As Peace Corps Volunteers here in Nicaragua, we are each excited to get to our communities, start making connections and planning projects that will hopefully lead to long-term sustainable change. We get to our assigned sites with intentions to meet as many local people as possible like community leaders; the mayor, the school directors and teachers so we can get a feel for their interests and needs to start planning potential projects.
I was most eager to get my hands dirty and start a personal gardening project with a local farmer. Lucky for me, my host uncle has a farm just 2 Kilometers from my home with plenty of fertile soil and cow manure! (an important ingredient to successful gardening) After all the information we received on organic composts, pest control, and veggie gardens, I could not wait to put it all to practice.
Soliciting the leader of the herd for some quality poop to use for the compost
Bike ride to the farm
Tilling the soil (so fertile!)
This is a one-month compost pile that consists of dirt, cow manure, dry leaves, green leaves, ash and a bit of water. It should be ready in a month to feed my growing plants!
The tilling of the soil probably took the longest to prepare since the space was covered in weeds before we got to digging. It was a miracle that I was able to convince my host brother and sister to come out to the farm and help me, especially after seeing how dirty I get after a day on the farm. I’ve learned after living with two host families that Nicaraguans are shower enthusiasts and pride themselves on looking and smelling good. I am clearly the family disappointment…
At this height my host sister and I installed trellises in the garden so the plant could begin wrapping itself around the string and grow upwards.
My fourth grade student Angel helping me apply a natural pesticide made from leaves of Neem.
A month and a half later and I cultivated my first radish!
Now that I’ve had a chance to experiment with different gardening techniques I am excited to start the school year in February to teach primary students and teachers how to start a garden of their own at their schools!