Research: Feeding a Community: a Comparison Study of Geoponically and Hydroponically Grown Plants
Awards: Leason Ellis Team Project Award WESEF 2022
Mentors: Joel Rodriguez and Jason Bonet
Research Location: Groundwork HV Science Barge
The population of the world is constantly growing which can cause food to become scarce in some places and in others the price rises very high. New ways of farming are being developed in order for crops to be produced. Hydroponics is a type of farming developed to use less space and produce more food. The purpose of this experiment was to find if a hydroponics system can produce more efficient results in terms of poundage per square feet when compared to a traditional soil (geoponic) system over the period of a summer. In this experiment the five systems that were compared were: a Dutch or Bato bucket hydroponic system, a Nutrient film hydroponic system (NFT), a Ebb and Flow system, a Tower hydroponic system and a geoponic system. The focus of the research was to look at the poundage per square feet of each plant. The plants that were used in this experiment were: tomatoes (John bear, Black Krim, Yellow Pear and Cherry), peppers (bell peppers and jalepenos) and Butterhead lettuce. Geoponic data was collected from the USDA. The data for each hydroponic system was collected on a weekly basis from the Science Barge. When crops data was collected and the systems were compared some crops had a better output in terms of poundage per square feet. It was found that a Hydroponically grown Butterhead lettuce produced 2.26 pound per square foot compared to geoponically grown Butterhead lettuce which produced .831 pounds per square foot. The daily intake of nutrients was also collected. After that the recommended daily value of each vegetable was collected. The results show that the science barge can feed 2,256 people from the spring and summer harvest based on the daily recommended intake. This research is important because it will help other scientists to further conduct more in depth studies. This will also help to set a basis for further research of plants grown in an urban setting.