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21/08/2015 - Back from holidays

We're back, with a nice sun-tan and happy souvenirs of a good summer holiday! We hope you're enjoying your summer, too.

With holidays it's difficult to keep on top of monitoring so a special congratulations is in order to those who have managed to keep uploading photos these past few weeks.

Most of the vegetables seem to grow well exactly during the holiday season. And while away, watering the plants is a big concern. Peter installed a (commercial) automatic watering system on his terrace and most of the plants survived his four week absence. The cucumber and the tomato have actually grown into huge plants.

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Elsewhere he hasn't been so lucky.

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Let us remind you that next week is also the time to plant the seeds of Tonda Musona onions and the Brown Goldring lettuce. The onions will grow all through winter to be harvested in spring. The lettuce can be seeded where the previous onions were planted (Rouge de Huy). Maybe some haven't harvested those onions yet because they're still small. In that case, let the onions grow and plant the lettuce seeds in between them.

We have some additional tips:

  • Parsley is a plant that can resist colder weather and survive through winter if somewhat protected. So only cut off some branches for your immediate use and let the main plant grow steadily.
  • Here's a useful tip that we learned from a member of the community garden. An easy and cheap way to fix cucumber and tomato branches to a stick is to cut 1 cm wide ribbons from a sturdy plastic bag. It's inexpensive and doesn't cut into the plant the way that metal wires do.

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Cheers!


22/07/2015 - Cucumbers, beetroot, beans and Data!

Dear CitizenSeed'ers,

Apologies for the silence last week.

It's time to harvest the beetroots, beans and cucumbers. Don't forget to weigh them, and take photos before and after harvest (on the scales) if you can. Here's one of the first cucumbers, which was devoured within minutes of its harvest:


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Cucumbers are known for having difficulty pollinating in the absence of plentiful bees. Unlike tomatoes that have male and female parts in one flower, they have separate male and female flowers. The easiest way to distinguish male and female is to look at where the stem meets the flower. On a female, this area will look like small fruit while male flowers are shorter, don’t show immature fruit, and often appear in clusters.


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To pollinate you can simulate a bee transporting pollen from flower to flower. Twirl a cotton swab/earbud in the male blossoms to pick up the pollen from the "anthers". Cucumber pollen is light in colour so you may not be able to see it, but it will be there. Now put the swab against the stigma of the female flowers and twirl it again. [Cucumbers are sufficiently self fertile that you don't have to move to separate plants, but you will likely get better results if you can move pollen from the male flower on one plant to a female flower on another plant.]


Alternatively you can do this by hand, if you don't want to use any aids. Carefully remove the petals from a male blossom, exposing the stamens as in the picture below:

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Place the male blossom in contact with the stigma on the female blossom and gently twirl it:

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We made some graphs to show the effect of sunlight on our plants. Several plots lack a bit of sunlight. This is the case for example of our plot at Sony CSL where hardly anything seems to grow... The cucumber is one of the only plants to have survived. In the graph below, in orange, you can see how many hours of direct sunlight our plot receives on average. In blue, you can also see the average soil humidity. The vertical lines correspond to the dates at which the images where taken.

At Sony CSL, the plot receives less than one hour of sunlight a day. This doesn't seem enough to grow vegetables.

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It seems that Motokiyo faces the same fate (image below). It would be interesting to make a selection of vegetables and seeds that are adapted for shaded areas.

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The picture of the cucumber with which we started this email is a proof that cucumbers can grow very well in urban areas. However, we don't understand yet why Louise's cucumber is growing so slowly despite receiving a fair amount of sunlight. Could it be a problem related to the soil?

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Finally, here are two graphs using data from Marc and Madeleine. We know they live in the center of their respective towns. Despite the urban environment, their vegetables enjoy a nice exposure to the sun, and they enjoy are fine harvest:

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We will continue to analyse the data. If you would like to join us and "play" with the data & photos, please contact us!


Wishing you and your plants all the very best!


25/06/2015 - Réseau social, salade et living roof

French version only...


20/06/2015 - Forum

Dear CitizenSeed'ers,

We hope this finds you and your plants well. Your tomatoes and cucumbers should be coming to the point where pruning becomes beneficial. While this is less important with tomatoes, it is necessary with the cucumbers to ensure a good crop.

Somehow cucumber plants sense that you are picking off the suckers and send them out in places where you won't look like behind a patch of leaves where they are hard to see! Cucumbers don't have an extensive root system like tomatoes and need to put all their energy into growing roots and foliage in the early stages to be able to support good fruit growth later on. So be vigilant and try not to miss any! The suckers can be snapped off with your finger. It's best to do it when they are still small. If they are bigger than a pencil, use secateurs.

