Tuesday, December 16, 2008
AGRICULTURE NEWS OF WESTERN BELIZE VEGETABLES
The vegetable in this photo drove me crazy. I couldn't figure out what it was? I had been experimenting with different kinds of lettuce and this one threw me for a loop. It ripened about 3 weeks ago and since then the leaves have been dying off and I clipped it this morning. I could not find any of my dozens of seed packages that were anything like it. In perusing a seed catalogue, from the USA, I finally remembered. This is an EMU SPINACH and it grows twice as fast as a lettuce and probably one and a half times as many leaves. The only problem with it, I am not sure the local buyers, or market would be interested in it? For a grower this is better than lettuce, at least in these winter months. Not sure how it would grow in our May, June, July and August summer months? I remembered now taking a sample from the Taiwanese Mission vegetable plot, one of those straggly ones they were weeding out and transplanting it. Very hardy this EMU SPINACH and looks like a heck of a good producer for Belize.
I am now seeking donations of seed packages for Jalapeno, and Long Cayenne pepper for what we call Chile drying. If you mail me any, just label the envelope GIFT, FREE SAMPLES. Playing around with trying my hand at making some hot pepperoni, like the BRIDGEPORT PEPPERONI I used to get in the USA at the local supermarkets there. I loved a slice of that stuff for chewing and a snack. Just a thought as of yet, I don't know where I would get the skin, or plastic rolls to make them?
For this time of year we are producing lettuce, but in the local market, they are importing Mexican ball head lettuce, which we cannot grow here in Belize. Plus they are selling small leaf lettuce for .20 cents each ( Bz ) That doesn't pay the labor, or the gasoline to transport them. So right now lettuce is plentiful and does not pay. Since I grow lettuce all year round, I am forced to give away all kinds of stuff to my neighbors. Been giving away huge giant papayas bigger than watermelon, breadfruit the size of volleyballs, oranges, lettuce, tomatoes and habenero peppers from my backyard. I've got fresh food coming out of my ears, more than we can eat.
AGRO PRO FARMERS SUPPLIES store by the bandstand in San Ignacio Town, also is stocking SENNIS made "Tropical Emperor" leaf lettuce seeds in packages of 25,000 seeds. Agro Pro PROSSER also now has in a new batch of packages of these seeds. About a million seeds have been sold in the last month. This has been the top performer for local climatic conditions found by three years of lettuce experiments.
On soil enhancement technology. The British Chocolate maker that supports the southern district of TOLEDO in Belize in buying up all the cacao which is jungle grown and a subsistance crop for cash for local milpero farmers that live off the land, has apparently got a GRANT from somebody in California to try making CHARCOAL for enhancing our clay type jungle soils, which are very poor for farming conditions. We have an earlier article on this on the blog if you scroll down through here. The thing is, you can make GOOD LOAM soil in Belize. What it needs is the CLAY soils turned over with a deep plow, than harrowed, then mulched with fish remnants, cow manures, chicken manure, organic materials, bit of very coarse river sand used for rough concrete mixes and most important of all, the addition of CHARCOAL in small grains, or dust form. You are going to need a roto tiller eventually. Recent research shows in the Brazilian Amazon, the charcoal is locking carbon and carbon dioxide into the ground and it is effecting the CLAY substrata which is almost impossible to grow vegetables in by itself, but if mulched and broken up and mixed, will turn into LOAM and the CLAY has huge amounts of nutrients locked up in it. Trouble is in rain forest areas, the clay becomes a solid greasy blob that cannot release the nutrients and the roots of vegetables cannot penetrate it. Thus starving the plant. If you add DOLOMITE LIME as well, you get a veritable rich bed of LOAM, ideal for growing plants and vegetables in particular. You have to make the soil.