Fresh tomatoes from the hydroponics shed
Fresh tomatoes from the hydroponics shed (Photo: Bob S)
A juicy ripe hydroponics tomatoBearded male expeditioner sitting hydroponics enjoying the warmth and light. Female expeditioner with a brush standing amongst the plants at the back of hydroponics help to pollinate the plantsSalad and vegetables grown in the hydroponics facility

All our stations have productive hydroponics facilities. These ensure a steady supply of fresh and colourful produce for the table year round, and have the added advantage of providing a great recreational activity for expeditioners.

This is particularly important during the long winter months when there is little or no sun. Working in a brightly lit room surrounded by greenery provides psychological benefit for those who endure very short days in a landscape dominated by muted whites, greys and blues of the snow and ice.

Selection of crops

A selection of herbs and vegetables is grown at all stations, although greater restrictions apply to Macquarie Island.

Typical hydroponics crops include tomatoes, lettuces, cucumbers, capsicums, beans, zucchinis, spinach, snow peas, fennel, coriander and basil. Expeditioners germinate seedlings on a regular basis to ensure continuous cropping.

The risk of alien introduction and disease is much greater on Macquarie Island than on the continent as it is much warmer and home to many local species. Introduced exotic organisms such as seeds, insects, spiders and micro-organisms pose a significant environmental threat to the island as they could irrevocably change the natural environment of this spectacular World Heritage area.

The seed list for Macquarie Island is more restrictive and must be approved by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service and the Senior Botanist with the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industry and Water.

Prohibited seeds on Macquarie Island include all members of the brassica family such as broccoli and cabbage, and a large number of herbs such as watercress, parsley, mints, dill, mustard and cress. All mushroom cultures are prohibited as are lettuce salad mixes, although single variety lettuce seeds are permitted.