The first thing we did after moving in to our new homestead was start planting.
Fortunately, there were some beds here already, filled with soil and just waiting to burst into new life:
The bed in the foreground to the far right, filled up with random stuff, is our new compost pile. I always rotate compost piles right through my garden areas as described in my book Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting. It makes a lot of sense. Fertility stays right where I’m going to be growing next year’s crop, plus the resulting compost is easily accessible for my other beds. I can even get fancy and pile a little dirt in the middle to plant squash or melons if I feel like it. For now, we’re filling the compost pile with everything from newspapers to cocoa pods, mango peels to sea urchin shells. It’s going to be some fantastically rich material.
In order to feed the vegetables as they emerge from the ground, I also create a barrel of fermenting cow manure/nitrogen-fixer tea I can pour down the rows with a watering can (this is another trick from my book that allows you to stretch a limited amount of material across a large area before your compost piles get established).
I made sure to cover the standing water to keep mosquitoes from breeding, then possibly infecting us with Zika (which somewhat of a risk here and there across the region), dengue fever, malaria, Chikungunya or some other horrible tropical disease.
Behind the main garden beds I dug three more around the base of an established moringa tree, making sure to angle them against the slope so as to block erosion during the rainy season:
We just planted these with cabbages, hot peppers and more cabbages.
I like cabbages. They make me plant them every year.
We have bamboo growing down the hill by the river, so I took some to make a trellis for some climbing purple-podded Roma beans we brought from the United States:
I love the purple stems on the beans.
Finally, I had to dig some of my melon pits (you can see me create a ridiculous melon pit in the Compost Everything movie) and plant some Seminole Pumpkins:
I’ll bet they’re the first Seminole pumpkins in the country. Wouldn’t that be cool?
Thus far we’ve also planted pimento peppers, bell peppers, Scotch bonnet peppers, tomatoes, beets, spinach, carrots, bush beans, cassava, watermelons, sweet potatoes, yams, pigeon peas and Missouri corn cob pipe corn.
I can’t wait to see how everything grows in this very different climate. We can plant basically year round since we’re on the mountainside and the weather never gets too hot or too cold. The only limitation is rainfall – and we can overcome that with irrigation.
I’ll post more photos as the gardens grow and mature.