Periodically I get asked some interesting questions about our method of gardening at the club. If you have any questions you’d like to have answered leave a comment below or stop me during the day and ask! Here are some of the questions already asked.

– Jason

Q

Wouldn’t it just be cheaper to grow everything in the ground?

A

On Earth, maybe / maybe not. The purpose behind our garden is to explore the problems settlers might face when humankind finally decides to send manned missions to extra terrestrial locations, like an asteroid or Mars. In such locations, dirt is non-existent and water has virtually no abundance. So enclosed and precisely measured systems must be used until enough plant matter has been amassed to create the first patches of dirt at such locations. Here on Earth, similar problems are already faced by those who live in a desert.

Q

What about the cost of electricity to run the pumps and grow lights?

A

In Space electricity is generated via solar panels and solar energy is free. Until recently panels for home use were very expensive to purchase and install. However, just within the last decade, the cost of such panels have come down in price so much many people are now using them to “live off the grid.” For some installations, people are producing more electricity than they can use so they feed it back into the grid, in essence giving back to their communities and making a small profit from it as well. That small profit could then be re-invested into a similar garden or farm to produce food all year long to give back to the community once more. Fortunately for us, the Clubhouse has a solar panel array mounted to the roof of our Gym. I am told this array was donated by Wisconsin Public Service as a means to lower the cost of running the club’s utilities. Until now, these panels have gone largely forgotten about by the program staff.

Q

You must have made one of these gardens before you worked at the club, right?

A

Aside from being a hobbyist land gardener, Nope. If I had, I would have jumped past all the mistakes I’ve made and we would have missed out on some brilliant learning experiences trying to solve the problems we’ve faced. To be fair, I did my research ahead of time and I do have years of experience in plumbing for some unusual applications.

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