Biology student share experiences from internships in the Arctic
Biology student share experiences from internships in the Arctic

First weeks of the internship

Daily operations

The last weeks I ́ve been part of the daily operations at Polar Permaculture. That includes sowing microgreens and basil, tending the plants, some deliveries and other types of miscellaneous work. A few weeks ago I started setting up a new grow room, where I had to remove a small biogas system that no longer was being used and I had to insulate parts of the room. Íll be using the room for test growing different types of plants. At the moment we ́re waiting for a delivery of parts needed to make the grow room fully operational, but I ́ve already sown a few different types of tomatoes, cucumbers, salads and herbs. They will be moved into the new room when it ́s ready, and I ́ll sow some more then.

Water quality

We ́ve been planning to test different water qualities and their effect on plant growth. The company has had some issues with water quality in the past, and we want to do comparisons between Longyearbyen ́s tap water, filtered tap water, glacial water, pH adjusted tap water and perhaps water with different amounts of added nutrients. I haven ́tfinished the test design yet, so I don’t have all the details, but more about that in the coming blogs. I feel pretty certain we ́ll see differences between the types of water, at least with variations I pH, as the nutrient availability differs a lot with changes in pH levels.

Other tasks

The last couple of weeks I ́ve done some work on making product lists for the customers,and I ́ve started making information sheets for the grow rooms. The information sheets are meant to make it easier for new people working for the company to learn the procedures for sowing and tending the plants.The lists contain procedures with pictures and are supposed to be clear and easy to follow.It ́s always good to have written procedures to make the products and processes as consistent as possible.

My experience so far

I ́ve enjoyed working at Polar Permaculture, especially since there ́s been a variety in the kinds of work I’ve been doing. Ben and Hegeare really nice people who are easy to work with. I take part in planning what types of work I ́ll be doing, and together we plan the testgrowing and other projects. The research project that Polar Permaculture is part of, FoodE, is starting up now, and I have to read up on in some more. It seems like a project that will be very important for the company, and it will be exciting to see the results in the future

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