Carmeta’s Corner

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

621 comments

  • Excellent Dame.

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  • David, if you were near, you could share the harvest. Everything is organically grown. I use chicken shit fertilizer.

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  • Gave away some more callaloo, a bokchoi and some black currants today, to a neighbour who lived/worked in Africa and married an African. She is Scottish but eats what we eat.

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  • The okras planted 46 days ago started to flower this morning. I should be able to start harvesting by day 50. The cassava is ready. The pumpkin vines are flowering too, so I should have some ripe pumpkins starting late October/early November. If there are enough the grandchildren will get one for Halloween. I’ll carve a jack ‘o lantern myself and insert a little battery powered light.

    I thought that I knew all about the birds and the bees until an older sibling taught me a year or too ago that pumpkins produce male flowers for the first 2 or 3 weeks, and then the female flowers appear. The female flowers have a little baby pumpkin attached to the vine. The males are a plain flower. Then the bees do their work fertilizing the female flowers with material from the males. If bees are absent then the gardener can hand pollinate, transfer some pollen from the males to the females, but it appears that bees have been doing this for eons and are are more efficient at this task than we are.

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  • <

    blockquote>Support our small farmers
    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me” – Martin Niemoller “The United States of America made a mistake in giving poor countries food. We should have helped them to feed themselves” – George Bush Jr. 2008 “Examination of our past is never time-wasting. Reverberations from the past provide learning rubrics for living today.” – Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls.
    Up to 1960, the continent of Africa was a net exporter of food, with many thriving rural farming communities, including many small farms. Around that time, however, these African countries began to achieve their independence and their new leaders, probably misadvised by economists like ours today, started importing cheap food for their urban masses at the expense of their farmers and rural poor who subsequently could not earn an adequate living. An “urban drift” resulted from these rural poor looking for jobs and a livelihood to support their families, which resulted in over-crowded urban centres and even more problems.
    This process has been documented by the international agencies. There was no conspiracy planning to hurt the African countries, just erroneous policy and short-sighted, selfish, political priorities that failed to support their farmers and failed to recognise the true value of their farming community, to their countries’ economies.
    Wastage
    Sixty years later, Africa is still importing significant quantities of the food it needs to feed its people and billions upon billions of dollars in wasted foreign exchange for those cheap food imports, the modern African leaders are finding that this trend is not easy to reverse. Unlike economists, who the Universities produce by the score, only certain aspects of agricultural science can
    be taught in a classroom.
    Farming in general, is a way of life, for which aptitude is crucial and cannot be taught like economics in a classroom. Compounding the problem is a lack of economies of scale which limit small farmers in their financial margins and unfortunately they are also expected to feed the poor, not forgetting that these small farmers and their extended families make up the bulk of the rural poor anyway. This is why there is little or no private investment in agriculture – the returns on agricultural investment are non-existent!
    The records show that there is a high turnover of small farmers, as many as 80 per cent, who fail to succeed in achieving an adequate standard of living within five years of startup. This has been the experience across the Caribbean in the many different land settlement schemes from Jamaica which has had more than 40 such schemes in areas such as Beverly, Boundbrook, Kildare, Yardley Chase, Lititz, Wake Forest and Haughton Court; to Wallerfield and Caroni in Trinidad; Orange Hill in St Vincent and the Grenadines; and Spring Hall and River Plantation in Barbados.
    Given the foregoing, how can the Government of Barbados propose to do the same thing, import cheap food, ostensibly for a processing/packaging plant? Who are we really fooling that this cheap food will not end up on our supermarket shelves and deal a devastating blow to our farmer’s market? This at a time when the same Government has recently settled dozens of small farmers under it’s highly publicised “Farmers’ Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive” (FEED) programme, while making them pay exorbitant commercial rates for their irrigation water.
    Productivity
    Barbados cannot feed itself, so we have to import a substantial portion of our food, but we should not be importing what our farmers can produce simply because it is cheaper. Barbados needs to import rice, corn, soya bean and other grains among a range of crops which we cannot produce ourselves. At the same time, our Government must provide solid support for our farmers to help them reduce their costs and the cost of their products. The Government needs to get our economic (rather than political) priorities right or we will never be able to repay our massive debt. A similar “can of
    worms” which we have been “kicking down the road” is the lack of productivity and accountability of our public sector.
    When they came for the “bond holders”, demanding a “haircut’ – you did not speak out because you were not a bond holder; when they came for the small contractors (by importing cheap Chinese housing) – you did not speak out because you were not a small contractor; when they came for the farmers (by charging commercial water rates for their irrigation water and importing cheap food) – you did not speak out because you were not a farmer; when they come for the pensioners (and they are coming) you will not speak out because you are not a pensioner – yet; when they come for you who will be left to speak for you?
    Round and round we go, like water in a sinkhole vortex!

