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Growing food on your yacht: Everything you need to know to become self-sufficient

Updated: Nov 25

(Article originally published by yachtingworld.com)


Self-sufficiency is a goal of many live aboard cruisers who sail the world’s oceans, generating their own water and power, writes Erin Carey.


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 sail across 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.”


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