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Chickering GROWS is a great way for your child to learn about gardening and gain hands-on experience growing their own plants at home while connecting with the Chickering community. Students develop important life skills like patience and responsibility as they care for a living thing. We will be offering different grow kits each season for ALL AGES. No green thumb required! Some things your child can look forward to this year: hydroponics at home, growing TALL plants from small bulbs, starting seeds and creating an edible garden. We will check in weekly as plants progress and encourage students to post photos of their garden on the Chickering GROWS Padlet. While we cannot grow together in the school garden, it will be fun to all be growing the same things in our own homes and share with one another the beauty and fun of gardening! 


We will be growing ZINNIAS in a self-watering bell jar garden! We will be exploring hydroponics and discovering how and why plants are able to grow without soil.




In traditional gardening, plants get root support, nutrients, water, and oxygen from the soil. Hydroponic growers do not use soil and instead provide water and the right balance of nutrients directly to the plant roots. This enables plants to concentrate their energy on producing leaves and fruits rather than forming extensive root systems to search for water and nutrients. 



Jamie Godfrey

Community Outreach Co-Chair


Kim Hall

Community Outreach Co-Chair

Renee Grady

Teacher Liaison

Chickering GROWS Padlet

How to: Chickering Grows Padlet

Chickering GROWS Newsletter

The self-watering bell jar garden uses a passive hydroponic system known as wicking to transport water and nutrients to the plant roots. The nutrient solution (water & fertilizer) is held in a reservoir and taken up as needed, providing the perfect balance of water to oxygen. All you need to do is assemble the kit, add water and place the jar in a sunny spot! 



Q: How long do zinnias take to grow? 

A: Zinnia seeds take 5-10 days to sprout, and will start flowering in 2-3 months. Continuous harvesting will encourage a bushy plant and greater number of blooms. 


Q: How long will it last? 

A: A zinnia plant will continue to grow for many seasons with sufficient nutrients and light. Fresh flowers are best harvested in the morning when flowers are their freshest and petals are just opening. Picking off flowers and preventing exposure to temps above 75 will maximize the plant's life. 


Q: How much sun will it need? 

A: Flowers require at least 6 hours of direct light daily, and should be put in an unobstructed window that faces south, west or east (southwest is the best option). During winter months (or if you don’t have an unobstructed window) you can supplement with a grow light. 

Q: Can it be put outside? 

A: Garden Jars are designed for indoor use, but can be put outside. Be mindful that the planter does not have a drain hole, and if the reservoir floods it may drown the roots. Bring your Garden Jar inside if temps dip below 55⁰ or above 80⁰. 


Q: How is the garden jar reusable? 

A: The stainless steel net pot and recycled glass grow medium can both be reused— simply rinse with hot water. Add new seeds and use coco peat to help seeds germinate. Use a water soluble fertilizer and follow its instructions.




Did you know that every flower carries its own special meaning and symbolism. The meaning of the ZINNIA flower is endurance. It is also symbolic of an absent friend, affection and remembrance. During a time we cannot all be together, it is nice to share the beauty of these symbolic flowers in our homes and classrooms. 

Inter-generational Garden Program 


Chickering GROWS welcomes Dover Council on Aging (COA)  members to grow alongside our students.  Our shared goal is for students and seniors to experience increased wellness from the therapeutic qualities of gardening as well as create lasting and meaningful connections with one another!




We cannot wait to see photos of your garden as it progresses on the Chickering GROWS Padlet! Click here to add and view photos of your growing projects! 

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