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Bryan Ellis must carefully monitor and control the nutrient solution feeding his plants that are growing hydroponically without soil. He's on call 24/7 since plants never take a day off! He receives alerts to his cell phone so he can monitor the sophisticated system from anywhere.
Bryan uses natural pest control methods including this tobacco plant that attracts aphids that after attaching to the plant, do not survive.
Scrumptious Salsa Science
Salsa is scrumptious, a fun food that is super nutritious, super easy to make, and super science. The next time you dip a chip to scoop up salsa, salute farmers, growers, and botanists. And don't forget the chemists! Ingredients in salsa are natural and nutritious, a mix of fruits and veggies grown by people with green thumbs who work their magic planting veggies in the ground or in state-of-the-art hydroponic systems in greenhouses. Although recipes differ, most salsas have tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro, a herb. The main ingredient is red tomatoes, a veggie some people consider a fruit because it has seeds. In the culinary world, tomatoes are versatile veggies with hundreds of uses as fresh produce or as processed tomato products including ketchup, sauce, paste, and puree. Why are tomatoes red? Tomatoes have high amounts of lycopene, a chemical pigment that gives red fruits and vegetables their color. Lycopene is also an antioxidant that may prevent cell damage and many types of diseases. Check out the chart below of nutritional facts from the U.S Dept. of Agriculture (USDA). Our SLOG-ITT expert in the video above is Bryan Ellis from the Natural Science Technology Center (Toledo Public Schools in Toledo, Ohio). Watch the video as he takes us on a tour of their greenhouse where he is growing – and eating - hydroponic vegetables! Enter questions in the Chat and Collaborate box to the right and then watch for the answers. Bon Appetit!
Q and A with Bryan Ellis
1. Can what you make be grown on a large scale? Answer: Yes, companies like Nature Fresh already here in Toledo. 140 Acres of Hydroponics. Leamington Ontario house Hundreds of acres of "Hot House", hydroponic crops.
2. How do you get the bugs you need? Answer: To get the bugs I need, I order some of them online. The more specialized insects like predacious Mites, can be ordered through companies like MGS. The parasatizing wasps occur naturally as long as there remains a small manageable population of host insects like aphids. Lady bugs can be wild caught or ordered online.
3. How big a space do you need to do this? I would like to start one in my classroom. Answer: We offer classroom kits to teachers in our district which include everything you need to grow in your classroom successfully. The kit also includes directions and a lesson plan., Any South facing window is sufficient, or a small grow light on a timer. If you would like information- firstname.lastname@example.org,
4. How expensive is it to get started with this? Answer: Homemade versions are easy and affordable to make at home. Youtube has lots of DIY plans posted.
5. I saw the chemical that makes tomatoes red but what makes some yellow? or those striped funny ones? Answer: Ethylene gas is primarily used to trigger a ripening response in the unripened fruit. If the genetics of that particular tomato produce a yellow tomato or a striped ripe tomato, the ethylene gas would cause that tomato to look like its ripened state. It just depends on the seeds' origin, just like humans. We pass on traits like eye and skin color through our DNA. So do tomatoes.
25 for 1 med
25 for 1
Onion (1 med)
*USDA (see link below in Primary Resources)
Cilantro (herb): rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese.
Jalapeno Pepper, raw
27 calories, sodium 1mg, carbs 6g, fiber 3g, sugars 3g, protein 1g, Vit A 14%, Vit C 66%, Calcium 1%, Iron 4%
From the chart above, answer the following questions:
What ingredient in salsa has the highest amount of Vitamin C?
What ingredient (or ingredients) in salsa is an excellent source of potassium, a chemical element important in cell metabolism?
What ingredient in salsa is the best source of Vitamin A?
Of the ingredients in the chart above, which one is a fruit?
The salsa seen in the video was made from:
1/3 red pepper
1/3 yellow pepper
1 jalapeno pepper (with seeds)
2 green onions
1/3 whole red onion
6 fresh, whole tomatoes
15 oz can diced tomatoes (juices drained)
juice of 1 medium lime
cilantro to taste (about ½ to ¾ cup) or more if desired
Rough chop and place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse 5-6 times or until desired consistency. Add ½ teaspoon sugar and salt to taste. Pulse again.
hydroponic: related to growing plants in a nutrient solution without soil
culinary: related to cuisine, food preparation from simple to gourmet
antioxidant: a class of chemicals that may prevent cell damage by countering free radicals
lycopene: a chemical pigment contained in red fruits and vegetable that has antioxidant properties
botanical: related to botany, the study of plants
versatile: noted by being able to be used in many different ways