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  • All right, this is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com. Today I have another exciting episode for

  • you and I love it when I'm on a field trip. And today I'm on a field trip actually...

  • I just got out of the big apple, the NYC, New York City from Grand Central Station.

  • Came out on a train here to Yonkers, New York, and man, this is nature. I kind of get claustrophobic

  • in big cities so I'm glad to be back out in nature here in Yonkers. And while we're here

  • in Yonkers today is right behind me. Right of the train station, just in the distance

  • here, you guys can see, there's a barge! With two greenhouses on it. So they're growing

  • food on a barge, they're collecting their rainwater to use for the watering systems.

  • They have solar panels and even, I think, like windmill on there to generate electricity.

  • So it's a fully self-contained unit. So if shit hits the fan, you can live on a barge

  • and just float to oceans and grow your own food. So this is totally gonna be a cool episode,

  • we're gonna head over there and we're gonna show you about this Science Barge where they're

  • teaching the kids how to grow food and hopefully you guys will also learn a few things at the

  • same time.

  • All right, so now we're at the site of the Science Barge. You can check out and learn

  • more about them at sciencebarge.org. I'm so excited to be here because, I mean, this is

  • literally a self-contained vessel, or a "wessel" if you're Chekhov. But, uh, they got all kinds

  • of stuff growing. They're growing food, they got composting toilets. They're actually catching

  • their own, uh, crabs. They got, man, solar panels, they got wind turbines, they got rain

  • catchment. I mean, literally, you could live on this barge if you needed to. Totally amazing.

  • So I'm really excited to share with you guys what they're doing there. So next let's head

  • on to the barge.

  • I'm walking the plank over to the barge here. As we walk across here, you're gonna get a

  • welcome sign it says "The Science Barge is a program of the Groundwork Hudson Valley."

  • And the Groundwork also puts on a whole bunch of different community gardens and other projects

  • in the area. So it's definitely really cool. I'm glad they were able to accommodate me

  • today on a short notice. And, uh, normally during the week the barge is only open to,

  • like, school kids. So actually they take school kids, which I think is very important and

  • critical to teach the children of today where the food comes from and how it's grown. So

  • during the week they have programs for kids and, uh, take school kids. So if you want

  • to visit the barge otherwise, you gotta come on the, uh, Saturdays and Sundays between

  • noon and six. That's when they take the public and will give tours and you guys can check

  • this place out for yourselves.

  • So I think what I'm gonna do now, because there's so much here to show you guys, the

  • first part of this video is gonna be showing you the sustainability aspects of the barge

  • and then I'll get more into, like, the actual food growing that they're doing here. So I

  • think first what we're gonna do is we're gonna go and check out the rain catchment actually

  • inside the greenhouse.

  • So as you guys can see here they got some big tanks here. It's 400 gallons and they

  • got three of them so that's 1200 gallons of rain catchment. What they're doing is they

  • have gutters on the top of the greenhouse structure here, they come into one common

  • pipe, they feed here, uh, this... And they store all the water that they need to use,

  • because they are growing in hydroponics, it re-circulates the water and they save a lot

  • of water so they don't need to catch as much. After they catch the water, just to be safe,

  • they're actually also filtering it and then actually running it through a UV system, which

  • is really cool. I haven't seen a UV system used on rainwater before. So besides the rain

  • catchment, they have another back-up system, just in case, and this is a reverse-osmosis

  • system, this tank holds up to 300 gallons, and you can see the whole reverse-osmosis

  • system here. What they do is they can literally take the river water, pull the river water

  • out of the river, run it through their reverse-osmosis system, and then run it into their tank here

  • so that they can be fully sustainable with all their water needs.

