Plan for the Tomato Project

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We will create a free wiki to document our project and store the reports that the students will generate. I’ll demonstrate how to get a wiki started to the students, and provide a few links for wiki references in Spanish. The wiki can be written in Spanish.

The students will need to understand the background and context of this project. We don’t have to do all of these items, because students don’t have infinite time, but in what order should we study these? (Maybe growing conditions first.)

Tomato information to assemble for the project:

  • What are the proper growing conditions for tomatoes? How to sow, how to plant, spacing of plants, fertilizing. How is it done in Ecuador? Visit to tomato farm?
  • What is a tomato botanically (fruit and classification)? What are the species? What are commonly referred to as tomatoes, but are not genuine tomatoes?
  • What diversity is there in tomatoes? Colors, shapes, sizes, flavors, plant growth habits, plant appearance, etc.?
  • What are the major pests and diseases of tomatoes? Which are commonest in Ecuador? How are they controlled?
  • What disease resistances are available in tomatoes?
  • Hybrid versus open pollinated tomatoes: genetic differences, seed production techniques.
  • Glossary of tomato terminology.
  • What tomatoes are grown in Ecuador?
  • Who grows tomatoes in Ecuador?
  • Where do the seeds come from? Do farmers save their seeds or buy from seed companies? Seed saving techniques.
  • GMO tomatoes?
  • Why don’t people in Napo tend to grow their own tomatoes?
  • Good resources on the web, English and Spanish.

Tomato original data we can gather by observation of our 40 varieties:

  • Description of fruit. (We need to get specific with which things we will describe.) Sugar with refractometer. Comparisons to market fruit.
  • Description of plants.
  • Disease susceptibility and resistance that we observe.
  • Productivity.
  • Photographic documentation of plants, fruit, diseases.
  • More?

What products will we create with our knowledge and data?

  • Saved seed for redistribution.
  • Wiki site.
  • Publication?

We can also set a schedule for regular meetings, at whatever frequency the students desire. There are about a dozen information pages to construct: perhaps one a week for each student. That way they will be done and organized before we have to record too much data as harvest begins.

This looks like a lot, but so does any syllabus. It is lots of small pieces that are easily assembled, one-by-one into the wiki. There are no errors or failures: wikis make it easy to continually improve as more information is found. Wikis also make it easy to track changes by the authors, so responsibility and productivity is easily demonstrated.