Felder Afield – Western Africa

When fellow board members of the American Horticulture Society approved a venture in which American students would share school gardening projects with those from other countries, I packed my man-purse with seeds, grabbed my worn-out passport, and headed to the airport. First stop: Ghana, West Africa.

Long Story Short: The project involved growing vegetables in portable, water-saving EARTHBOX® which had been donated for the project. Participants shared experiences and results online.

Earth Box demonstration
Earth Box demonstration

My job: Make sure the crops were grow-able by young students – in both countries. Turns out, the AHS idea of sunflowers weren’t a good fit for Ghana students who were more interested in growing food – especially vegetables that produce a lot over a long time in their less-than-ideal climate. They settled on okra, a more familiar indigenous plant that thrives in hot, dry weather, and is well-adapted to container growing. And the seed of which can be saved and shared.

Published Okra Variety Trial Results
Published Okra Variety Trial Results

The results were better than expected, especially while using seed from various okra varieties that research by graduate students of the University of Cape Coast’s School of Agriculture proved to produce more pods over a longer time than those more commonly available locally. Extra seeds were shared with students to spread into communities.

Students Sharing AHS Seed
Students Sharing AHS Seed

While there, I took advantage of a little touristy sight-seeing, including visits to community gardens, seaside fishing villages, university and botanic gardens, market stalls, and lots of neighborhoods. Here are a few images I took of out-of-the-way places and sights. Click on each of the smaller images for captions.

Tomatoes and Peppers at Market
Tomatoes and Peppers at Market

 

 

Community Garden with Containers
Community Garden with Containers

 

 

Vignette from Aburi Botanical Gardens
Vignette from Aburi Botanical Gardens

 

 

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