Gardening in Haiti

Lisa_H OK(7)May 5, 2011

Remember I was asking about seeds to send to Haiti? Because of some really great suggestions from ya'll, I ended up with a bucket load of seeds that I have sent to three different organizations. Two were starting garden programs and 1 is an ongoing agriculture program.

Larry, I want to thank you again for pointing me in the direction of the farmers coop. They were clearancing out last year's seed and I cleaned up..I sent enough okra seed to feed the entire nation I think :) Plus I sent a lot of beans. No clue what kind...contender is one of the names I remember. I also send a number of different kinds of squash and pumpkin. Oh, and I just sent a huge amount of beet seeds. They have plenty of seeds for this year, so she said they were going to share the second and third rounds of seeds that she received this week with some farmers in the mountains.

Anyway, I've been meaning to post these pictures that were posted to facebook for me a month ago. It is from one of the organizations. I hear there are more pictures on the way. I'll post them when I see them.

In the garden: cabbage, beans, spinach, onions, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, plantain trees, yams, beets,

carrots, okra, tomatoes, etc

Watering is done by channeled water from the well and by watering can. We hope to get drip irrigation set up soon.

Some of the older kids come each afternoon to water the garden. I don't think the fact that the mangoes on the trees are ripening has anything at all to do with that...

Mita, Magareth, Judeline and Ti Nason taking turns pumping water to the garden

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PunkinHeadJones(7)

Hooray for the resilinecy of people and thier fellows who answer the call. Slavery, oppression and exploitation and yet those who honor the earth thrive. How much do we owe to the old women and grandfathers of Africa, Asia, Europe and the New World. WWW, twitter facebnook and yet all that sustainnns us , all that is real comes to us comes from the earth.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 6:21PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Lisa,

Thanks for sharing the photos. This is such a great project.

Sandy

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 7:55PM
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cjlambert(6b Tulsa)

Awesome, and thanks for sharing with us. It is a great project, and you are to be commended, although I know we all should be so involved.

Punkin - amen to that.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 8:47PM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

Lisa,

You are AMAZING. You are helping in a way I dream of helping.

Jo

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 10:17PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

May I share this on my blog?
Thank you for sharing seed ideas to send there with DS.
(My son will be in Haiti for a year starting mid June. He was there in November of last year. Look at the older blog entries to find him introducing OLPC computers to children.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Building a school and sharing matters about Haiti

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 11:27PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Gardenbug...sure, feel free. Wow, I didn't know you hung out around the Oklahoma forum. I remember you from the Perennials forum, right? Or roses? I think it was Perennials.

I can send a list of more seeds if you like. Their ground tends to be rocky, so I hear root crops are not always the easiest to grow. Not included in that list above is watermelon. I sent some, it should do well there since it is a warm season crop. Oh, and peppers, eggplant and swiss chard.

I have a list from a friend who lives in Haiti of seeds that she knows does well there, but I have been guilty of standing in front of the seed rack and just picking out pretty seed packets! (under the guise that the children who are tending the gardens would like colorful, unusual things...or maybe I am just seed addicted!) The stuff I bought in bulk from the farmers' coop was the best deal ever, and I bought those seeds in large quantities, but seed packets are so pretty! I find that I keep picking them up. I send them with someone who is heading to Haiti. You can't mail anything to Haiti with the expectation that it will arrive or not be held up in customs. So, I've been timing my seed sending for when friends are headed there and can hand carry them in.

I am really excited about both of the organizations who are teaching their children to garden. Both of them have orphanages and the children can always use the extra nutrition. One orphanage now houses around 70 or 80 kids and the other orphanage is less than half of that, but when they have extra food, they have two other orphanages they share with. I've wanted to send seeds for years, but it was never the right time. This year it just fell together, they had people who could tend the gardens, space, and desire.

Don't stand too close to me when I get all excited about my Haiti projects....I've been known to wax on for hours about them!

Lisa

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 1:13AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I actually don't hang out here, though DH was born in Bartlesville! This post came up on Google!

I'm sending you a private email about the Haiti projects so look for one from gb.

Thanks!!!
'bug

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 7:01AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Lisa,

Thanks for sharing your photos with us.

I always read your bits of news about all your Haiti projects with great interest.

I hope the folks you're sending seed to have a great garden year.

Maybe at next year's Spring Fling, we could set up a "Seeds for Haiti" donation drop box and collect seeds for your friends to send to Haiti. Of course, it would work out best if we had a list of what they like to grow there so all of us could bring the kinds of seeds they need.

Dawn

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 8:34AM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Dawn, that's a great idea! I'm hoping to get some feedback this year about what grew well and what they liked. I sent a wide range of seeds to give them choices. The melons and cantaloupes seemed like a good bet though...what kid doesn't love those?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 10:24AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Any update recently on how the harvest went?
DS is in Croix-der-Bouquet at this time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Buildingaschool

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 7:48PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Gardenbug, I answered the email response and didn't realize until I hit "send" that it wouldn't go back to you! :)

I hear the harvests were a mixed success. One site has a very talented gardener who has turned a rocky, barren site into a virtual orchard. He's focusing on growing trees, but he seems to have worked the garden around the trees since they are still pretty small. I don't have many pics from his site, but what I saw looked wonderful!

The second site had a much less experienced gardener :) and their site seems to be quite wet. She told me the melons grew really well, but they all rotted because the ground was so wet. For next year I'm trying to think of veggies that like wet feet. She said the cabbages did well. She also told me that they were able to harvest from the garden, but I think she might be looking for a new gardener next year!

