Watering the basket (a.k.a the tree farm)

The basket finally got watered properly today. I have been thinking of a simple way of doing so, for the last few days. A way which wouldn’t need any of us to climb the tree. I went to Harsha Seeds, a shop in Yelahanka Old Town in the morning. Got this pump:

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It is a 1.5 litre pressure pump. Using the lever on the top, first one pumps pressure and then one presses the button right above the handle and “SWOOSH…” the water rushes out of the nozzle. The nozzle has a regulator, which one can use to put the pressure pump on a spray mode or a shoot mode, very similar to the barber’s spray can. One, pumps pressure, points it up and presses the button. The water reaches all the way to the basket.

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That is Rashmi, watering the tomatoes and spinach in the basket.

It works for now. But as a long-term solution to the problem, I am not happy at all. Maybe I will connect the nozzle to a shower-faced water-hose. The water-hose could then remain connected to the basket and the tree. Whoever is trying to water the basket, just needs to connect the nozzle of the pressure pump to the water-hose and hopefully the water should flow all the way up. That model maybe would work for baskets which are higher up on the tree.

Shooting water up from the ground only works for baskets as high as this one (which is not very high).

Our first attempt to grow vegetables on trees!

On Sunday Sowmya, Rashmi and I had gone to the Yelahanka old town market to buy two baskets and fifteen meters of rope. The idea (which I have been hinting at across the last week) was to build a small unit to easily grow vegetables on trees. Well we haven’t fixed the “easily” part yet and the unit has to get a whole lot more intelligent, but the first attempt at one went up in the air today. On Thursday each team/country paints their baskets in the colours of a flag which they will design and will start sending more baskets up in the air.

OK, so first some pictures of the unit and then more rambling about it. Here it is, up on a tree in front of our school:

tree farming

Will describe the process of getting the basket up there in another post, for now, some more thoughts about the unit to “grow vegetables on trees” 🙂

Why (grow vegetables on trees)?

  • Trees are an increasingly scarce urban resource. Besides having “abstract” environmental or ecological value, I think trees need to be perceived to be playing a part in our short-term survival strategy. Making them a part of our food-chain is one way. Growing vegetables on trees in public spaces and then in turn making this food available and accessible to various communities could do that. I think politically it would be very difficult for the municipality of any city to destroy a survival mechanism of any sufficiently large community. There will be scandal 🙂
  • Tree-top space is about the safest public space available to grow vegetables. If one can develop intelligent mechanisms to water, maintain and protect (from monkeys, birds, vandals) these units then this could really be a scalable mode of urban farming, sustaining maybe a huge number of people.
  • We need ways to express our claim on public spaces around us and use them for communal and public objectives. The outdoors are ours to plug ourselves into.

Any more good reasons to do this? Haven’t thought of them yet. Yes, as an artist, I quite fancy hanging the next basket fastened with transparent/invisible fish-rope and create an illusion of food growing in the middle of nowhere. Wonder if that will work out?

More pictures in another post.

Plan for this week’s urban farming jam

basket

Urban Farming Jam 4 (UFJ 4) is on Thursday 5:30 p.m. The plan this week is to think more about the country which each of us have founded, define a flag and some plans for the expansion of territory.

After each of us have designed a flag for our countries we will be painting our Tree Farming Baskets with those colours. The Tree Farming Basket is a young evolving mechanism to be able to grow vegetables in baskets hung from tree branches. Initially the mechanism will be pretty primitive but it should get more intelligent across the next few weeks. Maybe some of you could share some ideas!
Today, tomorrow and the day after, I will be doing the first few trials of the Tree Farming Basket. Will post updates.

On Fridays, across the next few weeks, Sakshita, Sadhivi and Rutika will be working on a new effort to plant a tulsi (basil) plant at every tea-shop in Yelahanka (http://cityspinning.org/2008/02/09/a-tulsi-basil-plant-at-each-tea-st…). This Friday we sill seek out another tea stall to plant a tulsi (basil) plant.

The facebook group for CitySpinning is at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=20001366776. Do join, it can be a good way for posting events, etc. Facebook is under all of our skins anyway 🙂