Two weeks after the first seed plantings, we are seeing the first signs of green, the first signs of growth. The pipian and ayote, both types of squash, are already leafy and fat. The tomato clusters are crowded with pointy green leaves, asking to be transplanted to their new home. The peppers have a weaker showing alongside the tomatoes, but we’re hopeful about them.
Their innovation is inspiring. Each woman’s garden is different, having grown in creative directions. Each has landed on her own way of planting her seedlings. Some guard theirs off with cinderblocks. One woman planted hers in an old tire. Another uses a set of burlap sacks. Doña Elena’s doubles as a cover for her chickens.
They’re also organizing their gardens differently. Alejandra’s daughter made signs to mark where each vegetable grows. Benerenda has planted her cucumbers under each tree in her backyard, so the vine-like plant can wrap itself around the trunk.
Met with challenges, the women are resourceful and fearless. In the rainy season in Chinandega, especially at the altitude of Villa Catalina, their community tends to flood. This past weekend brought incredible rains, and Alba found that her backyard was 5 inches underwater. When she transplants her tomatoes to the ground, she worries her seeds could drown. So she created raised rows of soil that would withstand the high tides. We’ve be passing around this wisdom to the other women.
Came upon a grown plantain tree, and I thought it'd be cool to show you what's to come. On the left is the plantain plant in Alba's backyard, on the right is the grown plantain tree.
Overall, the women are hopeful and excited. We are too.