Every time we visit Walt Disney World, I try to find one or two totally educational thing to do. This time we had the opportunity to take a behind the scene tour of the called Behind the Seed. In this tour we had access to the attraction found in Epcot Future World - the Land Pavillion - Living Land.
As you see from the picture above, we are actually in the atraction while visitors are on the ride seen in the background. We had access to most of the attraction and had a private tour guide which is one of the actual scientist that works in the attraction.
Brendan our guide, is 1 of the 8 castmembers that works in the attraction during the prep day of the park. His background is in plant botany and his main responsiblity is the crop production for the restaurants in the Land Pavillion.
WDW uses a varying amount of chemical and biological control in its gardens. In this room, Brendan shows us several types of insects they use at WDW to control pest on the grounds of WDW. My son has in his had about 15-20 lady bugs which we will release in the attraction later on.
The next area we head toward is their own propagation room. In this area they were making cuttings of different plants for sale on property. It was interesting to note that they use an agar gel substrate to start all their cuttings and use full spectrum light. After some probing and asking about their cutting success rate; the key for cutting survivial is a sterile medium and 100% humidity. So if you Ted and Manny, you guys always been right about the jar technique for cuttings.
The next section was the alternative growing method area. In this area plants were grown in stacks, stray with growing media, in sand, hydroponics, etc... I must say it was eye opening and one way for us to grow accent plants in a small area. Maybe even our cuttings or shohin material?
Other areas we looked at were the trellis growing area. This area was really compact for the amount of produce it was making. Disney uses these tubes filled with perlite and moss as the plants growing media with a liquid feed that constantly runs thru them. If you are interested in the mix here is the formula that they use.
We concluded our tour with some sampling of their trellis tomatoes. These tomatoes are grown on a line and the line is lowered as the plant grows. As you can see, the lines are slow spiraling around the perimeter of the trellis. They say this gives them maximum surface area to grow the plants while harvesting is easier because all the fruits are located at the bottom of area of the growing mat.
I must say if you are in the Walt Disney World Epcot and have some time to spare. Take this tour because you will learn abit more while you are playing at the mouse's house.