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Making Plastic Rope, Dragonfruit Update, Goji & Mystery Raised ‘Bed’

It has been a busy last 3 days.  We had intended to post the last 2 days, but we were persistently occupied.  We had many new seeds arrive.. including:

We have over 20 different other seeds on their way from the United States, India, Israel, China and some other countries.  Noni, Passionfruit, and Pawpaw are a few.

Rope Making, Handmade Rope, Repurpose Plastic Bag

Melting the ends of the rope down for strength

With all these different shipments coming in, we receive a lot of extra boxes and shipping material.  One of the more common packing materials is airpaks from Amazon.  These are recyclable as ‘plastic film’ and don’t take up much space once deflated.

We thought it’d be interesting to try and make something with them.  We took 3 deflated strands and braided them together into rope!  The rope was remarkably strong.  We will experiment with this more in the future as we become inspired.

You  can see the finished rope at the end of the post.

The Dragonfruit seedlings are doing wonderful.  Within the second day at least 3 had sprouted.  By day 6 (today as seen in photo) about 1/3 of them have germinated.

Dragonfruit Seedlings, Pitaya Seedling, Pitahaya Seedling, How To Grow Dragonfruit

6 day old Dragonfruit seedlings

The Dragonfruit seedlings display cotyledon (embryonic first ‘leaves’) like other seedlings would.  These are the first cacti we have germinated before, so we imagine the Dragonfruit seedlings will just shed these as they grow their cactus trunk.

We will surely grow many many more of these.  I imagine it will be one of the plants we add to a nursery inventory once we become more established.  These cacti have to be trained well for optimal fruit production.  There are some great videos on Youtube if you were interested in learning more.  In time we will build an archive of how to take all the plants we grow from seedling to fruition.

Goji Berry Growing, Germinating Goji Berry

Expelling goji seeds from soaked fruit

These Goji seeds were a lot easier than we had initially anticipated.  Soaking the dried Goji berry is critical to extracting the Goji seeds (plus it will help hydrate the Goji seed for germination.)  Give the Goji berries some warm water to soak in and they should plump within 4-6 hours or less.

Once the Goji berries are plump extraction of the seeds is relatively easy.  The base of the Goji berry will have a small hole where it came off the bush.  This is the perfect place to squeeze the seeds out!  With a light rolling pinch you can ‘coerce’ the seeds back into the water.

Notice: Each berry has at least 10-20 seeds in it.  Keep this in mind when you hydrate the Goji berries, as to not waste the fruit or seeds.  We have read from a few sources that it is best to store the seeds in the berry till use.  We aren’t sure if this is the case, but to be safe I’d recommend following this advice.  Perhaps later on we will extract some dry Goji seeds and after a few months try germinating them to test the theory.

Today we went by a local gravel yard to purchase some sand and compost (seen below.) We stay free from using animal products in our soils.. this proves to be a challenge every time. The concept of enabling a byproduct industry by growing out of corpses does not appeal to us. Bone meal, blood meal, feather meal, manure, fermented fish, shells, etc. are avoided.  We understand nature is unforgiving and unbiased when it comes to decomposing matter, but we don’t find the domesticated animal industry natural.

We prefer our fruits are grown in soil that is broken down organic plant matter.  Eventually we intend to use only our own composts (with the amount of fruit we eat, this will be achieved.)  For now though, we must compromise and this was it.  1/8th yard of fill sand and 1/8th yard of manure-free forest humus w/ rice hulls.  We use a late 80’s Acura Integra to haul soil.. and 1/4 yard is its literal limit.  Even at 1/4 yard, we have to take care in driving and bumps.  For now this is our option and of course eventually we will invest in a truck.

Sandy Loam, Making Garden Soil, Enriched Soil

Sand base to be made into garden soil

Sandy Loam, Making Garden Soil, Enriched Soil

After mixing the compost with sand

After we prepared the soil we filled our new ‘raised bed’ (seen below.)  We found this ‘hanging’ closet organizer at a Goodwill for about $2.  We both instantly were ecstatic and agreed on the purchase.  We were there anyhow to find bags for growing in, so this made perfect sense.

We mixed in some Azomite, coconut coir and worm castings after filling the organizer with the newly mixed soil.  The soil drains amazingly well and is super rich.  We love experimenting with soil blends!  We planted the bed and put in some tomato cages to hold the contents.  We also used a queen mattress cover to insulate them over night (seen farther below.)  We found this at a Dollar Tree store.  It is thin, waterproof and at $1 a great deal for how large it is.  They do tear fairly easy on sharp edges, so if you follow suit be cautious.

Raised Bed, Recycled Raised Bed, Repurposed Raised Bed

Hanging closet organizer purchased at Goodwill for $2

Raised Bed, Recycled Raised Bed, Repurposed Raised Bed

Filled with 50/50 sand/compost + additives

Sadly we ran out of sunlight right at the end of our project building, so we were unable to take any photos of what we planted.  Tomorrow we will take a photo in the sunlight and will include this in tomorrow’s post.

Thanks for reading and as usual if you have any questions or comments feel free to post below or email us thefruitnation@gmail.com!

 

Handmade Rope, Survival Rope, Repurposed Bag

Finished rope next to the original product

Raised Bed, Recycled Raised Bed, Repurposed Raised Bed

Finished bed with Queen bed cover from Dollar Tree as night-time cover

 

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