Growbox FAQ’s

FAQ’s

How many categories are there in the competition?

There will be five (5) main categories and six (6) special categories for judging. Please see the rules and regulations for more information.


Who can participate in the competition?

Any resident of Trinidad and Tobago (child or adult) who is not a professional farmer or engaged in large scale farming is eligible for entry.


How long is the competition?

The competition will run for eight (8) weeks, the expected duration for the selected crops to achieve maturation and produce.


When will results for the competition be announced?

The results will be announced after July 5th 2021.


Can I grow crops outside of those listed?

No food crop outside the approved list should be grown in the same garden plot/ grow box/ pot as the crops being adjudicated unless such plants serve a purpose such as insect repellent etc. The presence of any other crop or plant will lead to disqualification.


How many crops can I plant?

Competitors must plant at least four (4) of the listed crops across any category.


Is the Ministry providing seeds,seedlings or soil for planting?

No, competitors are required to provide their own seedlings, soil or any other requirements for their gardens.


I don’t have space to grow crops in the ground. Can I use pots?

Crops can be planted in any object available (e.g. ground, grow box, pot etc.) and may be of any shape but must:

  1. Be within the boundaries of their property and
  2. Stay within the square footage allocated for the category.

Will anyone from the Ministry be visiting my home?

Random site visits will be conducted by Ministry Officials during the competition. Competitors will be notified in advance to schedule a time for the visit.


What are the short term and long term ages for the seedlings?

Short term= 30-45 days harvest time, at least 2 weeks old.

Long term =10-12 weeks harvest time, at least 2 weeks old.


What to look for when choosing seedlings?

Short term- 4- 6 Healthy looking leaves or height should be 4-6″. Plants should be free of spots, blemishes and any sign of pests.

Long term- 4 – 6 Healthy looking leaves; height should be 3-5″. Plants should be free of spots, blemishes and any sign of pests. Choose disease resistant varieties once available.


Do all the registered family members have to be shown in all the video submissions?

Each registered member should be seen at least once showing their participation.


Is there a maximum number of family members that can register/participate in the family category?

No, once all the family members reside in the same household.


Can participants enter more than one category?

Participants can enter one of the main categories (small, medium, large, hydroponic, aqua phonics, best influencer kitchen garden) and one of the special categories (most innovative, most sustainable, people’s choice, decorative and family garden).


Step by Step Guide to Home Gardening

What you should know? Video links
Growth of a Plant

Requirements for the Growth of a Plant

REQUIREMENTS FOR HEALTHY PLANT GROWTHPlants need:1. Air2. Water3. Sunlight4. Drainage & Irrigation5. Balanced nutrition6. A suitable growing medium7. Proper Weed control8. Proper Pest control9. Proper Disease control10. Good managementOnce all these things have been provided for the plant and proper management is adhered to, your plant can grow and produce. Please see the link beow for the accompanying factsheethttps://agriculture.gov.tt/publications/requirements-growth-plant/

Posted by ETIS Division on Sunday, March 29, 2020

Places to Plant at Home

Place to Plant at Home

So what do I do First 🤷🏾‍♀️ if I want to set up a Home Garden? There are three main steps to Setting up Your Home Garden 1️⃣ Planning The Fun Part-Using a pen and paper do a simple diagram to mark where some features are on your property, e.g. +6 hrs.Sun, Shade, Wet, Dry, electricity lines, drain. 2️⃣ Designing Plan the layout of the crops. Now add to your sketch and put plants into spots that are suitable for them. 3️⃣ Implementing 👩‍🌾👩‍🔧👷‍♂️⚒🧱Stay tuned as we post more on Home Gardening!

