"Challenge Center"

By KBJR News 1

July 13, 2011 Updated Jul 13, 2011 at 8:51 AM CDT

While our outdoor gardens are still a few weeks from harvest, an indoor garden has been providing produce all year long.

In this week's "Your Green Life", Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson takes us inside the Challenge Center greenhouses.

Ripening tomatoes, red and yellow peppers; all signs of an approaching harvest, but the Challenge Center in Superior took an initiative to go green.
Growing thousands of plants and producing the popular Bay Produce tomatoes and peppers requires a number of workers and a watering system that can capture and recycle water.

"Whatever is extra we have a series of pipes, that brings it to the other end. They go through filters and a ultraviolet light which cleans them up, kills all of the bacteria in the water in case we get any. Then it is reused in the peppers", said Richard Fisher. Associate Grower.

The water that gets recycled also carries the extra fertilizer.

"The big gain was not just the water, although that's nice, it was in the nutrients. Plants will take up water faster than they will take up fertilizer and nutrients," said Gene Chuzles. Director of the Challenge Center.

The Challenge Center workers also use every part of the plants they grow.
When preparing the produce for market the stems and branches are removed but not thrown out.

"Every week we take leaves off we have someone sweep them out and then we put them in a container and they are composted and reused in fields for farmers", said Richard Fisher. Associate Grower.

Growing plants hydroponically also helps speed up the growing process. From flower to tomato, it takes just six weeks at the Challenge Center.
In Superior, Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson, the Northlands NewsCenter.

The Challenge Center operates ten group homes, all of which operate with energy efficient lighting and windows.