Carmeta’s Corner

This space was created to discuss and exchange ideas about promoting good nutrition, food security and related matters – Blogmaster

281 comments

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  • Cudhear, Gervaise’s first husband (she outlived 3) was a cousin of ours.

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  • Wow!

    A strong, smart and beautiful woman, and now I see a genuine superwoman too.

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  • Gervaise has worked hard after her husband died to raise her children. She did some of everything. She and the husband used to sell fish from their car after he got home from work with the H&T. then she started hawkering. All the children helped her and she bought land for them so they could build their homes. She is pushing 90 and I understand still working. She has a nice voice and sings at funerals, etc.

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  • Is the school garden sustainable?
    By Dr Dan C. Carter
    October is the month when the World Food Organisation (WFO) reminds the world of the importance of increasing our food production to save the world from malnutrition and starvation.
    This year, the WFO’s annual reminder comes at a time when the world is facing one of its worst pandemics, COVID-19. At the local level, agriculture has been seen as the only industry that has successfully survived the virus.
    With the import of our food supplies temporarily diminished, the focus has naturally been our local production and how critical it is to revitalise this sector.
    The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security has informed us that his ministry registered 368 new farmers between April and August. There is a hive of activity in this area of national development.
    The above environment has set the stage for others in the community to exercise their civic responsibility by assisting in this effort to feed the nation.
    No surprise
    And to make this effort a reality, it was no surprise to me to see that the school is the institution being looked upon to instil in our youth a sense of pride in agriculture and the seed that will grow the most productive fruit in the future.
    I, therefore, commend the Rotary Club for its zeal and commitment in joining the Ministry of Education for its initiative in introducing backyard farming to our schools. It is proposed to have this project become part of the curriculum at all primary schools. It is a rather ambitious project and I wish the organisers well.
    However, the history of what is now euphemistically called “backyard gardening” but what was formerly known as “school gardening” is an interesting one.
    Definitely, in 1903, but perhaps even before, there was in Barbados the Annual Industrial Exhibition, which became an important part of the elementary schools’ calendar. It has continued to the present, but without a major role being played by the primary schools, due to the fact that such schools are now without a senior section – pupils from 11 to 14.
    The exhibition was the culmination of the efforts of the manual work done at the primary level in agriculture, domestic economy and handicraft.
    Needlecraft
    From the Class 3s to the Class 7s, the girls would engage in needlecraft dependent on the availability of teachers to teach the various topics, which included hemming, sewing, seaming, stitching, darning, or cutting out an apron, nightgown or petticoat.
    Later, around the 1940s, domestic science was introduced in the senior classes of primary schools which taught the girls the art of cooking, laundry and housewifery.
    In those early days, the school garden was mostly the preserve of the boys. Expert advice
    in the upkeep of school gardens was given by the officers in the Department of Science and Agriculture.
    This showed the importance the elementary school system placed on manual skills in preparing individuals for work in agriculture and the trades.
    There was a School Garden Competition, under the auspices of the Ladies of the Civic Circle, headquartered in Bridgetown, which organised it.
    The judges took into consideration such features as cultivation and weed control, soil conservation, compost and manures, display of crops, pest and disease control, mulch, records and accounts.
    School gardens flourished until the 1980s when primary schools started to remove the senior departments, the latter becoming the rather discredited vocational centres and senior schools which included an agricultural syllabus. These schools’ demise came in the latter part of the 1990s through intense attacks by the Barbados Union of Teachers.
    On the other hand, during this same period, the school garden became almost extinct at the primary level. The entire primary school curriculum at this time was focused on the Common Entrance Examination (CEE).
    Parents had scoffed at their children working “in any school garden”. Parents of all social classes resented the idea of their children “wasting their time in a school garden when they could be preparing for the CEE”.
    Furthermore, teachers were not enthralled in any way by supervising school gardens. In fact, as an education officer, I knew only two schools that had really flourishing gardens. And they were Vauxhall and Wilkie Cumberbatch.
    I later found out that at Vauxhall, the mastermind behind the rather productive gardens there was the watchman (general worker), who had a particular interest in agriculture and would freely give of his time to the school plot. At the other school, Wilkie Cumberbach, they were particularly fortunate to have a specialist agriculture/science teacher.
    Then, in the middle 1990s, some interest was rekindled by Dr Colin Hudson, the environmentalist in school gardening, when he floated the idea of the use of abandoned tyres to make gardens. Many schools, as well as households, opted for the idea. In fact, many households have continued to use this form of backyard gardening.
    Laudable initiative
    The effort by the Rotary Club is a laudable one, particularly because it involves our children. However, it must be sustainable and certain structures must be put in place to guarantee its success.
    The idea of a group of well-intentioned, middle-class, professionally-trained people sitting around an office desk and proposing such an idea will not
    accomplish anything and the project will, like others, flounder eventually.
    Its success depends on several factors, but mostly the teachers. The project must have the support of the staff and at least two or three identifiable members who are prepared to supervise the gardens.
    These teachers will have to be given scheduled times within the time table to ensure efficient supervision. As suggested, a management plan must be put in place. This management plan must be part of the school’s overall strategic plan.
    My suggestion is for the management plan to include at least five members or more of the school’s parent-teacher association. These adults will provide the manpower that may be beyond the capacity of the children. Their dedicated interest will ensure its viability.
    Again, success to Rotary and the selected schools, but be cognisant of the fact that the almost non-existence of school gardens today is the result of social change within our society.

    Dr Dan C. Carter, is an educational historian and author.

    Source: Nation News

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  • When I taught at West St. Joseph Secondary in 1966, the school garden was about half an acre. They grew some lovely celery, my first introduction to the vegetable. They taught carpentry (shop) and agriculture. Agriculture was a subject at O&C at the ordinary level. My brother got a pass in Agriculture. Home Economics was taught and written at the O level and LCC. the Domestic Science room there was equipped and laid out like the one at the Modern.