Posted by ETIS Division on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

 

Land Preparation

Land Preparation for Your Home Garden

👨‍🌾Land Preparation for Your Home Garden⛏🕳🌴🥥Now that we have covered how to prepare the growing medium, those of you with containers can get started.If you are planting in the soil you will have a few additional steps👣Step 1• Determine the Soil Type - Sandy - Clay - LoamStep 2• Clear the selected area of everything you don’t need - Remove weeds ( by hoe, weed wacker, brushing cutlass) - Remove undesirable materials - Do not remove by burning ( as this destroys organic matter, kills of beneficial soil organisms and results in soil erosion)Step 3• Observed the drainage pattern of the area cleared - This helps determine the orientation of the beds - Prevent soil erosion Step 4• Prepare the planting area to ensure adequate drainage, aeration and space for root growthStep 5Determine if you are planting in individual holes or on beds• Individual Holes - Make a Planting hole - Add and mix sharp sand, organic matter and limestone to the soil removed from the planting hole - Place the mixture in the planting hole• Beds - Prepare the planting area by tilling or loosening the soil - Spread the mixture of sharp sand, organic matter, and limestone evenly over the entire area and incorporate in the soil - Form beds- size of beds depends on the crop chosen - The bed can be any length but should allow you to reach the center of the bedStep 6• Make drains at least 20 cm deep to allow excess run –off water from the beds to flow into the main drainsStep 7• Plant you seedling or sapling

Posted by ETIS Division on Sunday, April 5, 2020

 

Choosing good quality seedlings

Choosing Good Quality Seedlings for the Home Garden

Does it seem like you are doomed to have a brown thumb 😖 👎🏽? How many times have you brought home a seedling and happily planted it and the next morning it was dead.What if I told you that sometimes this can be avoided just by simply choosing good quality planting materials.Types of Planting Materials• Seeds ( Seasoning herbs, legumes, corn) • Seedlings ( most vegetable crops)• Cuttings ( cassava, potato, yam, ginger, dasheen, tannia, eddoes)• Suckers ( banana, plantain)• Budded/ grafted plants (fruit trees)Certain Factors need to be considered when you are choosing planting matter or seedlings from nurseries or plant shops.Environmental Factors • The surroundings should be free from overgrown bushes, generally clean, no waterlogged conditions • Seedlings should be in conditions that are free from excess shade. If seedlings have too much shade they do not "harden off" and they have difficulties when they are transplanted.Seedling Characteristics The seedlings should: 1. Be of the appropriate age (seedlings with 4-6 healthy green leaves)2. Be free from pests and diseases 3. Have healthy white roots (good root development, with no balling of roots)4. Show vigorous, healthy growth5. Be of uniform appearance6. Have the proper Shoot to Root ratio (2:1)

Posted by ETIS Division on Monday, April 6, 2020

 

Transplanting and Watering

Transplanting and Watering your Plants in Your Home Garden

Once you have chosen your planting material you have several methods of Planting or TransplantingMethods:• Direct Seeding• Transplanting Seedlings• Transplanting Cuttings• Transplanting Suckers• Transplanting Fruit TreesDirect seeding has certian advantages and disadvantagesAdvantages:• Planted directly because of the large seed, so it has enough food reserves for the young plant to establish itselfDisadvantages:• Require 3-4 times more seeds• More weed control necessary• More time and effort in pest and disease controlTransplanting Seedlings • Ensure seedlings are hardened off• Plant seedlings in the late afternoon• Prepare the land or the containers for the plant• Place stakes or supports for plants • Prepare the planting hole depending on the seedling size ( hole should be twice as large as the root ball• Incorporate soil from hole with manureSteps in Transplanting a Seedling1. Remove the seedling from the seedling tray and loosen the medium around the root2. Make a hole large enough for the root to comfortable fit into planting hole3. Set the plant in the soil, keeping it level to the soil. 4. Do not bury the seedling too deep5. Do not pile soil around the seedling stem6. Lightly compress soil around seedling once planted.7. Water seedling as soon as it is transplanted8. Provide plant with a liquid fertilizer as a soil drenchTransplanting cutings• Sweet potato slips - 12” or 30 cm apart• Cassava - 90 cm ( 3ft.) apart , at an angle 45degrees, leaving 2-3 nodes (eyes) above ground• Yam setts - pieces or whole yam heads 90 cm (3ft.) apart on mounds. • Dasheen - corms 30 cm- 60cm (1-2ft.) apart for leaves - 90 cm (3ft.) apart for dasheen corms• Ginger - plant pieces 60 cm (2ft) apart• Eddoes - plant cormels 60cm (2ft.)• Tannia - plant cormels 90cm (3ft. ) apartTransplanting Banana/ Plantain Suckers• Using a sharp straight cutlass or spade to remove the sucker ensuring that the corm remains intact• Trim around the corm until white tissue is seen• Cut off the top of the sucker• Plant sucker 2-3 meters apart• Prepare the planting hole 30cm x 30cm x30cm (1ft x 1ft x1ft)• Mix the soil with 1tbsp. 12:24:12 and organic matter and place at base of planting hole• Place sucker in planting hole and full around it with remaining soil mix, ensuring that the corm is covered.Importance of Water for Plant Growth.• Solvent for minerals• Transport of minerals and manufactured food• Evaporation/ Cooling• Plant structure & Turgidity ( pressure of water in the cells)• PhotosynthesisTips when Watering/ Irrigation• Chlorine free water e.g. rain water is best • Irregular watering puts plants under stress and causes: - Flower drop - Poor fruit development - Stunted growth or even deathMethods of Watering• Watering can- suitable for small garden or containers• Garden Hose ( fan nozzle or spray attachment) for larger gardens - Nozzle breaks the force of water - Gentle flow rates of water don't displace seeds - Nozzels help reduce damage to seedlings (gentle/shower)• Drip or Trickle irrigation- large/small areas has certain benefits - Reduces water needed - Water is placed where needed - Reduces weed growth ( limited water for weeds on surface) - Keeps leaves dry reducing fungal growth - Reduces soil splash on to leaves Alternative techniques for watering plants• Ollas • Self Watering Pots • Selfwatering Guttering System• Soda Bottle/ Plastic Bottle Waterer