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We've made a questionnaire to get data on the radishes and kickstart the forum. Remember to fill it in when you upload your next photos and feel free to ask questions or start a discussion in the forum on any topic related to Citizen Seeds.

Peter took part in a discussion at the European digital festival, 'Futur en Seine', an event that aims to provide enlightened solutions for tomorrow’s challenges. The title of the conference was "Responsible nutrition: How to sustainably feed a healthy population of nine billion by mid-century?" and took place in the main auditorium of the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts. The video is online on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yJbTUCxxKc


12/06/2015 - Coriander, Forum & Cats

Dear CitizenSeed'ers,

We hope your week went well, and you were able to enjoy some radishes along the way! Don't forget the coriander, which you can seed in square "I" (the radish square) this weekend. They will take about two weeks to germinate so do plant them now, even if you still have not yet harvested your radishes.

Most of our vegetables are growing slowly as of yet, but don't lose heart! Our lettuces seem to be coming on nicely and with a bit of luck that's a good indicator of things to come.

For those interested in the kind of data we hope to get out of the experiment, have a look at this excellent Citizen Science experiment (written by Dr Naomi van der Velden) here: https://www.permaculture.org.uk/sites/default/files/association_work/2012/june/mixed_veg_results-web.pdf

As you have noticed, we've added a forum to the Citizen Seeds experiment page. This will allow you post questions, observations and tips to others in the group and will facilitate greater interaction between us. Don't be afraid to take full advantage of it! We're still working on developing our communication tools and should have a nice surprise for you in the next couple of weeks (",)

Three talented young journalists interviewed Peter last week. You can view it online at the link below. Apologies in advance for the shaky image, Peter was ill equiped and only had a tablet to hand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZMudbEX3Rs&sns=em

On another note, many of you may have noticed how Cats have been getting ever closer to the world domination they exercised in Ancient Egypt. This process since has been gaining momentum at an alarming rate since the dawn of the internet, and citizen seeds has not escaped their efforts. Now that our plants have become prosperous (and perhaps more importantly, mice have moved in), one Cat, has seen fit to begin wielding influence over the GivanBela's citizen seeds project!


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At least we see that there is a vibrant eco-system being supported!

Wishing you all a great weekend, and freedom from feline oppression,

11/06/2015 - Infos workshop

Hello everyone,

Several people have asked for more details about the P2P Food Lab workshop that will take place this weekend during the Future-en-Seine festival. The workshop will be held this saturday, june 13nd, from 10am to 12.30 at « Les amies de la Nouvelle Fabrique », on the 4th floor of the Gaité Lyrique.

Address: La Gaîté lyrique - 3 bis rue Papin 75003 PARIS Map: [1] Web: [2] Workshop: [3]

Cheers!

08/06/2015 - First radishes!

The first radishes have arrived! And from what we've heard and tasted, they are delicious. The price for the first harvest (with photo proof) goes to pjgmver et Marc. Congratulations!


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Don't forget that the tops of the radish make for a delicious soup: (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/radish-top-soup/)

More info for this week: P2P Food Lab will participate at the "Future en Seine" festival at the end of this week. On Saturday morning we organise a workshop on how to build the sensor box (the website wrongly marks the workshop as being at 5pm): http://www.futur-en-seine.paris/projet/p2p-food-lab/ Later that day, P2P Food Lab will participate in a debate on responsible food systems: http://www.futur-en-seine.paris/projet/les-nouveaux-casse-tetes-dune-alimentation-responsable/

If you are in the neighbourhood, come and join us!

Last note about the web site, we are integrating the forum feature this week.

30/05/2015 - Profile page

This week's news includes the possibility to change the name of your plot and to provide more information about yourself. You will see that the participant names on the main page are clickable. They lead to a new profile page. Your own profile page is editable by you.

Some small tips on the crops/seedlings :

  • Thinning / plant out : If several seedling pop up at the same spot, e.g two salads on the same square centimeter, most garding books advise to keep only one them. Otherwise, the plants won't have enough space to develop well. You can simply cut the extraneous seedlings (it's cruel, I know). If the seedlings are spaced apart so you can remove them without damaging the remaing seedling, you can try to plant them in another location.
  • If nothing grows...: This is also cruel. If you are unlucky to have a square in which nothing popped up (or if the neighbour's cat digged a whole in the square, killing everything in its way, as in my case), don't hesitate to plant something else. However, in that case, don't upload any pictures of the new plant. The photos help us have a better idea about how many and which seeds germinated well. You can of course continue to take pictures of the other plants and of the whole plot.

According to our seeding calendar, this weekend we should be sowing the coriander seeds in the square of the radishes. Because no radishes are ready for harvest, yet, we propose to plant the coriander two weeks later, during the weekend of June 13th.

