10.20.2008

Ornamental Plants Project

So here is what's going on with the Ornamental Plants Project in El Valle de Madroño. Here's some photos of what's been going on.

The Group: We now have 10 participants. Two are new women who wanted to join. That's exciting. All of them live in El Valle.

Buying Pots:
De Ornamental Plants Project
With the help of Rolando from EarthTrain and the pickup truck with it's fancy new bed, pots were bought on August 14th and brought up to El Valle. We paid around $150 for 24 pots. The money used was GBBs.

Pots Growing:
De Ornamental Plants Project

The original eight members of our group each have 3 pots. Two that are urn shaped and one that is a bowl shape. They have been asked to plant them with a mix of three attractive plants. Jeff and I distributed one pot to each and when they were planted up, with enough plant material and with good soil we gave them their next two pots. Currently there are four pots that look good and should be ready soonish. I am keeping my fingers crossed that more will be ready by the end of December. We are asking the women to start with more plant material and give the plants more sunlight to help them grow faster.

Flower Beds:
De Ornamental Plants Project
The double dig beds that our lovely Texans built are being used in various ways and to different success. The school's is being used the way we intended and with the help of the kids, Foy and Jeff have been weeding and adding new plants. Some of the beds have been commandeered to grow culantro or tomatoes. Some are being used for their composted soil. You should see the soil! There are two layers about two inches thick each of dark black, organic rich soil. Obviously the idea of composting directly in the bed works.

Meetings:
De Ornamental Plants Project
Sophia and Andri came up to El Valle on August 25th and had a meeting with the group. A demonstration on how to plant up the pots and how they should look was given. Along with an explication of how GBB works and how the selling of the pots will hopefully work.

Article Published and Blog: I write a column on being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama and one of them was on the Ornamental Plant Project! So you got a little bit of press in Iowa. Our blog also now has a tag called "Ornamental Plants Project" with information about what's going on.

Future Plans: Andri and Sophia are planning a return to El Valle in November or December to meet with the group again and prepare for the arrival of the Texans.

Nathan would like a small group of the participants to come to Casco Viejo and help with the preparation of the gallery. Hopefully this will clear up some of the questions about where the plants will be sold and give the women a since of ownership. The date is looking to be in December.

The Brigade of Texans will becoming to Panama over their winter break January 10-17.

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