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Thread: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

  1. #1
    TRN's fiesty redhead catahoula fan's Avatar
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    Default The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Growing your own food is a big part of any homesteading plan. One would think that growing food in a year round warm climate would be a breeze...so much for first thoughts! Nicaragua's climate and terrain add a whole new set of problems for the would-be farmer, and I've become well acquainted unfortunately.

    First, we have warm weather all year long...this means bugs and diseases live all year long as well. And boy, do they turn into some doozies! It's one of the reasons that herbal medicine in this part of the world is so potent; the plants need to be able to protect themselves. Finding an organic answer can be a challenge but it can be done, although I'll admit not without a source of good compost. And still, you'll battle leaf cutter ants year round and various molds during rainy season.

    The terrain in Nicaragua varies as much as the mini climates and soil tests won't do you a whole lotta good when one foot of soil is drastically different than the next foot of soil. Welcome to Nicaragua where everything is an adventure.

    At our latest location, I've been able to successfully grow tomatoes, okra, asparagus green beans, carrots, chili cabro, and cucumbers. Yet, there's always a point where the gardens seem to go to h*ll. I can't figure myself to be a successful farmer until I figure out the "Nica syndrome" that they experience after one decent crop. They all do it. D*mn fine fruits, then nothing. Needless to say, I'm losing my temper (and my grasp wasn't that good to begin with)...all I'm asking for is a constant flow of goodies...could that be asking too much?



    Today, we stopped at a rice factory just south of Jinotepe to find an answer to my problem. I semi prepared by asking a good friend what the Spanish word for rice hulls was; afrecho, he said. When I tried that on the 50 some year old fella sitting by the warehouse, he just shook his head. There was nothing in my Spanish English dictionary to help with the conversation, so I just winged it.

    "Necessito cosa para mi jardín, en la tierra." 'Course I was mimin' like a crazy woman as well. The fella just grinned at me and shook his head. D*mn! Okay, new tact. "Piel de arroz?" I tried. He nodded, "si, brosas". Ah hah!!!

    He told me I could buy rice hulls for 3 cords per sack, and I had brought lots of sacks. By this point, several of the workers had come over to see what was going on. It appeared as if no one was running the machine anymore...whatever. Roger sat in a plastic chair and I took some pix around the factory, then asked the friendly fella for more info. I got all the names of their products and a long explanation of the product that I was buying. He made a show of writing all the info in cursive in my notebook, grinning at me from time to time between words.

    I picked up my bags of hulls behind the factory, which gave me an opportunity to see the horse stalls, ones for Enamorado and Seductora.



    Interesting names for those caballos; may say something about the owner, quizás. We went around to the front and I hopped out to pay our bill, 16 cords or 75 cents for 6 sacks of rice hulls. The friendly fella came up quickly, asking for my number. I didn't think much about it as I've been giving it out alot lately for our business, no problema. When he leaned forward and said "su papá?", I realized I had been a bit too friendly. He thought Roger was my daddy and I set him straight toot sweet. Gotta be careful being nice to these Nica guys...
    "Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing."

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    great story....

    wouldn't felix growing tobacco be of some help?
    All this for a flag? Michelle Obama http://hotair.com/archives/2011/11/0...our-years-ago/

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    You're probably aware of it, but a tea made out of tobacco leaves makes an effective, organic, pesticide. If you add a dab of liquid detergent it will help to disperse the solution as well as cling to the leaves you're spraying. Perhaps some of the TRN folks have access to the local tobacco that grows here. It certainly doesn't have to be the prime stuff of cigars; the discards should be just fine; just as long as it contains nicotine.

    Best of luck!

  4. #4
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Ya know augman, you might be on to something, I can remember m 'ole Farmer grand ma, giving we younguns a pinch of chewing tobacco for parasites and made to swallow it all sweetened up to get it down....

    She also used it wet with spit in insect bites, I guess it worked, otherwise she wouldn't have done it....
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  5. #5

    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Here's a link to some useful information as well as a recipe for anyone who's interested in tobacco as a pesticide.
    http://beta.essortment.com/16722-hom...n-recipes.html

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    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Hey Melissa.... I have some tomato plants just getting blooms. What do you use to keep insects and fungi from killing them?
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  7. #7
    TRN's fiesty redhead catahoula fan's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    tomato plants just getting blooms. What do you use to keep insects and fungi from killing them?
    Neem. There's a store just south of Jinotepe that sells Neem products. I like the large bottle of Neem oil (it's got some kind of a detergent in it already).
    "Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing."

