Knopp engineers a hydroponics system

The Good Life

Lean consultant takes healthy eating to the next level.
Lean consultant takes healthy eating to the next level.

Hydroponics was a natural step for Andrea Knopp, an industrial engineer who likes to eat healthy and has additional space in her basement.

“I love experimenting with new, difficult-to-find edible plants,” Knopp said. “This has allowed me to grow varieties that were once near the brink of extinction, but are now being reintroduced.”

Knopp, a lean consultant at Greenfield-based Campbell Corp., began buying the grow lights, trays, air pumps, water pumps and water filters about a year ago to start the process.

Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants with only water and pH-balanced nutrients.

Knopp first discovered this type of gardening from a friend, who has a similar system in his basement.

She has been attempting hydroponics for about a year and said while it has been frustrating at times, she really likes the results.

“I grow a lot of lettuce, chard, spinach, rosemary and other herbs,” Knopp said.

Investing in all of the materials has not been cheap, especially for the reverse osmosis set up, which Knopp said is necessary for what she wants to do.

It has also brought her a few laughs, considering a lot of the items she has purchased could be used to grow marijuana. Knopp has become a target for different types of advertisements she was not expecting.

The products could also be used by home brewers who want to make their own beer. Knopp said that is something she might try at a later date.

“I just thought it would be fun to grow my own food,” Knopp said. “But it is definitely something that involves patience and a little bit of math skills. It is more work than I thought it would be. Probably 15 minutes a day, but you have to do it every day.”

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