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3rd World Country Gardening

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3rd World Country Gardening

Post  51083 on 1/24/2017, 12:20 am

I am trying to find innovative ways for a village of 3000 people in Guatemala to grow at least a little bit of sustainable food. They live in the mountains and have very little space or water. The dirt is awful (I would have to bring in new dirt) and there are pigs and dogs that would likely eat unprotected crops. The climate is very hot and fairly humid too . They have a rainy season and a dry season. I've got about a half dozen ideas regarding the structure that the plants would grow in, including hanging baskets of tomatoes made out of 2 or 3 liter bottles and of course, square foot gardening. My main question is, what are some crops that generate many calories per square foot, are nutritious, tolerate heat, use little water, and are fairly easy to grow. I'm thinking tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, and corn. Possibly potatoes and squash as well. Any ideas??? These people are in a really bad situation and your help would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks.
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Re: 3rd World Country Gardening

Post  sanderson on 1/24/2017, 4:42 am

I suggest that you contact the SFG Foundation for past experiences in international projects.  http://squarefootgardening.org/

I think the focus is on compost, maybe some washed coir fiber.  For calories I think sweet potatoes would be good.  A nutritious green that is perennial is New Zealand spinach.  You will have to research what grows in the country and what the people really like to eat.   Tomatoes, peppers, beans for drying, "winter' squash, corn, onions, garlic.  If the beds are built up to 1 1/2 -2' high to keep the pigs out, they can use rocks, cinder block or concrete.  Maybe cheap Quikrete.  Fill the bottom foot or so with native fill.  Top with commercial weed fabric and fill with herbivore manures and non-poisonous leaves (compost), etc.  What ever is available there. I hope the Foundation can steer you in the right direction.

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Re: 3rd World Country Gardening

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/24/2017, 8:42 am

Hi 51083. Welcome from Atlanta, GA (SE USA).

I would agree with Sanderson's recommendations. I might also suggest beans as they are high in protein.
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Re: 3rd World Country Gardening

Post  Kelejan on 1/26/2017, 9:24 am

Welcome, 51083, from Kelejan in British Columbia, Canada.

You really have a big job on your hands.

As sanderson commented, compost is most important. 

I think education in not wasting anything that can be added to a compost pile is important to improve the existing soil and also trying to keep any soil covered at all times and not exposed to drying wind or hot sun.

Square foot gardening will make growing a little easier as one can concentrate on small areas at a time.

Best wishes in your efforts.  Let us know what progress you are making.
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