When I was a young boy I would watch the reruns of “Gilligan’s Island” every afternoon. I would laugh and enjoy the larger than life characters and situations. My favorite and most despised character was the professor. How could someone so smart, so creative, and so well versed in the practical application of bamboo NOT get them off the island – but he could make a bamboo and salvaged outboard boat engine hair salon, complete with hair dryers and sinks, on a desert island? It was maddening to me. This week our neighborhood friend Eva Knutson gave us 12 branches of bamboo. Well, I have always been in MacGyver mode here at Mezzacello, so I figured out a creative use of that strong, lightweight, and flexible bamboo: potato plant stringing matrix.

[/media-credit] Bamboo, jute string, coconut fiber, steel, PEX tubing, and Martian regolith compost in one photo.

This is my third batch of potatoes this season at Mezzacello in the #ProjectMartian planting beds. I grew Yukon Gold, then Redskin potatoes. The plants and tubers grew very well in the amended growth substrate. The problem was always that the plants would start to wither and lay about. Soon after they looked so miserable I had to harvest them. Well now I have a stringing matrix that is #ZeroWaste and much more robust than jute stringing alone. Thanks Eva!

I would also like to thank my neighbor and fellow #UrbanFarmer Simon LaBozetta. Simon is a #WorldClass potato horticulturalist. It was Simon who convinced me that I could grow multiple generations of plants in my #ProjectMartian compost and regolith substrate. I just had to insure the spuds had the right amendments and nutrients and then the detail about supporting the plants. So the Ray Bradbury bit, that’s a nod to Simon. On Mars, those plant’s leaves are going to need all the sunlight they can get!

[/media-credit] A view looking East at the bamboo and PVC posts that create the grid for the potato plants to tie to. Standing potato plants are MUCH easier to water. Note the jute burlap mulch below. Still going strong!

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