Sketch of Archilife Study Tour, May 2019
webmaster 2019-06-25 9 reads
For the study tour of May 25, 2019, Ms Lu Ming-yun led 17 ARF interns and their parents on a tour of Tianpu Community in Tainan to experience luffa gourd planting. It was clear and sunny on the day of the tour, and the interns and their parents were on time for the departure. At the start of the day's activities, team leader Ms. Lu Ming-yun reminded everyone about things to note and what to observe, and provided the interns some general background knowledge.
The morning's itinerary brought the group to Tianpu community in Yujing, Tainan, where the community's volunteer acted as tour guide. The tour began with an introduction to the environment surrounding the luffa farm and functions of its eco-pond. The tour guide then explained the growing process of the luffa gourds and how to differentiate between male and female flowers. Normally, male flowers will face the sun while the female flowers face downward and carry a small green luffa. Everyone was taught how to determine when the luffa gourds are ready for harvesting as the flesh inside the luffa gourds will become fibrous if left past the harvesting period. When growing luffa gourds, melon flies (Bactrocera cucurbitae) are the main pest. They will lay eggs under the fruit skin after the female flower has withered and the maggots that hatched will start eating from within the fruits. For pest control, luffa farmers will usually cover very young fruits with newspapers, and hang yellow sticky paper or PET bottles smeared with yellow adhesive to capture the flies. The interns were told to find young fruits that had not been infested by fly eggs, and bag them with recycled newspapers and steel wire ties. After the experience, the tour guide explained the effects of luffa water and the method of extracting luffa water. After all the luffa gourds have been harvested, and the plant is no longer watered and there is no rain seven days prior to the water extraction, the stem nearest the root is cut off in the evening and a large PET bottle is used to collect the liquid that flows out. Early next morning, the PET bottle is retrieved and the liquid is filtered several times to obtain the luffa water for daily use.
After lunch, everyone learned to make luffa soap. The next destination after Tianpu community is Xiaochong Orchard, which specializes in the cultivation of Irwin mangoes. Orchard owner Li Yu-chung was the tour guide. Mr. Li began by explaining that Irwin mangoes were originally grown in Florida whereas the local mango was introduced into Taiwan from India during the time of Dutch rule. Belonging to the Anacardiaceae family, mangoes are not favored by bees and are mainly pollinated by blow flies (Calliphoridae). As mangoes are susceptible to oriental fruit flies (Bactrocera dorsalis), they must pass quarantine inspection, and steamed at 46.5 degrees Celsius to kill any insect larva, when exported to countries that have not been invaded by oriental fruit flies. Finally, Mr. Li said that the crops are easily influenced by weather and the fruits are prone to splitting this year because of the rainy weather. He added that lychee orchards in other places are also affected by the warm winter last year. Due to the unusually small quantity of blossoms, lychee harvest is not expected to be good this year. The impact of climate change on humanity is a pressing issue that deserves serious consideration. At this point, the day's itinerary came to an end. Everyone took a group photo before heading back and looked forward to the next study tour.