Nemo’s Garden: Where SCUBA Meets Farming

Photo of "agrinaut" submerged in biosphere. Photo via Nemo's Garden.

There is a group of people who have begun to grow plants under the ocean. In what looks like a scene for a sci-fi movie, Nemo’s Garden exhibits plants being grown in a bubble-like structure attached to the seafloor with chains. The underwater farm opened in 2012 and since then even its creators have been surprised by the success it has had in growing plants.

Nemo’s garden was created by Sergio Gamberini, one of the founders of the Ocean Reef Group after he had an idea to combine “two of his passions: scuba diving and gardening,” according to the Nemo’s Garden website.

They started off with a small biosphere bubble and basil plants and they achieved a good crop, so they decided to expand to two 800-liter biospheres, which allowed the agrinauts working with the plants to get inside and work with the plants, unlike the smaller biosphere used in their initial experiment. The number of people involved with the experiment and the number of biospheres added to the garden has increased since then and over 100 different types of plants.

Plants have shown increased levels of essential oils and the plants that are able to survive in the environment, many of which are herbs such as thyme and basil have been shown to grow faster and, in some cases, larger than plants grown on land. They have faced some issues here and there like harsh weather and finding solutions to collect fresh water to be reused for the plants.

They also faced some issues to the COVID-19 pandemic which caused them to halt their experiments in 2020, and when they were able to return to their biospheres, they found that the structures they had made stronger and more reliable in 2019 had survived during the time they were unable to physically manage the biospheres.

They are continuing to experiment and make improvements to the biospheres and d their successes have caught the attention of the many who believe that with available land for farming diminishing every year due to growing populations, people believe that the farming operation is a solution to consider if in the future we can no longer expand farms on land.

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