Hydroponics at the monastery

Sister Dianne Sabol with first hydroponics harvest.

Sister Dianne Sabol and Oblate Margaret Kloecker have installed a small hydroponics garden—a system that grows plants in water infused with mineral nutrients rather than in soil—at the monastery. “We wanted to experiment with this technique for growing plants hoping that we might be able to expand it in the future,” explained Sister Dianne. “So far, we are really pleased with the results.”

Margaret, who has been using a hydroponic system for her home garden for several years, donated the materials and her expertise for this project. A skilled carpenter, she also built the stand that holds the water tubs in which the plants are growing, as well as several other custom stands and shelves to facilitate potting and caring for plants.

The custom stand includes a top beam where grow-lights are suspended. Sister Dianne holds the first harvest—only three weeks after the plants were started. 

This project is one of several that the community is undertaking as they look for new ways to care for the earth, part of the community’s corporate commitment: As Benedictine Sisters of Erie we commit ourselves to be a healing presence and prophetic witness for peace and justice by actively addressing the climate crisis and the rights of women and children.

Hydroponic lettuce at three weeks.
Hydroponic lettuce at three weeks.