All you veggie growers, what likes wet feet?

I see the computers reached the teachers! How exciting! How is your son doing?

Lisa

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 10:23AM
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slowpoke_gardener

Lisa, they may need a raised bed. I had to do mine that way because of the wet springs we have, also because of the slow draining clay.

My beds still don't have a border around them. I just more or less hilled the soil up and then mulch after things dry out a little.

Larry

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 7:29PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Thanks for that update! Yes, raised beds sound like they would make sense in soggy areas. At least they aren't dry!

My son is working ever so hard under difficult circumstances. From this time until the new year should help decide if the location will work for a real school. For now it seems that the focus is on day care and hand-outs more than on academics. A talented team of our son's friends is working on improving the power supply over the next few weeks.

Keep up with the web site....lots of frequent updates there.

Here is a link that might be useful: buildingaschool

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 9:26AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Lisa, DH & I leave soon for three weeks in Haiti for some volunteering and some travel too. I'll let you know what Christmas in Haiti is like! ;)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:53PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Thanks! I'd love to hear about your trip!

Lisa

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 1:51AM
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macmex

I headed up a gardening and small animal husbandry program near Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo, Mexico; for a number of years. The altitude there was 5000', which greatly affects growing conditions. But I do have experience with day length issues. For instance, we wanted to introduce soy, into the local gardening world. The people were already learning to use it. But none of the seed available in the market would produce well, at that latitude. It all came from up North where days were much longer. I trialed a soy from Hawaii and BINGO! We found a variety which would produce well in Mexico.

I still have viable seed to a fantastic pole bean, a greasy bean from Oaxaca, which I dubbed "Oaxaca Cream." In Mexico they would grow it on small trees, like lemon trees. It produces lots of large, round pods, which when strung, are tender right up until they start drying on the vine. I only once got this bean to produce seed in the USA, again, due to day length issues.

We learned by trial and error, that the Utah strain of Spanish onion, would produce huge, beautiful onions at that latitude. But it would not produce seed.

George
Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 5:37AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

If you check out the site below you'll find some shots from our trip. We had a lovely, exciting, time!

Here is a link that might be useful: Buildingaschool

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 7:27PM
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mlcornell50

Hi,
I am looking for advice for gardening in Haiti. I will be traveling there in April and hoping to plant tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, onions, parsley, lettuce. Does anyone have advice concerning these vegetables and how to find and take seeds to the community in Haiti?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 11:29AM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Do you know about the soil in the place where you are going? That was the big drawback about the main project I was working with. They have pretty poor, rocky soil. The gardener is working on amending the soil, fencing off the property and maybe doing some raised beds, but for now they focused on growing papaya trees. They grew amazingly fast! They are also starting goat/rabbit/chicken/talapia projects that will also give them materials for amendments.

There are some places with good gardening soil, but just like here, there is soil that is not quite as great and needs more help.

Are you going with a group? Are you staying very long? There's another GW poster from Georgia, her name is Brenda, that has started a gardening program in Haiti.

To my knowledge no one has had problems carrying seeds into Haiti in their luggage.

The pictures that came back to me from the last trip showed some container gardening that looked like herbs. They planted in 5 gallon buckets and hung them on the wall. I'll see if I can find a pic for you.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

The papayas

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 12:09PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

A picture of the area

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 12:10PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

container gardening :) .. oops, those aren't five gallon buckets. I thought that sounded too heavy!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 12:12PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

After all this time, Lisa and DS are trying to work on a project together! Thanks GW! Here's to success for the kids!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

I am super excited about the project! GB...thank you! We wouldn't be doing this without you :) OR Garden Web! It is amazing how the Internet connects us all over the world!

I am sitting next to my Haitian student right now as he struggles to write a critical review paper over something I don't even understand! I understand writing..lets hope he understands the subject :)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 9:04PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

How to outline and organize is a great lesson for students, Lisa! This exercise you are working on must be very hard because you need confidence to be "critical" of the printed word...by a published author! There really is no "right" or "wrong" here. But, as they say, you need only make the first step and it gets easier. Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 5:05PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

double post by mistake-

This post was edited by gardenbug on Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 17:09

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 5:06PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

At this point I will be happy with coherent writing :) He hates to write. I am hoping he has it done tonight and all I need to do it edit it. I'm not taking any bets on that!

I will say, I had to google "critical review"...and bless google's heart, they had a wonderful explanation that we are using for an outline.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 5:28PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Our project is going forward! I hope to have more details soon!

Who knew GardenWeb would be such a blessing? Not me when I first logged on here in the 1990's! Wow, that doesn't even seem possible.

I need to track down the Wayback Machine and see if I can locate when I first logged on.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Juliainhaiti

I am preparing for a trip to Haiti. Do you know if we can take packages of seeds to Haiti if they were bought in a store like wal mart?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:30AM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Yes! I sent many seeds from Walmart. The problem might be if the stores are still carrying them. We are getting out of seed buying season here. If you have enough time to order seeds, Willhite Seeds is a great place to order from. If you order in bulk, you can split the seeds up into small ziplocks...either snack sized ones, or you can get smaller ziplocks in the craft section of Walmart or any craft store. When I was seed trading, I used to use 2 x 3s I think.

Here is a link that might be useful: Willhite Seeds

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 12:14PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Did you mean, is there a problem with customs taking seeds into Haiti? My group and several other groups have taken seeds without any problem. You can't bring anything back from Haiti though. Our customs rules are a lot more stringent!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 12:17PM
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