The Church, over the last couple of years, has invested in the creation of a "Learning Garden" for the purpose of teaching people how to grow a more nutritious option than the current staples in their diet. Though bread fruit, coconut, and papaya are healthy, the volume of rice consumed is out of proportion for health reasons. The people here desperately need more green vegetables in their diet. The trick is, given the poor soil (100% sand) most things won't grow without serious tender loving care. This garden was founded to help people learn how to do the TLC necessary to grow more healthy foods, decrease their food expense, and show them how to become self-sufficient. The previous welfare missionaries, Elder and Sister Youngberg, were instrumental in the development of this garden. They did a great job on their mission and these pictures reflect their work.
In the back is the Mwaneabe. This is kind of a bowery where classes and demonstrations can be held. Upper right is a restroom with showers and everything. This picture shows covered spots where compost is curing. Also, you can see the corn in the upper right. This was planted about a month ago. Today it has tassels.
Above shows some eggplant with some tomatoes immediately behind. Continuing to the right are beds with more tomatoes and beans in the last bed. The gardener is staggering the beds so that he always has some vegetables ripening. You can see him and Sis Waldron in the upper left. His name is Tioromaea (pronounced Soro-my-aya) and he spends all day at the garden five days a week. He is learning a lot and wants to go into the gardening business for himself with a goal of becoming self-reliant.
This is a bed planted in sweet potatoes. No one here has ever heard of them. We can't wait to do a demonstration to show what fun things can be made from sweet potatoes--SP fries, SP pie, SP casserole (we'll have Sis Bogh make marshmallows for the topping), etc. Yum.
A great picture of Sis Waldron standing in, get this, a watermelon patch. We visited the Taiwan Mission Garden one morning and they shared some watermelon they had grown with us. I would never be an unappreciative guest but couldn't resist the temptation to purloin a couple of seeds. I stuck a couple in my pocket and badda boom...
You can see three melons getting just about ready. The green one on the left is from my illicit seeds. The one at top should be ripe in a couple of days.
As mentioned the corn is just over a month old and as you can see, it is tasseling and there is silk where the ears are starting to form. Can't wait to see what this produces as we don't know what variety of seeds we planted.