To be honest, my first impression of the valley farm was “What farm?”. In the month that Kalu Yala staff had off, the grass grew five feet tall. The garden just looked like a bunch of weeds.
That was almost a month ago.
A week later, I returned to the valley and Alex Goff, the recently appointed Agriculture Director, had completely transformed the space. The overgrown grass had been hacked down and he had already planted cucumbers, plantains, squash, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, yuca, and much more.
Also, a new Magic Circle had been dug. This is a composting pit dug in the ground about 18-36 inches deep and 6 feet wide. Typically, you grow plantains, squash, and corn around the exterior of pit. The plants will flourish from the nutrients of the decomposing material in the pit.
This past week, when I was back in the valley, three more Magic Circles were created. The dug up dirt from the Magic Circles was used to create a raised bed. More squash, corn, and cucumbers had been planted. An herb garden consisting of lemongrass, thyme, cilantro, culantro, rosemary, and couple of different basils was put in. Our cucumber plant growing in the trench around our rancho produced for us two cucumbers this week, which we promptly ate.
It’s only been two weeks and the farm has come a long way. Given that fall is the time to plant in Panama, I can’t wait to see how it will progress over the next two months! From continuing to hack back all the overgrown grass to extending our plantain farm and consuming all the yummy fruits and veggies it produces.