculturalists to work together. Similar to 3D printers, the Farmbot works on a frame that employs X, Y and Z directions, and can be outfitted with anything from sensors and spray nozzles to plows and seed injectors to perform gardening duties all on its own.
In the other two gardens, kale and spinach, planted in November by students in Upper School biology classes taught by Sandra Marr, seem to have survived recent arctic blasts, but, unfortunately, the future of the radishes remains questionable.
To help with garden irrigation, Upper School student Aidan Mickleburgh leads an effort to develop smart rain barrels that can monitor their water level and wirelessly notify the owner when full.
"These barrels are going to be installed on downspouts in the courtyards of the Middle and Upper Schools. By using a water sensor and an Arduino powered radio transmitter, the barrels can all communicate with a central Arduino powered radio receiver, which can in turn communicate individual water levels to whatever group is charged with distributing the water.” Aidan explains. “This project also features an original water filter design, intended to eliminate the issues that the previous rain barrels had a few years ago, that will be 3D printed from scratch."
All three beds should be ready for early spring plantings.