Hydroponics re-engineered

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This week at Davis: 29 March 2013

A necessity of life in Antarctica is hydroponics – where we grow fresh vegetables, greens and herbs. Everything we grow is raised from seed so it takes a while to reap the rewards. It’s especially essential this year as we didn’t receive any fresh vegetables on the V3 resupply in late January when the summer crew were collected and we were left to fend for ourselves for the long, long winter.

Over the last month we have upgraded our lettuce production setup, taking advantage of a tiered approach to maximise the use of our limited space. A huge thanks goes to Jeff, Keith, Bob and Mark for their work over the recent weekends. Mark has also taken it upon himself to see if he can successfully grow a pumpkin within the limited confines of the hydroponics building.

Most of the station is involved in tending the garden. On a daily basis we take readings of the water for pH and nutrient levels and tend to the seedlings. Mysteriously though, sometimes a few cherry tomatoes or sweet peas don’t make it to the kitchen.

Mark harvesting some fresh herbs
Mark on the harvest
(Photo: Bob S)
The old plastic growing tubes before being remodelled in the hydroponics room with greenery around
Old lettuce setup
(Photo: Mark K)
Jeff and Bob hard at work on the new framework
Jeff and Bob hard at work on the new framework
(Photo: Mark K)
Keith and Jeff making the final adjustments to the new lettuce growing system showing stacks of tubing on left of photo with holes for lettuce to grow from
Keith and Jeff making the final adjustments
(Photo: Mark K)
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