German Antarctic Research Station Harvested First Vegetables, Testing Space Farming

German Antarctic research station harvested first vegetables at the Neumeyer-Station III. The vegetables have been grown in Antarctica without soil or sunlight, in order to test the space farming and combat the issues of shortages of vegetables in harsh environment.

Researchers harvested about 3.6 kilograms i.e. 8 pounds of vegetables that included salad greens as 70 radishes and 18 cucumbers. During the research, the scientists were carefully confirming that the plants must get a cocktail of red and blue light. Bernhard Gropp, the station manager described as, “It was something special to see the first fresh salad from Antarctica. It tasted as if we had harvested it fresh from the garden.”

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Paul Zabel, Antarctic gardener and engineer at the German Aerospace Center –DLR, said in a statement that, “After sowing the seeds in mid-February, I had to deal with some unexpected problems, such as minor system failures and the strongest storm in more than a year. Fortunately, all these things could be fixed and overcome.”

The advance controlled environment agriculture technologies, greenhouse container – EDEN-ISS was moved to the Antarctic’s Ekström ice shelf, where the researchers have successfully farmed and finally harvested the first crop without Earth and light. The scientists hope that the technique may someday help astronauts in growing their foods in space.

Daniel Schubert, the project manager says that, “We have learned a lot about self-sufficient plant breeding in the last few weeks, it has become clear that Antarctica is an ideal test field for our research. But, you have to be patient when growing strawberries. Here we are still waiting for successful sowing.”