    Peter Webster</blockquote>

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  • @Cuhdear, are you telling me that you celebrate ‘all Hallows” in Barbados too? I have been hand pollinating my pumpkins for a few years now. Sometimes the bees are late, or few, so you have to do it. So far, I have one pumpkin and two with ovaries. I hand pollinated one that had an open flower and removed a few leaves from around the other so the bees could find it. The females are always low to the ground while the male flowers are tall and most often than not above the leaves. I picked about four okras but they are not doing well. They needed the hot weather in the Spring and early Summer. The plants are all stunted. I planted the first week in June and they are only about a foot tall. Everyone who planted okras in the allotments have the same problem. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are heatwaves up here. With humidex today it was 42C. I opened the door and closed it right back. Tomorrow they are predicting that Toronto will reach 45C. I hope Hants keep indoors in that heat.

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  • @Dame+Bajans August 6, 2022 7:08 PM @Cuhdear, are you telling me that you celebrate ‘all Hallows” in Barbados too?”

    Not in a big way, although some people are starting to do so. If I have an extra pumpkin I indulge the grans just for the fun of it.

    My okras are loving the sun and rain and doing beautifully. I started to harvest them on Friday 5th August

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  • Wait! So this is where the two uh wunnuh been hiding?

    Dame Bajans taught me about the pumpkin trick month’s ago! Unfortunately, this pumpkin vine is from seeds from over “in away” and is catching a fungus. Not enough leaves left to sustain even one pumpkin. I’m going to pull it up, flowering or not. My cousin brought me his variety that did very well last time. Zucchini leaves lasted a bit longer with the organic pesticide until I ran out and then tried my home made brew. Got some zucchinis smaller than my little finger. One has to keep on that family of plants. The pests love their leaves. Cucumber crop was small too because the bugs sucked the leaves until they curled up and almost died.

    Okras had a bug attack also. I got rid of them AFTER they had eaten holes in every leaf. Small crop of okras still ongoing.

    I missed ONE DAY of checking my cabbages and the bugs attacked. I pulled them out with only two small heads remaining.

    But I am still reaping tomatoes, sweet peppers, lettuce ( nuff nuff) eggplants, beans, beets, carrots, radishes and all the herbs, chives and garlic chives. Even found the rosemary I had been seaching for forever. Cassava and sweet potatoes soon. And all the rest, kale, Chinese cabbage, celery etc. are small or are seedlings waiting to be transplanted.

    Almonds, coconuts, pomegranate aplenty, one one mango still dropping, soursop on the last lap but two days of rain and the bananas are on the way in.

    And I almost forgot that for the first time EVER I made a fruit salad with honey dew, sugar baby and cantalope ALL from my garden.

    And as my son remarked just last week, “Mummy still feeling fussy wid she garden!”

    YUP!

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  • @Donna August 9, 2022 6:36 AM “Wait! So this is where the two uh wunnuh been hiding?”

    Hiding in plain sight, lol!

    @Donna August 9, 2022 6:36 AM “I made a fruit salad with honey dew, sugar baby and cantalope ALL from my garden.”

    Sounds delicious!!!

