Story of Penina’s greenhouse
by John Lohr
Upon arrival in Marega, we visited many screenhouses and several greenhouses. The screenhouses are exactly as their name implies and allow air movement readily.
On the other hand two of the greenhouses visited, early model Amirans, were very poorly ventilated. Not only do plants perform poorly in these conditions, but they are extremely uncomfortable to work in.
Penina reported that she would work in the greenhouse from 6 to 8 am. After that it was too hot to work in.
One solution to the problem was to mix hydrated lime with water in a small pail and have it tossed onto the exterior of the greenhouse. Safety googles were provided to Simon who did the work.
The hydrated lime, known as “chalka” , locally and readily available, reduced the amount of sunlight and solar energy entering the greenhouse by reflecting it away.
Upon our return several days later, Teresa Mellish and I found Penina beaming about the transformation in her greenhouse. At midday we entered the greenhouse and found it very comfortable. We told Penina that rain will wash the chalka off and re-application will be required after the long and short rains.
Upon leaving Penina insisted on giving us a small gift of sorghum and millet.