After spending the night at the Gaylord Palms, Kevin and I made reservations to take the tour called "Behind the Seeds" at Epcot's area known as The Land. This is both a ride and display of the work that is being done in the area of hydroponics and aquaponics to enhance current growing methods and pioneer new techniques. We have gone on the ride through this display of technology many times and have talked about taking the tour that shows the technology in an up close and personal way often. So since we were already in the area for our anniversary we made plans to finally do this.
|The boat ride we've taken ourselves as it winds through the various growing areas.|
We loved it!! In our California home I had gardened for years and in the past few years we had ventured into small scale hydroponics and prepared for an aquaponics system that we hoped to eventually include raising tilapia in. We moved before we really got this up and running, but our initial trials taught us a lot about the benefits and challenges of these systems. Since we really hope to make these a part of our gardening here on our new property we have been doing research in preparation for setting these up. So this tour seemed a good one to take a look at to see what they have found through their trials and errors with a much larger budget to really experiment with. It was quite informative and really inspiring to see their results and the possibilities for us. Here are some pictures and descriptions of the things we saw and learned.
|Our guide explaining these systems with the clay pellets (leca) in the top bin and the floating lettuce on foam in the lower in this hydroponic system that many home users can and do use.|
|These lettuce "twirls" as I called them have rock wool inserts in the tubes to hold the lettuce as the solution passes through the root systems. A good space saver and produces well.|
|This is a high tech mister system that holds the plants completely up, sprays them as they go around, then catches the liquid that comes off the roots to be collected and reused.|
|Time to release them. Some of mine didn't want to get out of the tube, and it took a little coaxing of a few hard thumps to the bottom of the tube to encourage them : )|
|Kale growing on space saving pyramid shaped mister system|
|Gourds in sand and using a trellis system with support|
|Large nets used to support the pumpkins on the trellis|
|Fun Mickey gourd growing mold|
|Pineapples on left, bananas center, and fig trees along with peppers and wheat in picture on right.|
|Cotton growing on left, Papayas center, and large leaf taro with cannas on right.|
|Neem growing along with other plants in the sand|
|These are REALLY large pummelo's growing in the sand. We saw trees with lemons that weighed 9lbs each!!|
|This is their very fancy system showing the tilapia and planting combo in their aqua culture system. This is the basic concept that can be simplified for home production and something we plan to do.|
|A closer look at these lightweight foam boxes filled with perlite, used for these tower systems|
|The simple dark bucket with foam and rock wool floating on aerated solution with plants|
So, after our tour came to an end we decided to head to Ghiradelli's at Downtown Disney for coffee and to split a hot fudge sundae and mull over all we'd seen and learned. Nice way to finish our day before heading home.