My project was particularly affected in two interventions that I was carrying out or was going to carry out. The first one where 4 pots, with 52 spinach sprouts that I had been growing from seed in my house, and that I was going to finish growing on the rooftop of the university so that I could control the conditions in which they were grown, and thus to vary some of the conditions I could between them like the amount of water, sun or shadow, to see how this affected the growth between them. This gave a new twist to my research since I had to give up for adoption 3 of the pots to different people to take care of them at home, and with this, by default, I could have different conditions for them and thus be able to try to measure their evolution or how they grow according to these variations.
The problem with this plant adoption plan was that since the people were doing a favor, and not committed to the project, it was very difficult for them to make them send pictures of how the plants were, how they were growing, the conditions in which they had them, or the amount of water that each one poured into them. One of the plant adopters never answered my messages, so I don´t even know if the plants he took are still alive or not. Even dough, I noticed that those who had the plants in direct sun and outdoors grew better than mine, who only had a few hours of sun per day due to the location of my terrace.
Growing spinach from seed was great learning, since if in my other interventions in the garden I had cared for some plants, planted plants from shoots or transplanted some already large ones, I had never cared for them from that initial moment. I started this process in February when the winter was beginning to come down and spring began. To germinate them I made a small seedbed, reusing plastic materials such as egg boxes and dessert or yogurt containers. These he made a hole in the lower part, and he put them on a tray with water so that the water did not fall strongly from above, but rather went through the earth more naturally and thus did not mistreat the shoots. There were also some that I germinated inside a plastic box placed inside a humeral paper, which serves to remove the initial root and see from all the seeds that you have which are going to be born, but I made some mistakes like leaving them there a lot of time, then the roots grow too long and weaken the silver, and I also started to germinate too many, so in the end, I had many more plants than I could plant so I had to let some sprouts die.
In addition to this, the worst mistake was not having taken photos of this other sprouting process although, in the end, I understood that, at least with spinach, it is much better that it grow directly in the ground, or if they are going to germinate previously on paper. Sowing them in the ground to about a centimeter deep makes the plant not spend a lot of unnecessary energy to grow to look for the light and, in case they have already grown a little more than a centimeter, all the white part of the stem should remain buried underground, as this is a very weak part of the plant and breaks with fragility.
The upcycling of materials was something very important that I also discovered during this lockdown since one of the concerns I had about my consumption habit was that most of the food I buy comes wrapped in plastic packaging that when I got home I ended up throwing it away. , but with this, I could at least give a second use to all these one-use plastics.
The problem later was that I had many containers, but not enough soil since the “Chino Markets” where I used to buy it were closed and I had left a bulk of it in the university. In the first of these photos, you can see a little of what I was saying about the stems that grow without the energy to support the weight of the leaves, while in the others you can see how the leaves are practically born from the ground. I also made a failed attempt to grow a piece of lettuce that I had leftover but was not very successful since, although it lasted a couple of months without dying, it never grew much longer. Probably because the container in which it was kept was very small, or because I did not let it take root before as many tutorials recommended.
The process of transplanting them to the university once they had sprouted I did it at the end of February, for this, I bought soil, flowerpots, a shovel, a watering can and found a kind of wooden baskets on the roof of the IaaC that I borrowed. I planted 14 sprouts in each of these pots for a total of 56 spinach plants. Thanks to the amount of sun that came to them and the amount of soil in the pots, the plants began to grow faster than before, almost daily change was evident.
One problem I had was that people poured water on them without asking, which made me lose a little control over them. The idea with these was to grow each terrace differently, and adopt each of the plants to different IaaC students so that they could go up to see them whenever they wanted, but the second week after transplanting, they announced that on Friday we could not go back to university, so I had to get people who lived nearby and were willing to adopt them.
The idea with this adoptive parents was that they could tell me how they were taking care of them, and send me frequent pictures, but In the end, these people only sent me a couple of photos in the process, but there was a variation with the ones I had since mine didn't get as much sun. These last photos were sent to me along with a message asking me for permission to eat them, which I gladly agreed to, and the truth is that the taste is very different, much richer and more natural, you even feel "the love" that you gave them in the care when eating them.
I noticed that the plants I had in the pot, with plenty of soil, grew much better than the plants I had in small jars or plastic food cups that I was growing them in for lack of other pots. Although some even had bigger jars than others, and they grew less, so I think that having them in different sizes of containers, some dark, others transparent, with different conditions and amounts of light, and different amounts of water, makes many bushes grow differently. Even changes from the form of germination of the seed, also affect this growth. Similarly, a good thing about all this was that I could be much more aware of their growth every day and try to understand many things about them such as the effect of these subtle variants on them, or the time it took to cultivate them, to then eat them in just one day.
All of this helped me to realize that there are a lot more things I need to learn about agriculture, more than the things I´ve learned so far or the ones I could learn on tutorials on Youtube and that there is also a lot of people trying to learn these new skills, but the struggle to find the proper tutorial or source of information since plants act differently in each country or season, so not all the tutorials apply to everybody or every plant. Each case is different, and some times the information is too vague, not well documented, or inexact in terms of quantities, times, and others.