The unlikely partnership of hydroponic horticulture and an arid climate have made Moe McCosker the Territory’s lettuce king.

Story by Kerry Sharp

Moe McCosker had a bit of a head start when he decided to get into the hydroponics business in 1992. Formerly a plumber, Moe at least knew about pipes, drains and waterworks – but that was about it. Now, his Territory Lettuce business, based at rural Ilparpa on the outskirts of Alice Springs, NT, has become so successful that Moe is considered to be Central Australia’s undisputed hydroponics king.
Moe has lived in Alice Springs for more than 30 years and is married to Adelaide-born florist Angela. Although he initially tried growing cut flowers, he wanted a crop that produced year-round and brought better returns. In 1991, he read a magazine article on growing hydroponic lettuce and saw his potential path to a profitable future. “I didn’t know the first thing about hydroponics,” Moe says. “So I did lots of research, tapped into valuable data already collated from Alice Springs and interstate trials and spent time with a NSW grower to get a feel for what I was getting into.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #49

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2006