Sergio Gamberini, founder of diving equipment company Ocean Reef Group, was on holiday in the Italian Riviera in the summer of 2012. One day, he was talking with his pals about his second passion: gardening.
Looking out at the sea, Gamberini had an unexpected thought: why not attempt to grow basil underwater?
As strange as it may have appeared, the notion made perfect sense coming from a diving enthusiast and innovative entrepreneur. He made a few phone calls and began experimenting with his Ocean Reef Group team, dropping translucent biospheres 20 feet below the sea’s surface and filling them with air.
Soon, nine clear plastic bubbles appear to float underwater, their trapped air scented with herbs. The exhibit, dubbed Nemo’s Garden, is a test of the practicality of underwater greenhouses. The submerged “biospheres” are made up of plastic domes that have been outfitted with hydroponic equipment, plant seeds, and air-circulating fans. Each dome functions as a “miniature space station.”
Gamberini hopes to assist arid coastal nations grow more food without having to spend money on desalinating water for crops.
This underwater agricultural method overcomes the issue of pesticides: the isolated environment established within the biosphere is effectively protected against parasite assault. The absence of pesticides implies an ecological habitat in direct touch with seawater, hence preventing any marine pollution.
Improvements in agricultural water management are a key focus of the Nemo’s Garden Project. Because the underwater farm only requires an external source of water to begin plant growth, our system could be useful in areas where bodies of water are scarce (i.e., seas, lakes, aquifers, etc.).
The alternative agricultural approach presented in the Nemo’s Garden Project would help any commodity that is difficult to cultivate in adverse circumstances.
However, the boundaries of what can be grown have yet to be established. More study will be conducted to determine the varieties of vegetables that are ideal for underwater gardening.
Reference- The Nemo Project Website, National Geographic, Interesting Engineering, Tomorrow’s World, Horizon