Group of scuba divers start garden under water
A team at the Ocean Reef group, a family-run scuba diving business, have been running a project called Nemo’s Garden. Their goal is to explore the possibilities of agriculture within the sea. Imagine having farms producing crops which don’t require soil or fresh water.
The team has so far taken seven transparent biospheres to depths of 7-9 metres beneath the Bay of Noli in Savona, Italy. Each air-filled biosphere consists of a hydroponics microenvironment, a structure containing the plants, and an anchoring system that attaches the mini greenhouse firmly to the sea bed. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in mineral nutrients in water instead of soil.
Currently their main aim is to understand how the underwater environment affects different plants. So far they are focusing on testing a wide variety of plants instead of mass producing any one crop. For example, they are growing strawberries, lettuce, basil, tomatoes, and wild flowers.
You can see how they built their biospheres in the video below:
He said that Initial lab analyses of all the crops revealed no significant differences between plants grown on land and underwater. One small difference, however, was that the plants actually grew more quickly in the sea.
“We saw that the growth rate of what we planted increased, and we believe it’s because the air inside the biosphere is more compressed,” said Gamberini. He finds these preliminary findings promising, but said that they weren’t enough to hold a press conference on just yet. The team expects to publicise more results in October.