In Guatemala, the land of eternal Spring, it is difficult as a newcomer to know what season it is. As a tourist it wouldn’t really matter, but I am now in the process of implementing a comprehensive agricultural plan, thanks to the Ag team that visited. The sun rises at 6 am and sets at 6pm – that’s it – within a half an hour every day, all year, no northern 10 pm twilight in June and July. Farmers tell me we are in winter but all I know for sure today is that it is the rainy season.
Although having some agricultural experience, I am learning from the local farmers, who have now planted their fields in corn, beans, squash and peas. This is for their local consumption, although there are many fields of broccoli, cauliflower and Chinese peas for export. There is little organic farming and most fields are drenched in insecticides and fed with chemical fertilizers. The produce is impressive looking, but that chemically produced appearances are truly deceiving.
Over the last few days we have planted over forty fruit trees on the outside wall of the Village, including apple, pear, lemon, plum, peaches and elderberry. We will be planting many more including fig, orange, Haas avocado, including blackberry and raspberry bushes. We lovingly prepared their new earth homes and filled the holes with organic fertilizer, ashes, lime, and black soil and then gave them water. We have great harvest expectations.
The geometric garden design is now coming to life with lime green shoots of veggies – beets, lettuce, squash, spinach, celery, broccoli, onions, cabbage, carrots, arugula, cilantro, basil, dill, Swiss chard, peas, corn, kale, potatoes, beans, and radishes. As well, many flowers have been located strategically to repel insects including marigolds, jasmine, dahlias, calendula, lavender, and a variety of wild flowers. A 40-foot half greenhouse has been constructed against the adobe wall to grow tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, who are not fond of the incessant rainfall.
So you can surmise, it has been a busy few weeks agriculturally. Oh yes, I forgot to mention the three acres of green manure beans that have sprouted. The underlying reason for all of this activity is two-fold. One is to harvest organic goodness for food and the other is to harvest the organic seeds that are very hard to come by in Guatemala. We want to maximize this agricultural opportunity and prepare for future years when there will be many children living in the Village, depending upon the land for food production.
I thought it was summer, but now I think it is Spring?