Ever wish you could combine your passion for scuba diving with some of your other, more artistic hobbies? It’s easy to do if you’re a photographer, but much harder is you also like to paint, cook, or do anything else that doesn’t necessarily work well with an abundance of water.
Well, if your other passion is gardening, you may be one step closer to combining diving with growing your favorite herbs and vegetables, thanks to a successful experiment that was recently launched by an Italian diver named Sergio Gamberini.
And, believe it or not, this successful underwater gardening project may just one day change the world.
Gamberini is an avid scuba diver, and while vacationing in Noli, Italy three years ago, he started to dream about growing plants underwater. The temperatures were warm and consistent, and there was clearly plenty of water, so why couldn’t it work?
Gamberini put this theory to the test, and today his three-year-experiment has become a reality. With support from the Ocean Reef Group, Gamberini used an assortment of transparent balloons that were submerged and then filled with air, and stationed 26’ ft. under the water with the aid of heavy weights. Inside each of these balloons, he built a tiny, underwater greenhouse where he and his team could plant seeds into small vases.
The idea was to use the constant temperatures of the large body of water, as well as the natural evaporation of liquid in contact with a space of air, to create a flourishing greenhouse.
Pesto, a sauce made of basil, olive oil, garlic and a few other ingredients, is a staple in many Italian dishes. So it was only natural for the Italian team to try growing basil! Though things are looking up, the project was not without its setbacks, and two years into the experiment, the team lost an entire basil crop, as well as some of the biospheres themselves, due to rough seas.
But nevertheless, the plants did grow, and plans are in the works to increase the number of balloons or “biospheres,” and incorporate more designs, more sensors, more webcams, and essentially more equipment to make underwater crop growing a feasible enterprise.
Because the end goal of this project isn’t just to enjoy an underwater garden — although the crew certainly has had a good time on the project if the bevvy of smiling images is any indication. The ultimate dream is to create an industrialized operation with mass production, which will eventually grow food on a grand scale, in a “small-footprint-on-earth kind of way.”
Check out the video here showing the underwater garden:
Known as Nemo’s Garden, Ocean Reef Group encourages anyone who is curious about the project, or who has been following along via the website’s collection of photos and videos, to join in the fun and participate as well.
Create your own scaled and cool Nemo’s Garden for a personal aquarium, measure the results, and share your story — it may very well serve as inspiration for the next wave of biospheres to be implemented under the water!
In the meantime, Gamberini and the Ocean Reef Group will continue to plug along on their underwater concoctions, enjoy the basil harvest in the immediate future, and hopefully, one day, change the world well beyond the hobby realm.
Interested in trying to grow your own underwater garden? Let us know in the comments below!