Picture Sundays: Giant Crops of the Future

From Paleofuture, some 20th century notions about the factory farms of the future, from Arthur Radebaugh’s Sunday comic strip “Closer Than We Think”

COLOSSAL CROPS — In addition to dire threats of destruction, the atomic age has also produced many brighter horizons for mankind’s future. One such happy prospect is the use of radiation to create more uniform and dependable crops that will end famine everywhere in the world.

Gamma ray fields now operating on the east coast point to a day when crops will grow to giant size, vastly enlarging yield per acre. These super-plants will be disease and insect resistant — more tender and tasty — and controllable as to ripening time. Seasonal vegetables like corn will be available fresh nearly everywhere for most of the year instead of only a month or so.

Loopy, but kinda prescient. Not sure it’s gonna work out so well!

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  1. First of all I’d like to say that I just came across your blog and I really love your choice of content – interesting garden/sustainability topics that really resonate with me!

    Regarding this article on “giant crops”, it’s really not that far-fetched… There are some articles written in the late 1700s and 1800s that discuss how some growers experimenting with electro-horticulture have been able to grow very large crops using electricity.

    It turns out that one of the proposed physiological mechanisms that gets activated in plants when they’re stimulated with electricity is release or production of hormones like gibberellins which are known as growth enhancers. While some commercial growers artificially apply gibberellic acid to their crops for larger yields, through the use of electricity, larger yields and accelerated growth (and disease resistance/treatments, too) can be realized.

    In my own experiments I’ve seen some of my seedlings experience substantial improvements in growth over my control group, resulting in taller plants, 3-5x leaf area, and significantly deeper green leaves in only 35 days.

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