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  • Hello ladies. I see all is well with your gardening and harvesting. I have had a bumper crop of calalloo and zuccinis. I am eating so much veggies I am losing weight I think I should be keeping. Old black women don’t look good too skinny to my eyes.
    Thirteen packs of callaloo already in the freezer. Cranberry beans will be picked, shelled and frozen in the next two weeks. Cucumbers almost finished, the cucumber beetle had a feast on the leaves. I used neem spray, but you have to catch them on the wing for it to be effective. The tomatoes are sweet for days. I am picking a few every two days. the majority will ripen at the same time for salsa making. The okras are disappointing and the pumpkins are late. They are only now coming out.
    The English potatoes were most eaten by the chipmonks. I planted 20 hills and got about four pounds and these were deep. I guess they got tired of tunneling. Bajan spinach growing like a weed. The leaves are big like sea grape leaves at Bathsheba.
    The Chinese eggplants are flourishing and I gave one to my friend’s husband this week along with a zuccini and some callaloo. I saw him this morning and he thanked me profusely and told me he peels and eats the stalks. I do too, but this year I could not be bothered with all the callaloo I have so I composted them.
    I am growing yard long beans for the first time on a trellis and they are doing well, long but yet two skinny, no beans inside yet. Should be interesting. Tomorrow, I will mound up the leeks before they start to fatten out.

    I check out the other blogs from time to time, but I am tired of the same ole, same ole and the cussing, swearing and insults. I dont need to read that.

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  • @Cudhear,
    Don’t bother with Bush Tea. I had sweet potato last night for a snack. I ate the skin. However, I roasted mine in the toaster oven. The only thing missing was the roasted salt fish. I miss the pit toilet. No straining, no haemorrhoids. Just cock up and the stool just comes out by gravitational pull. He claims to be a scientist.

    Leave him there with his artery clogging sundaes. Never touch the stuff, don’t eat icecream.

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  • I was a little worried that the pumpkins seemed a little slow to produce pumpkins, but all’s well now. I have 10 so far, from as big as 2 fists to about 10 pounds each. The first one should be ready for the pot mid month, and at this rate we should be able to continue harvesting until Christmas.

    I am expecting a visitor from the great white north mid-month so maybe as a greeting a lovely home made soup with my own pumpkins, sweet potatoes and maybe yam, throw in some home grown spinach a bit of chicken or fish and that should go down nicely. Next day when warming over add some okras, even better.

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  • @Dame+Bajans July 22, 2022 10:23 AM “…the pumpkins can run in that bed. these ones are big, big, big.”

    How are your pumpkins doing Dame Bajans?

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  • @Dame+Bajans August 24, 2022 12:46 PM “Cudhear, Don’t bother with Bush Tea. I had sweet potato last night for a snack. I ate the skin. However, I roasted mine in the toaster oven. The only thing missing was the roasted salt fish.”

    I don’t take on the elderly misogynists. Living my sweet life.

    I remember sticking a sweet potato through the arch of the coal pot when my mother had fired it up the coal-pot for cooking or ironing. Then eating the lovely smoky hot sweet potato, with a bit of roasted salt fish. Yum-yum.

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  • Cuhdear, my pumpkins have finally come alive. I have six big ones. Two butternuts and four Bajans. I also have three undetermined and three kabocha. My freezer is loaded with Bajan spinach and callaloo. The okras did nothing this year. Too cold. The eggplants are not producing. I only reaped 6 off 6 plants and one of my fellow gardeners came over to my allotment to complain that his are not producing. He harvested only four and last year he had 24. We are all suffering. I made nine pints of salsa this evening.

    My old Bajan friend came yesterday for her veggies. She got callaloo, spinach, beets (they did well and are big, big, big), beans, zuccinis and tomatoes. I even gave her half a cabbage. It was a good thing she brought her cart. She uses a cane and could not have managed otherwise. I even gave her some of the grapes that had turned and some stewed cow foot that I had made. When the grapes are ready she will come and collect her share. lol
    Someone in the allotment is stealing my long beans. I like them to get a little fat and left about two dozen on the front of the trellis. When I went yesterday, they were all gone, even the baby ones.