  • So besides the water, what's also very important is the electricity, or power, to run some

  • of the hydroponics systems and all the systems on board here. So what they got is two major

  • ways they're actually generating their own electricity here. The number one way is the

  • solar panels. And these solar panels are really cool. And they go to the back of this guy

  • so you guys can see it. These guys are on a special system that actually self-compensates

  • and adjusts so that it follows the light. It's actually a passive system. So this is

  • really cool. There's chambers on the end that, it's actually filled with gas, and it actually,

  • as the temperature changes, the light moves, it actually moves on its own. So that's definitely

  • really cool.

  • So the other way they're generating electricity is by the wind turbines up above. So those

  • are actually humming pretty loud, making a lot of noise, and they're definitely generating

  • a lot of power. Now, they do need a way to store the power, so they have some batteries

  • on board. So let me go ahead and show you guys where they store the power in the batteries,

  • and all that kind of cool stuff.

  • All right so check it out, this is where all their batteries are held. This is about seven

  • thousand dollars in AGM batteries. These are special batteries for use in, you know, solar

  • power and wind power applications. They got the converters up here that convert the DC

  • power into the AC for use on the ship.

  • (knocks) Anybody in there? All right, I think it's clear, let's check it out. (door creaks

  • open) All right, check it out! This is their sustainable bathroom here. What they do is

  • they got a waterless urinal. So this is gonna save water. You know, most urinals may flush

  • like a liter, two liters, every time you flush it. But with this they're just taking the

  • pee and they're collecting it. And they're looking for a way to dispose of that pee,

  • and I recommended hey, why don't you, like, dilute it with some water and put it on some

  • landscape trees? 'Cause your pee is a very valuable source of nitrogen that you can feed

  • the plants with. But, you might not want to feed the plants the nitrogen fertilizer if

  • you're eating them. But we'll leave that one up to you. I tend to use my nitrogen fertilizer

  • on, um, trees and shrubs, or fruit-bearing crops instead of, like, leaves that I would

  • eat. And then of course right here they got a toilet. And yes, this toilet looks like

  • a standard toilet, but this is not a standard toilet. This is what's called a "composting

  • toilet." And here's a very simple diagram of how it works. Basically the, uh, the waste

  • is collected into a composting chamber, they add some peat moss and it's actually heated

  • up and it's composted out. And then what they're gonna do is they're gonna take the compost

  • and generate it and then put it off site on some landscaping trees. Once again, in general,

  • you should not use human waste directly on vegetative crops that will be eaten, just

  • in case. So next, what I want to show you guys is some ways they are composting. So

  • besides composting the human waste, you can also compost fruit, vegetable and plant materials

  • that's collected on board or brought on board. And they're doing this in two ways, by composting,

  • either worm composting or standard thermal composting. So they have a worm compost bin

  • and also a tumbling composter that I'm gonna show you right now to show how they generate

  • composts on the Science Barge.

  • So another way they're composting here on the barge is with worms. And they got the

  • can of worms here, and this is a nice worm composter, I actually have one of these myself.

  • And they're filling up the food scraps in here and all the worms are all inside here,

  • going to town, making a lot of good compost. Now I definitely wanna recommend you guys,

  • worm compost. Worm composting is the best way to bring microbial activities in your

  • garden. Whether it's fungi, the microryza, and the worm compost can be used to make compost

  • teas. It's just so rich in nutrients, you just gotta do it.

  • Now the other way they're composting here on The Barge is just a standard tumbling composter

  • or thermal composting. Many of you guys may have seen composters like this, where you

  • just like, put the compost inside and you kinda let it sit. You can't really turn it

  • that well. You know, these guys definitely work but I would recommend you guys upgrade

  • and get a tumbling composter. I found they just work that much faster and I have several

  • videos reviewing different kinds of tumbling composters. They have a tumbling composter

  • here that's actually kinda big and heavy and a little bit heavy to turn. (laughs) But,

  • uh, we're gonna go ahead and open that and show you guys inside. It's very important

  • to compost your food scraps. You know, most food scraps get sent off into the landfill

  • where they actually don't compost, they generate more methane gas and they're not being reused

  • in an appropriate way. You know I want everyone out there to take some responsibility for

  • the food scraps they generate by composting. Composting is super simple. Whether you're

  • gonna get a tumbler like this or whether you get a worm bin, you can even put it under

  • your sink, in a little box and have your own worm bin inside. But this way they're just

  • composting thermally. They're adding their food scraps plus a carbon source. They're

  • tumbling it... And guess what? Compost will happen. Once it's done take this out to grow

  • your plants and vegetables in it and they'll be healthy as ever.

