A green way to grow veggies with no soil in desert heat

If you think you can't grow food sustainably in the desert heat, you'll be convinced once you step foot inside a hydroponic greenhouse. The Desert Greens H2o flagship hydroponic greenhouse is the first of its kind in Nevada, and sits in a patch of desert in the far south of the valley, by St. Rose Parkway and S. Las Vegas Blvd.

"With these systems, we have our own nutrients that we inject into the systems," said systems designer Tom Blount. There's no soil. Instead, a seed is planted in a garden cube on an A-Frame. The crops get nutrient-rich water, but this system requires 90% less water than traditional farming.

"I found that the flavor profiles were absolutely incredible, and at the production, you can do, it actually takes care of a lot of the issues worldwide. We have hunger issues, we have water issues, and we have pollution issues. We don't pollute. All of our water is taken care of. When we're done with old water, we put it into a system, recreate it, and bring it back. Everything is on a closed-loop system," said Blount. 

Blount says the calculated and controlled environment will pack these crops with flavor and nutrients. This greenhouse can hold nearly 4,800 plant sites in 256 square feet of greenhouse space. There are 20 varieties of lettuce and greens, 20 varieties of tomatoes, and anything from assorted herbs to beans and strawberries.

Desert Greens H2o is working with the University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension, to confirm data on how much water is used, the carbon footprint, and nutrient values from the crops produced through this system.

According to Blount, it's predicted a head of lettuce requires 15 gallons of water to reach maturity, but harvesting lettuce this way requires only 22 ounces of water per plant.

Read the complete article at www.news3lv.com.

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