Week 10: 6 Feb – 12 Feb

Sunday 6th February: I visited the trees to see if the high humidity from yesterday had affected the trees. The vent arrangement seemed to have worked and the trees were now in a climate of 55% humidity. They showed few, if any, signs of a reaction to high humidity.

Monday 7th February: I checked on the trees to see how they were taking to the re-potting. With the exception of one tree, suffering from plant shock, they seemed pretty good although I could see some stress in many of the leaves. For this reason I have reduced light hours from 13.5 (6 am – 7.30 pm) to 12 hours (7 am – 7 pm) a day. This gets slightly closer to the actual light hours at this time of year currently (9 hours 18 minutes). I have also reduced the propagator heat from 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 degrees Fahrenheit) degrees at the top of the soil to 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).

Wednesday 9th February: I checked again on the trees. Several of the trees showed signs of yellowing leaves. I concluded that, because the soil had been heated to at least 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over several weeks that the soil was probably being sterilized through this action. So I watered the trees with approximately 8 fluid ounces per tree. In this water I had added a very small amount of Epsom salts. I also watered into the soil a fish, blood and bone mix that should give the trees more nutrition. I am aware that the trees have received a lot of water over this period but I am convinced that the soil needed some extra nutrients. I have also further reduced the heating in the propagator to 20 Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). I will check regularly to see how this 5 degrees Celsius reduction of temperature affects the trees.

I also noted that the study space itself was a couple of degrees warmer. This movement from 19.4 degrees Celsius (67 degrees Fahrenheit) to 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 degrees Fahrenheit) is in line with the general increase in temperature in the climate outside of Nottingham Contemporary.

Thursday 10th February: I visited the trees to see how they were dealing with both the temperature reduction and the extra water feed they had yesterday. The tree seemed pretty good although the affects of the feed may not emerge for a couple more days. The overall temperature in the propagator was down so I moved the heat at the surface of soil from 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) to 22 degrees Celsius (71.2 degrees Fahrenheit). Ideally Moringa Oleifera trees like temperatures between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius (77- 95 degrees Fahrenheit). This means that the Nottingham Contemporary Moringa trees are growing at the low edge of their temperature range. I am still unsure if the nutriments in the tree’s soil are adequate and so I added some liquid fertilizer to each tree.

In the future I plan to feed the trees by layering manure on the top of the soil and watering through this layer. In their native climate this is the common process.

This should be enough interventions with the trees for a while.  I will continue monitor and learn from the trees but I sense they need a period of stability in order to further acclimatise to their environment.

Friday 11th February: Checked the trees to see if there are any signs of a reaction to the feeding and temperature changes. The trees seem to have reacted well to the liquid fertilizer. It is too early to see any change in the tree’s disposition but at least I know the feed has not damaged the trees. I have increased the temperature at soil level from 22 Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit).to 23 Celsius (73.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

This has been a busy week of interventions and I am reminded of a passage from my project ‘The Lemon Tree and Me’…The act of gardening subverts the authority of mechanistic thinking, with its prescribed set of cause and effect relationships that have enabled us to produce rational proofs. In gardening we live within the authority of nature and experience its immanent vitality in the emerging complexity of Life. The Lemon Tree & Me imagined a space for a creative dialogue between ecology and aesthetics; germinated from the seeds of practical experience the artwork grew into an inventory of my unique relationship with the tree.

Approximately 5 cm (2 inches) of growth during this week

The tallest tree is now 50 cm (19.7 inches).

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