It’s the height of summer here in the Valencia region, and it is hot – too hot to do anything but relax by the pool, or sit on the terrace in the shade. In August, the Spanish literally down tools, with many shops and business closing for the whole month, and the families head for the coast or the inland mountain areas to try and get cool. Forest fires are raging in various parts of the country, but as they are so common they barely get a mention anywhere other than in the Spanish news.
Javi, our regular maintenance guy took a week off to go to the beach in Castellon with his family, to relax. So the aquaponic systems have taken a back seat and I will report on that next time. Karen popped back to the UK to see parents and grandchildren, and Alex, our resident dog walker/helper went to a pop festival, camping out there for the week. So I used the time to chill out and relax, and just do the things I wanted, like tidying up the plants in the greenhouse planting more aquatic plants in the ponds, cleaning out filters etc – the sort of things that should be done but never seem to find the time to do. Mind you, in 35 degrees of heat, it was 10 -15 minutes of tidying up, then straight into the pool for half an hour, then back to more tidying up and so on. Even the dogs were struggling a little, preferring to lie on the cool tiled floors in the house during the heat of the day.
A funny thing happened when I was cleaning out the filters in the big tilapia pond. I found about a dozen live baby fish that had obviously got sucked up in the pump (or it might have been fish eggs that hatched out in the filter). Then I noticed more baby fish in the pond, coming up looking for food – then more, and more. In all, I think we have 50 or 60 red tilapia fry, and all seem to be thriving. So it looks like we simply let nature take its course if we want breeding stock for overwintering in the warm water of the aquariums. Mind you, trying to catch them has been somewhat of a challenge! It is going to take a lot of patience, but I’ll let you know how we get on.
When Javi came back from his hols, he then sent me some photos of the plantation. Everything had literally gone berserk!
If you recall, we planted some moringa seeds in late April, after losing thousands of young plants that we had purchased, and almost gave up on the project. But moringa is too good to give up on so we persevered. Many of our seeds took, and we planted them out in May (about a thousand in total).
We also planted 800 goji berry bare rooted plants not knowing how they were going to take in the Spanish climate, and about 800 stevia too.
In just 12 weeks, the moringa has grown to an astonishing 2 metres in height! They were planted a metre apart and now they are touching each other. The trunks are as thick as a wooden broomstick, and they are lush and green. And as you can see, we have goji berries galore – about 100 or so on each plant! So we can safely say that the Wikaniko eco project is under way, and we now have our own home grown supply which we will be harvesting in September.
Take a look at the pictures below – here is Javi, with young Xavi (pronounced Shavi) inspecting the fantastic crop. These are grown without pesticides, without chemicals, and we personally grow them so you can be 100% sure that they are the freshest, and best products that you can ever get – and you know exactly where they come from.
We’re also going to have witnesses to the work on the plantation – two of our leaders, Laura and James Mann are coming out mid September as our guests, and are staying at the beach house for a week, plus visiting our mountain home and the plantation. Mind you – they think they are coming for a holiday. They don’t realise there is a lot of goji berry and moringa picking to do. Ssshhh……..
We’ll talk again soon – hopefully it will be a little less warm and we can get on with doing some work. But as they say here – manana……
The trunk of a 12 week old moringa
Javi and Xavi with one of the moringa plants 12 weeks from seed
One of the goji berry plants with delicious ripe fruit