One of Epcot’s most fun rides is Living with the Land, which is all about how ecosystems work and different methods of growing plants in different environments. It starts by taking you through about 4 different scenes and telling you about each ecosystem. Then it takes you into big greenhouses that shows all the different and new ways Disney’s gardens are growing plants without wasting as much resource. Here are some of the cool things I learned on the Behind the Seeds tour.
The First part of Disney’s Garden
The start of the tour is getting to the science lab. In this science lab, they talk about the life cycles of wasps and ladybugs located in the greenhouses. These wasps are extremely small but harmless to humans.
Pest Management in the Disney Garden
The wasps and ladybugs eat the pests that prey on the foods in the greenhouses. Aphids and fruit flies are both damaging to the fruits and veggies in the garden. These fruit flies lay eggs into the leaves and can bring a plant from healthy to ruined in just a day. The wasps help manage this from happening. There are also humane mouse traps to keep any mice out.
The Design of the Greenhouses
The greenhouses are huge and full of all kinds of plants from all over. The greenhouses have huge fans and ventilation systems to keep everything at a reasonable temperature. One of the methods they are using is cardboard pieces, water, and basically big vacuums to pull the hot air out and keep the place a little cooler. The boat ride going through also helps keep the area cooler, as the flowing water is always colder than the greenhouse.
Some of the Amazing Plants in the Garden
Epcot has many awesome plants in its greenhouse, including a nine pound lemon tree. This tree produces huge and delicious lemons big enough to make a whole pitcher of lemonade with just a single lemon.
One of the coolest things we saw at the gardens was plants growing straight in an aquarium. These plants were not lillypads or any kind of plant that would normally grow in water, it was normal herbs such as basil or cilantro. These plants were kept in very nutrient rich water and floated.
How to Make your own Aquaponic System
With an old aquarium setup, an aquaponic system could easily be replicated. Using foam that tightly fits in the aquarium, cut small holes and put some sprouted plants into the foam. Fill the tank with water and use an air bubbler to keep the water well oxygenated. Put the foam over the water with the roots submerged and let the flowers or herbs grow in a well lit place.
One of the best parts of the tour was everybody got sliced cucumbers. There was a minifridge stuffed with cucumbers, and everyone got some. They were fresh from the greenhouses and very good. They even let us take our own Ziploc bag full with us.
The sunflowers were so pretty, these had an adorable gradient from red to yellow. They photographed well and I liked them a lot.
Fish in the Disney Garden
Another part of aquaculture is using fish to fertilize the water and clean out anything yucky that could harm the plants. This is similar to the aquaponic system except there is fish in the water to swim around and do fish stuff.
Another way Disney is gardening is hanging the plants from the ceiling and setting them up on a hanger, so they go around in a circle. Half of the circle they go in has a mister system, so the plant’s roots get misted and have a chance to dry before they are misted again.
The scientific side of Disney’s Garden is using cells to make little plants in jars. These jars can be purchased in Epcot and the plant can be planted after it is ready to leave its sterile and sealed environment. They cut off pieces of the plant similar to how we cut off branches of small plants and grow them in water.
Sammy was known as a sensitive plant, and the reason he was so special is because when you touch him the leaves close up immediately. This plant was fun to play with and very unique. The tour overall was super fun and I hope you check it out. Happy Crafting!