Cold temperatures

We are currently protecting the soybeans in the planter box with a temporary greenhouse top (made from PVC pipes and greenhouse film) against the cold temperatures at night (lower 20s) – this morning there were spots of frost on the inside of the greenhouse film. Fortunately the plants still seem to do well.

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Farmers see growth potential in edamame

This newspaper article in our local newspaper today is quite relevant because we are growing Edamame, too!
Nuss, Jeannie. Farmers see Growth Potential for Edamame. Journal and Courier [Lafayette, IN], A6. Download article here: nuss_edamame.pdf

Also check out: Hutcheson, Scott. Hungry Hoosier – Edamame: Exotically Familiar. West Lafayette,IN: WBAA radio broadcast. May 15, 2012. Download .mp3 here: HungryHoosier_Edamame_051512.mp3

Soybean Developmental Stages

Hi everyone!
Since i’m a novice to soybean farming and a couple of other group members I talked to are as well I am posting the soybean developmental timeline. Both of the links are to University extensions probably very similar to Purdue Extension, which we learned a little about last semester. The University of Minnesota extension page has a chronological timeline while the University of Illinois extension page has better pictures (so I posted both)! If I understand correctly, It should take about 10 days for our beans to sprout and since we planted on Tuesday, they could potentially come up next week! I hope this is helpful!

University of Minnesota Extension-

University of Illinois Extension-


Based on the development of the beans so far, and with the help of the websites I linked to the post, here are the estimated times that our beans will hit each stage!

They developed approximately to the “VE” stage by 2/9
They should hit “VC” within the next day or so
“V1” – 2/28
“V2” – 3/5
“V3” – 3/10
“R1” – 3/23
“R3” – 4/5
“R5” – 4/23
and the beans should develop to the final stage, “R8”, by 6/4!

I hope this helps put a timeline to our plan! (I used the average amount of days that soybeans are generally in these cycles to make these date approximations so I hope that they aren’t too far off how our beans decide to develop)

Lilly Greenhouses

On Tuesday, 2/12/2013 we are meeting in Lilly Hall of Life Sciences to plant the soybeans together with greenhouse manager Deb Lubelski. We will meet in the lobby at 9:30am sharp and go from there to greenhouse number 12-3 together. After the planting Deb will give us a tour of the greenhouse facilities as well. Here are already some pictures of the greenhouse as well as a map with the location of Lilly.

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Week 4 Report

Jake, Jien Nee, William, Marissa, Joe, Sean, Robyn,Emily, Prof. Winkler and Prof. McMullen

Several of the NSG group met on Friday from 2:30 to 5:30pm in our project construction space (Discovery Learning and Research Center, Room 104).  During that time, we conducted a safety training, got to know the space, each other and our tools by building a project table (photos coming soon).  When the table was complete, we gathered together for discussion and updates on the project.  Here some highlights of that discussion:

1.  We agreed to use MDO board for the construction of our planter box.  The board has a smooth even light cardboard-colored surface and is suitable for outdoor use.  We still intend to add a couple of coats of varnish in order to make it even more weatherproof.  We also decided that the plastic liner suggestion from a previous meeting would be good to incorporate as a safety precaution to prevent any chemicals leaching from the wood into the soil.  We came up with a solution for securing the plastic in a way that will also look finished and keep the edges of the plastic secure.

mdo_board_image_fitted Approximate color of MDO board.

2.  Marissa did some research on wood joints (see her blog posting), which she shared and we discussed in relation to the wood type and size that we will be using.

3.  Profs. McMullen and Winkler shared the results of a conversation with the Lilly greenhouse managers Ron Steiner and Deb Lubelski.   First, Ron and Deb helped them  determine that it would be possible to plant an edamame variety of soybean (Midori Giant) that is adapted to this climate zone.

Second, given the possibility of freezing temperatures at the beginning of March (the primary challenge for our soybean plants) and the timing of spring break, we have decided to push back the placement of the planter box and transplanting the soybean plants to the week following spring break (March 18-23).  Still, once the soybean plants are in the box, we will need to monitor the weather closely and respond accordingly by either covering or uncovering them.  During the very vulnerable few days after being transplanted, we also need to really watch the moisture level in the soil as well.  Waiting until after spring break, will ensure that we will have enough people around to help with this transition.

5.  Based on conversations with plant experts, we have determined that we will need to build covered tunnel hoops for the soybean plants, that can be attached to the planter box.  The tunnels will act as a kind of greenhouse for the plants, protecting them from the cold when needed — especially at night.  As a group, we discussed design challenges and possibilities for building the hoops.  Johnny Seeds has an introductory video on tunnel hoops that is helpful to view.  Johnny Seeds also has components available for building the tunnels, so that we can see what is recommended, create a price quote and then compare this to what we might be able to source locally.  Additionally, Profs. Winkler and McMullen will try to arrange for a tour of some high tunnels on campus built and used by the Purdue Student Farmers.  The Student Farmers could share their experiences with building and sourcing materials.

6.  Seeds and inoculant have been ordered and are on their way.  We are planning to plant early next week.

7.  When the construction group next meets on Friday, we will work on sizing the solar cell for the solar tower.

Tomorrow: Soybeans and Construction

Just a reminder that tomorrow we will be meeting in DLRC 104 from 2:30 to 5:30. The Discovery Learning and Research Center is located at 207 South Martin Jischke Drive. 104 is on the first floor at the far west end of the building.

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The agenda tomorrow includes: safety training, work table building, research updates on plywood and soybeans, design sessions (solar and low tunnel covers), scheduling, music, fun, etc.