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#551 2020-10-14 18:14:02

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 28,639

Re: Crops

RobertDyck wrote:

My girlfriend suggested we malt peas. Since we're producing pea starch. I found this paper on pea amylase... Characterization of α-Amylase from Shoots and Cotyledons of Pea (Pisum sativum L.) Seedlings
So the idea is to grow pea sprouts, then extract amylase to convert starch to sugar, just like the beer or whisky process does with barley sprouts. That means no need for mould. Pea vodka!

Peas will sprout in 21 to 30 days if the soil temperature is 38 degrees Fahrenheit and the germination. If your soil is 40°F (4°C), peas will sprout but it could take weeks. Pea seeds at 60°F (15°C) will only take a week to sprout. Most varieties of peas are ready for harvest in 60 days from planting.

https://greenupside.com/how-long-does-i … -speed-up/

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#552 2020-10-14 18:39:39

RobertDyck
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Re: Crops

This particular case is growing sprouts, not mature peas. They're grown in a tank of warm water.
ZSS505_green_peas_organic_sprouting_seeds_1_480x480.jpg?v=1523417238

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#553 2020-11-22 19:00:44

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Posts: 28,639

Re: Crops

Mars paper:

Space Plants for In-Space Farming
Space farming is very significant for astronaut’s survival. They are always depending and interlinked with each other. Hence we have recommended some of the food production plants to meet food requirements, research plants to carry out life experiments, ornamental plants for spaceship/Mars Base interior decoration, and finally oxygen-producing plants for the enhancement of carbon-oxygen gases between plants and astronauts. We have tabulated some of the space plants.
Table 2 List of Space Plants
S.No  Food Production Plants  *  Research Plants  * Ornamental Plants  *  Oxygen Producing Plants
01.    Arugula          * Arabidopsis thaliana           * Zinnia                 * Area Palm
02.    Spinach          * Brachypodium distachyon      *                       * Snake Plant
03.    Carrots           *  Brassica rapa                     *                         * Money Plant
04.    Cucumbers      *  Ceratopteris richardii         *                         *  Gerbera Daisy
05.    Beet Roots       * Mizuna Lettuce                   *                        * Chinese Evergreens
06.    Bush Beans         * Zucchini
07.    Bok Choy            * Wheat
08.    Lettuce                * Red Romaine Lettuce
09.    Summer Squash   *  Rice
10.    Okra                    * Tomato
11.    Kale/Greens         * Spinach
12.    Snow Peas           * Pepper
13.    Broccoli               * Broccoli
14.    Green Onions
15.    Turnips
16.    Radishes

What I found interesting was the oxygen making plants that are part of a crop for mars... I am wondering what others would be good choices as well....

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#554 2020-11-22 20:28:10

RobertDyck
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Re: Crops

On a large ship, I suggested the observation deck have ornamental plants in big flower pots. I suggested juniper, because juniper berries could be used to make gin. smile

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#555 2020-12-14 16:21:54

SpaceNut
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Re: Crops

mentioned in post 114 of topic....

Currie Recipes

The spice (heat) level can be kicked up or down according to your preferences, and the intensely flavored beans make a great vegetarian main dish either on their own or served with rice or bread.

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#556 2020-12-15 10:21:34

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,352

Re: Crops

A quick comment on post # 553: unless there are bees present to pollinate certain plants, there will be no crops. Only the leafy veggies and root crops will produce. A very good crop that produces well is Swiss Chard, which is a perennial producer and thus doesn't require as much seed being brought from Earth. High energy value crops are turnips and beets. Sugar beets and Mangels also produce a lot of useful carbohydrates, and the leaves and wastes from processing are valuable animal feeds.

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#557 2020-12-15 12:41:52

tahanson43206
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Re: Crops

For Oldfart1939 re #556

In another topic, RobertDyck opened a discussion of how to successfully transfer bees from Earth to Mars.

I wondered if a hive could hibernate for the duration of a flight, but only found experience suggesting three months might be the norm for bees in Northern latitudes.

https://www.keepingbackyardbees.com/wha … ll-winter/

Do you suppose that experiments might be performed on Earth, to see if a hive can be induced to hibernate for six months?

(th)

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#558 2020-12-15 13:01:42

SpaceNut
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Re: Crops

If the hive is in a terrarium with a system to cause a cycle of warming and then cooling with flowering plants for the duration that they are in it we have the means to bring them to mars.

large terrarium for plants


The question is how long is the warm spell needed to be for the survival to be possible for the bees.

Basically this is a two part greenhouse for the bees trip to mars.

Next is the transfer of the hive within the terrarium once on mars to the greenhouse.

