Wendell Berry never fails to make farming eloquent, while still reminding us that everyone is a part of the food system: eater and growers.
Maize, cassava, soya, groundnuts, pigeon pea, pumpkin, sweet potato and shell beans! All of these crops are thriving in our staple field as the rainy season progresses. The maize has tasseled and the grain if filling out nicely. While underneath the maize crop we have already started harvesting pumpkin leaves to cook as greens, and in a month or so we will harvest the actual pumpkins. The cassava will begin to flourish after we harvest the maize and it will stay in the ground until August when the tuber can be harvested and roasted for lunches and snacks.
Groundnuts have flowered and are starting to send out their aerial pegs that will enter the soil and begin to produce nuts. We will use this nutritious crop that contains 25-32% protein to supplement our Memo lunches and roast them as a staff snack. The pigeon pea intercropped within the groundnuts is small for now, but come September we will harvest the pea for food and save the seed for the following year.
The sweet potatoes were planted as cuttings and are ready to be side-dressed with wood ash, which will encourage tuber development. Hopefully, we will all be enjoying sweet potatoes by the middle of May.
Although the last few months have been stressful with the amount of weeding required to produce all this food, we will soon be enjoying the fruit (and veggies!) of our labors. We are now beginning to plant and replant our Jatropha tree boundary around the field, which we will eventually press and use as our base oil for soapmaking.
Great stuff! Why weeding so much? Why is the mulch not doing the job?
The reason we have so much weeding to do is because the field was not cultivated last year and all the weeds were allowed to go to seed. This year we will have a great yield and more than sufficient residue to mulch next year.
Marie – you’re a star! Nice quote from Wendell Berry.