There is so much to learn.

lab2Germinate_n

Temperature has a big effect on germination rate.  At the end of January in Yoro, Honduras dorm students set up germination trays in order to give some plants an early start.  The plan was to start the plants in enclosed dishes and as soon as the roots, stems and first leaves appeared, students would carefully transplant them into small containers.  We were trying to make the plants strong enough so that they wouldn’t be eaten by the roaming chickens and small animals.

Not so fast.  It took forever for them to get started.  One would think that with Honduras’s climate that growing fruits and vegetables early would be easy – but.

I went to Honduras planning to have the students at CEVER, the vocational school, make a small greenhouse.  The students were still on vacation so I left the plans and hopefully we will be able to get a prototype made.

The weather in Yoro, Honduras in January is quite agreeable.  That is, agreeable for humans but maybe not for germinating plants outside a greenhouse.  The nights are cool.  Not productive for getting seedlings started.

So here is the lesson.

*Germination rates     temperature         # of days         temperature        # of days

Beets                          50 degrees           17 days           77 degrees          5 days

Parsley                        50 degrees           29 days           77 degrees         13 days

Lettuce                       50 degrees             29 days           77 degrees          2 days

Cucumbers                 50 degrees            none                77 degrees          4 days

Tomatoes                    50 degrees            3 days             77 degrees           6 days

Growing fruits and vegetables is a science.  Many of us stumble along and get mixed results in our gardens.  In developing countries the traditions are handed down.  There are wonderful scientific farming techniques coming out of our universities.  And then of course there are genetically modified organisms.  Some believe that GMOs can be more dangerous to ingest than many pesticides.

I am happy to report that progress is being made at the dorm and there will be some harvesting of cool weather vegetables very soon.

*The germination rates came from charts in Mel Bartholomew’s “All New Square Foot Gardening”

 

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6 thoughts on “Cool Nights

  1. I waited a bit this year to start my plants for the spring, and they are doing well. Having a fall/winter garden helped me to not be so antsy about getting plants started. I hope the students develop a lifelong love of growing from this experience.

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