Even as environmental concerns in the Ladakh region have been in focus recently, a pilot project to grow fresh vegetables in the dead of winter in the Nubra Valley of Leh district is showing promise.
The first high-altitude passive solar hydroponic greenhouse was set up in August last year at Kyagar village by Hydro-Pro, an agritech start-up, to see if fresh leafy greens could be made available to the people of Ladakh in the minus temperatures they face every winter.
Hydro-Pro customized a special solar passive greenhouse for the purpose and collaborated with the solar-powered hospitality unit — the “Lchang Nang Retreat, The House of Trees” — to grow vegetables through hydroponics. This is a technique of growing plants in receptacles using a water-based nutrient solution instead of soil.
But would it work when the temperature goes way below zero? The greenhouse was able to produce a steady supply of greens throughout the peak winter months of December, January, and the first week of February this year. The average yield was 80 kg per month. This could have been even more if there had not been a shortage of staff.
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