Kyle Brereton and Hayley Cook live on an Australian-built catamaran called Chasing Eden. Besides growing succulents and tropical evergreens on board, they have set up a hydroponics garden under the davits of their boat.
“What led us to the hydro system was that it was lightweight, clean, and yields a much quicker crop. For life on a boat, everything needs to be very adaptable and productive,” explains Brereton. “We initially tried our veggie patch in soil, but we ended up with tiny, shrivelled little plants which had taken up all of our aft deck space.”
The couple experimented with a hydroponics system and found it was easy to deliver the adequate nutrients straight to the plant, enabling them to grow healthy and strong much faster.
One issue was pollination. “We soon realised that there weren’t too many bees keen to visit our boat in the middle of the ocean,” Cook recalls. Gardening websites have tips on how to self-pollinate your plants using a small brush.
Sally Mcadam of Clearwater Cruising also has a hydroponics system on her boat. “We’re using hydroponic nutrients to grow basil, kale, Chinese cabbage, chives and amaranth. This came about because it was very difficult to find good growing soil for pots (in our case coconuts) on sand atolls and in island communities.
“We’ve made hanging gardens out of plastic bottles that gimbal with our movements. They hang from the davits, but in big seas we take them down below.”