Several people's work lasted for a week, finally the 16th floor preparations were completed…
"Huh? Look up, I remember that only the 16th floor had iron shelves outside the window? Why does the 15th floor suddenly have them too?"
"How did you not notice? Wasn't there already a metal fence outside the windows?"
"But what about the other rooms?"
"Who knows, there's nothing hanging on the shelf anyway."
Solar panels were flat, it would be more conspicuous if taken out along, but less noticeable if shielded from view with a metal fence.
Over the past few days, Luo Xun pooled together everyone's points to exchange for many solar panels. He still failed to completely fill the two walls, had to make more effort.
In the last month, Xu Mei and Song Lingling had gradually brought back the required soil. The earth was treated and placed neatly into a planting rack.
In the 15th floor corridor, there were rows of plant shelves near 1503 and 1504. Outside there was also two fridges and a washing machine.
Li Tie and friends had bought the washing machine and it was exclusively used as a public machine – except Luo Xun and Yan Fei. The two freezers were used to prepare vegetables for harvesting since there was no electricity at the moment.
The last refrigerator was placed into Li Tie's home because the crops they had planted before were harvested and needed storage space.
Now, Luo Xun was with the two women, followed by Yan Fei. They brought to their home a box of good seedlings.
All they needed to do with these seedlings – rice transplant!
Other than Xu Mei's room on the 15th floor, the remaining rooms were ready to be planted with rice. This would be their future food source!
Nowadays, although there were a number of team members, but if Luo Xun could successfully grow the rice in these three rooms…With their other alternating crops, it would enough for their group's food supplies.
Luo Xun's goal was to have quality mutated rice varieties. Even if he was unable to produce high quality variants, they could grow normal rice that had a much higher price on base compared to the bad tasting, high yield regular variant rice.
Luo Xun ate at least one meal outside of home. Li Tie, Zhang Yi and the others who worked every day could eat two meals in the base. The women were the only ones who only ate at home and not much. If their crops could be successfully grown, harvesting whatever kind of rice will be folded in their resources. What's more, there were more benefits.
Luo Xun had originally prepared some seeds but the number was not enough to fill the rooms. It was fortunate that the base promoted home farming, plants had surprisingly low exchanging prices! Plus, Luo Xun and Li Tie's connections, the price of seeds was even lower. There was no absolutely problem with planting the two floors.
The group walked into 1504 – this room and 1501 were three bedroom apartments with a bigger indoor area. Now it had been filled with rows of iron shelves which were divided into three layers, although it only looked like two.
No need to ask about the lowest level, it was a humble drawer with holes with a piece of processed wood inside. Mushrooms would grow on the wood, it would take some time and they did not need to pay too much attention to care.
On top of the mushrooms was the field, which was filled with tilled soil, waiting for seedlings to be planted. Afterwards, the seedlings needed to be watered.
Of course, these iron shelves were designed by Luo Xun. He also designed the water spout so that the liquid would be circulated at the correct time. A row of fluorescent lamps was on top of the shelves – lighting fixtures.
The top shelves also had soil, if one wanted to harvest some grown vegetables, they could easily climb the ladder to reach the shelf.
The upper shelves had less space than the lower ones, and could only grow crops that were not too tall, such as potatoes, onions and other leafy greens. It was similar to the row of shelves leaning against a wall in 1603. Luo Xun prepared to plant a variety of vine crops and build a trellis on the ceiling so they could make full use of the space.
The two empty rooms on the 15th floor had the same design. In addition to the rooms people were living in, a large variety of fruits and vegetables had been planted. The empty rooms were filled with plants, not a inch of space was wasted.
Luo Xun and company were even ready to grow some vegetables in the corridors and stairs that needed light each day such as lettuce and asparagus.
Luo Xun had decided that the other's rooms would mainly grow some fruit and some fast-growing vegetables. That way it would be easier to take care of and harvest faster.
One by one the seedlings were inserted into the soil. Since the weather was nice, they would be able to grow many seedlings. Luo Xun also taught Xu Mei and Song Lingling about the seedlings so that later the two ladies could cultivate the plants.
After the seedlings were planted, Song Lingling stood in the bathroom with the water tank and began to fill it. Once the water reached a certain level, Luo Xun waved, "Release the water!"
The water trickled into the pots filled with seedlings, adding to the room's vitality.
Xu Mei and Song Lingling's eyes were filled with joy while looking at the filled rows of planting racks. This feeling towards planting and farming was very good! Although it was only a number of young shoots, but they represented the vitality of the people.
"Well, today's about done, let's go back and get some vegetable seeds to plant" Luo Xun turned and smiled at the two ladies.
The three empty rooms on the 15th floor had been transformed into nursery rooms, they would depend on this room to develop and cultivate the usual seedlings. In addition, Luo Xun divided the quails amongst the team. The two women would more reliably nurture these little weak birds than Li Tie on their balcony.
These were counted as team property, while each person's room was still their own. The public space purchased by the Otaku team was the most prolific. Usually the captain would pay the most, but they agreed to decide the details after the farming had some profit.
In addition to expanding their area of operations, Luo Xun got more as the leader, the other people paid according to the person, the number of points could vary.
Yan Fei found this was more proficient even before the apocalypse, naturally no one had any objections.
Xu Mei and Song Lingling had happy smiles and left with Luo Xun. "We're going to buy some food. Once we return we'll have dinner with little Ran."
"Be careful on the road."
The two ladies said farewell as Luo Xun and Yan Fei went back to the 16th floor. They opened the door to 1603 and heard Yu Xinran laughing as the puppy ran to the gate.
"Uncle, the puppy just peed over there!" The little girl exclaimed but Puppy did not understand that she was sold out by her playmate right away.
Luo Xun's mouth twitched when he saw where Yu Xinran was pointing, sure enough there was shelf corner covered in suspicious liquid. Although it could be used as fertilizer…the smell was an issue! He had already taught the puppy to pee in the bathroom!
Luo Xun poked the puppy's forehead, the little dog closed her eyes and her tail slowed down. She was still puzzled as to why Luo Xun was doing this.
"You are a chow chow! A smart chow chow, not stupid! Where did you learn this sort of thing?" Luo Xun pointed at the increasingly dumbfounded dog and then realized – now was not the time to teach her smarts, but to tell her not to pee in the room!
Yan Fei smiled as Luo Xun started to grumble at the puppy. What use would scolding the puppy who only had the IQ of a four or five year old child about their actions?
Puppy was very obedient in 1604 other than using slippers as a dinner table and hiding them away. But after she wandered into 1603 from time to time who knew what happened. Although not too frequent, each time he came back from an excursion something happened, Luo Xun regret not buying an older dog to avoid these issues.
In 1603 some of the quick growing vegetables were ready to harvest. After checking, they sent Captain Li a message saying they could send a batch of vegetables soon.
It was not long before Xu Mei and Song Lingling came back with food. Luo Xun gave them a ball of lettuce – it was his own property and not from the team.
They thanked Luo Xun for giving Yu Xinran vitamin rich vegetables (for some reason the little girl and the puppy only liked to eat lettuce).
"When we came back, we saw the vacant ground below the second floor had been dug out."
Luo Xun thought it could not be an accident. "Was it a mutated plant?"
Xu Mei shook her head, "We didn't see, but there seemed to be a lot of things surrounded by a tight fence, now it's been demolished."
Since the base encouraged everyone to start planting the land, there seemed to be no results but there were many problems.
There were pioneers like Luo Xun who included printed, basic planting knowledge while selling seeds. They also reminded others that in order to reduce the chance of plant mutation, needed to use clean, distilled water.
But who would be like Luo Xun, using such a troublesome and extravagant way to deal with water in order to grow vegetables? Some people only boiled it once before using, even then some people thought it was a waste of coal. The vast majority of people simply used common tap water, only those with water powers could purify the land.
As a result, these plants started to mutate before fully grown and harvested. Some of the mutant plants were edible, not very tasty, but there were also aggressive mutant plants! The seedlings were not conspicuous, except they looked a bit different from normal. But once they rooted, they could absorb nutrients from soil and shoot up overnight.
Overnight, all the surrounding vegetables were strangled by the mutant plants. The threatening branches wantonly waved and attacked anything in range, some even spewed venom from a distance.
Afterwards, nevermind uprooting and completely burning it, the piece of land could not be used at all, but would also cause harm to passerbys.
As a result, the outdoor areas in each neighborhood were often dug out and then pushed to one side. As for those who grew vegetables at home on the balcony? It was not a serious issue, anyways Luo Xun and company did not know many details.
The next morning, the couple drove the car filled with vegetables. Li Tie and the others followed to help carry things. This time they were selling Luo Xun's harvest along with that of Li Tie and friends. Luo Xun decided that after this time the proceeds from 1603 would be team property. In the future the harvests would be merged into the team funds and distributed according to contributions. Plus, the other crops would be profitable at that time.
Now, Luo Xun also decided to bring back some crystal nuclei for Xu Mei and Song Lingling. After all, although it was their property, the two women put in a lot of effort for the watering and management.
They got on the bus and left the area and saw a lively group near the gate. Something was surrounded by a circle of idlers that were pointing fingers.
"This morning seems so lively?" Wang Duo who thrived on gossip left his queen's side to seek out information.
"It's fine, we can ask about it later, better not be late." Luo Xun was curious, but they had more important things to do.
"Yes! I'll only look, not leaving…" Wang Duo looked reluctantly out of the window.
Zhang Yi crossed his hands, no doubt ready to give the other a kick if annoyed.
The car drove into the barracks and stopped at the canteen. Because the harvest was larger, a small trailer came out to weigh the produce.
Captain Li, Luo Xun and Yan Fei stood and chatted while the others moved the goods.
"Recently, have a lot of people been at home planting things? Are there other sellers?" Luo Xun asked inquiring about recent news.
Captain Li sighed, "There's a few, you know that the exchange windows are accepting vegetables, but a lot of them are mutated, we dare not use them. I heard some of the other canteens have tested and there is no problem, but the amount is not much."
Not only was there not much, the plantable areas were not seeing heavy use. After all, most people grew their own vegetables for their own use. Unless the price of vegetables soared, few people would exchange them for points or crystal nuclei.
Luo Xun's vegetables were mostly cheap ones, this was a foundation to find a suitable way to keep selling them later.
"Some of the people who planted vegetables found a lot of mutated ones. Many pits have been dug in the area, which would unfortunately affect production."
Captain Li then suddenly turned serious and whispered, "There aren't only problems with the vegetable plots, I heard there were problems when they sowed grain last month in a field."
"Eh problem? What problem?!" Luo Xun froze and urgently asked.
Captain Li had a distant look in his eyes as he said, "Didn't it rain a few days ago? I was told that half the healthy seedlings began to turn yellow. At first they thought it was a pest, but once they were fully grown, the colour changed, all were mutated plants!"
Luo Xun raised an eyebrow and whispered, "Didn't the military find a way to reduce plant mutation?"
"It was found, but it's only useful during the seedling stage…" Captain Li laughed, "Heard that the researchers tested it, though the color changed, there were no problems. Not toxic, nor aggressive, only a change in appearance. Okay, other than the taste."
Of course, it tasted awful. Luo Xun nodded at the words but did not ask anymore questions. Even if he asked, Captain Li was likely to not have any other information. Yellow rice was the most common variant from his past life. Production and composition was not affected, only the taste was not good.
"This is today's crystal nuclei." Captain Li confirmed the weight before handing over the bag over to the pair. Then the couple returned to their workplace.
"So we plant vegetables inside the house. Although the cost is high, it can at least ensure crop safety."
Thanks to the special wood in the room, should ensure that there is less mutation during the growth period.
"Since the base site was hit with slight spring rain and some small drizzles, if the base was careful during cultivation, some mutation could have been avoided. It's no wonder that other people had such high concentrations of mutated crops."
Yan Fei nodded. "We should exchange some more solar panels and lamps at home for replacements in case of accidents."
There was another benefit of planting crops at home, since Luo Xun was now planting rice, as long the plants were cared for, there would be considerable produce, although not as much as the experimental plots. So long as the plants were cared for, perhaps there was no need to change the crops, continue growing rice. Of course, Luo Xun decided to plant some wheat or corn after the fall harvest depending on circumstances.
Two people in the car talked on the way to work. They met the rest of the team before Captain Guo continued the day's work.
The Otaku team had an easy time farming, not only were the crops growing healthy, the small quails were also growing quickly. The first batch has grown and even started laying eggs!
Yu Xinran spent each day looking at the aquarium tank along with the quails and eggs on the inside. The little girl hoped to catch one to play with but these animals were too fragile, the two women did not dare.
There was no other method than to let her play with the puppy. Each day when the couple came home, they could see this scene – in Xu Mei's home there was an aquarium with soil, vegetables and quails.
Yu Xinran and the little puppy pressed their faces against the glass. Their faces distorted but refused to move at all.
Fortunately, the timid quails were accustomed to this daily occurrence of voyeurs. They ate, laid eggs and pooped as usual.