Gregorys green grocer

16 June 2003

This week's story is written by the 2003 chef at Mawson, Michele S.

It is the smells that tempt you, the colours that astound you, the anticipated taste and the joy of watching something grow – and so quickly too! The delight that no sneaky little possum jumped up and gobbled your prized new growth, while you slept.

Bountiful crop. Vegetables from the Mawson hydroponics facility.
Bountiful crop. Vegetables from the Mawson hydroponics facility. May 2003. Photo M. Smith

Hydroponics is the stuff of my dreams, being the number one customer at Gregory's Greengrocers (and second major investor).  

Luscious green herb garden from the Mawson hydroponics
Luscious green herb garden from the Mawson hydroponics. May 2003. Photo M. Smith

I love the daily additions to my pantry of fresh herbs, cucumbers, lettuces, bok choy, silver beet and now tomatoes.

Mawson vegetable garden.
Mawson vegetable garden. May 2003. Photo M. Smith

The salads at lunch seem to have more fresh groovy green bits than in the summer just after the re-supply of the station. It is certainly a joy to see all the colour and relish the crisp crunch in your sandwich. Judging just by today's consumption, the delights of fresh produce seem to be growing. Once I despaired of ever encouraging the serious carnivores of Mawson to eat something lo and behold - raw!!! It must be peer pressure.

External view of the hydroponics facility at Mawson.
External view of the hydroponics facility at Mawson. May 2003. Photo M. Smith

Behind the door of this unassuming little building we find our hydroponics oasis………….Taking over the hydroponics immediately on arrival in December, with a wonderful run-down and ever helpful guidance from Wally B, Greg and I have planted, sowed and cleaned, watered, mopped up countless leaks and made a few changes, such as the installation of aerators in all the solution tanks, insulation of the fresh air intake pipe work, increased tank sizes, and increased lighting in the tomato area.

Expeditioners  inside the hydroponics facility at Mawson.
Expeditioners inside the hydroponics facility at Mawson. May 2003. Photo M. Smith

We now have the place ticking over at such a rate that I often don't have any frozen vegetables on the menu. Luckily Greg has some experience with this sort of gardening so the system runs along so well, for me I am the harvest expert!

Watch dog snake guards Mawson`s competition tomatoes.
'Watch dog' toy snake guards Mawson's competition tomatoes. May 2003. Photo M. Smith

The Great Tomato Growing competition is moving along…. Our baby has some big brothers to look up to and emulate. He also has his own guardian 'watch dog', so no other stations can sneak over and sabotage………… We have had on average 8 or so nice sized tomatoes for the last couple of weeks, and they taste GREAT. There are many more just waiting in the sidelines to turn a beautiful shade of red, and find themselves dressed appropriately on a salad, with maybe some of their friends from the herb garden.

The herb garden is such a luscious aromatic sensation, the addition of all the flavour and fragrance to the dishes at dinner is fantastic. I just love the bursts of aroma I get when I chop the poor little things up.

Whoever it was that thought trying hydroponics in Antarctica was a great expeditioner and they can come over to Mawson for dinner anytime…………..Midwinters' is just around the corner, I am sure we can find a spare seat.

This page was last modified on 3 June 2003.