Image Source: National Geographic
National Geographic published a few pieces about Nemo's Garden, a strange underwater farm off the coast of the beautiful town of Noli in Northwestern Italy.
The Nemo's Garden is an experimental underwater greenhouse with plants and seeds grown in submerged "biospheres" made of plastic domes equipped with hydroponic equipment and air-circulating fans. The primary goal of Nemo's Garden is to increase food production in coastal regions without the expensive requirement to desalinate water for crops.
The biosphere is a giant balloon carrying around 528 Gallons of air. It's fixed 15 to 35 feet below water. A small ring of lights illuminates each biosphere's ceiling, and a little fan keeps the air flowing. Sensors in each biosphere wirelessly transmit real-time data such as humidity, temperature, and air composition to a central control tower called the "Tree of Life." As the sun heats the humid air within each dome, fresh water condenses on the walls and can be collected to water the plants. The seawater that surrounds the biospheres helps to keep their temperatures stable.
After harvesting, the plants are transported to the surface in clear plastic bags, dried, and kept until they can be consumed again. Nemo's Garden has previously experimented with tomatoes, okra, beans, green peas, herbs, and flowers and all the vegetables have successfully grown. According to research done by Ocean Reef Group in 2020, the organization's underwater-grown basil contained more chlorophyll and antioxidants than farm basil – an intriguing conclusion, given that the water pressure makes the Nemo plants develop differently than they would on the surface.
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