Reward : The first person to harvest a radish (photo proof required!) gets extra bonus points!

Harvest: When you harvest vegetables, we would like to ask you to take a picture of them, possible when posed on a scale. You can then upload the picture to the website, similar to your weekly pictures. For example, below is a picture of a tomato that I harvested two years ago (another variety then this year):

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Next week, we will work on the possibility to send comments, questions, advice... through the web site, so you can chat among each other.


26/05/2015 - Living Roof @ Les Docks Cité de la Mode et du Design

P2P Food Lab will participate in the Living Roof project that will take place in and around the Docks Cité de la Mode et du Design. Many associations are coming together this summer to install an urban agriculture space on the decks of the floating building and organise all sorts of workshops. The activities start in July and we will post a more detailed info when the schedule is fixed.



22/05/2015 - See the light

We integrated the sensor data of the Flower Powers inside the web site. In the web page, above some of the photos, you will see icons that show the average temperature, sunlight, and soil humidity. By hovering your mouse over the icons, you can see the actual values, and by clicking on them you can see the detailed graphs.

We were unable to connect to some of the Flower Power accounts. If you configured your Flower Power but you don't see any data, yet, please contact us by email so we look at the issues together.

Looking at the sunlight data, there are big differences from one location to another. GivanBela is leading the pack with a lot of sunlight. Motokiyo recevez a bit less sunlight but the plants receive so much love that they radiate:

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Next week, we will make sure that you can edit the name of your plot and also add additional information. We will be working also on the possibility to leave comments, suggestions, questions, etc. If you have ideas for stuff you'd like to see on the web site, please send them to us by email.


15/05/2015 - CitizenSeeds, what's growing

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I inserted a photo I took this afternoon of a beautiful shared rooftop terrace of a house in my neighbourhood. We planted the seeds six times in six different raised beds. The terrace is sun-flooded all day long and all seeds, except the parsley, germinated in less than 12 days.

About the web site, we added a novelty: you can now upload as many images as you like so you can take images of your beloved plants every day from every angle. Rejoice! Also, we now use the date marked inside the image data by the photo camera to place the images on the web site (except when that date seems completely off).

We are working on integrating the data of the Flower Powers. The integration should happen sometime next week.

08/05/2015 - Seedlings & upload using phone/tablet

The first seedlings are popping up! Our radishes gently started exploring their square meter plot. Don't forget to take a photos of yours and upload them to the web site! About the photo upload, we have added a web page that greatly facilitates uploading pictures using a cell phone or tablet directly from your garden. Using your phone/tablet, go to the address https://p2pfoodlab.net/CitizenSeeds/mobile/4.html. Happy gardening!

09/07/2014 - ALOTOF Video

Here’s is the fantastic video that Hannes made about the ALOTOF/P2P Food Lab workshop at the GreenFabLab Valldaura, Barcelona:

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Click to watch the video

02/07/2014 - CAPS “Off” Conference

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We presented the P2P Food Lab project at the OFF session of the CAPS conference. CAPS stand for Collaborative Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation (CAPSSI?). We are aiming for funding in the next call of this program. We set up the greenhouse (thanks Valentina & Ada!), filled it with Ada’s plants and did our best to decorate the open space. We also had the opportunity to present the project twice. Thank you, Marta! Below some pictures of the day and the links to the posters we showed.



20/06/2014 - Greenhouse connected!

Posted by Pierre Mainguet.

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A new greenhouse has been connected to the P2PFoodlab. Located at La Semeuse in the north of Paris, this new greenhouse join another community garden that has been connected a few days ago, Planete Lilas. We hope to see more and more of them in the next months, to start playing with remote data and knowledge sharing. If you are part of a community garden and want to get your own sensorbox, contact us (see here for details) or use our wiki!

The next step for P2PFoodlab project will be to improve the data and visualisation platform, and start thinking about experiments among our growing community. Comments and suggestions are (more than) welcome!



15/06/2014 - Another sensorbox online!

Posted by Pierre Mainguet.

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After Planète Lilas, it’s another sensorbox that we put online. Located on my balcony near Alesia in Paris, it currently monitors the growth of some of my tomatoes and salad. I will have the opportunity to test different configurations and new sensors (homemade soil sensor, atmo pressure and pollution to name a few), and be able to work on some live data to improve our dashboard. More to come!



14/06/2014 - Planete Lilas is online!

Posted by Pierre Mainguet.

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Last saturday, Peter went installing the first connected greenhouse at Planete Lilas, south of Paris. After an extensive debugging prior to the installation, we cross our finger to see if everything work as planned. If you want to check the data currently recorded at Planete Lilas, go to Planete Lilas DataSet (you may need to register to get access).