A FAO Greenhouse

A FAO Greenhouse
One of the members in my training group taking a look at a plot of lettuce

Another Visit With QBL

Another Visit With QBL
We visited the innaguration for a series of new chicken coops QBL financed in a small village in the low-lying andes mountains, 7 hours north of La Paz

Monday, September 1, 2008

Some Gardening Tips for Your 13,000 Foot High Greenhouse

I was going to try to make a list, much like the list of things I've eaten, but this might be easier.
Here are a few fun ideas / tid bits I picked up in the FAO training sessions ( see blog entry below):

*Fill plastic bottles with sand or water, paint them black, and hang them along the top of your tarp so they emit heat during the night time.

*Have at least 8 varieties of aromatic plants throughout your parcels to keep bugs and pests away.

*Use tires, thermoses, plastic bottles, and even used basketballs for your planters.

*Plant big seeds directly in your parcels. For smaller seeds first put them in your pre-planters, essentially a small little plot to get them started.

*Nutrient broth- buy two kilos of earth worms ( they come with soil too), put them in a plastic jute bag, and dunk them in 5 liters of water as if you were steeping a tea bag. Do this for two hours and sift the water. You now have an incredibly nutrient rich bath you can spray your plants with, focusing mostly on the roots when applying it. You can also use animal manure mixed in water, covered with plastic, and left to sit for a couple weeks to get deliciously nutrient-rich.

* put broken egg shells around your plant roots to keep certain bugs and pests away.

* Plant lettuce in the same plot with flowering (cauliflower, broccoli, etc.) or fruit bearing plants (pumpkins, squash, etc.) to diversify your parcel. Don’t mix root plants ( carrots, potatoes, etc.)or leafy plants with other types ( lettuce is an exception).

*You need to spray the outside of your tarp with water so it doesn’t crack and dry reducing its life span from 8-10 years to 2 or 3.

*Wait for manure to dry and ferment for at least 15 days before using it. Don’t use the fresh stuff- mmmmm.

*Recipe for a natural pesticide:
Boil in 5 liters of water 4 garlic half moon thingeys- ground, 7 dried hot red peppers- ground, and one capful alcohol ( add after first boiling pepper then garlic for 15 minutes each).
Use this mix as a smoking agent- set up a mini stove and let the stuff boil into your closed tarp for 15-20 minutes. Then air everything out.

*Always rotate your crops if you’re going organic. Hydroponic don’t worry about it!

*You can grow lettuce in water! By filling a 10 cm deep box with water and placing already growing seedlings in holes in a Styrofoam board you can grow lettuce! All you need to do is add the right chemical nutrient solution and oxygenate the water at least 3-5 times a day ( by just moving it around).

*Your strawberries aren’t growing? It’s probably because you’ve let it grow new root sprouts. If that’s the case simply cut them off and plant them again to create a new plant. Because those guys are using up food too, your plant won’t flower.

*Grow onions in separate pots because they suck out the nutrients for the other plants.

*Don’t let your aromatic plants flower! Harvest them often and restrict their growth. We’re talking basil, oregano, mint, and tea plants. If you harvest often they’ll try to fight back by growing more. If they flower they finish their cycle and basically say, phew! I finally finished the race, I’ve raised some beautiful flowering kids, I think its time to retire and say goodbye to this beautifully smelling world.

*Don’t let tomato branches hang down and touch the soil, it will pass along sicknesses to them.

* Make sure your soil has AIR! To make sure you have air, make sure you have some sand mixed in there. To know if you have some sand, rub some dirt next to your ear and listen for the sound- or water it a little bit and make a sausage roll with the mound in your hand. If it continues to roll roll roll and doesn't break apart, it doesn't have enough sand.

1 comment:

Some Chilean Woman said...

Drive by blogger. My mom is trying to grown lettuce in water! She has the patience I envy.