The sun is rapidly disappearing at Casey. Meanwhile, a lack of sun doesn’t stop the hydroponics crew from yielding crop.

Daylight hours

As we approach the midwinter of our year, it is interesting to look at the difference in daylight and day length during our year. When we arrived in late November, we were greeted with nearly 21 hours of sunlight and basked in the long sunny days and warm summer nights.

In early December, with 24 hours of sunlight, people worked in bright sunshine with average temperatures between −3.7°C  overnight and 1.4°C  during the day. They would finish work and be back in their living quarters with still unlimited hours of sunlight left to explore. Time seemed only limited by the energy one had. It was an unusual feeling looking outside at midnight and seeing full daylight — no wonder some stayed up socialising at night not realising how late it really was.

But as we approach our midwinter with the temperatures falling to an average minimum of −18.5°C and an average maximum of −11.1°C, the hours of daylight also becoming less. We now go to, and return from our workplaces in darkness with a day length of only five hours and five minutes, and as the day length continues to shorten by seven minutes per day we will lose another 2.36 hours by midwinter, resulting in our shortest day of the year with only 2.29 hours of daylight.

Casey Hydroponics

This week saw the hydroponics team put the finishing touches to the remodelled back room (No. 2), of our hydroponics centre with the planting of the herb garden. The idea of having a dedicated herb patch was made earlier in the year and followed the annual clean up of the hydroponics facilities.

This year it was also decided that we would only use clay balls as a growing medium in the tubs as they are a more environmentally friendly product.

The other decision was to only grow tomatoes in the front room (No. 1) which is also starting to produce results with the first of the season’s crop already reaching the kitchen. An abundance of ripening fruit is to follow.

The different variety of tomatoes is also proving a winner and with the basil from the herb garden it won’t be long before fresh bruschetta appears on the Casey menu.

The lettuce seedlings have started to sprout and are due to be transplanted to lettuce tubes. The ability to grow different types of lettuce in these pipes has produced a good steady crop in the past and it is hoped it won’t be long before fresh salad is back on the plate.

Our inventive hydro team organiser has also come up with an interesting app to help with the rostering of staff who assist with the day to day running of the hydroponics facilities. I am assured that an electronic version is not on the way.

Cheers and fresh eating,

The Hydro Team