The Haiti team left bright and early (3am!) to travel from Sewanee to Nashville, to catch our flight to Port-au-Prince. We were excited to see our friends in Haiti and also to see how the coffee and mango seedlings were doing in Bois Jolie.
Over the summer, Linnea, Ford, and Elizabeth planted many bamboo shoots in an enclosed area on a local farm to see if bamboo was a viable crop to intercrop within pastures. Yesterday, we traveled up the road to check them out and were amazed at what we saw. Grass over six feet tall dominated the enclosure, outcompeting the vulnerable young bamboo shoots. Alas, the bamboo were unable to grow with the fierce dominating grass. Although slightly disappointed, we learned and also recognized how intense the grass growth is here… it is apparent to us why Haitian farmers burn to clear land. This grass is tough.
We also checked up on the nursery in Bois Jolie. The seedlings of coffee and mango were thriving and growing with great vigor. The rainy season has been good for them. However, as Haiti is about to enter the dry season, maintaining the seedlings throughout the season is of utmost importance. We, along with agronomists Maxo and Bosquet, determined a watering schedule for the nursery. The farmers involved in the project in Bois Jolie will take turns watering, using watering cans that Maxo and Bosquet will purchase. It was also decided that the seedlings will be watered at night to reduce the rate of transpiration.