Here at the Sustainable Agriculture and Research Center at Walt Disney World they grow the most amazing things! Fruits and Vegetables are grown in the air, in the sand, and moving around on conveyor belts 24/7. They grow vertically, in spirals and in cool containers. They are even grown above pipes. You name it, it’s growing here.
The Land tour is a ride through some of the most spectacular things happening at the Sustainable Agriculture and Research Center at Walt Disney World. In addition to working with Hydroponics and Aeroponics, they have also partnered with both the U.S. Deptartment of Agrigulture and NASA on various projects. One project involves developing ways to grow gardens in Space for long journeys. You can see it all on The Land.
When I first thought about getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the fascinating vegetable gardens at Epcot, The Photo Garden Bee Tour of ’09 was born. Gardening is fun and relaxing for those who love it but for the rest it can be just as cool! Just try some of the quirky techniques they are sprouting here at Walt Disney World. Now before you go nodding off, take a look at this tomato tree below. That’s right it’s a tree!
These tomato trees were originally engineered by Chinese scientists. Disney’s horticulturalist brought the technology to Epcot and has expanded upon it. This particular tree (Lycopersicon esculentum) was seeded just six months ago on June 6th, 2009. Look at it’s size now! The greenhouse’s biggest SINGLE tomato plant yielded a total of 32,000 tomatoes by the time it reached 16 months! They even won a Guinness World Record for the most tomatoes harvested from a single plant in a single year.
Imagine what technology like this could mean for crops world wide!
Another thing they are doing here at Epcot, is using beneficial insects to help root out any bad bugs. They simply hang these little pockets of them on the plants. They crawl out and do what they do best: be beneficial bugs! Frey informs us that they use, “a variety of beneficial insects including parasitoid wasps, beneficial mites, lacewings, and even a few lady bugs.”
Another fun crop being looked into by this Epcot science center? Peppers. These peppers are also being trained to grow vertically. Using ropes to support the weight of the pepper yields allows for more space and thus more bountiful peppers.
Here they have more than just vertical peppers. They have HOT peppers. Oh, and I don’t mean just any old hot peppers. They are growing the worlds hottest! But the one that will knock the socks off of hot pepper afficiantos will be the Bhut Jolokia! The hottest pepper in the world! Let’s just put this in perspective.
According to the Scoville Scale:
The Jalapeno pepper meausres 2,500-8,000. Now that’s too hot for me.
The Chipolte pepper meausres 5,000-8,000.
The Super Chile pepper meausres 40,000 ~ 50,000
The Habanero pepper meausres 100,000-325,000.
The Bhut Jolokia is over ONE MILLION units of hot, hot, unbearably hot insanity.
They also are growing huge plants…
We came across this 9 Lb Lemon. Tastes the same but makes about a gallon of lemonade!
Growing fruits and vegetables vertically can be done with even the heaviest harvest. These Winter Melons were seeded back in May and are so large that each one has to be hung with extra strong ropes from the trellis system.
Since they are growing everything you can think of in the air, why not pumpkins! These Cinderella pumpkins are not only grown in the air, some are earning their Micky ears!
This is just a small sampling of all the amazing activity sprouting here in the greenhouses of Epcot’s The Land. Tomorrow we’re going to get up close and personal with horticulturist Les Frey to see just what’s happening in this and the other greenhouse environments! There is so much more! Some of these growing techniques can be done in your own kitchen!
For some reason… I’m now having a hankering for pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a hot cup of tea.
Britt : )