Shouguang Vegetable Expo: planting vegetables in "Space"

A vegetable garden simulating a space environment garnered widespread attention from Chinese net users with frontier technologies it applied to facilitate vegetable cultivation.

The garden made its debut during the 23rd China (Shouguang) International Vegetable Science and Technology Expo, which was opened in Shouguang, east China’s Shandong Province, on April 20, 2022.

Two “space capsules” had been built inside the garden to simulate special space conditions such as strong radiation, microgravity, high vacuum, and alternating magnetic fields, according to the gardener.

The garden also used artificial sunlight, soilless cultivation, smart environment control, and other technologies to imitate nutrients, including water, sunlight, temperature, and humidity, which the plants needed to grow, displaying a scenario in which the vegetables were planted in an artificial environment, gardener introduced.

Vegetable seeds that had been taken into space for breeding tests were planted at the plantation. The space-bred seeds will grow into big, good-looking, and nutritious vegetables.

Seeds bred in space have a fast mutation speed. They are significantly different from the original seeds and are of high quality and high stability. It takes about eight years to promote average seed products and only four to five years to promote seeds bred in space.

In 1987, China launched its first seed samples, including rice and chili pepper seeds, into space, opening a new chapter for the nation’s space-induced mutation breeding. Over the past more than three decades, Chinese scientists have sent more than 30 batches of plant seeds, fungi organisms, and test-tube seedlings into space, cultivating nearly 1,000 new plant varieties through space breeding.


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