SUSTAINABILITY ENGINEERING AGRICULTURE RESEARCH DIARY
After reviewing the successes and the failures of work during 2013 through 2015, it becomes clear that there should be some changes to the focus of this study. I have revisited the purpose or "Mission Statement" of the 2015 Sear Diary Project. I will summarize the newly revised Mission in the caption above.
Not only is it to promote home backyard and community gardens but to suggest container gardening as an alternatively. There are considerably more advantages of container gardening as apposed to the traditional row cropping method. The most apparent advantage is portability. Containers can be loaded on a hand or animal cart, trailer, or truck and moved from danger or to a water source. Other advantages are ease of weeding, watering and harvesting. And for those who live an apartment and are lucky enough to have at least 6 hours of sunshine onto a porch large enough to hold several containers of 40 to 80 liters (10 to 20 Gallons)can enjoy growing some of their own food, too.
Of course we all know that there is a practical limit to the size of a container in which to grow vegetables. Too small and the roots do not have enough room to produce enough food for the family and too large would be so heavy that it would be impossible to manually life onto a transport. Experience shows that on the small side, would be 18 liters (5 gal. US) and on the large size it would require two or more hefty persons to lift 95 liters (25 gal. US). With this study, the container sizes chosen range from 38 liters (10 gal.US) up to 95 liters (25 gal.US). As of February 20, 2016, 17 containers are numbered 1 through 17 and planted, . Still more containers will likely be added with time. The following table gives the container's number, the container's size and the container's content. As the season progresses, the results of the harvest for each container will be given by the container's ID number.
The fist move is to fill the several empty large containers that I can handle with a hand truck (two wheel dolly) with good soil. Next is to research plants which I might sow in these containers. The containers in hand are 25 gallon, 20 gallon, 15 gallon, 10 gallon, and 7 gallon. I have large supply of smaller pots, ranging from slightly less than 7 gallon to as small as 3" clay flower pots. The inventory of containers and flower pots is quite large.
Container ID 13 has three Moringa_Oleifera and in container ID 14 has one Moringa_Oleifera. All four Moringa have been or will be cut back to about 125 cm and are sprouting new growth. The original Moringa_Oleifera plant, the one which in the ground that froze back to grade in 2014, has been cut back to about 125 cm for the second time and is again re-sprouting. The Moringa_Oleiferaat the southeast corner of the den was cut back to 125 cm. Finally, the last Moringa_Oleifera planted in the ground on the South side of the South drive is allowed to grow to it's heart's desire and stands close to six meters tall. The untrimmed Moringa_Oleifera is leafing our fully and even has one ripe unharvested been hanging from last year out of reach.
Three of the Papaya planted between the South drive and house have grown to nearly a Meter above the roof. The fruit from last season still hangs unripe at just below the roof line, then is about 30 to 40 cm gap where leaves have died off, followed by new growth, blooms and new fruit. In addition, numerous much smaller, give or take a meter in height trees are still growing uninhibited. I am still harvesting the tender leaves of the smaller trees and consuming them raw. In fact, although somewhat repulsive at first, I have grown to enjoy chewing on the leaves.
A quick inventory of the containers give me the following:
In addition to the containers used for this study, several plants have been started in clay flower pots ranging in size from 20cm (8") to 50cm (12"). Although the selected plants are quite edible the are also decorative. Primarily they are Kohlrobi and Beets with red stems and leaves. The plants, also, will grace the dinner table in due time. The weather has turned nasty with storms and lots of rain. The next report will examine any serious damage to any of the plants.
I am waiting for delivery of the two Goji plants scheduled for today. The Blueberry is on back order and scheduled to be shipped on March 31. It should arrive sometime in the first week of April.
This concludes the report for March 15. Next report will be April 1 (April Fool's Day?).
It seems I am a bit late, today is April 2 rather than April fools day. Anyway, here goes:
Here it is, the first full day of Spring! Both Goji arrived on my front porch on the Ides of March, I.E., the 15th. Since this is the anniversary off the assignation of Julius Caesar, I don't know of any real significance of this date. Anyway, both were planted within a hour of receipt. One was placed in container #6 and the other in container #12. The #6 will be pruned back to around 125cm tall and around 90cm around. The #12 will be allowed to grow to it's heart's content. As of today, March 20, both are growing like weeds, each adding several cm in grown on each branch.
This past Friday, March 18, I harvested one Turnip that was about 4cm in diameter. I washed it and asked Jean to take a bite. She liked it and said it tasted a bit like an Apple. I ate the rest of it, including the leaves. It was delicious.
On the same date, I harvested two small, green Papaya. These fruits I cut up into about one cm cubes and also cut up about a kg of beef into the same one cm Cubes. these were placed into a large pot with a good amount of water with garlic, onion, and bell peppers to boil. Added to this was about half liter of mixed vegetables of many sorts. I was especially careful to add a can of Mushrooms, Ro-Tel tomatoes, and two cans of diced Tomatoes. Sadly, my tomato plants has yet to produce, it is far too early. Anyway, with the addition of several seasonings to taste, the pot was left ot simmer for several hours. The result, today, March 20, both Jean and I enjoyed a very, very good linch.
I continue to harvest beans,turnip tops, carrot tops, beet tops and beans. To date, I eat the tops but use the beans in some soup that I have prepared. Jean has even asked for seconds, so my guess is that it is rather good. My taste test is that the soup is to "die for". The recipe is avoidable upon request, however, I am sure most know how to make chicken or beef vegetable soup. The chicken soup with noodles and the beef soup with cabbage. Making soup is no secret, just use your head. MORE TO COME!!