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  • ‘Water torture’ for farmers
    By Sheria Brathwaite sheriabrathwaite@nationnews.com
    Forty-eight hours of persistent rain has taken a toll on the agriculture sector, shut down a school and left authorities appealing to Barbadians to be careful as they move around in water-soaked areas.
    Farmers on land lease projects in River Land, St Philip and other St Philip farming districts, along with Spring Hall in St Lucy, are feeling the most pain, having lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to crop damage, while students of Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary were displaced when a tropical wave dumped almost 40 millilitres of rain across the island in a 12-hour period.
    The school was promptly closed after a leaky roof led to parts of the ceiling falling. Students will use the online teaching platform today.
    At River, farmer Sokram Satrohan was upset.
    “You see this drainage course? It hasn’t been cleaned in five to six years. I want the Minister of Agriculture and the Prime Minister to see what is going on here because this is not right,” he said.
    “I have lost all of my crops – all ten acres gone. I had 12 000 in bearing cucumbers – that buried in water. There was 6 000 young cucumbers – them gone. There were 10 000 sweet pepper plants and them gone too.
    “I also had a acre and a half of squash, half-acre in tomatoes, a quarter-acre in pumpkin and an acre of okra and they are all gone. All my crops under water and I am appealing for the officials to come out and see how they could help us with this.
    “We recently got developmental loans of $30 000 through the BADMC [Barbados Agricultural Developmental and Marketing Corporation] and all the investment has gone in preparing the ground, labour, chemical and seedlings. How are we going to repay this loan?”
    Another farmer, Andrew Grant, said his losses amounted to more than $60 000 after an acre and a half of watermelons, which usually produced about 60 to 70 000 pounds of the fruit and sold at $1, $1.25 or $1.50 per pound, was destroyed.
    “As you can see, most of the field is under water and the watermelon vines are dying. The Ministry of Agriculture needs to help us in terms of seedlings, spray, fertiliser or other inputs and we want the suction cleaned so the water could run off properly.
    “This is very disheartening for me because this is my main crop and I was really depending on it for financial standing. I invested $18 000 to $20 000 to get this plot to the stage it was at.”
    A well known farmer, who has plots at River and other farming districts such as Union, Three Houses and Ruby – all in St Philip – also incurred thousands of dollars in damages.
    The crop producer, who did not want to be identified, said farmers were to start repaying the BADMC loan from next month and doing so would be a challenge since many lost their investment. He lost several pounds of sweet peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and cantaloupe, and said that in order to bounce back from this setback, farmers might have to cut staff.
    Meanwhile chairman of the Spring Hall Farmers’
    Association, Hamilton Corbin reported that drainage was a major concern on that project, especially in the rainy season, and many in the organisation had complained of severe water damage.
    “Nothing significant has been done to mitigate the problem; only about two or three wells were cleaned which would help stop spreading the water. This water is earmarked to fall down to Monday, so you can imagine what it will be like later on, if the rain persists all that time,” he said.
    Last night, with more rain predicted from the same tropical wave and mid-level trough for tomorrow, Kerry Hinds, the director of the Department of Emergency Management, warned those in flood-prone areas not to hesitate to contact the department or its District Emergency Organisation representatives for help.
    Motorists were advised to avoid flooded areas and to be on the lookout for pedestrians.

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  • Oh dear! I had all that rain too but my ground drains rather well. I’m not seeing any damage at all. St. Philip and St. Lucy are the two driest parishes in Barbados. Usually it’s the drought that they have to deal with. Probably gambled that the drainage would not be a problem.

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  • I got a little wind damage.

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  • Cuhdear Bajan,

    Only my banana leaves look like a frilly decoration. I was able to put my okra plants upright again. They were leaning a little.

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  • A time to plant, and a time to reap so I am eating home grown breadfruit, sweet potato, cassava, pumpkin, okra, spinach, cucumber, hot pepper, chive, garlic.

    Today. Life nice.

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  • Agriculture going nowhere, says ex-chief
    The agriculture sector is in shambles, says former Chief Agriculture Officer Lennox Chandler.
    In a recent interview with the Weekend Nation, Chandler painted a dismal picture of the industry, with acres of arable land overrun by bush, a lack of food processing facilities, a lack of enabling administrative policies favouring local food promotion and poor planning.
    He said the situation would improve only if the emphasis shifted from food security to food sovereignty.
    “Government has created a Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, which is good on paper, but a place like Barbados needs to go beyond food security; we need to talk about food sovereignty.
    “It means we are in charge of our own food, how it is produced, what it is treated with, how it is priced and how it is processed and it makes us stand in a position where we are able to feed ourselves within the four corners of Barbados in the event of any catastrophic thing like COVID-19,” he said.
    Chandler said there was too much arable land covered in bush when it should be put into production.
    “We have a lot of idle land. Drive around the country and you would see the evidence – bush is all over the place – and people are just waiting to cut it up and build houses. But we have enough land to feed our people.
    “Back in World War [II] days, we had laws on our books that allowed Government to instruct plantation owners about what they should plant and in what quantities because it was a crisis. COVID-19 is a crisis situation, almost like a war of sorts, and we really should have gone back [to something similar].”
    He said there was no agricultural contingency plan to pull Barbados through any crisis such as the pandemic, and failure to prepare led to reactive action.
    “Throughout this pandemic, especially during the lockdown, I think Barbados could have done better. Trading agricultural produce did not stop during the lockdown and the notion that we had to plant up all these things was a kneejerk reaction; an action taken just to show we were responding to a situation.
    “Though there was public panic, there was no shortage
    of food. So, I don’t know how successful the ministry has been with their attempt to get farmers to plant all of those six weeks when during the lockdown a lot of processed food was still sold. There is nothing we can point to and say we have been able to achieve during that period till now.”
    Chandler said the lesson from COVID-19 should be to “plan properly” .
    “Things can happen that can impact our food supply and something can come and cut off our food supply, so we have to put measures in place.” He added that there was no major progress in food processing and production cost was a deterrent. However, he said there was a thrust towards renewable energy which opened a window of opportunity for those interested in agro-processing. ( SB)

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  • @Donna November 14, 2020 10:59 AM Cuhdear Bajan,

    I finally have some okras coming. Sweet peppers too. Lettuce, basil, chives, spinach and eggplants also. Got flowers on my cucumbers and butternut squash. AND my hot peppers plants are thriving… Sweet potatoes, cassava and radishes growing well. Pigeon pea leaves peeping out. Beets looking leafy but no rooty. Watching my carrot leaves too and waiting for roots. Celery, parsley, marjoram and thyme fighting on.

