18 A-level biologists from St Philip Howard School Sixth Form in Barnham, Chichester, recently went head-to-head in a science experiment with Tangmere Airfield Nurseries.
The students visited the nursery earlier in the year in order to find out more about the scientific techniques and the challenges involved in growing food crops.
Tangmere Airfield Nurseries manager, Mark Knight explains: “The idea for setting up the growing competition is to support the curriculum and help the students to understand the components of good plant growth – sunlight, temperature, as well as give focus to some of the big issues affecting food crops, such as climate change and energy consumption.”
Each student has been busy nurturing their plants – Pablo, Perry, Pedro et al. donated by the nursery in order to grow ‘the tallest plant’ and produce ‘the most peppers.’
Head of Science, Graham Jones, said: “The students embraced the competition, it’s amazing how excited even sixth formers get to see ‘their babies’ – the tiny peppers growing on the plants.”
Pepper plants grown in commercial greenhouses average 1cm growth per day. In the science lab, the students averaged 0.5cm per week, which goes to highlight the advantages of modern technology in today’s farming.