Petersons turn passions into reality on rural Swift County farm

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By Mitchell Levesque

Reporter

Swift County Monitor-New

A little past eight on a morning in July, when the robin’s call could still be heard and the sun in the sky was past introductions, Kent Peterson nimbly placed lettuce seeds the size of peppercorns into small holes.

The seeds were being planted in a foam-looking sheet of nutrient-rich, artificial soil and smothered in water, making the whole thing look like a soggy brownie. The sheet was broken up by each seed, placed in PVC pipes and treated to a constantly running water source whose pH balance was monitored and adjusted for, all to better grow lettuce. The set-up is an example of hydroponics, a practice in which plants are grown without soil and provided with mineral nutrient solutions. 

One can only marvel at this set-up for so long before the building’s many fans are heard. Circulating warm air, the fans are part of the building’s geothermal heating, a kind of heating that gets its warmth from the ground. Because of the stable underground temperature, plants can grow in the building year-round. To build this greenhouse, around 900 feet of 6 inch pipe was put 4 feet down into the ground, requiring the work of a mini-excavator. 

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