Introduction to the UGACR Farm, Part 2

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Thank you for reading part one of my introduction to the farm at UGA Costa Rica. Today, I’ll share a little bit about our greenhouses and other crops we grow here.

This is a better picture of our large greenhouse. The top keeps the rain out but allows sunlight to go through. As you can sort of see, we are growing lettuce in the bottom of the greenhouse, and grass up top. We are growing the grass on purpose, which is strange for a farm, but I will explain it more fully in a later post.

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Here’s a look at the beds. We’ve put branches on the bottom to limit erosion. The bed featured in the photo is made up of cabbage. I know that this picture makes things look fairly chaotic, and sometimes they are, but this was from early on when we were losing the battle against the weeds. The beds look a bit more organized now.

IMG_0142 This sign warns people that the fence is electric. It hurts if you touch it. Believe me. I’m not speculating.

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One cool thing we do here is that we compost both the weeds from the garden, and food waste from the kitchen. The weeds from the garden go into large piles that look like the one above. The food waste goes into the building below. In both cases we are warm composting, which involves raising the temperature of the material being composted high enough that bacteria and small insects can break it down. The heat is generated by letting the compost sit, though it must be turned over periodically so that every part gets warm, and water must be added occasionally to help sustain the bacteria.

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We plant a variety of crops, although the most common are lettuce, cabbage, and carrots. The top picture is a type of lettuce that is new to the farm, and is pretty funky looking.

To protect the lettuce and cabbage from the elements we plant it in small trays and then transplant it once it is a bit hardier.

This is about as big as we want to let it get before it goes into one of the beds. As you can see the plants are running out of real estate.

We grow a bit of sugarcane, and it makes a great snack if you cut it down and chew on the white stalk.

This is called chayote, and tastes like squash. It grows on these vines and we don’t have to do anything except go around harvesting it every couple of weeks.

Stay tuned for more updates from the farm!

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