Start the Countdown!
Written by Christopher Rothera
It has been another productive week for all of us here in Somaliland. We are now counting down the days until we have completed the construction and Seawater Greenhouse Somaliland can officially begin production. We are hitting the final major milestones in the construction with two being reached this week; the switching on of the RO system, and the shade netting of both of the Seawater Greenhouses being erected.
Now that we are nearly finished with the implementation phase, we are able to focus, in earnest, on the planting. Our own horticultural manager, Hassan Isaac, has been continuing with his growing plan, with over 650 seedlings now being propagated to be transplanted and with thousands more to come!
Hassan has been sat at his self-made planting station with his production-line of seeds, jiffy pots and propagators setting up the first crop. We all cannot wait for the first harvest, a few months from now; with all the hard work from all sides, those first tomatoes will taste oh so sweet!
The Reverse Osmosis System
We are now producing fresh water, courtesy of the sea! Opubo Igobo of Aston University returned to Somaliland this week to perform the final operational tests on the RO system before he attached the final plumbing connections and flicked the switch. The fresh water from our PV powered desalination system will now be quenching the thirst of both the plants and my team alike!
I and my team have again been focusing solely on the Seawater Greenhouse netting this week, finishing the Nursery first before tackling the main Seawater Greenhouse. The process to erecting the shade netting begins with unrolling, and laying out, each net under the SG before carefully lifting the net over each of the greenhouse cables. The net is then unfolded slowly from one end to the other whilst using special netting clips to temporarily hold the netting in place. These nets are very large, even small gusts of wind can make the netting unmanageable, so these temporary clips are essential. The whole team then returns to one end of the netting and begins to apply clips as well as tension to the net, along its entire length, until finally the very ends of the netting is anchored into the ground.
Until Next Time
Next week shall see our storage tanks slowly filling with desalinated fresh water and the team changing focus to installing our evaporative cooling walls. These specialised walls provide the oasis effect necessary to allow us to grow crops in these hot, arid regions of the world for 1/10th the water than does traditional agriculture. After this installation of these evaporator walls, all major construction jobs will finally be complete and we can begin full site operations testing... and maybe a bit of celebrating! See you there soon.