After our lab changement, we started to miss working with the seeds. we spend more time than we expected in have everything ready. It’s not easy to build a biotechnology lab with the resources of a nonprofit association!
The laboratory has been taking shape: shelves, installation of running water, workspaces, kitchen, the space of the coating machine… Gradually we can re-start the activity of germination tests, priming treatments and study of different pelletizing formulas.
Dronecoria flies in Brazil and Turkey.
In the same week we received news that colleagues from Sao Paulo and Turkey had fly up their drones that manufactured themselves. It’s amazing for us to see our drone replicate around the world.
In Brazil, DroneLab of Sao Paulo built the drone at the request of a Brazilian tv show to help an ecological landscape, here you can see the full chapter (only Portuguese):
Meanwhile, in Turkey, after having crashed several times as shown in the video, our friend Sercano succeeds in flying his drone to Dicle University’s faculty of agriculture.
We have taken advantage of the repercussion we have had on Brazilian TV to create a Telegram channel to gather interested folks in creating a reforestation project with drones in Brazil, we enable that people can self-organize, and with our help, we can scale reforestation projects internationally.
New landing gear
It has been a minor review, but in addition to being much more resistant and versatile, we are delighted at what the legs of our drones now look like with the new reinforced landing gear designed by Salva Serrano for version 6 and 7 of our drone. Soon in the drone repository in wikifactory!
We have great news to share, in addition to moving the lab, we are moving our seed bank to a new version. We have converted refrigerators into germination chambers at a controlled temperature. We have achieved this by connecting them to a Raspberry Pi and Arduino that receive information from temperature sensors placed inside.
The software and hardware we have developed is a first prototype, but it is already able to control 4 refrigerators that operate in different temperature ranges:
- Refrigerator 1 is between 1º and 3º. It serves us for the storage of seeds.
- Refrigerator 2 is between 3º and 5º. It is suitable for cold stratification treatments (to emulate winter).
- Refrigerator 3 is 20º. We carry out germination tests and hydropriming treatments of seeds without latency.
- Refrigerator 4 is 12 hours at 30º and 12 hours at 20º, to emulate summer, for tree seeds with long latencies.
Here we can see the temperature charts of two refrigerators with the two internal sensors, in red the upper temperature sensor, and in blue the lower one:
We are designing version 2 of this refrigerator controller, meanwhile, we continue to adjust our first prototype. We have programmed alarms and automated solutions to reduce any possible malfunctions. Many treatments are long lasting, months or even years, and every day refrigerators have to work in absolute reliability. A mistake can cause us to lose months of work with some species, including ruining the preparation of thousands of euros in seeds for next autumn’s reforestation projects.
This technology can meet the needs of a low-cost seed lab. To make this possible, we appreciate the voluntary collaboration of a group of super heroes programmers who support us in the design of all this. We collectively build this large-scale open source reforestation method. We develop it in our wikifactory and github repositories.
One of the great problems of direct sowing is the predation of seeds by rodents. We are gathering various materials that we will use in the new trials. We have acquired seeds from species that we want to study and gather what is necessary for anti-predation seed tests. In the coming months we will create seed balls that will include various materials, in our attempt to keep birds and rodents away from the seeds we sow:
- Cayenne pepper. The birds are insensitive to spicy, but the rodents expect them to leave the balls alone after they burn their mouths.
- Albarrana onion (Drimia maritima). It is a wild onion that mices don’t like, nor wild pigs, nor herbivores.
- Neem oil. In addition to being a natural insecticide, academics have been able to test its value as rodent repellent.
- Visual camouflage. The final coating of the seed ball should be “invisible” to rodents. Soil from the place itself can be used to disguise with the color of the soil. We also have the hypothesis that we could use fresh goat manure, so that the seed ball looks like a goat poo ball 🙂
- Olfactory camouflage. It is the one that we have the least developed, since we need an expert perfumer. It is about introducing essential oils that reject rodents, such as rough one, so that their odorous intensity camouflages the smell of appetizing seed. The problem we haven’t solved yet is how to fix that smell long enough until the first rain occurs.
We will probably combine all these repellents to achieve synergy in reducing lost seeds. But if spring rains have been scarce and the amount of wild fruits is not enough to satisfy the rodent hunger, they will get closer and closer to the seeds we sow.
Seeds and Drones #2
The universe in a seed ball, in this second episode of our Podcast, in addition to telling all the news of the project, we adapt the teachings of master Masanobu Fukuoka to the Iberian environment: Nendo Dango Mediterranean style. Adapting the technique to a different reality, not to increase the seed bank available in the soil, but to make the seeds germinate as quickly as possible after the first rain. (Spanish only)