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HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

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HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  sfg4uKim on 10/19/2010, 3:57 pm

Hey Everyone I need help (LOL boy do I).

I talked to the head of a group going to Ecuador in January. HOPEFULLY I'll be invited to teach Square Meter Gardening!

BUT I need your help. I've been asked to learn about the special needs of growing in a high altitude, extremely sunny climate. Also, how do I find the best crops for that area?

They already compost in that area, so I'm ahead of the game in that regard. And since the mission trip is to mainly building, I should have plenty of scrap materials for box building.

Thanks everyone!
Kim

I'm SO excited! bounce

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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Re: HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  acara on 10/19/2010, 5:11 pm

Ugg ... thats a big order ..

Assuming high altitude > 6000 ft? (high altitutue= standing on tip-toes to a Floridian...LOL). I've only grown stuff in Costa Rica, but I'm not sure if my elevation was higher/lower than where your going (I was about 1600m)

Biggest challenge is soil ..... but your MM or compost will handle that

Second is thin air & resulting moisture evap. An "orchid solution" is sphagnum moss ....but realistically any tree-bark mulch should be available/work.

Third is going to be wind ... from a physical, temperature and evaporation standpoint.

I remember everything getting planted with big rocks around it (wind shelter and temp mainetnance) or next to a cinderblock wall. They also strung a lot of burlap on post (wind block and shade).

As far as what to grow ...... best advice I can offer is look at that their AG exports are for the region ..

Here is one site that may help http://www.indexmundi.com/

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Re: HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  Chopper on 10/19/2010, 5:55 pm

I think the question is what do they normally eat? Whatever it is, it likely grows there and it is likely what they will want. Is this subsistence type stuff? Potatoes and sweet potatoes go along way to providing bulk and calories. So do beans of all types. Beets, carrots, cabbage - all good possibles. And of course, tomatoes.

Btw, for bigger crops of dried type beans and maybe tomatoes I will be making some special boxes - likely 2X 10 or something. For one crop boxes, it seems more useful.

Since they are SFG boxes, adding shade cloth or anything else over the boxes is simple. But I would do some research on just how much actual effect there is as far as the sun goes. As far as thinner air - ask the Colorado people. I don't think the effect of that matters so much in the day to day of a garden.

Do let us know how it goes.

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Re: HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  Megan on 10/19/2010, 7:01 pm

Just guessing here... but probably the best resource for what grows in Ecuador is the people of Ecuador. A visit to the local farmer's markets might be a good idea for one of your first stops when you get there. Talk to the farmers, ask them what they grow, what methods already work well for them. They know their soil and climate.

I found these:
http://countrystudies.us/ecuador/45.htm
http://countrystudies.us/ecuador/46.htm
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35761.htm

Hope this helps, even if just a little. Smile
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Re: HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  sfg4uKim on 10/19/2010, 9:52 pm

Thanks everyone - the ideas are great.

I've asked the sponsoring organization about crops that are normally grown there and I like the ideas of asking the Colorado people and creating microclimates.

Keep the ideas coming.

It won't be until January, but I'll definitely keep everyone informed.

Kim

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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Re: HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  Megan on 10/19/2010, 10:02 pm

I think this is a fantastic topic, Kim, since micro climates exist all over and you never know when a solution for a town in Ecuador could be a great one for someplace else! Please do keep us posted. Looking forward to hearing further news about your project.
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Re: HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  sfg4uKim on 10/19/2010, 10:27 pm

The area I'd be going to is Ambato which is 2577 meters (8454 ft) above sea level.

The good news is that there's plenty of water.

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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Re: HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  Old Hippie on 10/19/2010, 11:36 pm

How low do night time temperatures drop? High altitudes can get have some pretty extreme temps from day to night, even in the summer time.

GK
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Re: HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  acara on 10/20/2010, 6:55 am

ksroman wrote:The area I'd be going to is Ambato which is 2577 meters (8454 ft) above sea level.

The good news is that there's plenty of water.

Holy nosebleed Batman !!!
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Re: HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  Megan on 10/20/2010, 7:38 am

Some more Googling:

http://highaltitudegardening.blogspot.com/
http://gardening.coloradohighaltitude.com/
http://www.suite101.com/content/high-altitude-gardening-tips-a121111
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Re: HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  Furbalsmom on 10/20/2010, 1:33 pm

Researching Ecuador in general, I found most meals are beans and rice, with some meat, mostly chicken and very few salads or vegetables. Travel sites stated it is hard to locate restaurants that serve leafy veggies and salads, which leads me to believe these are not widely grown.
Ambato is in the province of Cotopaxi, and the closest airport is Latacunga with an altitude of 9137 ft. I did not find weather conditions in Ambato, but found Latacunga with high temps throughout the year of 53 - 75 and lows of 32 - 53. October thru May they have 250 to 300 GDDs per month. Seems like these would be good conditions for most lettuces, greens and cabbage types such as kale, collards, chard, broccoli, cauliflower etc and perhaps some squash. There is a native tree tomato that grows 5 ft high, so probably not too good for the limited space in their square meter garden. Hope others find more info for you.
I admire your willingness to help people in need, wherever they live.
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Re: HELP - High altitude and intense sunlight - Ecuador

Post  sfg4uKim on 10/20/2010, 2:45 pm

LOL I don't know yet if I'm even going, but I'm really excited and planning as if I am.

I found a site to help me prepare for going to a high altitude area and avoiding altitude sickness. Today I started a new exercise program.

I also found a seed company that has a section geared specifically toward high altitude growing. http://www.seedstrust.com/joomla/. They even have seed broken down by cool and warm crops!

Thanks EVERYONE for the info - keep it coming!

Kim

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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