This week the hydroponics hut was officially opened and planted out with seedlings. Shane, the hydroponics master this year, was rewarded as the first tomato seedling flowered.

Extreme hydroponics

Growing your own food in the most extreme environment in the world? “Sure, why not” says Shane Ness, current hydroponics guru at Mawson and author of this article.

Angus, the outgoing ‘Hydro Master’ from the 68th ANARE here at Mawson handed the the reigns over to me, the new and very green hydro master for the 2016 69th ANARE season. 

After an intensive handover which involved a full pull down of the hydro system, in-depth explanation of how each plant and each individual system works along with training on how to care for these vegetables like they were our own kin, it was a huge delight when we were ready to plant our first round of tomatoes and chillies.

This season we are lucky enough to trial some new growing media, clay balls along with the tried and true vermiculite, perlite and water systems. The hydro crew have spent many hours building the new maze of systems, watching our seedlings grow and chasing the odd leak. 

In our first punnet of seedlings we planted a mix of lettuces, rocket, pak choy, spinach, parsley, basil, kale, dill, zucchini, capsicum, beans, peas, silverbeet, celery and even some eggplant. On Monday, our first lot of zucchini, consisting of zucchini golden delight and black beauty, were ready to be planted. Our tomatoes have been growing super fast and the other day sprouted their first flowers.

It will be awesome to taste our very first produce of the season, a course for celebration.​