We had 9(+2) neighbours joining in the group activities today. First activity for the day – sweet potato harvesting!
Neighbour Mr. Teo said that the Japanese sweet potato plants were yellowing, and it was time to harvest the sweet potatoes. It was our first time harvesting the tubers, and not the leaves – and we had waited 6 months to do so, so you can imagine the excitement!
The leaves were removed first. Then, the soil was carefully raked to pick out the sweet potatoes. There were 2 types – Japanese sweet potatoes, and white sweet potatoes. Apparently, the Japanese ones (which are purple in colour) taste better. But alas, where were they?? The photo below shows a typical sized white sweet potato which we retrieved. It was around 8cm long, and maybe 5cm wide? The purple ones were way thinner and smaller… like pencil thin even.
Neighbour Mr. Teo was really surprised. He said the soil was good, the fertiliser was applied regularly, and we do water the bed regularly – why are the tubers so tiny?
Mr. Teo then proceeded to harvest at least seven mid-sized melons to give away. Neighbour Dennis showed us how to use dried leaves from the garden to remove the sharp spines from the melon and its stalk. It became our second group activity, and was totally unplanned!
It was really fun, and we could involve the children (ages between five and ten).
Our third group activity for the day was to check our food composting barrel. We have more kitchen waste to add – vegetable cuttings, fruit peels, fruit enzyme, tea bags and used coffee grounds.
The barrel had been remained closed for about 1 week. This gave it time to heat up – and everyone was really happy to feel the heat when we put our hands into the barrel!
We added the bags of kitchen waste to the barrel.
It was then closed, and the children took turns to turn the barrel. It looked fun!
Ideally, the barrel should be turned once every 2 days to mix the organic materials and infuse them with fresh oxygen. Composting using this method can complete in a matter of weeks, as long as no new material is added.