Posted by ETIS Division on Thursday, April 9, 2020

 

Fertilizers – How to apply

Fertilizing for Your Home Garden

So it's time we learned about fertilizing those plants you have recently plantedWhat is a Fertilizer• Any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that are added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of pants.Fertilizers may be Organic or Inorganic.• Organic ( derived from living sources) o Manure from animal waste o Compost derived from plants & organic material• Inorganic (Manufactured or mined chemical compounds) o They may be Simple or complex o Are derived from elements that are bonded together o May be in the form of a Solid: Granular; Crystalline or LiquidNow remember all fertilzers are not the same. Every fertilizer will have different mineral compounds. Depending on the stage of growth your plant is in it will need different fertilizers to provide it with the raw elements necessary for it to grow and produce.The Three Main Nutrients are N : P : KNitrogen, Phosphorus, PotassiumThese will be the letters you commonly see when you go to purchase fertilizers at the agro shop. If your soil is now being prepared you will need a fertilzer high in Phosphorus (P)- Root developmentIf your plant is now growing and producing leaves you will need a fertilzer high in Nitrogen (N)- Shoot developmentIf your plant is already grown and mature enough to flower and fruit you will need a fertilzer high in Potassium (K)- Flower and Fruit developemntNutrients needed by Plant • Macro/ Major: o Nitrogen (N); Phosphorus (P); Potassium (K) • Secondary: o Calcium (Ca); Magnesium (Mg); Sulphur (S) • Micro: o Iron (Fe) ; Chlorine (Cl); Copper (Cu); Manganese (Mn); zinc (Zn); Molybdenum (Mo); Boron (Bo)Summary Nutrients needed by Plant • In the soil before planting – 12:24:12 + TE• While growing – 20:10:10 + TE• While flowering and fruiting – 9:6:24 + TE• Seedlings after they are transplanted– 20:20:20 + TE ( equal parts of all N: P: K but at a high level and soluble so plant can access it easily.