    Donna, you are doing wonderfully well.

    I am picking about 50 pounds of okra a week. The pumpkin vines produced about 25, mostly over 10 to 15 pounds each, but some small sweet ones too. I’ve eaten some, including some in a nice soup today. I did not forget to put in a pigtail, but don’t tell my doctor. Lol! Some I’ve given away and some are still on the vine. I’ve started eating the cassava, but oh dear, i still have some of last year’s cassava in the freezer. The hot and flavor peppers did not do as well as expected. The cucumbers did beautifully. The late season avocadoes are beginning to fall off the tree, so I will pick some next week. I may pull up the cucumber vines next week and plant some new ones. It was too hot when we planted the carrots so the germination rate was poor, but still I am beginning to enjoy those. I steamed some marlin, with the usual seasonings and dressings, but added some finely sliced carrots. Delicious. Had it with some cou-cou made with my own okras. The butternut squash did poorly, but i still got a few. Haven’t tried the sweet potatoes yet but they are looking good. Harvesting more chives than I need for me and immediate family. I have never planted majoram by seed before but I’ve bough some seed recently and i plant to plant them out next week.

    But I am still learning as I go along. The 10 inch rainfall which we had over 5 day period about two weeks ago seems to have rotted my latest okra seeds in the ground. I planted about 25 seeds at home [not at the plantation, lol!] and only a single seed has germinated. But the rain caused the mature okra plants to burst forth in hundreds of flowers and fruit. So very heavy rain seems to cause okra seeds to fail, but causes mature/bearing plants to really thrive.

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  • Cuhdear Bajan,

    Thank you for the encouragement. Yesterday a man passed by and told me the sheep are going to eat me out even though I told him there are no longer sheep rearers in my immediate environs.

    Negative people are draining. Your positivity is infectious. Grounded in reality of course. Thankfully he has been the only one so far.

    My kale was doing well but stalled after I had to repot them after the pot was flooded in the last heavy rains. The soil my cousin transplanted them in was not well-draining soil. Often he moves so quickly he does not hear my instructions. He is not used to growing in pots.

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  • My first cucumber!

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  • @Donna November 16, 2020 9:06 PM “By the way…. today I saw my first cucumber.”

    Wonderful.

    My cucumbers this year were the ones referred to as “Bajan boys” hardier and more drought tolerant than the imported varieties. They do not bear as many cucumbers at the same time,but they do bear for a longer period. Today i picked one that I had allowed to over ripen on the vine, turned brown and crackled. I am drying the seeds now. Will try planting a few in a week or two, but may save most for the beginning of the next rainy season.

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  • I tried again today by planting some butternut squash. Also planted some marjoram and sweet basil by seed. This is the first time I have planted basil and marjoram by seed so I will see how it goes. Dis some de-bushing in the backyard last evening. Picked an avocado today. These ones generally take 6 days to soften up.

    Found 4 giant snails in the backyard. May they rest in peace.

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  • Dear Lawson,

    About 20 more cucumbers!

    Cuhdear Bajan,

    My butternut squash is flowering but the leaves are getting yellow and white spots.

    You can’t win ’em all. I don’t like squash that much anyway.

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  • You ladies are making me jealous. My gardening is finished for the year. We had snow yesterday and it is still on the ground. The only thing left to harvest are brussel sprouts, thyme, parsley and some kale.

    Donna ,look under the squash leaves, you may have aphids. Dish detergent and water should fix the problem. Pick off all damaged leaves and put in the garbage,not the compost.

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  • Hants, I wish that I could where I am, but sadly I can’t, because of covenants, space, zoning restrictions. But fish, jacks, marlin, snapper etc. is plentiful right now, so no suffering yet.

    Dame Bajans, Yes we still have until about the end of January, with little or no irrigation. I find that February and March, and the first half of April [our winter, lol!] are too dry and too windy and too many hungry monkeys to bother, so I tend to take a break then. But at present i am enjoying myself, eating very well, earning a little extra cash Ground provisions and fish. I am good.

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  • Dame Bajans,

    I looked it up on google and I did look but I did not see any. But I will look again and this time more closely.

    Thanks.

    Hants,

    I’m afraid if I raise a chicken it would become a pet. My chicken comes from my cousin down the hill. I can survive without chicken until they stamp the flu out.

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  • @Donna,
    Wait and see if the vines wilt. There is a pest up here called a squash borer. The fly is farily big with a red stripe on its back. It lays its eggs on the pumpkin leaf and when they hatch, the larvae climbs down the stem to the vine and bores in and eats the plant from the inside. It affects squash with soft fat stems like buttercup but not butternut or our West Indian pumpkins as the vines are very fibrous.
    I have some big 8 pound cabbages I would like to get rid of. I have 3 in the garage and I have one soaking in salt water for coleslaw I will be making tomorrow for my friend’s Dad, my son and a Trini friend who helps in the garden. A neighbour brought me some soup last week, so I may return his container with slaw. I am getting tired of cabbage. The Chinese neighbour brought me cabbage soup, I cook cabbage in rice, I eat slaw, I have it stir fried with mushroom and pimiento pepper, I curry it, I eat it with salt fish and I have sauerkraut from about 4 years ago.

    Dr. Lucas like he has abandoned us.

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  • Dame Bajans,

    Will do.

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  • Raisins or it ain’t a conkie.

    Enjoying one right now, with raisins. Still warm right out of the pot.

    Life sweet.

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  • Both the marjoram and the sweet basil have germinated. Maybe the sweet basil is doing too well. Will have to keep a sharp eye on it.

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  • Planted some more cucumbers today, the second set since this rainy season began. I did not buy these seeds, they are from one of the “Bajan Boys” which I let remain on the vine. I cut open, remover the seeds, washed them, then dried them for about two weeks and have now replanted. I need to plant a few more once I have prepared another bed. I will see how it goes.

