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Synopsis of Food Production in New Education Facility

Even though the new Education Facility is still under construction, the indoor planters are well under way and producing food.

Heather got the planters started in early September with the plants that are crucial for operation of the gray water system. I planted seeds in starter trays in the last days of September, which felt odd but exciting, as this normally happens in early Spring when starting to prepare for the Summer outdoor garden. All the seeds germinated in their starter trays in the front face. However, only the seeds and starts that grew and are now producing, are chard, lettuce and tomatoes. The other starts needed more daylight hours to grow. What we are doing here is planting a variety of seeds at different times of the year and then compiling a report of what grows best at what time of the year in the indoor and outdoor planters.

earthship food productionDecember has been bitterly cold in Taos, but December 12th we harvested the first arm-load of rainbow chard and then again on December 24th we harvested a basketful of chard and leaf beet. The three tomato plants have bunches of green fruits, some of which will be ripening by the end of January. They are growing large enough now that they need trellising.The next generation of chard is well under way in the kitchen planter, and the lettuce in that planter is ready to harvest now. Carrot seedlings are up in the main planter, their growing rate increasing with the length of the daylight hours.

Other edibles we have growing in the planters so far, include bananas trees, lemon grass, lemon verbena, rosemary, basil, beets, arugula, Chinese cabbage, garlic, mint, Pennyroyal and parsley.Within a few weeks we will be putting in a dwarf citrus tree and a nattel plumb. The time is right for ordering seeds and then getting the starts going for the Summer garden, starting in February.

We will be experimenting with the Summer garden in the outdoor black water treatment planter. It is divided into three cells. In the first cell we plan to plant cattails and red willow. These plants roots will convert the solids into compost. In the second cell we want to experiment with planting corn, shrubs like raspberries and hard winter squashes. The third cell will be planted with summer squashes, greens, root vegetables, peppers, and tomatoes. We intend to harvest these foods and possibly getting them tested at UNM against the same organic produce bought from our local health food store.

We will keep you posted.

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