So while in transport the warm spell would allow for adaptation to reduced atmospheric pressure if that is what we would be using on the mars greenhouse.

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#559 2020-12-15 13:51:29

tahanson43206
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Re: Crops

For SpaceNut re #558

Experiments with bees could (presumably) be carried out by folks living on Earth, to see if the conditions you've described in this post can be survived.

At present, I'm deducing we have no one in the forum who is working on this problem.

There are nearly (or approximately) 7 billion people on Earth in 2020 ... I'm hoping one of those folks might be interested in tackling the experiment ** and ** reporting progress in the forum.

The experiment could achieve everything except 1/3 gravity.

It could provide an atmosphere according to the specifications of RobertDyck (see numerous citations).

It could provide the temperature and humidity needed for the bees and the plants.

However, there ** is ** another experiment that would be less work .... That would be an experiment to see if a hive of bees can be brought through a hibernation of six months.  If I understand the problem correctly, the key is to provide enough honey so that the rotating ball around the queen is able to maintain energy levels needed for warming the center of the ball.

I'm not clear on the lifetime of the workers who carry the queen through from fall to spring.  Perhaps the lifetime is a factor in limiting how long the hive can hibernate.

(th)

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#560 2020-12-15 15:13:54

Oldfart1939
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Re: Crops

Well, my late Father-in Law was a beekeeper as a hobby. It's possible to keep bees without plants around if they are fed some sucrose and glucose in water. They continue hive building and are OK over lengthy winters with warm weather, even though there is nothing outside for them to collect and store as honey. Hmmm? Maybe Mars Honey would be a real seller here on Earth?
I personally like the bees around, and they will undoubtedly be the first of imported insect species to Mars.

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#561 2020-12-15 16:12:09

SpaceNut
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Re: Crops

Sounds to me like the mars society university should be working this as part of classes of agriculture for mars.

From the ISS spiders fail when trying to use micro gravity to make the web but instead substitute light to aid in orientation of how to make the web. I am wondering with spiders if AG would fix or complicate the issues for mars traveling....

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#562 2020-12-15 23:06:57

SpaceNut
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#563 2020-12-17 18:57:48

Oldfart1939
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Re: Crops

A crop that I should have included in my list that does not require pollination for food production: Rhubarb. The leaves are inedible and toxic because they contain Oxalic Acid, but the stalks are quite nourishing and can be something of a fruit substitute before we have tree culture or berry culture on Mars. Once established, the plant produces on a continuous basis for a long time--it's a perennial and is long-lived. The large leaves would be excellent convertors of CO2 to O2.

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes do not require pollination to produce tubers (as Mark Watney demonstrated).

Tomatoes and beans are self-pollinating by means of the wind and insects, and corn is also normally pollinated by the wind. This means that greenhouses would require large fan systems that switch on and off and different sets to change direction of the airflow; a swirling airflow would be ideal. Wheat, Oats, Rice, and Rye are wind pollinated.

Nut trees such as Walnuts and Pecans are also wind pollinated.

Last edited by Oldfart1939 (2020-12-17 19:17:29)

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#564 2021-02-01 21:04:35

SpaceNut
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Re: Crops

Something for a page ago on food crops to grow both on this ship but on Mars as well in crops. 26 Plants You Should Always Grow Side-By-SideBB139n8q.img?h=399&w=799&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f

These combinations of plants do way better, together:

Roses and Garlic
Gardeners have been planting garlic with roses for eons since the bulbs can help to repel rose pests. Garlic chives are probably just as repellent, and their small purple or white flowers in late spring look great with rose flowers and foliage.

Marigolds and Melons
Certain marigold varieties control nematodes in the roots of melon without using chemical treatments.

Tomatoes and Cabbage
Tomatoes repel diamondback moth larvae, which can chew large holes in cabbage leaves.

Cucumbers and Nasturtiums
The nasturtium's vining stems make them a great companion rambling among your growing cucumbers and squash plants, suggests Sally Jean Cunningham, master gardener and author of Great Garden Companions>>>P. Nasturtiums reputedly repel cucumber beetles, but they can also serve as a habitat for predatory insects like spiders and ground beetles.

Peppers and Pigweed
Leafminers preferred both pigweed (also called amaranthus) and ragweed to pepper plants in a study at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station in Tifton, Georgia. Just be careful to remove the flowers before the weeds set seed.

Cabbage and Dill
"Dill is a great companion for cabbage family plants, such as broccoli and brussels sprouts," Cunningham says. The cabbages support the floppy dill, while the dill attracts the helpful wasps that control cabbage worms and other pests.

