Report on the Garden Program at the MTA

01.07.2013 15:37 von Anthony Collins

The garden project began on December 22, 2012. We started by brushing the field and allowing the grass to rot in the soil. After two weeks, we ploughed the soil with our hoes. I had few guys and myself layout the field, we made thirty raise beds from the field. In an effort to practice mix cropping; I divided the field in sections. On the first eight beds, I planted tomatoes, and cucumber on another six beds. The remaining sixteen beds were used for planting three different kinds of watermelons and pumpkin.

The following are the types of watermelon seeds planted. A) Sugar baby b) Clemson sweet and C) Carolina Cross #183. In terms of growth, the plants grewvery well; however, the harvest was not a reality of what I envisaged from the watermelons on the field. As for the tomatoes and cucumber; the harvest was satisfactory. We harvested the tomatoes and cucumber on more than four occasions. We got a total of two small buckets from the tomatoes; while we harvested about sixty fruits from the cucumbers. The tomatoes and cucumbers seeds came from Mr. Thorsten Schaefer and Maximilian Meindl respectively. They both also donated other seeds of high quality to this program; which I will sow in poly agricultural plastics in early June 2013. The tomatoes and cucumbers were used for salad and served with bread at the orphanage on two different occasions. Now to the watermelons, the watermelons within this program were not really successful as compare to the last harvest from the same plot of field. When we had our first harvest, during which I started the garden program; we had a good yield. I harvested seventy-six (76) pieces of sugar baby watermelons. The said amount did not include those that rotted during that harvest period in our garden in 2012. As it relate to the most recent harvest, we harvested a total of forty-six (46) watermelons. Below are the breakdowns for the fruits as per the types of watermelons.

Watermelon types No. Of fruits Country of origin No. of pack(s) Sender
1.Sugar Baby 27 Germany 1 pack Richard Poeschl
2.Clemson Sweet 16 Serbia 2 packs Thorsten Schaefer
3.Carolina Cross #183 3 USA 9 packs R. Poeschl and T. Schaefer

I received one pack of the sugar baby watermelons, It was the smallest quantity I sow during the last garden program. While the Clemson sweet seeds were donated by Mr. Thorsten Schaefer; a total of two packs of this watermelon was received and sown on the field. In light of the Carolina Cross # 183 watermelons; the donors were Thorsten and Richard. This watermelon can be really large; but the unfortunate thing is that only few seeds were viable. The germinating rate was not very good, but the few that grew were quite fine in the garden. I think I must accept the result of the poor harvest I endured during the planting season. I take the responsibility because, because I got so overexcited with planting too many foreign watermelons; that I did not take into account that it might not be productive because of our soil and under these different climatic conditions. I should have planted more of the common variety (Sugar baby), which is very successful here. Notwithstanding, I got a lot of experience in handling them, especially the most difficult one (Carolina Cross#183). The Carolina cross was the most difficult watermelon to deal with in the garden. However, if I am opportune to get my hands on some of it seeds; I believe with the experience gained, I can overcome the shortfall. I really never consider the maturity date and the length of time the fruits of these types of watermelons stay in the garden. The sugar baby fruits stay a longer period in the garden, even if they are full for harvest. They actually bear enough fruits, but reaching the harvest was where we had our shortfall, since upon maturity they need to be picked immediately. I also had two unexpected rainfalls when the crops were fruiting on the field. As a result of the rainfall the area got flooded, so the crops also stayed under water for those days. After the flood went away, most of the fruits and some crop rotted. However, I think with the plot of land, I strongly believe that we can still sing a successful song as we did it in the past. I also believe my expectations at the time of planting also brought me a lot of disappointment; since it was quite high for the harvest. There is no way, I can say that the program was a complete failure; it is only in comparison to last year harvest that my position on success is based. I believe forty-six watermelons was also a good harvest, but we could have gotten even more. Let me thank those of you who used your little resources to keep the program alive. I hope to start the next planting season very soon. Since the rainy season is already here, I will be doing the gardening in agricultural poly bags and rice bags (Thorsten suggested that). Until we can report on another gardening season; remain good and healthy in everything you find doing.

Items Quantity Unit Price Total
Cutlass 2 US$ 5.00/L$ 365.00 US$ 10.00/L$730.00
Shovel 4 US$10.00/L$ 730.00 US$ 40.00/ L$2,920.00
Watering can 2 US$ 12.00/L$876.00 US$ 24.00/L$1,750.00
Fertilizer 2 US$47.94.L$3,500.00 US$95.88/L$7,000.00
Urea 1 US$39.72/L$2,900.00 US$39.72/L$2,900.00
Dust ban 3 US$ 20.00/ L$ 1,460.00 US$60.00/L$4,380.00
Total     US$269.60/19,680.80