Taking the Postives – AutoPot Kenya

Like the Lilac-breasted Roller nothing ruffles the feathers of Nam Oneko. Friendly, bright, and unflustered by adversity, our main man in Kenya has confidently decided that it’s time to invest in the next harvest. Yes, there are food production and distribution issues to overcome given Kenya’s stringent Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Regardless, Nam will be pressing on with his greenhouses as usual in the coming months. He even has sensational plans to diversify and expand in the pipe!

Above: Muddling through, rains play havoc with deliveries of Nam’s seed and feed supplies, regardless he’s determined to get on track with the next crop

Nam’s confidence is all the more remarkable given that many farmers in remote, rural areas around the world are facing tough decisions at the moment. Should they stick or twist with the next crop? Abandonment jeopardises the paydays by which they live. On the other hand, production means obtaining supplies, somehow organising labour, and exposure to costs which they might struggle to recoup if an accessible market doesn’t eventually materialise. Encouraged in no small part by the low-maintenance, high-yields, and minimal overheads of running his AutoPot Watering Systems, Nam is unfazed. 

Above: Nam’s local herbs in AutoPot easy2grow modules

Nam needs literally no electricity to operate any part of the irrigation or feeding process. Zero water or feed are wasted as plants only take what they need. So responsive are the AutoPots to the plants needs that climate controls are also unnecessary. For now only the logistical issues of obtaining substrates, seeds, and feeds stand in his way. Battling unruly waters (waves of the high seas and rains of the season) his supplies are, nonetheless, en route. Meantime he’s got to keep himself and the team at Kunya Beach, nr Kisumu match-fit. How better to achieve this than by creating a kitchen garden!

Above: Spinach and kale providing much needed fresh goodness for Nam’s kitchen garden

Hooray for Nam’s kitchen garden spinach, kale, herbs, onions, tomatoes, and passion fruit! All of these are on their way to harvest in a relative blink of the eye using his easy2grow modules. Herbs and salad bring flavour and good cheer in just a few weeks, tomatoes ripe and juicy in around 65 days, whilst the onions ready to unleash their phenomenally aromatic bite twenty days thereafter. Passion fruit may be a somewhat more languorous labour of love but who cares when you’re tasting that sweet pulp in a mere six months! 

Above: Ever-ready, tomatoes turn to harvest in around 65 days

Tweaked to perfection over the last few years, Nam’s tomato formula fertiliser brings the plants nutritious joy via reservoir and pipework. The feed is metered into the easy2grow module trays as required by the plant-controlled AQUAvalves. As a non-recirculating system the AutoPots eschew (bless you!) costly complication, pumps, computers, high-maintenance feed monitoring, and potential for cross-feeding of diseased plants. We’ll have none of that! Once in the trays the nutrient solution is drawn by the roots into a 50:50 coco-peat and pumice substrate which keeps things rich, yet airy and well drained.

Above: Despite recent difficulties plans are afoot for an exciting expansion

Along with the resumption of full greenhouse operations Nam is planning a project that promises to transform public involvement in horticulture and boost scale of his future operations. He’ll be offering unparalleled access to commercial farming practices and profits whilst increasing output to serve a very high demand for produce. Look forward to more news on this and the rich rewards of Nam’s kitchen garden in upcoming updates.

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