In early 2016, NASA reported that they were sending flowers and vegetable seeds up to the space station. A few days ago, crew members installed the largest plant-growth system on the station. For the first time, three distinct plant crops are being simultaneously grown in space! By having “space gardens” aboard the space station, it is both beneficial psychologically and nutritionally. These individuals spend months in microgravity monitoring experiments millions of miles away from their family and loved ones, so growing a garden gives them something reminiscent of home and something to care for.
On October 27th, crew members harvested the sixth batch of crops from the experiment VEG-03D in the Vegetable Production System (known as veggie.) Only about half the greens were cut using a technique called cut-and-come-again. This allows the crops to continue to grow, which in turn allows the crew to eat more of the future harvests. Crops that were grown included Mizuna Mustard, Waldmann’s Green Lettuce and Outrageous Red Romaine Lettuce.
The plant habitat that the crops grow in is a fully enclosed, environmentally controlled chamber. Inside the chamber is red, blue, green and white LED lights to create a broad spectrum. The chamber also has more than 180 sensors that record information on temperature, oxygen and moisture levels to the Kennedy Space Center in FL. If all goes well, the space garden will soon have Arabidopsis (small flowering plants related to cabbage and mustard) and dwarf wheat.
Thank you to Space.com for the original information. You can read more here.