  • Now I'm so excited we're gonna get to show you guys the greenhouse. I mean this is where

  • all the growth happens, the majority of it anyway, and they're growing many different

  • styles of growing food in here, and hopefully you guys are gonna get some ideas to let you

  • guys know how you may wanna start growing your food. So the first part about any growing

  • system, when they're growing food, is to start your own seeds. So what they're doing here

  • is actually theyre showing kids and actually the kids will start some of these seeds. They

  • got a little collection of seeds here that the kids will actually put into the rock wool

  • and then they'll water these guys and then they'll get the little plant. So here's the

  • little lettuces that they started, in a little rock wool. And once they got the little plants

  • here with the roots coming out, they're gonna take it over next-door to the system to grow

  • it. So let me go ahead and show you guys how they grow the lettuce.

  • I mean this is beautiful. I mean, you guys could have a head of lettuce a day for like

  • a whole year with this table right here. There's so many different plants. How this basically

  • is working is that they're starting the plants over on this side, and you can see all these

  • little baby lettuces in the first two rows. As they get a little bit bigger, then they

  • kinda move these over to the next rack, which are spaced a little bit further apart. And

  • they get them growing a little bit bigger. Then as they grow on, they maybe grow a little

  • bit further and then they get really large and that's when you can start harvesting the

  • lettuce and eating them.

  • So this way they're continually rotating the crop and they're making new seedlings to put

  • in the first couple rows and then letting the other ones grow out, and they'll start

  • harvesting lettuce and be able to eat it. Man, I love my lettuce. And besides the lettuce,

  • they're growing other things like some bok choy, which I really love, and some arugula

  • it looks like right here. And how they're growing this, they're in hydroponics. So they're

  • using their catchment water that they've sterilized over here and they're adding a nutrient solution

  • to. And this is simply called the thin film technique. And you can see here if we pull

  • this guy out, ...

  • (background/greenhouse noise)

  • ... you can see all the healthy roots underneath there, they're growing in some rock wool here.

  • And this is standard hydroponics. You guys could do this easily at home, whether you

  • buy a system like this, or whether you just, you know, make it yourself out of some rain

  • gutters that you buy at home depot. So how this works is simply, they have a nutrient

  • bin here that's filled with water, a little water reservoir that they add the nutrients

  • to and there's a little pump in here, what happens is the pump comes on, it comes out

  • this blue pipe here, and it runs all the way up this little, uh, gutter system, all the

  • way to the other end, and it's pumped over to the other end, and then what happens is

  • the water flows down through gravity because it is on a slope, and then it runs all they

  • way down through the little gutter so all the water with the nutrients hit every root,

  • and then it comes down to the bottom here, into another gutter, where the water is then

  • drained back into the main tank here, where all the nutrient solution storage is. I mean,

  • this a super simple system. Anybody could do it. Now besides this hydroponic system,

  • they're growing a few other ways in hydroponics. So let me show you that next.

  • So here's another way besides that system. They're growing in this method as well. And

  • now this is very similar. Once again they have their nutrient solution here in the big

  • tank and the pumps come on and then they run it into each little pot. The nutrient solution

  • runs through the pot and then back into the collection tank. As you guys can see here,

  • they're growing many different things, including some cucumbers. There's a nice little cuke

  • right there on the vine, almost ready to get eaten. In addition they have some beautiful

  • pepper plants, I mean these pepper plants are looking lush and gorgeous, and look at

  • all these ripe peppers on here. Nice and red. I wanna remind you guys when you are harvesting

  • your peppers, you wanna get them as dark red as possible. You know, many times you may

  • buy green peppers in the store, but the green peppers will ripen to red. And here's a good

  • example here, this is an unripe pepper, this pepper's still kinda green but it's starting

  • to turn green, and now here's one that's fully ripe and just about ready to be harvested.