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  • Brace for fruit and vegetable ‘price hikes’
    Consumers are being told to brace for hikes in prices and shortages of some fruits and vegetables.
    And those in the agricultural sector said the increases can be blamed on the recent downpours.
    “You can expect a hike in prices,” said vendor Deborah Stuart, who farms with her relatives at the Spring Hall Land Lease Project in St Lucy.
    “A lot of farmers lost crops during the past weeks with the heavy rain. They lost crops like cucumber, tomatoes, beans, thyme, parsley, coriander and marjoram. What the rain didn’t drown, it knocked off blossoms.
    “Farmers at the Land Lease had acres of tomatoes destroyed and right now tomatoes selling at $7/$8 per pound, so you can imagine how they are going to sell at Christmas.
    “I think we are going to have to import a lot of veggies because farmers who have elevated grounds may have a supply of everything, but the quantity overall will still be small,” said Small.
    Small farmer Keith Corbin, who cultivates land at the Pine Basin Land Lease Project in St Michael, had similar sentiments, adding that what made the situation worse was the level of praedial larceny.
    “I now had about 7 000 tomato plants and the rain all but destroyed them,” he said. “I had sweet peppers and cucumbers that got destroyed too and right now the rain got the grass on my land tall that somebody could hide in it.
    “Farmers out in the Pine were flooded out for months and couldn’t access the land to save anything. So only things that could grow in six weeks you may get a chance with, but nothing else . . . and that is if the rain doesn’t fall. Right now sweet potatoes scarce, cucumbers, cauliflower, zucchini, (hot) peppers,
    pawpaw, beets and chives.
    “And crop theft rampant. I bought $8 000 in wood and one day I came and found the shanty (wood structure) I built gone. So they not only carrying away your food but whatever else they could put their hands on.”
    Water damage
    Another small farmer, Robert Ramsey, who works land in Gibbons Boggs, Christ Church, said the water damaged an acre of tomatoes, an acre of peppers and a quarter-acre of bonavist.
    Chief executive officer of the Barbados Agriculture Society, James Paul, said there was no doubt that the recent bad weather had an impact on crop production, especially at locations that did not have proper run-off systems.
    He said there would be shortages of some commodities and that would go into the price that consumers would have to pay for the produce.
    However, Paul said there was no need for public panic as there were some farmers who were able to maintain good levels of production.
    Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir told the Weekend Nation that his ministry was working to reduce the incidence of flooding on farming districts in the coming months.
    He said: “Farmers have experienced flooding because of the heavy rainfall but Government approved $5 million, which was passed in Parliament in a supplementary, to provide farmers with reservoirs. They would mitigate future flooding as the water would be harvested and then when we go into the dry season farmers would still have a supply of water.”
    Weir said this project was being facilitated by the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation. (SB)

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  • Oh dear, dear me! I doubt I will be bothered.

    Because…. Donna the novice has planted and is currently reaping… lettuce, cucumber, okra, spinach, sweet pepper, chives, garlic chives, basil and eggplant.

    Next week the kale, which has recovered, should be ready. Beets are coming nicely as are the radishes. Sweet potatoes and cassava looking lovely.

    Plum tomatoes and cherry tomatoes seedlings are hatching nicely. Pigeon peas are coming along well. Celery and parsley doing well.

    Carrots, cabbage, chinese cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, water melon, honey dew melon, bunching onion, oregano already hatching.

    Marjoram still alive, hot peppers also and slowly progressing.

    Thyme dying, I think from over watering. I have learnt that you should allow the soil to dry out for a bit before watering. So too marjoram. So I have hatched new seeds. But I already have broad leaf thyme and a Jamaican thyme planted and thriving.

    I pulled up the butternut squash. I think it had a fungus. It was flowering but going nowhere. New seedlings being hatched. My Rasta cousin is bringing me a pumpkin vine that bears what he swears are the sweetest pumpkins. Meanwhile he brought me two of the pumpkins for my first solo conkie attempt. Got my own banana leaves. Brought me some coconuts until he feels like picking mine. Brought me two of his sweet breadfruits for breadfruit cou cou and for my pickled chicken with breadfruit and steamed pudding.

    Seeds still to be hatched next week – onions, coriander, dill, sage, sweet basil and gourmet basil.

    Plantain and figs still outstanding. Guava tree taking its time in coming. Marrow and bay leaf also. Free planting material so I am not complaining. They will come.

    Soon yam and Irish/English pototoes. Guava tree long promised but much delayed.

    Grape vine promised too just this week. I think all that is left for me is garlic, corn and beans. I’ll get to them.

    And then I will be done. I can’t plant EVERYTHING! lol 😊

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  • Radishes pushing above the surface. Another two weeks at most to reaping time!

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  • The cucumber seeds which I planted on November 26 have germinated. I am surprised that they have germinated so quickly.

    Evidently I had forgotten that I planted some parsley seeds among the okras, so now the okras are almost finished bearing, and I’ve noticed “hey some parsley” so I pulled the weeds from among the parsley and from amnog the newly germinated cucumbers, and planted another 3 or 4 holes of cucumber.

    Bought some beans and will plant those in the open field at the “plantation” on Wednesday weather permitting. Bought some tomato seeds too, will germinate those at home in a tray with some potting soil and plant in the open field later.

    A bunch of bananas in the backyard is almost ready, but the monkeys have started hunting. We will see who wins. Will pick the last of the avocados this week.

    For once I did not make conkies for Independence because good banana leaves were scarce because of wind damage. But I have a pumpkin maybe 20 pounds big on my kitchen counter. I plan to visit an elderly cousin tomorrow so I will take some of that for her along with some okras. Will make some corn pone tonight or tomorrow for the grandchildren’s after school snack. Will grate and freeze some and if Little Susie manages to get to Barbados and through quarantine for Christmas maybe I’ll make a dozen Christmas conkies. Sometimes imported [from the Philippines I think] banana leaves can be found in the fancy supermarkets, but I did not see any this year.

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  • Independence Day Honours 2020

    BARBADOS SERVICE MEDAL
    For meritorious work in the civil, fire, military, police, prison or other protective services or any other similar field of endeavour
    • Gervis Isabelle Forde-Parris – for her social and economic contribution as a hawker in Barbados for many years and her community spirit.

    Source: Nation News, November 30, 2020

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  • Cuhdear Bajan,

    I was wstching saw and wondered at the time if it was the Gervais you and Dame Bajans spoke about. Cool!

