Nemo's garden grows crops underwater

An attempt at growing crops under the ocean

Growing food in regions where it was once though impossible
If you check out the Liguria stand at the Milan 2015 Expo you will find a bizarre project that is intriguing, the Nemo Garden. This is an attempt at growing crops under the ocean inside biospheres that are filled with air. It is one effort that may prove to be a low cost energy solution for growing food in regions where it was once though impossible.

Liguria is located in Northern Italy and the region is famous for poor soil and farming. This is due to the soil being too rocky, the hills being steep, landslides, flooding and a population that is overcrowded. This has meant that farmers have had to turn to terrace farming and this isn’t very energy efficient.

Many regions around the world are faced with the same issues and problems and an underwater garden could be the answer. Sergio Gamberini and Luca, his son, chose to implant biospheres around 8 meters under the ocean off the tourist beaches in Liguria. It might sound like a crazy idea but there is some method to the madness of it all. The sunlight can penetrate a few feet under the water’s surface and the ocean manages to keep the temperature at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Another huge benefit is that parasites cannot attack the crops growing under the ocean.

Evaporating sea water collects and condenses on the biospheres inner walls and this helps to create a humidity level of around 85%. This of course helps the growth of the crops. This means that the system is sustainable and it uses very little energy.

The Nemo Garden began life in2012 and it has continued to flourish. There are now five biospheres under the water and these have been anchored down onto the floor of the sea and filled with air. Shelving along with sensors and cameras are located in them and these mean the plants can be monitored. At the moment there are bunches of basil growing and this is harvested 50 days later. They are then taken to the laboratory and analysed. The results have shown that there is no real difference between the plants grown underwater and those grown in soil above. The only minor difference is that the underwater ones seems to have a flavour that is stronger.

Planting began in June for this year’s crop and you can check out a live stream courtesy of Ustream.


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