Yes, plants CAN be grown on Mars-like soil. Scientists from the Netherlands have been doing it since 2013 from soil similar to Martian dirt, based on analyses from NASA.
Though Mars soil has a high concentration of heavy metals, four of the ten crops grown have tested as okay for human consumption.
If you're going to be one of the first settlers on Mars, plan on eating radishes, peas, rye and tomatoes.
(That's what the scientists have grown safely, so far.)
Potatoes are next, ironically --
And yes, I'm thinking of The Martian. In case you didn't see it (or read the even-better novel), this is the story of an astronaut stranded on the Red Planet for years, while his colleagues try to mount a rescue. (More here via Wikipedia, if you're interested.)
How does he survive?
By eating potatoes grown in soil nourished by, shall we say... organic byproducts.
You know what to do, Dutch scientists!
|thank you, Wikipedia.|