UI Students Grow Lettuce in PVC Tubes

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Students at the University of Iowa are growing lettuce in a nontraditional way -- in the middle of the winter and without soil.

A team of five students is growing hydroponic lettuce in PVC pipes at the University's biology building green house.

They started growing the lettuce in February and will continue to grow it until April. After the lettuce is fully grown, they give it to the University Dining halls to use.

Grant Gregory is an Iowa senior in charge of this project. He hopes to team up with a local business owner to build a solar panel-powered green house on the roof top of the Old Capital Mall where they can plant and grow these hydroponic plants in the future.

"We're ultimately trying to find an equation that will optimize production of this system especially in urban environments, because that's the whole function of this thing is to provide urban produce," he also said.

This project started when the Tippie College of Business launched a sustainability business contest back in November 2015. To compete, students had to form teams of five people with at least two Tippie College of Business students in each group.

The competition will be judged on April 23, 2016, and the winning team will receive $1,000.

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