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Old 23-07-2014, 07:51   #1
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Growing Plants on Board?

I use a Tower Garden at home for growing herbs and lettuce and such. I am wondering- does anyone grow food on board? If so what have you found to be issues? What works what doesn't? Is it worth the hassle?
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Old 23-07-2014, 08:29   #2
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

Lots of folks grow sprouts. We grow herbs but you have to keep them out of the salt spray.
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Old 23-07-2014, 08:52   #3
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

If you are focused on veg, then you'll have to either forgo it, or arrange to leave your plants dockside. Herbs are generally small enough that you can bring the pots inside the cabin when salt spray becomes likely. But if you don't mind growing alternative stuff, there is plenty that can be grown that is salt tolerant and even favors some salt.

Cranberries, beach plum, beach rose (for the rose hips). Some edible leafy veg like some purslanes.

If you want veg you normally find in the produce section, then not so much, but if you research wild edibles that live on shorelines and salt marshes, then you have some choices. Obviously New England life won't dare well in the (sub)tropics except during the cooler months and tropical life won't fare
Well in the north except during the summer months.

You have 5 years to do your research and you can learn quite a bit, and even get some stuff (like berry shrubs) established and growing before your shove off.


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Old 23-07-2014, 10:58   #4
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

Thank you for the info. I am not looking at anything specific to grow but just want to grow something food usable. I do sprout and plan to continue. Was not sure about what or if the deck can be used to grow anything. I will certainly be researching it.
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Old 23-07-2014, 11:29   #5
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there are two other threads: growing food and gardening aboard. not too many people besides me doing it. the biggest problem I have had so far are bugs and salt spray. I have self watering containers that I put hoops over so I can cover them with tarps during a storm
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Old 23-07-2014, 12:56   #6
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

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Originally Posted by sparrowhawk1 View Post
there are two other threads: growing food and gardening aboard. not too many people besides me doing it. the biggest problem I have had so far are bugs and salt spray. I have self watering containers that I put hoops over so I can cover them with tarps during a storm
Thank you, I will search for those threads. Hubby has always been a self suffient person and the growing would be wonderful if I can, not the end of the world if I can't. But I do like some fresh greens and the cheaper the better.
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Old 23-07-2014, 13:43   #7
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

I am growing some peppers and herbs at the dock. I am using an Earth Box. I wrote a post about it on my blog. I think it will transfer well to the boat once we leave to go cruising.

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Old 23-07-2014, 23:50   #8
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

found some stuff about aeroponics using an ultrasonic water fogger- looks interesting. Will be trying it at home and seeing if there is a way to use on the boat.
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Old 24-07-2014, 06:11   #9
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

Gadgets break, just keep that firmly in mind. Simple is almost always better.


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Old 24-07-2014, 09:15   #10
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

I know I guy who grows pretty edible tomatoes on his boat anchored smack bang in the center of a river.

Doable and recommendable then, I think.

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Old 24-07-2014, 10:38   #11
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

The issue is salt.


I did a little more research on the topic. Seems some standard produce does have some salt tolerance, but even the most tolerant of "produce section" vegetables will suffer a reduction of harvest. The most productive species being kale, beets and asparagus.

For annuals the issue appears "mostly" to be about germination, but the seeds that do germinate will have some tolerance to the salt...still with reduced harvest.


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Old 24-07-2014, 10:39   #12
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

Regarding tomatoes, studies show the quality of the successfully grown tomato is unchanged, it's the roots and leaves that suffer being burned by the salt. Salt draws some moisture out of the plant.


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Old 24-07-2014, 10:52   #13
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

Ken Neumeyer's book, "Sailing the Farm" covers growing aboard and more. Available at Abebooks.com. Maybe elsewhere too.
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Old 24-07-2014, 11:07   #14
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

I am growing a pumpkin now with success.
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Old 24-07-2014, 11:15   #15
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Re: Growing Plants on Board????

I'm not sure how I can simulate the salt issue on land. I guess I'll see if I can figure out how to grow something on land and try to perfect that and once we're aboard I will try to translate that to boat growing- someone mentioned they put hoops around to cover the plants from salt spray- I'll work on a design for that
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