Tola Homegrown

Our desire is to help you to grow, whether you are a Farmer or a Home Gardener. We have a product or service to fit your needs. We want to help the Virgin Islands reduce importation and dependence on foreign produce.

Tola Homegrown specializes in custom designing Aquaponic, and Hydroponic systems for private residences, and businesses. A pioneer in this industry, Tola Homegrown is the only company in the British Virgin Islands creating these systems. Work with our team to specifically design a unit that best suits your needs. Once the system is designed and installed, we offer maintenance programs to ensure that your system uses its full potential.

Tola Homegrown is a locally owned company whose aim is to provide the People of the Virgin Islands, with the basis and means to create sustainable home food gardens and to provide new found excitement and education about our environment, and our local produce and it’s sustainability.

James Woods

Owner/Manager

1(284)499-2476

tolahomegrown@gmail.com

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Aquaponics

Aquaponics is the cultivation of fish and plants together in a constructed, re-circulating ecosystem utilizing natural bacterial cycles to convert fish wastes to plant nutrients. This is a natural food growing method that harnesses the best attributes of aquaculture and hydroponics without the need to discard any water or filtrate or add chemical fertilizers.

nitrogencycle

 

Aquaponic systems take up a lot less space than conventional farming methods and as the population of the Virgin Islands continues to grow, so does our demand for food. Consequently, domestic food production rates continue to stay at a level insufficient of our ever-increasing needs. Statistics reveal that around 90% of the food consumed in the Virgin Islands is imported from overseas.

Our reliance on foreign production of food is detrimental to the overall growth, prosperity, and self-reliance of our nation. The simplest solution to this crisis would be to multiply the amount of land dedicated to agricultural use and increase the amount of traditional domestic farms/production facilities. However, conventional farming and agricultural methods are hindered by three main disadvantages: the dedicated use of land solely for farming; constant work needed to maintain proper soil conditions for sustainable growth; and inefficient irrigation systems that lose a significant amount of water due to evaporation.

The real way to overcome our food security issues is to encourage the people of the Virgin Islands to take matters into their own hands and cultivate their own food in their own homes. Land is one of the scarcest commodities our islands have to offer and we are already starting to notice a shortage. As a result, the most efficient solution is for our country’s citizens to utilize our existing land to its maximum potential.

Hydroponics

Hydroponics, is the process of growing plants in a grow medium such as water, gravel/stone, and clay pellets etc. with added nutrients but without soil.

There are various types of Hydroponics

– Deep Water Culture (DWC) – Plant are grown in a growing medium, which is suspended in a solution of nutrient-rich, oxygenated water.

DeepWaterCulture

 

– Ebb and Flow –Pots are filled with an inert medium which does not function like soil or contribute nutrition to the plants but which anchors the roots and functions as a temporary reserve of water and solvent mineral nutrients. The hydroponic solution alternately floods the system and is allowed to ebb away.

e-and-flood-system

– Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) – Is a technique wherein a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth is re-circulated past the bare roots of plants in a watertight gully, also known as channels. In an ideal system, the depth of the recirculating stream should be very shallow, little more than a film of water, hence the name ‘nutrient film’. This ensures that the thick root mat, which develops in the bottom of the channel, has an upper surface, which, although moist, is in the air. Subsequent to this, an abundant supply of oxygen is provided to the roots of the plants.

 

Nutrient Film Technique Diagram

– Aeroponics – is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium

001a Aeroponics

 

Macro Nutrients

What are Macro Nutrients?

Nitrogen (N)

— Is a component of proteins, which form an essential part of protoplasm and also occurs as stored foods in plant cells. Nitrogen is a part of other organic compounds in plants such as chlorophyll, amino acids, alkaloids and some plant hormones.

Why should you care about Nitrogen?

Well if your plant is deficient of this element then you will notice stunted growth and poor fruit development.

How can you tell if your plant is suffering from nitrogen starvation?
Answer: look for a light green to yellow coloration of leaves.

Now don’t go all Nitro crazy and give your plant an excess of this Element, because, too much of a good thing in the plant world leads to problems.

If your plant is receiving too much Nitrogen, then you will notice very dark green foliage which could lead the plant to become susceptible to drought, disease, insect invasion and the possibility of fruit and seed crops not yielding.

How do you avoid your plant suffering from excesses or deficiencies? Keep a balanced nutrient base and a very close eye on your pH.

Phosphorus (P)

— Is a macro-nutrient and an essential part of the process of photosynthesis. It is important in the formation of all oils, sugars and starches in the plant.
The highest percentage of this element occurs in the parts of the plant that are growing rapidly.

Why should you care about Phosphorus?

Well if your plant is deficient of this nutrient, then its leaves may start turning slightly purple along with a delay in plant development which in some cases leads to stunted plant growth.

Like we have said before, in the plant world excess is hardly ever a good thing (unless your plant is producing more than you need

Potassium (K)

— Is a macro-nutrient which helps to build proteins, aids the process of photosynthesis, plays a part in determining fruit quality and helps the plant ward off diseases.

If your plant is suffering from Potassium deficiencies, then older leaves will turn yellow on their margins (outside edges). The plant will also have irregular fruit development.

If there is an excess of this element in your plant, then it will most likely cause the plant to be deficient of magnesium and calcium.