Vegetable Farming in the Tropics

by Tricia Carter-Natta
(Trinidad & Tobago)

Our Mesh Greenhouse

Our Mesh Greenhouse

Early last year, I was offered early retirement from my work as an educational psychologist in inner-city Manchester and wanted to experience something different.


My husband wished to return to his childhood home on the island of Trinidad, which is just off the coast of Venezuela and only 10 degrees north of the Equator.

With little experience of gardening, we decided to become agri-entrepreneurs and grow lettuce etc. in the tropics.

So we are now the proud owners of eight climate-controlled vegetable beds. I've just germinated the first seeds and await the seedlings impatiently. Protection from the hot sun, insects and heavy rainfall (twice that of Manchester!)will be afforded by a mesh greenhouse, as shown in our photo.

The vegetable seedlings will be transplanted into beds made from concrete block and lovingly filled with our compost, mixed from cow manure, sand, soil, epsom salts, limestone, fertiliser and a little fungicide.

One quarter of the available space has been earmarked for an experiment in hydroponics, where vegetables are grown without soil. The equipment for this has to be imported from California and New Zealand, making the whole project rather expensive.

However, we feel if this popular technique can be adjusted to suit local conditions the investment will be worthwhile and we are already linked with the Government Agricultural Research and Training Dept. for future site visits by trainees.

Although there has been a lot of planning and hard work required to get this far, the day we harvest and sell our first crop will surely be one to celebrate!!

See Tricia's update at:-

Tricia's update

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"Retirement"
by: Anonymous

Very nice "retirement" story.

We are doing the same "Retirement" thing in the Philippines except we are doing Aquaponics instead of Hydroponics.

Good luck!

You should tell us your inspirational story... Like Tricia did

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Hydroponic Systems
by: Anonymous

Hello I will soon be living in nicaragua and having a tropical fruit and veggie garden is in the plans.

Anyways not sure where your at with your hydroponic plans, but I thought I might be able to give you a little advice I have used just about every hydro system out there aero, hydro, and soilless.

My advice would be an Ebb&Grow system. I had my best results by far with this and its nice because you can move your pots to any configuration you want. If I were to use hydro in a hot climate I would cover all the water lines with something or bury them to try and keep them cool and I would put my res inside with a nice sized chiller - heat will be your biggest problem but if a person were to dile this in it would be the most insane growth rate ever. Also there are some really good gardners in costa rica who have perfected some really nice veggie strains for the tropics you can find these things on google which I'm sure you already have.

Sorry I suck at writing - oh well good luck with your garden I'm jealous.

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Information on Broccoli growing in Trinidad
by: Anonymous

Good morning my name is Adanna I am very much interested in planting Broccoli in Trinidad can you advise as to the best time to plant.

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Unpleasant Experience Causes a Change of Heart.
by: Pamela

Hello
I live in Central Trinidad in the agricultural community of Tabaquite.

I once liked planting vegetables and caring for them on evenings as a past-time hobby, for me it was relaxing and therapeutic, however since I started University and had the unpleasant experience of doing all the preparation by myself in the twelve o'clock hot sun I no longer enjoy this leisure activity.

Editor: The enjoyment may return once uni is finished Pamela and you can choose the time of day. I hope so!

Laurence

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Hydroponics Suppliers in Trinidad
by: Anderson

Congratulations! Great job so far.

I live in Trinidad as well and I'm really interested in hydroponics because of my yard space limitations.

As you said, it is expensive to import the equipment needed. Have you found any local sources?

I was thinking about starting a hydroponics/aquaponics supply store myself, so I put up a website to see how much interest there is. It's at www.hydroponictt.com

Anyone can reach me there using the contact page if you want to.

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Common Experiences
by: Kelvin

Great story Tricia. I live in Trinidad and do plant lettuce in open growboxes in Princes Town.

Maybe we can touch base and share ideas and experiences.

Kelvin

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Guaranteed Success!
by: Steve,Fla.

Great Story!

I also grow in the tropics in Florida.

Four years ago I made a concrete block planter, three blocks high - 6' x 30'. It has been excellent during seasons of growth.

I like your cover idea - will try it this summer.


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Interesting
by: Benny

Looks like you guys have something to keep you occupied, best wishes and good luck.

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A Change Is As Good As A Rest...
by: Laurence

A very inspiring story Tricia. I and my visitors wish you and your husband every success.

I do hope you let us know how you are progressing by posting further comments on your web page - it's very exciting.


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