    I have chinese cabbage, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, honey dew melon, garlic chive, cucumber, cherry tomato, plum tomato, thyme and sweet basil already hatched. The cucumber hatched in a couple of days. Waiting on chive, butternut squash, oregano, water melon, zucchini, parsley and celery to peek out. Beets and carrots doing well in the ground. Better than those in the pots.

    I am going to check now online to see if the radishes I see rising above the surface are ready.

    Still picking okra, lettuce, chive and garlic chive, spinach, eggplant, sweet pepper, basil and cucumber.

    Beet and carrot rooting slowly in the pot. Kale so pretty I don’t even want to pick it. Marjoram still alive. Celery was bought as seedlings andbI did not know it does not produce a thick stalk so I think it is about ready. Parsley thriving now it is out of the pot.

    Pigeon pea growing but I wonder if they will be ready in time for Xmas.

    Sweet potato taking off but the cassava leaves are only now turning back green from yellow. Too much rain, I think.

    I actually still have a few good banana leaves. Got the almond essence from my friend but had only a half pack of cornmeal. Made cou cou and salt fish early last week with the rest. Will see if it is back on the shelves today.

    Last week was a good week for Bajan cuisine. Had breadfruit cou cou as well. For my son I made a breadfruit pie with a cheese sauce using breadfruit flour from BADMC. A little deviation from a recipe in my Carmeta cook book. Had pudding souse and spinach and fish cakes. Gonna try some cassava pone outta Carmeta cook book as well. My son will make the pumpkin fritters and sweet bread. I am going to the mauby and sorrel just now and peel the veg for a big soup.

    Still feeling Bajan!

    Think I’ll try some jug jug this Xmas. Used to help my grandma but never went solo.

    My Carmeta cook book is a treasure! I don’t think I would be planting or cooking Bajan without her. Her big personality captured me long ago. She was as colourful in person as she was on tv.

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  • Everything but the chive has germinated. My Rasta cousin planted lemon grass yesterday and he put a pineapple in a pot. But it takes two years to grow apparently and so I told him I would need to plant a pineapple patch. That is for later.

    Going to start onion, cress, coriander, sage and dill today. And some more lettuce and kale.

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  • Pulled my first radish. Incredibly easy to grow, apparently. Didn’t even get to fertilise. Worms were the only problem. They love the leaves. Neem extract takes care of that. Has to be sprayed every few days and every day if it rains heavily. Best time to spray is 4 p.m. That’s teatime for most of the bugs I’ve seen. They hide on the underside of the leaf. White flies or aphids are killers to cucumber plants. Came out at dinner time to spray and found they had done tremendous damage at tea time. One plant has not recovered. I pulled it up.

    I have a multitude of beautiful birds and ladybirds helping me to fight. My bees and butterflies are also doing their pollination job rather well.

    My earthworms are saving my plants by aeriating the saturated soil.

    I am having great fun watching nature at work. So sorry I waited this late.

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  • None for me, please! I got Bajan yard fowl from my cousin down the hill.

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  • @Donna

    You are no fun…LOL

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  • Nice story with color photos about Gervis Forde-Parris on pages 14A and 15A of today’s Sunday Sun

    Like

  • Recently I bought a leg of Bajan black belly lamb from a man in my natal village. That is for for Christmas dinner. He threw in 1 dozen yard fowl eggs free. Those will go towards making a lemon pudding [cake for the non-Bajans here] also for Christmas.

    Had a soup for lunch today. Included in the soup were my own pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and okra, and a bit of the aforesaid lamb as a loose bit had been thrown to “make up the weight.”

    I am not quite billionaire rich yet. But I am certain that I ate as well as any builionaire did today. Perhaps even better.

    Not “starve-out” not yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Planted some beans yesterday and today.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Donna re Bajan yard fowl.

    You probably already know that green paw paw is a great tenderizer,

    Green paw paw tase and texture similar to christophene when cooked.

    Like

  • ‘Small man’ in ganja mix
    by GERCINE CARTER gercinecarter@nationnews.com
    THE “SMALL MAN” will not be left out of Barbados’ proposed medicinal marijuana industry.
    That promise has come from Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir, who told the MIDWEEK NATION yesterday: “I want to make it abundantly clear that all Barbadians will be given a fair chance to participate.”
    He said Government was putting arrangements in place so that small farmers could have access to funding and training.
    There has been an outcry by some members of the Rastafarian community, who expressed fears that they might be excluded from participating in what Michael “BigMike” Straumietis, a leading United States medicinal cannabis producer who was recently on the island exploring prospects for expanding his business here, said was a multimillion-dollar business.
    Straumietis wrote on his social media page: “Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Barbados. We are one step closer to legalising medicinal cannabis and growing equatorial Sativa strains there.”
    In yesterday’s DAILY NATION, president of the African Heritage Foundation, Paul “Simba” Rock, who worked with the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Board to help develop standards for people seeking certification for growing medical cannabis, lamented: “This will be the next sugar industry and the system will recolonise black people . . . . We will get the scraps.”
    He called on Government to help local growers establish export markets or set up a national cannabis farm.
    Keen interest
    Weir revealed there had indeed been frenetic interest by foreign investors, some of whom had visited the island from the time mention was first made of Barbados’ plans for a medicinal marijuana industry in the Barbados Labour Party’s 2018 manifesto. However, he said yesterday that “we have not started taking applications as yet”.
    “When you hear a hue and cry and you see [yesterday’s] newspaper headline about the small man crying foul, those things are all part of a misunderstanding of what medicinal cannabis and a medicinal cannabis industry is meant to be.
    “The Government stated up front when we brought this bill to Parliament last year that we were going to make sure that Barbados goes the full value chain. It means that we are not exporting anything in bulk like what we did with sugar,” Weir said.
    “People are getting it wrong, talking about foreign investors are going to come here and take everything in bulk and carry it along and the money is not going to get back here. That is completely against what we are actually doing. All of that is a completely wrong narrative and it does not line up with what the Government has planned,” he contended.
    “We have already identified that we have to bring along Barbadians in this process. That is the reason why the statute says that no foreign investor can have an investment in medicinal cannabis in Barbados without 30 per cent of investment in that business going to Barbadians.”
    The minister also suggested “the small man” form cooperatives to take advantage of “the full value chain”.
    He said there was a proposal for farmers graduating from Government’s Farmers Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive (FEED) programme to be able to participate in the medicinal cannabis industry, “and the support that we have given them for non-sugar agriculture, we are going to give them for cannabis”.
    New chairman
    He also disclosed plans to strengthen the Agricultural Development Fund and “put a new chairman in place”.
    “We are then going to make sure that farmers who are serious about a business can get involved in medicinal cannabis, submit a business plan and proposal to the Agricultural Development Fund and get the funding required as well.”
    Fund Access, he said, would also be available to assist those farmers who could only afford to cultivate a smaller acreage of medicinal marijuana.
    Weir said he had suggested to the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority that the board should specifically target these small farmers for training in cannabis as a business.
    Today at 6 p.m. the authority will host its first public forum to discuss the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act, 2019 and its regulations. It takes place at Queen’s College, Husbands, St James.

