Updated on October 25, 2012
A Visit to the Science Barge
So after posting and doing some research about Hydroponics, I found out about the Science Barge – a real working hydroponic farm that is floating on a barge in Yonkers, NY. It was really cool to have the opportunity to actually see something in person that I was just researching!
So here are some pics I took while there:
This is a close up of some various types of lettuce and basil growing hydroponically. My tour guide (I think his name was Bill) told me it takes about 5-6 weeks to grow a full head of lettuce from seed (roughly the same as growing it in soil). The little black tubes feed the water solution into the white rail looking part, which houses the root systems.
This picture here is another close up of various things growing hydroponically – cilantro… mmmm….
This is a cucumber plant. These cucumbers were really large, it was hard to capture their size in the photo. Right under the cucumber plant (and a little behind it) you can see swiss chard growing. One of the cool things about hydroponic farming is that you can grow lots of various things in close proximity, because you don’t have to worry about roots taking over each other, and the space required for growth it much less than on a traditional farm.
This tomato plant was really the only plant that appeared to be out of control. It wasn’t, in reality, tomato plants just get crazy when they are big, with lots of vines going all over the place. The cherry tomatoes from this plant were super sweet!
Here is a close up shot of the root system of these plants. The dark square part is where the actual roots are. They are encased in this material called “rock wool” – a material made from molten basalt rock which is then spun into spongey soft fibers. See Wikipedia for a nice close up picture of what it looks like (the first one on the right).
The little red balls are a sort of clay (called ex-clay), which as far as I can tell and from what I’ve read, are just a medium in which to hold everything and keep it upright.
The little black tubes feed water directly into the roots, which reduces on water use and waste. The roots shown are from the crazy tomato plant.
Here we have the herb section, that is grown vertically in pots (also hydroponically). These two vertical structures were about 4 feet tall and take up about 2 feet of actual space. Cool!
And perhaps the coolest part of all, 95% of the energy required to run this hydroponic farm is derived from these 3 little windmills, and the 2 solar panel arrays (below), as well as a few tubs for rainwater.
Here is one of the solar arrays ——————->
Just another cool shot of the lettuce section. Hope you enjoyed my tour as much as I did! This really showed that even in a city like New York, you can have a little farm growing just about anywhere!