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  • $1.5m to boost coconut industry
    Stories by Rachelle Agard rachelleagard@nationnews.com

    It would take approximately $1.5 million to expand the coconut industry in Barbados and farmer Mahmood Patel is on a mission to see that within the next two years Barbados remains the leaders in the industry and set up an agri processing plant.
    Patel, a coconut farmer, who is also the owner of Coco Hill Forest, told reporters he started the forest in 2013 to 2014, with the idea to look at the coconut industry as a subsector in the agricultural industry and one of the alternatives to the mono crop sugar cane.
    He said they had planted about 500 trees over the last eight years, although they had intended to plant about 5 000 within that time frame. However, he said the challenge remained the geography of the Scotland District, which required an intensive capital expenditure.
    Patel said after eight years they had made all the necessary mistakes and had learned from them in order to scale up.
    “We will need [more] equipment like an excavator, more nuts and more seedlings as well. Ideally, we need to invest in a coconut nursery that is like 2
    000 to 3 000 seedlings, and then equipment. To make this coconut thing work where it can have returns on investment and economies of scale, we need an additional investment probably in total about BDS$1.5 million,” he said yesterday at the end of a tour during the just concluded AfriCaribbean Trade & Investment Forum 2022.
    However, Patel said procuring that amount of money had been a challenge, as they would need venture capital, equity funding or developmental funding for such an undertaking.
    Venture capital needed
    “We had tried with the commercial banks in the past and unfortunately, because of how our banking institution is structured, that’s not possible. We would probably need some kind of venture capital, equity funding, or some kind of developmental funding for a project like this. But as you could see, it’s working because one of the things that Coco Hill has attempted to do is to link with tourism, so that it is not only an agricultural project, but it is derisked by the linkage with tourism,” he explained.
    Patel said they had been lobbying through the International Trade Centre and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development
    Institute, and had been attempting to deconstruct monoculture to add value to the crop. He said once funding was forthcoming, the plant could be up and running within 18 months to two years maximum.
    “The main part of ramping up production is to set up an agro processing plant here once those 5 000 coconut trees and others managed through a collective process from other coconut farmers [are available] where we will do our coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut oil, desiccated coconut and other products.
    “This is a billion dollar industry in the world. What gives the Caribbean an advantage of coconuts is because of the supply chain issues in the world and moving goods across the globe, and from Asia, where the coconut industry is mostly centred, in the Caribbean we are right next door to the United States. For Barbados, I would say at least from the Coco Hill point of view, our export market is tourism. Do you know how much coconut products we can sell in a week to the cruise ship industry, to the hotel industry? That’s the first market, and then from there maybe into Europe, into England and so on once we reach some kind of scale,” he said.

    Source: Nation

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  • Tomato vines drying up. Have three trays of the veggies here on the kitchen floor. One tray ready for salsa. Over the weekend, shelled and froze 8 pints of beans for use during winter. Have over 20 packs of bajan spinach already and more to pick. I checked and I have sweet potatoes near the surface. wow. I harvested lots of spinach seeds, will try selling some on “facebook marketplace” where I have sold other plants. Dont know about the ginger, it did not multiply well and is not very tall. I will bring in the one in the pot to over winter. the grapes are read, and my goodness, what a crop I have this year. So far, no squirrels. I guess the fishers got them all. The fishers have invaded the neighborhood and they like meat,,,,squirrels, cats, chipmounts and even dogs. All like now the squirrels would be fighting in the apple tree and raiding te grapes and leaving them on the ground. I say good riddance.

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  • Made ten cups of grape juice from half a tub of grapes this morning. The juice is now draining through two layers of muslin. Will make grape jelly tonight.

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  • The blogmaster is drooling Dame.

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  • @David
    I made two bottles of grape juice last night. Had to simmer it for sterilization to kill the yeast spores. My old Bajan lady friend coming on Sunday for her bag full and my neighbor down the road coming tomorrow for hers. There is still lots on the vine. I cant even ship you some, but I send about six jars of various treats to a niece in Las Vegas.
    I picked a pie plate full of spinach seeds today. Next spring I will be selling on Facebook Marketplace – 15 seeds for $3. Where ever there is a buck to be made, I am there.

    Liked by 1 person

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