    Like

  • Cucumber, zucchini and sugar baby water melons planted out yesterday. Tomatoes, plum and cherry to be planted out today as well as butternut squash.

    Okra plants bearing more this week. Eggplants and spinach just will not stop although the eggplants are not so big. Sweet peppers also small. Kale leaf finally as big as my palm. Beets in pot getting big enough to pull. Celery and parsley now taking off. Carrots and beets growing steadily on the outside. Most radishes ready to be pulled. Hot peppers, marjoram and chives still holding on. The heat is causing the lettuce to bolt. Had to cut it right down. Basil bolting incessantly. Have to keep cutting it off. Pineapple catching on. Cassava and sweet potato looking lovely.

    Other seedling to be transplanted this weekend – honey dew melon, cabbage, chinese cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli,

    Thyme, celery, bunching onions and garlic chives still delicate. Oregano not yet germinated nor the chives that I thought had done so. Wondering if the seeds were good.

    Life is very interesting and about to get even more interesting.

    Like

  • My spinach has gone to seed. producing many seeds, and only small leaves now. Also not a green as previously. But the birds are enjoying the seeds.

    Like

  • Cuhdear Bajan,

    Some of my spinach has done the same. I like the small leaves. They are still green and there is no cutting needed for my spinach and eggs. A piece of vine that I threw on the compost heap started to grow.

    You just saved me the trouble of reseaching what was happening to my spinach.

    Like

  • I forgot to mention the Italian parsley and the curled parsley seedlings that are still delicate but coming along nicely.

    Never did hatch the onions, sage, coriander or dill. Nor the new lettuce.

    Will do that next week.

    Like

  • Ah boy, the joys of gardening and eating the food you grow. Sweet for days. Nothing beats a home grown tomato, carrot or beet. I plant my cress in two containers, not in the ground…slugs. I get a plastic contain and fill 1/3 with water, then I get another container with holes all around the sides which I fill with dirt and place in the water one. Then I sprinkle the seeds on top of the dirt and in 2 weeks I am eating water cress. The only person who gets some of my cress is my Canadian friend who watches my house and waters my plants when I am travelling. She also comes in and resets the burglar alarm if it goes off by power outages. She came Tuesday and helped me make my Christmas cakes. Two have been delivered already.

    I made 24 conkies for Independence and have 4 left in the freezer. I will make some for Christmas.

    Yes, that is the Gervais that we talked about. The first husband ‘Forde’ was our cousin. The last husband was Parris. She outlived three. I am glad for her. When I read it in Nation on line, I sent the link to my bros and sisters.

    Like

  • Dame Bajans,

    Joy indeed! Got some cress seeds too. Thanks for the tip.

    Like

  • @ Donna December 10, 2020 1:36 PM “You just saved me the trouble of reseaching what was happening to my spinach.”

    My experience is that spinach goes into a period of dormancy in the dry season, during which time most of the plants energy goes into producing seeds for next season’s crop. The birds, especially the “Gyanese pigeons” [the large grey birds with the very elegant flight pattern] will eat some but not all of the seeds. Those which fall to the ground will produce new seedlings when the rains start again next year. The “mother” plant may or may not survive. You may want to give it a little water in the dry season to help it survive [not thrive]

    Like

  • Cuhdear,

    Thanks.

    Like

  • ‘Grow more fruits’
    Supermarket manager says lack of crop planning a problem
    by STACEY N. RUSSELL FARMERS are being urged to grow more fruits, and not just vegetables, to help cut down on the high number of imported products on supermarket shelves.
    At the same time, a traditional “adversarial” relationship between supermarkets and farmers on supply contracts through the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) is being blamed for heavy imports of fresh produce and higher prices for consumers.
    Charles Lynch, general manager of Massy Stores SuperCentre in Warrens, St Michael, said he believed a thorough crop plan was needed to avert the current issues.
    “We need to plan our crops carefully. I believe we have enough land space in Barbados that with a marketing plan through the BAS – I will grow sweet potatoes, you grow eddoes, this body grows cucumbers – we could supply Barbados. But I find that everybody tends to do the same thing,” he told the DAILY NATION.
    Price hikes
    Lynch was speaking on how the COVID-19 outbreak had impacted the supermarkets and why consumers were seeing ongoing price increases. He pointed to the higher cost of imported goods that had a knock-on effect for buyers.
    He admitted that fruits were “predominantly” imported; for example, pineapples typically originated from Costa Rica, and urged local farmers to grow more fruit.
    “Locally, in terms of vegetables, [we have] a good percentage of local vegetables, once they’re available. What I would like the farmers to do is to try to grow more fruits. They grow vegetables, but they don’t grow a lot of fruits. I’ve been told and I saw articles in the paper where somebody was growing pineapples locally. Obviously, there is not enough to supply us so we got to bring them in.
    “There is no reason why we should not be growing something like sweet peppers in Barbados. We grow green sweet peppers in Barbados, but when it comes to the red and yellow, I find that our supply is not as bountiful as it should be,” he said.
    Chief executive officer of BAS, James Paul, agreed farmers had to plan properly.
    “I believe that the farmers in Barbados registered with the BAS need to plan their crops. From my experience, it looks as though if you think that cucumbers did a good crop this year, then everybody wants to grow cucumbers next year,” he said.
    However, he maintained farmers could not shoulder blame for the island’s high dependence on imported fresh produce because there was lack of communication between them and supermarkets, and more so, a lack of confidence between the two sides.
    “In the past we’ve had too much of an adversarial relationship and what we need to see is some initiative whereby the supermarkets work more closely with farmer organisations such as the BAS to bring farmers into a structured process for the supply of vegetables.
    “At the moment, the type of individualistic approach that exists in terms of the relationship between the supermarkets and the farmers is really one of the principal reasons why you cannot maintain consistency of production,” he said.
    Specifically, he complained of supermarkets undermining contracts with the BAS, resorting to dealing directly with farmers, and the society being blamed when those deals fell through.
    ‘Uncomfortable’
    On BAS being proactive in organising its members to plan and grow produce in demand by consumers, Paul said: “It has to begin with the supermarkets. I don’t think the supermarkets traditionally feel comfortable dealing with farmers’ organisations like the BAS; that is a fact . . . .
    “Instead of dealing with the association, once they find out who the association’s members are, they go directly to the members instead of the association.”
    But he acknowledged that some tearaway BAS members were “shortsighted” in resisting the commission set for them to pay on produce sold through the organisation.
    “All we ask is that farmers pay five per cent on the produce that is supplied through them to the supermarkets. Our farmers baulk at that . . . . Once we have more farmers under our wings, we can then bargain for better prices from the supermarkets for the farmers. Once we get the cash flow up to the level that it should be, farmers can even be paid on a more timely basis for produce being delivered to the supermarkets.”

