Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Two weeks in the Caribbean

St. John view
St. John view
A couple of weeks on two relatively quiet Caribbean islands has been largely free of gardening observations. I didn't see many vegetables or fruits of any sort being grown on St. John, US Virgin Islands, aside from our friend's plantings (she's been planting tropical fruits such as bananas, mangos, and papayas, as well as sowing lettuce and growing tomatoes). The island is largely dependent on imports from surrounding islands and the mainland for most fresh provisions, apparently. There seems to be a small trend towards establishing kitchen gardens (according to a tourist booklet on the plane) by some resorts in the UVI's just to serve their own restaurants. I can certainly see why this would have appeal! St. John is quite dry so it's challenging to have enough water available, with cisterns being widely used for water-harvesting.

The prime attraction on St. John is the vast expanse of national park, both above and below the sea. Snorkeling is fabulous, as are the beaches and hiking.

"spinach"
"spinach"
Our second week is being spent on Dominica, a largely 'natural' island of rugged topography and remarkable vegetation. In coastal areas, agriculture is practiced largely in small-holdings of bananas, cassava, and taro, punctuated by groves of oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines.

market vendor in Rouseau
Market vendor in Rouseau
Passion fruit, star fruit, and oranges
Passion fruit, star fruit, and oranges
Vegetable growing seems to be limited to relatively small entrepreneurial folks growing market vegetables (right now, lettuce and carrots seem to be in demand).


local produce from Dalvina
local produce from Dalvina
I bought some "spinach"--actually an amaranth (callalo) - not the New Zealand spinach I was remembering (I actually recognized the plant as amaranth, but didn't remember exactly what NZ spinach was) - carrots, lettuce, onions, and "seasoning peppers" from a woman near our cottage, and chatted with her a bit. She grew vegetables all year round in raised beds bounded by metal roofing. Her chickens provided the fertility for the nice-looking soil.

We saw a similar plot on a hike up into the surrounding hills (of banana plantations) - the young woman tending this market garden was more ambitious. She even had a bit of broccoli growing - amazing for this warm climate.

View from our cottage in Dominica
View from our cottage in Dominica
 

1 comment:

  1. It looks beautiful Lisa and that's interesting that hotels are starting their own kitchen gardens. Happy New Year. gail

    ReplyDelete

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