An Integrated System for Growing Vegetables

2009 Annual Report for FW08-025

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $12,456.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Western
State: Northern Mariana Islands
Principal Investigator:

An Integrated System for Growing Vegetables


Currently, I am working toward the second half of the Integrated Farming System Project. My water supply during the second half of the project was interrupted. Since the aquaculture component on my integrated system was not operational then, I therefore cannot adequately complete my project. I recently restocked my aqua tank again with tilapia fish and await their maturity level in order to provide sufficiently the waste material needed. The chickens that provide the organic fertilizer are continued being maintained at present, as well as the tractor cages. The planting materials are already ordered at the seed supply company and should be in anytime, waiting to be sowed in beds. I have began creating my educational brochure for handouts on the project and await the second half of the project to be completed before I finalize it for printing and distribution. Field trips will be provided as the project nears its completion, and the request of our Local Channel 5 TV to take videos on the field trip for public viewing awaits my request.

Objectives/Performance Targets

To produce inexpensive and chemical-free vegetables through the use of the integrated farming model and at the same time protect our environment from harmful poisons.


During the first part of the project, there was a very positive result toward achieving the intention of the project. With the use of a chicken tractor, the essentials were provided as projected. The chicken provided the manure for the fertilizer, removed the weeds and insect pests on the fields, as well as provided the farmer with eggs and meat products. The tilapia effluent provided the moisture and additional nutrients for the cabbage, and at the same time the fish provided the farmer with healthy protein. The farmer harvested cabbages that were not tainted with any inorganic chemicals at all. Also the grass clippings provided the mulching necessary to delay the weed growth. The plastic mulch was much more efficient in reducing weed growth. As for the control of insect pests, the Neem leaves used to prevent insect infestation on the cabbages has proven to be very effective. The insect damage was very insignificant provided that a spraying schedule is followed diligently and with proper ratio. The insect netting was used to see the effectiveness from insect damage and has proven to be very effective, but more trials and modifications are required, due to increased heat develop inside the net, thus delaying the formation of the head of the cabbage and the general growth of the crop.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The integrated system, if applied on a personal level, will allow the household not only increase their food security but also grow healthy food for their families. This will provide extra cash for the family, as well as family amusement due to both the children’s and parent’s involvement on the project.

On the commercial level, the initial cost is a factor, but it is very sustainable in the long run. This model is most ideal for the island setup due to the proximity to the reef environment and the high cost of transporting supplies and materials to the islands. Agricultural food production costs will be reduced in the long run, not to mention that the farmer will make more money due to the premium price of organic commodities.

This farm model will help farmers start to be more innovative and creative in producing food by incorporating other farming practices in their farms. They will develop other models that will work for them with available resources at hand. Many farmers will try to incorporate traditional practices with modern technologies to produce better and quality food.

Producer Adoption and Producer Reaction

At present the Municipality of Rota is introducing the insect netting concept to the producers as a way to prevent insect problems. Some extension agents from the NMC-CREE have visited my farm and saw the concept and may have suggested it to the Mayor of Rota.

For the integrative system model that I have, not everyone on the island can practice it due to unavailable water in some areas. But perhaps other innovative practices can be explored to accommodate their activities.

There are no reactions yet from other farmers, because I have not publicly showed the practices nor provided any handouts to the community.


As far as the project is concerned to date, there are a some areas of concerns:

1. The drip irrigation system that is frequently clogged up with effluent water. A better system must be developed to solve this issue.

2. The insect nets used to prevent insect infestation is creating a greenhouse effect and is affecting the growth of the plant. I have use shade clothes to prevent excessive heat buildup, but they are too expensive. I have made seed orders on heat tolerant varieties to see if they can do better with the insect netting concept.

3. Grass clipping are not as effective as plastic mulch to prevent weed growth. But plastic mulch alone is also not good since it creates heat on the soil underneath it. So I recommend grass clippings on top of the plastic mulch to decrease the heat absorption.


I am now doing my educational brochure for distribution, but I need to complete the second half of this project to adequately provide the information as intended on the project objectives.

The ChannelS TV and the field trip will be provided toward the end of the project. The brochure will be disseminated after the completion of the project.


Felix Calvo

[email protected]
Extension Agricultural Agent
Northern Marianas College
Office Phone: 6705329470