#HelloGreenovation – Vegetables Harvested Without Daylight or Soil
Technology amazes us every day. At times it scares us with AI (Artificial Intelligence) that might take over the human-race soon, while sometimes it appears nothing less than a boon. Scientists around the globe leave no stone unturned to bring forth marvellous innovations. Once again science has proven to be a blessing as Vegetables can now be harvested without daylight or soil. No, this is not a hypothesis! Scientists in Antarctica have demonstrated it.
Scientists have harvested 3.6 kilograms of lab-grown salad greens, 18 cucumbers, and 70 radishes in Antarctica, without dirt, daylight, or pesticides, in two months, as per the team. They employed a water and nutrient system while optimising LED lighting and monitoring carbon dioxide in the room. They hope to harvest 4-5 kilograms of fruits and vegetables a week by May. (Source – www.inshorts.com)
The project is being carried out with the Alfred Wegener Institute and the greenhouse is located about 400 meters (1300 feet) from the institute’s Neumayer Station III. There are currently 10 people toughing out the winter at Neumayer Station III and the Antarctic harvest came just in time — the fresh vegetables from the last delivery at the end of February had been used up.
This is the first harvest for German Aerospace Center project. The McMurdo Station and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station have both successfully run hydroponic greenhouse operations, with the McMurdo Station starting in the 1980s. This particular greenhouse is a test run for growing plants in space and combating vegetable shortages in harsh climates. Read about soilless gardening with hydroponic system.
Cucumbers, radishes and lettuce are just some of the green delights that have been thriving in the experimental EDEN-ISS greenhouse in Antarctica. The project follows in the footsteps of successful US operations cultivating crops in the harsh climate. Despite temperatures in Antarctica falling below -20 degrees Celsius (-4 F) and the sun barely coming above the horizon, the first harvest from the project led by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) demonstrates how astronauts on the moon and Mars could be supplied with fresh food in the future.
After the first three weeks, DLR engineer and Antarctic gardener Paul Zabel had gathered 3.6 kilograms (7.9 pounds) of lettuce, 70 radishes and 18 cucumbers. He spends about three to four hours a day tending to the Antarctic garden.
“After sowing the seeds in mid-February, I had to deal with some unexpected problems, such as minor system failures and the strongest storm in more than a year,” Zabel said. “Fortunately, all these things could be fixed and overcome.”
“We have learned a lot about self-sufficient plant breeding in the last few weeks, it has become clear that Antarctica is an ideal test field for our research,” said project manager Daniel Schubert.
But, Schubert said, “You have to be patient when growing strawberries. Here we are still waiting for successful sowing.” “It was something special to see the first fresh salad from Antarctica,” said station manager Bernhard Gropp. “It tasted as if we had harvested it fresh from the garden.”
Isn’t this a superb greenovation? Well, if not growing vegetables, this Earth Day bring home plants, start composting kitchen waste, save water, electricity, use more organic products and promise Earth that you will take care of it forever!