Corn and Beans
The beans attract beneficial insects that prey on corn pests such as leafhoppers, fall armyworms, and leaf beetles. The vines can also climb up the corn stalks.

Lettuce and Tall Flowers
Nicotiana (flowering tobacco) and cleome (spider flower) give lettuce the light shade it grows best in.

Radishes and Spinach
Planting radishes among your spinach will draw leafminers away from the healthy greens>>>P. The damage the leafminers do to radish leaves doesn't prevent the radishes from growing nicely underground.

Potatoes and Sweet Alyssum
The sweet alyssum has tiny flowers that attract delicate beneficial insects>>>P, such as predatory wasps. Plant sweet alyssum alongside bushy crops like potatoes>>>P, or let it spread to form a living ground cover under arching plants like broccoli. Bonus: The alyssum's sweet fragrance will scent your garden all summe longr.

Cauliflower and Dwarf Zinnias
The nectar from the dwarf zinnias lures ladybugs and other predators that help protect cauliflower>>>P.

Collards and Catnip
Studies have found that planting catnip alongside collards reduces flea-beetle damage on the collards. The fragrant plant may also help repel mosquitoes>>>P.

Strawberries and Love-In-A-Mist
Tall, blue-flowered love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena)"looks wonderful planted in the center of a wide row of strawberries," Cunningham says.

Flowering plants do more than look good....

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#565 2021-02-02 11:24:23

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,352

Re: Crops

A point which many of these comments overlook is the insects will not be imported, so this concern of crops being used to defeat insect infestations may be moot.

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#566 2021-02-02 13:30:14

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 16,471

Re: Crops

For Oldfart1939 re #565

Not disputing your assertion ... just curious about your confidence level ...

Why wouldn't insects be imported?  There are several posts in the forum archive about importing bees ... I ** think ** that RobertDyck may have created an entire topic just for that challenge.

There isn't much risk of insects moving from one habitat complex to another, but I suppose the chance is not zero, because the eggs could travel with visitors or machines that move between habitats.

(th)

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#567 2021-02-02 13:31:57

SpaceNut
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Posts: 28,639

Re: Crops

Nothing we make or clean is contained in a bubble of protection as there is amass of evidence that has shown that we can not clean everything perfectly to keep the little bugs out and with increased flights to mars the case for that contamination grows....
Plus the flowers are for the bees if we do bring them and some would consider them a bug as well...

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#568 2021-02-02 16:51:25

Calliban
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From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,285

Re: Crops

Spacenut, that is interesting information.  Before the development of synthetic fertiliser, farmers used crop rotation to restore soil fertility.  Legumes were grown on land to fix nitrogen, ready for the next round of grain or vegetable crops.  Whilst pest control may not be an issue of Mars, other symbiotic relationships will be useful to understand and exploit.  There will be strong incentives for Martian agriculture to be efficient and produce high yields, because pressurised land will be expensive on Mars.  Colonists will not want to miss a trick.

Last edited by Calliban (2021-02-02 16:53:26)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#569 2021-02-02 18:38:21

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 16,471

Re: Crops

For SpaceNut re #567

I was intrigued by your observation about bees, so asked Google ...

Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily... Wikipedia

In related citations i noticed that there is some overlap between the meaning of the word "bug" and the meaning of the word "insect"

It appears that someone at Wikipedia agrees with the closing sentence in your post.

(th)

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#570 2021-02-02 18:53:51

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Crops

Agreed.

All pests and nearly all plant diseases will be screened out and food will be grown in units effectively isolated from the rest of the settlement.

Oldfart1939 wrote:

A point which many of these comments overlook is the insects will not be imported, so this concern of crops being used to defeat insect infestations may be moot.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#571 2021-02-02 19:01:58

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Crops

I've nothing against bees - I like them! But I think human ingenuity could replace them.  Certainly tiny flying robots have already been developed (some say they are used by a number of intelligence agencies already). But in terms of farming on Mars I can imagine a ground robot with multiple pollinnator tubes  moving amongst the crops and performing this function. A single camera could be inspect the plant and the software would direct the tubes to the flower heads.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#572 2021-02-02 19:23:26

tahanson43206
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Re: Crops

For Louis re #571 and earlier posts ...

Your experience having grown up in a highly civilized city, far from the real world, shows in your imagining that your habitat (the one with nothing but solar power and no insects or other lifeforms) will survive for more than a few years, if that.

Soil health, also referred to as soil quality, is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. This definition speaks to the importance of managing soils so they are sustainable for future generations. To do this, we need to remember that soil contains living organisms that when provided the basic necessities of life - food, shelter, and water - perform functions required to produce food and fiber.
See more on nrcs.usda.gov

** All ** science based ecosystems ported to Mars will include every lifeform that humans (and all larger creatures) depend upon.