  • And besides the peppers, they're growing eggplants, here's a little baby eggplant right here.

  • Now because they are using hydroponics, you know you can't grow everything under hydroponics.

  • You know, I've seen that many crops will do well under hydroponics but some may not. So

  • the ones they're doing here seem to do very well. Next let's take a look at their tomato

  • garden, which is huge.

  • So check it out, now I'm standing in the middle of their hydroponic tomatoes, if you guys

  • can see me here. These guys are huge! They're tearing up. And by the end of the season,

  • in November when they pull them out, these guys are gonna probably be like twenty-five

  • feet long. Can you say your tomatoes are twenty-five feet long? And look at all these nice little

  • cherry tomatoes. Tons and tons of food to pick. I like that they're growing cherry tomatoes

  • because they seem to put out for a long period of time, instead of the determinate varieties

  • that put out all at once. So they can have tomatoes throughout the growing season to

  • show the kids how food grows.

  • Now over on this side, they're using another form of hydroponics, a vertical hydroponics.

  • This is known as the vertigrow system. I've had this in my videos before. The system's

  • from Florida actually, using some Styrofoam containers. And this is a way that you can

  • actually maximize the use of your space. Literally in the space of one pot that we just saw,

  • like one tomato plant, they could have, you know, four, eight, twelve, sixteen, twenty,

  • twenty-four collard plants. And, uh, these collard plants are all producing leaves and

  • if you just had this one stack of these plants you could just come off and just pick one

  • collards off every plant and you'd definitely have enough for a whole meal. Back over here,

  • they got more stuff growing. Wow, this is really cool, they got some purslane growing,

  • it's actually an erect version of purslane so it's actually growing nice and tall and

  • they've been doing a good job and cutting it back and let's see how this purslane tastes.

  • Mmm, best hydroponic purslane I've ever tasted. Hey, I think it's the only hydroponic purslane

  • that I've ever tasted. Now I want you guys to grow and eat your purslane. For many farmers

  • it's just a weed, but in my opinion it's actually a really gourmet food. It's actually really

  • high in omega-3 fatty acids, and the other thing you wanna know is that once it's gonna

  • flower and drop seeds, it's just gonna keep coming back in your garden without you having

  • to replant it. And that's the kind of garden I wanna have.

  • All right so man, in every nook and cranny of the Science Barge, there's something for

  • me to share with you, and something for me to learn. I've never seen this before in all

  • my travels all around growing food. This is really cool. What they're doing here is deep-water

  • culture. And this is deep-water culture that you've never seen before because what they're

  • doing is they're literally using this little, like, cartons I think that microwave food

  • comes in or to-go cartons that food shops and like delis would sell. But they basically

  • put a hole in the top and they're putting little pots in it like this and they're just

  • have the nutrient solution in the bottom and they're bubbling it. And these plants are

  • alive! So think about it, you guys can just get some of these pots, put some nutrient

  • solution, get a little pump like from a fish store, or pet store, and grow your own food!

  • And these are just a little small ones from takeout places, but check it out; you could

  • even get larger ones like they've got over here in a little air pump. I mean, this one

  • they got six plants, look like they've got six fairly healthy basil plants in, and this

  • is just one those little shoeboxes that might cost a dollar at the dollar store. And they're

  • growing food in it. I think this might be a good video for me to make in the future,

  • how to make one of these. I mean, how easy is that, man? Just get one of these little

  • boxes and fill it up with some water, some nutrient solution. Get a pump, pump some air

  • through there, bubble it and, man, you'll have some instant food to eat. Amazing.

  • So up 'til now I've showed you all the different hydroponic systems they're using. Now what