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Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

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Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  PHCC on 4/11/2013, 1:35 am

Hello fellow gardeners. I am a member of a community church in New Mexico and am part of a group of 21 members headed to Africa to help build huts and try to teach how to become more self sufficient. One of the things we are planning on teaching is square gardening. This is where I need help from you guys. Does anyone have an idea what vegetables grow the best in that kind of climate? We are going to Kisumu, Kenya. Below is average temps and rainfall:



We plan on buying all materials there and should be able to get wood, nails and what ever else is needed. Need help with what to plant and how to teach them to care for it. Any ideas? Thanks so much for the help....pete
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PHCC

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Re: Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/11/2013, 8:31 am

When are you going? I'll see what I can find out from a Kenyan friend.

Some thoughts:

Make sure you're allowed to bring seeds - you don't want to introduce an invasive species to the country.

Make sure the seeds are NOT hybrids. They need to be able to collect seeds for future crops.

IF at all possible, can your contact over there to have them start composting? This by far will be the best thing that can be done.

Contact the SFG Foundation. If I remember correctly they have IKEA-like picture instructions. I know English is a major language over there, and you will probably leave them a book, but not everyone knows how to read really well, and some things just won't translate.

Introducing new veggies is OK, but it's best to make sure a bulk of what you bring is familiar to them.


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Re: Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  camprn on 4/11/2013, 9:39 am

Good luck with your trip.
I would strongly suggest contacting a gardener in Kenya to find specific plant and regional growing information. Secondly, I would ask the people who are going to be using the gardens what they prefer to grow and eat. YOu may not want to plant eggplant if there is not enough water in a village to support such a plant.
It may also be wise to determine if the people have any skills at gardening in their own right. You may learn some fascinating things on your journey.

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Re: Headed to Africa

Post  VJ72584 on 4/11/2013, 12:21 pm

Just happened to find this article today on BBC. I haven't read it all but it may give you some ideas.
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130408-tech-taps-africas-farm-potential

Sounds like there are some really exciting things happening there. Just a little fresh produce can change a family's health. I have friends that travel to Mozambique every year and the lifestyle is difficult to say the least. If you get a garden started, I hope you'll post some pictures.
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Re: Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  Zekes nursery on 4/11/2013, 1:03 pm

I just had missionary friends over for dinner last night. Of course I asked the question about food and crops and here's what they told me. They are on the Equator as Kenya is, but the location in Uganda could be almost as far as SF is from Denver. There may be some elevation and water differences. The food he described sounded like Hawaii or Mexico. Mango's, pineapple, banana's. He said you throw seeds out and they grow. So since his difficulties are travel and government politics and dealing with witchcraft. I got the idea that he probably didn't need to take on SFG. But with that being said, it might be a possibility to get your seeds from just over the border in Uganda. Bless you and safe travels!
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Re: Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  llama momma on 4/11/2013, 1:22 pm

The Peace Corps has been around a long time. Maybe they would be willing to share crop knowledge of the local area.
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Re: Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  cheyannarach on 4/11/2013, 1:36 pm

Sounds like an awesome opportunity! In Mel's book he teaches people in areas that don't have access to vermiculite and peat moss to garden in straight compost. Keep us posted!
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Re: Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  Pollinator on 4/11/2013, 2:36 pm

You might spend some time at http://www.fao.org/ . Do a search there for any topic that interests you. They have a vast amount of information.
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Re: Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  plantoid on 4/11/2013, 2:49 pm

Check up on your simplist and cheapest rain water harvesting ..judging by your chart they will need it.
Well water could be way to alkaline or high in unwanted things like arsenic.

Look up " Kenyan crops " on Google and have a feast , there is plenty to read up on .
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Re: Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  walshevak on 4/11/2013, 6:33 pm

I spent 6 weeks in coastal Kenya, Mombassa, last summer (their winter) and it was the rainy season. Stuff was growing everywhere. There were plenty of seeds at the local supermarket and the locals I was working with all had home gardens. It may be the areas away from the coast have more problems with irrigation, but we had rain almost every day.

Kay

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Re: Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  PHCC on 4/12/2013, 1:10 am

Dang guys, thanks for all the feedback and ideas. We leave May 24th. We do have a contact over there and will try to have our folks contact him and ask him if seeds are available at a nearby 'Walmart" type store. I hear they have a lot of stuff. Other than collected rain water from the roof and normal rainfall water has to be hauled from a pretty good distance one bucket at a time but from what I understand they make that walk often so they should be able to water the plants at least once per day. Eventually there will be a well drilled very near the orphanage so in the future if the water is good rhat will really help with the SFG. The SFG are going to be built behind the orphanage for the kids. We are going to put them behind due to fear of others stealing the vegetables. I will google Keyan Crops and see what I find. I would like to have pictures and even book on how to maintain and replant so they can stay up with it after we leave. Again, thanks for all the ideas and keep them coming. I will keep everyone posted and try to get some pictures loaded when I get back....pete
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Re: Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  BrotherNorm on 4/12/2013, 6:21 am

Most American embassies in that part of the world have an agriculture attache or section. You should be able to contact the embassy through the Department of State website and submit your questions to them.

They usually have very good local insight into these sorts of things to include what pitfalls to avoid.

In the end, whatever you do has to be sustainable when you leave. They cannot be dependent on acquiring anything from an outside source or your long term goals will fail.

To read an example of this I suggest reading the book, The Ugly American before you leave.

Good luck with your trip.
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Re: Headed to Africa and Need Some Help...

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/15/2013, 7:08 am

My Kenyan friend has a contact in Kisumu. He is a professor of agriculture (livestock).

Would you like his contact information?


____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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