1.10.2009

Day 604 - Volunteer Service - The Brigade is almost here

The Brigade of Texas University Students flies in today for their one week whirl wind of business advising and constructing. Fifteen students from this group will come up to our valley and work on accounting, personal interviews, and plant product quality. The other half of the group will work on marketing and sales from Panama City.

I am excited this group is coming. Not only do they bring valuable business advice, they also bring a willingness to share the culture of America and learn about the culture of Panama.

Here are a couple of questions they had before coming and their answers:

Do you know of a special regime of care that the woman [of El Valle] have adopted [to take care of the plants]?
The great thing about Madroño, is that the climate is like living in a green house. The plants mostly live on the porches of the women growing them. This means they get indirect light (part shade to full shade), and water about every other day.

I have been working with these women to use organic compost as a potting mix (with more or less success). This means the plants are in a potting mix with a higher water retention than plain soil. Also the fertilizer is built in. The plants should not require fertilizer for more than year. All of the plants have been grown organically to date.

As far as locating the plants in the gallery goes, they will do best if they are actually outside. I originally thought the court yard would be ideal. Very close to a window or door with shaded natural light will also work. The plants will continue to grow once brought to Panama City, so it is important the have enough water so they don't crisp, and enough light so they don't get leggy.

Also do you know if the temperature in Centro Madro
ño consistent with the temperature in Panama city?
The temperature in El Valle de Madroño is about 10 degrees F cooler than Panama City. Madroño average about 70F while Panama city is closer to 80F. Also Madroño is more humid. This means in the city the plants will need to be watered more frequently and kept out of the direct sun.

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