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When you want it to pour, but it won't even rain


Tenemos una versión en español aquí



Last week we were ready to plant, but had no success. This week, we forgot our troubles and moved forward. The weather was finally on our side, our plants were ready to be planted, we had help from the farm's employees in the Juana Diaz Agricultural Experimental Station, and do you want to know what ended up happening? We planted!



Here I share with you what happened through photos. I hope that theses photos bring some of the fascinating scenes at the Experimental Station to life for you.




Tuesday September 3rd 2019


I returned to the farm after labor day ready to face reality, setting up our experiment would take time. This day would be solely for setting up the mesh nets around the study areas that would have them. Abraham (left), Luis (right) and I dedicated the morning to preparing each of the study areas.



On Tuesday I also installed six camera traps to monitor the experiment while I'm not there. These #Foxelli cameras are able to detect movement and snap a picture when something (or some iguana-body) crosses the path of its sensor. With a bit of luck, we will capture photos of iguanas devouring our lettuce and cucumber plants.


An Iguana (one of two) caught on the farm and brought over so I could see it


Wednesday September 4th 2019


The following day, with the go-ahead from the weather, Agro. Carlos Almodóvar and the science gods, we began the process of planting. The plants left their tropical storm Dorian refuge, and made their way to our study area. With the plants secured in the back of a gorgeous 1982 Ford F-150 and additional help from Frankie, we left to go plant, weed and make holes for the seedlings. In a matter of two hours the four of us had planted 900 cucumber and lettuce seedlings


After we were done planting, Frankie sprayed 20 of the growing beds (10 of lettuce and 10 of cucumber) with a Neem based spray and with that, we were finished! From now on comes the fun bit, taking data.


My plants ready to leave their temporary shelter

The limousine that transported my plants to our study area


Abraham is almost happier than I am that our plants are on their way to the ground. *almost*

Here you see me trying to be in at least one photo, I promise I didn't just take pictures I was also working hard. (P.S. I bought and lost those sunglasses in the same week)

(from left to right). Agro. Carlos Almodovar, Luis, Abraham, Frankie and me (not pictured) discuss the planting arrangement and divide up the tasks. I weeded the 900 holes and planted a few seedlings




Thursday the 5th, Friday the 6th and Saturday the 7th of September 2019


With all the work we accomplished this week, you might ask yourself "why did Christina title this blog, when you want it to pour it won't rain? she had great success this week"

Yes reader, you are right. We had a lot of success this week. But like every week has shown us, nothing is ever perfect and this week was not the exception. The point of this project, and the months upon months of planning it took to get to this week, is that we measure the impact of green iguanas on crops. So far, nothing.


We have seen at least a dozen green iguanas on the periphery of our experiment, eating the weeds that surround us. But they have not made one attempt at eating our crops. For the first time, an agricultural experiment WANTS GREEN IGUANAS TO EAT THEIR CROPS and they haven't done it. I hope next week there is a change. Meanwhile, you can find me on the ground, for three hours (minimum) every other day, taking note of each and every leaf our plants produce. There I will be anxiously awaiting the moment that my beloved plants disappear without a trace.


Here you see me monitoring the plants, which I do every other day. This takes me 4 hours when I'm alone and two hours when I have help.

#GreenIguanas #IguanaVerde #Science #WomenInSTEM #InvasiveSpecies #AgroIguanero #Ciencia #MujeresEnSTEM #EspeciesInvasoras #Agricultura #PuertoRico #CienciaPR

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