    Like

  • Quite true about the lack of co-operation between farmers. They all tend to grow the same crops. This I know having worked with them.

    On the upside, my neighbour has watched me picking and singing in my garden and is going to start his own with the help of my helper who has received many requests from being seen at the front and side of my house doing his wonderful work.

    I love it when a plan comes together.

    Like

  • And my pineapple is progressing nicely. The pineapple patch will be started next year.

    We Bajans ought to be ashamed of ourselves importing pineapple.

    Steupse!

    Like

  • A Bajan friend of mine up here grows pineapple in pots in the house. She puts them out in the summer as they need a long season. She just takes the tops of the pineapple and plant it.

    Now I am off to drop my cheques off at the Food Bank and the Salvation Army. The poor have to eat this Christmas.

    Like

  • Yup! My pineapple top is in a pot outside. Next year I will buy a pineapple a month, cut off the tops and plant them until I have one for every month.

    I never take in my Salvation Army envelope so they stopped sending them. I just drop money in the kettles whenever I pass.

    Going out now to spray with neem. Four o’clock is the worms’ tea time. I am fifteen minutes late for tea.

    Like

  • I have made two attempts to grow pineapples without any success. I suspect that my problem is I am cutting it much too close to the top.

    Like

  • My pineapple top would be decomposing by now if it was not alive so I assume I’m good.

    Like

  • @Hants
    Excellent video

    I planted two pineapples in pots this summer and they started to thrive, then I transplanted them to the garden. At the end of summer, I replanted them in pots and one is coming along slowly but the other one died. Pineapples are grown for local consumption in Antigua and a friend from St. Lucia tells me that his father also grows pineapples.

    Like

  • Typical Hants! I’ll be sure to consult the video later.

    A Bajan guy was featured in the newspaper a few months ago growing them. First time I knew they grew from cut off tops.

    Mamoud Patel also grows them at Coco Hill. He has coffee beans, nutmeg and other crops we ignore for whatever reason. It is a tourist attraction as well.

    Like

  • Sweetest sugar crop
    Weir: Barbados to reap benefits from new export plan
    by SHERIA BRATHWAITE
    sheriabrathwaite@nationnews.com
    THE 2021 SUGAR cane harvest may be the sweetest of this new century as Barbados makes the historic shift to producing for direct consumption from the traditional bulk exports.
    Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir has not released this year’s harvest statistics, but is projecting that next year’s season will be historic, while the Barbados Sugar Industry Limited (BSIL) is predicting that 2021’s crop will exceed the last two years’.
    “About three or four weeks ago, we shipped out our last shipment of bulk sugar, hopefully, never to return to that type of arrangement. We are no longer using the massa system to make sure all Barbadians can benefit from locally produced sugar, as previously, we were doing it a loss.
    “We do not produce sugar on a large enough scale to export in bulk at a price that is substantially below what it costs to produce. So I took a decision to put an end to that and go the route of direct consumption. We were exporting sugar in bulk at $900 per tonne and we can now export Grade A sugar at $1 900 per tonne, or Grade B sugar at $1 300 per tonne. This would bring substantial savings and revenue to the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) and it would also help reduce the cost of support to the farmers,” he said.
    Weir said the United States’ Winn-Dixie supermarket chain was selling Barbados Reserve packaged sugar and from February, Walmart would also be carrying the brand. He said that collaborations with worldrenowned chefs and businesspeople in the food industry would help Barbados break into the exclusive markets.
    Barbadians will also get the opportunity to own shares in the sugar industry when a new state-ofthe- art factory, utilising renewable energy, and outfitted with a sugar museum, is erected.
    Chairman of the BSIL, Mark Sealy, said farmers were increasing their acreage and were well prepared for next year’s production.
    “It would be best to start the crop early February, but we still have to meet with the union for negotiations. The farmers have put in their estimates, but due to the rainfall, we should be able to beat those estimates and have a good crop compared to the last two years. If you look around at some of the canes . . . you would see the benefits of the rainfall . . . plant cane and first ratoon cane look pretty good.”
    Step in right direction
    Meanwhile, Democratic Labour Party (DLP) spokesman for agriculture, Andre Worrell, said doing away with bulk sugar was a step in the right direction, but he insisted Barbadians should know how the island performed this year.
    “It would be good for the minister to give more detailed information about the sugar harvest, and the agriculture sector on a whole, at this time where the tourism sector is not performing as expected,” he said.
    Former Chief Agriculture Officer Lennox Chandler said sugar was the most reliable source of foreign exchange and there were many ways the industry could be further developed.
    “We are not certain about tourism, offshore this and that or international business. The only thing that is sure is that if we produce X amount of sugar, somebody somewhere will buy it. When I attended international conferences, it was always said that sugar is still the preferred sweetener; so there is a place for sugar. I am not saying sugar would return to its glory days, but I can still see a place for a modern sugar cane industry with a modern factory set up to produce a variety of by-products.”
    Efforts to reach deputy general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, Dwaine Paul, regarding labour’s position on the developments and the negotiations for 2021 were unsuccessful.
    Grinding halted at Portvale Sugar Factory on May 22 and sources close to the industry revealed that more than 90 000 tonnes of cane were delivered to the Blowers, St James factory which produced just over 7 900 tonnes of sugar. It took about 11 tonnes of cane to produce one tonne of sugar.

