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I haven’t written much about the garden lately – and there’s a reason for that. It hasn’t been doing all that well. I’ve been disappointed at the small quantity of food being produced, in spite of lots of hard work invested.

Recently our good friends, Brad and Trish Ward, visited us here in Gracias. Brad is an agricultural missionary, and so he gave me some tips. Basically, it boils down to a need to significantly nourish the garden soil. Our soil is mostly composted cow manure, and that’s just not doing the job. Brad suggested that I plant a certain type of bean plant – frijole abono (Russell tells me that the word “abono” basically means fertilizer) – and then once those plants have grown for a couple of months, to till them down into the soil, mulch heavily, and then let the soil sit for another couple of months. THEN I should have better results from my plantings.

One of the young men working on our new house construction has said that he would bring me some frijole abono seeds on Monday, so hopefully I’ll be able to get those into the ground and growing right away. July and August are fairly good growing months here, as there is slightly less rain than the beginning and end of rainy season (when it’s sort of a deluge around here). I’m hoping to grow the bean plants now, have them under mulch during September and October, and be ready to plant when the cooler temperatures and gentler rains start arriving in November.

I hope it works out. Enthusiasm has waned for this whole gardening project, since the rewards have been so minimal, and we really need a major success here!

Although this progress report has been a bit of a bummer, I’m happy to report that Gus has continued to improve the infrastructure of the garden. He, along with Ben and Josiah, have improved the pathways between the raised beds by adding gravel. This has significantly reduced the amount of work needed in just keeping the pathways clear – and really, there’s plenty to do in the garden without having to worry about the pathways!