Solarium Renovation and Upkeep

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Group Members:
  1. Noah Weller (
  2. Suma Lashof (

Project Goals

Goal #1. Brainstorm Uses for the Corner Niche (Suma): We will discuss and create a plan for a more effective use of the back corner of the solarium. This could include replacing the bench or finding new use for the space.

  • Research local bench designs & manufacturers
  • Brainstorm ideas for a colorful, hanging mobile to hang above the bench OR a mural to be painted on the back wall
  • Look into motion sensor LED lights
  • Revise past intern's bench proposal (emphasize sustainable harvest)
  • Present proposal to the Dean of RSENR

Goal #2. Characterize Climate & Compile Temperature Profile: We plan to record and monitor the temperature of the solarium at different heights (4ft, 13ft, and 23ft) and locations around the solarium and re-evaluate what plants will excel in this environment based on the temperature profile.

  • Plot the solarium temperatures for each height at various times throughout the day
  • Find the hourly minimum and maximum temperature throughout the day from last Spring's data
  • Use this information to select plants that would thrive in the Solarium

Goal #3. Modify Plant Composition: We will identify a few plants that don't seem to be thriving in the solarium (ex. banana tree) and replace them with plants better suited for the conditions

  • Consult Colleen & ask her for suggestions on plants to remove
  • Use the temperature profiles to determine plants that will survive in the Solarium

Goal #4. Create a Fertilization Plan (Noah): We hope to test the effectiveness of a selected fertilizer on different planting areas to assess the most effective treatment.

  • Obtain the soil testing data from past years to identify soil deficiencies
  • Do some background research on organic (possibly liquid) fertilizers that could be applied across selected Solarium grow beds based on the nutrients that the soil needs
  • Take initial measurements of a few selected plants before fertilization to be used for comparison by future interns

Goal #5. Create and Implement a Seasonal Maintenance Plan (Noah & Suma): We are responsible for watering, misting, grooming (removing dead plant tissue, etc.), scouting, and pruning.

  • Revise/update management plan from Colleen's summer interns (Noah)
  • Gather/purchase necessary materials
  • General maintenance & upkeep work throughout the semester (under Colleen's supervision, when available)
  • Follow an appropriate watering schedule

Project Notes

Major Maintenance Events:
  • 2/13/17 Removed banana tree & dead plant tissue (34.2 lbs)
  • 3/23/17 Removed dead plant tissue (6.5 lbs)
  • 4/3/17 Pruning with Dave
  • 4/24/17 Replant North Bed with Colleen
  • 5/4/17 Final grooming with Colleen

Soil Testing Results:

Water Garden
South Bed
NE Bed
NW Bed
Temperature (C)
Conductivity (µS)


Reference Material

Weekly Goals & Updates