Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New USA Immigrant to Belize investigates tropical hydroponics

Hello Chuck,
You are ahead of my on the immigration. I've lost an entire month due to snow in the DC area - biblical. We beat the old record by 14 inches so far with 53 inches and counting. Please keep me abreast of your progress. We all have similar affinities for wood.

From: Ray Auxillou
Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:27 AM
To: Chuck Rogers
Cc: ;
Subject: Re: Hydroponics and tropical agriculture.

I have shade cloth. I believe they sell two grades here. Not sure of the technical term anymore. Good luck on your retirement here. The sawmill is a good idea. I am trying to get some lignum vitae for shafts, bushings and bearings in a prototype windmill experiment. We used to export it once, but not sure who now can produce it. It is an iron wood type lumber that is self greasing, used in shafts of submarines and cargo ships for bearings. Lasts thirty years they say at sea. Make sure you bring a sawmill blade that can cut tropical hardwoods, they are like steel. I chipped a D 9 cat blade trying to knock down an iron wood tree once.

News on Western Belize with photos:

--- On Wed, 2/17/10, Chuck Rogers wrote:

From: Chuck Rogers
Subject: Re: Hydroponics
To: "Ray Auxillou"
Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 12:39 AM

Thank you so much for writing back so promptly. I'll be turning in my passport papers tomorrow and as soon as I get that back I'll be buying a ticket. My plans are to come look at the area and get the feel of your country, then possibly move down. If I make the decision to come back and live, I'll be looking for a piece of land. I have a portable sawmill that would be coming with me so I can cut lumber for a small cabin and also cut lumber for locals as I can. It wouldn't be for a business. My body just can't take that kind of work anymore. This is good though, because I've been planning on looking in your area.
I know heat and too intense of light can be bad on many vegetables, but I bet that with a little bit of ingenuity it can be done well. I know a few people in the agricultural world that may be of help, one guy in Oklahoma, who is a micro biologist and farmer. The heat in Oklahoma is worse than there. I thought they were out of their minds when they began putting old bedsheats over the tomato patch so they wouldn't scorch. Shade cloth is going to be valuable there, so if I move down, I think I'd be bringing some rolls of that. What percent shade cloth have you tried? Thanks again, Chuck

----- Original Message -----
From: Ray Auxillou
To: Chuck Rogers
Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 5:20 PM
Subject: Re: Hydroponics

Hmmmmnnnn! This is the tropics and diseases and insects are unremitting all year around. We have no dormant seasons like up North. Nobody was growing vegetables of the temperate zone varieties, it was impossible on the ground with clay as the main soil.
I chose hydroponics as a research method to find out what would enable us to grow vegetables here in Belize. Then we had to find the problems.
It turned out to be varieties, for the two main weather seasons. Very hot, and cooler. Not many vegetables grow well over 90 F for months at a time. There isn't any night time differential to turn off the clock inside the plant. We finally figured out we needed humus. So we grew vegetables in pots. This eliminated a lot of ground problems by putting them up on trestles. They are now experimenting at our Research Station at Central Farm with greenhouse netting types. Just started this past FALL.. We are also using worm farms to create fertilizer for vegetables and commercial soil growers are using a long black hose for drip feeding. It has worked well.
You must remember this is the tropics and lowland tropics, not even high mountain tropics. This is not temperate zone growing.
We had tropical vegetables growing naturally, but they worked via two seasons for rainy seasons. Water is a big factor. We finally proved you could grow vegetables all year around, week after week, after week. Water, soil, varieties depending on the temperature season, and fertilizer sources were discovered and identified.

--- On Tue, 2/16/10, Chuck Rogers wrote:

From: Chuck Rogers
Subject: Hydroponics
To: "Hill View Hacienda"
Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 5:48 PM

I'm trying to figure out why you were using hydroponics vs. conventional. It is so labor intensive and is subject to failure unless everything is gravity fed and such. Just curious, because I'm planning on a visit. I'm also a certified horticulturalist. Thanks, Chuck

No comments: