Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"A Time to Plant..."

Hi. Here are a couple pictures we took today when we got back from another expedition into "Jungle Land". We wear boots when we tromp around in the wild, grassy area at the west end of the site. Just in case of sneaky snakes. Very brave thing to do, I might add, walking in snake territory. Or stupid. Could go either way....
We were in search of the illusive "paw paw" tree (papaya). We were trying to find some seedlings, but only found big trees, too big to transplant. We have a small paw paw orchard planted (two rows, four trees in a row) behind the house, but we need a couple of replants. Two trees, which showed such promise at first, just up and died. Sad.
We did find a few crape myrtle bushes and transplanted them in front of the school. The timing was perfect! Thirty minutes after we finished digging them into the ground, the sky opened up and watered the new transplants.
This soil is very humbling for a couple of Californian farmers. Our garden seeds got washed away in one of the first rain deluges in July. Total crop failure! And the orphanage is built on a sand hill, which is just beach sand; few nutrients and the sand gets hot quickly. If something grows here, it is one tough plant! So some of the plants and trees we had high hopes for did not make it, like the paw paw trees. (sigh)
Dave located fertilizer in Monrovia; not an easy feat! He has sprinkled some by everything we have planted. All the plants smile and wave when Dave walks past. Dave is their friend.
Dave has a little nursery growing next to the house. He found some old wooden boxes, and hauled them to the house. They are now filled with good dirt from "Jungle Land" and are under the eaves to protect them from downpours. He has planted tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peas, and, of course, bell peppers. We had to purchase a red bell pepper to get pepper seed, and they are growing quite well. The challenge is to keep the ants and beetles away from the baby plantings, and believe me, in this country, that is a huge challenge!
Hope everything you plant grows!
Dave and Babs Veneman