    Source: Nation

    Like

  • To all the gardeners and wannabe gardeners, MERRY CHRISTMAS. Bought a pineapple yesterday for $1.88 and will be planting the top.

    Like

  • PAHO caution on food safety
    WASHINGTON – The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has issued what it described as “five keys” for food safety in the Caribbean and other places in the holiday season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
    “During the holiday season, food is prepared in large quantities and quite ahead of time, which increases the risks of [Food-borne Diseases] FBDs,” said PAHO in statement.
    “This holiday season will be atypical due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
    In order to keep families safe, PAHO urged Caribbean and other nationals to use “the five keys to prevent FBDs”.
    • Water and food are safe
    when they do not contain dangerous microbes.
    • Make sure that both you
    and the place where food is prepared are clean.
    • Raw food, particularly
    meat, chicken, fish and their juices may contain dangerous microbes.
    •It is very important to
    cook food thoroughly.
    • And microbes multiply
    rapidly if cooked food is left at room temperature for more than two hours.
    PAHO said bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, toxic chemicals or foreign physical agents, such as soil, hair or insects, are “a risk for our health.
    “A safe food is also referred to as innocuous,” it said. “Safe water is that which has received a purification treatment that removes microbes and toxic chemicals, making it safe to drink or use for food preparation.
    “Washing our hands frequently not only prevents FBDs but also COVID-19.”
    PAHO said dangerous microbes are in soil, air, water, animals and humans, and that these germs are transferred through hands, wipes or soiled cloths and kitchenware, particularly cutting boards.
    “During the season holidays, it is common to cook with our family and/ or our friends,” it said. “This year, if possible, do not follow this tradition; and, in case you do, wear the mask when preparing and serving food; limit the number of guests, and restrict the access to the areas where food is manipulated. Practise social distancing to prevent infections.”
    PAHO advised to keep raw food separated from cooked food in order to prevent the transfer of microbes and to avoid cross-contamination.
    In addition, PAHO said “it is very important to cook food thoroughly in order to kill the dangerous microbes it may contain. (CMC)

    Like

  • A belated Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year to Dame Bajans and to all of the other gardeners.

    Like

  • @Simple Simon

    Have you chased away Dr. Lucas or is he suffering from Trump withdrawal.

    Like

  • I am not sure. I respect his science, but not his politics.

    Like

  • Still 24 more days for those who love Trump and his administration to enjoy.

    Like

  • Still 20 more days for those who love Trump and his administration to enjoy.

    Like

  • “Still 15 more days for those who love Trump and his administration to enjoy.”

    Like

  • Sometime in May I had a yam in the kitchen as as yams do it started to grow. I cut off most of it and was left with a “yam head” that is about 3 ounces from the top of the tuber. I decided to stick it in a hole in the back garden at home. It grew on the fence and produced truly beautiful foliage for many months. Yesterday I harvested about 4 pounds of yam, so I estimated that the “return on my investment” is about *1,600%, and in addition I will get to eat my investment and share some with my planting buddy. There are some other yams on the “plantation” so by mid-month I will see how those have done.

    *64 ounces divided by 8 months which is an increase of 200% per month, multiplied by 8 months equals 1600% My math is probably incorrect but I’ve never claimed to be good at math.

    For Donna: Yams are mature when the lovely green leaves start to turn yellow and brown. Plant yams in early May, even if it is still dry, as the yam plantings are pretty drought tolerant and the young leaves wil emerge in a month or so just Bout the time the real-real starts in early june. Harvest early December to early January. The harvested yams will keep without refrigeration for many months. Our main source of carbohydrate was always yam from January to August. No pasta, no rice. Traditionally my parents planted on May Day because on that day there were many little willing hands, and harvested on New Year’s Day for the same reason. But harvesting is “tough guy” work, so a couple of really good male agricultural laborers were always hired to help with the harvesting.

    Like

  • Dr. Robert Lucas has forsaken us?

    Like

  • Planted some “string” beans at home and at the “plantation” few weeks ago. They are in bloom now and I expect to be eating beans in about three weeks. Beans seem to prefer the slight “cooler” weather. Cooler meaning Barbados cooler, that is under 29 Celsius for most of the day; so I planted some more yesterday to stretch out my harvesting period.

    I should add that I hate beans, but I will eat them never the less.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Farmers support cancellation of Agrofest
    Some livestock farmers are supporting the Barbados Agricultural Society’s (BAS) decision to suspend the biggest agricultural calendar event – Agrofest.
    On Monday, chief executive officer of the BAS, James Paul, announced that the annual exhibit, which usually takes place on the last weekend of February was cancelled due to the recent spike of COVID-19 cases.
    Yesterday, well known rabbit farmer Frederick “Freddie” Butcher said he agreed the exhibition should be cancelled.
    “I have no problem with the decision, things happen,” he said.
    “We didn’t expect that the virus would have travelled this side of the world and given the
    increase of positive cases at the turn of the year, we have to put the health of the country first.”
    ‘Right decision’
    Farmer Ronaldo Fields, whose animal copped the prize of Best Beef Heifer last year, said he also supported the move. He said: “I think it was the right decision because with the COVID situation you wouldn’t want to put anybody at risk. We were not officially told that this was going to happen but based on all that occurred last year, we were in doubt that a show would be held this year.” (SB)

    Like

  • The majoram grown from seed is finally behaving itself and growing nicely. I am hopeful that I will have a good crop after all.

    Gave away some leaf garlic, basil, sweet potatoes and okras today; and some sweet potatoes and okras yesterday.

    Had a nice curried chicken with a St. Joseph breadfruit today, with sides of my homegrown okra, beans and pumpkin. A glass of orange juice afterwards settled things nicely.

    Will do 2 hours of gardening before sunset.

    Like

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