Feb 16, 2011

The Land

Travelling has been my dream as a child; I grew up reading about fascinating places in different parts of the world. Before I moved to the U.S., I worked as Cabin Crew for Emirates Airlines for 2 years; I was based out of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Thanks to my dream job, I had the opportunity to see many places in Africa, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Last weekend I wanted to feel like visiting some of those places again, that's why I've decided to go to Epcot in Orlando, which is one of four theme parks owned by Disney. My favorite part of the park is called the World Showcase, which is a collective of Pavilions that wrap around the World Showcase Lagoon. Inside the Pavilions, you can find shops, attractions and restaurants that represent the culture and cuisine of 11 countries that reminds me of my travels around the world. I love tasting the food, watching the shows, seeing the smaller versions of the famous landmarks and the stores with different teas, chocolates, and perfumes.
One of the best parts of this theme park is this attraction called Living with the Land, which is a 14-minute boat ride in Future World that explores agricultural advances in the rain forest, Africa and beyond. You can see living laboratories as you cruise past the American plains, a tropical rain forest and the African desert to witness the latest developments in aquaculture and desert farming. Float by experimental greenhouses—where produce is grown for Epcot restaurants—and take a fascinating first-hand look at an aqua environment, the Aquacell, with alligators and fish. The greenhouses grow crops native to many cultures including rice, sugar cane, and bananas. Here scientists are helping farmers grow vegetables and fruits in organic, sustainable ways, and without the use of harmful pesticides.
Wintermelons grown without soil.

Variety of lettuce grown by Hydroponic techniques

 Have you ever seen watermelons grown like this?
Living with the Land has a variety of advanced and experimental growing techniques.
The most interesting method for me is the Hydroponics. The Research Department at Epcot states, "Hydroponics- growing plants without soil-can even be done on your own patio or rooftop, or in your basement or garage if you provide the source of light! Some systems can be set up at a relatively low cost, and if maintained properly, can provide you with delicious fresh herbs and vegetables." In other words, anyone can grow their own Hyroponic garden in their house with a few simple materials and light. I agree that growing your own fresh vegetables and herbs is great, because my experience of growing Organic herbs was so good.

Spiral Nutrient Film Technique

The Hydroponic systems supply the plants with the things that the soil normally provides like support, water, nutrients, and aeration. Nutrients are dissolved in water, and the solution is delivered directly to the plant roots.

Tomato tree grown with no soil.

In the Land  Hydroponic garden, they use several plant varieties that can live well in greenhouses in Central Florida. They have Hungarian Wax pepper, Micro Tom tomato, Extra Curled Dwarf parsley, Red Salad Bowl leaf lettuce, chives, herbs, strawberry, melon, lemon, and other vegetables.

If anyone is interested in growing a Hydroponic garden without the use of fertilizers, I'm including a How to guide here. I hope you'll try it.

How to create a hydroponic gro-tank
10 gallon aquarium
Opaque material (cardboard or construction paper)
Air pump, tubing, wand bubbler, hydroponic nutrients, litmus paper and pH adjusters (all standard aquarium equipment)
Polystyrene board (foam-1"thick- available at hardware stores)
1" Rockwool or Oasis grow cubes (available at Hydroponic Supplier )
seeds (lettuce, herbs, tomato)

1- Set the aquarium in a south window for full light, or an artificial grow light if it's in the garage. Cover the sides of the aquarium with opaque material to prevent light from entering the aquarium; it'll prevent algae growth in the solution.
2- Place air pump outside the aquarium and the air wand bubbler on the bottom of the tank; run the air tubing from the air pump to the wand.
3- Fill the tank with clean water and add hydroponic nutrients. Turn on the air pump and adjust air flow for a soft flow of bubbles.
4- Using the litmus paper, test the solution. The target pH (acidity or basicity level) should be between 5.5 to 6.5.
5- Cut the polystyrene board so that it floats on the solution and fits tightly into the tank. Cut 1" square holes in the board, 6-7 inches apart. You can put 6 plants in the tank.
6- Insert the Rockwool or Oasis cubes containing small seeds into the holes in the board. Make sure that the cube extends below the board so it can actually absorb the solution.
7- Check and adjust the pH of the solution every week. If the solution level has loweres, you can add a half-strength nutrient solution to increase the volume.
8- After your plants are grown, make sure you drain and clean the tank before you start a new cycle.
Good luck and enjoy your fresh eco-friendly veggies and herbs!


  1. This is a really neat article. Very informative and interesting. I had no idea this was happening in the Epcot Centre. And thanks for the how to. I'm tweeting it.

  2. Thank you Lynne, I'm glad you found it interesting I hoped it would give some info about Hydroponics.