SPECIAL REPORT
Yachting World|November 2020
SPECIAL REPORT
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD ON BOARD, BY ERIN CAREY
ERIN CAREY
Self-sufficiency is a goal of many liveaboard cruisers who sail the world’s oceans, generating their own water and power. With limited space and the obvious challenges of salt, wind and motion, many would never entertain the idea of growing their own produce. Yet it can be possible: we spoke to cruisers who are successful gardeners to learn more about the possibilities of growing fresh herbs and vegetables on a yacht.

Scurvy, the illness that historically dogged seafarers, is caused by a lack of Vitamin C, traditionally associated with long passages at sea without fruit or veg. Thankfully scurvy is not something most sailors need to worry about these days, however, fresh greens still only last a few days in most boat refrigerators, often suffering bruising from the movement. But with a garden on board, no matter how small, pasta with fresh basil or a crunchy salad is no longer limited to shore bought provisions. Many herbs are also known to have health benefits, being rich in vitamins and anti-inflammatory properties.

With plans to cross the Pacific Ocean, long-time cruiser Rick Moore, and his first mate Maddie, a chef, decided that an onboard garden was a necessity for their Jeanneau 52 Sophisticated Lady. “Recent times have highlighted the importance of self-sufficiency on a yacht, not only in terms of power and water but in every form: energy, food and health,” explains Rick.

“The choice to start constructing a small organic vegetable garden seemed, to us, the most sensible decision for our boat.”

GET STARTED

Growing a garden on a boat does require some planning and dedication, with challenges that are unique to life afloat. “In the initial stages, the seedlings have to be protected as much as possible from seawater. For that reason, we try to grow shade-loving plants like aloe, oregano, chives, tomatoes, chillies and mint, under the dodger, where they’ll be protected from For a chemical-free the elements, sea spray and have less pesticide, onboard sun exposure”, explains Moore.

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November 2020