Posted by ETIS Division on Sunday, April 12, 2020

 

Weed control

Weed Control in The Home Garden

👩‍🌾Weed Management in the Home Garden🍄😮🤔I said weed management ...not Weed management🤦‍♀️🧐The simple definition of a weed is: A plant that is growing in an area where it is not wanted.The complicated definition is:Weeds are plants which are undesirable, persistent, damaging and interfere with growth of other crop plants thus affecting human activities, agriculture, natural processes and economy of the country.Weeds can impede the proper development of a crop as they:1. Compete for light, moisture and nutrients affecting quality and quantity of produce 2. Interfere with and damage harvesting equipment 3. Harbor pests and diseases In addition to adversely affecting the Crop they also:4. Have toxic properties that can cause health problems to humans and animals 5. Contaminate aquatic resources 6. Interferes and adversely affects natural ecosystem.Methods of Weed Control1. Manual Weed Management• Via hoeing or hand weeding• Vegetables that are delicate as seedlings• Done when weeds are young• Before roots are intertwined and• Before seeding2. Mulching• During dry season• Smothers weeds3. Drip Irrigation• Distributing appropriate amounts of water to root system• Reducing water loss• Allowing surface of soil to dry and thereby offering less water for weeds4. Cultural control methods• Controlled spacing• Good crop canopy• Optimum growing environment for plant• Crop rotation5. Chemical Control6. Integrated weed managementChemical control of weeds is not encouraged in the Home garden as the space may be small, so leaching and cross contamination can easily occur. This can cause damage to crops, seedlings and even you!Chemical Herbicides also commonly known as Weedicides can be classified based on several attributes.1. Classification Based on Translocation• Systemic/Translocated - passes all through plant and kills it• Non-systemic/Contact- kills where it comes in contact with2. Classification Based on Time of Application • Pre-emergent - kill weeds before emergence from soil i.e. seeds• Post-emergent- eradicate weeds that have already emerged from soil3. Classification -Method of Application • Soil Applied - to soil• Foliar Applied - to plant4. Classification Based on Specificity • Selective Herbicides- kills certian plants• Non-selective Herbicides- kills all plants present5. Classification Based on Site of Action• Herbicides generally target essential metabolic processes in plants e.g. photosynthesis, mitosis or amino acid biosynthesis. These processes are common in both crops and weeds. Herbicides can stop these essential process thereby killing the plant.So remember to choose your method of weed control properly so your crop does not suffer and you do not have a loss of production.

Posted by ETIS Division on Monday, April 13, 2020

 

Pest Management

Pest Management in the Home Garden

🤔What about Pests?🐌🦗🐜Pests are organisms (weeds, insects, animals) that cause damage to crops. They affect the plant’s growth and vigour, reduce yields and may even kill the plant. Types of Pests• Insects- Aphids, beetles, caterpillars,• Insect-like organisms –mites, spiders• Weeds• Molluscs- Snails and slugs• Vertebrates- Birds• Mammals- Rats and Mongoose👩‍🌾How do Pests damage plantsPests cause damage to Plant roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds. 🐛Insects are the most common pests. Eaten, damaged, distorted or discoloured plant parts may be a sign of insect damage. The nature of the damage is determined by the mouthparts of the insects.Three types of mouth parts:MOUTHPARTS & ACTION : Biting and ChewingPEST: Caterpillars, BeetlesDAMAGE: • Ragged edges of leaves. • Pieces of plant tissue missing• Irregular holes in foliage or stem • Missing leaves• Leaves with “window panes” i.e.showing bared veins (called leaf skeletonizing)• Discoloured areas on the surface or margins of leaves or petals• Wilted plants (from white grub damage or other root feeders).MOUTHPARTS & ACTION : Piercing and SuckingPEST: Aphids, WhitefliesDAMAGE: • Small dots on the surface of frits and leaves• Leaf curling• Deformed or stunted plants• Wilting and ultimately tissue death• Growth of black sooty mold fungus • Some piercing and sucking insects can also inject toxic materials into the plants while feeding and some transmit disease organismsMOUTHPARTS & ACTION : Rasping and scrapingPEST: Thrips, MitesDAMAGE:• Areas of discoloured tissue as if rubbed with sandpaper• Silvery bronze leaf colour after the insect removes the top layer of the cells and sucks the cell contents• Death of affected tissue which turns brown and tears easily • Bleached and dry leaves

Posted by ETIS Division on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

 

