At Szentes, in a peppered mood
I have arrived at Szentes, to Dániel Bakó, who is cultivating pepper. On a quite serious scale and with developed technology. He even provided me so many information that I already feel like I have been here for a week, I have seen and heard so many things.
rockwoolby the way, today I felt many times as I had been living in a dreamworld. Yesterday, Dani showed me the cold foil tents and the heated ones (I have only seen things like these from the car). I have adjusted pepper that serves the goal totally logically to provide pepper with space to grow further – this looks like (in case of an “adventurer”) that I helped to loosen the knot that holds the pepper and one of the female workers re-tied it horizontally, but one has to pay attention to a lot of things, e.g.: at Dani's, not to let the rockwool elevate too much because of the tying, because then, watering would not be proper. After such a re-tying, meaning lots of lots of peppers for approximately 100 meters, one can be quite exhausted. Not bad for an arm muscle strengthening exercise, especially if one has good weather, although I had luck with this.
rockwoolYestreday, we talked a lot about the soil and rockwool which is basically used instead of soil. Maybe it is clear for someone other than me, but for me it was not that soil is only the “material holding the roots”, therefore a plant doesn't need it because it is necessary. I don't know, somehow I believed in the “all-sanctity of soil” until now. Pepper only needs the necessary nutrients, water and light, as well as appropriate temperature. If all of these are given, then it “can be without soil”.
Tomorrow, we will go to the cold tents to prune. These tents represent an another technology and they are somewhat less modern as the heated ones. By the way, biological pesticides are used at both places. This simply means – and I couldn't say it another way –: they don't use chemicals but pesticides are neutralised by deploying other insects. In the small flower of the plant where pepper is developing, one can see the tiny insects marching and practically “defending” the pepper.
According to the original plan, the peppers would have been picked tomorrow, but the amount of sales is low and the market is stalling, so this is postponed. By the way, we have visited many producers today, all of them being very nice and direct people. People who are not complaining, although one unfortunately hears negative things everywhere.
Adventure on the Southern Great Plain and in time
If I think about it, this adventure represented a journey for me not only in space but in time. Because at Szentes, a cooperative is still functioning, the Gardener of the Southern Great Plain and Árpád-Agricultural Ltd,, which sometimes reminds one in its work (but surely in case of its buildings) to the times of Socialism. For example: “strength fodder factory”, that – I think – is the result of those times' idea creation. Because when I asked whether this is a special expression, it turned out that it is not. It is in part because it is not a simple fodder, but it is boosted with – I reckon – other material rich in nutrients. But it is eventually like something that makes me envisage statues with strong arms clenching their fist and pictures depicting them.
By the way, Árpád-Agricultural had been functioning earlier as a cooperative. The company has interests in a broad range of agriculture. Horticulture, cattle husbandry, bread production, making wine. I only write this down because I am happy to see at last how such a “unit” is working. And I would like to refer back to what I have written earlier, that when my parents, relatives told how “co-ops” had been working, I didn't understand them really.
A huge amount of people are working under it on a lot of hectares. That is based here, at Szentes, on thermal water in a high proportion. I have been formulating words quite strangely, I would really like to point out that in this region, quite a lot of people are using the heat of thermal water, mostly to heat foil tents and glass greenhouses. Which is an environmentally friendly, natural method, and from a producer's point of view, it is much more effective as heating with gas. By the way, we also profit from this, since healthy and tasty pepper, tomato, cucumber and their counterparts are availavle whole year. Quite considerable “unrest” is caused in the region by a decision according to which thermal water must be pumped back. For me, it is not a bit clear why this is needed!?
At wednesday, I have worked in such a heated foil tent (during cold(er) weather). This job is not for me, here, work starts at dawn, when I would usually prepare myself to go sleeping. By the end, I got pretty much skilled, I was only 100 metres (meaning half a tent here) behind Timi under whom I was “ordered”. And who nicely started to work on my side, coming back to me (although not so much) for me to catch up with her and to make me able to chat with the others. Because not only I was interested in rural life, they were also interested in how are things in “over-crowded”, “beautiful”, “too big”, etc. Budapest.
But I was absolutely lucky with the weather. It wasn't really hot during the week, because on a decent summer day, it is impossible to be in the tent.
And I was able to join in pruning, which, if I understood it correctly, is also called “pantsing”. With this, they break down the extra branches that are just using up plus energy are in the way of the plant's development, because of which the pepper will not “bind”, it won't yield that much and I think it will not be so tasty.
You may know that peppers are exported to the German market (I think you know that). But! Did you know that it's because of the Turkish living there, because they are the main consumers!?
With hindsight, I must confess that it was not wise not to write the blog immediately, during my adventure in Szentes... and not because experiences would have been faded... but it also has its advantages, because I can write about the after-effects of the “adventure”, of which it is timely to write about... by the way, I have experienced since then that pepper is an ideal food for the summer, especially when it is very hot! Maybe the Turkish like it for the same reason!?
”Pruning” skills proved to be useful for cultivating my tomato that – thanks to it – is blossoming the second time, although I must make the process more effective with nutrient solution a bit, but I am still experimenting! Of course, tomato growing wildly at the garden of a female acquaintance in Üröm, with zero time expended on it, the don't get water unless it rains because it costs too much – true –, but despite this, they are well – one thing is on my side, if she continues like that, soil depletion will occur.
During my adventure, I was also at Szegvár, I helped to the mayor building a sheep corral. It was fun to transport the pieces of fence with a small machine. By the way, I realised there why is it needed to shepherd the sheep... If there are too many of them (as usually is the case), they quickly stomp the grass and they are not willing/able to eat it... by the way, here, also at Szegvár, I helped to bring in bales from the plow field... it's a complete joke that I only had to drive (although a lot, because we had to go out far), but despite this, I got really tired by the evening! I wasn't trying to make bales... the tractor's trailer fully packed with bales looked like the – I think – apple-flavoured or I don't know what kind of cookie's ad with the tractor-trailer bales... weeell, it could have been much easier to virtually load it... I was glad to try out such things too. During plowing, I came to the conclusion that work on a plow field is not really for me... the landscape of the Southern Great Plain is beautiful and during plowing, when birds swarm the plowed soil is really special, from the tractor, it looks like being on a beach... despite all its beauty, I find it to be a bit monotone work...
At this part, one can find so-called “Cumanian hills”, which – for the sake of saving face – I would not like to write down what I thought were. Actually, they were burial sites as well “sentry” hills with a defensive function.
By the way, I was able to see plant nurser too, which is a kind of an “art”. The small plants are put to open air in certain times on their little layout carpet – which could be compared to a table cloth filled with squares drawn on it – in order to train them and to let them endure volatile environmental effects better.
Dorottya Tuba Hedvig