Sending the much needed fruit and vegetable seeds to Zambia is one thing, but when the very hard working people don’t get the rains they so rely on, the result is catastrophic. This is how they end up without seed for their next planting.
I usually try to write positive messages in this blog but after a 40 minute Whatsapp conversation with my manager Fredrick in Mongu, Barotseland, I was feeling a bit deflated.
I sent a batch of seeds in November 2018 and they have been planted systematically since then so they are not all harvested at once.
We had a fair bit of rain in the beginning of their rainy season but it has been sporadic and for the last three weeks there has been no rain at all and no rain in site for the next 10 days.
We planted sweet & hot peppers, maize, Honey Dew Melon, Cantaloupe, lettuce, spinach, Butternut Squash, eggplant and tomatoes.
We also have lemon and orange trees but the fruit is small this year.
We are basically growing in sand and it has been so hot that the irrigation we give, at 7am and 4pm just evaporates. The sand it baking!
We have decided to purchase some wood chips to try and give a ground cover and I will send another batch of seeds.
I am just putting another box of seeds together to send in April but the dry hot season starts in May so it may be too hot for the seeds to survive even when planted in the shade.
It is not easy to live in these conditions as they have to water each plant individually or the water is wasted and evaporates.
I have told Fredrick we need to intercrop as these pictures show so here.
This is the message that started this blog!
On the upside our bananas are doing ok! It pays to diversify!