Martian Gardens

We’ve all heard of “farm to table”—But what if your table is on Mars?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

It’s hard to get fresh veggies in space. But future colonists will need them for long-term survival.

Enter researchers from Wageningen University in The Netherlands. They started a vegetable patch in simulated lunar and Martian soils.

The soils come from volcanic areas in Arizona and Hawaii. Like those on the moon and Mars, they’re low in essential growth nutrients, such as usable nitrogen.

The researchers planted seeds from 14 different plants in the simulated soils. They also planted some in low-quality Earth soil.

One factor the scientists neglected? Pollinators! Without insects to help out, researchers ended up transferring pollen between plants with paintbrushes.

And the results? Better than expected! Yes, sadly most of the moon plants failed to thrive and died quickly. The plants in Martian and Earth soil popped up fast. A few species produced seeds.

So kids, dream come true, right? Broccoli on every planet! Or not.