Disease Management

Disease Management in the Home Garden

🧫Diseases affect Plants too! 🔬What is a Disease?🦠A disease is a condition caused by tiny organisms which hampers the growth and development of a plant. A diseased plant does not produce in the way it should ( both in term of quantity and quality) and can die prematurelyPlant DiseasesMost plant diseases are caused by:• Bacteria• Fungi• Nematodes• VirusesDisease organisms affect plants:• By producing toxins• By depriving plant of food• By occupying space (nematodes)• By blocking waterDiseases are TransmittedPathogens that cause diseases are spread by:• Wind• Pests• Water• Humans• Animals and Birds• Contaminated equipment• Infected planting materials• Soil splash• Plant to plant by physical contactSymptoms of Diseases• Wilting (Partial or the entire plant- bacterial wilting). This can be confused with inadequate watering. A plant that wilts due to lack of water will recover when watered (temporary wilting). Plants infected with bacterial wilt will not permanently recover.• Discoloration (yellowing; mottling- colored spots, chlorosis) may be caused by viruses.• Water soaked areas may be caused by fungi.• Abscesses (anthracnose- sinking of fruit; rotting of fruit) may be caused by bacteria or fungi.• Unnatural Growth- narrowing of leaf blades; curling and crinkling of leaves and shoots, root galls.• Fuzzy growth, caused by bacteria.• Leaf spots caused by bacteria or fungiOther things that may mimic disease symptoms include:1. Fertilizer burn2. Pesticide burn 3. Spay drift ( herbicide)4. Nutrient deficiency symptoms can mimic some disease symptoms. Example Blossom end rot is a calcium deficiency (large, dry brown or black and often depressed leathery area at the blossom end of the fruit). Blossom-end rot is a physiological disorder, not disease.For more information on Pests and Diseases that occur in the Home Garden please visit the Ministry of Agriculture Land and Fisheries Web site and download or print our Pest and Disease Manual for Home Gardening. https://agriculture.gov.tt/publications/management-pests-diseases-home-gardening-manual/

Posted by ETIS Division on Wednesday, April 15, 2020

 

Harvesting

Harvesting Crops from the Home Garden

👩‍🌾🥑🥭🍒🍊🥥🍍🍅🥔🍠🥦🥬🥒🌶🌽🔪👨‍🌾Harvesting Crops from the Home GardenNow that we have learnt all the steps in growing crops and keeping them free of pests and diseases, we can finally harvest a wonderful crop.What is Harvesting?Harvesting is the process of removing your produce (fruits, vegetables and root crops) from the plant when mature, at the time they are ready for immediate consumption, sale or storage. When should you harvest• The time of harvest varies with each crop• Harvest produce at the stage for consumption• The expected time for harvest is based on the time of planting or transplanting • Crop- Lettuce, patchoi Harvest time- 4-5 weeks ( before they flower)• Crop - Chive, celery Harvest time - 4 weeks• Crop - Melongene Harvest time - 10 weeks• Crop - Okra, cucumbers Harvest time - Once mature, every other day• Crop - Tomatoes, hot peppers Harvest time - 10 weeks, Mature but still green, allowed to ripen in storage • Crop- Bananas, plantains, Tomatoes , peppers Harvest time - Harvest when fruit is mature, when it has changed to the colour you desireBe guided by• Sight- colour, size, shape • Touch- texture, hardness, softness• Smell- odour, aroma• Taste-sweetness, sourness, bitterness• Resonance-sound when tappedMethods of Harvesting• Handpicking• Harvesting Using Tools• Knife• Secateurs• Fruit Picker• Picking Pole• Garden Fork• Harvesting Using MachineryNow that you have bought or harvested your produce the next step is to clean and prepare for storage and/ consumption. Please follow along with the accompanying posters for this information.

Posted by ETIS Division on Thursday, April 16, 2020

 

Hydroponics
Aquaponics

 

 

Courtesy the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries

 

Phases Activity Timelines
Phase 1 Registration

Plants in the ground

1st Video Submission (upload)

 

April 9th – May 3rd

April 19th – 27th

April 27th – May 3rd

 

Phase 2 2nd Video Submission (upload)

 

Dates Coming Soon

 

Phase 3 3rd Video Submission (upload)

People’s Choice

 

Dates Coming Soon