(th)

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#573 2021-02-02 22:04:13

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 16,471

Re: Crops

Here is a report about plants that grow so rapidly they are a nuisance, but they are under consideration for use as a food source ...

https://www.yahoo.com/news/fastest-grow … 43347.html


Because duckweed grows so quickly, scientists think they could use that feature to grow food for a rapidly increasing global population. The plant itself is already eaten in parts of Southeast Asia, where it's known as khai-nam, which translates as "water eggs."

Originally published Tue, February 2, 2021, 8:49 AM

(th)

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#574 2021-02-03 07:42:06

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Crops

There used to be a farm at the end of the road I lived in until I was 9.  Had an old 1600s barn which was sadly burnt down when the  land was developed for housing. There were farms all around on the edge of London where I grew up. My great uncle had a farm as well and my uncle was a health inspector, who once took us to an abbatoir where we saw the blood running along the channels...so I wasn't entirely devoid of real life experience!

But Mars has insufficient atmosphere and no soil as such and only something like 40% of insolation. At some distant point we should be able to turn Mars into an earthly paradise with functioning soils and complex ecosystems. But that won't happen for many decades or, more likely. centuries as it is a truly Herculean task.

Messing around with micro-organisms, insects,worms, bees and...well how far do you want to go in recreating an earth-like ecosystem (birds, rodents?)..while humans are effectively trapped inside pressurised air-conditioned living spaces is  asking for trouble in my view.

We know soil is not necessary for indoor agriculture. We can use hydroponics. But we can also create healthy soils through soil manufacture: grind down Mars rock, add sand (dug from deep levels, so low in perchlorates) and gravel, mix in human, food and crop waste. Might require the importation of several thousand tons of nutrients from Earth to begin with, although

These manufactured soils could be useful  for when we develop natural light agriculture (in plastic domes operating at about 20% of Earth's atmospheric pressure, using concentrated Mars atmosphere (ie essentially a CO2 environment - perfect for plants). Using soil would cut down on energy usage and labour time involved in managing agricultural production.


tahanson43206 wrote:

For Louis re #571 and earlier posts ...

Your experience having grown up in a highly civilized city, far from the real world, shows in your imagining that your habitat (the one with nothing but solar power and no insects or other lifeforms) will survive for more than a few years, if that.

Soil health, also referred to as soil quality, is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. This definition speaks to the importance of managing soils so they are sustainable for future generations. To do this, we need to remember that soil contains living organisms that when provided the basic necessities of life - food, shelter, and water - perform functions required to produce food and fiber.
See more on nrcs.usda.gov

** All ** science based ecosystems ported to Mars will include every lifeform that humans (and all larger creatures) depend upon.

(th)


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#575 2021-02-03 10:57:49

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 16,471

Re: Crops

For Louis re #574

Thank you for your generous reply to my challenge of your premise ...

I'm glad to know of your exposure to old fashioned farming .... I note with interest that your current PM's father is an advocate of natural farming.

In support of your premise, that artificial agriculture is possible for sustained human life away from Earth, I invite you to see if you can find a report I ran across recently, about refurbishment of an ? Antarctic or Arctic ? research station (probably Arctic because I ** think ** the country is Norway) to include a greenhouse sufficient to feed all 60 permanent crew members.

The report was part of an article about advanced buildings on Earth.  The report included news of beginning of construction of an underwater complex being built in cooperation with (I think the Costeau Institute).  Sorry for all the vagueness but I am running on wisps of memory. 

However, to my knowledge, nowhere on Earth has anyone demonstrated the validity of your premise.  I celebrate the achievements of a small number of researchers who have grown a few (very few) crops in hydroponic or aeroponic facilities.  However, such limited examples are insufficient to justify the leap of faith you are making.

I am (reasonably) confident that no reputable scientist in the related fields would support your thesis.

You are not without resources to contact people.  Please consider enlisting top flight scientists to participate in this forum as high value contributors.

The Mars Society may have the capability of supporting a permanent, organized repository of knowledge that would be accessible to the entire world.

Attempts have been made in the past, and I think the time will come when the Powers-that-be will be willing to make the investment to try again.

It would help if we had more than a tiny number of authoritative contributors to this forum.

We have a small army of folks who can (and do) contribute ideas and commentary, but we have a very small number of experts who are willing to reveal themselves.

You can help by bringing experts into the mix.

We now have a mechanism in place to admit such persons, and we are opening new slots for them at the rate of 22 per day.

The number of available slots as of a day or so ago is 533.  We can bring in a ** lot ** of experts with just those.

(th)

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