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Another link for organic pesticides/fungicides as well as their recipes.
    http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/o...329023823.html

  9. #9
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    OK, that link jogs the memory....

    My farmer grandma did show me to pick the worms and mash 'em up and make a spray out of them and put on the plants, and I remember without a doubt, it worked....

    If you didn't do something about them they would eat the plants to the stalk and be left with nothing...
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



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    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    I promise a gardening update and photos (have a few 1000 now) soon. I have learned a good bit but nowhere near enough, May saw over 100 tomato plants die, June a repeat, thank God for black eyed peas and okra.

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    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Do you know what killed the tomatoes?
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  12. #12

    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Corn Tom View Post
    Do you know what killed the tomatoes?
    Most possibly root rot?

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    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Quote Originally Posted by robertharvey View Post
    Most possibly root rot?
    Don´t think so this time, have built raised beds & lots of prep work, a few ideas, but I would almost rule out root rot. More likely bacterial or viral disease or one of the wilts. I held several autopsies & the roots were the best I have ever seen, plants looked amazing & when they die it happens in a day or 2. Something nasty. I will soon post some before & after pics.

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    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Big green caterpillars (4-5 inches long) got mine. Stripped them clean in one day.

    Neem oil did nothing to keep them away or kill them.

    I have a new enemy.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

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    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Caterpillars, you have to be vigilant, if you catch them early you will see how small they start (as I did recently) or you will see monsters (as I have also seen). Moths & Butterflies lay eggs, they hatch, bad things happen. One day you are revelling in the beauty of your winged friends, a few later you see their spawn. Unpleasant.

  16. #16

    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Corn Tom View Post
    Big green caterpillars (4-5 inches long) got mine. Stripped them clean in one day.

    Neem oil did nothing to keep them away or kill them.

    I have a new enemy.
    Stock your garden with iguanas....they eat caterpillars.

  17. #17

    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Quote Originally Posted by cookshow View Post
    Don´t think so this time, have built raised beds & lots of prep work, a few ideas, but I would almost rule out root rot. More likely bacterial or viral disease or one of the wilts. I held several autopsies & the roots were the best I have ever seen, plants looked amazing & when they die it happens in a day or 2. Something nasty. I will soon post some before & after pics.
    I had planted some lavender and left for 4 days with a person to water my plants...came back and those things of beauty were black and withered to the bone....it was root rot.
    Just thinking that maybe?

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    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    "Growing your own food is a big part of any homesteading plan." Melissa said a mouthful there.

    Growing your own food is the heart of the operation. I guess 100 years ago I would have survived, but it would not have been by eating what I wanted when I wanted.

    Growing food here is a big challenge and on a "homestead" you have the animals to feed as well. I am still without animals (next week will likely see a new pig on the farm), the main reason is that I have not been able to produce a year round surplus of food to feed livestock.

    My long term plans include pigs, chickens, rabbits, and maybe a few goats or a cow, for now it is not economical, buying commercial food makes no sense, cheaper to buy meat, eggs, or milk.

  19. #19
    Pinolero De Cepa!! FisherCigarman's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening



    Quote Originally Posted by robertharvey View Post
    Stock your garden with iguanas....they eat caterpillars.

  20. #20
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Quote Originally Posted by FisherCigarman View Post
    No they don't and this is not funny .... just replanted the tomatoes tonight.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  21. #21

    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Corn Tom View Post
    No they don't and this is not funny .... just replanted the tomatoes tonight.

  22. #22
    Pinolero De Cepa!! FisherCigarman's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    oh man!!! come on now!! they wouldn't have cost you anything,I was gonna trap them for FREE for ya .
    We have a gazillion here in Palm Beach

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Corn Tom View Post
    No they don't and this is not funny .... just replanted the tomatoes tonight.

  23. #23

    Default Re: The Trials of Nicaraguan Gardening

    Quote Originally Posted by FisherCigarman View Post
    oh man!!! come on now!! they wouldn't have cost you anything,I was gonna trap them for FREE for ya .
    We have a gazillion here in Palm Beach
    The Great Iguana Safari!

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