JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Although many residents’ gardens will have to wait until the warmer weather, high school students from Jefferson and Lewis Counties will have the opportunity to work on their green thumb this winter.

Jefferson Community College will be offering a free hydroponics program for students in grades 9 through 12. The Hydroponics, Nutrition & Advocacy youth program will be held on Saturdays from noon until 3 p.m., starting January 15. The program will take place at the Lewis County Education Center in Lowville until February 26.

The six-week workshop will teach students how to grow plants without soil. The method instead focuses on plants growing vertically using nutrient-rich water that serves as the roots’ food source. Leafy green food such as spinach, herbs, and lettuce are known to grow well, and fast, using the Kratky hydroponics method.

The program will also cover a variety of topics including, controlled environment agriculture, hydroponics, growing conditions, nutrition and health, and advocacy for access to quality food. The classes will be led by a market gardener and local food systems advocate Julian Mangano.

Those interested in participating in the program can register online, on the JCC website before January 7. However, students must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or documentation of exemption. More information can be found on the JCC website.