Thursday, August 19, 2010

First (tasty!) harvest of the season: corn

Back in May I did seed germination tests to make sure that the seed all the farmers had returned to me was good (since this was the seed I would later extend to about 100 farmers). I planted the corn, cowpeas, and sorghum on one day, and a few days later planted the rice. As the pictures below show, they all had really high germination rates.

I didn’t just want to throw these cute little seedlings away and waste good seed (since these plants were from seed developed by ISRA, Senegal’s agricultural research institute), so I gave them to the marabou’s talibe to plant in their garden (as I mentioned in a blog past a while ago entitled “Fun in the garden”). I had the kids in my house and a few of their friends help me move the pots of plants from behind my hut to the talibe garden. Most of the pots fit in my family’s 3 wheelbarrows, but a few didn’t, so we put them in one of the plastic bins (that I do my laundry in and use for other random things) and I carried it on my head (most of the way anyway – when we were about 3/4 of the way there my neck was really starting to hurt so I gave it to the other girl in the group (my cousin), Awa, to carry on her head – the women are much stronger at that than the men are).

The next day we planted the corn, beans, and sorghum (and the day after that we planted the rice). I wanted to demonstrate an improved technique of intercropping corn with cowpeas, which turned out well. The cowpeas did much better in the poor soil (even though we did add manure to the soil before we planted…) and took over the corn in a few places, but that’s what happens with experiments I guess. The guys were really good about watering the crops (since about half the life of these crops was before the rains came at all) and they had a great, gradual bean harvest, and a good corn harvest, which they made sure I participated in (which I was happy about – as you can see from the pictures).

Before and after weeding and prepping the soil:

Growing, slowly but surely:

Harvest day!


  1. I accidently stumbled on your site and would like to follow. Farming is very much different from our place, and i hope to learn a bunch.

  2. Hi Ian,
    Glad to hear your excited about my blog - hope you are able to learn a lot. Let me know if you ever have any specific questions!

  3. Wow Danielle! So awesome to see those plants grow! I've never been handy with soil or plants... but loved seeing you put them extra seeds to good, tasty use! :]

    Hope you've been well!