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From the moment Floor and Jan finished their own house they started working on an agricultural and horticultural project.

The surface of the kitchen gardens is approximately 590 square yards each.
They’ve also been loaned a couple of fields, surfaces close to 2,5 acres each. On these fields they grow corn, soybeans and peanuts.

We should remember that these fields and gardens are nothing like those back home. They are mostly rock grounds where the soil is littered with boulders and large rocks. The smaller ones are removed as much as possible but the larger ones remain fixated deep in the ground. These ‘clean‘ grounds are set and planted. The fields also contain wild bushes, cactuses and (smaller) trees. Around all this the peanuts and corn are set using manual labor.

Once the gardens and fields have been set all that can be done is to wait for rain.
Because the rain stays absent most of the time an extensive irrigation system has been put in place for the kitchen gardens. However the fields will have to wait for the rain.

A small summary of the newsflashes concerning the agricultural and horticultural project:

“.. rain. It’s been raining for three day on end. Everything is green again. There was much concern for the absence of any rain at all. If it remained absent we’d have a food problem. The corn and peanut were already hanging low but they are doing better now.”

“We’ve bought bamboo mats and poles to make an overhanging to keep the sun out. We’ve also changed another ground into a garden near our home. This meant removing a lot of boulders and bushes to prepare the soil to be set and planted.
Next to that we’ve also installed a sprinkler installation and it’s working. We’ve seen vegetables like zucchinis, radishes, melons, tomatoes, paprika, carrots, beans, cabbage and onions spring up.”

“The fresh vegetables we are harvesting are a nourishing addition to the daily meals of corn, soybeans and rice for the children and staff.”

“… thank God for rain. We were afraid for another failed harvest and a famine. … the corn on our fields grow well, the peanuts are doing ok but the soybeans have failed, it is too hot.
We weed and tie up the tomatoes a lot, they are doing well. So are the zucchinis, cucumbers, eggplants, mustard and turnips.”

“Right now there are two gardens for tomatoes, eggplants, etc. We’re adding a third to be able to rotate planting. The lower temperatures, 26 degrees, are favorable and the vegetables are expected to do a litter better.”

“Our fruit trees are doing so well that we’re already enjoying papayas and bananas.”

“Peanuts, our first harvest! We’ve been out to the fields with twelve workers. Everything has been plucked and has been laid out to dry, thereafter we’ll have to peel them. The peanuts are for the children, we use them to make a nourishing porridge for breakfast.”

“Preparing the kitchen gardens, as has been said before, consists of removing the rocks and then fertilizing the soil. To do this we need to get our manure from a farmer 15 km away. Then we set and plant followed by covering the soil with chaff to prevent the crops from drying out. Thanks to this working process we have an increasing amount of fertile soil and product.”

“Harvest time is over. We’ve harvested, removed the cobs, laid the corn out to dry in the sun and stocked the barns. Our own yield is approximately 2000kg. This should be enough to last the children and staff for 6 months. We’ve also bought another 8000kg of corn from the locals.”

“The average temperature is around 25 degrees, it’s cloudy but there is no rain. We strung up a shade cover for the gardens to keep the sun out and planted new crops.
The gardens are doing well, therefore we can sell some of our vegetables. Extra income for the project! Our vegetables are becoming well-known but we keep promoting.
Our product: tomatoes, mustard, turnips, lettuce, eggplants, okra and haricots.”

“The heat has started. We’re well prepared, we still have our own vegetables.
Next to that we bought new hens, this will ensure us of enough eggs and variation in the children’s meals. Just in case of a shortage of vegetables and fish.”

“The raining season hasn’t really come through in the northern parts of Malawi. As a result the corn looks like the onions, weak and shrunken. The peanut plants are looking bad as well and the people are really starting to worry about a bad harvest.”De eerste pinda's

“The peanuts have been harvested. We didn’t do it alone but with the help of our own and another 70 locals. Using oxcarts we transported the peanuts over a distance of 3 km to our project grounds. There they were removed from the plants, dried and stocked in the barn.”

“We’ve set and planted again. There are plenty of vegetables again in the gardens, tomatoes, mustard leaf, okra, eggplants and a couple of spices like, coriander, basil and parsley. New seedbeds were created with tomatoes, carrots, melons, lettuce and cucumber.”

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