Monday, October 7, 2013

Pineapples at the Seed Farm

The seed farm is a lot hotter and drier than the big farm, so I thought that growing pineapples there might work. A friend had given me quite a few pineapple starts, and while I planted many at the community garden, I still had plenty left over. So what the heck, I took them to the seed farm.

Rather than build raised beds, I opted to plant them directly into the ground. It's mostly just crushed lava, but I've been applying mulch and a bit of dirt for the past year, gradually building up a little something that your wildest called soil. Not much there, but it does full in between the lava now.

The big problem now is water. The stuff I'm calling soil is hydrophobic organic material. Very difficult to get it wet, but once wet, it can be maintained. Pouring a bucket of water onto the stuff is a waste of good water. It just runs off. Doesn't get the "soil" wet. But I discovered that if the water is gradually trickled on, it gets absorbed.

I wish I had a drip irrigation system, but hey, I don't even have a water system. So what to do? I opted to try using old milk jugs with a pinhole in them. That way the water could drizzle out. I figure that there was nothing to lose trying it.
So I planted the pineapple keikis and mulched them with grass clippings. Close to each one I set up a gallon jug, punched a pinhole, and attached the jug to a stake so that the wind wouldn't blow it away. Then I filled all the jugs with water.
The next day I checked to see what happened. Well, it worked! The water managed to dampen the soil rather than running off. Great! So with much more enthusiasm than when I first started, I refilled the water jugs. I plan to do this once a week for the time being.
In the above picture you can make out the little spout of water if you look carefully. 

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